duckdaotsu

if it looks like a duck and types like a duck.... ( ' ?

Saturday

The Viet Nam War Ruined My Life

How many young Americans will say that about Bushwar? asks Miles Woolley.

I caught a quote by William Saletan yesterday that has been replaying in my mind as we wade through the post re-election of King George. Saletan writes for the MSN online Slate Magazine. The quote was "When you support a president going to war, you don’t get your war. You get his." This comment came from the post 9/11 days when many Americans threw their full support to the commander-in-chief. This action was predicated by the belief that America had been attacked and that whoever was leading our military needed the full support of all Americans. The support was specifically for the commander-in-chief and the holder of that position was George Bush. George perceived this backing as support for him and he pursued his agenda of putting America into a war with Iraq under the guise of fighting terrorism. So King George became a war president.

Sadly, the war president was re-elected. When you factor in the leads held in both houses by Republicans and add the possibility of some Supreme Court appointments, one can easily see the country taking a hard right ideological turn. Equally disturbing is the likelihood that King George will see his re-election as a confirmation of his actions. In short, we can expect at least four more years of war thanks to the "you’re doing the right thing" mandate the American voters delivered to Bush. According to the Monday quarterbacking news analysis, however, the single issue that drove most Americans to select Bush over Kerry was moral values. I swear I’m not making this stuff up. Moral values outpaced terrorism and the economy as the top reason America extended George’s job contract.

From this analysis, can we assume that Democrats are viewed as amoral sinners, while Republicans are the good guys? This is where I have difficulty understanding this election. I am asking for help to explain the logic of the morals argument to myself and to my children as well as to my students who are all wondering how we got from point A to point W. The question is: how did America choose Bush for president under the pretext of choosing high morals?

The war that ruined my life, The Vietnam War, had very unclear goals. Few could give reasonable explanations for why we were there at the time and history has been imprecise on giving a clarification in hindsight. Most agree today that Vietnam was a BFM, or big fat mistake (though other words might fit the acronym). Anyway, America stayed in that BFM for way too long, destroying the lives of our soldiers, their family’s lives, and the lives of the Vietnamese. Today’s BFM, The Iraq War has clear goals and objectives. America is in Iraq to put money into the coffers of The Carlyle Group, Halliburton, Cheney’s war machine, and perhaps into Big Oil. I suppose that catching Saddam Hussein was in the plan as well, but those pesky Iraqi "terrorists" keep killing Americans even after his removal.

Comparing the two wars, I see the Vietnam BFM as having a confusing, hard to explain purpose. If there was a moral justification for that war, it has escaped me. The Iraq BFM has to be seen as immoral. America has gained nothing by being there. We have found no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear warheads, and no evidence to tie Hussein with Bin Laden. We have alienated many of our allies and have lost the respect of much of the world. We are seen as bullies who could not get the real terrorists who attacked us so we started a war with a country that our president decided was just loaded with bad guys. I recently read the study that indicates the Iraq War is responsible for killing over 100,000 innocent Iraqi citizens. That’s 100,000 deaths in addition to the enemy death count. So I’m wondering where the high moral values are in a commander-in-chief who can show his smug face in public knowing his war actions have killed so many innocent lives.

Bin Laden is responsible for taking perhaps 3,000 American lives and with the exception of lives taken at The Pentagon, those were innocent, non-combatant Americans. The world hates Bin Laden and many want him dead for his actions. George Bush is responsible for taking over 100,000 innocent lives and our country re-elects him using the rationale that George represents high moral values. Seriously, I have great difficulty putting the words "high moral values" in the same sentence with George’s name. I find it much easier to put Bush’s name in sentences with words like "moron, liar, murderer, and thief."

In my estimation, George W. Bush is the worst president in modern times. For those who did not vote, or could not vote for Kerry because of whatever reason, I say that Kerry or any other reasonable candidate would have been an improvement over Bush. Donald Duck would have had my vote over Bush.

November 6, 2004

Miles Woolley is a disabled Vietnam veteran living in Miami, Florida. He served with the 9th Infantry Division in The Mekong Delta in a Ranger unit doing reconnaissance 1968–69 where he received a gunshot wound to the head leaving one side severely paralyzed. He is a father of four grown children and grandfather of seven, including a set of triplets.

A Day of Infamy

On November 2 Americans blew their only chance to redeem themselves in the eyes of the world.

The entire world is stunned by the Bush administration’s abandonment of a half century of US diplomacy in favor of misguided, unilateralist, "preemptive" naked aggression on totally false pretenses against Iraq. America’s allies are amazed at the ignorance manifested by the Bush administration. They are resentful of Bush’s "in-your-eye" attitude toward friends who warned Bush against leading America into a quagmire and giving Osama bin Laden the war he wanted.

The world was waiting hopefully for the sensible American people to rectify the ill-advised actions of a rogue neoconservative administration. Instead, Americans placed the stamp of approval on the least justifiable military action since Hitler invaded Poland.

In the eyes of the world, Bush’s reelection is proof that Ariel Sharon’s neoconsevative allies in the Bush administration speak for America after all.

The world’s sympathy for America that followed the September 11 attacks has been squandered. If the US suffers terrorist attacks in the future, the world will say that America invited the attacks and got what it asked for.

Europeans and Asians will never be able to comprehend that Bush was reelected because Americans were voting against homosexual marriage and abortion.

The world is simply unable to believe that Americans, so enamored of family values, would vote to send their sons, fathers, husbands, and brothers to unprovoked war unless Americans valued empire and control over oil as more important than their family members.

The crude propagandistic Republican campaign against John Kerry is shocking to Europeans. The childishness of American conservatives scares them.

America’s French friends, seeking to save America from making the same mistakes that France made in the past, advised Bush not to rush into an Iraqi invasion. American conservatives instantly and blindly perceived French words of wisdom as proof that France was in the "against us" camp. Conservatives announced a boycott of French fries. Everything French was denigrated for no other reason than the French tried to warn us.

Conservatives quickly produced a "revisionist" book, "Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America’s Disastrous Relationship with France," "proving" that France has always been America’s worst enemy.

America’s European allies cannot differentiate the immaturity of American conservatives from the ignorance of the National Socialists.

As hearts harden and minds close against America, Americans will have to go it alone.

The US invasion of Iraq has proved to be a disaster--exactly as the French and everyone with a mere modicum of sense said in advance. Eight of ten US divisions are tied down by a few thousand insurgents.

US troops do not control towns, cities, roads, or even the fortified Green Zone.

The American impulse is to smash cities, thus killing women and children and destroying the homes and livelihoods of noncombatants, while the insurgents regroup elsewhere. The top American generals, who were ridiculed by the Secretary of Defense and his deluded neoconservative deputy for forthrightly stating that occupation of Iraq would require a larger army than was available, stand vindicated.

The price of the Bush administration’s delusion is 10,000 dead and maimed American troops--more than three times the casualties caused by the September 11 terrorist attacks. Bush’s declared policy of "continuing to the end" will swell this number and bring back the draft.

The world is amazed that Americans do not care that they have been deceived, lied to, and incompetently led and that Americans have chosen to continue along this path.

Bush’s reelection has ended forever respect for America. New and unflattering sobriquets for Americans are emerging. The American century is over.

November 6, 2004

Dr. Roberts is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

The religious right's agenda on abortion and gay marriage could tear apart the GOP.


"Feeding a monster who has the party by its tail"


A mood of elation permeated the ranks of evangelical Christians in the United States Thursday as it became clear that the election marked a watershed moment for their chances of implementing a conservative moral agenda -- above all on the issues of abortion and gay marriage.

Buoyed by exit poll results suggesting that moral issues had weighed on voters' minds even more than terrorism, activists vowed to use their victory to push the second Bush administration to ban same-sex unions at a federal level and to move the Supreme Court to the right. "I think it's quite possible this could be a turning point," said Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Group, a lobbying organization.

"We're seeing from the exit polls that conservative Christian voters turned out in record numbers ... so we certainly will be pressing for action on key items of our agenda, and we will not be shy about claiming that our influence was significant in the outcome of the election."

In a post-election memo obtained by the New York Times, Richard Viguerie, a right-wing direct-mailing campaigner, issued a warning to the Republican Party. "Make no mistake -- conservative Christians and 'values voters' won this election for George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress," he wrote.

"It's crucial that the Republican leadership not forget this -- as much as some will try ... Liberals, many in the media and inside the Republican Party, are urging the president to 'unite' the country by discarding the allies that earned him another four years."

Morality turned out to be a key motivator in an election apparently dominated by the Iraq war, terrorism and the economy. According to exit polls, 20 percent of voters put moral issues at the top of their list -- more than any other issue -- and 80 percent of them were Bush supporters.

"George Bush speaks our language of faith, and John Kerry doesn't," said Carrie Earll, a spokeswoman for Focus on the Family, an influential conservative group. "Right now, we live in a time when the economy, Iraq and the war on terror are big topics -- so the fact that social and moral values took precedence over those, even in wartime, is an indication that this is fundamental to who we are as a people."

A decisive energizing factor appears to have been measures banning same-sex marriage, which passed in all 11 states where they were on the ballot. Campaigners in Ohio claimed to have registered tens of thousands of new voters intent on supporting a ban, implying that voting for Bush might have been almost an afterthought for some.

"That certainly galvanized the church," said Earll. "The fact that there was a presidential election was just another factor. People would have gone to the polls to vote on the marriage amendment whoever was on the ballot for president."

With several Supreme Court justices likely to retire, the victory also leaves anti-abortion campaigners more hopeful than ever that the complexion of the court could be shifted to eradicate the current tenuous majority in support of Roe vs. Wade, which reaffirms abortion as a constitutionally protected right. Holding open that possibility was a central part of the Bush campaign's effort to energize its Christian conservative base and reach the millions of evangelicals who stayed home on Election Day in 2000.

But a leading moderate Republican told the Guardian yesterday the tactic could prove self-destructive if pushed further. "If Bush deliberately or inadvertently appoints enough judges to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the worst-case scenario is that it's the beginning of the end of the Republican Party," said Jennifer Blei Stockman, co-chair of the Republican Majority for Choice. "It wouldn't be long before the outrage would spill into the voting booth, and it would only be a matter of time before the Democratic Party ascends to power that will last for a long time."

In pandering to evangelical conservatives, Stockman said, Republican strategists had "been feeding a monster who now has the party by its tail." At least 75 percent of Bush voters do not consider themselves evangelicals, she said. "The keynote speakers at the Republican Convention were all 'pro-choice' moderates, from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Rudy Giuliani to [New York Gov.] George Pataki. Was that just a masquerade or was something of substance communicated?"

Conservative Republicans argue that talk of an imminent reversal of Roe vs. Wade is fearmongering, though they are far from reticent themselves in using lurid and shocking campaign messages.

"On the immediate front, let's ban partial-birth abortion," said Earll, referring to the late-termination practice to which Bush has declared himself opposed. "Right now, we have a Supreme Court that says it's a constitutional right to stab a nearly born infant in the back of the head and suck its brains out."

American views on abortion, however, may be less sharply divided than the vocal campaigners for each side make out, said Corwin Smidt, a professor of Christianity and politics at Calvin College in Michigan. "The percentage of Americans who want total free choice has been going down, but there has been no real increase in the percentage of people who want to eliminate all abortion," he said.

By Oliver Burkeman
salon magazine

Tomgram: Chalmers Johnson on the CIA and a blowback world

No longer will Dick Cheney have to pay visits to Langley, Virginia and lean on CIA analysts to produce the kind of intelligence a Veep might need; not now that the President has his man, Republican loyalist Porter J. Goss, heading up the Agency, and a second term in hand. Of course, the CIA was already highly politicized in the first Bush term. Run by George Tenet (accurately dubbed "a political apparatchik" by Toronto Sun columnist Eric Margolis), throughout most of the last four years, it proved a servile agency despite possessing perfectly clear-eyed analysts who knew the truth about Iraq and wanted to pass it on.

But not, it seemed, servile enough. Unhappy with the intelligence pickings from the CIA, the Bush administration turned to its loveably, unreliable then-"friend," Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi, for the sort of intelligence that could actually be used to terrify a nation into war -- you know, all those weapons of mass destruction in Saddam's hands, all those ties between Saddam and al-Qaeda -- and then Douglas Feith, the number three man in the Pentagon, created the Office of Special Plans to "search for information on Iraq's hostile intentions or links to terrorists." It cherry-picked intelligence from Chalabi and others and passed it up the line to those eager to speak of mushroom clouds going off over American cities.

Such a complicated process, though. Now, former Republican congressman as well as ex-CIA agent and spy-recruiter Goss will bring no less loyal political aides from the House and elsewhere into the Agency's leadership and so simplify matters in a second Bush term. Already, before November 2, Goss's CIA was working hard to suppress crucial 9/11 information, as Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Scheer reported. The CIA will now be but another, ever expanding militarized arm of an administration that will already control Congress (hence no possibility of serious oversight over the Agency), significant parts of our courts and justice system, a media machine, a political machine, a religious machine, a majority of the state governments in our federalist system, and sizeable hunks of the government bureaucracy. The Pre! sident, in other words, will have his own intelligence arm and secret army at his beck and interventionist call for the next four years, and no one around to take a peek. The ultimate check on the administration was the electorate and it just failed. (Oh, let's not forget that there will at least be angry CIA agents and others still stuck in this highly politicized system, feeling betrayed, and as things begin to go truly off the tracks, leaking like mad.)

Of course, this administration has long been intent on putting much of what it does not only beyond all oversight, but utterly out of sight. After September 11, they put extraordinary effort and legal thought into creating an offshore mini-gulag, beyond the courts, beyond prying eyes, a torture-system beholden only to the President of the United States in his role as commander-in-chief. The CIA was put in charge of the most secret aspects of this system and, as the part of the government best tooled in the arts of offshore interrogation, from Abu Ghraib to a "ghost prison" in Jordan, they have overseen the worst parts of this black hole of injustice.

From the penumbra of the secret world of the Bush administration and the CIA will come future acts sure to outrage Americans. This then is a moment to return to history and remind ourselves of exactly what mayhem and misfortune the CIA has actually caused -- us as well as the rest of the world. That makes the Chalmers Johnson essay below on the CIA and Afghan blowback a must read. Johnson is the author of the prophetic book Blowback, written before 9/11, and more recently The Sorrows of Empire, which explores our military reach in the world. This piece has been slightly adapted from a review that originally appeared in the London Review of Books, a lively English literary/political publication, and that is reprinted with the Review's kind permission. Tom

Abolish the CIA!

By Chalmers Johnson

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 10 September 2001, by Steve Coll, New York: Penguin, 2004, 695 pp, $29.95.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Fascism Anyone?

Fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist1 regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.

Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.

For the purpose of this perspective, I will consider the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. To be sure, they constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible.

Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

5. Rampant sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

6. A controlled mass media. Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

7. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.


Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.



Note
1. Defined as a “political movement or regime tending toward or imitating Fascism”
—Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.


References

Andrews, Kevin. Greece in the Dark. Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1980.
Chabod, Frederico. A History of Italian Fascism. London: Weidenfeld, 1963.
Cooper, Marc. Pinochet and Me. New York: Verso, 2001.
Cornwell, John. Hitler as Pope. New York: Viking, 1999.
de Figuerio, Antonio. Portugal—Fifty Years of Dictatorship. New York: Holmes & Meier, 1976.
Eatwell, Roger. Fascism, A History. New York: Penguin, 1995.
Fest, Joachim C. The Face of the Third Reich. New York: Pantheon, 1970.
Gallo, Max. Mussolini’s Italy. New York: MacMillan, 1973.
Kershaw, Ian. Hitler (two volumes). New York: Norton, 1999.
Laqueur, Walter. Fascism, Past, Present, and Future. New York: Oxford, 1996.
Papandreau, Andreas. Democracy at Gunpoint. New York: Penguin Books, 1971.
Phillips, Peter. Censored 2001: 25 Years of Censored News. New York: Seven Stories. 2001.
Sharp, M.E. Indonesia Beyond Suharto. Armonk, 1999.
Verdugo, Patricia. Chile, Pinochet, and the Caravan of Death. Coral Gables, Florida: North-South Center Press, 2001.
Yglesias, Jose. The Franco Years. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1977.


Laurence Britt’s novel, June, 2004, depicts a future America dominated by right-wing extremists.
Laurence W. Britt

Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2.

... Free Inquiry readers may pause to read the “Affirmations of Humanism: A Statement of Principles” on the inside cover of the magazine. To a secular humanist, these principles seem so logical, so right, so crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. (see above)

The Morality of Fear


The Morality of Fear

by Paul Wilson


The re-election of George W. Bush is as mystifying as it is frustrating to America's liberals. How is it that so many of our own countrymen can be so different in their viewpoint? Are they blind? Uncaring? Greedy? Brainwashed?

Or are they just afraid?

On the morning of November 3rd, I was flipping through the various news programs, with a Democrat's hangover, listening to the slew of political pundits cancel each other out as they tried to explain exit polls and campaign strategies. None of it mattered. It was over.

Only one question echoed through my mind as I contemplated Canadian citizenship...

WHY?

Why, with so many injustices brought to light every day about Iraq, unemployment, the rape of our environment, every poor child left behind, etc., WHY had this regime been voted back into power to continue their fear-mongering? Why had we, the people, elected this man and his cronies to represent our interests abroad? Why was the mangling of the English language looked at with smirking pride?

It was shortly before the broadcast of John Kerry's concession speech that I heard one of the armchair experts (which one?...Which channel?...I'm not sure, and I don't think it matters) talk about the surprising fact that despite Bush running his entire campaign on the "war on terror" and "staying the course," the main issues among GOP voters were morality and family values.

This, of course was treated by the pundits, like everything else, as a brief diversion to fill a few minutes of infinite air-time. I, however, sat up and took notice. Apparently, issues like the traditional marriage amendment, which we Democrats laughed at and called misdirection, were all that were needed to bind the Republicans together!

While we Dems were busy listing the crimes against humanity that this administration had inflicted (I, myself, ran out of fingers), shedding a sub-group of protesters for each one, spreading ourselves ever thinner as we tried to cover them all, the Republicans rallied under one flag of denial, called Morality.

Why didn't we see it? Why didn't we realize that we were actually helping the Bush administration to win?

Since 9/11, we Americans have lived with fear. It has been spoon-fed to us in daily doses by the media for decades ("Can your bedsheets kill you? Tune in at 11:00 and find out!), slowly immunizing us to it. But now they had something concrete to harp on. And with the help of the "War President" and his corporate good-ol'-boys, harp on it they did, twisting it and stretching it out, until the tangible became intangible again. From orange alerts to possible terrorist attacks on middle America, fear came at us from every direction and no direction. It wasn't long before we began to live with the fear, pulling it over our heads like a favorite blanket.

Those of us with any religious upbringing know that fear is the Great Motivator. "Behaveth Thyself Or Else" is the motto of the Catholic church, in a nutshell. And when things are at their darkest (or portrayed that way), we need to know that there is a force looking out for us, smiting our enemies and showing us the right path. But in order to keep that force on our side, we must pay the price: Morality. Love thy (immediate) neighbor. Follow Me. Worship Me, and I will solve all your problems.

When the Bush machine brought God into the equation, America's fears had a new focus. First, if we didn't support Bush, we didn't support the troops, making us unpatriotic. Now, if we didn't support Bush we were sinners, no better than our "Godless" enemy (not really godless, just the wrong god).

This was John Kerry's predicament. This was why he had to appear to be "flip-flopping." How do you attack God's minions without appearing Godless?

Even those of us in the Kerry camp thought Kerry was not taking a strong enough stand on the issues we held dear. So we tried to help him.

Organizations sprung up everywhere, trying to push war attrocities and federal deficit and the economy down the throats of the public. 'Give America a wake-up call,' we thought. And we were right. It needed to be told.

We rallied the voters in a way that hasn't been seen since JFK. Lines at the polls going around the block.

So, why wasn't it enough?

Because the fear factor was stronger. And the more we pushed, the further into the blanket they buried themselves. What do you do when you have to choose between fear of the enemy and fear of your leaders?

Better the devil you know...



© Paul Wilson

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,
this material is distributed without profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in
receiving the included information for
research and educational purposes.

Racism in the Age of Globalisation



Racism in the Age of Globalisation
By A. Sivanandan

Speaking at the Third Claudia Jones Memorial Lecture on 28 October 2004 organised by the National Union of Journalist's Black Members Council*, Dr. A. Sivanandan, Director of the Institute of Race Relations, examined how the two trajectories - the war on asylum and the war on terror - had converged to produce the racism/imperialism of the global era.
Nothing signifies the politics of Claudia Jones more than that I, an ex-colonial Asian, should be asked by the Black members' Council of the National union of Journalists to celebrate Black History Month by giving the lecture in her memory. For, the two guiding principles of Claudia's politics (you will excuse the familiarity, because I did meet her ; yes I do go back that far) - were first, that the struggles against colonialism and racism were part of the same continuum (we are here because you were there) and second, that Black, like Red, was the colour of our politics and not the colour of our skins - (though she herself may not have put it like that). It is those principles too, that governed the struggles of West Indian and Asian peoples in the first two decades of the post-war period.

Ingrained in Claudia's politics, however, was also a working-class perspective which, nevertheless, did not subsume the black struggle to the class struggle or maintain that racism would automatically vanish after socialism was won. And since the vast majority of us at that time came to work in the factories and foundries, or were recruited into the transport and health services, and even those of us who had qualifications were invariably forced by racial discrimination into lowly jobs (I myself started off as a tea-boy in Kingsbury library in 1958), it was a perspective that spoke to the experience of most African-Caribbean and Asian immigrants. But because that experience was not reflected in the mainstream media, Claudia, with her friend and colleague Abimanyu Manchanda, set up the West Indian Gazette and Afro-Asian Caribbean News. Claudia's understanding of culture, too, was that of a people's culture, a carnival of joy and celebration, of self-expression and self-organisation, a Hosanna to life. Hence her inauguration of the Notting Hill Carnival in August 1959.

The politics of anti-racism, the social worth of self-help and the culture of self-expression - all the elements of Black Struggle were already there in Claudia Jones' writings and activities. And the years that followed the riots of 1958 which established that we had no place in British society were the years that were to establish our place in British society.

And it is that history that I want to retrieve - the history that we made in this country, the history that Claudia Jones inspired. The history of us as black settlers, not coloured immigrants, the history that black workers contributed to the working-class struggle, which has been ignored by white historians, the history of the struggles of black women to overcome the particular racisms visited on them, such as the virginity tests of Asian women at the ports of entry and the enforced use of depo provera on African-Caribbean women, the history of black youth rebellion and revolt which lifted, not them out of the ghetto, but you and me, middle-class blacks into positions of power and office. It is that history I want to talk about not the unavailing history of black heroes and heroines, and celebrities and role-models and uncle Tom you know who and all. Besides, one cannot understand racism in the age of global capitalism without understanding the racism of industrial and colonial capitalism. We cannot contest the one without understanding how we contested the other.

The unity that informed West Indian and Asian struggles during the '50s and '60s is, I think, the most significant legacy that has come down to us. It was a unity that sprang not so much from the assumed virtues of our politics as from our common experience of colonialism, our common experience of class (most of us were in working-class jobs) and most importantly of all, our common experience of an undifferentiating racism that debased and dehumanised West Indian and Asian and African alike. And although the communities lived in different areas of the city and had their own cultures, they still supported each other in the fight against racism. Cultural identity was not a bar to political unity.

That unity was inspired by the revolutionary struggles in 'Portuguese Africa', the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, and the war in Vietnam. And was mediated through a number of political groups that sprang up in the early sixties. There was the Conference of Afro-Asian-Caribbean organisations (CAACO), in London for instance, and the Co-ordinating Committee Against Racial Discrimination in Birmingham (CCARD),. The former was initiated by Claudia Jones' West Indian Gazette in association with the Indian Workers Association (IWA) and Fenner Brockway's Movement for Colonial Freedom. The latter was set up by Jagmohan Joshi of the IWA and Maurice Ludmer a sports journalist who was the founding editor of Searchlight, and was instigated by a meeting at Digbeth called by the West Indian Workers' Association and the Indian Youth League to protest the suspected CIA murder of Patrice Lumumba, the leader of the Congolese revolution. And together, and separately, they marched and demonstrated against the immigration bill of 1962.

You see the connections- between Third World struggles and anti-racist struggles, between Africans, West Indians and Asians, between he class and the community? If I am at pains to draw these out it is because they are unique to the history of black people in Britain - and it is a history we must recall if we are to contest the racist imperialism of the global era.

To return to my narrative. After the passing of the Immigration Act of 1962 and the subsequent arrival of our families, our concerns turned to schooling and housing. Racist educational policies, such as the bussing out of Asian children from their communities, and the relegation of so-called ineducable West Indian children to schools for the educationally subnormal, gave rise to a number of community initiatives such as supplementary schools and summer schools, in homes, and church halls and temples. In housing, too, there were communal efforts to pool resources and purchase property. And to contest the overweening aggression of the police and the criminalisation of black youth through the operation of the Sus law (which, like the doctrine of pre-emptive war today, sanctioned the arrest of black youngsters who were suspected of being about to commit a crime) self-defence groups such as the Racial Action Adjustment Society (RAAS) under Michael X and the Universal Coloured Peoples' Association (UCPA) under the Nigerian writer Obi Egbuna were set up in 1965 and 1967 respectively. The former was influenced by Malcolm X's visit to Britain and the latter by Black Power and the anti-Vietnam war movement.

These organisations along with the West Indian, Pakistani and Indian Workers' Associations came to the aid of the strikers at various times in the mid and late '60s in various factories - in Preston, Southall, Tipton, West Bromwich, and so on. In nearly all these strikes, the support came not from the trade unions but from the community organisations and the community - with the landlords waiving rent, grocers giving credit, temples providing food.

On all these fronts, then, Africans, West Indians and Asians were beginning to fight as a class and a people, and a people for a class. So that when in 1968 Enoch Powell made his infamous 'rivers of blood' speech and London dockers and Smithfield meat porters marched on Parliament to demand an end to immigration, representatives from over fifty black organisations came together in Leamington and formed a national body, the Black People's Alliance (BPA), to co-ordinate the fight against state racism.

From Powell's speech and the politics of the BPA sprang a more militant tranche of black organisations, with their own educational and welfare programmes, advice centres and bookshops and newspapers - such as the Black Unity and Freedom Party, the Black Workers' Movement, the Black Panthers, The Fasimbas, - this time based on the Black Panther Party in the US.

In the meantime, Powell's fables of Asians putting dog-shit through English letter boxes and West Indians robbing old ladies, along with his nightmare vision of England's green and pleasant land crawling with piccaninnis (his word) smelling of curry (my contribution) and his call for a Ministry of Repatriation - all this was taken up by the tabloids, and some of the broad-sheets, and gave a fillip to the virulent and violent racism of the NF.

And although Ted Heath, the Tory leader sacked Powell from his cabinet, both the Tories and Labour edged closer to the NF position (Not much different from today then.) In 1970, Jim Callaghan, the Labour Home Secretary proposed that immigration should henceforth be restricted to patrials (ie people who had an English parent or grandparent, ie White Commonwealth Citizens). And the Heath government which came into power the following year brought in an immigration act which put a stop to primary immigration altogether. (As some wag remarked, 'What Powell says today, Labour says tomorrow and the Tories legislate on the day after.) It was left to Heath's successor Margaret Thatcher to steal the NF's clothes altogether and announce that 'we might be rather swamped by people of a different culture'.

Here again what I am anxious to show is not the chronology or the particularities of the history of Black peoples in Britain, but its recurring themes such as the connection between state racism, institutional racism and popular racism, and the different resistances they elicited at different times to meet different circumstances. So that when in the mid'70s the technological revolution began to alter the whole nature of industrial production and the factories and mills began to close and the workers to be disaggregated and dispersed, the locale of resistance too began to move from the workplace to the community. And here the expectations of a generation born and bred in Britain led to a more confrontational politics against the police under the banner of 'Here to Stay, Here to Fight' and a politics of self-defence against the NF under the slogan 'Self defence is no Offence'. But because police harassment affected the African-Caribbean community in particular - in addition to the sus law that continued to criminalise the young, whole communities were now being subjected to road blocks, stop and search and mass arrests - and NF attacks were concentrated on the Asian community, the struggles became separated. African-Caribbeaan youth rioted against police harassment and brutality on a number of occasions, but most memorably at the Notting Hill Carnival of 1976 when they set police cars aflame to the cries of Soweto, Soweto. And the Asian youth movements put the National Front to flight in Southall in 1979 and Bradford in 1981.

Then came Mrs Thatcher, with her policies of privatisation and liberalisation and cuts in public services, with her dog-eat-dog morality of greed and selfishness and individualism, with her anti-working class, anti-youth, anti-women politics maintained by the militarisation of a police force only too willing to beat the shit out of striking workers and keep a lid on the boiling ghettos. But in 1981 the chickens came home to roost, and the black youth of the slums, along with their white mates, exploded into rebellion across twenty-nine cities of the land.

It was only then that Mrs Thatcher set up a task force to look into urban regeneration, and appointed Lord Scarman to investigate the 'disorders', and police-black relations in particular. His diagnosis was that African-Caribbeans and Asians suffered from something he called 'ethnic disadvantage', and the cure for that was 'positive action' on the part of the government promoting equal opportunity for ethnic minorities and providing ethnic funds for differing ethnic needs. There was no such thing as institutional racism, he said, only racial prejudice, and irrational beliefs and attitudes, on both sides of the divide, black and white, police and public. Hence the way to improve police-black relations was to give the police lessons in racial awareness.

In effect, Scarman had personalised racism and so shifted the object of anti-racist struggle from the state to the individual, from changing society to changing people, from improving the lot of whole black communities, mired in racism and poverty, to improving the lot of ethnic individuals and groups. And equal opportunity in practice turned out to be an exercise in window-dressing: head counts and quotas, black faces in public places, Asians and African-Caribbeans and Africans vying with one another for office in an exercise in equal opportunism.

Already the multicultural policies that Labour had introduced in the mid'70s, to de-fuse black dissent, had shifted the struggle against racism to a struggle for culture and had begun to break up the black political community into its cultural constituents. Now, with money being poured into ethnic projects, and the creation of ethnic jobs, in pursuance of Scarman's recommendations, ethnic politicking began to replace anti-racist politics - and the term black, which had defined the politics of anti-racism, went out with it. And ethnic politics held sway at local level for the next two decades.

But in 2001, Bradford and Oldham and Burnley exploded in Asian-White riots and the government decided that ethnicity had gone too far - that the riots arose from too much Asian ethnicity: it had spread to education and housing and seized up the town halls; it had created Asian enclaves which kept out the native whites in an exercise in reverse apartheid. It was the excuse that Blunkett needed to ground his call for 'community cohesion'.

If Bradford was the excuse and the occasion, the reason was globalisation. For if globalisation is to function smoothly, it needs the social cohesion which only the state can provide. But before I develop that theme I would like to set it in context by looking at the politics of globalisation which, in turn, shapes racism.

Globalisation in political essence is international government by multinational corporations aided by nation states. In treating globalisation as a wholly economic project, we tend to overlook its political underpinnings. And the nation state is the political agency through which corporations are able to effect regime-change and/or sustain friendly regimes, militarily or politically to get at a country's resources and markets.

Historically, the nation state sprang from industrial capitalism to safeguard national capital against other capitals, and to mediate between capital and labour - to control, that is, such excesses of capital as would lead to social dislocation, and to provide labour with just enough social and economic security as would keep it from revolt. And it was on the anvil of that struggle that was beaten out the factory acts and the education acts and the welfare state - and the freedoms of assembly and speech.

But as I indicated earlier, the massive changes brought about by the microelectronics revolution has enabled capital to take up its plant and walk to any part of the globe where labour is cheap and captive and plentiful - and so freed capital from the exigencies of organised labour. Capital has become global, transnational and the function of the state has changed accordingly, from serving its own nationals to serving the multinationals, and picking up the ensuing social tab with a handout here and a law there - thus replacing the welfare state with the market state, the social welfare state with the market welfare state: the welfare of the market comes before the welfare of society.

The life-blood of a free market is competition, deregulation, privatisation - all of which fractures society - whereas globalisation requires stability and order and social cohesion. Hence Blunkett's whole raft of strictures on wayward youth, irresponsible parents, rioting ethnics etc. And community cohesion which came out of the Cantle Report on the Bradford riots and was adopted by Blunkett, refers more specifically and more importantly to the cohesion between the different communities, white and non-white in particular.

But if the politics of globalisation required community cohesion, September 11 provided its justification, and then proceeded, in its own right, to develop community cohesion into assimilation, justifying it this time with the politics of fear.

Assimilation (or integration, as it is sometimes euphemistically termed) spelt the end of multiculturalism and ethnicity. There was no such thing as Black British or Asian British anymore, only British British. And to be British was to adhere to core British values (whatever they might be), honour British customs and mores, speak the English language, take the oath of allegiance to the Queen if you wanted to become a citizen. After all, the rest of Europe was doing the same; each country - as Liz Fekete points out in her brilliant essay on Anti-Muslim racism - in terms of its own racialised history and nationalist mythology: France, on the basis of laïcité (state secularism), Germany on the primacy of Leitkultur (leading culture), Spain in the interests of public safety and crime prevention, the Netherlands on behalf of 'standards and values', Denmark - and this is classic doublethink - because the 'intolerant culture' of the immigrants prevents integration. All that Britain was doing was to fall in line.

And falling in line - convergence to use the EU phrase - is also the raison d'etre for a common immigration policy vis a vis refugees and asylum seekers - for a common market racism. That among the asylum seekers now seeking refuge are a number from white Eastern Europe is no matter. They are aliens, still, poverty-stricken aliens at that, come to scrounge off the welfare state - thieves and beggars and whores and Roma. Hence the treatment meted out to them is no different from the racist treatment meted out to non-white asylum seekers, only it's not colour-coded. They are subject to the same draconian legislation that moves them about from one unwelcoming city to another, holds them in condemned housing and detention centres and prisons - (you have all heard of Yarls Wood and Campsfield and Belmarsh) denies them the right to work and the self-respect that goes with it while beggaring them with handouts that barely keep them alive, and generally dehumanising them to the point where suicide seems the better option - if that is, they have not been murdered by racists first. And now, Britain and the EU propose, in the interests of national security, to set up camps in the regions of origin.

National security is also the ploy that the government has used to engender a politics of fear that would cower the nation into conformity and subservience - not just through state-sponsored lies and rumours such as the 45 minute threat, the ricin plot, or the siege of Heathrow airport, but through statutory enactments like the Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act of 2001. Already the Terrorism Act 2000 had proscribed organisations which had been resisting tyrannies in their home countries or been involved in liberation movements. Now under the 2001 Act, hurried through parliament after September 11, foreign nationals (meaning refugees and asylum seekers) would be subject to arbitrary and indefinite detention on suspicion of being terrorists. Thus every refugee and asylum seeker (meaning Muslim) was not only suspect but subject to stop and search powers granted by the previous Act.

The two trajectories then - the war on asylum and the war on terror - have converged to produce a racism which cannot tell a settler from an immigrant, an immigrant from an asylum seeker, an asylum seeker from a Muslim, a Muslim from a terrorist.

Conversely, to be a true British patriot is to be anti-Muslim - for, they are terrorists under the skin, fundamentalists under the hijab, envious of western civilisation, fearful of western democracy. To be anti-Muslim is the apotheosis of patriotism. And patriotism, along with its cohabitee, demonisation, breeds the culture of conquest, of imperialism. They even have a Patriot Act in the US of A!

Racism, then, is not a given. It never stays still. It changes its shape, size, contours, purpose, function with changes in the economy, in the social structure, the political culture, the system - and above all the challenges, the resistance to that system. Today's racism, as we have seen, is embedded and shaped by globalisation. Globalisation needs it - first, to rationalise and justify the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers that it has caused to be thrown up on western shores in its rampage through the world; and second to rationalise and justify the imperial project needed to remove unfriendly regimes that stand in the way of its expansion and penetration. That is why it still needs the nation state.

And it is that symbiosis between racism and globalisation and globalisation and imperialism that now defines the remit of resistance. You cannot combat the one without combating the others. Imperialism is the project, globalisation the process, culture the vehicle and the nation-state the political and military agent. To look at racism as an isolate without considering its relationship to globalisation and therefore imperialism, is not only to descend into culturalism and ethnicism but to overlook the state racism that embeds institutional racism and gives a fillip to popular racism.

To look at globalisation without relating it to imperialism and therefore racism is not only to regard its penetration into Third World countries as an inevitable extension of trade, and not as a precursor to the regime change that follows in its wake, but to overlook the racist discourse that accompanies it and stirred up by the media, feeds into popular racism.

To look at imperialism without relating it to globalisation and racism is not just to accept the notion that regime change and pre-emptive strikes have no underlying economic motive but are a defensive strategy against the axis of evil and the terrorists they breed - ('post-modern imperialism', Robert Cooper, one-time adviser to our PM and now adviser to the EU, calls it). It is also to accept the hoary old myth of the white man's burden of bringing civilisation and enlightenment to the lesser breeds, of freeing them from tyranny, forcing them to be free if necessary, bombing them into freedom and democracy. Except that the underlying theme this time is not that of a superior race but of a superior civilisation. Hence the real war, not the phoney war, is not between civilisations, as Huntington would have it, but against the enforced hegemony of western civilisation.

I am reminded of a story from Aesop, or one of those guys, in which a wolf and a sheep are drinking from the same stream (some distance apart) and the wolf, eyeing his next meal, accuses the sheep of polluting his water. 'How can that be', protests the sheep, 'I am down stream and you are up.' 'That doesn't matter', says the wolf, 'I am going to eat you all the same.'

Sorry about the digression. To get back to the argument or, rather, to put it differently. Under global capitalism the relationship between the economic, political, cultural etc are so organic, that we can no longer think of society in terms of superstructure and base, with the economic base determining the political and cultural superstructure. That would have done for industrial capitalism. But information capitalism, electronic capitalism requires us to think in terms of circuits, not hierarchies. And the dynamo that drives those circuits is the free market system.

Which raises another point about globalisation - the way it affects us socially and personally. For what the market does is to create is a 2/3, 1/3 society of the have-everythings and the have-nothings, keep poverty from the public gaze, and reduce even personal relationships to a cash nexus (conducted in the language of the bazaar) even as it elevates consumerism to the heights of Cartesian philosophy: I consume, therefore I am.

In the process, it creates a political culture of self-aggrandisement and greed, of lies, smears and sleaze, spin and sycophancy, hypocrisy and humbug - arrayed before us in the conduct of government and of those who govern us - and sealed with the kiss of self-righteousness. The irony is that when our rulers ask us sub-homines to live up to British values, it is not the values they exhibit that they refer to, but those of the Enlightenment which they have betrayed. Whereas we (sub-homines, that is) in our very struggle for basic human rights, not only hold up human values, but challenge Britain to return to them.

But just as the attacks on the values of liberty and justice and human rights have grown more far-reaching and insidious, so too have new movements and new constituencies sprung up to challenge them - and what's more, have come together in global alliances against globalisation, as attested by the mass demonstrations in Geneva, Seattle, Prague, Genoa and Cancun and the deliberations of the World Social Forum from Porto Allegre in 2001 to Mumbai in January this year.

And no doubt strengthened by these protests, and instigated by the Brazilian President Lula da Silva, China, India, South Africa and Brazil (and soon perhaps Venezuela now that the attempts to get rid of Chavez have failed) have recently entered into trade agreements with each other, and a Bandung-style political alliance, to withstand American economic domination.

But in the final analysis, we need the media on our side - because it is you, and I mean the members of the Fourth Estate who, one still believes, are the guardians of our freedoms - especially today when the war on terrorism is eroding our civil liberties and violating the human rights of asylum seekers. And may I say in parenthesis, that we cannot defend the one without promoting the other - because civil rights derive from human rights. Besides, in an Information Society, it is you who are in the engine rooms of power. It is you who shape public opinion and inform popular culture. While those who own the media own the votes that own the government. Not Britannia but Murdoch rules the waves. I only ask that the Murdochs of this world do not also own the journalists whose ancient remit, whose Hippocratic oath, is to speak truth to power.


© A. Sivanandan
* Supported by The Guardian, The Gleaner and The Voice.The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.
© Institute of Race Relations 2004


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Buddhist chief beheaded in revenge for Muslim deaths

A Buddhist village chief was beheaded in Thailand's Narathiwat province
yesterday in an apparent revenge killing, a week after 78 Muslim
protesters were crushed to death en route to a military detention
centre.

The chief's death was the second beheading in a year of sectarian
violence in three predominantly Muslim provinces bordering Malaysia.
Almost 450 people have died in sporadic attacks, most of them policemen
or civil servants.

Police said that Jaran Torae, 58, went missing on Monday night and was
decapitated with a machete at about 8am, after being shot in the chest.
His head was found with a note, in a plastic fertiliser bag on the
roadside. His torso was retrieved later from a rubber plantation nearly
a mile away.

The message reportedly said: "This is revenge for the innocent Muslim
youths who were massacred at the Tak Bai protest. This was less than
what has been done to the innocent." On 25 October, a protest outside a
police station turned into a six-hour stand-off between security forces
and Muslim protesters demanding the release of six villagers suspected
of supplying weapons to militants. Seven protesters were shot dead and
78 of 1,300 men arrested for rioting were crushed to death or
suffocated after being loaded into military trucks.

Thaksin Shinawatra, the Prime Minister, is under pressure to stop
suppressing dissidents in the south. His comments that protesters who
died were weak because of Ramadan fasting provoked particular anger and
Islamic leaders feared retribution would follow. The Prime Minister
initially appeared to shrug off the condemnation of opposition
politicians and international human rights groups but later admitted
that his security forces had made mistakes. He ordered an investigation
after promising to heed royal advice to use a more "gentle approach".

Twenty people were wounded in separate bomb blasts on Friday last week,
and a task force of Thai senators has been dispatched to the south to
question detainees from the riot, at an army base in Pattani. Most of
the protesters have been released, and police will not press charges
for sedition, which carries a 20-year sentence. Instead, 58 Muslims,
mostly young men, will be charged with congregating unlawfully and
threatening officials. They face up to four years in jail.

On 28 April, 107 suspected Muslim militants were killed when they
attacked police positions in a failed effort to seize weapons. This
excessive use of force was also followed by the decapitation of an
assistant village chief in Narathiwat.

Narathiwat, and the neighbouring provinces of Pattani and Yala, used to
be strongholds of the separatist Pattani United Liberation
Organisation. At its peak, the Pulo had more than 20,000 militants, but
the movement disbanded after a government amnesty in the 1980s.

The government blames the recent attacks on local separatists inspired
by foreign Muslim extremists or educated at radical Islamic schools
abroad.

By Jan McGirk, South-east Asia Correspondent 03 November 2004
http://news.independent.co.uk/low_res/story.jsp?
story=578848&host=3&dir=71

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Mahajan: Falluja and the Reality of War | ZINN: The Optimism of Uncertainty

Fallujah and the Reality of War
By Rahul Mahajan

The assault on Fallujah has started. It is being sold as liberation of
the people of Fallujah; it is being sold as a necessary step to
implementing "democracy" in Iraq. These are lies.

I was in Fallujah during the siege in April, and I want to paint for you
a word picture of what such an assault means.

Fallujah is dry and hot; like Southern California, it has been made an
agricultural area only by virtue of extensive irrigation. It has been
known for years as a particularly devout city; people call it the City
of a Thousand Mosques. In the mid-90's, when Saddam wanted his name to
be added to the call to prayer, the imams of Fallujah refused.

U.S. forces bombed the power plant at the beginning of the assault; for
the next several weeks, Fallujah was a blacked-out town, with light
provided by generators only in critical places like mosques and clinics.
The town was placed under siege; the ban on bringing in food, medicine,
and other basic items was broken only when Iraqis en masse challenged
the roadblocks. The atmosphere was one of pervasive fear, from bombing
and the threat of more bombing. Noncombatants and families with sick
people, the elderly, and children were leaving in droves. After initial
instances in which people were prevented from leaving, U.S. forces began
allowing everyone to leave - except for what they called "military age
males," men usually between 15 and 60. Keeping noncombatants from
leaving a place under bombardment is a violation of the laws of war. Of
course, if you assume that every military age male is an enemy, there
can be no better sign that you are in the wrong country, and that, in
fact, your war is on the people, not on their oppressors, not a war of
liberation.

The main hospital in Fallujah is across the Euphrates from the bulk of
the town. Right at the beginning, the Americans shut down the main
bridge, cutting off the hospital from the town. Doctors who wanted to
treat patients had to leave the hospital, with only the equipment they
could carry, and set up in makeshift clinics all over the city; the one
I stayed at had been a neighborhood clinic with one room that had four
beds, and no operating theater; doctors refrigerated blood in a
soft-drink vending machine. Another clinic, I'm told, had been an auto
repair shop. This hospital closing (not the only such that I documented
in Iraq) also violates the Geneva Convention.

In Fallujah, you were rarely free of the sound of artillery booming in
the background, punctuated by the smaller, higher-pitched note of the
mujaheddin's hand-held mortars. After even a few minutes of it, you have
to stop paying attention to it - and yet, of course, you never quite
stop. Even today, when I hear the roar of thunder, I'm often transported
instantly to April 10 and the dusty streets of Fallujah.

In addition to the artillery and the warplanes dropping 500, 1000, and
2000-pound bombs, and the murderous AC-130 Spectre gunships that can
demolish a whole city block in less than a minute, the Marines had
snipers criss-crossing the whole town. For weeks, Fallujah was a series
of sometimes mutually inaccessible pockets, divided by the
no-man's-lands of sniper fire paths. Snipers fired indiscriminately,
usually at whatever moved. Of 20 people I saw come into the clinic I
observed in a few hours, only five were "military-age males." I saw old
women, old men, a child of 10 shot through the head; terminal, the
doctors told me, although in Baghdad they might have been able to save
him.

One thing that snipers were very discriminating about - every single
ambulance I saw had bullet holes in it. Two that I inspected bore clear
evidence of specific, deliberate sniping. Friends of mine who went out
to gather in wounded people were shot at. When we first reported this
fact, we came in for near-universal execration. Many just refused to
believe it. Some asked me how I knew that it wasn't the mujaheddin.
Interesting question. Had, say, Brownsville, Texas, been encircled by
the Vietnamese and bombarded (which, of course, Mr. Bush courageously
protected us from during the Vietnam war era) and Brownsville ambulances
been shot up, the question of whether the residents were shooting at
their own ambulances, I somehow guess, would not have come up. Later,
our reports were confirmed by the Iraqi Ministry of Health and even by
the U.S. military.

The best estimates are that roughly 900-1000 people were killed
directly, blown up, burnt, or shot. Of them, my guess, based on news
reports and personal observation, is that 2/3 to 3/4 were noncombatants.

But the damage goes far beyond that. You can read whenever you like
about the bombing of so-called Zarqawi safe houses in residential areas
in Fallujah, but the reports don't tell you what that means. You read
about precision strikes, and it's true that America's GPS-guided bombs
are very accurate - when they're not malfunctioning, the 80 or 85% of
the time that they work, their targeting radius is 10 meters, i.e., they
hit within 10 meters of the target. Even the smallest of them, however,
the 500-pound bomb, has a blast radius of 400 meters; every single bomb
shakes the whole neighborhood, breaking windows and smashing crockery. A
town under bombardment is a town in constant fear.

You read the reports about X killed and Y wounded. And you should
remember those numbers; those numbers are important. But equally
important is to remember that those numbers lie - in a war zone,
everyone is wounded.

The first assault on Fallujah was a military failure. This time, the
resistance is stronger, better-armed, and better-organized; to "win,"
the U.S. military will have to pull out all the stops. Even within
horror and terror, there are degrees, and we - and the people of
Fallujah - ain't seen nothin' yet. George W. Bush has just claimed a new
mandate - the world has been delivered into his hands.

There will be international condemnation, as there was the first time;
but our government won't listen to it; aside from the resistance, all
the people of Fallujah will be able to depend on to try to mitigate the
horror will be us, the antiwar movement. We have a responsibility, that
we didn't meet in April and we didn't meet in August when Najaf was
similarly attacked; will we meet it this time?

Rahul Mahajan is publisher of the weblog Empire Notes
(http://www.empirenotes.org), with regularly updated commentary on U.S.
foreign policy, the occupation of Iraq, and the state of the American
Empire. He has been to occupied Iraq twice, and was in Fallujah during
the siege in April. His most recent book is
Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond
He can be reached at rahul@empirenotes.org


----

The Optimism of Uncertainty

by Howard Zinn
November 06, 2004

In this awful world where the efforts of caring people often pale in
comparison to what is done by those who have power, how do I manage to
stay involved and seemingly happy?

I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we
should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The
metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose
any chance of winning. To play, to act, is to create at least a
possibility of changing the world.

There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will
continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden
crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's
thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the
quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

What leaps out from the history of the past hundred years is its utter
unpredictability. A revolution to overthrow the czar of Russia, in that
most sluggish of semi-feudal empires, not only startled the most
advanced imperial powers but took Lenin himself by surprise and sent him
rushing by train to Petrograd. Who would have predicted the bizarre
shifts of World War II--the Nazi-Soviet pact (those embarrassing photos
of von Ribbentrop and Molotov shaking hands), and the German Army
rolling through Russia, apparently invincible, causing colossal
casualties, being turned back at the gates of Leningrad, on the western
edge of Moscow, in the streets of Stalingrad, followed by the defeat of
the German army, with Hitler huddled in his Berlin bunker, waiting to
die?

And then the postwar world, taking a shape no one could have drawn in
advance: The Chinese Communist revolution, the tumultuous and violent
Cultural Revolution, and then another turnabout, with post-Mao China
renouncing its most fervently held ideas and institutions, making
overtures to the West, cuddling up to capitalist enterprise, perplexing
everyone.

No one foresaw the disintegration of the old Western empires happening
so quickly after the war, or the odd array of societies that would be
created in the newly independent nations, from the benign village
socialism of Nyerere's Tanzania to the madness of Idi Amin's adjacent
Uganda. Spain became an astonishment. I recall a veteran of the Abraham
Lincoln Brigade telling me that he could not imagine Spanish Fascism
being overthrown without another bloody war. But after Franco was gone,
a parliamentary democracy came into being, open to Socialists,
Communists, anarchists, everyone.

The end of World War II left two superpowers with their respective
spheres of influence and control, vying for military and political
power. Yet they were unable to control events, even in those parts of
the world considered to be their respective spheres of influence. The
failure of the Soviet Union to have its way in Afghanistan, its decision
to withdraw after almost a decade of ugly intervention, was the most
striking evidence that even the possession of thermonuclear weapons does
not guarantee domination over a determined population. The United States
has faced the same reality. It waged a full-scale war in lndochina,
conducting the most brutal bombardment of a tiny peninsula in world
history, and yet was forced to withdraw. In the headlines every day we
see other instances of the failure of the presumably powerful over the
presumably powerless, as in Brazil, where a grassroots movement of
workers and the poor elected a new president pledged to fight
destructive corporate power.

Looking at this catalogue of huge surprises, it's clear that the
struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the apparent
overwhelming power of those who have the guns and the money and who seem
invincible in their determination to hold on to it. That apparent power
has, again and again, proved vulnerable to human qualities less
measurable than bombs and dollars: moral fervor, determination, unity,
organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, patience--whether by
blacks in Alabama and South Africa, peasants in El Salvador, Nicaragua
and Vietnam, or workers and intellectuals in Poland, Hungary and the
Soviet Union itself. No cold calculation of the balance of power need
deter people who are persuaded that their cause is just.

I have tried hard to match my friends in their pessimism about the world
(is it just my friends?), but I keep encountering people who, in spite
of all the evidence of terrible things happening everywhere, give me
hope. Especially young people, in whom the future rests. Wherever I go,
I find such people. And beyond the handful of activists there seem to be
hundreds, thousands, more who are open to unorthodox ideas. But they
tend not to know of one another's existence, and so, while they persist,
they do so with the desperate patience of Sisyphus endlessly pushing
that boulder up the mountain. I try to tell each group that it is not
alone, and that the very people who are disheartened by the absence of a
national movement are themselves proof of the potential for such a
movement.

Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of
such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag
toward a more decent society. We don't have to engage in grand, heroic
actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when
multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we
don't "win," there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been
involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope.

An optimist isn't necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the
dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly
romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not
only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our
lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do
something. If we remember those times and places--and there are so
many--where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy
to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a
world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a
way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is
an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human
beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself
a marvelous victory.


from Znet sustainer's mail

US strikes raze Falluja hospital



A hospital has been razed to the ground in one of the heaviest US air raids in the Iraqi city of Falluja.

destroyed hospital in FallujaWitnesses said only the facade remained of the small Nazzal Emergency Hospital in the centre of the city. There are no reports on casualties. A nearby medical supplies storeroom and dozens of houses were damaged as US forces continued preparing the ground for an expected major assault.

UN chief Kofi Annan has warned against an attack on the restive Sunni city.

It is the third time since the end of the US-led war that US and Iraqi forces have tried to gain control of Falluja. They say militants loyal to top al-Qaeda suspect Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are hiding there.

Zarqawi's supporters have been behind some of the worst attacks on coalition and Iraqi forces as well as dozens of kidnappings. Some of the hostages - foreigners and Iraqis - have been beheaded.

'Ruined'

US troops using 155mm howitzers pounded a number of pre-planned targets in Falluja on Saturday.

Along with air strikes - one of the heaviest in recent days - this is all part of what appears to be a steadily increasing pressure on the insurgents, says the BBC's Paul Wood, who is with US marines outside Falluja.

Overnight, a column of armoured vehicles and humvee jeeps carried out attacks in the outskirts of Falluja designed to draw out the rebels and provide fresh targets for the air power and artillery. These are the kind of preliminary operations which would be carried out before a full-scale assault on Falluja, our correspondent says.

The air strikes reduced the Nazzal hospital, run by a Saudi Arabian Islamic charity, to rubble. Hospital officials quoted by Reuters news agency say all the contents were ruined.

FALLUJA FLASHPOINT

* Apr 2003: US paratroopers shoot dead 13 demonstrators
* Nov 2003-Jan 2004: attacks on three US helicopters kill 25
* Feb 2004: 25 killed in attacks on Iraqi police
* 31 Mar 2004: four US contractors killed
* Apr 2004: US seals off city
* May 2004: Siege lifted
* June 2004: Zarqawi loyalists targeted in US raids - continuing to date
* Oct 2004: Iraqi PM threatens military action if Zarqawi is not handed over


More people were preparing to flee the city - more than half of the city's estimated 300,000 people have already left. US marine officers say the full-scale attack will go ahead only once Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has given the order.

"The window really is closing for a peaceful settlement," Mr Allawi said on Friday after meeting EU leaders in Brussels.

In a letter to the leaders of the US, UK and Iraq, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned that the use of force risked alienating Iraqis when their support for elections was vital. But Mr Allawi called the letter "confused".

He said if Mr Annan thought he could prevent insurgents in Falluja from "inflicting damage and killing", he was welcome to try.


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/3988433.stm
Published: 2004/11/06 13:14:28 GMT
© BBC MMIV

We Do NOT concede Our Democratic Rights!

Sisters and Brothers,

While hundreds of thousands of votes in Ohio have yet to be counted and
reports of voter disenfranchisement throughout the country ­ particularly
among minority, immigrant, young, and low-income Americans ­ continue to
pour-in and questions are left to be answered about the massive gap between
early polling data and the final total in Florida ­ a state where half of
the voting populous used touch-screen machines that leave no paper trail,
John Kerry just conceded the presidential election.

KERRY MAY HAVE CONCEDED THIS ELECTION, BUT WE WILL NEVER CONCEDE OUR RIGHT
TO A FAIR AND JUST DEMOCRATIC PROCESS!

Thousands of people in nearly 40 cities took to the streets yesterday. No
one has the authority to undermine our rights, to silence our voices and
our vote. There are many unanswered questions about the integrity of this
election and we need to continue to demand answers. We urge you to continue
your efforts to protect voters’ rights and push for investigations into
voting irregularities, and to transform your frustration, depression, and
outrage into action.

FOUR THINGS YOU CAN DO TO DEMAND DEMOCRACY

1) MONITOR OHIO. Watch the situation in Ohio and be ready to respond to
calls of support from Ohio groups. Read the reports by
http://www.blackboxvoting.org/ and by Greg Palast
(http://www.tompaine.com/articles/kerry_won.php) alleging that Ohio's
touchscreen machines skewed the election. See also
http://www.accuracy.org/press_releases/PR110304.htm

2) MEET-UP with members of your community. Have a community meeting to
create a space to speak-out and discuss voting irregularities in your
community, what happened nationally, and where do we go from here to demand
accountability. Post your meeting on-line at www.Nov3.US - click on
"Directory of Local Actions."

3) CONNECT with the Urgent Response Network:

1. Sign the Pledge of Action, and check your email for alerts
2. Check this and related websites regularly
3. Sign up to receive text-message alerts on your cell phone
4. Call 917-779-0013 for an automated voice mail message

4) INFORM YOURSELF about and advocate for the full platform of voting
rights, election, and structural reforms that will democratize America. Go
to www.Nov3.Us and click on "Defend Voting Rights," "Reform Our Elections,"
and "Deepen Our Democracy," for some great places to start.

Again, stand by, be vigilant, and don’t forget that all of your effortsfor
peace, justice, and democracy are going to create positive change in the
long run . . . . AND MARK YOUR CALENDARS: JANUARY 20, 2005, INAUGURATION
DAY, WILL BE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW THE NATION OUR MOVEMENT IS STRONG!

call to fight religious fundamentalism

Why I Will Continue To Fight


After the election results were final, I, like many Americans, felt a
profound sense of despair and hopelessness. How could this have happened?
This was not about fighting some evil cabal in the White House. It was not
about Bush/Cheney/Rove. It was about the American people choosing to leave
power with a clearly corrupt government, in spite of the debacle of the last
four years.

And then I saw the exit polls: the two top reasons people voted for Bush
were terrorism and “moral values.” It became clear to me that a significant
reason for Bush’s victory was the rise of fundamentalist religions in this
country.

At first I didn’t know how to respond ­ if so many in this country are
casting their vote based on what I consider to be primitive belief systems,
maybe it was time for me to move elsewhere. Many friends echoed that
feeling. Part of me felt like throwing in the towel: "You made your bed,
America, now sleep in it."

But then I thought that perhaps this election was a wake-up call. It
suddenly became clear to me that battle lines had been drawn. Those of us
who feel that government, (indeed, people in general), should make decisions
based on reason and enlightenment are being challenged by those who think
decisions should be based almost entirely on religious beliefs.

And it goes beyond that. I also believe that fundamentalist belief systems
are inherently damaging to the individual and to society. I know this
because I once was a born-again Christian (I even prayed in tongues). I
know that when you lead your life based on a rigid set of beliefs that allow
for no questioning or individual thought, things become “clear” in dangerous
ways ­ it’s one of the reasons Islamic fundamentalists have been able to
recruit terrorists to do the horrible things they’ve done. And make no
mistake: fundamentalists in America are enacting their own form of
terrorism, albeit without physical violence.

We all know that the fundamentalist movement is growing in America: we’ve
seen creationism being debated again, after it was consigned to the ash heap
decades ago; powerful political organizations being formed by the likes of
Pat Robertson; media “watchdog” groups like Focus on the Family having a
huge impact on what we are allowed to see on TV; Halloween “Hell Houses”
around the country that use high-tech theater to scare teens into thinking
that homosexuality and abortion rights lead to eternal hellfire; the list
goes on and on.

A 1997 poll found that 43% of Americans who believe in heaven also believe
there are harps in heaven:

http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/never.html

The possibility that those people are taking over our country is
frightening. If this movement continues to snowball, it could throw us back
into another Dark Ages. The Age of Reason could be coming to an end,
replaced by an Age of “Faith” ­ rigid, uncompromising, intolerant faith that
leaves no room for enlightened debate or discussion.

So what do we do?

I know what I’ve decided. From this day forward, a major portion of my
activism will be dedicated toward stopping the march of fundamentalism in
this country, because that movement affects all the activism we work on:
AIDS, abortion rights, women’s rights, anti-war movements, homophobia,
racism, etc.

Those of us in the other half of the country need to realize that this is
war. They’ve known it for years and have even said as much. But we’ve been
too timid to call it as we see it, for fear of sounding elitist and
trampling on people’s right to their beliefs.

But I’m saying it now: fundamentalism, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim,
is dangerous and wrong. It prevents people from doing what we are all here
to do: to learn, to grow, to become more enlightened. Rigid, confining,
strict belief systems are strangling individuals and this country. We have
to fight back.

And while I have no desire to outlaw or suppress any religion, I have a deep
desire to promote clear thinking and reason, and I now dedicate myself to
fighting any belief system that prevents the human race from moving forward.
Anything less, and we risk a return to the Dark Ages, when superstition
and magic prevailed over science and reasoning.

This is not a call for a war on spirituality or organized religion. It is a
call to stop the kind of fundamentalism that reduces people to sins rather
than seeing them as human beings. It is a call to arms against the same
kind of "moralism" that used the bible to support slavery and the oppression
of women.

Where do we start? I don't know. But we have to start talking about it,
even though we know the response will be swift and strong. If you agree
with me, please forward this email to friends and email lists - add your
comments at the beginning if you like.

Let’s start the discussion - maybe we can turn this increasingly
"faith-based" country back into a reality-based one.

thank you to Mark Milano for this essay

dao

ancestorghost

friendship
friendship


beautiful woman surrounded by floating rose petals



Those truly linked don’t need correspondence.
When they meet again after many years apart,
Their friendship is as true as ever.


In the distant past, there was once a young and wealthy statesman who was on a diplomatic mission. Pausing by a river at night, he heard the haunting sounds of a lute. A passionate musician himself, he took up his own lute and eventually found a goatherd sitting on an old ruin. In those days, an aristocrat would not associate with a commoner, but the two men struck up a friendship through their music. Their playing was as smooth and natural as flowing water.

Once a year, the ambassador and the goatherd would renew their friendship. Though they had the chance to play their music with others during the rest of the year, each man declared that he had found his true counterpart.

The ambassador tried for many years to life the goatherd out of his poverty, but his friend steadfastly refused. He did not want to pollute their friendship with money.

Years later, when the ambassador was gray haired, he went to the appointed spot, but his friend was not thee. He tried to play alone, but his melody was forlorn. Finally someone came to tell him that his friend had starved to death during a recent famine. This news made the ambassador despondent. He was caught in the irony of knowing that he had the money to save his friend, and yet he understood the man’s vales as well. In sorrow, the ambassador broke his lute. “With my friend gone from the world, who will I play my music for?”

True friendship is a rare harmony.



friendship
365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9
for Jean who lives in India and in my heart
(for Jean, who lives in India and in my heart.)
FU BAO SHI
FU BAO SHI

Lady Xiang
Lady Xiang
(this is the artist’s title of the work)
see FU BAO SHI
for a complete biography of this artist and his work

http://www.chinafinearts.com/

**Suggested reading of daoist texts ancient poetry and contemporary Chinese literature is available at the site.
receive a full HTML copy of the daily meditation sent directly to your inbox,
please send a note with the words "subscribe tao" in the subject line to mailto:duckdaotsu@earthlink.net
Make sure to write subscribe or I might consider it spam and toss it! also, do let me know if you wish to unsubscribe from the daily meditations or take a vacation

.................................................................................................................................................................................................

What the US papers say about Bush's win

"People say George Bush is a cowboy. Well, what's a cowboy but a guy
in a white hat, getting things done for the downtrodden? People say he
shoots quick. Well, listen, sometimes you have to do that, you have to
be decisive. Kerry never projected that." (A Republican voter from
Columbus, Ohio)

"POP STAR" - The front page of the New York Post.

Many Republicans would scoff at the notion that the New York Times has
any idea why middle America turned out for George Bush. You might as
well try to sell a holiday home to a Manhattan shrink. Just 16% of
voters in Manhattan and the Bronx voted for George Bush. But the paper
is shocked enough by the result to put the red states on the couch and
let them talk about what bothers them and why they backed the
president.

"In interviews around the country, people returned frequently to words
like faith, family, integrity and trust," the paper says. "Experts
will gnaw for years on the question of why Mr Bush won and Mr Kerry
lost. But the voices of American voters the day after the election
fairly shouted that the outcome was not about electoral tactics or
issues, but about a fundamental question of character."

It is a similar story on Salon, where Andrew Leonard wonders whether he
should have spent less time reading liberal blogs and more time
listening to conservatives: "Perhaps if I'd spent less time at Daily
Kos and more time talking to people who live in Alabama I'd have been
less surprised by the election results. And perhaps I'd be better
prepared to deal with them."

And the right-wing press, naturally, agree. "President Bush won the
White House because he understands it's hip to be square," writes
Deborah Orin in the New York Post. "Bush knows what he stands for and
connects with mainstream Americans across a cultural divide that
Democrat John Kerry just can't reach. The president won re-election far
from the fancy Manhattan dinner tables where pampered liberals love to
ridicule him as a dummy, out in rural and ex-urban areas where
Americans still think it's right to talk about loving God and country."

And the love of a man for a woman. The Washington Post makes a
reasonably convincing case for the theory that opposition to gay
marriage was what swung this election. (Twenty-two percent of Americans
interviewed in exit polls said "moral values" were the most important
issue for them, according to CNN.)

Sure, says the New York Times, but what we need right now is
compromise. "The evidence in the polling data that these social issues
were crucial to Mr. Bush's win - and that the bulk of those infrequent
voters who stood in line for hours to vote were evangelicals, not
people against the war - is pretty inescapable.

"But we were struck by the broad majority of voters who told pollsters
that they favoured a middle approach on these issues: providing gay
couples with the right to have some kind of civil unions, and
guaranteeing women the right to legal abortions in most, if not all,
cases. This page will never give up our commitment to women's right to
reproductive choice, as well as full civil rights for people of all
sexual orientations. But a leader who was prepared to make political
sacrifices in order to stake a claim to that middle ground could be
laying the foundation for a new national consensus that might finally
bring the nation's social wars to an end." That means not picking an
"ultra-extreme" nominee for the supreme court, the paper says.

In short: Don't ride roughshod over our beliefs, and don't think that
we're not prepared to stand up for them. "A downside of the resounding
Republican victory is that there will be no effective voice in the
political process for the 48% of American voters - and the roughly 98%
of non-Americans - who are sceptical of Bush's policies," writes Max
Boot in the LA Times. "The president could ignore the doubters, as he
did in his first term, but it would be wiser to bring them into the
tent by appointing a prominent Democrat to his war cabinet."

David Wessel of the Wall Street Journal thinks he sees a way for George
Bush to knit together the "moral" agenda and the ballooning budget
deficit in people's minds. Mr Bush thinks tax cuts are a moral good, he
says: "There simply aren't enough Republicans on Capitol Hill who buy
the economic arguments about the harm deficits do." Will the president
pursue his first-term agenda or "drop his don't-worry-be-happy economic
rhetoric and lead Republicans to lasting, prudent repairs to Social
Security, Medicare and taxes before the first baby boomers claim their
cheques in 2008?"

Many Democrats are already wondering who might be able to lead them to
victory in 2008. Despite her liberal credentials and the fact that
around one-third of voters point-blank loathe her, Hillary Clinton -
perhaps with Barack Obama, the black Illinois senator, as her running
mate - is the New York Times's tip. Slate's William Saletan says they
the party needs a southerner with charisma. In other words, John
Edwards.

But if you want sheer, helpless, get-me-a-visa-to-Canada panic, start
with Thomas Friedman's Two Nations Under God - "Well, as Grandma used
to say, at least I still have my health" - and move on to the scourge
of US conservatives, Maureen Dowd.

"The president says he's 'humbled' and wants to reach out to the whole
country. What humbug. The Bushes are always gracious until they don't
get their way. If W didn't reach out after the last election, which he
barely grabbed, why would he reach out now that he has what Dick Cheney
calls a 'broad, nationwide victory'? ... 'He'll be a lot more
aggressive in Iraq now,' one Bush insider predicts. 'He'll raze Falluja
if he has to. He feels that the election results endorsed his version
of the war.' Never mind that the more insurgents American troops kill,
the more they create ...

"Seeing the exit polls, the Democrats immediately started talking about
values and religion. Their sudden passion for wooing southern white
Christian soldiers may put a crimp in Hillary's 2008 campaign. (Nothing
but a wooden stake would stop it.) Meanwhile, the blue puddle is
comforting itself with the expectation that this loony bunch will
fatally overreach, just as Newt Gingrich did in the 90s.

"But with this crowd, it's hard to imagine what would constitute
overreaching.

"Invading France?"


Ros Taylor Thursday November 4, 2004
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/
0,13918,1343436,00.html?=rss

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To Everyone


"The artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery. I have made my choice. I had no alternative." - Paul Robeson

"Despair is a lie we are telling ourselves. This is a moment in history that needs us to begin, each of us every day...Act. Organize. Assemble. Oppose. Resist." - Tony Kushner


We will not stop. We will fight on for peace. PLEASE send us your thoughts and voices today, tonight, tomorrow - whenever you feel you can pass on some hope to others - so we can share it with the whole THAW list as a way of helping to rekindle our strength and our courage.

Let's speak to each other now. Email whatever is in your hearts and minds to thawaction@yahoo.com do we can share people's words with everyone in THAW.

Please also know, in the next few hours, we will be sending you all information about our next steps.  Please stay closely tuned and get in touch with your ideas.  For those of you who were not with us on Tuesday night at the THAW event, we send you Kathleen Chalfant’s message below which in so many ways, resonates even more today than Tuesday perhaps.

In peace and in hope,
- Theaters Against War

As the angel said when she came through the ceiling "The great work begins!" and so it does no matter who wins tonight. That's not quite right though, since the great work has already begun and THAW is in the vanguard of it. It has been my great pleasure and privilege to be part of this movement that harnesses what is best in the theatre to accomplish what is best in the country through the free expression of art and wit and whatever else anyone has to add to the enterprise. I'm sorry not to be with you all, but while not saying the words of Tennessee Williams tonight I'm thinking of you. I'd like to close with a quotation from a document that is currently out of print at the government printing office in the hope that its proposition has been fulfilled. From the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

17 Reasons Not to Slit Your Wrists...by Michael Moore

11/5/04

Dear Friends,

Ok, it sucks. Really sucks. But before you go and cash it all in, let's, in
the words of Monty Python, 'always look on the bright side of life!' There
IS some good news from Tuesday's election.

Here are 17 reasons not to slit your wrists:

1. It is against the law for George W. Bush to run for president again.

2. Bush's victory was the NARROWEST win for a sitting president since
Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

3. The only age group in which the majority voted for Kerry was young adults
(Kerry: 54%, Bush: 44%), proving once again that your parents are always
wrong and you should never listen to them.

4. In spite of Bush's win, the majority of Americans still think the
country is headed in the wrong direction (56%
),
think the war wasn't worth fighting (51%
), and don't approve of the job
George W. Bush is doing (52%
). (Note
to foreigners: Don't try to figure this one out. It's an American
thing, like Pop Tarts.)

5. The Republicans will not have a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the
Senate. If the Democrats do their job, Bush won't be able to pack the
Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues. Did I say "if the Democrats do
their job?" Um, maybe better to scratch this one.

6. Michigan voted for Kerry! So did the entire Northeast, the birthplace of
our democracy. So did 6 of the 8 Great Lakes States. And the whole West
Coast! Plus Hawaii. Ok, that's a start. We've got most of the fresh water,
all of Broadway, and Mt. St. Helens. We can dehydrate them or bury them in
lava. And no more show tunes!

7. Once again we are reminded that the buckeye is a nut, and not just any
old nut -- a poisonous nut. A great nation was felled by a poisonous nut.
May Ohio State pay dearly this Saturday when it faces Michigan.

8. 88% of Bush's support came from white voters. In 50 years, America will
no longer have a white majority. Hey, 50 years isn't such a long time! If
you're ten years old and reading this, your golden years will be truly
golden and you will be well cared for in your old age.

9. Gays, thanks to the ballot measures passed on Tuesday, cannot get married
in 11 new states. Thank God. Just think of all those wedding gifts we won't
have to buy now.

10. Five more African Americans were elected as members of Congress,
including the return of Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. It's always good to
have more blacks in there fighting for us and doing the job our candidates
can't.

11. The CEO of Coors was defeated for Senate in Colorado. Drink up!

12. Admit it: We like the Bush twins and we don't want them to go away.

13. At the state legislative level, Democrats picked up a net of at least 3
chambers in Tuesday's elections. Of the 98 partisan-controlled state
legislative chambers (house/assembly and senate), Democrats went into the
2004 elections in control of 44 chambers, Republicans controlled 53
chambers, and 1 chamber was tied. After Tuesday, Democrats now control 47
chambers, Republicans control 49 chambers, 1 chamber is tied and 1 chamber
(Montana House) is still undecided.

14. Bush is now a lame duck president. He will have no greater moment than
the one he's having this week. It's all downhill for him from here on out --
and, more significantly, he's just not going to want to do all the hard work
that will be expected of him. It'll be like everyone's last month in 12th
grade -- you've already made it, so it's party time! Perhaps he'll treat the
next four years like a permanent Friday, spending even more time at the
ranch or in Kennebunkport. And why shouldn't he? He's already proved his
point, avenged his father and kicked our ass.

15. Should Bush decide to show up to work and take this country down a very
dark road, it is also just as likely that either of the following two
scenarios will happen: a) Now that he doesn't ever need to pander to the
Christian conservatives again to get elected, someone may whisper in his ear
that he should spend these last four years building "a legacy" so that
history will render a kinder verdict on him and thus he will not push for
too aggressive a right-wing agenda; or b) He will become so cocky and
arrogant -- and thus, reckless -- that he will commit a blunder of such
major proportions that even his own party will have to remove him from
office.

16. There are nearly 300 million Americans -- 200 million of them of voting
age. We only lost by three and a half million! That's not a landslide -- it
means we're almost there. Imagine losing by 20 million. If you had 58 yards
to go before you reached the goal line and then you barreled down 55 of
those yards, would you stop on the three yard line, pick up the ball and go
home crying -- especially when you get to start the next down on the three
yard line? Of course not! Buck up! Have hope! More sports analogies are
coming!!!

17. Finally and most importantly, over 55 million Americans voted for the
candidate dubbed "The #1 Liberal in the Senate." That's more than the total
number of voters who voted for either Reagan, Bush I, Clinton or Gore.
Again, more people voted for Kerry than Reagan. If the media are looking for
a trend it should be this -- that so many Americans were, for the first time
since Kennedy, willing to vote for an out-and-out liberal. The country has
always been filled with evangelicals -- that is not news. What IS news is
that so many people have shifted toward a Massachusetts liberal. In fact,
that's BIG news. Which means, don't expect the mainstream media, the ones
who brought you the Iraq War, to ever report the real truth about November
2, 2004. In fact, it's better that they don't. We'll need the element of
surprise in 2008.

Feeling better? I hope so. As my friend Mort wrote me yesterday, "My
Romanian grandfather used to say to me, 'Remember, Morton, this is such a
wonderful country -- it doesn't even need a president!'"

But it needs us. Rest up, I'll write you again tomorrow.

Yours,

Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com

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U.S. Forces Pound Parts of Fallujah


U.S. forces pounded parts of Fallujah from the air and ground Thursday, targeting insurgents in a city where American forces were said to be gearing up for a major offensive.

Al-Jazeera television broadcast a threat by an unspecified armed group to strike oil installations and government buildings if Americans launch an all-out assault on Fallujah. The report was accompanied by a videotape showing about 20 armed men brandishing various weapons, including a truck-mounted machine gun.

Early Thursday, U.S. aircraft fired on several barricaded militant positions in northeast and southeastern Fallujah, the military said. Later in the day, U.S. artillery batteries fired two to three dozen 155mm shells at insurgent bastions in the city, the military said.

Insurgents and U.S. forces also clashed briefly Thursday in Ramadi, west of Fallujah, but there were no U.S. casualties, the military added.

The fresh action followed overnight fighting on the southeastern outskirts of Fallujah after insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade at Marines. Two insurgents were killed while no U.S. casualties were reported, said Lt. Nathan Braden, of 1st Marine Division. Hospital officials in Fallujah reported three civilians were injured in the overnight shelling.

U.S. forces are preparing for a major offensive in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, and other Sunni militant strongholds in hopes of curbing the insurgency ahead of January's election.

An Iraqi National Guard patrol was hit Thursday by a car bomb in Iskandariyah, an insurgent hot spot 30 miles south of Baghdad, killing three people and wounding 15, Iraqi hospital officials said.

A suicide car bomber killed three and wounded nine others when his explosive-laden vehicle barreled into the city government offices in Dujail, 46 miles north of the capital, police said.

On Wednesday, a U.S. soldier was killed and another wounded in a roadside bombing 12 miles south of the capital. A suicide driver detonated his vehicle at a checkpoint near Baghdad airport, injuring nine Iraqis and forcing U.S. troops to close the main route for hours.

Gunmen killed a senior Oil Ministry official, Hussein Ali al-Fattal, after he left his house in the Yarmouk district of western Baghdad, police said. Al-Fattal was the general manager of a state-owned company that distributes petroleum byproducts.

The violence served as a grim reminder of Iraq's rapidly deteriorating security situation, which President Bush must address now that he has been re-elected.

On Thursday, Al-Jazeera aired video of three Jordanian truck drivers taken hostage by a militant group calling itself Jaish al-Islam, or Army of Islam. The men appealed to their country to warn its citizens against working with coalition forces in Iraq, Al-Jazeera said, although their voices were not audible on the tape.

They were part of a convoy of seven truckers who came under attack Tuesday near Fallujah, according to an official at the Jordanian Truckers Association. One of the drivers was killed in the attack, two others are still missing and a fourth man escaped, he said.

More than 170 foreigners have been kidnapped and more than 30 of them including three Americans and a Briton killed in Iraq since Saddam Hussein's regime fell in April 2003. At least six of the foreigners were beheaded by followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant who has sworn allegiance to al-Qaida.

Another militant group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, posted a videotape on a Web site showing the beheading of man it said was an Iraqi army major captured in Mosul. The group called Maj. Hussein Shanoun an "apostate" and said he confessed to participating in attacks against insurgents.

Just before his death, Shanoun warned Iraqi soldiers and police against "dealing with the infidel troops," meaning the Americans.

Insurgents have stepped up attacks on Iraq's U.S.-trained security forces, who the Americans hope will assume greater responsibility to enable Washington to begin drawing down its forces now at their highest levels since summer 2003.

More than 85 percent of the estimated 165,700 multinational troops in Iraq are Americans, despite U.S. efforts to encourage other countries to share the burden.

In other developments Thursday:

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi reaffirmed that Italy would keep its 3,000 troops in Iraq for as long as the Iraqi government wanted. His comments, following a meeting with Iraq's interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, came a day after Hungary said it would withdraw its 300 non-combat troops from Iraq by March 31, undercutting Bush's effort to hold the multinational force together.

The Czech parliament voted to extend the mandate of about 100 Czech troops in Iraq by two months, to Feb. 28, 2005.

Allawi received encouragement from Pope John Paul II, a staunch opponent of the war, for building democratic institutions in Iraq. John Paul received Allawi at the Vatican and in a brief speech read for the frail pontiff by an aide said he was praying "for all the victims of terrorism and wanton violence" and for those working for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Iraqis who live outside the country will be allowed to vote in the January national balloting, the Iraqi election commission said. Commission spokesman Fareed Ayar said the government planned to establish voting centers in countries with large Iraqi populations.

The body of a Kurdish contractor missing for three months was found in a deserted area outside Kirkuk, an Iraqi official said. Youssef Ahmed, who did business with the interim Iraqi government, was found shot in the head with his hands bound behind his back, said Maj. Gen. Anwar Mohammed of the Iraqi National Guard.

The international medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres said in Belgium it was pulling out of Iraq because of the escalating violence and targeting of aid workers. The organization is also known as Doctors Without Borders.

Iraq's first group of security officials were in Norway for weeklong training at NATO's elite Joint Warfare Center.



Copyright 2004 The Associated Press.
Copyright © 2004 ABC News Internet Ventures
U.S. Forces Pound Parts of Fallujah From the Air and Ground, Targeting Insurgents  Nov. 4, 2004
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Report: Troops Watched Al-Qaqaa Looting... or, weapons of mass distraction sent over to foreign soil........

Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit

AP via Yahoo - Nov 4, 2004
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=535&e=3&u=/ap/20041104/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_weapons

Report: Troops Watched Al-Qaqaa Looting

LOS ANGELES - Explosives were looted from the Al-Qaqaa ammunitions site
in Iraq while outnumbered U.S. soldiers assigned to guard the materials
watched helplessly, soldiers told the Los Angeles Times.

About a dozen U.S. troops were guarding the sprawling facility in the
weeks after the April 2003 fall of Baghdad when Iraqi looters raided the
site, the newspaper quoted a group of unidentified soldiers as saying.
U.S. Army reservists and National Guardsmen witnessed the looting and
some soldiers sent messages to commanders in Baghdad requesting help,
but received no reply, they said.

"It was complete chaos. It was looting like L.A. during the Rodney King
riots," one officer said.

The eyewitness accounts reported by the Times are the first provided by
U.S. soldiers and bolster claims that the U.S. military had failed to
safeguard the powerful explosives, the newspaper said.

Iraqi officials told the United Nations International Atomic Energy
Agency last month that about 380 tons of high-grade explosives, a type
powerful enough to detonate a nuclear weapon, had been taken from the
Al-Qaqaa facility.

Soldiers who belong to two different units described how Iraqis snatched
explosives from unsecured bunkers and drove off with them in pickup trucks.

The soldiers who spoke to the Times asked to remain unidentified, saying
they feared retaliation from the Pentagon.

The soldiers said they could not confirm that looters took the
particularly powerful explosives known as HMX and RDX. One soldier,
however, said U.S. forces saw looters load trucks with bags marked
"hexamine," which is a key ingredient for HMX.

One senior noncommissioned officer said troops "were running from one
side of the compound to the other side, trying to kick people out" and
that at least 100 vehicles were at the site waiting for the military to
leave so that they could loot the munitions.

The Pentagon has offered accounts that suggest the explosives were
removed before the U.S.-led invasion to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein
and not during the chaos following the fall of Baghdad.

A Pentagon statement last week said the removal of the explosives would
have required dozens of heavy trucks moving along the same roads as U.S.
combat divisions.

The missing explosives became a campaign issue with Sen. John Kerry
claiming it was further evidence of the Bush administration's poor
handling of the war.

Four soldiers who are members of the Germany-based 317th Support Center
and the 258th Rear Area Operations Center, an Arizona-based Army
National Guard unit, said the looting happened over several weeks in
late April and early May 2003.

Asked about the soldiers' accounts, Pentagon spokeswoman Rose-Ann Lynch
told the newspaper: "We take the report of missing munitions very
seriously. And we are looking into the facts and circumstances of this
incident."


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FOUR MORE YEARS OF WAHABI REPUBLICANISM

Yup, another mandate of an overconfident, energized Bush administration
banning abortion, gay marriage, declaring stem cell research heresy,

excising evolution from middle schools, reintroducing beheading as a
form of execution, bringing back polygamy, forbidding not only women but
their Christian from going to college, since there's got to be some way
to bring down that 48%.... Okay, a slight exagerration....

However, I do see this as the decline of a civilization. With Europe
and a smattering of first world nations such as Canada decriminalizing
pot, expanding the definition of marriage, and supporting progressive
science, and with China, India and other ambitious nations catching up,
four years of all this will find America ten years or more behind by the
time the Bush administration finally has to walk away after a war-weary
public finally dismisses them in 2008, psychologically scarred and too
intellectually bankrupt to do think their way out.

BUT ON THE BRIGHT SIDE....

The Bush administration will be overconfident, and if they're going to
make any sloppy mistakes, inadvertently expose themselves, now's the
time to catch 'em. Analysis of voters throughout the election confirmed
that there was a stark division between those with post-secondary
education and without. Speeches and policies will even be more strongly
geared to the oblivious and stupid.

With perseverance, someone smart can catch them at something everyone
will notice. I know there are smartapples out there who will unhappily
say that the lies of Bush and the thinking parts of his team have
already been discovered, published and cross-referenced. However,
what's been missing is the soundbite, the watergate, the big slip before
the eyes of the world that outrages liberals and bible-thumpers alike.
For this is needed Woodward and Bernstein, Kenneth Star, whatever
works. It can be done. The feeding frenzy over a blowjob that dogged
Clinton to the end of his presidency can find its analogue in the
Amercian lexicon. The best part of it is that if Bush is every cornered
on anything good he will not nearly have the panache to recover the way
Clinton had - he'll sputter and rage and roll his eyes. It's a better
time to root around for humiliating truths than ever before. We can get
him.

The other heartening thought is that Kerry nearly overturned the most
highly-funded spin machine in human history by uniting its opponents.
Let's not quibble over a few percentage points - a hair shy of half of
this year's voting public united against Bush, and they're still around,
and just getting warmed up - the best part is a lot of them are young.
We could have four years that will put the sixties to shame. Hippies,
shmippies - shit will go down to make Timothy Leary Blush, that will
make Abbie Hoffman look like Ben Stein.

THE PARTY STARTS NOW.

LET'S GET BUSY.

.........................................

John Barlow wrote:

i'm calling it a draw

so once the key republicans are prosecuted for their crimes
it'll be a democrat majority

wawlist news

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Jimmy Breslin ends column, just like that............ a duck will miss it, however shot the hiatus

For once, it was a safe day to be a hunk of leather on Jimmy Breslin's
shoe. He quit on Tuesday.

He did it right there in the headline, on Page 2 of the New York
editions of Newsday, in his usual demure fashion: "I'm right again. So
I quit. Beautiful," by Jimmy Breslin.

The column, calling the election for John Kerry, came with no advance
warning for readers, no tease from Page One, no champagne toast in the
newsroom. Just a note at the end about the column returning "from time
to time," as if it were that easy. As if, suddenly, politicians only
misbehaved from time to time, or good people only got killed from time
to time, or the little guy only got cheated from time to time.

Breslin, 75, sat in his Upper West Side apartment Tuesday afternoon and
sipped coffee and shrugged.

"If I'm in the bar, as in past years, which I can't do anymore, that
would be huge," he said. "I can't make it that big a deal, that's the
problem. Because it isn't. I'm like a cop. You go after 30 years. You
stay any longer, it doesn't do you a dollar's worth of good in the
pension."

Breslin said it is simply impossible for him to continue writing 840
words, three times a week, and write anything else.

"It'll be the same thing, sitting down and writing, just for different
stuff. Nothing's changing," he said. "I'm going to write a book about
New York City. It's going to be great."

Breslin, possibly the city's most famous living columnist, was a copy
boy at the Long Island Press in the 1940s, before he was 16.

"I had to lie to get working papers," he said. "You weren't allowed to
work at a newspaper because it was considered a factory."

He came up in the New York Herald Tribune, where he got his first
column in the 1960s, moving to the New York Post for a year before
quitting to write books in the 1970s.

"I wrote three strong best-sellers that made a bunch of money, which I
blew," he said.

Back to the newsroom, then, at the New York Daily News in 1978, where
he stayed 10 years, moving to New York Newsday in 1988. On Monday
evening, he finished his column about Kerry and filed it without
fanfare at around 7 p.m.

Howard Schneider, the paper's editor, said discussions about changing
and perhaps lessening Breslin's role began some time ago, at the
columnist's instigation.

"What he told us was he wanted to keep the regular column through
Election Day, which he did," Schneider said. "Frankly, he did not want
to make a big deal of it. He thought the column should speak for
itself.


Associated Press November 3, 2004 NEW YORK
http://www.indystar.com/articles/3/191527-5743-062.html

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And now ... four more years


 Bush pleads for unity as clear victory consolidates power

President Bush yesterday promised to reunite America as he declared victory in a bitterly-fought presidential election and laid claim to the popular mandate that eluded him four years ago.

 "America has spoken and I'm humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens," the president told supporters in Washington, who repeatedly interrupted his victory speech with raucous cheers.

 The vice-president, Dick Cheney, declared the election "a broad nationwide victory" and pointed out George Bush had won the "greatest number of popular votes of any presidential candidate in history".

 But the tone of Mr Bush's victory speech was more conciliatory. Addressing the 55 million Americans who voted for John Kerry, he said: "To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."

 The president made no promises to change course in his domestic policy to bridge the divide with his Democratic opponents. As for foreign policy, he vowed to pursue his project to help build democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq before bringing US troops home.

 He also pledged: "With good allies by our side we will fight this war on terror with every resource in our power so our children can live in freedom and in peace."

 His closest ally, Tony Blair, yesterday privately congratulated Mr Bush in a morning phone call, but made it clear soon afterwards that he would be seeking more White House effort in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The need to revitalise the Middle East peace process is the single most pressing political challenge in our world today," Mr Blair told reporters. The prime minister will travel to Washington shortly to discuss the both the Middle East and January's scheduled elections in Iraq.

 The moment of victory was delayed until midday yesterday as the two sides battled over the vote count in the decisive state, Ohio. But the challenger was forced to concede defeat in a short telephone call to the White House when it became clear Mr Bush's lead in the state was insurmountable.

 "We had a good conversation, and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need - the desperate need - for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together," Senator Kerry said in his concession speech a few hours later in Boston.

 After the 2000 election, its controversial recount and the intervention of the Supreme Court, most Democrats believed they had been robbed of the presidency. Yesterday Mr Kerry acknowledged that he had been beaten, and that even if all the yet uncounted ballots in Ohio were taken into consideration, they would not reverse the final outcome - a majority for the president in the electoral college which ultimately determines who inhabits the White House.

 Four years ago Mr Bush scrambled into the White House by virtue of the quirks of the US electoral system, despite losing the popular vote by half a million. By contrast, in the early hours of yesterday morning, he became the first president to be elected by a clear popular majority since his father in 1988, defeating Senator Kerry by more than three million votes.

 The Republican party also increased its Senate majority from two votes to 10. Tom Daschle, who led the opposition to Mr Bush on Capitol Hill for the past four years, lost his seat in a humiliating defeat in his home state, South Dakota.

 The president's control of Congress will also allow him to put his stamp on the third arm of the federal government, the supreme court, the most powerful weapon in America's continuing cultural war.

 The opportunity to fill three or four vacancies in the court over the next four years could create a solid conservative majority which could lead to a ban on abortion, among other potentially dramatic changes.

 Republican conservatives also extended their already powerful hold on the House of Representatives, smoothing the way for the president's second-term legislative agenda.

 More broadly, his popular mandate allows the president to claim his radical agenda at home and abroad represents America with a legitimacy it did not have before.

 But Mr Bush presides over a country deeply divided over the Iraq war and cultural issues such as abortion, gay mar riage, and stem cell research. The victory strengthens President Bush's hand abroad, now it is clear leaders sceptical of his assertive style and aggressive foreign policy have no alternative but to deal with him.

 The French president, Jacques Chirac, spoke of "our joint fight against terrorism". Similarly, the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, sought common ground.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1342908,00.html?=rss --  Julian Borger in Washington  Thursday November 4, 2004  The Guardian  

wonkette, the joy of the elections

I didn't watch a thing last night except for a few old movies on dvd.  What I did watch was the occasional blog.  Thought I would share with you how I got the news throughout the evening:

NOV
02

Ohio Is the New Black #

About those exits: We're starting to get this weird feeling that the birdies who gave us those delicious early numbers are really Karl Rove. Or Ashton Kutcher. And while we usually are of the opinion that we like the sort of "punking" that's found in prison movies, we are not enjoying the prospect of getting reamed for another four years.

It's not that we really, really believe we got played. We are just, ahem, covering our ass.

White House Race Coming Down to Fla., Ohio [AP/Yahoo]



Wonkette Answers: No News At The Inn #

10:45 p.m.

More reader mail:

Parked in front of my digital cable. I see the countdowns, the estimated electoral votes, the giant map of red and blue states painted on the ice of Rockefeller Center. I'm on my second gin and tonic already...I think my limit is 8, but may exceed this. When will the ball drop? When will the referees call an end to extra innings? Oh, Wonkette--when will I be free?

So glad you asked. I am in a similar situation, trapped in under the skating rink-cum-electoral map in a sort of faux Le Courbusier living room set which probably cost thousands of dollars and won't be seen again. (Imagine the votes that could have bought!) They will not let me leave. I am missing the Daily Show special and the producer laughed when I asked for a beer.

I arrived at 1:30PM. You could smell the democracy in the air. Like springtime but politics. And, underneath, the faint scent of horse manure.

 Since then, we have been on TV twice, for a total of about six minutes. I have also eaten dinner twice. I have posted some and spent a long time examining Joe Trippi's plaid jacket. The gentleman on our left can be relied on to announce returns at, oh, 30 second intervals. (It's kind of like listening to the World News Service, only with a Minnesota accent.)

 In short: I am sitting in the middle of a world-wide news organization's headquarters, and there is no news.



I Am Still in Office and You Have to Do What I Say #

10:05PM

Uhm, yeah, we just saw that "unprecedented" press availability.

Shorter Bush statement: You can pry this presidency out of my cold, dead hands.

'Very upbeat' Bush predicts victory [AFP/Yahoo]



Birdie Croaking: Florida Takes On Reddish Hue #

9:35 p.m.

Hoarse birdies say:

Not 50/50 in Florida. White House very confident.

 

Birdies Slightly Intoxicated, Still Chirping #

9:10 p.m.

The birdies report, early returns:

PA and Ohio margins widening for Kerry
 FL 50/50
 WI 49/49

You do the math. (Okay, we'll do some math: Bush can lose Ohio and still win if he picks up a 2000 blue state.)



Virginia: Not That Mysterious After All #

9:05 p.m.

Fox News finally called Virginia for Bush. ORDER RESTORED TO UNIVERSE. But we're definitely enjoying Fox News. Greta van Susteren threw a shit fit about getting contradictory info in her earpiece, and we found out why Brit Hume looks like he's covering a funeral: As Susan Estrich just said, "Either the exit polls are completely wrong or President Bush will lose the election." We don't know what's happening over there, but we have a word of advice: Stay away from the brown acid.

 Maybe we didn't hallucinate those exit polls after all?



Vanessa Kerry: Not That Thirsty #

8:55 p.m. We might be hearing voices, but we think Tom Brokaw just asked Vanessa Kerry if she'd be sharing a margarita with the Bush girls when this was over. Wow, this election just got sexy. Then Vanessa said she was going back to medical school. We say: Classic non-denial denial.



Polling For Victory: Is This Election Thing Still On? #

8:15 p.m.

If we pass out soon, can we pretend it's 5PM all day long? Oh, those were the days... Happy hour had just started, Kerry was going to be president, Jon Stewart was unzipping our skirt.

Oh, wait. Uhm. Are we already passed out? So hard to tell.

We should challenge the kids over at the Comedy Central blog to a drinking contest. We could so totally take them. It's not like we have much else to do for the next ten minutes.
Exit Poll Breakdown [CNN]



Mom Wonkette Sends In Some Exits #

7:50 p.m.

Evidently everyone gets exit polls now:

Dear Sweetie:

I'm forwarding you these numbers someone sent me. I think they have something to do with the election!

Mr. Drudge says I shouldn't pay attention to them, and these other folks say they're bad because you might make the nice people on TV follow your lead. YOU ALREADY CRASHED THE STOCK MARKET -- ISN'T THAT ENOUGH DAMAGE FOR ONE DAY? Anyhow, I really think we can call Ohio for Kerry.

Love,
Mom
PS, If you ever want to talk about your drinking, I'm here for you.



Virginia: The Mystery State #

7:30 p.m. OK, it's not 2000: It's weirder. Virginia is too close to call. Kerry pulled out of there last month; it shouldn't have just gone Bush, it should have been wearing a cowboy hat and shooting guns off. Like, we're pretty sure that slavery is still legal there. Did they really stop watching NASCAR long enough to vote?

[UPDATE from Virginia: "no NASCAR races on Tuesday. Not even qualifying or (ahem) 'Happy Hour.' And I suppose whatever was on Speed Channel today was boring, or fancy Euro Indy cars with French drivers." Now you know.]

NOV
03

Gossip Roundup: There Is Other News Out There, Sorta
• Reliable Source: Director, Rock the Vote: "Nobody wants to throw a party for a bunch of losers.". . . Turn your "Kerry Edwards/A Stronger America/JohnKerry.com" bumper sticker into "darK dry sEwer/Error Gets a Maniac/hornyJerK.com." [WP]
• The Scoop: Kitty Kelley writes to Sharon Bush: "[A]llow me to remind you that it was your intention to leak our lunch to The New York Observer so that you could 'pressure' the Bushes into giving you a better alimony settlement because you knew they did not want you speaking to me." [MSNBC]
• Page Six: Wentworth, Stephanopoulos expecting their second child. [NYP]
• Cindy Adams: on the advance tour of the Clinton library. [NYP]


Election Recycling: Hungover and Anti-Gay Edition

• Down to Ohio: 250,000 or so provisional ballots. Fox News breaks Ohio for Bush at 12:41.  Russert: "Bush has two or three paths to 270, John Kerry has one, and it goes through Ohio."  McCurry: "At the end of the day, we win. I'm not sure what day, but we win."  Tucker: "Somebody should reassess exit polling... It's useless." [WP, WP, NYT, NYT, NYT, USAT]
• Same-sex marriage bans win in all 11 states. [WP, NYT, USAT]
• Battle of the bases: A night of few surprises. Scholar: "One bit of conventional wisdom was that high turnout would benefit the Democrats. Republicans may do it differently, but they proved they can produce high turnout, too." [WP, WP]
•  Edwards spoke after "reports of pandemonium" inside the Kerry camp: "optimism gave way to a bunker-like isolation as the night dragged on"; Bush photo-op called after "cataclysmic" images from the day. [WP, WP, WP, USAT, USAT]
•  Bush achieves mandate, takes Florida. [NYT, NYT]
•  McAuliffe at 8 p.m.: "This is the best election night in history." [WP]
•  Kerry: "I cannot tell you how excited I am to sleep in my own bed." [NYT]
• At the GOP party: "Look! Look! There's a couple making out. Making out! In full view of the TV cameras. Two men behind a pole are holding hands, praying, Promise Keepers style." [WP]
• Original strategy paid off for Bush. [BG]
• Concession a challenge, likely written by Shrum. [WSJ]
•  Shales: "Had [the anchors] taken Valium, or were they somehow doling it out through the airwaves and cables that bring TV into the homes and bars of the nation? The night was sure full of numbing inspirations." [WP]
• Florida Republicans: "What made the difference? Two words: Ground game. We had 109,000 volunteers throughout the state. In 2000, we made 77,000 personal contacts. In the last four days, we made 1.7 million." [USAT]
• Irrational exuberance: exit polls blinked. [BG, USAT, WSJ, LAT, LAT]
•  Alexandra Kerry, earlier in the evening: "I feel confident, but I'm feeling nauseous too. That's just me." [BG]
•  Nader didn't spoil. [WP, NYT, USAT]
• Colorado: Winner-take-all remains. [NYT]
• California: Stem-cell funds approved. [SFC]
• Montana: Medical Marijuana approved. [LAT]
• African-Americans turn out for Kerry. [NYT]
• Eyes on Hillary. [BG]
• NBC's Democracy Plaza cost $5m. [USAT]



Wonkette Answers: Our Plans

So will you be going to sleep tonight, or just partying on until dawn?
 - JRH

Oh, we're going to start drinking in earnest in about five minutes, and after the bar closes we will empty the contents of our mini-bar into a pillowcase and suck on it until we fall into a dreamless sleep. This is pretty much the opposite of partying.

Post-election? Our first plan is to go see that movie where Nic Cage says "This dollar bill is trying to tell me something." We think it's a Bush bio pic.



And Then He Ate the Campaign with Some Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti

Perhaps in response to our previous post, in which the Kerry campaign was described as "sober," we received this missive (swear to god from Kerryperson):
 ke04 war room says two things

-- make the lambs stop crying

 and

 -- believe
Of course, Fox just called Ohio, so, uhm, maybe the lambs will stop crying, at least.

· Wonkette Answers: Where and How To Drink

· Wonkette Answers: Voting Gets You Some -- But Only Some

· Wonkette Answers: Demo-crazy Plaza, You Mean!

· WONKETTE EXCLUSIVE!!! MUST CREDIT WONKETTE!!! AL GORE TO ANNOUNCE ACQUISITION OF CABLE NEWS NETWORK

· WONKETTE EXCLUSIVE! MUST CREDIT WONKETTE! THE WOMAN JOHN KERRY'S NOT FUCKING

· KERRY JOCKSTRAP SIZE REVEALED!!! WONKETTE EXCLUSIVE!!! MUST CREDIT WONKETTE!!!

· WONKETTE EXCLUSIVE!! MUST CREDIT WONKETTE!!! KE04 Power Structure: REVEALED!

· WONKETTE WORLD EXCLUSIVE!!! MUST CREDIT WONKETTE!! EDWARDS VEEP RUN FINDS STARTING POINT!

· WONKETTE EXCLUSIVE! MUST CREDIT WONKETTE!!! JOHNNY APPLE AND JACK GERMOND ON COVER OF NYT MAGAZINE!!!

· WONKETTE EXCLUSIVE!!! MUST CREDIT WONKETTE!! AD NAGS SPEAKS! ADAM NAGOURNEY GOES ON THE RECORD ABOUT HIS BLOG!!

· WONKETTE EXCLUSIVE! MUST CREDIT WONKETTE! Edwards Will Not Drop Out. . . Tonight

Frank Bruni, Better Than Ad Nags #

Frank Bruni blogs election night, cataloging Ratherisms ("If you try to read the tea leaves before the cup is done, you can get yourself burned") and proving liberal media bias rampant!
 If there is a God, and He or She or It is kind, Kerry will win, because no benevolent deity would deny reporters and readers the pleasure of chronicling and following Teresa Heinz Kerry as First Lady.
Of course, a just God would also keep them out of Ohio in December. Then again, they are journalists and deserve to be punished. . .

 Rune Stones and Tea Leaves [NYT]



The Mood at the Kerry Campaign, Using the Berry-Barometer #
From: Wonkette
Sent: Tue Nov 02 5:22:10 2004
To: Kerryperson
Subject:

You are so getting laid tonight.

 [more...]

 



"Swims in the libidinal current of American politics." [Village Voice]

"Profanity-laced and sex-obsessed...[a] vain, young, trash-mouthed skank." [Michelle Malkin]

 "Gossipy, raunchy, potty-mouthed." [New York Times]

"It’s like having a drunken, sometimes vicious gossip session… without the hangover." [Electric Venom]

 "A foulmouthed, inaccurate, opinionated little vixen." [Richard Leiby]

 "Plying gossip above all, eschewing serious debates about politics and policy." [The Nation]

 "The newest, funnest blogger on the block" [Andrew Sullivan]

 "Wonkette's arrival on the steps of the Capitol is a quiet victory for creeping National Enquirer values." [Christian Science Monitor]

 "[H]er enthusiasm for penis jokes cannot be as great as her blog suggests"
 [Jack Shafer]

 "A pre-menopausal Lucianne Goldberg"
 [Reason]





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Friday

Was the Ohio Election Honest and Fair?


Institute for Public Accuracy
915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org
___________________________________________________

1 p.m. ET -- Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Was the Ohio Election Honest and Fair?

TERESA FEDOR, [via Greg Lestini, glestini@maild.sen.state.oh.us]
Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor said today: "There was trouble with our
elections in Ohio at every stage. It's been a battle getting people
registered to vote, getting to the ballot on voting day and getting that
vote to count. There is a pattern of voter suppression; that's why I called
for [Ohio Secretary of State] Blackwell's resignation more than a month
ago. Blackwell, while claiming to run an unbiased elections process, was
also the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio. Additionally, he was
the spokesperson for the anti-business, anti-family constitutional
amendment 'Issue 1,' and a failed initiative to repeal a crucial sales-tax
revenue source for the state. Blackwell learned his moves from the
Katherine Harris playbook of Florida 2000, and we won't stand for it."

BILL MOSS, bmoss@hbcuconnect.com
Executive vice president of HBCU Connect, which works to connect
historically black colleges and universities, Moss said today: "I stayed in
line two and a half hours. I've never seen anything like this in my life.
There were fewer voting machines in the highly concentrated black areas,
creating the long lines so as to frustrate the voters. But we knew the
Republicans -- many of whom became Republicans because they opposed equal
rights for blacks -- would try to drive down black turnout. ... [Ohio
Secretary of State] Blackwell was confusing things by raising issues like
the paper weight of cards."

SUSAN TRUITT, susan.truitt@lexisnexis.com, http://www.caseohio.org
Co-founder of the Citizens Alliance for Secure Elections, Truitt said
today: "Seven counties in Ohio have electronic voting machines and none of
them have paper trails. That alone raises issues of accuracy and integrity
as to how we can verify the count. A recount without a paper trail is
meaningless; you just get a regurgitation of the data. Last year, Blackwell
tried to get the entire state to buy new machines without a paper trail.
The exit polls, virtually the only check we have against tampering with a
vote without a paper trail, had shown Kerry with a lead. ... A poll worker
told me this morning that there were no tapes of the results posted on some
machines; on other machines the posted count was zero, which obviously
shouldn't be the case."

DAN WALLACH, dwallach@cs.rice.edu, http://www.cs.rice.edu/~dwallach,
http://www.accuracy.org/press_releases/PR062104.htm
Wallach is an assistant professor of Computer Science at Rice University in
Houston specializing in building secure and robust software systems for the
Internet. Along with colleagues at Johns Hopkins, Wallach co-authored a
groundbreaking study that revealed significant flaws in electronic voting
systems. He appeared on an Institute for Public Accuracy news release in
June entitled "Electronic Voting -- Danger for Democracy."

BOB FITRAKIS, rfitrakis@cscc.edu
An attorney who monitored the election with the Election Protection
Coalition, Fitrakis said today: "There were far fewer machines in the
inner-city districts than in the suburbs. I documented at least a dozen
people leaving because the lines were so long in African-American areas.
Blackwell did a great deal of suppressing before the election -- like
attempting to refuse to process voter registration forms. The absentee
ballots were misleading in Franklin County. Kerry was the third line down,
but you had to punch number four to vote for him. Bush was getting both his
votes as well as Kerry's."

HARVEY WASSERMAN, windhw@aol.com,
http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2004/810
Senior editor of FreePress.org, an Ohio-based web site, and co-author with
Fitrakis of the recent article "Twelve Ways Bush is Now Stealing the Ohio
Vote," Wasserman said today: "There was a huge fight around ensuring that
the electronic voting machines had paper trails and there was resistance by
the secretary of state, so there is no paper trail. There were some
victories to ensure a paper trial -- by 2006. There were limited numbers of
voting machines in African-American districts. Some people had to wait up
to eight hours, far more than in predominantly white areas."

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT:

On November 9, 2003, the New York Times reported: "In mid-August, Walden W.
O'Dell, the chief executive of Diebold Inc., sat down at his computer
to compose a letter inviting 100 wealthy and politically inclined friends
to a Republican Party fund-raiser, to be held at his home in a suburb
of Columbus, Ohio. 'I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral
votes to the president next year,' wrote Mr. O'Dell, whose company is based
in Canton, Ohio. That is hardly unusual for Mr. O'Dell. A longtime
Republican, he is a member of President Bush's 'Rangers and Pioneers,' an
elite group of loyalists who have raised at least $100,000 each for the
2004 race. But it is not the only way that Mr. O'Dell is involved in the
election process. Through Diebold Election Systems, a subsidiary in
McKinney, Tex., his company is among the country's biggest suppliers of
paperless, touch-screen voting machines. Judging from Federal Election
Commission data, at least 8 million people will cast their ballots using
Diebold machines next November. ... Some people find Mr. O'Dell's pairing
of interests -- as voting-machine magnate and devoted Republican
fund-raiser -- troubling."
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/09/business/yourmoney/09vote.html

On November 3, 2004, Reuters reported: "Voters across the United States
reported problems with electronic touch-screen systems on Tuesday in what
critics said could be a sign that the machines used by one-third of the
population were prone to error.... "
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/1103-03.htm

On October 24, 2004, the Palm Beach Post reported: "A federal judge on
Monday rejected U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler's claim that paperless electronic
voting violates the constitutional rights of Floridians...."
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/content/news/epaper/2004/10/26/c1a_wexler_1026.html

On November 3, 2004, Thomas Crampton wrote in the International Herald
Tribune: "The global implications of the U.S. election are undeniable, but
international monitors at a polling station in southern Florida said
Tuesday that voting procedures being used in the extremely close contest
fell short in many ways of the best global practices...."
http://www.iht.com/articles/2004/11/02/news/observe.html

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

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Dot's Information Service Hotline
"Unbossed and unbought news and information you can use"
Visit The DISH online at www.thedish.org
Vol. 7 No 44...Dedicated to the Dialogue on Race... 11-05-04
********************************************************

Table of Contents

1. Venue for an Artist...The Battle-Field...By William C. Bryant
2. News You Use...Black Box Voting
3. Bit of History...William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)
4. Disgruntled
5. Comments from the Bat Cave
6. Intuit's Vibe...Empire of Oil---Forever? By Mumia Abu-Jamal
7. What Did We Learn? By John Burl Smith
8. Mailbox

*************************************
Venue for an Artist
The Battle-Field
By William Cullen Bryant

Once this soft turf, this rivulet's sands,
Were trampled by a hurrying crowd,
And fiery hearts and armed hands
Encountered in the battle-cloud.

Ah! never shall the land forget
How gushed the life-blood of her brave--
Gushed, warm with hope and courage yet,
Upon the soil they fought to save.

Now all is calm, and fresh, and still;
Alone the chirp of flitting bird,
And talk of children on the hill,
And bell of wandering kine, are heard.

No solemn host goes trailing by
The black-mouthed gun and staggering wain;
Men start not at the battle-cry,--
O, be it never heard again!

Soon rested those who fought; but thou
Who minglest in the harder strife
For truths which men receive not now,
Thy warfare only ends with life.

A friendless warfare! lingering long
Through weary day and weary year;
A wild and many-weaponed throng
Hang on thy front, and flank, and rear.

Yet nerve thy spirit to the proof,
And blench not at thy chosen lot,
The timid good may stand aloof,
The sage may frown--yet faint thou not.

Nor heed the shaft too surely cast,
The foul and hissing bolt of scorn;
For with thy side shall dwell, at last,
The victory of endurance born.

Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again;
The eternal years of God are hers;
But Error, wounded, writhes in pain,
And dies among his worshippers.

Yea, though thou lie upon the dust,
When they who helped thee flee in fear,
Die full of hope and manly trust,
Like those who fell in battle here.

Another hand thy sword shall wield,
Another hand the standard wave,
Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed
The blast of triumph o'er thy grave.


News You Use
Black Box Voting

Democrat John F. Kerry has conceded the election, but the post mortem
continues. Black Box Voting at www.blackboxvoting.org plans to conduct a
formal audit. It has filed a series of public records requests to obtain
computer logs and other documents from thousands of counties and voting
precincts.

On September 15, 2004, Black Box Voting filed a similar request in King
County, Washington. It uncovered an audit log containing a three-hour
deletion on primary election night, trouble slips revealing suspicious modem
activity and security problems.

Black Box Voting is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. You can view its
public records requests at www.blackboxvoting.org/#foia. An internal audit
can begin to answer some of the many troubling questions voters are asking
about Election 2004.


Bit of History
William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878)

"The right to discuss freely and openly, by speech, by the press, by the
pen, all political questions, and to examine and animadvert upon all
political institutions . . . is a right as clear and certain, so interwoven
with our other liberties, so necessary in fact, to their existence that
without it we must fall at once into despotism and anarchy."

Born in Cummington, Massachusetts on November 3, 1794, William Cullen Bryant
became the first US poet to win international acclaim. A child prodigy, his
father, a physician, carefully cultivated the young man's intellect. At an
early age, he learned Greek and Latin, read the classics, and studied
science and mathematics. He published his first poem at ten and his first
book at thirteen. "The Embargo (1809)," a satire on the foreign trade
policies of President Thomas Jefferson and his political party, was eagerly
read, though skeptics assumed he was older than thirteen.

Steered into law by his father, Bryant entered Williams College at sixteen
and was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 1815. He married and practiced
law in the village of Great Barrington for ten years. During this period,
Bryant wrote little, and what poetry he published was written before he
turned twenty-one, including "Thanatopsis," which was published in the North
American Review (1816).

In 1821, Bryant delivered his long poem, "The Ages," at the Harvard College
commencement. Shortly thereafter, he published his first book of poetry and
left the law profession to pursue literature. In 1825, he moved to New
York, where he and a friend established "The New York Review and Athenaeum
Magazine." In 1826, he became assistant editor at the New York Evening
Post, a paper established by the Federalist Party leader Alexander Hamilton.
>From 1829
to his death, Bryant was the paper's part owner and editor-in-chief. A
proponent of "laissez-faire," hands-off, economic policy and advocate of
human rights, Bryant opposed all tariffs and supported the abolition of
slavery.

In 1832, a collection of Bryant's poetry was published in New York and
reprinted in Boston and London. Bryant published "The Fountain and Other
Poems" (1842), "The White-Footed Deer and Other Poems" (1844), and an
edition of his complete Poetical Words (1846). In 1855, he published
another edition of his works, which contained his later poetry. He
published "The Letters of a Traveller" (1852), a series of letters written
to the Evening Post, which described his tours of South America, Cuba,
Europe and Mexico.

In his Lectures on Poetry (1825) and other critical essays, Bryant stressed
the values of simplicity, original imagination and morality. During his
later career, he traveled extensively, made numerous public speeches, and
continued to write poetry, including "The Death of the Flowers," "To the
Fringed Gentian" and "The Battle-Field." He also published translations of
the Iliad (1870) and the Odyssey (1872). In 1876, Bryant published a final
collected edition. He died June 12, 1878 in New York City after attending
the dedication of a bust of himself. Sources: www.bartleby.com, www.vcu.edu
and www.nagasaki-gaigo.ac.jp)


Disgruntled wants to know: While Democrats cry in their beer, there are
reasons to cheer a second term for the Bush administration. There are so
many unresolved issues. For instance, there are the anthrax murders, a real
mystery with definite connections to a US laboratory. Of course, while US
mainstream media ignore this little fact, Bush and members of his cabinet
lied about the reasons for invading Iraq. There is the little matter of how
Enron fashioned Dick Cheney's energy policy. More troubling still, someone
in the White House outed CIA undercover operative Valerie Plame to punish
Joseph Wilson, her husband, for publicly exposing the lie that Saddam
Hussein attempted to acquire enriched uranium from Niger. With so many
troubling issues unresolved, could a Bush second term mimic Richard Milhous
Nixon's downfall?

Disgruntled says: Once again, George W. Bush has assumed the mantle of the
uniter for public consumption. His policies over the last four years have
been incredibly divisive, both at home and abroad. An analysis of his
domestic and foreign policies suggests more rather than less division to
come. In fact, unless he mends fences fast and jettison his policy of
unilateral preemption, the nation could face wars in other arenas. If that
should happen with a military stretched thin, a draft is a real possibility,
even though he said there would be none. But, then, it would not be the
first time that the commander-in-chief lied to achieve an end.


Disgruntled feels: Disenfranchised! In pursuing its flawed "battleground"
strategy, the Democratic Party ignored its southern base. Across the dirty
South, blacks were left to the tender mercies of white Democrats and
Republicans that supported George W. Bush. Discounting party affiliations,
whites flocked to Bush who basically promised to honor the values symbolized
by the Confederate battle flag. So, just life the debacle of Election 2000,
blacks that voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic presidential candidate
were disenfranchised on November 2, 2004.


Comments from the Bat Cave

The Dark Knight-Batman/White Ninja/Zorro eagerly awaited the outcome of the
vote. Shortly after the polls closed in Georgia, the news networks
announced that George W. Bush had won Georgia, even though their graphics
showed zero percent of the polling precincts reporting. Confused the Dark
One/Ninja/Zorro wondered, "Is this a joke?"


Intuit's Vibe
Empire of Oil -- Forever?
By Mumia Abu-Jamal

"He who owns oil will own the world... who has oil has empire." -- Henry
Berenger, Commissioner General for Oil Products, France (WWI)

No matter which way this god-forsaken 'election' goes, America's imperial
hunger for oil will continue. While the Republicans present a more
bellicose face, the Democrats will certainly do the same thing, but perhaps
with a smile. That's what makes this advertising war, about who's tough,
and who's not, so utterly ridiculous. Both candidates will push imperial
wars for American "natural resources" (in other words, oil), because that's
what their financial backers demand.

The American economic machine began its industrial age with oil running
those machines. Oil gave birth to the vast automotive industry, the
resultant highway construction industry, the huge petrochemical industry,
the explosion in plastics, and the fueling of America's menacing military
machine, which is being used to spark wars abroad, to protect U.S. control
of oil. One need not have been a history or political science major to see
through the transparent justifications for the 2nd War on Iraq. It had
nothing to do with 'weapons of mass destruction', nor to bring democracy --
it was, and is, to control Iraq's vast oilfields. And Iraqis, as well as
millions of others in the region, know this with a certainty that can only
be matched by their assurance that the sun rises tomorrow.

In essence, the two corporate parties present a difference in degree; not in
kind. But, thanks to the corporate media, this campaign will probably turn
on the illusions of personality; on who smiles, who smirks, and who has a
nice hairdo. If Rome taught us anything, it's that empire wears many faces.

Many Democrats look back to the Clinton administration with longing; but it,
too, is the longing for illusions. During the Clinton years, the Defense
Dept. touched base with the armed forces of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, and provided them US arms and training. The
temporary U.S. military bases, payoff for the arms and training, became
semi-permanent after 9-11, because these states ring the vast oil deposits
near the Caspian Sea. In the words of a 2002 U.S. State Dept. report, U.S.
aid is intended to "improve U.S.-Kazakh military cooperation while
establishing a U.S.-interoperable base along the oil-rich Caspian."* That's
the backdoor reason for the invasion of Iraq. Until America gets off the
oil-pipe, it doesn't matter who is elected. If part of either corporate
party, they will swear fealty, not to the Constitution, but to the bottom
lines of the oil companies.

That's what makes this nonsense about the 'war on terror', or the 'Iraqi
liberation' so tragic. These are public relations sideshows, mounted by the
political elite and projected by the media elite on behalf of their economic
elite at the costs of billions of public dollars, and thousands of lives --
so that oil can rule. How can one 'spread democracy' by ignoring democracy?
The largest anti-war demonstrations in US and world history did not deter
this mad rush for black gold in Iraq. It did not stop this invasion erected
on a bridge of lies.

Indeed, the American presidency was built upon the judicial theft of the
election, and use of state power to intimidate, disenfranchise, and betray
the votes of tens of thousands in Florida alone. Yeah...the Bush Regime
really wants to 'spread democracy!'

In oil's name, the United States is immersed in a new kind of colonialism,
for the resources that lie under foreign feet. They could care less about
the people. Therein lies an even greater tragedy. [Source: *U.S. Dept. of
State, Congressional Budget Justifications: Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year
2003, pg. 309]


What Did We Learn?
By John Burl Smith

Postmortems are not easy, particularly following painful and highly
emotional events. Such examinations are absolutely necessary in order to
cope with as well as adjust to the disaster's aftermath. Survivors must
understand antecedent causes while simultaneously developing a realistic
approach to the future.
Depending upon ones relationship to the Democratic Party, the outcome of
Election 2004 is a devastating loss. For party officials, it should mark
the beginning of deep soul searching, strategic assessment and leadership
evaluation. Conversely, its base or rank and file should be witnessing the
end of a party meltdown that began with the Democratic Leadership Council
(DLC) takeover prior to Election 2000.

Under DLC leadership, except for Bill Clinton's embrace of black voters in
1992 and 1996, Democrats have lost every major election since 1994. The DLC
refuses to recognize that blacks, women, Hispanics and other minorities make
up the Democratic Party's base. Clearly, the DLC's strategy of campaigning
to white voters, while giving only lip service to issues important to blacks
and other minorities has not brought white voters back to the Democratic
Party. Election
2004 showed that white people vote for Republicans because their message is
tailored to white concerns.

Election 2004 revealed exactly who votes for Democrats across the country.
We learned blacks turn out in huge numbers based on their socioeconomic and
oolitical interests, even when the party's candidate refuses to embrace
them. This dynamic is not likely to change anytime soon, and with
performances like Barack Obama and Denise Majette's, blacks must decide the
proper use of their growing political power. The choice for Democrats is
whether or not to organize the party in order to take advantage of this
reality.

Democrats must open up the party to the new leadership revealed by Election
2004. They must reach beyond the "good old boy network" and the top down
structure that direct party decision-making. The party must begin a massive
rebuilding effort at the precinct level. Bringing in national "hired guns"
or "political consultants" to run campaigns does not sustain grassroots
organization in off years. The current white male dominated party structure
led by the DLC ignores socioeconomic changes that have occurred among
blacks, women and Hispanics that make them capable of running the party.

This fact was clearly illustrated by Obama's campaign in Illinois. He built
a grassroots organization that defeated several millionaires in route to
victory. The Democratic Party only embraced Obama when it became clear he
could not be beaten. However, Majette in Georgia and Inez Tenenbaum in
South Carolina were seriously hamstrung by the Democratic Party and John
Kerry's refusal to campaign in the South. Their candidacies were completely
ignored, even though both women did remarkable jobs, which helped Democrats
running for Congress and the legislature with their statewide campaigns.

Blacks across the South learned from Election 2004 that Kerry's DLC
"battleground states" strategy abandoned whole regions of the country, an
indication he believed black votes were not worth fighting over. If the
Democratic are going to betray black voters and concede their votes before
they are counted, what benefit is the Democratic Party? Consequently, what
happened to Majette and Tenenbaum is not the end of the Democratic melt down
but the entrenchment of white male dominance over the party, which begs the
question, who learned their lesson?


Mailbox: E-mail, Faxes and Telephone Calls

Email Wdestiny44@aol.com Times will certainly continue to be interesting,
with both the House and Senate majorities now held by the Republican party.
Environmental and social issues will continue to spiral down the toilet. As
the saying goes, we deserve the government/world we allow. And, evidently
the collective consciousness of the United States has chosen based on the
illusion of morality, as well as their fears and nightmares instead of their
hopes and dreams. There will certainly be a bush-el full of lessons as we
continue to raise our awareness and receive our "master's degree" in this
"University of Life."

Email www.globalresearch.ca The real reason for the upcoming US attack on
Iran is its plans to create a euro-denominated market for oil. The Iranians
saw what happened to Saddam, who was whipsawed by being forced to disarm and
then attacked on the pretense that he had not disarmed. Iran's continued
effort to produce nuclear arms is an indication that it does not intend to
make the same mistake. Who can blame the Iranians for wanting nuclear arms
for self-defense?


You Can't Be Neutral On a Moving Train: Arundhati Roy accepts the 2004 Sydney Peace Prize

The 2004 Sydney Peace Prize lecture
delivered by Arundhati Roy,
University of Sydney, 4 November 2004


Peace & The New Corporate Liberation Theology

I
t's official now. The Sydney Peace Foundation is neck deep in the business of gambling and calculated risk. Last year, very courageously, it chose Dr Hanan Ashrawi of Palestine for the Sydney Peace Prize. And, as if that were not enough, this year - of all the people in the world - it goes and chooses me!

However I'd like to make a complaint. My sources inform me that Dr Ashrawi had a picket all to herself. This is discriminatory. I demand equal treatment for all Peace Prizees. May I formally request the Foundation to organize a picket against me after the lecture? From what I've heard, it shouldn't be hard to organize. If this is insufficient notice, then tomorrow will suit me just as well.

When this year's Sydney Peace Prize was announced, I was subjected to some pretty arch remarks from those who know me well: Why did they give it to the biggest trouble-maker we know? Didn't anybody tell them that you don't have a peaceful bone in your body? And, memorably, Arundhati didi what's the Sydney Peace Prize? Was there a war in Sydney that you helped to stop?

Speaking for myself, I am utterly delighted to receive the Sydney Peace Prize. But I must accept it as a literary prize that honors a writer for her writing, because contrary to the many virtues that are falsely attributed to me, I'm not an activist, nor the leader of any mass movement, and I'm certainly not the "voice of the voiceless". (We know of course there's really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.) I am a writer who cannot claim to represent anybody but herself. So even though I would like to, it would be presumptuous of me to say that I accept this prize on behalf of those who are involved in the struggle of the powerless and the disenfranchised against the powerful. However, may I say I accept it as the Sydney Peace Foundation's expression of solidarity with a kind of politics, a kind of world-view, that millions of us around the world subscribe to?

It might seem ironic that a person who spends most of her time thinking of strategies of resistance and plotting to disrupt the putative peace, is given a peace prize. You must remember that I come from an essentially feudal country -and there are few things more disquieting than a feudal peace. Sometimes there's truth in old cliches. There can be no real peace without justice. And without resistance there will be no justice.

Today, it is not merely justice itself, but the idea of justice that is under attack. The assault on vulnerable, fragile sections of society is at once so complete, so cruel and so clever - all encompassing and yet specifically targeted, blatantly brutal and yet unbelievably insidious - that its sheer audacity has eroded our definition of justice. It has forced us to lower our sights, and curtail our expectations. Even among the well-intentioned, the expansive, magnificent concept of justice is gradually being substituted with the reduced, far more fragile discourse of 'human rights'.

If you think about it, this is an alarming shift of paradigm. The difference is that notions of equality, of parity have been pried loose and eased out of the equation. It's a process of attrition. Almost unconsciously, we begin to think of justice for the rich and human rights for the poor. Justice for the corporate world, human rights for its victims. Justice for Americans, human rights for Afghans and Iraqis. Justice for the Indian upper castes, human rights for Dalits and Adivasis (if that.) Justice for white Australians, human rights for Aboriginals and immigrants (most times, not even that.)

It is becoming more than clear that violating human rights is an inherent and necessary part of the process of implementing a coercive and unjust political and economic structure on the world. Without the violation of human rights on an enormous scale, the neo-liberal project would remain in the dreamy realm of policy. But increasingly Human Rights violations are being portrayed as the unfortunate, almost accidental fallout of an otherwise acceptable political and economic system. As though they're a small problem that can be mopped up with a little extra attention from some NGOs. This is why in areas of heightened conflict - in Kashmir and in Iraq for example - Human Rights Professionals are regarded with a degree of suspicion. Many resistance movements in poor countries which are fighting huge injustice and questioning the underlying principles of what constitutes "liberation" and "development", view Human Rights NGOs as modern day missionaries who've come to take the ugly edge off Imperialism. To defuse political anger and to maintain the status quo.

It has been only a few weeks since a majority of Australians voted to re-elect Prime Minister John Howard who, among other things, led Australia to participate in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. The invasion of Iraq will surely go down in history as one of the most cowardly wars ever fought. It was a war in which a band of rich nations, armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over, rounded on a poor nation, falsely accused it of having nuclear weapons, used the United Nations to force it to disarm, then invaded it, occupied it and are now in the process of selling it.

I speak of Iraq, not because everybody is talking about it, (sadly at the cost of leaving other horrors in other places to unfurl in the dark), but because it is a sign of things to come. Iraq marks the beginning of a new cycle. It offers us an opportunity to watch the Corporate-Military cabal that has come to be known as 'Empire' at work. In the new Iraq the gloves are off.

As the battle to control the world's resources intensifies, economic colonialism through formal military aggression is staging a comeback. Iraq is the logical culmination of the process of corporate globalization in which neo-colonialism and neo-liberalism have fused. If we can find it in ourselves to peep behind the curtain of blood, we would glimpse the pitiless transactions taking place backstage. But first, briefly, the stage itself.

In 1991 US President George Bush senior mounted Operation Desert Storm. Tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed in the war. Iraq's fields were bombed with more than 300 tonnes of depleted uranium, causing a fourfold increase in cancer among children. For more than 13 years, twenty four million Iraqi people have lived in a war zone and been denied food and medicine and clean water. In the frenzy around the US elections, let's remember that the levels of cruelty did not fluctuate whether the Democrats or the Republicans were in the White House. Half a million Iraqi children died because of the regime of economic sanctions in the run up to Operation Shock and Awe. Until recently, while there was a careful record of how many US soldiers had lost their lives, we had no idea of how many Iraqis had been killed. US General Tommy Franks said "We don't do body counts" (meaning Iraqi body counts). He could have added "We don't do the Geneva Convention either." A new, detailed study, fast-tracked by the Lancet medical journal and extensively peer reviewed, estimates that 100,000 Iraqis have lost their lives since the 2003 invasion. That's one hundred halls full of people - like this one. That's one hundred halls full of friends, parents, siblings, colleagues, lovers.like you. The difference is that there aren't many children here todaylet's not forget Iraq's children. Technically that bloodbath is called precision bombing. In ordinary language, it's called butchering,

Most of this is common knowledge now. Those who support the invasion and vote for the invaders cannot take refuge in ignorance. They must truly believe that this epic brutality is right and just or, at the very least, acceptable because it's in their interest.

So the 'civilized' 'modern' world - built painstakingly on a legacy of genocide, slavery and colonialism - now controls most of the world's oil. And most of the world's weapons, most of the world's money, and most of the world's media. The embedded, corporate media in which the doctrine of Free Speech has been substituted by the doctrine of Free If You Agree Speech.

The UN's Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix said he found no evidence of nuclear weapons in Iraq. Every scrap of evidence produced by the US and British governments was found to be false - whether it was reports of Saddam Hussein buying uranium from Niger, or the report produced by British Intelligence which was discovered to have been plagiarized from an old student dissertation. And yet, in the prelude to the war, day after day the most 'respectable' newspapers and TV channels in the US , headlined the 'evidence' of Iraq's arsenal of weapons of nuclear weapons. It now turns out that the source of the manufactured 'evidence' of Iraq's arsenal of nuclear weapons was Ahmed Chalabi who, (like General Suharto of Indonesia, General Pinochet of Chile, the Shah of Iran, the Taliban and of course, Saddam Hussein himself) - was bankrolled with millions of dollars from the good old CIA.

And so, a country was bombed into oblivion. It's true there have been some murmurs of apology. Sorry 'bout that folks, but we have really have to move on. Fresh rumours are coming in about nuclear weapons in Eye-ran and Syria. And guess who is reporting on these fresh rumours? The same reporters who ran the bogus 'scoops' on Iraq. The seriously embedded A Team.

The head of Britain's BBC had to step down and one man committed suicide because a BBC reporter accused the Blair administration of 'sexing up' intelligence reports about Iraq's WMD programme. But the head of Britain retains his job even though his government did much more than 'sex up' intelligence reports. It is responsible for the illegal invasion of a country and the mass murder of its people.

Visitors to Australia like myself, are expected to answer the following question when they fill in the visa form: Have you ever committed or been involved in the commission of war crimes or crimes against humanity or human rights? Would George Bush and Tony Blair get visas to Australia? Under the tenets of International Law they must surely qualify as war criminals.

However, to imagine that the world would change if they were removed from office is naive. The tragedy is that their political rivals have no real dispute with their policies. The fire and brimstone of the US election campaign was about who would make a better 'Commander-in-Chief' and a more effective manager of the American Empire. Democracy no longer offers voters real choice. Only specious choice.

Even though no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq - stunning new evidence has revealed that Saddam Hussein was planning a weapons programme. (Like I was planning to win an Olympic Gold in synchronized swimming.) Thank goodness for the doctrine of pre-emptive strike. God knows what other evil thoughts he harbored - sending Tampax in the mail to American senators, or releasing female rabbits in burqas into the London underground. No doubt all will be revealed in the free and fair trial of Saddam Hussein that's coming up soon in the New Iraq.

All except the chapter in which we would learn of how the US and Britain plied him with money and material assistance at the time he was carrying out murderous attacks on Iraqi Kurds and Shias. All except the chapter in which we would learn that a 12,000 page report submitted by the Saddam Hussein government to the UN, was censored by the United States because it lists twenty-four US corporations that participated in Iraq's pre-Gulf War nuclear and conventional weapons programme. (They include Bechtel, DuPont, , Eastman Kodak, Hewlett Packard, International Computer Systems and Unisys.)

So Iraq has been 'liberated.' Its people have been subjugated and its markets have been 'freed'. That's the anthem of neo-liberalism. Free the markets. Screw the people.

The US government has privatized and sold entire sectors of Iraq's economy. Economic policies and tax laws have been re-written. Foreign companies can now buy 100% of Iraqi firms and expatriate the profits. This is an outright violation of international laws that govern an occupying force, and is among the main reasons for the stealthy, hurried charade in which power was 'handed over' to an 'interim Iraqi government'. Once handing over of Iraq to the Multi-nationals is complete, a mild dose of genuine democracy won't do any harm. In fact it might be good PR for the Corporate version of Liberation Theology, otherwise known as New Democracy.

Not surprisingly, the auctioning of Iraq caused a stampede at the feeding trough. Corporations like Bechtel and Halliburton, the company that US Vice-president Dick Cheney once headed, have won huge contracts for 'reconstruction' work. A brief c.v of any one of these corporations would give us a lay person's grasp of how it all works. - not just in Iraq, but all over the world. Say we pick Bechtel - only because poor little Halliburton is under investigation on charges of overpricing fuel deliveries to Iraq and for its contracts to 'restore' Iraq's oil industry which came with a pretty serious price-tag - 2.5 billion dollars.

The Bechtel Group and Saddam Hussein are old business acquaintances. Many of their dealings were negotiated by none other than Donald Rumsfeld. In 1988, after Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurds, Bechtel signed contracts with his government to build a dual-use chemical plant in Baghdad.

Historically, the Bechtel Group has had and continues to have inextricably close links to the Republican establishment. You could call Bechtel and the Reagan Bush administration a team. Former Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger was a Bechtel general counsel. Former Deputy Secretary of Energy, W. Kenneth Davis was Bechtel's vice president. Riley Bechtel, the company chairman, is on the President's Export Council. Jack Sheehan, a retired marine corps general, is a senior vice president at Bechtel and a member of the US Defense Policy Board. Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who is on the Board of Directors of the Bechtel Group, was the chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

When he was asked by the New York Times whether he was concerned about the appearance of a conflict of interest between his two 'jobs', he said, "I don't know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it [The invasion of Iraq]. But if there's work to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it." Bechtel has been awarded reconstruction contracts in Iraq worth over a billion dollars, which include contracts to re-build power generation plants, electrical grids, water supply, sewage systems, and airport facilities. Never mind revolving doors, this -if it weren't so drenched in blood- would be a bedroom farce.

Between 2001 and 2002, nine out of thirty members of the US Defense Policy Group were connected to companies that were awarded Defense contracts worth 76 billion dollars. Time was when weapons were manufactured in order to fight wars. Now wars are manufactured in order to sell weapons.

Between 1990 and 2002 the Bechtel group has contributed $3.3 million to campaign funds, both Republican and Democrat. Since 1990 it has won more than 2000 government contracts worth more than 11 billion dollars. That's an incredible return on investment, wouldn't you say?

And Bechtel has footprints around the world. That's what being a multi-national means.

The Bechtel Group first attracted international attention when it signed a contract with Hugo Banzer, the former Bolivian dictator, to privatize the water supply in the city of Cochabamba. The first thing Bechtel did was to raise the price of water. Hundreds of thousands of people who simply couldn't afford to pay Bechtel's bills came out onto the streets. A huge strike paralyzed the city. Martial law was declared. Although eventually Bechtel was forced to flee its offices, it is currently negotiating an exit payment of millions of dollars from the Bolivian government for the loss of potential profits. Which, as we'll see, is growing into a popular corporate sport.

In India, Bechtel along with General Electric are the new owners of the notorious and currently defunct Enron power project. The Enron contract, which legally binds the Government of the State of Maharashtra to pay Enron a sum of 30 billion dollars, was the largest contract ever signed in India. Enron was not shy to boast about the millions of dollars it had spent to "educate" Indian politicians and bureaucrats. The Enron contract in Maharashtra, which was India's first 'fast-track' private power project, has come to be known as the most massive fraud in the country's history. (Enron was another of the Republican Party's major campaign contributors). The electricity that Enron produced was so exorbitant that the government decided it was cheaper not to buy electricity and pay Enron the mandatory fixed charges specified in the contract. This means that the government of one of the poorest countries in the world was paying Enron 220 million US dollars a year not to produce electricity!

Now that Enron has ceased to exist, Bechtel and GE are suing the Indian Government for 5.6 billion US dollars. This is not even a minute fraction of the sum of money that they (or Enron) actually invested in the project. Once more, it's a projection of profit they would have made had the project materialized. To give you an idea of scale 5.6 billion dollars a little more than the amount that the Government of India would need annually, for a rural employment guarantee scheme that would provide a subsistence wage to millions of people currently living in abject poverty, crushed by debt, displacement, chronic malnutrition and the WTO. This in a country where farmers steeped in debt are being driven to suicide, not in their hundreds, but in their thousands. The proposal for a Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is being mocked by India's corporate class as an unreasonable, utopian demand being floated by the 'lunatic' and newly powerful left. Where will the money come from? they ask derisively. And yet, any talk of reneging on a bad contract with a notoriously corrupt corporation like Enron, has the same cynics hyperventilating about capital flight and the terrible risks of 'creating a bad investment climate'. The arbitration between Bechtel, GE and the Government of India is taking place right now in London. Bechtel and GE have reason for hope. The Indian Finance Secretary who was instrumental in approving the disastrous Enron contract has come home after a few years with the IMF. Not just home, home with a promotion. He is now Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

Think about it: The notional profits of a single corporate project would be enough to provide a hundred days of employment a year at minimum wages (calculated at a weighted average across different states) for 25 million people. That's five million more than the population of Australia. That is the scale of the horror of neo-liberalism.

The Bechtel story gets worse. In what can only be called unconscionable, Naomi Klein writes that Bechtel has successfully sued war-torn Iraq for 'war reparations' and 'lost profits'. It has been awarded 7 million dollars.

So, all you young management graduates don't bother with Harvard and Wharton - here's the Lazy Manager's Guide to Corporate Success: First, stock your Board with senior government servants. Next, stock the government with members of your board. Add oil and stir. When no one can tell where the government ends and your company begins, collude with your government to equip and arm a cold-blooded dictator in an oil-rich country. Look away while he kills his own people. Simmer gently. Use the time collect to collect a few billion dollars in government contracts. Then collude with your government once again while it topples the dictator and bombs his subjects, taking to specifically target essential infrastructure, killing a hundred thousand people on the side. Pick up another billion dollars or so worth of contracts to 'reconstruct' the infrastructure. To cover travel and incidentals, sue for reparations for lost profits from the devastated country. Finally, diversify. Buy a TV station, so that next war around you can showcase your hardware and weapons technology masquerading as coverage of the war. And finally finally, institute a Human Rights Prize in your company's name. You could give the first one posthumously to Mother Teresa. She won't be able to turn it down or argue back.

Invaded and occupied Iraq has been made to pay out 200 million dollars in "reparations" for lost profits to corporations like Halliburton, Shell, Mobil, Nestle, Pepsi, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Toys R Us. That's apart from its 125 billion dollar sovereign debt forcing it to turn to the IMF, waiting in the wings like the angel of death, with its Structural Adjustment program. (Though in Iraq there don't seem to be many structures left to adjust. Except the shadowy Al Qaeda.)

In New Iraq, privatization has broken new ground. The US Army is increasingly recruiting private mercenaries to help in the occupation. The advantage with mercenaries is that when they're killed they're not included in the US soldiers' body count. It helps to manage public opinion, which is particularly important in an election year. Prisons have been privatized. Torture has been privatized. We have seen what that leads to. Other attractions in New Iraq include newspapers being shut down. Television stations bombed. Reporters killed. US soldiers have opened fire on crowds of unarmed protestors killing scores of people. The only kind of resistance that has managed to survive is as crazed and brutal as the occupation itself. Is there space for a secular, democratic, feminist, non-violent resistance in Iraq? There isn't really.

That is why it falls to those of us living outside Iraq to create that mass-based, secular and non-violent resistance to the US occupation. If we fail to do that, then we run the risk of allowing the idea of resistance to be hi-jacked and conflated with terrorism and that will be a pity because they are not the same thing.

So what does peace mean in this savage, corporatized, militarized world? What does it mean in a world where an entrenched system of appropriation has created a situation in which poor countries which have been plundered by colonizing regimes for centuries are steeped in debt to the very same countries that plundered them, and have to repay that debt at the rate of 382 billion dollars a year? What does peace mean in a world in which the combined wealth of the world's 587 billionaires exceeds the combined gross domestic product of the world's 135 poorest countries? Or when rich countries that pay farm subsidies of a billion dollars a day, try and force poor countries to drop their subsidies? What does peace mean to people in occupied Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Tibet and Chechnya? Or to the aboriginal people of Australia? Or the Ogoni of Nigeria? Or the Kurds in Turkey? Or the Dalits and Adivasis of India? What does peace mean to non-muslims in Islamic countries, or to women in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan? What does it mean to the millions who are being uprooted from their lands by dams and development projects? What does peace mean to the poor who are being actively robbed of their resources and for whom everyday life is a grim battle for water, shelter, survival and, above all, some semblance of dignity? For them, peace is war.

We know very well who benefits from war in the age of Empire. But we must also ask ourselves honestly who benefits from peace in the age of Empire? War mongering is criminal. But talking of peace without talking of justice could easily become advocacy for a kind of capitulation. And talking of justice without unmasking the institutions and the systems that perpetrate injustice, is beyond hypocritical.

It's easy to blame the poor for being poor. It's easy to believe that the world is being caught up in an escalating spiral of terrorism and war. That's what allows the American President to say "You're either with us or with the terrorists." But we know that that's a spurious choice. We know that terrorism is only the privatization of war. That terrorists are the free marketers of war. They believe that the legitimate use of violence is not the sole prerogative of the State.

It is mendacious to make moral distinction between the unspeakable brutality of terrorism and the indiscriminate carnage of war and occupation. Both kinds of violence are unacceptable. We cannot support one and condemn the other.

The real tragedy is that most people in the world are trapped between the horror of a putative peace and the terror of war. Those are the two sheer cliffs we're hemmed in by. The question is: How do we climb out of this crevasse?

For those who are materially well-off, but morally uncomfortable, the first question you must ask yourself is do you really want to climb out of it? How far are you prepared to go? Has the crevasse become too comfortable?

If you really want to climb out, there's good news and bad news.

The good news is that the advance party began the climb some time ago. They're already half way up. Thousands of activists across the world have been hard at work preparing footholds and securing the ropes to make it easier for the rest of us. There isn't only one path up. There are hundreds of ways of doing it. There are hundreds of battles being fought around the world that need your skills, your minds, your resources. No battle is irrelevant. No victory is too small.

The bad news is that colorful demonstrations, weekend marches and annual trips to the World Social Forum are not enough. There have to be targeted acts of real civil disobedience with real consequences. Maybe we can't flip a switch and conjure up a revolution. But there are several things we could do. For example, you could make a list of those corporations who have profited from the invasion of Iraq and have offices here in Australia. You could name them, boycott them, occupy their offices and force them out of business. If it can happen in Bolivia, it can happen in India. It can happen in Australia. Why not?

That's only a small suggestion. But remember that if the struggle were to resort to violence, it will lose vision, beauty and imagination. Most dangerous of all, it will marginalize and eventually victimize women. And a political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it and within it is no struggle at all.

The point is that the battle must be joined. As the wonderful American historian Howard Zinn put it:

You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train.


~ Arundhati Roy

archived
  http://www.duckdaotsu.org/110404-roy.html

Hello, Pluto? Any Room?


I said it, you said it, pretty much anyone with a brain larger than a
grape or a soul more nimble than a rock probably said it a thousand
times over.


And you probably weren't even all that drunk when you said it and maybe
you were even a little more than half serious and maybe you said it
just like this: If Bush somehow snags another election, if the
unthinkable comes to pass and the Dubya neocon nightmare refuses to
end, well, that's it. I'm outta here.

Done. Over. Gone. Moving away. To Canada. Or France. Latvia. Uranus.
Anywhere, really, that doesn't have Bush as leader and which doesn't
make me openly ashamed to be a citizen and which doesn't make me feel
like a sickened disillusioned ulcerated outcast in my own happily
divisive country every damn day including Sunday ....


(click this URL to read the rest)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2004/11/05/notes110504.DTL&nl=fix
============= MARK MORFORD'S NOTES & ERRATA =============

SFGate.com - November 5, 2004


== Hello, Pluto? Any Room? =
Must. Move. Away. Cannot endure more Bush. Soul about to implode. Right? Not so fast
(By Mark Morford)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2004/11/05/notes110504.DTL&nl=fix


All contents (tm) (c) 2004 SF Gate
http://sfgate.com/chronicle/info/copyright/
Have a lovely day

De Profundis


November 4, 2004

De Profundis
The Morning After
By JULES RABIN

I'm groggy for want of sleep as I jot down these notes on the morning
after the election debacle of November 2, 2004.

It's a gray, chill day here in the north of Vermont. A high wind is
blowing through the tall autumn grasses. I don't relish the prospect of
joining the vigil to be held in Montpelier a few hours from now, that is
supposed somehow to take account of this monumental election. This vigil
will be a continuation, with timely amendments, of the weekly vigil that has
gone on in Montpelier for two years, beginning in the long ago days when it
seemed that war with Iraq could be averted.


***

Depleted by lack of sleep and the terrible news of a clear Republican
sweep of the Presidency and both Houses of Congress, I feel like a Samson
shackled, shorn, and under sentence. I don't have any notion of emulating
Samson's apocalyptic feat of vengeance; but I envy him the late miracle that
his connection with the God of his fathers brought to him.

On this Morning After, I feel shorn of my power, stopped in my tracks.
I don't yet allow myself to think in detail of the terms of the sentence
America has passed on itself, to live on for 4 more years under a system of
heartless and addled Republicanism. Who, in our now-shredded government,
will have the power or the guts to gainsay a triumphant Bush and his
exultant cohort in the Administration and Congress?


***

I've been wincing, politically, for too much of my life. In the last 4
decades there were successive bad times full epochs, they were -- of the
Vietnam war, and the successive administrations of Nixon, Reagan, and the
dynastic Bushes. The habit and necessity of withstanding, together with the
recurrent wincing that has been my -- our -- lot, now take on the character
of a lifelong sentence.

It's romantic and a tease to escape into the wish to have been born in
another time and place. I have vagrant fantasies of another kind of life
that a person, enough like me to be myself, could have lived in one of the
better corners of Scandinavia or Tuscany.


***

There is, after all, something savage, selfish, and otherwise morally
unkempt in the forms and practises of American conservatism that suffuse the
vast interior of our country, the part that on the election maps is colored
red. Living tolerably well in civil Vermont, am I an alien in Greater
America?

"This land is your land, this land is my land," goes the soupy song.
But I feel the life is being squeezed out of me by the heavy weight of the
Conservatism whose prevalence has just been certified for four more years,
thanks to the winner-takes-all nature of our election system, that leaves
the defeated 49% to gasp under the fat ass of the 51%.


***

I titled these reflection De profundis. From the Pits. The kind of
Melancholy that was beloved of the Romantics, and lauded by Milton, isn't a
fit thing to bring along to the party, these days. So I feel I should
disintegrate the words I've just written here into their electronic
particles -- delete them -- and let them fall back into the undifferentiated
matter from which I drew them.


***

These are first thoughts the morning after, wrung out of a
sleep-deprived mind. By publishing them, I feel I undermine the better
discourse of more balanced temperaments, that, to my relief, will follow.

So I temper the melancholy drift of this complaint with what is for me
a first redeeming thought, that where Bush and his crowd prevailed, it was
in most cases by the small margin of 1 or 2%. There is no overwhelming
right-wing consensus on the great issues that can be said to divide the
country. Kerry, that flawed man, missed winning in key states by just that
kind of small margin, of 1 or 2%.

If we've been smashed by Bush's victory, it's mainly because of that
rigged artifact of American politics which makes a complete hegemon of the
man who pulls down as little as one vote above the 50% line.

Four years in the doghouse is too great a price for us, the losers in
our multi-millions, to pay. I,m no pendulumist, who believes that an extreme
swing in politics is bound to produce an extreme counterswing. But we the
losers, submerged in our individual disappointments today, number in the
many tens of millions: a colossal number. We,re not alone and certainly not
without recourse.

I write these words, just now, after returning from our noontime
vigil. I noted there how one woman walked by us, weeping to herself. Another
woman I know, who has stood with us every week for most of the last two
years, since before the war began, wept privately to me as we drew placards
out of a car.

From melancholy to weeping in company to declaring ourselves on the
main street of our town ... we won't be passive or impassive in this defeat.

Jules Rabin lives in Marshfield, Vermont. He can be reached at:
jhrabin@sover.net

http://www.counterpunch.org




Unfurling Old Glory


It’s just past midnight and Election Day has just dawned. As I look to my right from where I’m sitting writing this story, I can see across the hall into my bedroom where an American flag stands in the same corner I put it in four long years ago.

The last time my flag fluttered freely in the breeze was at a rally in Philadelphia to protest the decision by the Supreme Court that handed the 2000 election to George W. Bush. On that day I placed my American flag upside down on its pole and spent hours on the streets of Philly demonstrating my outrage. The flag has remained upside down ever since. 

Many people had never seen an upside down flag before and asked me what it meant. I told them that it was a symbol of national distress and then explained to them that I felt our nation was in crisis and that’s why I chose to present our flag in that manner. 

During the rally, while I paraded alone up and down the sidewalk just outside of the park, one woman in a car slowed down, rolled down her window and yelled, “Traitor!!!” 

Her words stung me to my core and I admit that tears welled up in my eyes. I wasn’t sure if I was angry or hurt but all kinds of emotions came to the surface in the moments after her hateful message to me.

I wondered why the woman called me a “Traitor” when she knew absolutely nothing about me?

Just down the street from where I was standing stood Independence Hall, the very place where our nation was born. Down another street and also within sight was the Betsy Ross House where legend tells us Betsy sewed together the first American flag.

Having been born in Philadelphia , at the US Naval Hospital in South Philly, I was well aware of our nation’s history growing up, and had spent my entire lifetime studying everything I could about how our revolution had given birth to our nation and had given us our freedoms. I had also studied Constitutional Law in college and learned first hand how to apply these laws as a Police Officer in New Jersey

My paternal ancestors came to America in the 1630’s and two of them became the first colonial Governors of Rhode Island and New York . I am a descendant of a warrior clan from Scotland where my ancestors fought tyranny from their homeland in the Highlands for many centuries and then fought heroically in every major war in American history. Every directly related male in my family that I know of from the 1630’s up to and including my son have taken an oath to defend our nation. With this pedigree coursing through my veins I feel that I have the right to say what’s on my mind and also have the right to fly my American flag any damn way I want to without being called a “Traitor”.

During the past four years I’ve been called much worse things than “Traitor” though, by zealots who have either forgotten, or more likely never truly known, the founding principles our nation was built upon. These self proclaimed “Patriots” seem to think they own the rights to our flag and then have the audacity to look down their noses at those of us who dare speak out or try to demonstrate our rights which are guaranteed under the Constitution.

Having come of age during the 60’s, I witnessed the anger and rage that divided our nation during the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. I didn’t think it could ever get worse than that but then we had to deal with Nixon and the entire Watergate scandal in the early 70’s. I couldn’t imagine anyone ever being hated more that Richard Nixon but then the Bush family emerged and made Nixon look like Little Miss Muffet. 

In 1976, I was contacted by some officials from the incoming Carter administration and was asked to be part of a panel that was going to investigate abuses within the FBI and the CIA. I thought about it for awhile and was flattered to even be considered but turned down their request when I realized that I might meet my demise as an investigator at the bottom of the Hudson River sporting a new pair of cement shoes. Looking back now, I wish I had done it. It might have prevented Bush 41 from ever becoming President.
 
Bush 41, an effeminate little toad, was surrounded by scandal and controversy for years and was right in the middle of things during the original October Surprise, Iran Contra and Iraqgate. He emerged from all of this totally unscathed and much richer and then passed his torch to his evil spawn Bush 43. You might notice that I never refer to George W. Bush as President. In my mind he will never be my President because of the way he was presented the office by the Supreme Court. The man lost the popular vote by 500,000 votes in 2000 and there is no way that I can honestly justify his being our President when he lost the mandate of the people in the last election.
 
Watching Bush 43 operate over the past few years makes me wonder why he lost by only a half million votes in 2000. I knew back then that he had a reptilian soul and used to tell people to just look into his eyes and then tell me I’m wrong. What is even more shocking to me is how this election is considered to be so close after all of the outright buffoonery this man has perpetrated and all of the shame he has brought to our country while playing dress-up President in the White House.

Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a parallel universe when I see so many people worshipping at the feet of this self-proclaimed messiah who so clearly in my view is nothing more than a charlatan and a fraud. What are they seeing that I can’t see? 

Have they somehow missed the fact that W is a coward who used his fathers influence to dodge the Vietnam War and then went AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard and lost his flying status because he refused to take a physical during the time when he was allegedly doing cocaine and nearly drinking himself to death?

Have they somehow missed the fact that if Bush had to undergo the same national security clearances that members of his staff had to pass in order to work in the White House that he would most likely fail due to his criminal record and substance abuse history?

Have they somehow missed the fact that W failed in every business venture he ever touched including those personally funded by members of the Bin Laden family? 

Have they somehow missed the fact that as Commander-In-Chief Bush allowed the most powerful military force in the history of the world along with our entire high-tech national defense system to be sneak attacked and defeated by 19 guys armed with box cutters who supposedly lived in caves?

Have they somehow missed the fact that the leader of these hijackers is still on the loose and still issuing threats after W proclaimed he wanted him “Dead or Alive” over three years ago?

Have they somehow missed the fact that nearly 3,000 innocent Americans were murdered on 9-11 and yet nobody has been held accountable for preventing the most heinous crime in American history from happening?

Have they somehow missed the fact that nearly 1,100 of our sons and daughters have been killed in Iraq in a war that was based totally on lies?

Have they somehow missed the fact that 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in the War on Terror even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11?

Have they somehow missed the fact that the United States is now hated by more people in the world than ever before because of W’s incompetence and insanity?

How many more innocent people will have to die and how much more hatred and shame will the United States have to endure before the other half of our nation takes off their blinders and not only drums Bush out of office but throws him behind bars?

I’m hoping and praying that the disaster of the last four years ends today. My flag was created to fly freely in the breeze and I would love nothing more than to put it right side up on its pole once again and display it the way it was meant to be displayed. I can only do that though if the American people finally come to their senses and give Bush the same pink slip that millions of us received during the past four years.

Bush deserves to be humiliated and “Old Glory” deserves to be unfurled.


By Allan P. Duncan   OpEdNews.com   Election Day, November 2, 2004
Allan Duncan is a 911 activist, and a former Social Worker and police officer, who lives in New Hope , PA.   This article is copyright by Allan Duncan ADuncan282@aol.com originally published by opednews.com Permission is granted to forward this or to place it on a website as long as the article is included intact, including this statement. Read more of his articles at Allan Duncan Archive

--  http://www.opednews.com/duncan_110204_flag.htm  

Iraq: U.S.-Led Forces Failed to Secure Key Evidence


Official Documents Looted, Mass Graves Left Unprotected

(Amman, November 4, 2004) — U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq failed  during last year’s invasion to safeguard official documents and the  remains of victims in mass graves, Human Rights Watch said in a report  released today. As a result, crucial evidence for the upcoming trials of  Saddam Hussein and other former Iraqi officials has likely been lost or  seriously tainted.   The 41-page report, “Iraq: The State of the Evidence,” details what  happened to some of the key archival and forensic evidence that the U.S.- led coalition and, more recently, the Iraqi interim government failed to  secure.   In April 2003, former Iraqi officials left behind volumes of official papers  documenting criminal policies and practices. In the past year and a half,  more than 250 mass graves have been identified, some of which contain  the remains of thousands of victims of Saddam Hussein’s rule.   “Given what’s at stake here, the extent of this negligence is alarming,”  said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North  Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. “U.S. and Iraqi authorities were  aware that these documents and remains would be crucial to the  prosecution of Saddam Hussein and other former officials, but they did  little to safeguard them.”   Human Rights Watch said that in the weeks and months following the  invasion of Iraq, U.S.-led coalition forces failed to prevent people from  freely looting thousands of official documents, or to keep relatives of  “disappeared” persons from digging up remains found in some mass  gravesites. Coalition forces subsequently failed to put in place the  professional expertise and assistance necessary to ensure proper  classification and exhumation procedures. As a result, it is very likely that  key evidentiary materials have been lost or tainted.   In the case of mass graves, these failures have also frustrated the ability of  families to know the fate of thousands of missing relatives who  “disappeared” during Saddam Hussein’s rule.   Human Rights Watch urged Iraq’s interim government, with international  assistance, to set up a joint Iraqi and international Commission for Missing  Persons to establish effective procedures for protecting mass graves and  conducting exhumations, and a similar body to oversee the handling of  documents of the former government.   “This material needs urgent attention. The evidence will be critical to any  upcoming trial proceedings,” Whitson said. “And it will also be crucial for  Iraqis as they attempt to construct an accurate record of the atrocities they  suffered under Ba`th Party rule.”   ----------- Please help support the research that made this bulletin possible. In order to protect our objectivity, Human Rights Watch does not accept funding from any government. We depend entirely on the generosity of people like you. To make a contribution, please visit http://hrw-news-mideast.c.topica.com/maacPw9abbrVXa6XLMXb/  

Woman sentenced to be stoned appeals


A lawyer for a woman sentenced to be stoned appealed before an Islamic court in northern Nigeria yesterday against her conviction for adultery.

 Daso Adamu, 25, contested her conviction on the basis that the father of her six-month-old child was a husband she divorced in 2001. Her lawyer, Abdulkadir Suleiman, argued that sharia law allowed for five years between conception and birth, and that the conception could thus be considered to have taken place during her marriage, Associated Press reported.

 The court in Ningi village in Bauchi state was expected to rule next month. If the conviction handed down in September is upheld, Ms Adamu can make a second appeal to a higher court. The state governor's consent is then needed; no such execution has ever gone ahead.

 According to her lawyer, Ms Adamu had confessed to adultery (a capital offence under sharia law) only because the former husband made it a condition of his remarrying her. After admitting having had sex with the 35-year-old man 12 times, she was briefly jailed with her baby. At the same time as she was convicted, a pregnant woman in the Tafawa Balewa area of Bauchi state, Hajara Ibrahim, was convicted of adultery, with her capital sentence suspended until after she gave birth. Yesterday Ms Ibrahim lodged an appeal in the Dass upper sharia court; its judgment is due on November 10.

 Since 12 northern states introduced sharia law in 2000 there have been at least 10 death sentences; only one, the hanging of a murderer, is known to have been carried out. Of dozens of people sentenced to amputations for stealing, three have lost limbs. There have been no amputations for three years, reflecting a trend towards successful appeals and an ebbing in the enforcement of sharia law.

 President Olusegun Obasanjo openly disapproves of a brand of justice which divides Africa's most populous country, a volatile balance of around 130 million Muslims and Christians which periodically flares in religious riots.

 Appeal judges and state governors have proved reluctant to sanction stonings, floggings and amputations in the face of outcries from the federal government and foreigners, and also because the political value of such sentences has dwindled. Analysts attributed the rise of sharia partly to northern politicians seeking to tap Muslim discontent with Christian elites and a slow, corrupt judicial system. As those politicians became less popular, so did the sharia they championed.

 The New York-based group Human Rights Watch warned in a report last September that sharia was being abused, and infringed human rights.

 Suspects were often tortured into confessing, lacked legal representation and faced judges who did not inform them of their rights, claimed the report. Women especially were vulnerable since pregnancy could be evidence of adultery, an accusation that male suspects shrug off.

 "State governments and sharia courts have not only failed to respect international human rights standards, they have also disregarded what many Muslims argue are key principles of sharia itself," said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Africa division.

 "They have concentrated on the harsh aspects of Islamic law while ignoring its principles of generosity and compassion."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,1342657,00.html?gusrc=rss
Rory Carroll, Africa correspondent  Thursday November 4, 2004  The Guardian

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After Arafat, which way do the winds of change blow?

Power struggle in the Middle East
( '? NOT reformatted
cool lynx


Without Yasser Arafat, the individual who has dominated Palestinian politics for the past 36 years, the Middle East may be entering the political equivalent of the "perfect storm."

As of Friday, Mr. Arafat remained in a coma in a French hospital, "between life and death," reports ABCNews.

As a consequence of Arafat's faltering condition, The Associated Press reports that "the Bush administration is preparing a strategy for resumed Mideast peacemaking that rests heavily on an emerging core of Palestinian leaders taking charge of keeping order and nurturing an embryonic government."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair urged President Bush "to dedicate much more effort to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," reports Albawaba, based in Jordan.

Blair, who was congratulating the American leader on the latter's second term in office in a brief speech Wednesday night, described the need for such a solution as the 'single most pressing political challenge in our world today.'
The New York Times reports that, for US administration officials, events "seem to be coming together to change the disinclination of Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to get involved in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations."
First, pressure on the president from allies, especially in Europe and the Arab world, is considered certain to increase now that the American election is over.
Second, is Mr. Arafat's illness and the emergence of two Palestinian moderates, Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei and Mahmoud Abbas, a former prime minister who is head of the cabinet, to run Palestinian affairs while Mr. Arafat is in Paris. The Bush administration regards both as suitable partners in any peace talks.
There is opportunity and danger in "Arafat's removal from the Middle East pollitical landscape," reports The Times of London. A weakened Palestinian nation could plunge into "further crisis" or even civil war; but conversely, the way may be "opened ...for the first real peace effort in the region for years," reports the Times.

With the expected passing of Mr. Arafat, the first challenge confronting Palestinians would be the "major problem" of which individual, or group would assume the leadership, reports the BBC.

There is no clear line of succession for the Palestinian Authority or the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the umbrella group for the Palestinian national movement. He has not designated a deputy or successor, perhaps fearing that an impatient heir apparent might be a threat to him. The traditional 40 days of mourning will be observed before politics can be resumed.
The Washington Post explains how the temporary duties of Mr. Qureia and Mr.Mahmoud Abbas would shake out. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports "The prevailing assessment in the territories is that no one will try to challenge Abbas and Qureia during the first several weeks after Arafat's death." But as a precaution,
Both have been assigned special security details by Force 17, Arafat's presidential guard. In addition, the heads of the PA security services declared a state of emergency Thursday, and security personnel were out in force in both Ramallah and Gaza.
Israeli Defense Forces "were on alert, but that no special deployments were made," reports the Jerusalem Post. There are orders "to monitor the situation [in the West Bank and Gaza] but not to take any provocative actions."
[Israeli] Officers have said that the circumstances of Arafat's death will dictate the measures to be taken, as per the army's contingency plan, according to which Arafat's death abroad of apparently natural causes is the most comfortable scenario.
One thing remains constant about the Middle East, says Gulf News in its analysis of the current crisis. Nothing is easy and nothing is accomplished without friction and tough compromise.
'Yasser Arafat, in good health or in dilapidating sickness, is a thorn in Ariel Sharon's side.' For a start, his absence, temporary or permanent, has the potential of throwing a monkey wrench into the Israeli leader's much-trumpeted plan for withdrawing unilaterally from the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of Israeli colonies in this overpopulated Palestinian region. Sharon will now have to negotiate the terms of his pullback with a new Palestinian leader, or 'peace partner,' who will no doubt make certain that this will be the first step towards an end to the Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, and the creation of a Palestinian state.
Many Palestinians remain concerned that "the political vacuum that Arafat leaves behind after decades of jealously guarding power and undercutting rivals could trigger serious internal conflict," reports Gulf News. Arafat is "irreplaceable" the Times of London quotes Nadim Shehadi, a Middle East expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, as saying, "because he was the father of the Palestinian nationalmovement..."
'After the deaths of each of the old Arab leaders people predicted doomsday scenarios - for Jordan after King Hussein, Morocco after King Hassan and Syria after Hafez al-Assad,' he said. 'But normal life has continued. We will see the same thing after Arafat. I don't think the place will descend into civil war. The Palestinians will still be there,' he said.

Also...
World faces a Mideast minus Arafat (The Christian Science Monitor)
Views clash: hero, rogue (Denver Post)
Palestinians prepare for Arafat funeral (UPI/B>)

Feedback appreciated. E-mail Jim Bencivenga

FAIR USE


Survival manual for Bush's next term; did Paris Hilton help Bush?; Nick and Jessica: The state of our union is strong!

The Fix
Nov. 4, 2004

Morning Briefing:
Recipe for survival: The exit polls may have called the election wrong,
but the prescient folks at Random House's Villard imprint apparently
didn't. The publisher has announced that it will rush to stores next
week a book called "250 Ways to Make It Through the Next Four Years
Without Misunderestimating the Dangers Ahead, and Other Subliminable
Stategeries," by Gene Stone. The paperback, which will retail for $9.95
and hit stores on Nov. 9, aims to be humorous, yes, but serious too,
because, according to a press release, "after another Bush victory, you
are less likely to find as much relief from the subject/verb
disagreement, the invented words, and the general bizarreness of
Dubya's speech and thoughts ... So most importantly, "The Bush Survival
Bible" is an essential guide to help you cope and fight back. This
upbeat, forward-thinking, realistic book shows you how to channel your
anger in a positive direction." The book will offer advice on
everything from how to get involved in local politics and join
change-oriented groups to how to deal with "Post-Election-Stress
Disorder (PESD)" to where to defect, including " details about visas to
welcoming countries that Bush hopefully won't bomb." And if all else
fails, the book points out that things could be worse: At least we
didn't elect Ivan the Terrible, Pol Pot or ... Alan Keyes.

Blame it on Paris? Not only did the young people not show up to vote
in as large number as expected on Election Day -- some of the
celebrities encouraging them to do so, or else, didn't bother to pull a
lever either. In fact, according to Lloyd Grove's Lowdown, "Vote or
Die!" T-shirt-wearers Paris Hilton and 50 Cent didn't even see fit to
register to vote. (Although in 50 Cent's case, that may be have
something to do with the fact that he's a convicted felon.) Others,
like Citizen Change leader P.Diddy and the rapper Ludacris did vote,
the latter reportedly absentee ... in Florida. And Citizen Change
official Alexis McGill said there was nothing they could do to make
sure their celebrity supporters made it to the polls. "All the
celebrities' managers confirmed that they were going to register if
they hadn't already," McGill said. "We have to take the managers at
their word. We have no business checking up on them - especially
because none of the celebs got paid." (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)

The scene in Simpsonland: Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, who just
celebrated their second wedding anniversary, want you to know that
they're very happily married. "Our relationship is better than it's
ever been. We are absolutely not breaking up," Simpson tells People
magazine, responding to rumors that the couple was going through a
rocky patch. And speaking of rocky patches, Simpson had this to say to
"Access Hollywood" about her sister Ashlee's "SNL" lip-synch debacle:
"Ashlee is an amazingly talented person. She's already sold 3 million
records, which is more than I sold in two years. She's proven herself."
Who else has Ashlee's back? Eminem, of all people, who said he wouldn't
dis the younger Simpson sis because his niece and daughter are big fans
of hers. (Associated Press, Rush and Molloy)

Also: The new "America's Most Wanted"? A California man who appeared
on the NBC reality show "Blind Date" stands accused of rape and
kidnapping after his alleged victim spotted him on the show and
contacted police (The Smoking Gun) ... Bijou Phillips insists she never
snipped off the tip of anyone's finger with a cigar cutter. She calls
the rumor that she did so "disgusting," but shares, "I did hear last
night that it takes the same amount of pressure to bite off the pinkie
as it does to bite into a carrot," which of course isn't disgusting at
all (W magazine via Rush and Molloy) ... Dixie Carter nearly got
herself arrested aboard an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to
Nashville on Friday when she made a scene after flight attendants tried
to prevent a man in a wheelchair traveling with Carter and her husband,
Hal Holbrook, from being wheeled to his appointed seat. A pilot had to
intervene on Carter's behalf. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown) ... Patty Duke is
said to be in fair condition as she recovers from single bypass
surgery, which she underwent on Wednesday (Associated Press) ... Kelly
Ripa's husband, Mark Consuelos, has been cast as her love interest in
three episodes of Ripa's ABC sitcom, "Hope & Faith" (N.Y. Post) ...
"Jeopardy" dynamo Ken Jennings became the biggest money winner on a
single quiz show in TV history last night, when he took in $45,099,
bringing his total winnings to $2.197 million (N.Y. Post)

-- Amy Reiter
gossip of salon
http://www.salon.com/ent/col/fix/2004/11/04/thurs/print.html

Why Americans Hate Democrats—A Dialogue / Moralize, liberally.

Slate Editor's note: The day after the election, Slate's political
writers tackled the question of why the Democratic Party—which has now
lost five of the past seven presidential elections and solidified its
minority status in Congress—keeps losing elections. Chris Suellentrop
says that John Kerry was too nuanced and technocratic, while George W.
Bush offered a vision of expanding freedom around the world. William
Saletan argues that Democratic candidates won't win until they again
cast their policies the way Bill Clinton did, in terms of values and
moral responsibility. Timothy Noah contends that none of the familiar
advice to the party—move right, move left, or sit tight—seems likely to
help. Slate asked a number of wise liberals to take up the question of
why Americans won't vote for the Democrats. Click here to read the
other entries.

The esteemed liberal blogger Atrios is discouraging an orgy of
Democratic recriminations: "What matters isn't what was done wrong, but
what needs to be done right for the '06 elections." I agree. But
discussing the former helps us think about the latter—and has the added
therapeutic value of letting me vent some frustration over John Kerry's
ultra-risk-averse campaign.

In state after state, Bush voters cited two issues as key: terrorism
and "moral issues." I think both of these Bush assets could have been
drained of some value by an adventurous and creatively eloquent
Democratic candidate.

On the terrorism front, Kerry failed to erase a paradox: The public
gives Bush low marks on Iraq but says he's doing a good job in the war
on terror. Of course, in truth Bush's failure in Iraq has made America
more vulnerable to terrorism. Kerry nibbled around the edges of this
issue. He said the Iraq war had diverted resources from the fight
against al-Qaida, annoyed allies, etc. He never stressed the central
point: The war has made lots of Muslims hate America, and the more
Muslims who hate America, the worse shape we're in.

With this theme nailed down, Kerry could have gone on to show how Iraq
is emblematic of Bush's larger failure: indifference to how the world
regards America, even as we enter a technological age in which
grass-roots hatred abroad will morph easily into massive lethality at
home. In other words: Regardless of what happens in Iraq, four more
years of Bush will mean your children are more likely to die in a
terrorist attack.

Instead, Kerry's critique of the war made it sound like an isolated
mistake and even a reversible one: Misdirected resources can be
redirected, and annoyed allies will ultimately forgive. Conveying the
full proportions of Bush's Iraq failure without sounding like a wimp
would have been a rhetorical challenge, but, as I argued in an op-ed
after the Democratic Convention, it would have been worth the risk.

Four years from now, a sufficiently charismatic Democratic standard
bearer could not only make this broad-gauged critique of Bush's foreign
policy but go beyond it by depicting the war on terror as, in part, a
moral challenge with uplifting aspects: Our mission includes
demonstrating America's basic goodness to the world, helping to draw
the world's diverse nations and peoples into a single community, etc.
In any event: We can't afford to cede the "national greatness" theme to
the neocons. Evangelicals are hardly the only voters who would like to
see America as a nation with a calling.

As for domestic "moral issues:" They seem to leave Democrats in a
quandary. The salient "moral" issues—abortion, gay rights, school
prayer—aren't issues on which substantial compromise is thinkable. If
you imagine a Democratic Party that caves on these, you're imagining a
party that has lost both philosophical integrity and vital
constituencies.

But compromise on these issues may not be a prerequisite for
attracting some voters who care about them. Though these issues are
symptoms of moral anxiety in Middle America, I think the anxiety's
ultimate source is more diffuse, and includes concerns that even many
liberals share.

Especially if they're parents. I've never met an American parent—left,
right, center—who seemed enthusiastic about the culture in which
children now grow up. Unless you put your kids in an isolation tank,
their electronic and social environments will conspire to channel them
toward MTV-land: a realm in which sex, money, alcohol, and rock-solid
abs jockey for pre-eminence in the hierarchy of human needs. And along
the way these kids will encounter lots of glorified violence—more of a
concern on the left than the right, maybe, but something very few
parents applaud.

This aura of amorality unsettles evangelicals and other conservatives,
and energizes their position on the salient "moral" issues. They think
school prayer could help stem the tide of MTV culture, and they see
abortion-rights advocates as hedonists who want to "have their fun and
not pay for it" as my high-school history teacher back in San Antonio,
Texas, complained. A vote against abortion is a vote against Britney
Spears.

In reacting against MTV-land, morally conservative parents home-school
their kids, or send them to religious schools, or in some other way
seek seclusion from secular culture. And the resulting cocoon cuts
their chances of encountering anyone who might change their views—like,
say, a homosexual who turns out to be not so bad once you get to know
him/her.

Aside from Tipper Gore and a few others, liberals have failed to stress
that—whatever their views on abortion, gay marriage, and prayer in the
schools—they share conservatives' underlying unease with pop-culture
values. You don't have to be Jerry Falwell to feel like moving to
another planet when you see the Jerry Springer Show.

I think Kerry had a chance to seize this issue back in January, before
he was the Democratic nominee. The moment—what might have been his
Sister Souljah moment—came during halftime at the Super Bowl, when
Justin Timberlake ripped Janet Jackson's clothes off.

Criticism of Timberlake and Jackson came mainly from the right.
Liberals scoffed at the idea of getting worked up over "one exposed
breast." But the problem wasn't the breast; the problem was how it was
exposed—through an act of stylized male sexual aggression, an apparent
preamble to rape. (After Timberlake's advance, Jackson pretended to
recoil in fear.) Does anyone with a son or a daughter want to see such
behavior glorified? For that matter, do liberal feminists?

This wasn't the most egregious specimen of contemporary culture, but
it was about the most prominent—a national, even global, advertisement
of American values. By denouncing it, Kerry could have endeared himself
to millions of American parents and gotten pundits commenting on his
maverick moral streak. Then on to Jerry Springer ...

One thing that may have kept Kerry and other Democrats away from this
issue is the dreaded liberal cultural elite. Whenever you start
moralizing in a remotely Victorian way, some artists, writers, and
directors start screaming about censorship. (And Katha Pollitt gets
really annoyed—as we may see soon!)

Of course, they've got it wrong: Censorship is officially imposed
restraint (e.g., the fines that the FCC levied over the incident), not
mere criticism. What's more, criticism can be an antidote to
censorship. Moral sanction and legal sanction are the only two kinds of
sanction there are, and, human nature being what it is, a society needs
one or the other to stay healthy.

If Democrats felt a little freer to moralize, they wouldn't, of
course, take over Bush's evangelical base. Still, without giving an
inch on gay rights, abortion rights, school prayer, etc., they can make
some inroads into the "moral" component of Republican support. But so
long as they consider it their sacred duty to applaud Quentin Tarantino
or to quietly endure Britney Spears, they may stay where they were this
week: 140,000 votes shy in Ohio.

P.S.: I suspect liberal bloggers may organize multicity demonstrations
on Inauguration Day. If so, my advice is to make the demonstrations
thematically simple and hence broadly inclusive. The basic message,
chanted again and again, should be along the lines of: "He doesn't
speak for us." That's something lots of us can agree on, and something
the world should hear.

Robert Wright, a visiting fellow at Princeton University's Center for
Human Values and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, runs
the Web site meaningoflife.tv and is the author of The Moral Animal and
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny.

By Robert Wright Posted Thursday, Nov. 4, 2004, at 9:37 AM PT Article
URL: http://slate.msn.com/id/2109164/
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Report from Ohio


This is Alexis Sottile, writing, who some of you may know, or some of
you may have heard from before. I just wanted to write for a minute
about my experience in Ohio doing voter outreach work these past two
weeks, and why I feel that the loss of the election was something we
might have expected, that should not, at all, overwhelm us, or
discourage, stop, or slow our beautiful, strong, vibrant efforts.

In Ohio I saw two things, chiefly. I saw, outside the bubble of my great
awake friends in New York, many people, young and old, whose information
about politics comes chiefly, unfortunately, from commercials. I grew up
this way, maybe a lot of THAWsters did as well. I remember loving
Michael Dukakis when I was twelve because he looked Italian, and because
he said he liked to dance.

In Columbus I met a young Lebanese American college student who had not
registered to vote because neither of the candidates was acceptable to
him. I asked him what was unacceptable about John Kerry. "He doesn't
have enough government experience," he told me, which was what his
friend had told him. When I told him that Kerry had, in fact, been a
senator for 20 years, as opposed to Bush's 6 years as governor, and 4 as
president, he had never heard that before---and this was The Day Before
The Election...in Ohio...the state most heavily inundated with campaign
visits, etc. Once had had that fact, he was open to Kerry, open to
voting, and finally, open to voting for Kerry. But the fact is---He
still didn't know that.

There's a divide right now in this country that is akin to the old
literacy divide, and to the old divide betw. who can vote, and who
can't. (and I don't mean to imply that the literacy problem is gone
either, because it isn't.)

It is the information divide, the communications divide. There are those
of us who are priviledged to have an awareness of our options where
political discourse is concerned, and those who don't. As I did voter
outreach in those last two weeks, armed with talking points given to me
by a voter outreach group, I was myself making leaps and bounds in my
own learning curve. How much had I known, myself, about why Kerry could
be helpful, as opposed to my just having a deep mistrust and anger at
President Bush? Not too too much before I watched the debates, in all
honesty.

But I don't think I'm bad because of that, or that uninformed people in
Ohio or Staten Island are bad because of that. There are many reasons
why this is the case, and people have written eloquent books on the
problems with media and culture in this country.
However, these are books that only the very rare American will read. I
still, myself, have yet to read word-one by Noam Chomsky, because his
name was intimidating to me in college, when I was coming from a
relatively un-politically-aware family and place.

Well, as I knocked on doors in Ohio, I saw Kerry/Bush/Kerry/Bush signs
alternating on lawns like a checkered pattern. Houses divided,
girlfriend for Bush, boyfriend for Kerry.

And me, with my little list of facts, two weeks before E-day, trying to
inform people about things I myself was just learning. In the words of
Kerry/Edwards, "we can do better."

We really and really truly can do better. Lucky for THAW, the problem
lies in the area whetre we ourselves are strongest. The problem, as I
see it, is one of a lack of communication, and we, all of us, theater
folk, are communicators first and foremost.

Why do actors make such good candidates: because they can communicate
ideas to large numbers of people, they can speak the language of the
person they are talking to.

As do we, all of us. Let's get together now, and get together often, as
communicators, as human beings, and find our own, particular plans for
breaking down the communications divide. The media is consolidated, but
the theater world is not. We all have a story to tell, a body and a
voice. We have resources we're not even aware of.

I think that the time ahead will be calling us to even greater
involvement in world politics, and even greater love for our fellow
humans. Remember how, after September 11, the city was full of the
words, on stickers, "Our grief is not a cry for war." Right now I
believe that we can say, "Our setback is a reason to dig deeper."

In Ohio, I met amazing people from all over the country who had come to
this place to work on voter outreach in the state. I, myself, never,
ever thought I'd be lucky enough to become an activist. It always seemed
beyond me...something I would've had to have read Noam Chomsky in
college to be able to do...like I missed my chance when I was 19, and
now it was too late. Well, the election is showing me that none of us
have the leisure to doubt our abilities to learn and grow in this work.

These are just a few not-too-coherent thoughts, and I hope to hear from
the rest of you as well. I love you all very much for getting me
involved in THAW, for letting me learn from you, and for guiding me
through my glitches on this road.

Please do not despair, or let this momentum go. These are our days on
earth, our time to make the most of.

With big love (for the long long haul)
Alexis

from THAW: Theatre Actors Against the War.

Why Kerry Lost

Z

John Kerry has definitively lost the popular vote by some three and a half million votes. That makes an all-out lawyers' war in Ohio devoid of moral force (and I doubt that in the end there'll be one).

Kerry ran a tactical campaign, devoid of vision or explicable alternatives, utterly lacking in message discipline, and riddled with misjudgments -- it was one of the most incompetently run presidential campaigns by a Democrat in my lifetime.

Kerry's biggest blunder was his failure to focus like a laser on the economy in the final weeks of the campaign, despite polls showing it was the number one issue on voters' minds. The lethal character of Kerry's scatter-shot, flailing, themeless campaign close can be clearly seen in the Ohio exit polls. In the Buckeye State, 62% of the voters said the economy was "not good" -- BUT asked who they'd trust with the economy, they were evenly split between Bush and Kerry, 48-48%. The national number on that question actually favored Bush, who got 48% on the economy to Kerry's 46%.

By not focusing on the economy, even in a state that had lost 250,000 jobs on Bush's watch Kerry couldn't make the case that he'd do better. Whatever economic message (feeble though it may have been) which his campaign had was blown out of the water by Kerry's final-week harangues on the Iraqi explosives issue (about which there was too much reportorial dispute in the media to provide him a clean shot at Bush).

The Rove-Bush Republicans ran a brilliant, disciplined, and utterly base campaign that used three principal issues to defeat the Democrats: Iraq, Israel, and gays.

History will record that John Kerry lost the election on the day he voted the Constitution-shredding blank check for Bush's war on Iraq. He was hobbled throughout the campaign by this vote, which shackled him to a me-too posture that included endlessly repeated pledges to "stay the course" in Iraq and "win" the occupation. Kerry could not, therefore, develop and present a full-blown critique of Bush on Iraq, nor offer a genuine alternative to him on it.

The non-existent Kerry "plan" (based on the hubris that he could con foreign allies into sending their troops to bleed and die for the U.S. crimes at Abu Ghraib) wasn't bought by the voters. Bush won by making the link between Iraq and the war on terrorism -- the Big Lie which Kerry could not effectively counter, because he'd bought into it at the beginning. And it was on that endlessly hammered lie that Bush won the country on the Iraq issue -- the exit polls Tuesday night showed that voters thought the Iraq war was part of the war on terror by 52-44%.

There was a missed moment (one of many) in the campaign, right after the devastating Senate report on the U.S. intelligence failure leading up to the war, when Kerry could have done what his Senate colleague (and Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat) Jay Rockefeller did then -- say, "If I'd known then what I know now, I'd never had voted for the war." But the cautious and spineless Kerry didn't have the intestinal fortitude or the inner conviction necessary to break with his vote for war. It would probably have worked -- Americans like someone who can admit a mistake. But Kerry listened to his overpriced, condohead campaign consultants, and instead hid behind his medals.

The Rove-Bush decision to French-kiss Ariel Sharon was entirely an electoral one, directly aimed at Florida. It worked. Bush thus was able to peel off enough of the Jewish vote to reduce the Democratic majorities in Dade County, Palm Beach and other enclaves necessary to overcome Bush, with his lock on the Hispanics and evangelicals. The president won Florida, and quite comfortably.

Finally, there was the decision to surf on the anti-gay backlash that first surfaced in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the so-called sodomy laws, and intensify it as soon as the Massachusetts Supreme Court decided (as it was clear it would) that denying marriage equality to gay people was a violation of fundamental civil rights. The tools to scapegoat gays were the Federal Marriage Amendment and the 11 anti-gay state referenda.

The exit polls showed that 21 percent of voters said that "moral values" -- more than either Iraq or the economy -- was what determined their vote. This is, after all, a country drowning in censorious, politicized religiosity. Nowhere did this strategy work better than in Ohio, where the southern tier is the cultural equivalent of a Deep South state, drowning in religiously-inculcated homo-hate; and where traditionally Democratic working class Catholic voters -- whom Kerry failed to bind to him with an economic program that could arouse their passions -- were peeled off in sufficient numbers to reduce Kerry's margins in the larger cities.

And the sweeping anti-gay referendum in Ohio -- which outlaws civil unions or any more minor legal recognition of same-sex couples, as well as gay marriage -- passed by 2-1. As it did in all the other ten states with referenda, with the smallest margin of victory for the anti-gay measure in Oregon (where it won by 14 points).

Undoubtedly, the Corporate Democrats and their liberal power-junkie helpmates will decide that they lost the election because they didn't squirm far enough to the right. Where is the institutional leadership -- or the leader -- who could fight for a reorientation of the party toward a populist, progressive, passionate commitment to social and economic justice as a REAL alternative to reactionary Republicanism? Oh, Hillary Clinton, you say? Don't make me laugh. But she'll undoubtedly be the Democrats' nominee in 2008 -- which is why we can expect, not four more years of Republican rule, but 12.

 
November 04, 2004  By Doug Ireland
Doug Ireland, a longtime radical journalist and media critic, runs the blog DIRELAND.

 http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2004-11/04ireland.cfm
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Spiraling Into Occupied Iraq

The flight from Jordan feels all too normal…until we arrive over Baghdad International Airport. The nose of the plane dips, the left wing drops and the downward spiral begins-dropping us 4,000 feet per minute into the inferno that is occupied Iraq.

Rather than an in-flight magazine, a lonely card is available to read in the seat pocket. It begins with:

“For those of you who have not traveled with us before, you need to be aware that, for your security and safety, and not for your comfort, we do a spiral decent into Baghdad.
This is carried out to avoid any risk from anti-aircraft missiles or small arms fire…”

The airport is filled with nearly as many foreign security guards from “Global” than passengers. A large influx of Third Country Nationals, looking as though they are either Sri Lankan or from India, is rounded up onto the Kellogg Brown & Root bus to go work jobs which could be done by Iraqis.

I nervously wait until another small bus appears and takes me to the front checkpoint…passing signs for the soldiers that reminds them to have their weapons ready and flack jackets on as they enter the “unsecured area” which is most of Iraq outside of the U.S. camps.

It is tense as we unload…a huge car bomb detonated here just a few days ago killing 9 people. One of the security guards approaches me and says, “You don’t want to be here long. There are bad things going on here. Very bad things.”

I look up to see a line of cars being searched as they attempt to enter the pick-up area and take a deep breath when I see Abu Talat. He approaches with a big smile while waving at me as he walks up to be searched. The man is undeterred.

We hug and share countless cheek kisses as per Arab custom. Despite the extremely tense atmosphere at the checkpoint, we can’t contain our joy and it bubbles out as laughter and more hugs and kisses. This entire trip is worth it just to see my dear friend.

We quickly load my luggage into his car and drive out-passing some men in a BMW (the favored vehicle of criminal gangs), who ask us if I just flew in…Abu Talat tells them he came to pick up a friend, and asks me for a pen and paper and quickly writes down their license plate while telling me, “That could be kidnappers…there is not another flight after yours. I will watch to see if they follow us.”

While driving past three burnt car bodies from the recent suicide bomber, he says, “Everyone is being kidnapped now. It is a booming business here since there are no jobs. You must be extremely careful Dahr.”

Humvees and Bradley fighting vehicles are perched along the road, with their weapons aimed directly at us and other cars as we pass…this is occupied Iraq. We drive perilously close to a huge Bradley with its growling treads and I point to it thinking Abu Talat may not see how close he is. He laughs and says, “This is our daily life…you know this. How do you think Americans would like to have tanks on their streets aiming guns at them? For us, this is normal.”

I breath and quickly remember the daily life here…driving to avoid craters in the road left by lethal Improvised Explosive Devices, heavy weapons aimed at cars, scorched palm trees along the road, crime running rampant and the constant threat of being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time by a gunfire or attack on a U.S. patrol. I allow myself to surrender completely to the mindset of Insh’allah (if God wills it.) It is the only solace here.

On the suggestion of Abu Talat, we go visit some friends of ours…a family whose father/husband was beaten into a coma while in US military custody. It is safer this way because as my trusted interpreter/fixer tells me, “Noone knows you are here yet-so this is the best and maybe only time to go places. Y’allah, we go now.”

We talk with the wife and daughters while the electricity cuts off again and again-they tell me how they just finished a stint of 72 hours straight with no electricity. One of the daughters tells of how while in school the other day she listened to rockets flying over her building. “This is a war here, we are living like animals,” she says wearily, “How long can this continue?”

We mustn’t stay long and are off to run errands before I go find a hotel. Every moment finds us watching to see if we are followed-the kidnapping has become out of control. He explains that even people who give information about westerners to crime gangs can earn $500. In a place with 70% unemployment, this is the only lottery. Just like in any economically depressed area, more and more folks are becoming willing to take a shot at the jackpot.

The deep red sun peers through the pollution as the breaking of the fast approaches (it is Ramada). We go to a few stores to pick up supplies for me and Abu Talat tells me not ever to speak English in public…we are both on the lookout, ever careful…for the safety of both of us.

Iraq has again transformed into a different country…as had happened between my previous two trips. Between November ’03 and late January ’04, other journos and I were able to ride around together, walk the streets, even sometimes at night. We shared the same hotel without fear of kidnapping or car bombings.

My last trip this was transformed into one westerner with one interpreter, and rarely more than that. A rogue band of us stayed in a dive hotel off the map and kept our heads down, and didn’t do too much traveling around the city without an interpreter. Car bombs had become the norm, and the mood of Iraqis had grown sullen and bitter.

Now, today…it is yet another country. As I type this a gun battle of automatic weapons rattles down the street, Falluja has been sealed prior to imminent attack (as it was on the day I entered Iraq for my last trip, April 4th), and the mood in Baghdad is tense with gloomy expectation. The feeling is that of a war zone, people are downtrodden, tense and angry, chaos reigns and nobody is safe…anywhere.

All this against the backdrop of the recent news of another four years with Mr. Bush and his junta. Now the people of Iraq prepare to slide further into the hell that is occupied Iraq as the siege of Falluja looms over Baghdad as a heavy, damp night settles over this once magnificent capital city.

Posted by Dahr_Jamail at November 5, 2004 07:11 PM

US IS SPENDING LIKE A DRUNKEN DEMOCRAT


Good for shares, bad for houses, was my instant reaction to George W Bush’s re-election. As far as the economy goes, his second term looks as if it will be the opposite of his first.

An indication of this came on Tuesday night, before the polls had even closed. Wall Street was storming ahead, expecting Mr Bush to win.

Then a report on the Drudgereport website said John Kerry was ahead in the exit polls. Shares immediately retreated, led by pharmaceuticals: Kerry had a proposal to cap drug prices as part of his healthcare reforms.

Yesterday, traders had recovered their confidence and the Dow-Jones resumed its march upwards, while the FTSE-100 closed at its highest level for more than two years. Everybody knows business-friendly Republicans equals rising company profits, or so the reasoning goes.

Today, the economy is growing steadily, in contrast to the situation four years ago, when news of Mr Bush’s victory (Florida notwithstanding) was accompanied by the first-ever profit warning from Microsoft. The dotcom boom had turned to bust, the economy was teetering on recession and unemployment was rising. And that was before September 11.

The reversal-of-last-time theme will continue next Wednesday. In all probability, the American central bank will raise interest rates from their current 1·75 per cent. In 2000, interest rates were on the way down. Unlike his father, Mr Bush has much to thank Alan Greenspan for.

The immortal chairman of the Fed did not scupper Dubya by raising interest rates dramatically, as he did during Bush Snr’s re-election bid. Greenspan’s tenure expires in January 2006, when he will be close to 80. If he finally retires, he will do so with the blessings of the Republicans, but perhaps not of the Democrats.

The most serious economic problem facing Mr Bush is his overdraft, expanding by the minute thanks to his penchant for cutting taxes while simultaneously spending like a drunken Democrat on everything from social programmes to homeland defence.

This year, the budget deficit is forecast to hit $450 billion (£245 billion). In cash terms, that is a record, although, once adjusted for inflation, it is still half the size of Ronald Reagan’s effort in 1983. America also has a huge trade deficit, but that does not matter so much. A trade deficit is often a sign of a healthy economy where consumption is strong.

A prolonged deficit in the public finances is a different matter altogether. It can seriously undermine confidence in a country’s currency and its institutions. If the dollar comes under renewed pressure, inflation could take off on the back of more expensive imports and the Fed would be compelled to respond by raising interest rates again.

The markets are already alive to this risk. Two weeks ago, a leaked Pentagon paper suggested that the defence department needs another $80 billion for Iraq.

During the election campaign, Mr Bush also committed himself to making his tax cuts, which expire in 2008, permanent. He also said he would halve the government deficit by 2006. It is hard to see how he will meet all these mutually inconsistent pledges.

Last night, even as stocks rose, Treasury bonds dropped after the US Treasury said it would need to borrow another $51 billion as soon as next week. Treasury bonds are yielding 4·12 per cent, which is an indication of where the market expects interest rates to be in the medium term.

If interest rates do shoot up, the American housing boom will come to a shuddering halt and the economy will slow sharply. In Mr Bush’s first term, Asian central banks have in effect been funding his profligacy by buying most of the bonds he has issued. Without their help, the dollar - which has anyway declined by about a fifth - would have plunged. Will the Asians fund Mr Bush for another four years? I doubt it. Not if the dollar goes off a cliff, they won’t.

With a 10-gallon question mark hanging over the credibility of his finances, Mr Bush’s choice of Treasury Secretary is perhaps the most important decision he now has to take. Whoever it is must be a substantial figure, with credibility on Wall Street.

Both of his first-term appointments - Paul O’Neill and then John Snow - were disastrous. Mr O’Neill was sacked and ended up writing a comically bitter memoir in which he complained of being left out of White House meetings. And the only time I met Mr Snow, I thought he was a sort of bad-tempered golf club secretary, with even less authority than his predecessor.

One thing Mr Bush could do to hold down a potential surge in inflation is to tap into the strategic petroleum reserve (SRP). It is close to capacity and there is a theory that he has been quietly filling it up in case he needs to attack Iran.

A more sensible course would be to make some of it available now. The oil price is already drifting below $50 a barrel, and a good soaking from the SRP would make it droop further.

A reviving elixir of cheap crude would also help counter the greatest economic threat: China. Its economy is overheating, and if the Chinese currency’s peg to the dollar breaks, everyone - not just Mr Bush - could be in for a nasty inflationary shock.


 © Telegraph Group Limited

http://opinion.telegraph.co.uk/core/Content/displayPrintable.jhtml;sessionid=ZWEEHFF5DCVGFQFIQMGCM5WAVCBQUJVC?xml =/opinion/2004/11/04/do0404.xml&site=15&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=12776 By George Trefgarne  (Filed: 04/11/2004) --   duck feed - http://duckdaotsu.blogspot.com/atom.xml duck web - http://www.duckdaotsu.org/ duck list - http://lists.igc.org/mailman/listinfo/duckdaotsu feed the duck - http://www.duckdaotsu.org/donate.html

F.A.I.R. New York Times Killed "Bush Bulge" Story

                                 FAIR-L
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

http://www.fair.org/press-releases/bush-bulge.html

PRESS RELEASE:
New York Times Killed "Bush Bulge" Story

Five days before the presidential election, the New York Times killed a
story about the mysterious object George W. Bush wore on his back during
the presidential debates, journalist Dave Lindorff reveals in an exclusive
report on this week's CounterSpin, FAIR's weekly radio show. The spiked
story included compelling photographic and scientific evidence that would
have contradicted Bush's claim that the bulge on his back was just a
matter of poor tailoring.

"The New York Times assigned three editors to this story and had it
scheduled to run five days before the election, which would have raised
questions about the president's integrity," said Lindorff. "But it was
killed by top editors at the Times; clearly they were chickening out of
taking this on before the election."

Lindorff says two other major newspapers, the Washington Post and the Los
Angeles Times, also decided not to pursue the story, which featured a
leading NASA satellite photo imaging scientist's analysis of pictures of
the president's back from the first debate.

The Times' bulge story is the latest example of possible self-censorship
by major news media during the election campaign. In September, CBS's 60
Minutes decided to delay until after the election an investigative segment
that questioned the Bush administration's use of forged Niger uranium
documents in making its case for the Iraq war, saying that "it would be
inappropriate to air the report so close to the presidential election"
(New York Times, 9/25/04; FAIR Action Alert, 9/28/04).

And on September 10, CNN reporter Nic Robertson said of a CNN documentary
on Saudi Arabia, "I don't want to prejudge our executives here at CNN...
but I think we can be looking forward to [it] shortly after the U.S.
elections." The segment is now scheduled to air this Sunday, five days
after the election.

Lindorff first broke the story of "the bulge" in Salon (10/8/04). His
latest report, "Was Bush Wired? Sure Looks Like It," was published October
30 on MotherJones.com
(http://www.motherjones.com/news/update/2004/11/10_407.html).

CounterSpin provides a critical examination of major media stories every
week, exposing issues the mainstream press misses. It is heard on more
than 130 noncommercial stations across the United States and Canada, and
can also be heard on FAIR's website.

To listen to Lindorff's CounterSpin interview (available in Real Audio in
MP3 format), go to:

http://www.fair.org/counterspin/110504.html

The interview begins 17 minutes and 30 seconds into the show.

BRING 'EM ON

Blue America Charter

By Barbara Moran and Brian Collins
November 3, 2004

Fellow citizens!

It gives me great happiness to unveil our plans for the liberation of Blue
America. For the past three years, we have, in conjunction with a handful
of MIT engineers, been constructing a giant, cordless circular saw, which is
now complete. With this saw, we plan to carve our thriving, prosperous
eastern Blue nation away from the spreading infection of red america. We
will then set a mighty sail, which will carry us around the tip of South
America and allow us to join our Blue compadres on the West Coast. We
will use our giant saw to free our friends, then join our two lands together
and sail to a designated point in the Pacific Ocean. There, we will
establish our new country: Blue America.

Basic Tenets
- -----------------
Blue America will be founded on the same ideals as the former United States
of America. These ideals, sadly, have been decimated by the same red plague
that scrambled the brains of so many of our unfortunate former
fellow-citizens. These ideals include:

- - The Separation of Church and State
- - Freedom of Speech
- - Freedom of Assembly and Protest
- - Equal rights for all and due process under the Constitution

Blue America will have many additional aspirations not shared by red
america, including:

- - The goal of giving every citizen high quality education and health care
(even prescription drugs!), regardless of their race, ethnic background or
income

- - The right to a satisfying career with fair pay, job security and an
eight-hour workday

- - Respect for other cultures and honesty in our dealings with other
countries

- - The right to worship the deity of your choice (or not)

- - Family values, meaning the right of anyone to form a family if they wish

- - Compassion for the poor and sick

- - Belief in the value of: fresh food, recycling, renewable energy,
independent bookstores and movie theatres, literacy, the free exchange of ideas,
clean air, clean
water, sushi, Julia Child cookbooks, Scrabble, humor, honesty, exercise,
art, poetry, community gardens, mass transit, local cheese, the scientific
process, the theory of Evolution, national parks, bicycles, music,
sidewalks, trees, books, family farms, locally-owned diners with revolving
pie cabinets, and decent coffee.

Membership
- -----------------
Membership in Blue America will be limited to residents of states that voted
"blue" in the 2004 election, with the following exceptions:

1. Red "carriers" (or "vectors") who are currently living in Blue America
are kindly asked to leave before the liberation.

2. Members of certain Blue outposts in red america (like Austin, Texas) will
be allowed to apply for Blue America citizenship.

3. Members of Blue outposts in Ohio (Oberlin) will also be allowed to apply
for citizenship. However, if accepted they must accept a one-year
probationary period. Similarly, members of Blue outposts in Florida (South
Beach) will also be allowed to apply, but must accept a two-year
probationary period.

4. Members of the Bush family are excluded for life, as are members of the
Bush cabinet and all Fox News anchors, and Kid Rock. (Sorry, Colin Powell,
but you had your chance.)

Sports
- ---------
The first official sports team of Blue America will be the Boston Red Sox
(hereby re-named the Boston Blue Sox). However, red propagandist Curt
Schilling will be cut from the Sox and banished to the worst team in
baseball. Also, we'll take Derek Jeter, if he's interested.

Timetable
- --------------
Engineers have already begun separating northern Maine from the continent.
We plan to be fully liberated and set sail on Blue Inauguration day, January
21, 2005.

Bring on the saw!

Official Documents Looted, Mass Graves Left Unprotected

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
(Amman, November 4, 2004) — U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq failed
during last year’s invasion to safeguard official documents and the
remains of victims in mass graves, Human Rights Watch said in a report
released today. As a result, crucial evidence for the upcoming trials of
Saddam Hussein and other former Iraqi officials has likely been lost or
seriously tainted.


The 41-page report, “Iraq: The State of the Evidence,” details what
happened to some of the key archival and forensic evidence that the U.S.-
led coalition and, more recently, the Iraqi interim government failed to
secure.

In April 2003, former Iraqi officials left behind volumes of official papers
documenting criminal policies and practices. In the past year and a half,
more than 250 mass graves have been identified, some of which contain
the remains of thousands of victims of Saddam Hussein’s rule.

“Given what’s at stake here, the extent of this negligence is alarming,”
said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North
Africa Division of Human Rights Watch. “U.S. and Iraqi authorities were
aware that these documents and remains would be crucial to the
prosecution of Saddam Hussein and other former officials, but they did
little to safeguard them.”

Human Rights Watch said that in the weeks and months following the
invasion of Iraq, U.S.-led coalition forces failed to prevent people from
freely looting thousands of official documents, or to keep relatives of
“disappeared” persons from digging up remains found in some mass
gravesites. Coalition forces subsequently failed to put in place the
professional expertise and assistance necessary to ensure proper
classification and exhumation procedures. As a result, it is very likely that
key evidentiary materials have been lost or tainted.

In the case of mass graves, these failures have also frustrated the ability of
families to know the fate of thousands of missing relatives who
“disappeared” during Saddam Hussein’s rule.

Human Rights Watch urged Iraq’s interim government, with international
assistance, to set up a joint Iraqi and international Commission for Missing
Persons to establish effective procedures for protecting mass graves and
conducting exhumations, and a similar body to oversee the handling of
documents of the former government.

“This material needs urgent attention. The evidence will be critical to any
upcoming trial proceedings,” Whitson said. “And it will also be crucial for
Iraqis as they attempt to construct an accurate record of the atrocities they
suffered under Ba`th Party rule.”


Too Little, Too Late


George W. Bush’s electoral victory is chilling proof that the conservatives have achieved dominance over the flow of information to the American people and that even a well-run Democratic campaign stands virtually no chance for national success without major changes in how the news media operates.

It is not an exaggeration to say today that the most powerful nation on earth is in the grip of an ideological administration – backed by a vast network of right-wing think tanks, media outlets and attack groups – that can neutralize any political enemy with smears, such as the Swift boat ads against John Kerry’s war record, or convince large numbers of people that clearly false notions are true, like Saddam Hussein’s link to the Sept. 11 attacks.

The outcome of Election 2004 also highlights perhaps the greatest failure of the Democratic/liberal side in American politics: a refusal to invest in the development of a comparable system for distributing information that can counter the Right’s potent media infrastructure. Democrats and liberals have refused to learn from the lessons of the Republican/conservative success.

The history is this: For the past quarter century, the Right has spent billions of dollars to build a vertically integrated media apparatus – reaching from the powerhouse Fox News cable network through hard-line conservative newspapers and magazines to talk radio networks to book publishing to well-funded Internet operations and right-wing bloggers.

Using this infrastructure, the conservatives can put any number of “themes” into play that will instantaneously reach tens of millions of Americans through a variety of outlets, whose messages then reinforce each other in the public’s mind.

Beyond putting opposing politicians on the defensive, this Right-Wing Machine intimidates mainstream journalists and news executives who will bend over backwards and cater to the conservative side, do almost anything to avoid being tagged with the career-threatening tag of “liberal.” [For details on this history, see Robert Parry’s new book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.]

Liberal Resistance

In contrast to the Right’s media juggernaut, the Left relies largely on a scattered network of cash-strapped Web sites, a few struggling magazines and a couple of hand-to-mouth satellite TV networks.

Plus, the evidence is that wealthy progressives still don't "get it." Even with Election 2004 looming, Air America, a promising AM radio network to challenge Rush Limbaugh and the right-wing talk radio monopoly, was hobbled by the refusal of rich liberals to invest in the venture. In a new book, Road to Air America, Sheldon Drobny, one of the network’s founders, describes his frustrating appeals to East and West Coast “limousine liberals” who didn’t want to engage in the project.

I have encountered similar rebuffs dating back to the early 1990s, after my experiences as a mainstream investigative journalist for the Associated Press and Newsweek convinced me that the biggest threat to American democracy was the growing imbalance in the national news media. Mainstream journalists were increasingly frightened that their careers would be destroyed if they came under attack from the Reagan-Bush administrations and their right-wing allies.

Yet, even as conservative foundations were pouring tens of millions of dollars into building hard-edged conservative media outlets, liberal foundations kept repeating the refrain: “We don’t do media.” One key liberal foundation explicitly forbade even submitting funding requests that related to media projects.

What I saw on the Left during this pivotal period was an ostrich-like avoidance of the growing threat from the Right’s rapidly developing news media infrastructure.

Right-Wing Money Sources

As the liberals stayed on the sidelines in the 1980s and 1990s, the conservative media gained powerful new momentum from foreign sources of money, particularly from South Korean theocrat Sun Myung Moon and Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Moon alone invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Washington Times and other conservative outlets, while gaining protection for his dubious money operations from Republican defenders inside the U.S. government. [For more on Moon’s secret money sources, see Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

The Right also made clear that its plan was to wage what it called the “war of ideas,” which conservatives did not mean in a metaphorical sense. The Right’s goal has been to destroy or at least marginalize its enemies through various kinds of information warfare. To reverse Karl von Clausewitz’s famous dictum, one might say that conservatives view the “war of ideas” as an extension of violent conflict by other means, including the use of propaganda and disinformation.

Yet, instead of joining this ideological battle, the liberal/Democratic side largely divided up its money between do-good projects, such as buying up threatened wetlands, and spending on activism, such as voter registration and get-out-the vote drives. While there’s nothing wrong with these activities, the outcome of Election 2004 has demonstrated again that in an age of media saturation, street-level activism isn’t enough.

Even when liberal money is earmarked for media, the funds are usually controlled and spent by political activists. For instance, Campaign 2004’s “Media Fund,” which was run by former Clinton administration official Harold Ickes, spent millions of dollars from liberal donors on TV ads placed with mainstream media outlets. Little, if anything, was spent on building year-in-year-out media, like the conservatives have done.

That means that at the end of a campaign, nothing of permanence is left behind. The liberals wait until the next election cycle to gin up their operations again, while the conservatives spend the next four years, every day, pitching their arguments to the American people and making their political base even stronger.

The end result of this imbalance has been that American democracy has been diminished. Indeed, the great American experiment with a democratic Republic may be on the verge of becoming meaningless, since much of the information distributed through the conservative echo chamber is either wrong or wildly misleading – and since the mainstream press has been so thoroughly housebroken.

No Birthright

Yet, while it’s certainly true that the Bush administration and its allies have shown little regard for truthful information, it’s also a legitimate criticism of the Democrats and the Left that they haven’t fought nearly as hard as they should for honest information, the oxygen of any healthy democracy.

While many Americans see information as a birthright that is supposed to be delivered to them by the press like a newspaper thumping on the front doorstep, it is really a right that must be fought for like any other important right.

As George W. Bush celebrates his historic victory, the Democrats, left-of-center foundations and wealthy American liberals should finally recognize that their long pattern of starving honest, independent media has contributed to putting the nation – and the planet – on the edge of catastrophe.

John Kerry’s well-fought campaign – and the youthful energy that surrounded it – may have been an encouraging sign, but the hard truth is: it was too little, too late.


By Robert Parry
November 3, 2004

Robert Parry, who broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek, has written a new book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq. It can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com.

: My First Thoughts About the Election



Thursday, November 4th, 2004

My first thoughts about the election...

Cpl. Roberto Abad, Sgt. Michael D. Acklin II, Spc. Genaro Acosta, Pfc. Steven Acosta, Capt. James F. Adamouski, Pvt. Algernon Adams, Sgt. Brandon E. Adams, Spc. Clarence Adams III, 1st Lt. Michael R. Adams, Pfc. Michael S. Adams, Lt. Thomas Mullen Adams, Spc. Jamaal R. Addison, Lance Cpl. Patrick R. Adle, Capt. Tristan N. Aitken, Spc. Segun Frederick Akintade, Lance Cpl. Nickalous N. Aldrich, Spc. Ronald D. Allen Jr., Sgt. Glenn R. Allison, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Allred, Capt. Eric L. Allton, Cpl. Nicanor Alvarez, Cpl. Daniel R. Amaya, Pfc. John D. Amos II, Lance Cpl. Brian E. Anderson, Airman 1st Class Carl L. Anderson Jr., Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael C. Anderson, Spc. Michael Andrade, Pfc, Spc. Yoe M. Aneiros, Lance Cpl. Levi T. Angell, Army Spc. Edward J. Anguiano, Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Todd Arnold, Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, Spc. Richard Arriaga, Staff Sgt. Jimmy J. Arroyave, Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga, Sgt. Evan Asa Ashcraft, Pfc. Shawn M. Atkins, Maj. Jay Aubin, Capt. Matthew J. August, Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, Spc. Tyanna S. Avery-Fedder, Lance Cpl. Andrew Julian Aviles, Pfc. Eric A. Ayon, Sgt. 1st Class Henry A. Bacon, Sgt. Andrew Joseph Baddick, Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Bader, Staff Sgt. Nathan J. Bailey, Spc. Ronald W. Baker, Spc. Ryan T. Baker, Sgt. Sherwood R. Baker.

Pfc. Chad E. Bales, 1st Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard, Maj. Spc. Solomon C. Bangayan, Lt. Col. Dominic R. Baragona, Pfc. Mark A. Barbret, Pfc. Collier E. Barcus, Sgt. Michael C. Barkey, Spc. Jonathan P. Barnes, Command Sgt. Maj. Edward C. Barnhill, Lance Cpl. Aric J. Barr, Sgt. Michael Paul Barrera, Maj. Carlos Barro Ollero, Sgt. Douglas E. Bascom, Spc. Todd M. Bates, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Battles Sr., Gunnery Sgt. Ronald E. Baum, Spc. Alan N. Bean Jr., Spc. Bradley S. Beard, Spc. Beau R. Beaulieu, Capt. Ryan Beaupre, Spc. James L. Beckstrand, Sgt. Gregory A. Belanger, Cpl. Christopher Belchik, Sgt. Aubrey D. Bell, Pfc. Wilfred D. Bellard, Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Bellavia, Sgt. 1st Class William M. Bennett, Spc. Robert T. Benson, 1st Lt. David R. Bernstein, Spc. Joel L. Bertoldie, Staff Sgt. Stephen A. Bertolino Sr., Staff Sgt. Marvin Best, Cpl. Mark A. Bibby, Sgt. Benjamin W. Biskie, Sgt. Michael E. Bitz, Sgt. Jarrod W. Black, Chief Warrant Officer Michael T. Blaise, Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco, Command Sgt. Maj. James D. Blankenbecler, Spc. Joseph M. Blickenstaff, Spc. Nicholas H. Blodgett, Sgt. Trevor A. Blumberg, Lance Cpl. Jeremy L. Bohlman, Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey E. Bohr Jr., Lance Cpl. Todd J. Bolding, Sgt. Dennis J. Boles, Sgt. 1st Class Craig A. Boling, Petty Officer 3rd Class Doyle W. Bollinger Jr, Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bolor, Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker.

Chief Warrant Officer Clarence E. Boone, Capt. John J. Boria, Pfc. Rachel K. Bosveld, Spc. Mathew G. Boule, Staff Sgt. Elvis Bourdon, Pvt. 1st Class Samuel R. Bowen, Staff Sgt. Hesley Box Jr., Pvt. Noah L. Boye, Lance Cpl. Aaron Boyles, Spc. Edward W. Brabazon, Cpl. Travis J. Bradach-Nall, Staff Sgt. Kenneth R. Bradley, Staff Sgt. Stacey C. Brandon, Spc. Artimus D. Brassfield, Pfc. Joel K. Brattain, Pfc. Jeffrey F. Braun, Chief Warrant Officer William I. Brennan, Staff Sgt. Steven H. Bridges, Spc. Kyle A. Brinlee, Staff Sgt. Cory W. Brooks, Sgt. Thomas F. Broomhead, Sgt. Andrew W. Brown, Tech. Sgt. Bruce E. Brown, Lance Cpl. Dominic C. Brown, Cpl. Henry L. Brown, Pfc. John E. Brown, Spc. Larry K. Brown, Spc. Lunsford B. Brown II, 1st Lt. Tyler H. Brown, Spc. Philip D. Brown, Pfc. Timmy R. Brown Jr., 1st Lt. Tyler H. Brown, Cpl. Andrew D. Brownfield, Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, Lance Cpl. Cedric E. Bruns, 2nd Lt. Todd J. Bryant, Sgt. Ernest G. Bucklew, Spc. Roy Russell Buckley, Pfc. Paul J. Bueche, Lt. Col. Charles H. Buehring, Lance Cpl. Brian Rory Buesing, Sgt. George Edward Buggs, Spc. Joshua I. Bunch, Staff Sgt. Christopher Bunda, Staff Sgt. Michael L. Burbank, Staff Sgt. Richard A. Burdick, Spc. Alan J. Burgess, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey C. Burgess, Pfc. Tamario D. Burkett, Sgt. Travis L. Burkhardt.

Pfc. David P. Burridge, Pfc. Jesse R. Buryj, Pfc. Charles E. Bush Jr., Pvt. Matthew D. Bush, Pfc. Damian S. Bushart, Sgt. Jacob L. Butler, Capt. Joshua T. Byers, Cpl. Juan C. Cabralbanuelos, Pfc. Cody S. Calavan, Sgt. Juan Calderon Jr, Sgt. Charles T. Caldwell, Spc. Nathaniel A. Caldwell, Staff Sgt. Joseph Camara, Spc. Michael C. Campbell, Sgt. Ryan M. Campbell, Spc. Marvin A. Camposiles, Spc. Isaac Campoy, Spc. Ervin Caradine Jr., Spc. Adolfo C. Carballo, Pfc. Michael M. Carey, Cpl. Richard P. Carl, Pfc. Ryan G. Carlock, Pfc. Benjamin R. Carman, Staff Sgt. Edward W. Carmen, Spc. Jocelyn L. Carrasquillo, Sgt. Frank T. Carvill, Capt. Christopher S. Cash, Spc. Ahmed A. Cason, Pfc. Jose Casanova, Lance Cpl. James A. Casper, Capt. Paul J. Cassidy, Staff Sgt. Roland L. Castro, Sgt. Sean K. Cataudella, Lance Cpl. Steven C. T. Cates, Pfc. Thomas D. Caughman, Staff Sgt. James W. Cawley, Spc. Jessica L. Cawvey, Petty Officer 3rd Class David A. Cedergren, Lance Cpl. Manuel A. Ceniceros, Cpl. Kemaphoom A. Chanawongse, Spc. James A. Chance III, Staff Sgt. William D. Chaney, Chief Warrant Officer Robert William Channell Jr., Spc. Jason K. Chappell, Pfc. Jonathan M. Cheatham, Sgt. Yohjyh L. Chen, Lance Cpl. Marcus M. Cherry, 2nd Lt. Therrel S. Childers, Spc. Andrew F. Chris.

Staff Sgt. Thomas W. Christensen, Spc. Brett T. Christian, Spc. Arron R. Clark, Staff Sgt. Michael J. Clark, Lance Cpl. Donald J. Cline Jr., Pfc. Christopher R. Cobb, Lance Cpl. Kyle W. Codner, 1st Sgt. Christopher D. Coffin, Pvt. Bradli N. Coleman, Cpl. Gary B. Coleman, 2nd Lt. Benjamin J. Colgan, Sgt. Russell L. Collier, Sgt. 1st Class Gary L. Collins, Lance Cpl. Jonathan W. Collins, Chief Warrant Officer Lawrence S. Colton, Spc. Zeferino E. Colunga, Sgt. Robert E. Colvill, Sgt. Kenneth Conde Jr., Sgt. Timothy M. Conneway, Spc. Steven D. Conover, Capt. Aaron J. Contreras, Lance Cpl. Pedro Contreras, Sgt. Jason Cook, Command Sgt. Major Eric F. Cooke, Sgt. Dennis A. Corral, Chief Warrant Officer Alexander S. Coulter, 2nd Lt. Leonard M. Cowherd, Spc. Gregory A. Cox, Pfc. Ryan R. Cox, Lance Corporal Timothy R. Creager, Sgt. Michael T. Crockett, Staff Sgt. Ricky L. Crockett, Sgt. Brud J. Cronkrite, Lance Cpl. Kyle D. Crowley, Pvt. Rey D. Cuervo, Pfc. Kevin A. Cuming, Spc. Daniel Francis J. Cunningham, Staff Sgt. Darren J. Cunningham, Spc. Carl F. Curran, Cpl. Michael Edward Curtin, Staff Sgt. Christopher E. Cutchall, Pfc. Brian K. Cutter, Pfc. Anthony D. D'Agostino, Spc. Edgar P. Daclan Jr., Capt. Nathan S. Dalley, Lance Cpl. Andrew S. Dang, Spc. Danny B. Daniels II, Pvt. 1st Class Torey J. Dantzler, Pfc. Norman Darling, Capt. Eric B. Das.

Spc. Shawn M. Davies, Pvt. Brandon L. Davis, Staff Sgt. Craig Davis, Staff Sgt. Donald N. Davis, Spc. Raphael S. Davis, Staff Sgt. Wilbert Davis, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey F. Dayton, Pvt. Jason L. Deibler, Spc. Lauro G. DeLeon Jr., Sgt. Felix M. Delgreco, Sgt. Jacob H. Demand, Staff Sgt. Mike A. Dennie, Spc. Darryl T. Dent, Pfc. Ervin Dervishi, Spc. Daniel A. Desens, Pfc. Michael R. Deuel, Pvt. Michael J. Deutsch, Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher M. Dickerson, Cpl. Nicholas J. Dieruf, Spc. Jeremiah J. DiGiovanni, Spc. Jeremy M. Dimaranan, Spc. Michael A. Diraimondo, Spc. Anthony J. Dixon, Spc. Ryan E. Doltz, Sgt. Michael E. Dooley, Chief Warrant Officer Patrick D. Dorff, Petty Officer 2nd Class Trace W. Dossett, Lance Cpl. Scott E. Dougherty, 1st Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy, Pfc. Stephen P. Downing II, Spc. Chad H. Drake, Pvt. Jeremy L. Drexler, Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, Staff Sgt. Joe L. Dunigan Jr., Spc. Robert L. DuSang, Spc. William D. Dusenbery, 2nd Lt. Seth J. Dvorin, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason B. Dwelley, Pfc. Sheldon R. Hawk Eagle, Staff Sgt. Richard S. Eaton Jr., Cpl. Christopher S. Ebert, Sgt. William C. Eckhart, Spc. Marshall L. Edgerton, Pfc. Shawn C. Edwards, Spc. Andrew C. Ehrlich, Sgt. Aaron C. Elandt, Spc. William R. Emanuel IV, Lance Cpl. Mark E. Engel, Spc. Peter G. Enos, Senior Airman Pedro I. Espaillat Jr.

Pfc. Analaura Esparza Gutierrez, Sgt. Adam W. Estep, Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, Pfc. David Evans, Cpl. Mark A. Evnin, Pfc. Jeremy Ricardo Ewing, Sgt. Justin L. Eyerly, Pvt. Jonathan I. Falaniko, Sgt. James D. Faulkner, Pfc. Raymond J. Faulstich Jr., Capt. Brian R. Faunce, Capt. Arthur L. Felder, 2nd Lt. Paul M. Felsberg, Spc. Rian C. Ferguson, Master Sgt. Richard L. Ferguson, Master Sgt. George A. Fernandez, Staff Sgt. Clint D. Ferrin, Spc. Jon P. Fettig, Cpl. Tyler R. Fey, Sgt. Jeremy J. Fischer, Sgt. Paul F. Fisher, Lance Cpl. Dustin R. Fitzgerald, Pfc. Jacob S. Fletcher, Spc. Thomas A. Foley III, Sgt. Timothy Folmar, Gunnery Sgt. Elia P. Fontecchio, Spc. Jason C. Ford, Capt. Travis A. Ford, Chief Warrant Officer Wesley C. Fortenberry, Sgt. 1st Class Bradley C. Fox, Spc. Craig S. Frank, Lance Cpl. Phillip E. Frank, Staff Sgt. Bobby C. Franklin, Pvt. Robert L. Frantz, Pvt. Benjamin L. Freeman, Sgt. David T. Friedrich, Spc. Luke P. Frist, Spc. Adam D. Froehlich, Pvt. Kurt R. Frosheiser, Pfc. Nichole M. Frye, Sgt. 1st Class Dan H. Gabrielson, Lance Cpl. Jonathan E. Gadsden, Capt. Richard J. Gannon II, Spc. Tomas Garces, Lance Cpl. Derek L. Gardner, Cpl. Jose A. Garibay, Spc. Joseph M. Garmback Jr., Sgt. Landis W. Garrison, Sgt. Justin W. Garvey, Spc. Israel Garza.

1st Sgt. Joe J. Garza, Pfc. Juan Guadalupe Garza Jr, Spc. Christopher D. Gelineau, Lance Cpl. Cory Ryan Guerin, Cpl. Christopher A. Gibson, Pvt. Jonathan L. Gifford, Pvt. Kyle C. Gilbert, Command Sgt. Maj. Cornell W. Gilmore, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald A. Ginther, Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, Spc. Michael T. Gleason, Cpl. Todd J. Godwin, 2nd Lt. James Michael Goins, Spc. Christopher A. Golby, Spc. David J. Goldberg, Lance Cpl. Shane L. Goldman, Cpl. Armando Ariel Gonzalez, Lance Cpl. Benjamin R. Gonzalez, Cpl. Jesus A. Gonzalez, Cpl. Jorge Gonzalez, Lance Cpl. Victor A. Gonzalez, Cpl. Bernard G. Gooden, Pfc. Gregory R. Goodrich, Sgt. 1st Class Richard S. Gottfried, Spc. Richard A. Goward, 2nd Lt. Jeffrey C. Graham, Sgt. Jamie A. Gray, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Gray, Sgt. Tommy L. Gray, Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray, Cpl. Jeffrey G. Green, Lt. Col. David S. Greene, Pfc. Devin J. Grella, Spc. Kyle A. Griffin, Staff Sgt. Patrick Lee Griffin Jr., Cpl. Sean R. Grilley, Pvt. Joseph R. Guerrera, Chief Warrant Officer Hans N. Gukeisen, Pfc. Christian D. Gurtner, Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, Pfc. Richard W. Hafer, Staff Sgt. Guy S. Hagy Jr., Spc. Charles G. Haight, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Halal, Pfc. Deryk L. Hallal, Pvt. Jesse M. Halling, Pfc. Andrew Halverson, Chief Warrant Officer Erik A. Halvorsen, Capt. Kimberly N. Hampton, Sgt. Michael S. Hancock.

Pfc. Fernando B. Hannon, Sgt. Warren S. Hansen, Sgt. James W. Harlan, Sgt. Atanacio Haro Marin, Staff Sgt. William M. Harrell, Sgt. Foster L. Harrington, Pfc. Adam J. Harris, Sgt. Kenneth W. Harris Jr., Pfc. Torry D. Harris, Pfc. Leroy Harris-Kelly, Pfc. John D. Hart, Sgt. Nathaniel Hart, Sgt. 1st Class David A. Hartman, Sgt. Jonathan N. Hartman, Staff Sgt. Stephen C. Hattamer, Staff Sgt. Omer T. Hawkins II, Sgt. Timothy L. Hayslett, Chief Warrant Officer Brian D. Hazelgrove, Sgt. David M. Heath, Spc. Justin W. Hebert, Pfc. Damian L. Heidelberg, Pfc. Raheen Tyson Heighter, Spc. Jeremy M. Heines, Staff Sgt. Brian R. Hellerman, Staff Sgt. Terry W. Hemingway, Cpl. Matthew C. Henderson, 1st Lt. Robert L. Henderson II, Staff Sgt. Kenneth W. Hendrickson, Sgt. Jack T. Hennessy, Spc. Joshua J. Henry, Pfc. Clayton W. Henson, Spc. Armando Hernandez, Spc. Joseph F. Herndon II, Pfc. Edward J. Herrgott, Spc. Jacob B. Herring, Sgt. 1st Class Gregory B. Hicks, Spc. Christopher K. Hill, Spc. Stephen D. Hiller, Sgt. Keicia M. Hines, Pfc. Melissa J. Hobart, Sgt. Nicholas M. Hodson, Sgt. 1st Class James T. Hoffman, Spc. Christopher J. Holland, Staff Sgt. Aaron N. Holleyman, Staff Sgt. Lincoln D. Hollinsaid, Spc. James J. Holmes, Spc. Jeremiah J. Holmes, Cpl. Terry Holmes, Airman 1st Class Antoine J. Holt, Pfc. Sean Horn, Master Sgt. Kelly L. Hornbeck.

Staff Sgt. Jeremy R. Horton, Capt. Andrew R. Houghton, Lance Cpl Gregory C. Howman, Pfc. Bert E. Hoyer, Spc. Corey A. Hubbell, Pfc. Christopher E. Hudson, 1st Lt. Doyle M. Hufstedler, Staff Sgt. Jamie L. Huggins, Spc. Eric R. Hull, Cpl Barton R. Humlhanz, Lance Cpl. Justin T. Hunt, Spc. Simeon Hunte, 1st Lt. Joshua C. Hurley, Lance Cpl. James B. Huston Jr., Lance Cpl. Seth Huston, Pvt. Nolen R. Hutchings, Pfc. Ray J. Hutchinson, Pfc. Gregory P. Huxley Jr., Spc. Benjamin W. Isenberg, Spc. Craig S. Ivory, Pfc. Leslie D. Jackson, Spc. Morgen N. Jacobs, Chief Warrant Officer Scott Jamar, Cpl. Evan T. James, 2nd Lt. Luke S. James, Spc. William A. Jeffries, Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert B. Jenkins, Sgt. Troy David Jenkins, Spc. Darius T. Jennings, Pfc. Ryan M. Jerabek, Sgt. Linda C. Jimenez, 1st Lt. Oscar Jimenez, Capt. Christopher B. Johnson, Spc. David W. Johnson, Pfc. Howard Johnson II, Spc. John P. Johnson, Pfc. Markus J. Johnson, Spc. Maurice J. Johnson, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael Vann Johnson Jr., Spc. Nathaniel H. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Paul J. Johnson, Chief Warrant Officer, Pfc. Rayshawn S. Johnson, Pvt. Devon D. Jones, Capt. Gussie M. Jones, Staff Sgt. Raymond E. Jones Jr., Spc. Rodney A. Jones, Lt. Kylan A. Jones- Huffman, Sgt. Curt E. Jordan Jr., Sgt. Jason D. Jordan.

Staff Sgt. Phillip A. Jordan, Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, Spc. Spencer T. Karol, Spc. Michael G. Karr Jr., Spc. Mark J. Kasecky, 1st Lt. Jeffrey J. Kaylor, Spc. Chad L. Keith, Lance Cpl. Quinn A. Keith, Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Kelly, Cpl. Brian Kennedy, Chief Warrant Officer Kyran E. Kennedy, Staff Sgt. Morgan D. Kennon, 1st Lt. Christopher J. Kenny, Spc. Jonathan R. Kephart, Cpl. Dallas L. Kerns, Chief Warrant Officer Erik C. Kesterson, Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan, Spc. James M. Kiehl, Pt. Jeungjin Na Kim, Staff Sgt. Kevin C. Kimmerly.  Spc. Levi B. Kinchen, Staff Sgt. Lester O. Kinney II, Pfc. David M. Kirchhoff, Staff Sgt. Charles A. Kiser, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Brian Kleiboeker, Spc. John K. Klinesmith Jr., Sgt. Floyd G. Knighten Jr., Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric L. Knott, Spc. Joshua L. Knowles, Staff Sgt. Lance J. Koenig, Cpl. Kevin T. Kolm, Pfc. Martin W. Kondor, Chief Warrant Patrick W. Kordsmeier, Capt. Edward J. Korn, Sgt. Bradley S. Korthaus, Cpl. Jakub Henryk Kowalik, Sgt. Elmer C. Krause, Pvt. Dustin L. Kreider, Pfc. Bradley G. Kritzer, Capt. John F. Kurth, Sgt. 1st Class William W. Labadie Jr., Sgt. Joshua S. Ladd, Sgt. Michael V. Lalush, Lance Cpl. Alan Dinh Lam, Spc. Charles R. Lamb, Spc. James I. Lambert III, Pfc. James P. Lambert, Sgt. Jonathan W. Lambert, Capt. Andrew David Lamont, Staff Sgt. Sean G. Landrus, Gunnery Sgt. Shawn A. Lane.

Pfc. Moises A. Langhorst, Spc. Tracy L. Laramore, Spc. Scott Q. Larson Jr., Chief Warrant Officer Matthew C.  Laskowski, Staff Sgt. William T. Latham, Pfc. Karina S. Lau, Cpl. Jeffrey D. Lawrence, Staff Sgt. Mark A. Lawton, Lance Cpl. Travis J. Layfield, Staff Sgt. Rene Ledesma, 2nd Lt. Ryan Leduc, Cpl. Bum R. Lee, Pfc. Ken W. Leisten, Staff Sgt. Jerome Lemon, Spc. Cedric L. Lennon, Pfc. Farad K. Letufuga, Spc. Justin W. Linden, Spc. Roger G. Ling, Spc. Joseph L. Lister, Staff Sgt. Nino D. Livaudais, Sgt. Dale T. Lloyd, Sgt. Daniel J. Londono, Spc. Ryan P. Long, Spc. Zachariah W. Long, Pfc. Duane E. Longstreth, Sgt. Edgar E. Lopez, Lance Cpl. Juan Lopez, Sgt. Richard M. Lord, Staff Sgt. David L. Loyd, Capt. Robert L. Lucero, Pfc. Jason C. Ludiam, Lance Cpl. Jacob R. Lugo, Pfc. Jason N. Lynch, Pfc. Christopher D. Mabry, Lance Cpl. Gregory E. MacDonald, Lance Cpl. Cesar F. Machado-Olmos, Pfc. Vorn J. Mack, Lance Cpl. Joseph B. Maglione, Spc. William J. Maher III, Staff Sgt. Toby W. Mallet, Chief Warrant Officer Ian D. Manuel, Pfc. Pablo Manzano, Pfc. Lyndon A. Marcus Jr., Staff Sgt. Paul C. Mardis Jr., Cpl. Douglas Jose Marencoreyes, Master Sgt. Jude C. Mariano, Spc. James E. Marshall, Sgt. 1st Class John W. Marshall, Pfc. Ryan A. Martin, Staff Sgt. Stephen G. Martin.

Sgt. Francisco Martinez, Pfc. Francisco A. Martinez Flores, Pfc. Jesse J. Martinez, Spc. Michael A. Martinez, Pfc. Oscar A. Martinez, Spc. Jacob D. Martir, Sgt. Arthur S. Mastrapa, Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Villareal Mata, Lance Cpl. Ramon Mateo, Spc. Clint Richard Matthews, Lance Cpl. Ramon Mateo, Cpl. Matthew E. Matula, Staff Sgt. Donald C. May Jr, Pfc. Joseph P. Mayek, Spc. Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr., Lance Cpl. Joseph C. MacCarthy, Pfc. Ryan M. McCauley, Cpl. Brad P. McCormick, 1st Lt. Erik. S. McCrae, Spc. Donald R. McCune, Spc. Dustin K. McGaugh, Pfc. Holly J. McGeogh, Sgt. Brian D. McGinnis, Spc. Michael A. McGlothin.  Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott R. McHugh, Hospitalman Joshua McIntosh, Spc. David M. McKeever, Spc. Eric S. McKinley, Pvt. Robert L. McKinley, Staff Sgt. Don S. McMahan, Sgt. Heath A. McMillin, 1st Lt. Brian M. McPhillips, Cpl. Jesus Martin Antonio Medellin, Spc. Irving Medina, Spc. Kenneth A. Melton, Cpl. Jaygee Meluat, Petty Officer 3rd Class Fernando A. Mendezaceves, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa, Staff Sgt. Eddie E. Menyweather, Spc. Gil Mercado, Spc. Michael M. Merila, Spc. Christopher A. Merville, Sgt. Daniel K. Methvin, Pfc. Jason M. Meyer, Sgt. Eliu A. Miersandoval, Spc. Michael G. Mihalakis, Pfc. Matthew G. Milczark, Cpl. Jason David Mileo, Pfc. Anthony S. Miller, Pfc. Bruce Miller Jr., Staff Sgt. Frederick L. Miller Jr.

Sgt. 1st Class Marvin L. Miller, Sgt. Joseph Minucci II, Sgt. First Class Troy L. Miranda, Spc. George A. Mitchell, Sgt. Keman L. Mitchell, Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell, Spc. Sean R. Mitchell, Pfc. Jesse D. Mizener, Staff Sgt. Jorge A. Molinabautista, Pfc. Anthony W. Monroe, 1st Lt. Adam G. Mooney, Lance Cpl. Jason William Moore, Pfc. Stuart W. Moore, Sgt. Travis A. Moothart, Spc. Jose L. Mora, Sgt. Melvin Y. Mora, Pfc. Michael A. Mora, Master Sgt. Kevin N. Morehead, Capt. Brent L. Morel, Petty Officer 3rd Class David J. Moreno, Sgt. Gerardo Moreno, Spc. Jaime Moreno, Pfc. Luis A. Moreno, Spc. Dennis B. Morgan, Staff Sgt. Richard L. Morgan Jr., Pfc. Geoffery S. Morris, Pfc. Ricky A. Morris Jr., Lance Cpl. Nicholas B. Morrison, Sgt. Shawna M. Morrison, Sgt. Keelan L. Moss, Spc. Clifford L. Moxley Jr., Sgt. Cory R. Mracek, Sgt. Rodney A. Murray, Sgt. Krisna Nachampassak, Spc. Paul T. Nakamura, Spc. Nathan W. Nakis, Pvt. Kenneth A. Nalley, Chief Warrant Officer Christopher G. Nason, Maj. Kevin G. Nave, Spc. Rafael L. Navea, Spc. Charles L. Neeley, Staff Sgt. Paul M. Neff II, Pfc. Gavin L. Neighbor, Spc. Joshua M. Neusche, Cpl. Dominique J. Nicolas, Lance Cpl. Joseph L. Nice, Spc. Isaac Michael Nieves, Lance Cpl. Patrick R. Nixon, Spc. Allen Nolan, Spc. Marcos O. Nolasco.

Sgt. William J. Normandy, Spc. Joseph C. Norquist, 1st Lt. Leif E. Nott, Staff Sgt. Todd E. Nunes, Spc. David T. Nutt, Cpl. Mick R. Nygardbekowsky, Spc. Donald S. Oak Jr., Pfc. Branden F. Oberleitner, Lance Cpl. Patrick T. O'Day, Spc. Charles E. Odums II, Spc. Ramon C. Ojeda,  Cpl. Terry Holmes Ordonez, Cpl. Brian Oliveira, Spc. Justin B. Onwordi, Spc. Richard P. Orengo, Lt. Col. Kim S. Orlando, Lance Cpl. Eric J. Orlowski, 1st Lt. Osbaldo Orozco, Pfc. Cody J. Orr, Staff Sgt. Billy J. Orton, Sgt. Pamela G. Osbourne, Lance Cpl. Deshon E. Otey, Pfc. Kevin C. Ott, Sgt. Michael G. Owen, Lance Cpl. David Edward Owens Jr, Sgt. Fernando Padilla- Ramirez, Pvt. Shawn D. Pahnke, Spc. Gabriel T. Palacios, Capt. Eric T. Paliwoda, 1st Lt. Joshua M. Palmer, Staff Sgt. Dale A. Panchot, Pfc. Daniel R. Parker, Pfc. James D. Parker, Pfc. Kristen Parker, Cpl. Tommy L. Parker Jr., Sgt. Harvey E. Parkerson III, Sgt. David B. Parson, Staff Sgt. Esau G. Patterson Jr., Master Sgt. William L. Payne, Sgt. Michael F. Pedersen, Staff Sgt. Abraham D. Penamedina, Spc. Brian H. Penisten, Sgt. Ross A. Pennanen, Staff Sgt. Gregory V. Pennington, Pfc. Geoffrey Perez, Staff Sgt. Hector R. Perez, Sgt. Joel Perez, Spc. Jose A. Perez III, Pfc. Luis A. Perez, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Perez.

Spc. Wilfredo Perez Jr., Petty Officer 1st Class Michael J. Pernaselli, Staff Sgt. David S. Perry, Pfc. Charles C. Persing, Staff Sgt. Dustin W. Peters, Spc. Alyssa R. Peterson, Staff Sgt. Brett J. Petriken, Staff Sgt. James L. Pettaway Jr., Staff Sgt. Erickson H. Petty, Pfc. Jerrick M. Petty, Lt. Col. Mark P. Phelan, Pfc. Chance R. Phelps, Sgt. 1st Class Gladimir Philippe, Sgt. Ivory L. Phipps, Capt. Pierre E. Piche, Pfc. Lori Piestewa, Capt. Dennis L. Pintor, Spc. James H. Pirtle, Pfc. Jason T. Poindexter, 2nd Lt. Frederick E. Pokorney Jr., Staff Sgt. Andrew R. Pokorny, Spc. Justin W. Pollard, Spc. Larry E. Polley Jr., Sgt. Darrin K. Potter, Pfc. David L. Potter, Sgt. Christopher S. Potts, Spc. James E. Powell, Lance Cpl. Caleb J. Powers, Cpl. Dean P. Pratt, Pfc. James E. Prevete, Pvt. Kelley S. Prewitt, Sgt. Tyler D. Prewitt, Pfc. James W. Price, 1st Lt. Timothy E. Price, Lance Cpl. Mathew D. Puckett, Sgt. Jaror C. Puello- Coronado, Staff Sgt. Michael B. Quinn, Staff Sgt. Richard P. Ramey, Sgt. Christopher Ramirez, Spc. Eric U. Ramirez, Pfc. William C. Ramirez, Pfc. Christopher Ramos, Spc. Tamarra J. Ramos, Pfc. Brandon Ramsey, Pvt. Carson J. Ramsey, Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Pfc. Cleston C. Raney, Capt. Gregory A. Ratzlaff, Spc. Rel A. Ravago IV, Spc. Omead H. Razani.

Spc. Brandon M. Read, Pfc. Christopher J. Reed, Pfc. Ryan E. Reed, Sgt. Tatjana Reed, Staff Sgt. Aaron T. Reese, Spc. Jeremy F. Regnier, Sgt. 1st Class Randall S. Rehn, Sgt. Brendon C. Reiss, Staff Sgt. George S. Rentschler, Sgt. Sean C. Reynolds, Lance Cpl. Rafael Reynosa- Suarez, Sgt. Yadir G. Reynoso, Cpl. Demetrius L. Rice, Sgt. Ariel Rico, Spc. Jeremy L. Ridlen, Pfc. Diego Fernando Rincon, Cpl. Steven A. Rintamaki, Sgt. Duane R. Rios, Capt. Russell B. Rippetoe, Pfc. Henry C. Risner, Sgt. 1st Class Jose A. Rivera, Cpl. John T. Rivero, Spc. Frank K. Rivers Jr., Sgt. Thomas D. Robbins, Sgt. Todd J. Robbins, Lance Cpl. Anthony P. Roberts, Lance Cpl. Bob W. Roberts, Spc. Robert D. Roberts, Staff Sgt. Joseph E. Robsky, Sgt. Moses D. Rocha, Pfc. Marlin T. Rockhold, Pfc. Jose Francis Gonzalez Rodriguez, Cpl. Robert M. Rodriguez, Spc. Philip G. Rogers, Sgt. 1st Class Robert E. Rooney, Cpl. Randal Kent Rosacker, Staff Sgt. Victor A. Rosales, Pfc. Richard H. Rosas, Sgt. Scott C. Rose, Sgt. Thomas C. Rosenbaum, Sgt. Randy S. Rosenberg, Spc. Marco D. Ross, Sgt. Lawrence A. Roukey, Capt. Alan Rowe, Spc. Brandon J. Rowe, Sgt. Roger D. Rowe, 2nd Lt. Jonathan D. Rozier, Spc. Isela Rubalcava, Pfc. Aaron J. Rusin, Sgt. John W. Russell.

1st Lt. Timothy Louis Ryan, Chief Warrant Officer Scott A. Saboe, Spc. Rasheed Sahib, Cpl. Rudy Salas, Cpl. William I. Salazar, 1st Lt. Edward M. Saltz, Capt. Benjamin W. Sammis, Spc. Sonny G. Sampler, Spc. Gregory P. Sanders, Pfc. Leroy Sandoval Jr., Spc. Matthew J. Sandri, Staff Sgt. Barry Sanford, 1st Lt. Neil Anthony Santoriello, Spc. Jonathan J. Santos, Pfc. Brandon R. Sapp, Staff Sgt. Cameron B. Sarno, Staff Sgt. Scott D. Sather, Lance Cpl. Jeremiah E. Savage, Capt. Robert C. Scheetz Jr., Spc. Justin B. Schmidt, Spc. Jeremiah W. Schmunk, Pfc. Sean M. Schneider, Cpl. Dustin H. Schrage, Maj. Mathew E. Schram, Lance Cpl. Brian K. Schramm, Spc. Christian C. Schulz, Master Sgt. David A. Scott, Pfc. Kerry D. Scott, Spc. Stephen M. Scott, Spc. Marc S. Seiden, Capt. Christopher Scott Seifert, Pfc. Dustin M. Sekula, Lance Cpl. Matthew K. Serio, Sgt. Juan M. Serrano, Staff Sgt. Wentz Jerome Henry Shanaberger III, Spc. Jeffrey R. Shaver, Maj. Kevin M. Shea, Spc. Casey Sheehan, Sgt. Kevin F. Sheehan, Sgt. Daniel Michael Shepherd, Sgt. Alan D. Sherman, Lt. Col. Anthony L. Sherman, Pfc. Harry N. Shondee Jr., Lance Cpl. Brad S. Shuder, Capt. James A. Shull, Pfc. Kenneth L. Sickels, Lance Cpl. Dustin L. Sides, Cpl. Erik H. Silva, Pvt. Sean A. Silva, Sgt. Leonard D. Simmons.

Pfc. Charles M. Sims, Lance Cpl. John T. Sims Jr., Spc. Uday Singh, Spc. Aaron J. Sissel, Pfc. Christopher A. Sisson, Pfc. Nicholas M. Skinner, Petty Officer 3rd Class David Sisung, 1st Lt. Brian D. Slavenas, Pvt. Brandon Ulysses Sloan, Lance Cpl. Richard P. Slocum, Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Slocum, Pfc. Corey L. Small, Sgt. Keith L. Smette, Capt. Benedict J. Smith, Sgt. Benjamin K. Smith, Pfc. Brandon C. Smith, 2nd Lt. Brian D. Smith, Chief Warrant Officer Bruce A. Smith, Cpl. Darrell L. Smith, 1st Sgt. Edward Smith, Chief Warrant Officer Eric A. Smith, Pfc. Jeremiah D. Smith, Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Smith, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Smith Jr., Spc. Orenthial J. Smith, Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, Capt. Christopher F. Soelzer, Sgt. Roderic A. Solomon, Cpl. Adrian V. Soltau, Maj. Charles R. Soltes Jr., Sgt. Skipper Soram, Pfc. Armando Soriano, Cpl. Tomas Sotelo Jr., Pfc. Kenneth C. Souslin, Spc. Philip I. Spakosky, Pfc. Jason L. Sparks, Cpl. Michael R. Speer, Staff Sgt. Trevor Spink, Maj. Christopher J. Splinter, Sgt. Marvin R. Sprayberry III, Pvt. Bryan N. Spry, Sgt. Maj. Michael B. Stack, Pfc. Nathan E. Stahl, 1st Lt. Andrew K. Stern, Staff Sgt. Robert A. Stever, Maj. Gregory Stone, 2nd Lt. Matthew R. Stovall, Pfc. William R. Strange, Sgt. Kirk Allen Straseskie, Pfc. Brandon C. Sturdy.

Spc. William R. Sturges Jr., Spc. Paul J. Sturino, Lance Cpl. Jesus A. Suarez Del Solar, Spc. Joseph D. Suell, Spc. John R. Sullivan, Spc. Narson B. Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Vincent M. Sullivan, Staff Sgt. Michael J. Sutter, Pfc. Ernest Harold Sutphin, Chief Warrant Officer Sharon T. Swartworth, Spc. Thomas J. Sweet II, Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Swisher, Maj. Paul R. Syverson III, Sgt. Patrick S. Tainsh, Sgt. DeForest L. Talbert, Sgt. 1st Class Linda Ann Tarango-Griess, Spc. Christopher M. Taylor, Maj. Mark D. Taylor, Capt. John R. Teal, Staff Sgt. Riayan A. Tejeda, Lance Cpl. Jason Andrew Tetrault, Spc. Joseph C. Thibodeaux, Master Sgt. Thomas R. Thigpen Sr., Cpl. Jesse L. Thiry, Sgt. Carl Thomas, Staff Sgt. Kendall Thomas, Spc. Kyle G. Thomas, Sgt. Anthony O. Thompson, Spc. Jarrett B. Thompson, Sgt. Humberto F. Timoteo, Capt. John E. Tipton, Pfc. Joshua K. Titcomb, Spc. Brandon T. Titus, Spc. Brandon S. Tobler, Sgt. Lee D. TodacheeneCpl. John H. Todd III, Sgt. Nicholas A. Tomko, Master Sgt. Timothy Toney, Pfc. George D. Torres, Lance Cpl. Michael S. Torres, 2nd Lt. Richard Torres, Spc. Ramon Reyes Torres, Lance Cpl. Elias Torrez III, Sgt. Michael L. Tosto, Spc. Richard K. Trevithick, Pfc. Andrew L. Tuazon, Staff Sgt. Roger C. Turner Jr., Pvt. Scott M. Tyrrell, 2nd Lt. Andre D. Tyson, Spc. Eugene A. Uhl III, Lance Cpl. Drew M. Uhles.

Rick A. Ulbright, Pfc. Daniel P. Unger, Spc. Robert Oliver Unruh, 1st Sgt. Ernest E. Utt, Sgt. Michael A. Uvanni, Staff Sgt. Gary A. Vaillant, Lance Cpl. Ruben Valdez Jr., Sgt. Melissa Valles, Spc. Allen J. Vandayburg, Spc. Josiah H. Vandertulip, Chief Warrant Officer Brian K. Van Dusen, Lance Cpl. John J. Vangyzen IV, Lance Cpl. Gary F. Van Leuven, Staff Sgt. Mark D. Vasquez, Spc. Frances M. Vega, 1st Lt. Michael W. Vega, Staff Sgt. Paul A. Velazquez, Cpl. David M. Vicente, Sgt. 1st Class Joselito O. Villanueva, Cpl. Scott M. Vincent, Staff Sgt. Kimberly A. Voelz, Staff Sgt. Michael S. Voss, Spc. Thai Vue, Lance Cpl. Michael B. Wafford, Sgt. Christopher A. Wagener, Sgt. Gregory L. Wahl, Staff Sgt. Allan K. Walker, Sgt. Jeffery C. Walker, Sgt. Donald Ralph  Walters, Pvt. Jason M. Ward, Pfc. Nachez Washalanta, Lance Cpl. Christopher B. Wasser, Pvt. David L. Waters, Staff Sgt. Kendall Damon Waters-Bey, Maj. William R. Watkins III, Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher E. Watts, Chief Warrant Officer Aaron A. Weaver, Spc. Michael S. Weger, Staff Sgt. David J. Weisenburg, Spc. Douglas J. Weismantle, Pfc. Michael Russell Creighton Weldon, Lance Cpl. Larry L. Wells, Chief Warrant Officer Stephen M. Wells, Spc. Jeffrey M. Wershow, Spc. Christopher J. Rivera Wesley, Sgt. James G. West, 1st Lt. Alexander E. Wetherbee, Spc. Donald L. Wheeler, Sgt. Mason Douglas Whetstone, Pfc. Marquis A. Whitaker.

Staff Sgt. Aaron Dean White, Lt. Nathan D. White, Sgt. Steven W. White, Lance Cpl. William W. White, Pfc. Joey D. Whitener ,Spc. Chase R. Whitman, Spc. Michael J. Wiesemann, Cpl. Joshua S. Wilfong ,Sgt. Eugene Williams, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Williams, Spc. Michael L. Williams, Sgt. Taft V. Williams ,1st Lt. Charles L. Wilkins III, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Willoughby, Spc. Dana N. Wilson, Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry L. Wilson, Staff Sgt. Joe N. Wilson, Lance Cpl. Lamont N. Wilson, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Wilt, 1st Lt. Ronald Winchester, Spc. Trevor A. Wine, Lance Cpl. William J. Wiscowiche, Spc. Robert A. Wise, Spc. Michelle M. Witmer, Pfc. Owen D. Witt, Spc. James R. Wolf, 2nd Lt. Jeremy L. Wolfe, Sgt. Elijah Tai Wah Wong, Sgt. Brian M. Wood, Capt. George A. Wood, Spc. Michael R. Woodliff, Spc. James C. Wright, Pfc. Jason G. Wright, 2nd Lt. John T. Wroblewski, Lance Cpl. Daniel R. Wyatt, Pfc. Stephen E. Wyatt, Sgt. Michael E. Yashinski, Sgt. Henry Ybarra III, Pfc. Rodricka A. Youmans, Sgt. Ryan C. Young, Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Zabierek, Spc. Nicholas J. Zangara, Spc. Mark Anthony Zapata, Pfc. Nicholaus E. Zimmer, Cpl. Ian T. Zook, Lance Cpl. Robert P. Zurheide Jr.

May they rest in peace.

And may they forgive us someday.
-- Michael Moore

Read the list updated at http://www.duckdaotsu.org/rows.html with ages and home towns
see the faces updated at http://www.duckdaotsu.org/valor.html
never give up
never forget

17 reasons not to slit your wrists, compiled by Michael Moore

Ok, it sucks. Really sucks. But before you go and cash it all in, let's, in
the words of Monty Python, 'always look on the bright side of life!' There
IS some good news from Tuesday's election.

Here are 17 reasons not to slit your wrists:

1. It is against the law for George W. Bush to run for president again.

2. Bush's victory was the NARROWEST win for a sitting president since
Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

3. The only age group in which the majority voted for Kerry was young adults
(Kerry: 54%, Bush: 44%), proving once again that your parents are always
wrong and you should never listen to them.

4. In spite of Bush's win, the majority of Americans still think the
country is headed in the wrong direction (56%
),
think the war wasn't worth fighting (51%
), and don't approve of the job
George W. Bush is doing (52%
). (Note
to foreigners: Don't try to figure this one out. It's an American
thing, like Pop Tarts.)

5. The Republicans will not have a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the
Senate. If the Democrats do their job, Bush won't be able to pack the
Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues. Did I say "if the Democrats do
their job?" Um, maybe better to scratch this one.

6. Michigan voted for Kerry! So did the entire Northeast, the birthplace of
our democracy. So did 6 of the 8 Great Lakes States. And the whole West
Coast! Plus Hawaii. Ok, that's a start. We've got most of the fresh water,
all of Broadway, and Mt. St. Helens. We can dehydrate them or bury them in
lava. And no more show tunes!

7. Once again we are reminded that the buckeye is a nut, and not just any
old nut -- a poisonous nut. A great nation was felled by a poisonous nut.
May Ohio State pay dearly this Saturday when it faces Michigan.

8. 88% of Bush's support came from white voters. In 50 years, America will
no longer have a white majority. Hey, 50 years isn't such a long time! If
you're ten years old and reading this, your golden years will be truly
golden and you will be well cared for in your old age.

9. Gays, thanks to the ballot measures passed on Tuesday, cannot get married
in 11 new states. Thank God. Just think of all those wedding gifts we won't
have to buy now.

10. Five more African Americans were elected as members of Congress,
including the return of Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. It's always good to
have more blacks in there fighting for us and doing the job our candidates
can't.

11. The CEO of Coors was defeated for Senate in Colorado. Drink up!

12. Admit it: We like the Bush twins and we don't want them to go away.

13. At the state legislative level, Democrats picked up a net of at least 3
chambers in Tuesday's elections. Of the 98 partisan-controlled state
legislative chambers (house/assembly and senate), Democrats went into the
2004 elections in control of 44 chambers, Republicans controlled 53
chambers, and 1 chamber was tied. After Tuesday, Democrats now control 47
chambers, Republicans control 49 chambers, 1 chamber is tied and 1 chamber
(Montana House) is still undecided.

14. Bush is now a lame duck president. He will have no greater moment than
the one he's having this week. It's all downhill for him from here on out --
and, more significantly, he's just not going to want to do all the hard work
that will be expected of him. It'll be like everyone's last month in 12th
grade -- you've already made it, so it's party time! Perhaps he'll treat the
next four years like a permanent Friday, spending even more time at the
ranch or in Kennebunkport. And why shouldn't he? He's already proved his
point, avenged his father and kicked our ass.

15. Should Bush decide to show up to work and take this country down a very
dark road, it is also just as likely that either of the following two
scenarios will happen: a) Now that he doesn't ever need to pander to the
Christian conservatives again to get elected, someone may whisper in his ear
that he should spend these last four years building "a legacy" so that
history will render a kinder verdict on him and thus he will not push for
too aggressive a right-wing agenda; or b) He will become so cocky and
arrogant -- and thus, reckless -- that he will commit a blunder of such
major proportions that even his own party will have to remove him from
office.

16. There are nearly 300 million Americans -- 200 million of them of voting
age. We only lost by three and a half million! That's not a landslide -- it
means we're almost there. Imagine losing by 20 million. If you had 58 yards
to go before you reached the goal line and then you barreled down 55 of
those yards, would you stop on the three yard line, pick up the ball and go
home crying -- especially when you get to start the next down on the three
yard line? Of course not! Buck up! Have hope! More sports analogies are
coming!!!

17. Finally and most importantly, over 55 million Americans voted for the
candidate dubbed "The #1 Liberal in the Senate." That's more than the total
number of voters who voted for either Reagan, Bush I, Clinton or Gore.
Again, more people voted for Kerry than Reagan. If the media are looking for
a trend it should be this -- that so many Americans were, for the first time
since Kennedy, willing to vote for an out-and-out liberal. The country has
always been filled with evangelicals -- that is not news. What IS news is
that so many people have shifted toward a Massachusetts liberal. In fact,
that's BIG news. Which means, don't expect the mainstream media, the ones
who brought you the Iraq War, to ever report the real truth about November
2, 2004. In fact, it's better that they don't. We'll need the element of
surprise in 2008.

Feeling better? I hope so. As my friend Mort wrote me yesterday, "My
Romanian grandfather used to say to me, 'Remember, Morton, this is such a
wonderful country -- it doesn't even need a president!'"

But it needs us. Rest up, I'll write you again tomorrow.

Yours,

Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com

Simple but Effective -- Why you keep losing to this idiot.

12:01 a.m. PT: Sigh. I really didn't want to have to write this.

George W. Bush is going to win re-election. Yeah, the lawyers will
haggle about Ohio. But this time, Democrats don't have the popular vote
on their side. Bush does.

If you're a Bush supporter, this is no surprise. You love him, so why
shouldn't everybody else?

But if you're dissatisfied with Bush—or if, like me, you think he's
been the worst president in memory—you have a lot of explaining to do.
Why don't a majority of voters agree with us? How has Bush pulled it
off?

I think this is the answer: Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.

Bush is a very simple man. You may think that makes him a bad
president, as I do, but lots of people don't—and there are more of them
than there are of us. If you don't believe me, take a look at those
numbers on your TV screen.

Think about the simplicity of everything Bush says and does. He gives
the same speech every time. His sentences are short and clear.
"Government must do a few things and do them well," he says. True to
his word, he has spent his political capital on a few big ideas: tax
cuts, terrorism, Iraq. Even his electoral strategy tonight was
powerfully simple: Win Florida, win Ohio, and nothing else matters. All
those lesser states—Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire—don't
matter if Bush reels in the big ones.

This is what so many people like about Bush's approach to terrorism.
They forgive his marginal and not-so-marginal screw-ups, because they
can see that fundamentally, he "gets it." They forgive his
mismanagement of Iraq, because they see that his heart and will are in
the right place. And while they may be unhappy about their economic
circumstances, they don't hold that against him. What you and I see as
unreflectiveness, they see as transparency. They trust him.

Now look at your candidate, John Kerry. What quality has he most
lacked? Not courage—he proved that in Vietnam. Not will—he proved that
in Iowa. Not brains—he proved that in the debates. What Kerry lacked
was simplicity. Bush had one message; Kerry had dozens. Bush had one
issue; Kerry had scores. Bush ended his sentences when you expected him
to say more; Kerry went on and on, adding one prepositional phrase
after another, until nobody could remember what he was talking about.
Now Bush has two big states that mean everything, and Kerry has a bunch
of little ones that add up to nothing.

If you're a Democrat, here's my advice. Do what the Republicans did in
1998. Get simple. Find a compelling salesman and get him ready to run
for president in 2008. Put aside your quibbles about preparation,
stature, expertise, nuance, and all that other hyper-sophisticated
garbage that caused you to nominate Kerry. You already have legions of
people with preparation, stature, expertise, and nuance ready to staff
the executive branch of the federal government. You don't need one of
them to be president. You just need somebody to win the White House and
appoint them to his administration. And that will require all the
simplicity, salesmanship, and easygoing humanity they don't have.

The good news is, that person is already available. His name is John
Edwards. If you have any doubt about his electability, just read the
exit polls from the 2004 Democratic primaries. If you don't think he's
ready to be president—if you don't think he has the right credentials,
the right gravitas, the right subtlety of thought—ask yourself whether
these are the same things you find wanting in George W. Bush. Because
evidently a majority of the voting population of the United States
doesn't share your concern. They seem to be attracted to a candidate
with a simple message, a clear focus, and a human touch. You might want
to consider their views, since they're the ones who will decide whether
you're sitting here again four years from now, wondering what went
wrong.

In 1998 and 1999, Republicans cleared the field for George W. Bush.
Members of Congress and other major officeholders threw their weight
behind him to make sure he got the nomination. They united because
their previous presidential nominee, a clumsy veteran senator, had gone
down to defeat. They were facing eight years out of power, and they
were hungry.

Do what they did. Give Edwards a job that will position him to run for
president again in a couple of years. Clear the field of Hillary
Clinton and any other well-meaning liberal who can't connect with
people outside those islands of blue on your electoral map. Because
you're going to get a simple president again next time, whether you
like it or not. The only question is whether that president will be
from your party or the other one.

9:33 p.m. PT: That proviso about the exit polls matching the returns is
looking quite a bit more important now than it did three hours ago.
Bush has Florida and Colorado in the bag. All scenarios for a Kerry
victory now require Ohio.

Kerry led 51-49 in the Ohio exit poll this afternoon. But he also led
51-49 in the Florida exit poll, and we've seen what happened there.
Nationwide, the exit polls had Kerry up 51-48. But with 80 million
votes counted already, it's Bush who has a 51-48 lead. So at this
point, the exit polls are at best meaningless. Or worse, if you're a
Democrat, the six-point gap between what the exit polls predicted for
Kerry nationally and what the returns show so far means that in Ohio, a
two-point lead for Kerry in the exit poll foreshadows a Bush win by as
many as four points.

In New Mexico, two-thirds of the precincts have reported, and it
doesn't look good for Kerry: He's down 51-48. So even if he takes Iowa,
where he's now leading with two-thirds of the vote tallied, he'll have
to win either Nevada, which has just begun counting, or Wisconsin. In
Wisconsin, he's hanging on to a 14,000-vote lead—that's a single
percentage point—with half the precincts reporting. If Kerry holds that
lead in Wisconsin and closes what is now a 120,000-vote Bush lead in
Ohio, he's the next president. Or if he holds his lead in Iowa and
picks off Nevada, he can get the same result—but not without Ohio.

Three-quarters of the precincts in Ohio have now reported, and Kerry
still trails by 126,000 votes, about 3 percent of the total. I don't
think he can pull it off. But I've been wrong so many times now that
I'd be happy—no, really, in this case I would be positively
delighted—to be proved wrong again.

7:38 p.m. PT: I should have mentioned before that if Bush wins both
Ohio and Florida, he needs only Colorado to get to 269. So that's just
two states where he needs the exit polls to be off. But in both cases
the error has to be at least two points, in each case it has to be in
his direction, and the Colorado exit poll can't be off in the other
direction.

Let's simplify the calculations. Bush starts with a floor of 213. He
leads by one point in the exit poll in Colorado, so let's assume he
takes that state, putting him at 222.

Here are the remaining states in which Bush trails in the exit polls by
fewer than 6 points: Nevada (Bush down 1), Iowa (Bush down 1), Florida
(Bush down 2), Ohio (Bush down 2), New Mexico (Bush down 2), and
Wisconsin (Bush down 3).

That's it. Those are all the states Bush has to work with.

If he wins them all, he gets to 296. So Kerry can lock up the election
by taking any 28 electoral votes from that group. Here are the
combinations that will do the job for Kerry:

1) Florida and any other state.

2) Ohio and Wisconsin.

3) Ohio and any two of the little three: Nevada, New Mexico, and Iowa.

Two other variables could be in play. If Kerry takes Colorado, he can
wrap up the election by taking a combination of Wisconsin and two of
the little three. He won't have to win Ohio or Florida. But if Bush
stages an upset in Hawaii, Kerry will have to take one of the little
three in addition to Ohio and Wisconsin—or he'll have to take Ohio,
Iowa, and either Nevada or New Mexico.

Those are the scenarios for now. I'll revisit them as the returns come
in and the options narrow.

6:08 p.m. PT: We can't be sure how far tonight's returns will
ultimately vary from the late-afternoon exit-poll numbers (see this
"Press Box"). But with that understood, let's talk about what the
numbers mean, if true, for the electoral map.

Bush gets to 189 electoral votes with no problem. Assuming he takes
Virginia, he's at 202. With Missouri, where he's 5 points up in the
exit polls, he's at 213. Now he needs Colorado. I never took this state
seriously as a problem for him, but the afternoon numbers suggest it
might be: He's up just a point there. Let's assume he takes it. Now
he's at 222.

At this point, he has run out of states where he's leading in the exit
polls, and he's still looking for a combination of 47 electoral votes
to get him to 269. (He wins in the House if it's a tie.) The next best
shots are Nevada and Iowa, where he's down a point. Let's say he takes
them, too. Now he's at 234, still 35 electoral votes away—and he has
run out of states where he's trailing by a single point. He'll have to
start winning in places where he's trailing by two.

How about New Mexico? Let's give him that. Now he's at 239, but that's
still not enough to win the election even if Florida comes around.
He'll have to capture the other state where he's down two in the exit
polls: Ohio. It seems a bit unfair, making him win a state with 20
electoral votes just to get the three he needs for a tie. Wouldn't it
be easier to package Florida or Ohio with Wisconsin? Either combination
gets him to 269 or beyond, so let's try that. Colorado plus Nevada plus
Iowa plus New Mexico plus Wisconsin plus either Ohio or Florida.

For those of you doing the math at home, that's a Bush sweep of five
states where the exit polls have him trailing, without losing a single
state in which he leads. In three of those states, Bush's winning
scenario requires the exit polls to be at least two points off. In
Wisconsin, it requires the exit polls to be at least three points off.

And it gets uglier from there. Because if even one of these breaks
doesn't go Bush's way, there is no remaining state on the board in
which he trails by less than six in the exit polls. Bush can win this
thing, but he'll need a lot of luck. More than he'll get, if you ask
me.

ballot box
By William Saletan
Updated Nov. 3, 2004

William Saletan is Slate's chief political correspondent
http://slate.msn.com/id/2109079/



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Murdoch Exploits 9/11 for Kerry Smear


FAIR-L
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

http://www.fair.org/activism/murdoch-kerry-binladen.html

ACTION ALERT:
Murdoch Exploits 9/11 for Kerry Smear

November 1, 2004

In a naked attempt to exploit the September 11 attacks for partisan
political gain, Rupert Murdoch's New York Post ran a deceptive front-page
headline on its October 30 edition that declared that Al Qaeda chief Osama
bin Laden "Urges Bush Defeat."

Of course, the taped message from bin Laden played on Al-Jazeera
(10/29/04) did not call for George W. Bush's defeat. Indeed, toward the
end of the message, bin Laden declares, "Your security is not in the hands
of Kerry or Bush."

Still, Murdoch's media empire seems dedicated to convincing voters that
Kerry is the candidate of Al Qaeda. On Fox News Channel (10/29/04), when
one guest objected to another's characterization of bin Laden's statement
as "an endorsement" of Kerry, saying, "I don't think he's going to have a
Kerry-Edwards sticker in the cave," host Neil Cavuto retorted: "He's all
but doing that. I thought I saw a button."

The same night, Fox's Bill O'Reilly referenced a new anti-Bush video from
rapper Eminem: "And Eminem joins Osama and comes out against Bush as
well."


ACTION: Please contact the New York Post and Fox News Channel and let them
know what you think about making inaccurate and inflammatory claims just
days before an election.

CONTACT:
Col Allan, New York Post
Editor-in-Chief
mailto:letters@nypost.com
Phone: 212-930-8000


Fox News Channel
Phone: 212-556-2500
mailto:comments@foxnews.com

--Neil Cavuto
mailto:cavuto@foxnews.com

--Bill O'Reilly
mailto:oreilly@foxnews.com


As always, please remember that your comments have more impact if you
maintain a polite tone. Please send a copy of your correspondence to
fair@fair.org.

--

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The Dream Is Lost

Bush gets mandate for theocracy. Only the right can stop him now.

The dream has become a nightmare. Not only did George Bush win, but he captured the presidency by a margin of what now looks like 4 million votes. That's a clear mandate and a big green light for the right wing to push ahead with an ideological program.

Barring an almost mathematically impossible outcome in Ohio, there will be no suprise win by John Kerry, no swooping in by a centrist Democrat to vanquish the specter of a modern American theocracy.

Bush will have no meaningful opposition, with a fully Republican Congress at his disposal. Even Tom Daschle, the Senate minority leader, was beaten in what looks like a rout of the Democrats.

The dream of a secular, liberal democracy is lost: Christians are stronger than ever, and whether it's true or not, the spin will be that they played a key role in building the Bush base. The visceral, cutting edge of the Bush mandate is the attack on same-sex marriage, led by the Christian right.

African Americans may have voted overwhelmingly for John Kerry, but Republicans without a doubt have made some, if only marginal, gains among black voters. In black Ohio churches, Democratic leaders were experiencing muttering discontent from the congregations over the issue of same-sex marriage. Abortion may be a given in the black community, but gay people marrying each other is definitely not.

Neoconservatives can proceed with business as usual—for the time being. But they will want to watch out for attacks—not from Democrats, but from the Reagan wing of the GOP.

The Patriot Act will become the modus for the increasing activities of the federal police. And again, criticism will come from the right, not the left. People like former Georgia congressman and lead Clinton impeacher Bob Barr already are out against the act. Paul Weyrich, long the most important conservative voice in Washington, is against it. He fears Senator Hillary Clinton will use it against himself and others on the right.

Abroad, the United States can only continue to lose standing as Bush presses his military agenda. European alliances will continue to wither and more and more people around the world will start seeing America as an empire in decline.

the stuff Mondo Washington   by James Ridgeway
© daVoice http://villagevoice.com/alertrd.php3?article=58142
November 3rd, 2004 10:22 AM WASHINGTON

1968 and Today

These Elections Weren't Referendums on War

By JONAH BIRCH 11.04.04

I
think that an a useful comparison for leftists today to use when talking to people about Bush is the election of Richard Nixon in 1968. The election that year took place in a context of growing social polarization and anger around the Vietnam War. In the spring of 1968, the Tet Offensive in Vietnam had demonstrated the incredible unpopularity and weakness of the U.S. occupation in that country.

Nixon of course was a right-wing Republican, who had made his name as a vicious anti-Communist during the 1950s. His campaign was built around a deeply reactionary platform that included support for the War in Vietnam (though he did promise that he had a "secret plan" to end the War), opposition to court-ordered integration, a focus on "law-and-order," and strong defense of the status quo against the Black Power and womens' rights movements.

His opponent was Hubert Humphrey, a "liberal" Democrat and Lyndon Johnson's Vice-President. Humphrey supported the Vietnam War as well, although he said at the end of his campaign that he would like to bring the troops home. He was a pure establishment figure, as beholden as Nixon to the U.S. ruling-class, and was certainly not a "movement" candidate in any sense. Despite his support for the War, Humphrey had the backing of much of the anti-war movement. Many of those who had actively opposed the U.S.'s butchery in Vietnam had been brought back into the Democratic Party during the primaries by Eugene McCarthy, a mixture of Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean. Like Kucinich and Dean, when McCarthy lost the nomination to Humphrey he handed all of his supporters over to the pro-war Democrat.

In the end, Nixon defeated Humphrey by less than 1 million votes in one of the closest election in American history. Many on the left were of course devastated, believing that the election had demonstrated a new rightward shift in American popular consciousness.

They were totally wrong. The 1968 election, a contest between two pro-war candidates, was never a referendum on what the U.S. was doing in Vietnam. In fact, in the period immediately following Nixon's election the United States experienced one of the most intense periods of mass radicalization ever. By 1969, 3 million people were calling themselves revolutionaries. Opposition to the War continued to grow, especially among working-class and poor Americans. The continued resistance of the Vietnamese and the revolt of GIs in Vietnam augmented the expanding anti-war movement, creating the conditions that eventually would force the U.S. out of Vietnam.

Moreover, despite Nixon's deeply reactionary personal politics, the power of the social movements in this country forced him to offer a series of other concessions. Under Nixon, federal spending on social services increased substantially, the first affirmative action programs were created, abortion was legalized, and the death penalty was (for four years) declared unconstitutional.

The left right now needs to be real clear. We oppose everything that George Bush stands for, everything that he wants to do. But Bush's reelection, like Nixon's election in 1968, doesn't mean that the game is up; it doesn't mean that people in this country are just right-wing and that's all there is to it. The left needs to do what John Kerry and the Democratic Party never could: offer people a genuine alternative to what's going down right now. Polls consistently show right now that people are feeling particularly vulnerable and insecure about their lives and their futures. People are looking for answers, for people to blame. If the only solutions they're hearing are reactionary solutions they're going to move in that direction. But if the left can tap into the growing anger about the Iraq War, about stagnating wages and job losses, about unaffordable health care and racism, we can build movements that can present people with alternative, progressive solutions.

In this project we have some allies, most importantly the resistance in Iraq and the growing disgust in the army about the occupation. The U.S. ruling-class is facing serious contradictions right now, and we cant't forget that. The only way that Bush's reelection is going to kill us is if we get so demoralized that we give up on the movements.


JONAH BIRCH, a student at Columbia University, who can be contacted at jmb2005@columbia.edu.

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Tearful Kerry leaves best speech to the bitter end


Ever the dutiful soldier, John Kerry delivered the most painful speech of his life yesterday, choking back the tears and the bitter aftertaste of defeat as he appealed to fellow Democrats - and his rival George Bush - to work to heal America's divide.

Amid the raw emotions that occasionally overwhelmed him, forcing Mr Kerry to gaze up at the ceiling for composure, the senator apologised to his dejected supporters for coming up short, but said it was time to admit defeat.

He had done so in a brief phone call to President Bush earlier in the morning, praising his opponent, but urging him to heal the divisions in the country.

It was a theme he took up in his concession speech, saying it was imperative to banish the rancour of the past four years - especially while America remained at war.

"In the days ahead, we must find common cause," Mr Kerry said. "We must join in common effort, without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancour. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion.

"I hope President Bush will advance those values in the coming years."

It was, in many ways, Mr Kerry's finest appearance - the flinty New Englander's feelings on full display for perhaps the first time in his candidacy.

And it was when he spoke directly to his supporters, some tearful, some defiant, all deflated, that his voice choked.

But for all the anguish and agonising, he stressed that the legal challenges that beset the 2000 election had no place here.

"In America, it is vital that every vote counts and that every vote be counted, but the outcome should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal fight," Mr Kerry said.

"I would not have given up this fight if there was a chance we would prevail, but it is now clear that if all the provisional ballots were counted, which they will be, there won't be enough outstanding votes for us to win Ohio, and therefore we can't win the election."

It was the end of an odyssey and the feeling of deflation was palpable. Some spoke wearily of leaving the country, others vowed to stay and maintain the fight.

It was a far cry from the euphoria of a few hours earlier, when Mr Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, had told the crowd in the dark hours of Wednesday morning that they would "continue to fight for every vote".

For several hours, it seemed that this election would be a rerun of the 2000 vote - albeit with a change in venue from Florida to Ohio - with recounts, and legal challenges, and no clear election victory for days to come.

But in the harsh dawn of the day, it was clear that victory was beyond Mr Kerry's grasp. Even the Democrats' 11th-hour scenario of demanding a count of the provisional ballots cast in Ohio would not bring home the votes that Mr Kerry needed.

After studying the returns, and consulting with Republican as well as Democratic politicians in the state, Mr Kerry's aides advised him to surrender.

The concession speech, delivered in the 18th-century splendour of Boston's Faneuil Hall meeting place, was a rare encounter with failure for Mr Kerry.

The product of a privileged New England upbringing, a graduate of Yale, a Vietnam war hero and husband to two heiresses, Mr Kerry has lost just one election in his political career, and that was around 30 years ago.

But in ending the quest that has consumed him for more than half of his lifetime, the Democratic leader found an eloquence, a connection with ordinariness that has some times eluded him. And while he tried to stage a graceful exit from the presidential race, and was full of praise for his campaign staff, and for the support of American voters, there remained an abiding sense of wistfulness.

The Massachusetts senator, who entered this race with a reputation for thoughtfulness and for enjoying a grasp of complex issues, somehow was never able to communicate his strengths to the ordinary American voter.

"I did my best to express my vision and my hopes for America," he said. "I wish things had turned out differently."

   Suzanne Goldenberg in Boston  Thursday November 4, 2004   The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1342821,00.html?=rss

Thursday

The Internet makes it easy to find people we agree with. After Election Day 2004, maybe it's time to kick that habit.

Trapped in the echo chamber


By Andrew Leonard

Nov. 3, 2004  |   As I survey the wreckage of the lefty blogosphere Wednesday morning, it is easy to wonder: How could I, how could we, have been so wrong? How could the confidence and jubilation generated by the thriving communities at blogs like Atrios' Eschaton and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga's Daily Kos so thoroughly have evaporated into self-recrimination and despair? (To be sure, there have also been eloquent calls to arms.)

 Like many a left-winger with broadband access, I've spent quite a bit of time in the past six months at such sites. I learned a lot about this country by doing so -- there's no better way to get quickly to the nitty-gritty of local politics and candidates all across the country than hearing from citizens involved. As a journalist, I've gotten scads of tips from the awesomely efficient early-warning system created by thousands of people coming together online. I enjoyed following the commentary on such sites during the presidential debates almost as much as I enjoyed watching John Kerry win them. And there's no question that the lefty blogosphere proved to be an effective fundraising mechanism.

 But I feel now much like a kid who ate too much Halloween candy -- there's a taste in my mouth that tells me I overdosed. I fell victim to one of the Internet's most seductive illusions: the false reassurance of the echo chamber.

 Early this year, as part of the Howard Dean campaign's postmortem, David Weinberger wrote a piece in Salon criticizing the argument that the Internet facilitates echo chambers. Echo chambers, so the argument goes, are places where like-minded people talk to one another, nobody ever changes anyone else's mind and true diversity of opinion is exchanged for an infinitude plenitude of ideologically identical communities. The Internet, say critics, is really, really good at providing logical support for such places.

 Weinberger's central point is that there are good reasons to have gathering places for like-minded individuals, one of which is that people who agree on founding principles can then move on to discuss more subtle nuances that are themselves diverse -- a bunch of Kerry supporters thrashing out get-out-the-vote strategies, for example.

 That's all well and good, but the problem with the argument, I think, is that it underplays how easy it is to let an Internet site of like-mindedness form a nice, soft cocoon of intellectual safety around one's head. For weeks, I've gotten up in the morning, made my coffee and then armed myself for the day with arguments and anecdotes, spin and rhetoric often in large part derived from the thrust-and-parry of discourse in the lefty blogosphere. When I visited the right-wing blogosphere, it was like going to the zoo to look at exotic animals. Sometimes I admired the quality of its spin, too, but I dismissed it, secure in the armor provided by the communities of people who shared my values.

 We all do this in the course of our normal daily existence, with or without the Internet. It's part of how we survive as human beings. Even as I look with dismay at the reality of Republican gains in the Senate and the House, and the likely remaking of the Supreme Court to reflect values that I don't share for a generation to come, I take heart that there are some 55 million people in this country who do agree with me on some fundamental issues. What I find disturbing, however, is how easy the Internet has made it not just to Google the fact that I need when I need it, but to get the mind-set I want when I want it.

 I really think I need to get out more, now. Perhaps if I'd spent less time at Daily Kos and more time talking to people who live in Alabama I'd have been less surprised by the election results. And perhaps I'd be better prepared to deal with them.

 - - - - - - - - - - - -
About the writer
Andrew Leonard is the editor of Salon's Technology & Business department.
http://www.salon.com/tech/col/leon/2004/11/03/echo_chamber/print.html

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Despite public plea, Israel razes home of suicide bomber


The Israeli Army destroyed the home of a teenage suicide bomber yesterday despite his mother's public and impassioned criticism of the group that sent her son on the deadly mission.

Israeli military officials acknowledged the woman's grief, but insisted the policy of demolishing bombers' houses is necessary to deter more attacks. The militants who sent the teenager said they would try to rebuild the family's home.

The demolition focused new attention on an Israeli policy that has drawn criticism from Palestinians and human rights groups, which say tearing down homes amounts to collective punishment.

After the demolition, the bomber's mother, Samira Abdullah, backed off her criticism of her sons' handlers, saying her anger had subsided and praising the teenager as a hero.

The about-face underscored the complexity of Palestinian feelings over suicide missions, a mixture of support for attacks on Israel, unease with the growing use of teenage bombers, fear of angering militants, and a sense of dread over harsh Israeli reprisals.

On Monday, Abdullah's son, 16-year-old Eli Amer Alfar, blew himself up in an open-air market in Tel Aviv, killing three Israelis and wounding more than 30 others.

The victims were identified as Shmuel Levy, 65, a retired engineer who immigrated to Israel from Bulgaria in 1989; Leah Levine, a 67-year-old Holocaust survivor and folk dancing teacher; and Tatiana Ackerman, 32, a Russian immigrant with a husband and 12-year-old daughter.

In what has become a familiar scene, Israeli troops razed the home of Alfar's family yesterday in the Askar refugee camp near Nablus in the West Bank.

Alfar's family of 12, including his parents and six siblings, had removed their belongings ahead of the demolition.

The army also destroyed the homes of two senior members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the radical PLO faction that claimed responsibility for the blast.

Over the past three years, the army has demolished more than 612 homes of Palestinian militants involved in attacks on Israelis, according to the Israeli human rights group B'tselem. It said 3,900 people were left homeless.

Captain Sharon Feingold, an Israeli army spokeswoman, called the demolitions ''part of our policy to deter families from letting their children carry out attacks. We think this is very effective."

Ran Cohen, an opposition lawmaker and former colonel in the Israeli paratroops, said ''no one has proved" the demolitions are a deterrent.

''There is no doubt that when the family does not agree with the actions of their child, the destruction of their homes causes suffering and hatred that is in the end counterproductive," he said.

Monday's attack was the 117th suicide bombing since renewed Israeli-Palestinian fighting began in 2000 and the first since Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat left for France last week for medical treatment. In all, 494 Israelis have been killed in the attacks.

Frustrated by Israeli security measures, militant groups have turned to using teenagers and women to carry out attacks, hoping they would raise less suspicion at the dozens of Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank designed to capture bombers. The practice has made many Palestinians uneasy.

Alfar was one of the youngest Palestinian suicide bombers. After the attack, his parents lashed out at the militants who recruited him.

''It's immoral to send someone so young," said Abdullah, 45. ''They should have sent an adult who understands the meaning of his deeds."

By yesterday, however, Abdullah backed off, saying she understood the militants' motives.

''My son is a hero and a tough guy," she said. ''It's true he was young. But he would have done this in another year or two anyway."

Abdullah said her initial criticism was made in the heat of anger. But in the past, Palestinians have also come under pressure from militant groups after criticizing their tactics.

Militants routinely pay for the reconstruction of demolished homes. Neighbors and the Palestinian Authority also assist families who have lost homes.

Abdullah said she expected that help from the militants and donations from neighbors would help the family rebuild their $22,000 home.

In the meantime, her family is staying with neighbors.

''Many people can help them. We are doing our best," said a spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who identified himself as Abu Yasar.

Israel's military response was relatively muted.

The usual signs of an imminent Israeli military counterstrike were absent this time -- the hurried high-level security meetings and troop movements -- and it appeared Israel would not immediately hit back.

Although Israel has pledged to show restraint in the wake of Arafat's illness, security officials said the muted response was not connected to his medical condition.

Leila Shahid, the Palestinian envoy to France, said yesterday doctors had ruled out leukemia and that Arafat's condition was improving.
 

© Copyright  2004 The New York Times Company
http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2004/11/03/despite_public_plea_israel_razes_home_of_suicide_bomber?mode=PF
  By Ali Daraghmeh, Associated Press  |  November 3, 2004  filed from NABLUS, West Bank 

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Soldier pleads guilty to failing in duty at Abu Ghraib



A woman who served as a military police officer at Abu Ghraib prison in
Iraq has pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty, accepting responsibility
for not preventing or reporting detainee abuses at the hands of other US
soldiers in her company, according to her civilian lawyer and military
officials in Iraq.

Megan Ambuhl, 30, of Centreville, Va., entered her plea Saturday morning
in Baghdad as part of a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop
charges of conspiracy, maltreatment of detainees, and indecent acts. In
a summary court-martial, which spared her the possibility of a lengthy
prison term, Ambuhl was sentenced to a reduction in rank from specialist
to private and was ordered to forfeit half a month's pay, a military
spokesman in Iraq said.

Ambuhl became the third soldier from the 372d Military Police Company to
plead guilty to charges connected with the scandal that erupted in April
after numerous photographs of detainee abuse became public. One soldier
received a year in prison and another, a supervisor, got eight years.

According to investigative documents, Ambuhl was the least involved in
the abuse of the seven soldiers who have been charged. She was accused
in large part of watching abusive acts and failing to report them.

Harvey Volzer, Ambuhl's civilian attorney based in Washington, said
yesterday that his client witnessed some abusive acts on Tier 1 of the
prison but did not report them because her superiors were involved and
military intelligence soldiers seemed to be sanctioning the acts. Volzer
said Ambuhl regrets not doing something to stop the abuses and shows
remorse.

''I think we all came to the conclusion that my client didn't hit or
kick a detainee or anything like that," Volzer said. ''But everyone had
a duty to protect the detainees, and even if this was authorized from
above, in some instances it went too far."

According to investigative documents, Ambuhl was present when some
humiliating sexual abuses occurred in the prison's most secure wing,
including episodes when soldiers made naked and hooded detainees form a
pyramid and then posed with them for photographs. She is also partially
visible in a photograph that showed Private First Class Lynndie R.
England holding a leash attached to a naked detainee's neck.

Ambuhl was praised by several detainees for treating them well, and in
at least one instance she aided a detainee who was having trouble
breathing after being punched in the chest by another soldier, the
documents showed.

Volzer said Ambuhl's punishment is appropriate because of her limited
involvement, but he said he is dismayed by the lack of accountability by
higher-ranking officials who he says condoned the abuse.

''My position is that . . . the people who gave the orders should also
be punished," Volzer said. ''Since the orders came down from the White
House, someone has to bear responsibility for it."

Volzer said Ambuhl is prepared to testify at other military legal
proceedings. Additional courts-martial for those involved in the abuses
are scheduled to begin early next year.

Ambuhl, who was supposed to have returned home from duty last summer, is
expected to return within the next two weeks. Volzer said Ambuhl plans
to leave the military and to return to her job as a lab technician.


© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company
© 2004 The New York Times Company
By Josh White, Washington Post | November 3, 2004
http://www.boston.com/news/world/middleeast/articles/2004/11/03/soldier_pleads_guilty_to_failing_in_duty_at_abu_ghraib/?
rss_id=Boston%20Globe%20--%20World%20News


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Winning on fear itself, the GOP is ready to take the country even farther right.

Bush unbound

By Sidney Blumenthal

Nov. 3, 2004  |   "This country is going so far to the right you are not even going to recognize it," remarked John Mitchell, President Nixon's attorney general, in 1970. Mitchell's prophesy became the mission of Nixon's College Republican president, Karl Rove, who implemented the strategy of authoritarian populism behind George W. Bush's victory.

 In the aftermath, Democrats will form their ritual circular firing squad of recriminations. But, finally, the loss was not due to their candidate's personality, the flaws of this or that advisor or the party's platform. The Democrats surprised themselves at their ability to raise tens of millions of dollars, inspire hundreds of thousands of activists, spawn extensive new organizations, attract icons of popular culture and present themselves as unified around a centrist position. Expectations were not dashed. Turnout vastly increased among African-Americans and Hispanics. More than 60 percent of the newly registered voters went for John Kerry. Those concerned about the economy voted overwhelmingly for him; so did those citing the war in Iraq as an issue. But the surge of the Democrats was more than matched.

 Using the White House as a machine of centripetal force, Rove spread fear and fused its elements. Fear of the besieging terrorist, appearing in Bush campaign TV ads as the shifty eyes of a swarthy man or a pack of wolves, was joined with fear of the besieging queer. Bush's announcement that he favored a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage was underscored by referendums against it in 11 states, including Ohio -- all of which won.

 The evangelical churches became instruments of political organization. Ideology was enforced as theology, turning nonconformity into sin, and the faithful, following voter guides with biblical literalism, were shepherded to the polls as though to the rapture. White Protestants, especially in the South, especially married men, gave their souls and votes for flag and cross.

 The campaign was one long camp meeting, a revival. Abortion and stem cell research became a lever for prying loose white Catholics. (Rove's designated Catholic leader, his own political pontiff, had to resign in disgrace after being exposed for sexual harassment, but this was little reported and had no effect.) To help in Florida, a referendum was put on the ballot to deny young women the right to abortion without parental approval, and it galvanized evangelicals and conservative Catholics alike.

 While Kerry ran on the mainstream American traditions of international cooperation and domestic investment, and transparency and rationality as essential to democratic government, Bush campaigned directly against these very ideas. At his rallies, Bush was introduced as standing for "the right God." During the closing weeks of the campaign, Bush and Cheney ridiculed internationalism, falsifying Kerry's statement about a "global test." They disdained Kerry's internationalism as effeminate, unpatriotic, a character flaw and elitist. "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig," Vice President Cheney derided in every speech. They grafted imperial unilateralism onto provincial isolationism. Fear of the rest of the world was to be mastered with contempt for it.

 These emotions were linked to what is euphemistically called "moral values," which is actually social and sexual panic over the rights of women and gender roles -- lipstick traces, indeed. Only imposing manly authority against "girlie men," girls and lurking terrorists can save the nation. Bush's TV ads featured digitally reproduced crowds of cheering soldiers, triumph of the leader through computer enhancement. Above all, the exit polls showed that "strong leader" was the primary reason Bush was supported.

 Brought along with Bush is a gallery of grotesques in the Senate -- more than one of the new senators advocating capital punishment for abortion, another urging that all gay teachers be fired, yet another revealed as suffering from obvious symptoms of Alzheimer's.

 The new majority is more theocratic than Republican, as Republican was previously understood; the defeat of the old moderate Republican Party is far more decisive than the loss by the Democrats. And there are no checks and balances. The terminal illness of Chief Justice William Rehnquist signals new appointments to the Supreme Court that will alter law for more than a generation. Conservative promises to dismantle constitutional law established since the New Deal will be acted upon. Roe vs. Wade will be overturned and abortion outlawed.

 Now, without constraints, Bush can pursue the dreams he campaigned for -- the use of U.S. military might to bring God's gift of freedom to the world, with no more "global tests," and at home the enactment of the imperatives of "the right God." The international system of collective security forged in World War II and tempered in the Cold War is a thing of the past. The Democratic Party, despite its best efforts, has failed to rein in the radicalism sweeping the country. The world is in a state of emergency but also irrelevant. The New World, with all its power and might, stepping forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old? Goodbye to all that.

 - - - - - - - - - - - -

http://www.salon.com/opinion/blumenthal/2004/11/03/second_bush_term/print.html
About the writer
Sidney Blumenthal, a former assistant and senior advisor to President Clinton and the author of "The Clinton Wars," is writing a column for Salon and the Guardian of London.

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lily 365 Tao

ancestorghost
lily
lily






Dormant bulb, skin of tea-stained parchment,
Reaches into water with pubic tendrals—
It is the roots that make tall green shoots possible.



A lily bulb is the center of the future plant, containing all that is meeded for growth. When it is set over water, it will first reach down with many white roots to drink deeply. Only then will it begin to split and put forth splendid green shoots. The same is true of life. We need to put deep roots down in order to bring forth beauty.

While most people can accept that anyone needs a strong foundation in life, we are speaking here of a more iteral interpretation. Those who follow Tao believe in meditating upon all the centers of the body. It would be wrong to think of spirituality as wholly brain-oriented. Quite the contrary. One must establish a deep connection to one’s very energy, which arises in all parts of the body. One must come to terms with one’s sexual energy, which comes from the loins. One must become aware of one’s legs (what else holds you up all the time?) in order to become more stable. What is below is essential to what is above. What is below is the source of tremedous energy.

Therefore, when meditating, learn methods that focus on all parts of the body and mind. When moving, pay attention to the legs. When acting, make sure that you are well connected to others. When learning, master the fundamentals. If you do this, you will be able to fulfill your ultimate potential.




lily
365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9
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FU BAO SHI
FU BAO SHI
The Emporer Zheng Meets His Mother
The Emporer Zheng Meets His Mother

(this is the artist’s title of the work)

see FU BAO SHI
for a complete biography of this artist and his work

http://www.chinafinearts.com/

You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train.

The 2004 Sydney Peace Prize lecture
delivered by Arundhati Roy,
University of Sydney, 4 November 2004


Peace & The New Corporate Liberation Theology

It's official now. The Sydney Peace Foundation is neck deep in the business of gambling and calculated risk. Last year, very courageously, it chose Dr Hanan Ashrawi of Palestine for the Sydney Peace Prize. And, as if that were not enough, this year - of all the people in the world - it goes and chooses me!

However I'd like to make a complaint. My sources inform me that Dr Ashrawi had a picket all to herself. This is discriminatory. I demand equal treatment for all Peace Prizees. May I formally request the Foundation to organize a picket against me after the lecture? From what I've heard, it shouldn't be hard to organize. If this is insufficient notice, then tomorrow will suit me just as well.

When this year's Sydney Peace Prize was announced, I was subjected to some pretty arch remarks from those who know me well: Why did they give it to the biggest trouble-maker we know? Didn't anybody tell them that you don't have a peaceful bone in your body? And, memorably, Arundhati didi what's the Sydney Peace Prize? Was there a war in Sydney that you helped to stop?

Speaking for myself, I am utterly delighted to receive the Sydney Peace Prize. But I must accept it as a literary prize that honors a writer for her writing, because contrary to the many virtues that are falsely attributed to me, I'm not an activist, nor the leader of any mass movement, and I'm certainly not the "voice of the voiceless". (We know of course there's really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.) I am a writer who cannot claim to represent anybody but herself. So even though I would like to, it would be presumptuous of me to say that I accept this prize on behalf of those who are involved in the struggle of the powerless and the disenfranchised against the powerful. However, may I say I accept it as the Sydney Peace Foundation's expression of solidarity with a kind of politics, a kind of world-view, that millions of us around the world subscribe to?

It might seem ironic that a person who spends most of her time thinking of strategies of resistance and plotting to disrupt the putative peace, is given a peace prize. You must remember that I come from an essentially feudal country -and there are few things more disquieting than a feudal peace. Sometimes there's truth in old cliches. There can be no real peace without justice. And without resistance there will be no justice.

Today, it is not merely justice itself, but the idea of justice that is under attack. The assault on vulnerable, fragile sections of society is at once so complete, so cruel and so clever - all encompassing and yet specifically targeted, blatantly brutal and yet unbelievably insidious - that its sheer audacity has eroded our definition of justice. It has forced us to lower our sights, and curtail our expectations. Even among the well-intentioned, the expansive, magnificent concept of justice is gradually being substituted with the reduced, far more fragile discourse of 'human rights'.

If you think about it, this is an alarming shift of paradigm. The difference is that notions of equality, of parity have been pried loose and eased out of the equation. It's a process of attrition. Almost unconsciously, we begin to think of justice for the rich and human rights for the poor. Justice for the corporate world, human rights for its victims. Justice for Americans, human rights for Afghans and Iraqis. Justice for the Indian upper castes, human rights for Dalits and Adivasis (if that.) Justice for white Australians, human rights for Aboriginals and immigrants (most times, not even that.)

It is becoming more than clear that violating human rights is an inherent and necessary part of the process of implementing a coercive and unjust political and economic structure on the world. Without the violation of human rights on an enormous scale, the neo-liberal project would remain in the dreamy realm of policy. But increasingly Human Rights violations are being portrayed as the unfortunate, almost accidental fallout of an otherwise acceptable political and economic system. As though they're a small problem that can be mopped up with a little extra attention from some NGOs. This is why in areas of heightened conflict - in Kashmir and in Iraq for example - Human Rights Professionals are regarded with a degree of suspicion. Many resistance movements in poor countries which are fighting huge injustice and questioning the underlying principles of what constitutes "liberation" and "development", view Human Rights NGOs as modern day missionaries who've come to take the ugly edge off Imperialism. To defuse political anger and to maintain the status quo.

It has been only a few weeks since a majority of Australians voted to re-elect Prime Minister John Howard who, among other things, led Australia to participate in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. The invasion of Iraq will surely go down in history as one of the most cowardly wars ever fought. It was a war in which a band of rich nations, armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over, rounded on a poor nation, falsely accused it of having nuclear weapons, used the United Nations to force it to disarm, then invaded it, occupied it and are now in the process of selling it.

I speak of Iraq, not because everybody is talking about it, (sadly at the cost of leaving other horrors in other places to unfurl in the dark), but because it is a sign of things to come. Iraq marks the beginning of a new cycle. It offers us an opportunity to watch the Corporate-Military cabal that has come to be known as 'Empire' at work. In the new Iraq the gloves are off.

As the battle to control the world's resources intensifies, economic colonialism through formal military aggression is staging a comeback. Iraq is the logical culmination of the process of corporate globalization in which neo-colonialism and neo-liberalism have fused. If we can find it in ourselves to peep behind the curtain of blood, we would glimpse the pitiless transactions taking place backstage. But first, briefly, the stage itself.

In 1991 US President George Bush senior mounted Operation Desert Storm. Tens of thousands of Iraqis were killed in the war. Iraq's fields were bombed with more than 300 tonnes of depleted uranium, causing a fourfold increase in cancer among children. For more than 13 years, twenty four million Iraqi people have lived in a war zone and been denied food and medicine and clean water. In the frenzy around the US elections, let's remember that the levels of cruelty did not fluctuate whether the Democrats or the Republicans were in the White House. Half a million Iraqi children died because of the regime of economic sanctions in the run up to Operation Shock and Awe. Until recently, while there was a careful record of how many US soldiers had lost their lives, we had no idea of how many Iraqis had been killed. US General Tommy Franks said "We don't do body counts" (meaning Iraqi body counts). He could have added "We don't do the Geneva Convention either." A new, detailed study, fast-tracked by the Lancet medical journal and extensively peer reviewed, estimates that 100,000 Iraqis have lost their lives since the 2003 invasion. That's one hundred halls full of people - like this one. That's one hundred halls full of friends, parents, siblings, colleagues, lovers.like you. The difference is that there aren't many children here todaylet's not forget Iraq's children. Technically that bloodbath is called precision bombing. In ordinary language, it's called butchering,

Most of this is common knowledge now. Those who support the invasion and vote for the invaders cannot take refuge in ignorance. They must truly believe that this epic brutality is right and just or, at the very least, acceptable because it's in their interest.

So the 'civilized' 'modern' world - built painstakingly on a legacy of genocide, slavery and colonialism - now controls most of the world's oil. And most of the world's weapons, most of the world's money, and most of the world's media. The embedded, corporate media in which the doctrine of Free Speech has been substituted by the doctrine of Free If You Agree Speech.

The UN's Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix said he found no evidence of nuclear weapons in Iraq. Every scrap of evidence produced by the US and British governments was found to be false - whether it was reports of Saddam Hussein buying uranium from Niger, or the report produced by British Intelligence which was discovered to have been plagiarized from an old student dissertation. And yet, in the prelude to the war, day after day the most 'respectable' newspapers and TV channels in the US , headlined the 'evidence' of Iraq's arsenal of weapons of nuclear weapons. It now turns out that the source of the manufactured 'evidence' of Iraq's arsenal of nuclear weapons was Ahmed Chalabi who, (like General Suharto of Indonesia, General Pinochet of Chile, the Shah of Iran, the Taliban and of course, Saddam Hussein himself) - was bankrolled with millions of dollars from the good old CIA.

And so, a country was bombed into oblivion. It's true there have been some murmurs of apology. Sorry 'bout that folks, but we have really have to move on. Fresh rumours are coming in about nuclear weapons in Eye-ran and Syria. And guess who is reporting on these fresh rumours? The same reporters who ran the bogus 'scoops' on Iraq. The seriously embedded A Team.

The head of Britain's BBC had to step down and one man committed suicide because a BBC reporter accused the Blair administration of 'sexing up' intelligence reports about Iraq's WMD programme. But the head of Britain retains his job even though his government did much more than 'sex up' intelligence reports. It is responsible for the illegal invasion of a country and the mass murder of its people.

Visitors to Australia like myself, are expected to answer the following question when they fill in the visa form: Have you ever committed or been involved in the commission of war crimes or crimes against humanity or human rights? Would George Bush and Tony Blair get visas to Australia? Under the tenets of International Law they must surely qualify as war criminals.

However, to imagine that the world would change if they were removed from office is naive. The tragedy is that their political rivals have no real dispute with their policies. The fire and brimstone of the US election campaign was about who would make a better 'Commander-in-Chief' and a more effective manager of the American Empire. Democracy no longer offers voters real choice. Only specious choice.

Even though no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq - stunning new evidence has revealed that Saddam Hussein was planning a weapons programme. (Like I was planning to win an Olympic Gold in synchronized swimming.) Thank goodness for the doctrine of pre-emptive strike. God knows what other evil thoughts he harbored - sending Tampax in the mail to American senators, or releasing female rabbits in burqas into the London underground. No doubt all will be revealed in the free and fair trial of Saddam Hussein that's coming up soon in the New Iraq.

All except the chapter in which we would learn of how the US and Britain plied him with money and material assistance at the time he was carrying out murderous attacks on Iraqi Kurds and Shias. All except the chapter in which we would learn that a 12,000 page report submitted by the Saddam Hussein government to the UN, was censored by the United States because it lists twenty-four US corporations that participated in Iraq's pre-Gulf War nuclear and conventional weapons programme. (They include Bechtel, DuPont, , Eastman Kodak, Hewlett Packard, International Computer Systems and Unisys.)

So Iraq has been 'liberated.' Its people have been subjugated and its markets have been 'freed'. That's the anthem of neo-liberalism. Free the markets. Screw the people.

The US government has privatized and sold entire sectors of Iraq's economy. Economic policies and tax laws have been re-written. Foreign companies can now buy 100% of Iraqi firms and expatriate the profits. This is an outright violation of international laws that govern an occupying force, and is among the main reasons for the stealthy, hurried charade in which power was 'handed over' to an 'interim Iraqi government'. Once handing over of Iraq to the Multi-nationals is complete, a mild dose of genuine democracy won't do any harm. In fact it might be good PR for the Corporate version of Liberation Theology, otherwise known as New Democracy.

Not surprisingly, the auctioning of Iraq caused a stampede at the feeding trough. Corporations like Bechtel and Halliburton, the company that US Vice-president Dick Cheney once headed, have won huge contracts for 'reconstruction' work. A brief c.v of any one of these corporations would give us a lay person's grasp of how it all works. - not just in Iraq, but all over the world. Say we pick Bechtel - only because poor little Halliburton is under investigation on charges of overpricing fuel deliveries to Iraq and for its contracts to 'restore' Iraq's oil industry which came with a pretty serious price-tag - 2.5 billion dollars.

The Bechtel Group and Saddam Hussein are old business acquaintances. Many of their dealings were negotiated by none other than Donald Rumsfeld. In 1988, after Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Kurds, Bechtel signed contracts with his government to build a dual-use chemical plant in Baghdad.

Historically, the Bechtel Group has had and continues to have inextricably close links to the Republican establishment. You could call Bechtel and the Reagan Bush administration a team. Former Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger was a Bechtel general counsel. Former Deputy Secretary of Energy, W. Kenneth Davis was Bechtel's vice president. Riley Bechtel, the company chairman, is on the President's Export Council. Jack Sheehan, a retired marine corps general, is a senior vice president at Bechtel and a member of the US Defense Policy Board. Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who is on the Board of Directors of the Bechtel Group, was the chairman of the advisory board of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.

When he was asked by the New York Times whether he was concerned about the appearance of a conflict of interest between his two 'jobs', he said, "I don't know that Bechtel would particularly benefit from it [The invasion of Iraq]. But if there's work to be done, Bechtel is the type of company that could do it." Bechtel has been awarded reconstruction contracts in Iraq worth over a billion dollars, which include contracts to re-build power generation plants, electrical grids, water supply, sewage systems, and airport facilities. Never mind revolving doors, this -if it weren't so drenched in blood- would be a bedroom farce.

Between 2001 and 2002, nine out of thirty members of the US Defense Policy Group were connected to companies that were awarded Defense contracts worth 76 billion dollars. Time was when weapons were manufactured in order to fight wars. Now wars are manufactured in order to sell weapons.

Between 1990 and 2002 the Bechtel group has contributed $3.3 million to campaign funds, both Republican and Democrat. Since 1990 it has won more than 2000 government contracts worth more than 11 billion dollars. That's an incredible return on investment, wouldn't you say?

And Bechtel has footprints around the world. That's what being a multi-national means.

The Bechtel Group first attracted international attention when it signed a contract with Hugo Banzer, the former Bolivian dictator, to privatize the water supply in the city of Cochabamba. The first thing Bechtel did was to raise the price of water. Hundreds of thousands of people who simply couldn't afford to pay Bechtel's bills came out onto the streets. A huge strike paralyzed the city. Martial law was declared. Although eventually Bechtel was forced to flee its offices, it is currently negotiating an exit payment of millions of dollars from the Bolivian government for the loss of potential profits. Which, as we'll see, is growing into a popular corporate sport.

In India, Bechtel along with General Electric are the new owners of the notorious and currently defunct Enron power project. The Enron contract, which legally binds the Government of the State of Maharashtra to pay Enron a sum of 30 billion dollars, was the largest contract ever signed in India. Enron was not shy to boast about the millions of dollars it had spent to "educate" Indian politicians and bureaucrats. The Enron contract in Maharashtra, which was India's first 'fast-track' private power project, has come to be known as the most massive fraud in the country's history. (Enron was another of the Republican Party's major campaign contributors). The electricity that Enron produced was so exorbitant that the government decided it was cheaper not to buy electricity and pay Enron the mandatory fixed charges specified in the contract. This means that the government of one of the poorest countries in the world was paying Enron 220 million US dollars a year not to produce electricity!

Now that Enron has ceased to exist, Bechtel and GE are suing the Indian Government for 5.6 billion US dollars. This is not even a minute fraction of the sum of money that they (or Enron) actually invested in the project. Once more, it's a projection of profit they would have made had the project materialized. To give you an idea of scale 5.6 billion dollars a little more than the amount that the Government of India would need annually, for a rural employment guarantee scheme that would provide a subsistence wage to millions of people currently living in abject poverty, crushed by debt, displacement, chronic malnutrition and the WTO. This in a country where farmers steeped in debt are being driven to suicide, not in their hundreds, but in their thousands. The proposal for a Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is being mocked by India's corporate class as an unreasonable, utopian demand being floated by the 'lunatic' and newly powerful left. Where will the money come from? they ask derisively. And yet, any talk of reneging on a bad contract with a notoriously corrupt corporation like Enron, has the same cynics hyperventilating about capital flight and the terrible risks of 'creating a bad investment climate'. The arbitration between Bechtel, GE and the Government of India is taking place right now in London. Bechtel and GE have reason for hope. The Indian Finance Secretary who was instrumental in approving the disastrous Enron contract has come home after a few years with the IMF. Not just home, home with a promotion. He is now Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

Think about it: The notional profits of a single corporate project would be enough to provide a hundred days of employment a year at minimum wages (calculated at a weighted average across different states) for 25 million people. That's five million more than the population of Australia. That is the scale of the horror of neo-liberalism.

The Bechtel story gets worse. In what can only be called unconscionable, Naomi Klein writes that Bechtel has successfully sued war-torn Iraq for 'war reparations' and 'lost profits'. It has been awarded 7 million dollars.

So, all you young management graduates don't bother with Harvard and Wharton - here's the Lazy Manager's Guide to Corporate Success: First, stock your Board with senior government servants. Next, stock the government with members of your board. Add oil and stir. When no one can tell where the government ends and your company begins, collude with your government to equip and arm a cold-blooded dictator in an oil-rich country. Look away while he kills his own people. Simmer gently. Use the time collect to collect a few billion dollars in government contracts. Then collude with your government once again while it topples the dictator and bombs his subjects, taking to specifically target essential infrastructure, killing a hundred thousand people on the side. Pick up another billion dollars or so worth of contracts to 'reconstruct' the infrastructure. To cover travel and incidentals, sue for reparations for lost profits from the devastated country. Finally, diversify. Buy a TV station, so that next war around you can showcase your hardware and weapons technology masquerading as coverage of the war. And finally finally, institute a Human Rights Prize in your company's name. You could give the first one posthumously to Mother Teresa. She won't be able to turn it down or argue back.

Invaded and occupied Iraq has been made to pay out 200 million dollars in "reparations" for lost profits to corporations like Halliburton, Shell, Mobil, Nestle, Pepsi, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Toys R Us. That's apart from its 125 billion dollar sovereign debt forcing it to turn to the IMF, waiting in the wings like the angel of death, with its Structural Adjustment program. (Though in Iraq there don't seem to be many structures left to adjust. Except the shadowy Al Qaeda.)

In New Iraq, privatization has broken new ground. The US Army is increasingly recruiting private mercenaries to help in the occupation. The advantage with mercenaries is that when they're killed they're not included in the US soldiers' body count. It helps to manage public opinion, which is particularly important in an election year. Prisons have been privatized. Torture has been privatized. We have seen what that leads to. Other attractions in New Iraq include newspapers being shut down. Television stations bombed. Reporters killed. US soldiers have opened fire on crowds of unarmed protestors killing scores of people. The only kind of resistance that has managed to survive is as crazed and brutal as the occupation itself. Is there space for a secular, democratic, feminist, non-violent resistance in Iraq? There isn't really.

That is why it falls to those of us living outside Iraq to create that mass-based, secular and non-violent resistance to the US occupation. If we fail to do that, then we run the risk of allowing the idea of resistance to be hi-jacked and conflated with terrorism and that will be a pity because they are not the same thing.

So what does peace mean in this savage, corporatized, militarized world? What does it mean in a world where an entrenched system of appropriation has created a situation in which poor countries which have been plundered by colonizing regimes for centuries are steeped in debt to the very same countries that plundered them, and have to repay that debt at the rate of 382 billion dollars a year? What does peace mean in a world in which the combined wealth of the world's 587 billionaires exceeds the combined gross domestic product of the world's 135 poorest countries? Or when rich countries that pay farm subsidies of a billion dollars a day, try and force poor countries to drop their subsidies? What does peace mean to people in occupied Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Tibet and Chechnya? Or to the aboriginal people of Australia? Or the Ogoni of Nigeria? Or the Kurds in Turkey? Or the Dalits and Adivasis of India? What does peace mean to non-muslims in Islamic countries, or to women in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan? What does it mean to the millions who are being uprooted from their lands by dams and development projects? What does peace mean to the poor who are being actively robbed of their resources and for whom everyday life is a grim battle for water, shelter, survival and, above all, some semblance of dignity? For them, peace is war.

We know very well who benefits from war in the age of Empire. But we must also ask ourselves honestly who benefits from peace in the age of Empire? War mongering is criminal. But talking of peace without talking of justice could easily become advocacy for a kind of capitulation. And talking of justice without unmasking the institutions and the systems that perpetrate injustice, is beyond hypocritical.

It's easy to blame the poor for being poor. It's easy to believe that the world is being caught up in an escalating spiral of terrorism and war. That's what allows the American President to say "You're either with us or with the terrorists." But we know that that's a spurious choice. We know that terrorism is only the privatization of war. That terrorists are the free marketers of war. They believe that the legitimate use of violence is not the sole prerogative of the State.

It is mendacious to make moral distinction between the unspeakable brutality of terrorism and the indiscriminate carnage of war and occupation. Both kinds of violence are unacceptable. We cannot support one and condemn the other.

The real tragedy is that most people in the world are trapped between the horror of a putative peace and the terror of war. Those are the two sheer cliffs we're hemmed in by. The question is: How do we climb out of this crevasse?

For those who are materially well-off, but morally uncomfortable, the first question you must ask yourself is do you really want to climb out of it? How far are you prepared to go? Has the crevasse become too comfortable?

If you really want to climb out, there's good news and bad news.

The good news is that the advance party began the climb some time ago. They're already half way up. Thousands of activists across the world have been hard at work preparing footholds and securing the ropes to make it easier for the rest of us. There isn't only one path up. There are hundreds of ways of doing it. There are hundreds of battles being fought around the world that need your skills, your minds, your resources. No battle is irrelevant. No victory is too small.

The bad news is that colorful demonstrations, weekend marches and annual trips to the World Social Forum are not enough. There have to be targeted acts of real civil disobedience with real consequences. Maybe we can't flip a switch and conjure up a revolution. But there are several things we could do. For example, you could make a list of those corporations who have profited from the invasion of Iraq and have offices here in Australia. You could name them, boycott them, occupy their offices and force them out of business. If it can happen in Bolivia, it can happen in India. It can happen in Australia. Why not?

That's only a small suggestion. But remember that if the struggle were to resort to violence, it will lose vision, beauty and imagination. Most dangerous of all, it will marginalize and eventually victimize women. And a political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it and within it is no struggle at all.

The point is that the battle must be joined. As the wonderful American historian Howard Zinn put it:

You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train.

~ Arundhati Roy


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wu wei

I come from a place of wu-wei, from a daoist perspective, a pacifist, a conscientious objector.

I object to the taking of this country. I have faith in only one thing: the only constant in the universe is change.

1992. Clinton was elected. We were sure that the anti-discrimination banning that was written into Amendment 2 would fail (a state mandate that no township or county could write anti discrimination legislation against gays or lesbians into their own law) .

After Clinton won the election, I thought it was time to sleep. Finally it was a decent time. All the work we did against Amendment two paid off! The board would hold their celebration party as planned on November 3, invite the queer community and those people who helped to make change happen: our governor, our mayor, Ben Nighthorse-Campbell--who had just been voted in as our democratic senator... we would celebrate and finally feel safe.

The next morning was a nightmare. I went to work and into the offices of EPOC, now Equality Colorado. and the world was bleak. Overnight, gays and lesbians had been victims of hate crimes. The celebration canceled; they marched that night down Broadway Street with the Governor at the helm -- enraged. Stunned.

Hate crimes shot up. It was the beginning of the end, we were certain. Then the legal battle began. The state Supreme Court called the amendment unconstitutional. Gale Norton as AG took the case to the Supreme Court. We waited, we watched, we staffed the anti-violence phone lines and patched up our community.

Then it happened. The Amendment overturned in the highest court.

Reasons are not always evident when the dust settles. Things have to turn to shit before change can happen. There has never been a revolution that did not begin with the outrage of the people.

We will get through this.

Change will happen.

I shed tears for the people in Iraq. Saddened by the world's lust for war, bloodshed.

change will happen. I wait. I work. I scream, I meditate, I follow the path before me.


get fuckin' busy

Yup, another mandate of an overconfident, energized Bush administration banning abortion, gay marriage, declaring stem cell research heresy, excising evolution from middle schools, reintroducing beheading as a form of execution, bringing back polygamy, forbidding not only women but their Christian from going to college, since there's got to be some way to bring down that 48%....

Okay, a slight exagerration....

However, I do see this as the decline of a civilization. With Europe and a smattering of first world nations such as Canada decriminalizing pot, expanding the definition of marriage, and supporting progressive science, and with China, India and other ambitious nations catching up, four years of all this will find America ten years or more behind by the time the Bush administration finally has to walk away after a war-weary public finally dismisses them in 2008, psychologically scarred and too intellectually bankrupt to do think their way out.


BUT ON THE BRIGHT SIDE....

The Bush administration will be overconfident, and if they're going to make any sloppy mistakes, inadvertently expose themselves, now's the time to catch 'em. Analysis of voters throughout the election confirmed that there was a stark division between those with post-secondary education and without. Speeches and policies will even be more strongly geared to the oblivious and stupid.

With perseverance, someone smart can catch them at something everyone will notice. I know there are smartapples out there who will unhappily say that the lies of Bush and the thinking parts of his team have already been discovered, published and cross-referenced. However, what's been missing is the soundbite, the watergate, the big slip before the eyes of the world that outrages liberals and bible-thumpers alike. For this is needed Woodward and Bernstein, Kenneth Star, whatever works.

It can be done. The feeding frenzy over a blowjob that dogged Clinton to the end of his presidency can find its analogue in the Amercian lexicon. The best part of it is that if Bush is every cornered on anything good he will not nearly have the panache to recover the way Clinton had - he'll sputter and rage and roll his eyes. It's a better time to root around for humiliating truths than ever before. We can get him.

The other heartening thought is that Kerry nearly overturned the most highly-funded spin machine in human history by uniting its opponents. Let's not quibble over a few percentage points - a hair shy of half of this year's voting public united against Bush, and they're still around, and just getting warmed up - the best part is a lot of them are young. We could have four years that will put the sixties to shame. Hippies, shmippies - shit will go down to make Timothy Leary Blush, that will make Abbie Hoffman look like Ben Stein.

THE PARTY STARTS NOW.
LET'S GET BUSY.
.........................................

John Barlow wrote:

i'm calling it a draw
so once the key republicans are prosecuted for their crimes it'll be a democrat majority

wawlist news

and now............ four more years

Bush pleads for unity as clear victory consolidates power

President Bush yesterday promised to reunite America as he declared victory in a bitterly-fought presidential election and laid claim to the popular mandate that eluded him four years ago.

"America has spoken and I'm humbled by the trust and the confidence of my fellow citizens," the president told supporters in Washington, who repeatedly interrupted his victory speech with raucous cheers.

The vice-president, Dick Cheney, declared the election "a broad nationwide victory" and pointed out George Bush had won the "greatest number of popular votes of any presidential candidate in history".

But the tone of Mr Bush's victory speech was more conciliatory. Addressing the 55 million Americans who voted for John Kerry, he said: "To make this nation stronger and better I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."

The president made no promises to change course in his domestic policy to bridge the divide with his Democratic opponents. As for foreign policy, he vowed to pursue his project to help build democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq before bringing US troops home.

He also pledged: "With good allies by our side we will fight this war on terror with every resource in our power so our children can live in freedom and in peace."

His closest ally, Tony Blair, yesterday privately congratulated Mr Bush in a morning phone call, but made it clear soon afterwards that he would be seeking more White House effort in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The need to revitalise the Middle East peace process is the single most pressing political challenge in our world today," Mr Blair told reporters. The prime minister will travel to Washington shortly to discuss the both the Middle East and January's scheduled elections in Iraq.

The moment of victory was delayed until midday yesterday as the two sides battled over the vote count in the decisive state, Ohio. But the challenger was forced to concede defeat in a short telephone call to the White House when it became clear Mr Bush's lead in the state was insurmountable.

"We had a good conversation, and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need - the desperate need - for unity, for finding the common ground, coming together," Senator Kerry said in his concession speech a few hours later in Boston.

After the 2000 election, its controversial recount and the intervention of the Supreme Court, most Democrats believed they had been robbed of the presidency. Yesterday Mr Kerry acknowledged that he had been beaten, and that even if all the yet uncounted ballots in Ohio were taken into consideration, they would not reverse the final outcome - a majority for the president in the electoral college which ultimately determines who inhabits the White House.

Four years ago Mr Bush scrambled into the White House by virtue of the quirks of the US electoral system, despite losing the popular vote by half a million. By contrast, in the early hours of yesterday morning, he became the first president to be elected by a clear popular majority since his father in 1988, defeating Senator Kerry by more than three million votes.

The Republican party also increased its Senate majority from two votes to 10. Tom Daschle, who led the opposition to Mr Bush on Capitol Hill for the past four years, lost his seat in a humiliating defeat in his home state, South Dakota.

The president's control of Congress will also allow him to put his stamp on the third arm of the federal government, the supreme court, the most powerful weapon in America's continuing cultural war.

The opportunity to fill three or four vacancies in the court over the next four years could create a solid conservative majority which could lead to a ban on abortion, among other potentially dramatic changes.

Republican conservatives also extended their already powerful hold on the House of Representatives, smoothing the way for the president's second-term legislative agenda.

More broadly, his popular mandate allows the president to claim his radical agenda at home and abroad represents America with a legitimacy it did not have before.

But Mr Bush presides over a country deeply divided over the Iraq war and cultural issues such as abortion, gay mar riage, and stem cell research. The victory strengthens President Bush's hand abroad, now it is clear leaders sceptical of his assertive style and aggressive foreign policy have no alternative but to deal with him.

The French president, Jacques Chirac, spoke of "our joint fight against terrorism". Similarly, the German chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, sought common ground.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1342908,00.html?=rss
--
Julian Borger in Washington Thursday November 4, 2004 The Guardian

Insurgents strike in Baghdad

· Oil ministry official killed
· US soldier killed by bomb
· US contractor kidnapped


Insurgents mounted fresh attacks in Baghdad today, killing a senior oil ministry official and an American soldier and kidnapping a Lebanese-American contractor.

A spokesman for the Iraqi interior ministry said gunmen had killed Hussein Ali, the director-general of state-owned Refined Oil Products distribution company, as he left his home in Baghdad. Insurgents have killed scores of Iraqi officials to try to undermine the interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, and his Iraqi government.

The US military said that a soldier was killed by a roadside bomb this morning near Salam Pak, 12 miles south-east of Baghdad.

Radim Sadiq, a US national of Lebanese origin, became the latest victim of the recent kidnapping spree when four gunmen seized him from his Lebanese company's office in Baghdad's western Mansour district last night, the interior ministry said.

As the violence continued, Mr Allawi, said that, whatever the outcome of the US presidential election, his country would remain a friend of America and appreciate its support.

"Whoever wins will be our friend," Mr Allawi said, in an interview published in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica.

"The United States have freed us from a dictator, from a very long period of wars and agony. We will always be grateful to America for what it has done and what it continues to do."

Mr Allawi is due to arrive in Rome tomorrow to meet Pope John Paul II, whom he described as "the figure who represents peace on a global level".

The Pope "can help Iraq and its people end their current crisis", Mr Allawi said. "I know that [the Pope] was against this war. We will have a chance to talk about it."

Mr Allawi is then set to visit Brussels, where he said he would "ask for support for our electoral process and for help in re-entering in the international community".

Elections in Iraq are planned for January. Speaking about the continuing violence in his country, Mr Allawi pointed to fighters arriving from neighbouring countries, saying that in recent weeks Iraqi authorities had arrested 167 "foreign combatants".

The Iraqi leader also appealed to people in the city of Falluja "to help us free it from the clamp of foreign terrorists". He said that if current negotiations with officials and religious leaders in Falluja failed, "we will take military action. There are no alternatives."

Meanwhile, the British soldiers of the Black Watch came under fresh attack at their base south of Baghdad. One mortar exploded at the Camp Dogwood complex early yesterday evening, with five other "impacts" also reported. The Ministry of Defence stressed there were no injuries and no damage to the base.

The Black Watch are expected to begin active patrolling this week, blocking off exit routes from Falluja and releasing US forces for the anticipated assault on the rebel stronghold.

The Care International charity that employs Margaret Hassan, the kidnapped British-Iraqi aid worker, said it was distressed by the latest video released by her captors.

An unknown militant group holding Mrs Hassan threatened to turn her over to a group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian extremist and al-Qaida ally, within 48 hours unless British troops quit Iraq, al-Jazeera television reported yesterday when it aired the video.

Zarqawi's group has claimed responsibility for hostage beheadings and some of Iraq's bloodiest suicide attacks.

"In response to the latest video, Mrs Hassan's colleagues are profoundly distressed by her condition and urge those holding her to release her without further harm," Care International said in a statement.

The video showed a masked gunman speaking, but there was no audio. Al-Jazeera said it would not broadcast the tape in full "because of the state in which the hostage appears".

Mrs Hassan, director of Care International's now halted operations in Iraq, has an Iraqi husband and has lived in Iraq for 30 years. She holds British and Iraqi passports.


Agencies Wednesday November 3, 2004 The Guardian
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004
http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5054301-103550,00.html

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a new day dawns

A revolution is not the overturning of a cart, a reshuffling in the cards of state. It is a process, a swelling, a new growth in the race. If it is real, not simply a trauma, it is another ring in the tree of history, layer upon layer of invisible tissue composing the evidence of a circle. - Kate Millett

Army sets up hotline for tips on insurgents


BAGHDAD, Iraq – In its latest effort to throttle the tenacious
insurgency plaguing Baghdad, the U.S. Army has set up a telephone
hotline where Iraqis can phone in anonymous tips.

In two interviews with Arabic TV networks yesterday, Brig. Gen. Jeffery
Hammond assumed the role of a big city American police chief, squinting
into the camera and beseeching Iraqis to phone in anything they know
about planned attacks.

"When you see this terrible insurgent about to do something, pick up
your phone and call me. I'll do something about it," said Hammond,
deputy commander of the 1st Cavalry Division. "We can fight this war
together. You can help me fight – in secret."

In a series of messages, Hammond lambasted the insurgents for killing
women and children. He said Iraqis could put the brakes on the
insurgents.

"The choice is simple," Hammond continued. "You can choose the choice
of the insurgent, which is death. Or you can choose the path of the
interim government, which is life."

"I understand that you're scared. I'd be scared, too," Hammond said.
"But someone in Baghdad sees the insurgent, knows the insurgent. Tell
me what it is you know."

The division has received as many as 30 calls per day since setting up
the line two weeks ago. One caller declared he was a terrorist out to
get Americans.

The 1st Cavalry has no arrests or operations to report that stemmed
from phoned-in tips. But division spokesman Lt. Col. James Hutton said
the line was useful for vetting intelligence and generating leads.

"It's giving us information that helps connect the dots," Hammond said.

Hammond said the hotline is part of an Arabic media blitz organized by
the division.

Saturday's car bombing of the offices of Al-Arabiya, the Dubai-based
satellite TV news network, was the most dramatic of many attempts to
intimidate Arabic-language media in Baghdad to deter them from covering
the U.S. military's announcements, Hammond said.

Hammond said he has received a death threat for serving as a regular
guest of a call-in radio program on a Baghdad radio station.

"We hit a raw nerve," he said. "It's my ambition to get into all the
living rooms in Baghdad and tell our story by putting the commanding
general on Arab TV.


By Jim Krane ASSOCIATED PRESS November 2, 2004
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20041102/news_1n2hotline.html

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What if there is no clear winner?

the BBC asks and tries to answer the unanswerable:

 Q&A: What if there is no clear winner?
 
The US presidential election of 2000 stunned the world by resulting in an effective deadlock that took more than a month - and the Supreme Court - to resolve.

 With polls suggesting the US is as evenly divided now as it was four years ago, analysts say this election, too, might end in a virtual draw.

 If that happens, the courts may again cast the deciding votes - and both parties are marshalling thousands of lawyers to prepare for the battles that may be on the cards.


 Could the election end in a tie?

 With something in the order of 110 million ballots expected to be cast, it is unlikely that the popular vote will be an exact tie. However, the Electoral College actually chooses the president, and a tie there is possible.

 A Washington Post analysis of 11 swing states found no less than 33 different combinations that would result in a 269-269 Electoral College tie.

 Under the 12th amendment to the US constitution, in case of a tie, the House of Representatives chooses the president. Because Republicans will probably control the House, President Bush would be likely to win.

 But the Senate chooses the vice-president, making it theoretically possible that Mr Bush could be saddled with John Edwards as his second-in-command.

 The House of Representatives has chosen the president only once since the 12th amendment was adopted. That was John Quincy Adams, in 1824.


 Will there be more legal arguments this year?

 Probably, given the experience last time round. The Florida crisis of 2000 alerted the public and the parties to the problem of spoiled ballots.

 In the past they were not a problem because the majority for the winning candidate was larger than the number of invalid votes.

 Now people are much more aware of the issue and if the result is close, more legal disputes can be expected.


 Is there a risk of another Florida fiasco?

 Probably not in quite the same way.

 Last time the biggest problem was with the punch-cards where the pieces to be punched out - the infamous "chads" - did not detach. This time, Florida is using touch-screen voting or optical scanners instead.

 However, in Florida and elsewhere there could be legal challenges to the results on several fronts, so further court interventions cannot be ruled out.

 What grounds might there be for legal challenges?

 There are four general areas of concern.

    •      The accuracy of voting machines: The new electronic ones have had their trustworthiness
            questioned and punch-cards, still used in many states, are known to be unreliable.

    •      Voter registration: Who is entitled to vote and where. This is always a problem in US voting.

    •      The validity of "provisional ballots" cast by voters who believe themselves eligible, but whose
            names do not appear on the electoral rolls. Such ballots can be cast this year with verification
            left until afterwards. But verification can be slow, and what if it is challenged?

    •      The integrity of absentee voting: Fraud is thought to be easier if voters are not present at the polling stations.

 Does the Electoral College system encourage legal challenges?

 Yes. Remember that the US president is not chosen by direct popular vote but by an Electoral College in which each state gets a number of votes roughly in proportion to its population.

 In all but two states (Maine and Nebraska) the winner of the popular vote wins all the Electoral College votes in that state. This gives candidates a powerful incentive to contest close results.

 In 2000, all of Florida's 25 Electoral College votes went to George W Bush although he won by a mere 0.01%. That determined who won the White House.


 Are there moves to change the Electoral College system?

 Not nationwide, but Colorado is considering a measure to divide its Electoral College votes proportionally instead of giving them all to the winner of the popular vote.

 This is called Amendment 36 and it might open up a new legal front. Given the closeness of the race there, the split would probably be five to four in a proportional system. This could decide the presidency in a close race.

 The result could be subject to legal challenges over whether such a change can be instituted via a state-wide ballot, and whether it can be made to apply to the 2004 election, as it says it does.


 How are challenges made?

 In the first instance they go to the local and state authorities who run the ballots. But both state and federal courts can be asked to intervene, on simple procedural grounds or larger constitutional ones.

 This happened in 2000. In serious cases, state and federal appeals courts can make rulings. The state supreme courts can also take a case.

 In the final analysis it is the US Supreme Court itself which might have to decide an issue and it would normally do so on constitutional grounds.

 In 2000, for example, it ruled that hand recounts in Florida would violate the equal treatment clause of the constitution because different voters would be treated differently.


 Would another legal row lead to changes in the system?

 There would certainly be pressure for a change but the US constitution is written to make change difficult.

 The Electoral College has been made much more democratic than it originally was but attempts to abolish it have not succeeded.

 The source of the problem in 2000, the physical voting system, is still in the hands of the states and they will not be dictated to, though improvements have been made.


 If there is no winner on 2 November, who will run the country in the interim?

 Although election day is in early November, a president's term runs from 20 January until 19 January four years later. That means that President Bush will remain in office for at least two-and-a-half months no matter who wins.

 In 2000, the court battles ended well before then, but they went on long enough that serious analysts debated who would take over if there was no result by 20 January 2001.

 Bill Clinton could not stay in office due to term limits and his vice-president Al Gore was involved in the dispute.

 Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House of Representatives, was next in line to the presidency, but he would have had to resign his powerful Congressional position and might have preferred not to.

 Strom Thurmond, the president pro tempore of the Senate was considered, at 97, too old to be a credible interim president.

 Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was ineligible because she was not born in the United States, so conceivably Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers - fifth in line to the presidency - would have assumed command.



 Story from BBC NEWS:
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/3955757.stm
 Published: 2004/11/01 20:18:59 GMT
 © BBC MMIV

Racism in South Dakota vote



Hau kolas-

Here is just one story of many that are sure to come dealing with racism
and today's elections. This is the same race where John Thune (R.
running against Tom Daschle) mailed posters of praire dogs lining up to
vote with the caption "The Dogs are lining up to Vote for Tom
Daschle.." It was only a short time ago when stores in the Dakotas
posted signs "No Dogs or Indians Allowed."

Now a restraining order has been placed on Republican poll watchers for
harrassment of Indian voters.

In spirit--

Matt Remle
<> <>

*
Judge bars GOP from watching Yankton Sioux voters*

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

A federal judge has barred the Republican Party from watching voters
from the Yankton Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

A Republican testified that he was writing down the license plate
numbers of cars carrying voters from the reservation to a polling place
in Charles Mix County. But Joel C. Mandelman, a lawyer from the
Washington, D.C., area said his activities did not stop anyone from
voting.U.S. District Judge Lawrence Piersol issued a temporary
restraining order
sought by
Sen. Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota).

Daschle accused Republican John Thune of intimidating Indian voters.
Charles Mix County has a large Indian population but non-Indians make up
the majority.

In the 2002 Senate election and the recent special House election,
Indian voters overwhelmingly chose Democratic candidates. Areas of the
county used to be considered part of the reservation but the U.S.
Supreme Court ruled that tribal lands were diminished.


Get the Story:
Judge orders GOP to halt poll tactics
(The
Sioux Falls Argus Leader 11/2)

E-voting - What the Horror Stories Teach

http://imagicke.blogspot.com/2004/11/e-voting-what-horror-stories-teach.html

Monday, November 01, 2004

E-voting - What the Horror Stories Teach

E-voting - What the Horror Stories Teach
October 29, 2004

EFF will be reporting on Election Day about any problems that may arise with electronic voting machines, but some of the machines have been used in earlier elections and during early voting this week, so we're already starting to see patterns emerge. The National Committee for Voting Integrity (NCVV) has published a list of articles on e-voting that provides a good overview of what the major glitches are. Below, we take look at a handful of these articles and provide a heads-up on three key issues voters and poll watchers should be aware of:

Problem - "Touchy" Touch Screen Machines: County Responds to Voting Machine Problems [Austin Chronicle]; County Tries to Prevent More Ballot Problems [Dallas Morning News]

As we noted on Sunday, some voters are reporting that upon completing the ballot process, their votes have been changed from Bush/Cheney to Kerry/Edwards or vice versa. Voting officials are evidently blaming voters, claiming that they must have accidentally touched the wrong part of the screen or brushed up against it with their sleeves. But we've witnessed demos of touch screen machines, and the machines themselves may have more to do with the problem than voting officials are willing to admit.

What to Do: Regardless of the cause, the remedy is clear: proof your ballot. The major touch screen machines being used in this election show the voter a "summary," "proof," or "review" screen before the vote is cast. If you see anything funny there, stop. DO NOT CAST YOUR VOTE. The machine will allow you to correct your vote at this stage; use this option. If it's not evident to you, ask a poll worker to give you directions.

It might also help for you to be prepared for what you will experience at the polls. Before heading out to vote, print out the Voters Guide for the e-voting machine you'll be using, and take the guide with you to ensure that your vote is properly cast. To do this, visit the Verifier, an online map where you can "drill down" to your particular county and find out what kind of voting machine you'll be using. It's quick, it's easy, and it may help you avoid the problems other voters are having.

Problem - Voting Is Delayed Due to Technical Problems: Computer Glitch Stalls Hillsborough Results [Tampa Tribune]; Here We Go Again: Confusion Reigns in Sequel to 2000 Election [Miami Herald]

Hillsborough's results stalled for hours while election officials struggled with a computerized counting system malfunction. The problem was blamed on some changes that had been made to the computer system, but Election Supervisor Buddy Johnson said, "Our server slowed down. We're not really sure why. I have no lack of confidence. It's not broken."

What to Do: Frankly, we can't know whether or not the machines are "broken." Regardless, delays like this aren't only inconveniences -- they risk disenfranchising the people who can't vote before the polls close. If voters are being turned away, election officials should keep the polls open a commensurate amount of time. That is, if a technical issue keeps voters away for an hour, then the polls should remain open an hour later. This is precisely what Governor Jeb Bush did in 2002, issuing an order that kept the polls open two hours later than originally scheduled.
Problem - Machines Fail, Polls Run Out of Paper: Voters Turned Away by Glitches [Contra Costa Times]

In California, glitches with encoders turned voters away from polling places because of malfunctions. The problems affected 25 polling locations in Alameda County, turning away between 50 and 100 voters. Paper ballots were used as a backup, but there were not enough to accommodate all of the voters who came to vote.

The same thing occurred in Georgia in September: local precincts has only 25 paper ballots on hand, but failed to ask for more from election officials.

What to Do: Voters should be offered paper ballots at the polls if the machines are down -- and these ballots should be counted as regular, not "provisional." If election officials run out, they should call for more. And again, if this causes a delay, the polls should stay open longer to ensure that voters are not disenfranchised.

Finally, a reminder to everyone heading out to the polls: there is a nonpartisan hotline you can call with any problems you encounter -- the Election Protection Hotline, at 1-866-OUR-VOTE. EFF attorneys will be standing by to monitor and help resolve technical problems.

Source: The Electronic Frontier Foundation
 
*
 

A Soldier Speaks: Sean Huze

A Soldier Speaks: Sean Huze

ˆ

Sean Huze was once a true believer. The day after the Sept. 11 attacks,
the actor walked into the nearest recruiter's office in Los Angeles and
enlisted himself in the United States Marine Corps. Sixteen months
later, he was headed for Iraq as part of the 2nd Light Armored
Reconnaissance Battalion, leaving behind his wife and young son.

Sean Huze in IraqThe same idealism and belief in President Bush's war on
terror that prompted Sean to enlist sustained him through a long and
dangerous tour of duty. His first taste of battle: a 12-hour fire-fight
just outside Al Nassiriyah. His unit -- which was involved in battles
from Al Kut to Baghdad and Tikrit - was recognized over and again for
its tenacity and courage. Sean's own list of combat achievements were
just as long: a Certificate of Commendation citing his "courage and self
sacrifice throughout sustained combat operations"; the Combat Action
Ribbon; Meritorious Promotion for Corporal; the Presidential Unit
Citation, the National Defense Service Medal, and on and on.

Sean Huze was one tough, committed Marine.

His first months back at home were blissful, spent reveling in the
warmth of a hero's welcome. But then there was the discovery of internal
nerve damage that had gone undetected in Iraq. His terrible headaches
were diagnosed as a post-concussive condition caused by injuries
suffered during a truck accident.

The pain of betrayal, however, would be far harder to bear. When he
discovered that none of the reasons offered by his commander inchief to
justify the Iraq war were true, Sean found himself falling into despair.
He started pouring his heart out in a journal, which would eventually
become the basis for a play, "The Sandstorm
.*^1 *" /The Los Angeles Times/ praised
"The Sandstorm" for its "shocking force and awesome honesty" in
capturing the stark, terrible reality of war.

Sean sees the play as an affirmation of other veterans questioning the
the war - be it the reasons for war or the way it's being fought. He
says, "Be it Operation Truth *^2 * or
Iraq Veterans Against the War ,*^3 * we're not
lone voices. We're part of a gathering storm."

As for making peace with his inner pain, Sean says the wounds may never
heal. But that, he says, is a good thing: "When you're part of something
that's wrong, I don't know if you should feel okay about it. I don't
know if it should heal. I hope it always hurts."

Sean spoke to AlterNet via phone from Los Angeles.


Is there one memory from the war that still stays with you?*

There was a little Iraqi girl - probably four or five years old. I
remember her giving me a peace sign. It was probably 10 or 15 miles
south of Baghdad [during the invasion] when the kids would all come
running out. She was just a beautiful little girl. What stays with me is
her innocence.

I gave her the peace sign right back, of course. And her little face
just lit up. But the difference was my lack of innocence. When I gave

her the peace sign, well, it was just bad, I guess. It was not the road
we were on - not the road we're on now. You could say my job as a
soldier was the direct opposite of that - peace.

*
When you look back, how has this war changed you?*

I can never be the man I was before I left for Iraq. I had a lot of
faith. I was a true believer in the administration's justification for
the war - about the weapons of mass destruction and Iraq being an
imminent threat. I believed in what we were doing when we were over there.

That belief I had in the administration allowed me to balance what I was
seeing, what I was experiencing, what I was a part of. With all that
death and destruction - the deaths of soldiers and Iraqi civilians who
were caught in the crossfire - it helped that I believed that it was all
for a greater good.

Coming home, at first it was about being back with my family - y'know,
the yellow ribbon around the tree, the flags, and the "Welcome Home"
signs. For a few months, I couldn't allow myself to believe that it was
all for a lie.

I know the real transition in me happened when my eyes were opened -
when I realized that there were no weapons of mass destruction. I
realized that Saddam Hussein was not a threat to not just the United
States but to any of the countries on his borders. That there was no tie
to Sept. 11. And these were what I now believe were intentional
misrepresentations and manipulation.

When you realize this, then you don't have anything to balance
everything you've seen and been through. You're just stuck with it. And
it hurts. You have to deal with what you've already been through - the
death and destruction that's haunting you. But now you're also dealing
with a sense of betrayal that you'd trusted most. That's what I was left
with - what I'm still left with.

So in terms of change, I now don't have any faith in the policymakers of
this administration. We all collectively as a nation allowed ourselves -
and I was part of that - to fall for this "You're either with us or
against us" and therefore "You're either a patriot or with the
terrorists" thinking. And if those are the only two choices, then of
course I'm a patriot.

So one of the things that has changed for the positive is that it helped
me realize that true patriotism is questioning our leaders. That's what
our country is founded on. That's what men like me put our lives on the
line to defend. So protesting the war does not equate with protesting
those of us in uniform. It's not unpatriotic to want to get our guys
home from the war zone.

*
What are your hopes and fears now that you look at the future?*

My immediate hope is a change of leadership right here in this country.
I think regime change in the United States of America is the most
important and critical regime change needed in the world right now.

I think there are two clear alternatives in this election. New
leadership can show the compassion and understanding that would bring
our European allies - who have always supported the U.S. in the past -
back to the table. It could talk to the Arab countries and [laughs]
maybe even take their culture and their ideas into account in our policy
on the Middle East. And that's what we need - to remove the American
face from the occupation and turn it into an international effort to
rebuild Iraq.

My fear is obviously the opposite - that for whatever reason, a majority
of Americans haven't seen the truth yet or refuse to look at the truth.
So this administration will not just be in power for four years, but
that it will be four years when they are not accountable for their
actions - because we don't get a chance to vote them out of office.

My fear is that the war will escalate and so will the human toll - both
for our soldiers and Iraqi civilians. I fear that it will become my
son's problem. That the next generation of Americans will be paying the
price for the mistakes we make today. That 15-16 years from now, they
will reap what we sow today.

*If you had five minutes with the president - whomever it may be on Nov.
3, George Bush or John Kerry - what would you say to him?*

It would probably be very different in each case. I would like the
opportunity to look in the face of the person who has sent me and
hundreds of thousands of other soldiers in harm's way for reasons that
have now been proven false. I would like to look him in the eye and see
if he would admit his mistakes. I'd ask him how he planned to rectify
those mistakes. I'd like to see how he can justify his actions to the
families of those soldiers who didn't come home.

Should it be a new commander in chief, I would take the opportunity to
remind him how hard people have worked to put him in this position. I
would beseech him to change the course in Iraq. We need to get our young
men and women home. But we also need to fulfill our obligation to the
people of Iraq to leave them with a country that is in better shape than
when we came in.

cite:

1 http://www.thesandstorm.com/
2 http://www.optruth.org/main.cfm
3 http://www.ivaw.net/
4 http://www.thegroundtruth.org/

© 2004 Independent Media Institute.
story by By Lakshmi Chaudhry
senior editor of AlterNet.
This profile was made possible with the assistance of
Patricia Foulkrod, the producer/director of The Ground Truth
.

Why even a hawk like me is backing Kerry



 I am, as some Guardian readers know, just about the only gay in this village. When it came time to decide for or against the invasion of Iraq, the huge majority of my colleagues could not support it, and many bitterly opposed it. But I could not oppose the removal of Saddam and this, to say the least, has left me exposed - though increasingly tempted to flaunt my political perversion in the faces of the many detractors.

 So when Tom Wolfe says that he wants George Bush to win the election because of those who are against the cowboy oil-chimp from Hades, I get it. I have had it with the people who try to "understand" those zealots who blow up women trying to register to vote in Afghanistan but are horrified by born-again Christians going to church in Grand Rapids. I have had it with Chiraciennes, Pinterites, Palaeo-conservatives, Zarqawi-symps, isolationists, Srebrenica-avoiders, conspiracy theorists, know-nothings, low-level Jew-dislikers, former Conservative foreign secretaries, the anything-we-do-is-wrong army, the let's-do-nothing brigade and those who cannot wait for China to compete with the US as an equal superpower.

 On domestic grounds, if I were an American I would always vote for the Democrats, for abortion rights, help for the poor, equal treatment for minorities and a new health-care system. But what I care about, more even than these questions, is the fumbling towards a new world order, a new United Nations, a state of things where we are ashamed not to help and not to intervene, and conscious that our negligence will cost us dear in the end, from Palestine to the Congo.

Right now, in Iraq, a disparate bunch of extraordinarily brave men and women are trying to bring about a new future. They are Shia clerics, communists, academics, trade unionists, Kurdish autonomists and even some feminists. The kind of people that George Galloway, who supped with the Saddamites even as these others languished in jail, calls - using his trademark moral inversion - "quislings". They're the ones who will be risking everything to register their compatriots to vote, to formulate a new constitution and give birth to a new Middle East. No wonder then, that other corrupt regimes and violent bigots so loathe them.

 So why vote for Kerry? Hasn't he flip-flopped? Hasn't he tried to cuddle up to the smooth while rejecting the rough? Wasn't this the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time? So isn't his strategy going to be all about exit?

 I was reminded the other day by an American blogger of how things went in the last war but two - the one in the Balkans. Clinton was the cowboy bomber then (you remember, CND-niks - to divert us all from the dress and the cigar), and the Republicans were against. The Senate majority leader Trent Lott described involvement in Kosovo as a "quagmire". Diplomacy, the Republicans argued, had not been given a chance.

 In 1999, at the height of the Kosovan crisis the chief political correspondent of the web magazine Slate predicted that, "You can be sure of only two things: Each party is arguing exactly the opposite of what it argued the last time a Republican president led the nation into war, and exactly the opposite of what it will argue next time." He had that right. Even here in Britain an opposition that consistently urged action against Saddam from 1998 to 2003, without once demanding evidence, now discovers that it was somehow being duped all along. Well, Michael, that's politics.

 And actually Kerry has been better than that. Many of his objections to the war have concerned the extraordinary incompetence of the planning and execution of the occupation. Not enough troops, the absence of proper plans, the hubristic assumptions about the postwar period, the vile own-goal of the Abu Ghraib torture revelations - a scandal for which no one in the administration, despite its symbolic importance, has taken personal responsibility.

 The administration has, understandably, made a great virtue of its determination. But, as anyone who finds themselves debating with a Bushite will attest, you soon get to the point when judgment is clouded over by rhetoric and argument obscured by assertion. The opponents are all Ba'athists, the UN is a sink of corruption, those who are not with us are against us. They kick up the dust and obscure the path and Kerry is right, we need to be more intelligent and more focused than this.

 I believe that - because they see the world the way I do - American Democrats will not let down Iraqi democrats. I believe that Kerry is in a better position to seek help and support from the rest of the world. I believe he is a more thoughtful man than Bush, and I believe that that thoughtfulness is what we now need. I hope that by midday tomorrow John Kerry will be the next American president.

 Are you wearing your poppy yet? If not, why not?

On Sunday, just before we went on air, the presenter of the programme for which I was punditting along the lines above was told by the gallery that she had to wear a Remembrance poppy. She dashed out, had one fixed to her jacket, and ran back. Unfortunately this left her two guests conspicuously poppyless and there will, I know from experience, be a couple of letters on their way to me right now complaining of our lack of respect for our fallen soldiers.

 Yesterday morning the new all-tabloid Times carried what appeared to be a small and angry-looking zit on its masthead. Inspection with a magnifying glass revealed the pustule to be another teeny-weeny poppy. A larger, more confident one adorned the London Evening Standard. Yet there was more than a week to go before November 11.

 Poppy-wearing is fine by me. People now make what they want out of such institutions, choosing for themselves whether they are commemorating our glorious dead, or mourning the futility of war. It is a bit like wearing a one-minute silence. You can think what you like while you stand there, head bowed.

 What is slightly coercive, however, is the increasing insistence on some outward show of inner piety - and the gradual inflation in date and length of such demonstrations. The poppy must be worn by everyone and must be worn by the end of October; the silences must now be one minute for just about anybody who has died and two minutes for someone special.

 I know where this is headed. Five years ago Halloweens at our house were a witch's hat, a badly carved pumpkin and a bag of sweets. This year there was a party for 10, ghostly lights, face- painting, half-a-dozen pumpkin sculptures of Rodinesque brilliance and - finally - a mass sortie on to the streets of north London.

 In a decade we will be wearing poppies in June, building our own porch-cenotaphs and holding half-hour silences for those members of the Light Brigade who never returned.

 
story stats:    David Aaronovitch   Tuesday November 2, 2004   The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/comment/story/0,14259,1341201,00.html?gusrc=rss
© Guardian

Day of the Dead: The Haunting of the White House


Something is rising from the ashes of September 11: the specter of questions that will haunt our country until answered.

Months after the release of the official 9/11 Commission Report - even as Congress moves to implement its proposals for a radical centralization of security forces - growing numbers of Americans are doubting their own government's account of what really happened on September 11, and how.

From the first, the Bush Administration resisted investigation and disclosure. Families of September 11 victims were forced to lobby the administration and Congress for a full and independent inquiry. They fought for 14 months, blocked every step of the way by the White House.

The political games reached such a point that the survivors of the worst attack ever on American soil were forced to hold a candlelight vigil in front of the White House. A vigil for the truth.

The White House finally assented in December 2002 to the establishment of an independent commission, under former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean. Still, the administration pushed for a hand-picked panel, with a narrow focus on intelligence failures and recommendations.

The families demanded a full investigation, posing nearly 400 questions to the Kean Commission. The commissioners said they welcomed these queries. But their final report ignored most of the unanswered questions. Still posted on the website of the September 11 Family Steering Committee, these questions are a stark reminder of the Kean Commission's failures.

Now these same questions have been submitted to the New York Attorney General. Last week, the New York City office of Eliot Spitzer received a citizens' complaint to open a legal inquiry into crimes still unsolved, more than three years later.

So begins the haunting of the White House.

Driven by survivor families, independent researchers, journalists, and a growing number of ordinary citizens, an emergent "9/11 truth movement" has organized several public inquiries into the events of September 11 during the past year. As co-chairs of the first 9/11 Citizens' Commission, held in New York City in September, we were entrusted with answering questions the Kean Commission ignored.

What did we hear? We heard evidence of specific advance warnings about the 9/11 attacks from overseas. We heard about the spiking of FBI terrorism investigations and the lack of response during the attacks by high officials, including George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and the acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Richard Myers.

We heard about air toxicity at Ground Zero still afflicting firefighters, first responders, and New York residents - and how, in the days after September 11, the White House intervened to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing a strong warning that the air in Lower Manhattan was unsafe to breathe.

We also learned that, although there was a stunning abandonment of standard procedure for hijackings and air defense on September 11, the 9/11 Commission Report fails to issue a call for official accountability. As Kean Commission members travel the country to promote the findings of their report, we know many people are standing up to ask them tough questions about these and many other open issues. But ordinary people lack the subpoena powers necessary for a full discovery of the facts. Citizens' investigations can only go so far.

Some of those who testified before us in New York therefore explored the case for a grand-jury investigation. Possible charges included criminal negligence, failure to perform official duties, criminal facilitation, liability for accessorial conduct, conspiracy and obstruction of justice by high-ranking U.S. government officials.

These charges, now raised in the petition to the New York State Attorney General, may sound extreme. But they reflect a growing concern within the public. A Zogby International poll of New York City residents last August showed that 49 percent believe some high officials knew about the attacks in advance and "consciously failed" to take preventive action. 41 percent of state residents overall shared that view.

A full 66 percent of New York City residents in the survey agreed the case of 9/11 should be reopened by Congress - or by Eliot Spitzer. A Congressional inquiry that respects the pressing nature of these questions is long overdue.

And so now we have no recourse but to stand vigil in front of Eliot Spitzer's office. Until the unanswered questions about 9/11 are laid to rest, by a truly independent investigation that does not declare legitimate avenues of inquiry off-limits, they will continue to haunt our country - and whoever sits in the White House next year.


Cynthia McKinney, a five-term U.S. Congresswoman from Georgia's fourth district from 1993 to 2003, won this year's primary as the Democratic nominee for her former seat and is favored in tomorrow's election. Catherine Austin Fitts is a former Assistant Secretary of Housing under President George Bush Sr. and a former managing director and board member of Dillon, Read & Co. Inc.

The questions of the Family Steering Committee are online at www.911independentcommission.org/questions.html

The Complaint and Petition to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is online at www.Justicefor911.org

story info: 
By  Cynthia McKinney and Catherine Austin Fitt      November 1, 2004
http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/110204_mckinney_fitts.shtml

Wednesday

Nov 4 - Exploring the Black Native American Experience


--- Central District Forum For Arts & Ideas wrote:

November @ The CD Forum

WWW.CDFORUM.ORG

American Heritage Series: Blood Ties: Exploring the Black Native
American Experience

This Thursday! November 4, 2004

7pm at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S and
Yesler Way, Seattle

In the Oklahoma Indian territory in 1860, it is estimated that 18% of
Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles and Creeks were of African
descent. In an age where African-Americans are now demanding the right
to claim multiple ancestries and because of broadening racial and
ethnic categories, this history becomes extremely relevant.

Join moderator Minty Jeffrey (Muskogee-Creek), Co-founder Colors NW and
panelists Diane Million (Tanana), Assistant Professor of American
Indian Studies-UW, Eddie Hill (African-American & Choctaw),
Seattle-based mixed media artist and Alicia Woods, Documentary
Filmmaker completing a film about Black Indians in the third
installment of The American Heritage Series as they explore these
historical and current ties and the notion of racial identity among
Native and African Americans. This event is co-sponsored by the Mavin
Foundation and the Simpson Center for the Humanities. Tickets are $7
for adults and $5 for students, seniors and members of any one of the
following organizations: CD Forum & the MAVIN Foundation

Order tickets online at www.brownpapertickets.com or call
1-800-838-3006.


Upcoming Events

Northwest Passage: A sharing of the poetry of Africans in our
community
Saturday December 4, 2004
6pm at Richard Hugo House

Northwest Passage is an opportunity for local African writers to reveal
their own journey to and in the Northwest through poetry and music.
What do the many different African communities in Seattle have in
common, what is unique to each nationality, ethnicity, religion and/or
gender? What experiences are shared with their African-American
brethren and refugee communities not from Africa?

This event is FREE but space is limited so please arrive early!

[IMC-News] INDYMEDIA SPECIAL ELECTION COVERAGE


November 1, 2004

**********************

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

INDYMEDIA NETWORK LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE AND SPECIAL ELECTIONS COVERAGE

On the eve of what will be one of the most important elections in U.S.
history, the Indymedia network announces the launch of a new and critical
website for gathering the news and views of ordinary people across the
country and around the world.

With its mission of publishing independent, on-the-ground reports from the
people who experience the news most directly, www.indymedia.us will amplify
the voices of those most impacted not only by the elections process, but
also by the policies of either a Bush or Kerry administration.

"Indymedia has changed the face of journalism through its creative and
comprehensive coverage from the front lines of struggles for social
justicethrough out the world," says Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!,
the independent public radio and TV news hour. "With its vast network of
unembedded journalists throughout the country indymedia.us will become a
weapon in the fight for the truth about what happens on November 2nd and
beyond."

The US IMC website centers around a syndicated wire of all featured
articles published by participating local US-based IMCs. As with all
Indymedia sites,
the USIMC¹s open publishing newswire empowers people to become the media by
posting their articles, photos, videos, and audio clips directly to the
website¹s wire. But the US IMC¹s main function is to make the news that is
published, culled and edited to local IMC sites relevant and accessible to
a broader audience.

For breaking news reports, indymedia is also working with election monitors
and equiping them with text messege emergency blast networks, call in
centers and more.

"Indymedia is the only source that truly comes from the ground-up," says
journalist and activist Rosa Clemente. "Young people all across the globe
are learning how to be the story-tellers of their community. In a whole
host of ways, Indymedia has access to reports that the corporate media and
even most alternative media outlets do not."

There are currently 165 autonomous Independent Media Centers (IMC) around
the world. Over 50 of them are in the United States.

Indymedia is a grassroots network committed to using media production and
distribution as tools for promoting social and economic justice. It is
dedicated to addressing issues that the mainstream media neglects and hopes
to empower people to "become the media" by providing democratic access to
available technologies and information.

Visit the site at: http://us.indymedia.org or
http://indymedia.us

Contact imc-us@indymedia.org
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imc-news@lists.indymedia.org
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Peace prize winner is barred from publishing in U.S.



When Shirin Ebadi won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, President Bush congratulated the Iranian lawyer and children's advocate for "her lifetime championing human rights and democracy."

When Ebadi sought to publish her memoirs in the United States, she was startled to discover that doing so would be illegal, under a trade embargo intended to punish repressive governments such as the regime in Tehran that once sent her to jail.

 Last week, Ebadi and her U.S. literary agency, the Strothman Agency of Boston, sued the Treasury Department, which enforces the sanctions, in Manhattan federal district court.

 The lawsuit says the regulations ignore congressional directives to exempt information and creative works from the trade sanctions and more broadly violate the First Amendment rights of Americans to read what they wish.

 The restrictions "seem to defy the values the United States promotes throughout the world, which always include free expression and the free exchange of ideas," Ebadi says in an affidavit filed with the suit.

 Although the regulations allow the government to grant exceptions to the embargo, Ebadi hasn't applied for one. The lawsuit contends the rules for exceptions are too vague and that in any case it is unconstitutional to let the government decide whether an author may publish in the U.S.

 The Treasury Department declined to comment on Ebadi's lawsuit, but spokeswoman Molly Millerwise defended the regulations as "part of the different strategies that make up our national-security policies."

 The United States has 29 sanctions programs in place against countries, terrorist groups and others considered national-security threats, although the restrictions challenged by Ebadi apply only to Cuba, Iran and Sudan. Ironically, the way the Treasury Department interprets the trade embargo, Ebadi would have been free to publish a translation of her book in the U.S. had it originally been issued in Iran.

 Ebadi, 57, says she wants to write specifically for a U.S. audience, offering it "a greater understanding of Iranian society."


the stuff:
 By Jess Bravin  THE WALL STREET JOURNAL  November 2, 2004
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20041102/news_1n2nobel.html

It's Mourning in America


N o matter what claims George Bush makes to another term now, we can't know without seeing Ohio's provisional ballots what voters here intended to say. By law, those ballots can't be counted until 11 days after the election.

Already the pundits are calling for John Kerry to let it go, to pull back from seeking a full accounting. There's a very good chance that even if the provisional ballots—perhaps 250,000 in all—are counted, Bush will still have won re-election by a very small margin. Two or three percentage points in that single state will probably have made all the difference. And if Bush manages to pull it out—maybe he won't—in the next four years a thousand theories will bloom about what factors might have made those few points fall his way instead of Kerry's.

Here is one that you probably won't be hearing on CNN, rooted in my reporting of the last two years.

It begins with the figure of Minister James Dobson, the radio preacher and the mover and the shaker behind the outfit called "Focus on the Family." Dobson has devoted his recent broadcasts to the proposition that a certain bill Senator Edward M. Kennedy wishes to pass, with the intention of providing federal penalties to thugs who beat up people for reasons of sexual orientation, is actually an opening wedge to anti-Christian pogroms. Dobson and his cohorts have been railing that is not just a step but a giant leap down the same slippery slope that found a Swedish minister named Ake Green sentenced to prison for preaching against homosexuality from his pulpit.

Here's a version of that line, from the Maryland Family Values Alliance, which claims—and the claim is typical in evangelical circles—that passage of Senator Kennedy's bill "would literally throw open the door to attacks against people of faith, who could be prosecuted with federal monies for expressing their views on homosexuality!"

Or Google a text entitled "The Freedoms Christians Might Lose in This Election," by Dr. John Ankerberg. It is one of a nearly limitless train of sermons that tie a vote for John Kerry, the bill from Ted Kennedy, and the fate of Ake Green into a single, smoldering, horrifying knot.

Now go to senate.gov, type in S. 966 after clicking the tab reading "Legislation and Records," and read Kennedy's bill. Read it forward, backwards, sideways, inside out, and see for yourself that it says nothing of the kind.

Think about the fact that George Bush has relied on the diffusion of lies like this in order to win his majority tonight; that he couldn't win without the widespread diffusion of such lies.

This is what I have learned these last two years. That the tragic thing about our public life is not that we are led by liars. It is that they have turned us into a nation of liars. For every time a leader whom ordinary, decent people want nothing more than to trust as a source of authority—a president, a minister, a leader of an outfit like the Maryland Family Values Alliance—says something untrue, it gets repeated by these decent people as truth. That feels like civic death to me.

How many points in the popular vote is a lie like this worth? If it's more than two—I think it's reasonable to surmise that it is—that means that without outright inventions like this, breathed life by "trustworthy" leaders and taken in like oxygen by God-fearing followers, George Bush would not be gliding toward his second term.

Tell me if that's not enough to make you want to sleep for a very, very long time. I'm ready to head bedward to do so, thankful only for the fact that John Edwards has just appeared on my TV screen—2:30 a.m., an hour after I typed the first word of this essay—and promised that they will continue to fight. Then comes the news that Bush might stake a claim to victory, maybe before morning breaks. It's more than I can stand.

Postscript: Just before 6. a.m. Eastern, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card announced that the Bush campaign was "convinced of its victory." The president would be making his own statement later on Wednesday, Card said, but had "decided to give Senator Kerry the respect of more time to reflect on the results of this election."


by Rick Perlstein November 3rd, 2004 3:35 AM http://www.villagevoice.com/print/issues/0444/perlstein.php
© daVoice

moi



US extends troops' time in Iraq


 The US Defense Department has said that 6,500 US troops have had their tours of duty in Iraq extended by two months.  The move is being made in order to boost troop numbers and capabilities ahead of Iraqi elections in January.

 A car bomb outside the education ministry in Baghdad has killed at least five people, reports say.  West of Baghdad, US artillery and jets have been striking what US military officials believe are insurgent targets in Falluja and Ramadi.


 Guards freed

 Civilians have been fleeing Falluja through the night, reports say.

 Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has warned the city faces a military assault if it fails to give up foreign fighters the US military and Iraqi government say are sheltering there.

 However, interim Iraq President Ghazi Yawer has said he opposes any military solution to the stand-off between US forces and insurgents in the Sunni-dominated city.  Meanwhile, two Iraqi guards abducted along with several foreigners in Baghdad on Monday have been released, Iraqi police said.

 A US citizen, a Nepali and two other Iraqi guards are still being held hostage after gunmen stormed their house in the upmarket Mansour district.


 Government targeted

 Tuesday's car bomb in Baghdad is said to have killed five people outside the education ministry and badly damaged the building.  Two of the dead are thought to be women.

 The BBC's Claire Marshall in Baghdad says any symbol or person associated with the interim Iraqi government is a target of the insurgents.  Monday saw the assassination of Baghdad's deputy governor in an armed ambush on his car.


 Modest increase

 Some 6,500 troops who were due to have returned before the Iraqi election scheduled for January are to have their tours of duty extended by between 30 and 60 days.

 Keeping troops in a combat zone longer than originally planned is never popular with the soldiers themselves, says the BBC's Pentagon correspondent, Nick Childs.  But Pentagon officials say these units were chosen in part because they were originally slated for tours of only 10 months, so extending them will not break the 12-month limit the Pentagon has been aiming at for the maximum length of missions in Iraq.  The key motivation, according to Pentagon officials, is to keep experienced units in the country during what will be a critical period.

 These are 3,500 troops from the 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division and 3,000 personnel from the headquarters unit from the 1st Infantry Division.  One of their replacement units - the headquarters unit for the 42nd Infantry Division - is being delayed, so the net effect will be to increase troop numbers by a relatively modest 3,500.


 Sophisticated insurgency

 According to the latest official Pentagon figures, there are currently about 134,000 US troops in Iraq, as well as about 25,000 other coalition forces.

 With the normal troop rotations that are going on, which allow for some overlap of forces, Pentagon officials are suggesting that there may be up to 142,000 US troops in Iraq by January. This is all a far cry from the Pentagon planners' hopes at the beginning of the year, our correspondent says.

 Now Pentagon officials - from Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld down - concede that the insurgency has become both more widespread and sophisticated than they had anticipated.



 Story from BBC NEWS:
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/americas/3973779.stm
 Published: 2004/11/02 08:42:29 GMT
 © BBC MMIV

Dodging the draft



SOME CRITICS of President Bush have tried to raise fears of a return to
conscription if he is re-elected. He and his aides say it won't happen
and that they have no interest in the idea at all. Viewed from their own
perspective, there's no reason to doubt them. Defense Secretary Donald
H. Rumsfeld has made it clear that he favors a lean, mobile, skilled
Army; in an unguarded moment a few years ago, the former Navy pilot
disparaged the contribution of draftees to the Vietnam war effort.

But as we have come to realize, that White House perspective on the
world is hardly an undistorted one. The leaders of the Bush
administration may not believe in a draft, but that doesn't mean that
they won't be forced into creating one through the consequences of their
foreign policy.

The argument begins in Iraq, but it doesn't end there. The United
States has obligations around the world and, under Mr. Bush, a
confrontational approach to unfriendly nations; prudence would dictate
that the military should have the manpower to back up that approach if
it is not to invite disaster.

In the nearly 20 months since the war against Saddam Hussein was
launched, the U.S. military has been stretched beyond comfortable
limits, as everyone knows. A small army can change a regime; it takes a
big one to occupy a country. Rotations have been prolonged, the National
Guard and Army Reserve have been stretched to the breaking point, and
soldiers have been forced to extend their enlistments. Sen. John Kerry
calls this a "backdoor draft," which has some truth to it, but it
doesn't begin to compare to actual universal conscription.

The deployment in Iraq can probably be maintained -- for now. But if
war were to break out with Iran, or Syria, or North Korea, American
armed forces would be in a fix of the first order.

A conflict with any of those countries is by no means out of the
question as long as the Bush administration sticks to its provocative
doctrine of pre-emptive war, and as long as it continues to be willing
to act on the basis of false or incomplete or ideologically tinged
intelligence.

We are not convinced that being bogged down in Iraq makes an
adventurous strike against, say, Iran less likely; to the contrary, it
could be seen as a classic way to change the focus of the war, diverting
unwanted attention from its failings and whipping up renewed fervor
among Americans.

This is our fear: that a second Bush administration won't want a draft,
but will settle on it as the least unpalatable solution after it
stumbles into a serious conflict abroad.

story info:

Originally published November 1, 2004
Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bal-ed.draft01nov01,1,2871057.story?coll=bal-opinion-headlines&track=rss

triumph 365 Tao (welcome timo!)

ancestorghost

triumph
triumph


green world shows haven, boatmen float on glasslike water





Crawl to begin.
Triumph to complete.
Renounce to leave.



What is the anatomy of any phase of life? First comes a learning
stage full of awkward struggles for mastery. Then comes a phase of
testing yourself in competition. Finally, there is gracious
retirement from the field, for constant competition is not a lasting
way of life.

Competition is always a thorny problem. True, it challenges you to
be your very best. Cultivating skill without using it is like
learning a foreign language and never leaving your house. If we
think of winning all the in the narrow sense of vanquishing others,
we fall into a dangerous egotism. Winning can be thought of as
attainment. For example, if you learn to swim, that is winning over
your ignorance and sloth. If you enter into a meet and win, then
that is winning not over others, but achieving your personal best.
The other competitors are secondary; it is more important that you
know where you stand, that you consolidate your position, and that
you look for further achievement. That is true triumph.

Triumph in the right amounts is the greatest tonic to the soul.
Triumph carried to extremes corrodes the soul. Once you have had
your share of triumphs, know when to get out. Once you have gained
the top, renounce competition.




being
365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

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FU BAO SHI
FU BAO SHI

Springtime in Jiang Nan 1964
Springtime in Jiang Nan 1964
(this is the artist's title of the work)

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'A litany of horrors'



 The civil war in northern Uganda has been described as the world's biggest neglected humanitarian emergency. Jeevan Vasagar looks at the roots of the conflict

 Tuesday November 2, 2004

  It starts after sunset. The columns of children walk for hours along dusty country roads lined with tall grass and banana shrubs. First a trickle, and then a flood of tiny figures trudge with knapsacks on their shoulders to the nearest towns, and the hope of safety from a nightmare enemy.

The danger comes from another group of children, armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, who come out after dark to murder and kidnap.

The 18-year war in northern Uganda, where children are both fighters and victims of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) guerrillas, was recently described as the "biggest neglected humanitarian emergency in the world" by the UN's head of humanitarian affairs, Jan Egeland, who called on countries to help end what he called "a litany of horrors".

The war is brutal in the extreme - rebel fighters have been known to hack off the lips, noses and ears of civilians - and bizarre. The LRA leader, Joseph Kony, claims to be a medium who is guided by spirits, including an American named King Bruce, who can turn stones into hand grenades.

If this crisis has been ignored by the world, that may be because it looks like one of those insoluble African riddles, a war without a meaning in a place where peace will never come.

But that is too facile a reading. To understand the LRA, you have to look beyond their spiritual trappings.

The LRA has its roots in dissatisfaction among the northern Acholi people, who were favoured by the colonial British and subsequent regimes, but lost influence after Yoweri Museveni, a southerner, became president in 1986.

The movement began that year as a rebellion against Museveni, led by Alice Lakwena - lakwena means spirit medium - who claimed to channel messages from the ghost of an Italian war veteran.

She began a quasi-religious style of warfare, instructing soldiers to rub their chests with nut oil to immunise themselves against bullets, and sing Christian hymns as they marched into battle. Her forces scored some early victories, and reached the Bugembe forest, just 80 kilometres (50 miles) from Kampala, before they were crushed.

Why did the Acholi people follow Alice? According to a respected US government study of the war, it seems that many Acholis regarded rule by the southern-led government as an alien imposition.

"Many Acholis shared a collective identity as proud and able professional soldiers in the colonial and post-independence uniformed services," according to the 1997 Gersony report.

"This included the long-held view that Acholis do not surrender, especially in their home areas, and to some degree that 'only Acholis should rule in Acholi'."

Their loss of power and influence did not only result in a "profound sense of military humiliation". It also had a major economic impact.

"A great number of Acholi families depended on their jobs in the army, police and prisons for a livelihood. It was the largest single source of cash employment, the equivalent of a major industry ... It seems likely that the Acholis lost well over 10,000 jobs [as a result of losing power]."

Lakwena's forces were vanquished but a well of grievances remained and was tapped by Joseph Kony, a cousin of Alice who assumed her mantle in 1987.

 Like her, Kony claimed spiritual powers. He was said to be in contact with a "spirit general staff", including a Chinese ghost who commanded an imaginary jeep battalion.

 At first, he enjoyed some popular support, but under him the rebellion has increasingly lost contact with its original ethnic power base. As support for the rebels has waned among the Acholis, many civilians in the north have joined self-defence militias, originally armed only with bows and arrows, to protect their villages from attack. The rebels reacted with fury to the establishment of these militias, regarding their members as "collaborators" who are punished with savage mutilation or death.

Kony has come to believe that only children are fitting recruits because their souls are "purer" than those of the Acholi adults who have 'betrayed' him. Of course, children are also easier to brainwash.

The Ugandan government claims to be winning the war against the LRA. In July, they almost took the prize scalp when more than 100 rebels were killed in a Ugandan army raid on an LRA base in southern Sudan. Some of Kony's many wives and children were captured, as well as his two-way radio and the military epaulettes he had awarded himself. At first, the Ugandan army believed Kony too was dead, but he had given them the slip once more.

Western donors are sceptical about Uganda's attempts to crush the LRA militarily. Even if the beast is mauled, observers fear, it can still do terrible damage - a fact that was made plain in February when rebel fighters slaughtered more than 190 people at a refugee camp in the north of the country.

Instead, the international community is pushing for a negotiated solution that will bring Kony's cadres out of the bush, but that leaves Uganda with a conundrum: how do you negotiate with a nihilistic enemy whose only stated aim is the overthrow of the government?

 "Asking 'what does the LRA want?' is a bit like asking, 'what do the Hell's Angels want?'" noted one western analyst.

The way to deal with the LRA, he suggested, is not to view them a political movement but as a band of outcasts whose chief concern is for their own survival. They might be tempted to lay down their weapons by offering them a source of income - some farmland of their own, perhaps - and immunity for themselves and the members of their families who choose to stay with them.

In the meantime, the people of northern Uganda are wearily repeating an old African proverb: "When two elephants fight, it's the grass that gets trampled".

http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/journalist/story/0,7792,1341530,00.html?gusrc=rss
 

Letting Down the Troops

“I'm reminded of the famous scene in ‘On the Waterfront’ when Terry Malloy, the character played by Marlon Brando, tells his brother: ‘You shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit.’”


N ot long ago I interviewed a soldier who was paralyzed from injuries he had suffered in a roadside bombing in Iraq. Like so many other wounded soldiers I've talked to, he expressed no anger and no bitterness about the difficult hand he's been dealt as a result of the war.

But when I asked this soldier, Eugene Simpson Jr., a 27-year-old staff sergeant from Dale City, Va., whom he had been fighting in Iraq - who, exactly, the enemy was - he looked up from his wheelchair and stared at me for a long moment. Then, in a voice much softer than he had been using for most of the interview, and with what seemed like a mixture of sorrow, regret and frustration, he said: "I don't know. That would be my answer. I don't know."

We have not done right by the troops we've sent to Iraq to fight this crazy, awful war. We haven't given them a clear mission, and we haven't protected them well. I'm reminded of the famous scene in "On the Waterfront" when Terry Malloy, the character played by Marlon Brando, tells his brother: "You shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit."

The thing to always keep in mind about our troops in Iraq is that they were sent to fight the wrong war. America's clearly defined and unmistakable enemy, Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda, was in Afghanistan. So the men and women fighting and dying in Iraq were thrown into a pointless, wholly unnecessary conflict.

That tragic move was made worse by the failure of the U.S. to send enough troops to effectively wage the war that we started in Iraq. And we never fully equipped the troops we did send. The people who ordered up this war had no idea what they were doing. They were wildly overconfident, blinded by hubris and a dangerous, overarching ideology. They thought it would be a cakewalk.

In May of 2003, President Bush thought the war was over. It had barely begun. Many thousands have died in the long and bloody months since then. Even now, Dick Cheney, with a straight face, is calling Iraq "a remarkable success story."

One of the worst things about the management of this war is the way we've treated our men and women in uniform. The equipment shortages experienced by troops shoved into combat have been unconscionable. Soldiers and marines, in many cases, have been forced to face enemy fire with flak jackets from the Vietnam era that were all but useless, and sometimes without any body armor at all. Relatives back home have had to send the troops such items as radios and goggles, and even graphite to keep their weapons from jamming.

One of the most ominous signs about the war is the growing disenchantment of the troops. They've spent too much time on the most dangerous roads in the world without the proper training, without up-to-date equipment, without the proper armor for their vehicles and without the support they feel they should be getting from their Iraqi allies.

The Times's Edward Wong, after a series of interviews with marines in the Sunni-dominated city of Ramadi, wrote:
"They said the Iraqi police and National Guard are unhelpful at best and enemy agents at worst, raising doubts about President Bush's assertion that local forces would soon help relieve the policing duties of the 138,000 American troops in Iraq. The marines said they could use better equipment from the Pentagon, and they feared that the American people were ignorant of the hardships they faced in this dessicated land."

Several members of an Army Reserve unit refused a direct order to deliver fuel along a dangerous route in Iraq a couple of weeks ago. They said their trucks were not armored and were prone to breaking down. An example of the kind of catastrophe they were seeking to avoid came just a week later, when 49 unarmed and otherwise unprotected Iraqi soldiers were attacked and killed in cold blood in a remote region of eastern Iraq.

This has been a war run by amateurs and incompetents. Whatever anyone has felt about the merits of the war, there is no excuse for preparing so poorly and for failing to see, at a minimum, that the troops were properly trained and equipped.

The United States has the most powerful military in history, yet it is bogged down in a humiliating quagmire in a country that was barely functional to begin with. We've dealt ourselves the cruelest of hands in Iraq. We can't win this war and, tragically, we don't know how to end it.



http://www.duckdaotsu.org/110104-lettingdownthetroops.html
E-mail: bobherb@nytimes.com
By BOB HERBERT OP ED columnist
©2004 The New York Times

banned in Boston


banned
Originally uploaded by duckdaotsu.

GIs Lack Armor, Radios, Bullets



Oct. 31, 2004
60 minutes

Two weeks ago, a group of Army reservists in Iraq refused a direct order to go on a dangerous operation to re-supply another unit with jet fuel.

Without helicopter gunships to escort them over a treacherous stretch of highway, and lacking armored vehicles, soldiers from the 343rd Quartermaster Company called it a suicide mission.

The Army called it an isolated incident, a temporary breakdown in discipline, and an investigation is underway.

But the 343rd isn't the first outfit to be put in harm's way without proper equipment, and commanders in Iraq acknowledged that the unit's concerns were legitimate, even if their mutiny was not.

With a $400 billion defense budget you might think U.S. troops have everything they need to fight the war, but that's not always the case.

Correspondent Steve Kroft talks to a general, soldiers in Iraq, and their families at home about a lack of armored vehicles, field radios, night vision goggles, and even ammunition - especially for the National Guard and reserve units that now make up more than 40 percent of U.S. troops.

In this report, Kroft also talks to Sen. John McCain about how pork-barrel politics have shortchanged troops on the ground.Every couple of weeks Karen Preston gets a telephone call from her son Ryan who is serving in Iraq with the Oregon National Guard.

But Karen Preston has been worrying a lot ever since last summer when Ryan returned home on leave and showed her these photos of the unarmored vehicles his unit was using for convoy duty in Iraq.

Lacking the proper steel plating to protect soldiers from enemy mines and rocket propelled grenades, they had been jerry-rigged with plywood and sandbags.

"They were called cardboard coffins," Preston says.

There have been more than 9,000 U.S. casualties in Iraq so far – more than 8,100 wounded and 1,100 killed. Nearly half of those casualties are the result of roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices or IEDs in military jargon. Yet the U.S. military still lacks thousands of fully armored vehicles that could save American lives.

Specialist Ronald Pepin, who serves in Baghdad with the New York National Guard, says, "They have no ground plating. So if you hit something underneath you, then it's going to kill the whole crew, you know? And that's just something you have to live with."

Staff Sgt. Sean Davis from the Oregon National Guard was critically wounded last June when his unarmored Humvee hit an IED outside of Baghdad. He suffered shrapnel wounds, burns, and was unable to walk for six weeks.

Davis said his Humvee was armored with plywood, sandbags, and armor salvaged from old Iraqi tanks.

He considers himself lucky that he wasn't killed in the blast. His friend and fellow guardsman Eric McKinley, who was riding in the same vehicle, wasn't so fortunate. The 24-year-old Army specialist died of his wounds. His father Tom said his son was supposed to have been discharged from the Oregon National Guard a few months before his death, but was held over because of the war.

McKinley says his son would have stood a lot better chance of surviving had his vehicle been fully armored.

"Our troops need to be protected over there to the best ability that we can protect them and it's not being done," he says.

The Department of Defense denied a 60 Minutes request for an on-camera interview to explain the situation. But responding to a written question about vehicles traveling dangerous routes in Iraq being armored with plywood and sandbags, the Army told us, "As long as the Army has a single vehicle without armor, we expect that our soldiers will continue to find ways to increase their level of protection."

60 Minutes went to a man more familiar with the problems facing the Oregon National Guard than anyone else – its commanding general, Ray Byrne. General Byrne was somewhat reluctant to talk when 60 Minutes showed him pictures of his men's Humvees and trucks, armored with plywood and sandbags.

"If you have nothing then that's better than nothing. The question becomes then again when – when are they going to receive the full up armored Humvees? And I don't have that answer," says Gen. Byrne.

"It distresses me greatly that they do not have the equipment. I don't have control over it. The soldiers don't have control over it. The question becomes, 'When is it going to be available? When is it going to be available? When will they have it?'"

There are still no good answers to those questions. Most of the vehicles in Iraq arrived there without armor plating, because the Pentagon war planners didn't anticipate a long, bloody insurgency.

But 18 months after President Bush declared an end of major combat, the Pentagon is still struggling to provide the equipment needed to fight the war.

Oregon Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, a Democrat whose district includes Gen. Byrne's National Guard, complained to the secretary of defense. She says she thinks the vehicles are not fully armored yet because military planners didn't anticipate an insurgency.

"We didn't have enough armored vehicles," she says. "They weren't manufactured."

Congress has appropriated additional money for armored trucks and Humvees, over $800 million in the current defense bill.

The Army told 60 Minutes they will have produced 8,100 fully-armored Humvees by March.

However, production is lagging behind the urgent need, and the Pentagon's interim solution is shipping so-called "add-on armor" kits to Iraq, where they are being bolted on to thousands of vehicles.

But most of those add-ons don't protect the bottom of the vehicle, leaving them vulnerable to an explosive device.

And it isn't the only equipment problem facing soldiers in Iraq.

Oregon guardsman Sean Davis told us that his unit was short ammunition and night vision goggles, and lacked radios to communicate with each other.

He says guardsman were using walkie-talkies that they or their families purchased from a sporting goods or similar store. "And anybody can pick up those signals, you know," he says. "And we don't have the radios that we need."

Gen. Byrne says stories about families in Oregon having to go out and buy for their sons and daughters radio equipment, body armor, GPS gear, computers and night vision goggles because they weren't being issued are true.

He said some Guard units are also using Vietnam era M-16 assault rifles, which he calls adequate for state duty but not acceptable for duty in Iraq. There is also a bullet shortage for training, he says.

It bothers him, but "there's nothing I can do about it," he says.

"If I was making the decisions, I would readjust," he says. "The soldier on the ground should be a focus. When that's taken care of you can take care of other stuff."

The Army acknowledged to 60 Minutes that there is a shortage of radios in Iraq and a shortage of bullets for training, and says both are in the process of being remedied. There have also been problems with maintenance and replacement parts for critical equipment like Abrams tanks, Bradley personnel carriers and Black Hawk helicopters.

Winslow Wheeler, a long time Capitol Hill staffer who spent years writing and reviewing defense appropriations bills, thinks he knows one reason why those shortages exist, after looking at the current Defense budget. Army accounts that pay for training, maintenance and repairs are being raided by Congress to pay for pork-barrel spending.

Wheeler says $2.8 billion that was earmarked for operations and maintenance to support U.S. troops has been used to "pay the pork bill."

Wheeler, who has written a book called "The Wastrels of Defense," says congressmen routinely hide billions of dollars in pet projects in the defense bill.

And buried in the back of this one, Wheeler found a biathlon jogging track in Alaska, a brown tree snake eradication program in Hawaii, a parade ground maintenance contract for a military base that closed years ago, and money for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial celebration.

By law, these projects can't be cut, so Pentagon bookkeepers will have to dip into operations and maintenance accounts to pay for them.

"They do all kinds of things that adds up to: 'We're basically eating our own young to support the war,'" he says.

According to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a member of the Armed Services Committee who speaks out against pork-barrel spending, there is a total of $8.9 billion of pork in this year's defense bill, which would go a long way toward upgrading all the equipment used by the National Guard.

"I don't think that this war has truly come home to the Congress of the United States," McCain says. "This is the first time in history that we've cut taxes during a war. So I think that a lot of members of Congress feel that this is just sort of a business-as-usual situation."

"The least sexy items are the mundane - food, repair items, maintenance – there's no big contract there," says McCain. "And so there's a tendency that those mundane but vital aspects of war fighting are cut and routinely underfunded."

It is not a comforting thought for families with loved ones in Iraq, who lack armored vehicles, radios or things they need to stay alive. It's on Karen Preston's mind every time she talks to her son.

"He's very pro-military, as am I," she says. "I just want them to have the best equipment."

Some armored vehicles have now been shipped to her son's unit, but without protection on the bottom of the vehicle, an insurgent's explosive is just as deadly.

Specialist Pepin on the New York Guard says, "It's kind of like an act of faith. When you get in your vehicle, you just hope, you know. Say a little prayer before you go out."

This weekend, Acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee wrote to 60 Minutes saying, "The Army has made great strides in improving the capabilities of all units deploying to Iraq as the nature of the conflict has changed." He noted the president approved spending $840 million to improve the armor on Humvees in Iraq.


© MMIV, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.
<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/31/60minutes/printable652491.shtml">source</a>

How Bush Was Offered Bin Laden and Blew It

November 1, 2004
CounterPunch Exclusive
Secret Afghan Envoy Tells All


Give Him an "F" in the War on Terror



By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
and JEFFREY ST. CLAIR


George Bush, the man whose prime campaign plank has been his ability to wage war on terror, could have had Osama bin Laden's head handed to him on a platter on his very first day in office, and the offer held good until February 2 of 2002. This is the charge leveled by an Afghan American who had been retained by the US government as an intermediary between the Taliban and both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Kabir Mohabbat is a 48-year businessman in Houston, Texas. Born in Paktia province in southern Afghanistan, he's from the Jaji clan (from which also came Afghanistan's last king). Educated at St Louis University, he spent much of the 1980s supervising foreign relations for the Afghan mujahiddeen, where he developed extensive contacts with the US foreign policy establishment, also with senior members of the Taliban.

After the eviction of the Soviets, Mohabbat returned to the United States to develop an export business with Afghanistan and became a US citizen. Figuring in his extensive dealings with the Taliban in the late 1990s was much investment of time and effort for a contract to develop the proposed oil pipeline through northern Afghanistan.

In a lengthy interview and in a memorandum Kabir Mohabbat has given us a detailed account and documentation to buttress his charge that the Bush administration could have had Osama bin Laden and his senior staff either delivered to the US or to allies as prisoners, or killed at their Afghan base. As a search of the data base shows, portions of Mohabbat's role have been the subject of a number of news reports, including a CBS news story by Alan Pizzey aired September 25, 2001. This is the first he has made public the full story.

By the end of 1999 US sanctions and near-world-wide political ostracism were costing the Taliban dearly and they had come to see Osama bin Laden and his training camps as, in Mohabbat's words, "just a damn liability". Mohabbat says the Taliban leadership had also been informed in the clearest possible terms by a US diplomat that if any US citizen was harmed as a consequence of an Al Qaeda action, the US would hold the Taliban responsible and target Mullah Omar and the Taliban leaders.

In the summer of 2000, on one of his regular trips to Afghanistan, Mohabbat had a summit session with the Taliban high command in Kandahar. They asked him to arrange a meeting with appropriate officials in the European Union, to broker a way in which they could hand over Osama bin Laden . Mohabbat recommended they send bin Laden to the World Criminal Court in the Hague.

Shortly thereafter, in August of 2000, Mohabbat set up a meeting at the Sheraton hotel in Frankfurt between a delegation from the Taliban and Reiner Weiland of the EU. The Taliban envoys repeated the offer to deport bin Laden. Weiland told them he would take the proposal to Elmar Brok, foreign relations director for the European Union. According to Mohabbat, Brok then informed the US Ambassador to Germany of the offer.

At this point the US State Department called Mohabbat and said the government wanted to retain his services, even before his official period on the payroll, which lasted from November of 2000 to late September, 2001, by which time he tells us he had been paid $115,000.

On the morning of October 12, 2000, Mohabbat was in Washington DC, preparing for an 11am meeting at the State Department , when he got a call from State, telling him to turn on the tv and then come right over. The USS Cole had just been bombed. Mohabbat had a session with the head of State's South East Asia desk and with officials from the NSC. They told him the US was going to "bomb the hell out of Afghanistan". "Give me three weeks," Mohabbat answered, "and I will deliver Osama to your doorstep." They gave him a month.

Mohabbat went to Kandahar and communicated the news of imminent bombing to the Taliban. They asked him to set up a meeting with US officials to arrange the circumstances of their handover of Osama. On November 2, 2000, less than a week before the US election, Mohabbat arranged a face-to-face meeting, in that same Sheraton hotel in Frankfurt, between Taliban leaders and a US government team.

After a rocky start on the first day of the Frankfurt session, Mohabbat says the Taliban realized the gravity of US threats and outlined various ways bin Laden could be dealt with. He could be turned over to the EU, killed by the Taliban, or made available as a target for Cruise missiles. In the end, Mohabbat says, the Taliban promised the "unconditional surrender of bin Laden" . "We all agreed," Mohabbat tells CounterPunch, "the best way was to gather Osama and all his lieutenants in one location and the US would send one or two Cruise missiles."

Up to that time Osama had been living on the outskirts of Kandahar. At some time shortly after the Frankfurt meeting, the Taliban moved Osama and placed him and his retinue under house arrest at Daronta, thirty miles from Kabul.

In the wake of the 2000 election Mohabbat traveled to Islamabad and met with William Milam, US ambassador to Pakistan and the person designated by the Clinton administration to deal with the Taliban on the fate of bin Laden. Milam told Mohabbat that it was a done deal but that the actual bombing of bin Laden would have to be handled by the incoming Bush administration.

On November 23, 2000, Mohabbat got a call from the NSC saying they wanted to put him officially on the payroll as the US government's contact man for the Taliban. He agreed. A few weeks later an official from the newly installed Bush NSC asked him to continue in the same role and shortly thereafter he was given a letter from the administration (Mohabbat tells us he has a copy), apologizing to the Taliban for not having dealt with bin Laden, explaining that the new government was still setting in, and asking for a meeting in February 2001.

The Bush administration sent Mohabbat back, carrying kindred tidings of delay and regret to the Taliban three more times in 2001, the last in September after the 9/11 attack. Each time he was asked to communicate similar regrets about the failure to act on the plan agreed to in Frankfurt. This procrastination became a standing joke with the Taliban, Mohabbat tells CounterPunch "They made an offer to me that if the US didn't have fuel for the Cruise missiles to attack Osama in Daronta, where he was under house arrest, they would pay for it."

Kabir Mohabbat's final trip to Afghanistan on the US government payroll took place on September 3, 2001. On September 11 Mohabbat acted as translator for some of the Taliban leadership in Kabul as they watched tv coverage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Four days later the US State Department asked Mohabbat to set up a meeting with the Taliban. Mohabbat says the Taliban were flown to Quetta in two C-130s. There they agreed to the three demands sought by the US team: 1. Immediate handover of bin Laden; 2. Extradition of foreigners in Al Qaeda who were wanted in their home countries; 3. shut-down of bin Laden's bases and training camps. Mohabbat says the Taliban agreed to all three demands.

This meeting in Quetta was reported in carefully vague terms by Pizzey on September 25, where Mohabbat was mentioned by name. He tells us that the Bush administration was far more exercised by this story than by any other event in the whole delayed and ultimately abandoned schedule of killing Osama.

On October 18, Mohabbat tells us, he was invited to the US embassy in Islamabad and told that "there was light at the en d of the tunnel for him", which translated into an invitation to occupy the role later assigned to Karzai. Mohabbat declined, saying he had desire for the role of puppet and probable fall guy.

A few days later the Pizzey story was aired and Mohabbat drew the ire of the Bush administration where he already had an enemy in the form of Zalmay Khalilzad, appointed on September 22 as the US special envoy to Afghanistan. After giving him a dressing down, US officials told Mohabbat the game had changed, and he should tell the Taliban the new terms: surrender or be killed. Mohabbat declined to be the bearer of this news and went off the US government payroll.

Towards the end of that same month of October, 2001 Mohabbat was successfully negotiating with the Taliban for the release of Heather Mercer (acting in a private capacity at the request of her father) when the Taliban once again said they would hand over Osama Bin Laden unconditionally. Mohabbat tells us he relayed the offer to David Donahue, the US consulate general in Islamabad. He was told, in his words,that "the train had moved". Shortly thereafter the US bombing of Afghanistan began.

In December Mohabbat was in Pakistan following with wry amusement the assault on Osama bin Laden's supposed mountain redoubt in Tora Bora, in the mountains bordering Pakistan. At the time he said, he informed US embassy officials the attack was a waste of time. Taliban leaders had told him that Bin Laden was nowhere near Tora Bora but in Waziristan. Knowing that the US was monitoring his cell phone traffic, Osama had sent a decoy to Tora Bora.

From the documents he's supplied us and from his detailed account we regard Kabir Mohabbat's story as credible and are glad to make public his story of the truly incredible failure of the Bush administration to accept the Taliban's offer to eliminate Bin Laden. As a consequence of this failure more than 3,000 Americans and thousands of Afghans died. Mohabbat himself narrowly escaped death on two occasions when Al Qaeda, apprised of his role, tried to kill him. In Kabul in February, 2001, a bomb was detonated in his hotel in Kabul. Later that year, in July, a hand grenade thrown in his room in a hotel in Kandahar failed to explode.

He told his story to the 9/11 Commission (whose main concern, he tells us, was that he not divulge his testimony to anyone else), also to the 9/11 Families who were pursuing a lawsuit based on the assumption of US intelligence blunders by the FBI and CIA. He says his statements were not much use to the families since his judgment was, and still remains, that it was not intelligence failures that allowed the 9/11 attacks, but criminal negligence by the Bush administration.

http://counterpunch.org/cockburn11012004.html
special thanks to Ron for the head's up!

getting ready

My friends,

Over a year ago, I answered an email sent through a few channels that asked if anyone else was concerned about the war resisters and the upcoming draft. I told him I would be part of that action, and that I would do whatever I could to make sure that no one would have their freedom taken from them, be told to go to a foreign soil, and kill for their government.

Today is a day we thought would not come. We worked for its extinction. We prayed and wrote and got active and made change and a few good people took it upon themselves to work on a road to freedom from government slavery.

We will need that freedom now more than ever.

The railroad is still going to make its trail, being blazed by young folks who were brave enough and heroic enough to show up and become the test cases for a political and moral exodus from the war machine. One of them, Jeremy Hinzman, will be in court before the coming Christian holiday season.

Today matters because we are going to need to make sure that trail has been made with the right stuff. The proper tracks, the best safe homes, the finest hosts, the greatest dreams.

The draft is no longer a gentle breeze or a warm chinook from the west. It is going to be a hurricane of horrendous proportions and our children and our children's' children will become cannon fodder. We must stand up against this force and say NO.

I stand up today and say again:

NO DRAFT NO WAR RESIST.

and duckdaotsu will always stand for those principles.

peace and balance in dao.
lisbeth west


november 3, 2004
daoist hermit
side of a mountain, coloraduh

Tuesday

Michael Moore and Judith Brown from Media Working Group: 20 minute video links


I thought everyone might want to stream this 20minute video of Michael Moore and Florida Congresswoman Judith Brown holding a press conference on the Florida election, and warning of another similar debacle this year - eh Tuesday. It was very hastily shot and edited so be kind in your aesthetic judgment.  Sorry for any multiple postings.


Fred Johnson

http://www.mwg.org/tacticalmedia

You can also see three other mini docs done this summer during the Democratic National Convention and the Boston Social Forum. This work was done by students from the The Community  Media and Technology Program at UMass Boston's College of Public and Community Service and media makers from  Media Working Group Inc. during a tactical media workshop this summer in Boston.

http://www.cpcs.umb.edu/cmt

http://www.mwg.org


The Tactical Media Clinic is a collaborative experiment in project-based learning undertaken by The Community  Media and Technology Program at UMass  Boston's College of Public and Community Service and  Media Working Group.  Using the expanding capabilities of new digital media, the Internet, and satellite, the project includes a "Tactical Media Clinic" to enable students, media artists, and community media makers to participate and intervene in the world-wide shift in media culture and politics.

The Colonial Precedent

Z

The redeployment of British forces in Iraq to support a US assault on Falluja marks another stage in a creeping return to the colonial era, when popular revolts against occupation were routinely suppressed by overwhelming force. These past episodes, revealed in declassified British government files, provide numerous parallels with Iraq, and suggest a pattern of future blunders and atrocities. Those in Britain who like to regard more recent military interventions as humanitarian might dwell on those parallels as the latest phase of the Iraq war unfolds.

British ministers' claim to be defending civilisation against barbarity in Iraq finds a powerful echo in 1950s Kenya, when Britain sought to smash an uprising against colonial rule. Yet, while the British media and political class expressed horror at the tactics of the Mau Mau, the worst abuses were committed by the occupiers. The colonial police used methods like slicing off ears, flogging until death and pouring paraffin over suspects who were then set alight.

British forces killed around 10,000 Kenyans during the Mau Mau campaign, compared with the 600 deaths among the colonial forces and European civilians. Some British battalions kept scoreboards recording kills, and gave £5 rewards for the first sub-unit to kill an insurgent, whose hands were often chopped off to make fingerprinting easier. "Free fire zones" were set up, where any African could be shot on sight.

As opposition to British rule intensified, brutal "resettlement" operations, which led to the deaths of tens of thousands, forced around 90,000 into detention camps. In this 1950s version of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, forced labour and beatings were systematic and disease rampant. Former camp officers described "short rations, overwork, brutality and flogging" and "Japanese methods of torture".

Guerrillas resisting British rule were routinely designated "terrorists", as now in Iraq. Britain never admitted that it was opposing a popular, nationalist rebellion in Kenya. Similarly, leftwing Malayan insurgents fighting British rule in the 1950s had strong popular support among the Chinese community but were officially called "terrorists". In secret, however, Foreign Office correspondence described the war as being fought "in defence of [the] rubber industry", then controlled by British and European companies.

But under the banner of fighting communism, British forces were given free rein in Malaya. Collective punishments were inflicted on villages for aiding insurgents. A shoot-to-kill policy was promoted, tens of thousands of people were removed into "new villages" and used as cheap labour, and British soldiers had themselves photographed holding guerrillas' decapitated heads. The idea that the revolt was ended through "winning hearts and minds" is a myth; it was crushed by overwhelming force, such as massive aerial bombing.

The brutality needed to be kept secret, a key theme in suppressing revolts. After Britain intervened to crush a rebellion in Oman in 1957, an internal Foreign Office minute stated that "we want to avoid the RAF killing Arabs if possible, especially as there will be newspaper correspondents on the spot". The British army commander in Oman later noted that "great pains were taken throughout the Command to keep all operational actions out of the press".

The reason for this was that Britain committed numerous war crimes in Oman, including the systematic bombing of civilian targets such as water supplies and farms. These attacks "would deter dissident villages from gathering their crops" and ensure "denial of water", officials stated in private. Bombing was intended to "show the population the power of weapons at our disposal" and to convince them that "resistance will be fruitless and lead only to hardship".

Britain was defending an extremely repressive regime where smoking in public, playing football and talking to anyone for more than 15 minutes were banned. Yet Harold Macmillan told President Eisenhower in a 1957 telegram that "we believe that the sultan is a true friend to the west and is doing his best for his people".

As Blair and Bush claim to support democracy in Iraq, it is as well to remember that London and Washington have almost always opposed popular, democratic forces in the Middle East, preferring strong regimes capable of bringing "order".

Britain's stance on the US war in Vietnam offers other useful lessons. Just as Tony Blair poses as providing a brake on US tactics in Iraq, Harold Wilson claimed to do the same over Vietnam. Yet Britain secretly backed the US in every stage of military escalation.

In July 1965, when the US doubled its ground troop numbers in Vietnam, Wilson privately reassured President Johnson of his support for US policies "in the interests of peace and stability".

The Wilson-Johnson correspondence highlights a shocking level of connivance between No 10 and the White House to deceive the public. When the US first bombed Hanoi and Haiphong in June 1966, Wilson issued a statement disassociating the government from the bombing. Yet this statement had been passed to the US for approval while Wilson assured Johnson that "I cannot see that there is any change in your basic position that I could urge on you."

The myth in Iraq that Britain is not complicit in US brutalities has its precedent in Vietnam. Declassified files show that, in 1962, Britain covertly sent an SAS team to south Vietnam under "temporary civilian status", to help train soldiers of the dictatorial regime of President Diem. Britain secretly provided arms and intelligence support to the US to improve US bombing.

Moreover, brutal US "counter-insurgency" programmes were based on prototypes developed by British advisers. Britain's "Delta Plan" for the south Vietnamese regime, described by the Foreign Office as intended "to dominate, control and win over the population" in rural areas, became the US "strategic hamlets" programme, which forced millions of Vietnamese peasants into fortified villages that resembled concentration camps.

As in Iraq, the publicly proclaimed search for peace was largely a charade. A senior Foreign Office official wrote in 1965: "The government are fighting a continuous rearguard action to preserve British diplomatic support for American policy in Vietnam. They can only get away with this by constantly emphasising that our objective, and that of the Americans, is a negotiated settlement".

These episodes highlight the gulf between what ministers have told the public and what they have understood to be the case in private. The declassified secret files point to some harsh truths about current policy in Iraq: that the war is not about what our leaders say it is (democracy), is not primarily against who they say it is (terrorists) and is not being conducted for whom they say it is (Iraqis).

Iraqis are in practice regarded as "unpeople" whose deaths matter little in the pursuit of western power; the major block on committing atrocities is the fear of being exposed and ministers will do all they can to cover them up. The public is the major threat to their strategy, which explains why they resort to public deception campaigns. If, as must be expected, atrocities now multiply in Iraq - with Britain complicit - we cannot claim we were not warned.

· Mark Curtis' new book, Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses, is published next month by Vintage. Details at: www.markcurtis.info. Email: mcurtis30@aol.com


http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2004-10/31curtis.cfm
The Colonial Precedent November 01, 2004 By Mark  Curtis

Record Number of GI's Going AWOL

A Middle Georgia man is reported AWOL from the army national guard, in an act that has become quite common during the "War on Terror." According to Army Officials, Jeffery Glover from Dry-branch, Georgia has not reported back to his 175th Maintenance Company for duty. Glover already served time over in Iraq, but now can not be found, and his former commander says he can
be considered dangerous.

Bill Galvin is a spokesperson for the GI hot line and website that help council men and women thinking about going AWOL or already have. He says that numbers show a third of inactive reserves have not checked in.

Bill Galvin/ Spokesperson for G.I Hotline: "The ones that almost universally will go AWOL are the ones that have already been there and something that they witnessed or experienced or are apart of made them realize this is wrong - I can't do it and I wont do it."

AWOL, standing for going absent without leave reached its all time high during the Vietnam War. The act is a violation of military law, but apparently does not seem to be on the minds of those doing it.

Bill Galvin/ Spokesperson for G.I Hotline: "The max penalty is 2 years in jail and a bad discharge, if they charge you with deserting the max is quite a bit."

Galvin says the purpose of the hot line and web site is to make sure those who do desert, know the consequences and their options.

Bill Galvin/Spokesperson for G.I Hotline: "We get lots of calls from people who have been to Iraq or Afghanistan and they when they get orders to go back they say, 'no I won't do it'."

source and information:
Fox24 News - Oct 28, 2004
http://www.fox24.com/article.asp?pkid=406
By Angela Williams
Fox 24's Angela Williams reports that an arrest warrant has been issued for a Middle Georgia Soldier for deserting his unit in Iraq. And, an
investigation by Fox 24 News shows that there are a record number of G.I's not reporting in for duty overseas and turning up AWOL.
 

R E M O V E B U S H R E M O V E B U S H R E M O V E B U S H


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the sadly horid results of going to the site of the alien abduction and finding what was meant to be, the daily elvis

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Foreign observers set to monitor voting
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Bin Laden to states: Don't vote for Bush
Speech mistranslated by most media as threat against foreign
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--WND

Cheney: Kerry took poll on bin Laden tape
'To see which way the wind is blowing and then he'll make a
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--Associated Press
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*/TROUBLE IN THE HOLY LAND/*
Suicide bomber kills 3 in Tel Aviv
Israel says it will show restraint while Arafat away

--Associated Press
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Judge rules in favor of Terri's family
Parents given chance to exhaust avenues to save brain-disabled
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Rehnquist missing as Supreme Court returns
Chief Justice recuperating at home after surgery for cancer

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It's Not About Bin Laden


Voters weigh the right-wing blueprint for America

October 31st, 2004 9:43 PM

WASHINGTON—Tuesday's election is a referendum on the right wing's blueprint for America. It has little to do with how the candidates handle themselves in public, or their leadership qualities in Iraq, or their approach to the war on terror.

 As for the injection of Osama bin Laden, his October Surprise video was pretty much a repeat of what he has said all along. "Bin Laden is out to dramatically alter U.S. and western policies towards the Islamic world, not necessarily to destroy America, much less its freedoms and liberties," argues Anonymous, a former top CIA official who tracked bin Laden for years, in his book Imperial Hubris. "He is a practical warrior, not an apocalyptic terrorist in search of Armageddon. Should U.S. policies not change, the war between America and the Islamists will go on for the foreseeable future."

 The media says the bin Laden tape had little impact on most voters, whose opinions are locked in concrete by now. The polls show John Kerry and George Bush deadlocked, with the vote in three big key states—Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida—possibly holding the key to the winner. Ohio is probably the most important of these. No president in over 100 years has won without carrying it. And key to Ohio are the voters in the huge wards of Cleveland.

 Those voters will be choosing between a Republican ideology of states' rights and conservative Christian rollbacks on civil liberties—from birth control to free speech—and a Democratic ideology that seeks to balance what remains of the New Deal with neoliberal free marketeering.

 Whatever else he did, Kerry wouldn't come close to dropping Social Security or abandon Medicare or have people go to church to obtain social benefits or let the Christian right run prisons. He wouldn't commit large wads of cash to democratizing the Middle East. He would undoubtedly pick some moderate jurists for the Supreme Court. He would support reproductive choice and women's rights. All in all, he doesn't look like Bush, and there's a good possibility he wouldn't act like him, either.


http://www.villagevoice.com/print/issues/0444/mondo5.php
Mondo Washington
by James Ridgeway

 Additional reporting: Laurie Anne Agnese, Nicole Duarte, David Botti    © davoice

Inmate's Death Angers Family

The man was in federal custody when he had a heart attack.
He was taken off  life support, but his survivors say they were not consulted.

A federal inmate who suffered a heart attack at the Metropolitan Detention  Center in downtown Los Angeles was taken off life support Monday without  the consent of his family, according to government officials and relatives  of the dead man.  Guards found Moises A. Murillo, 69, on the floor of the detention facility  Friday and took him to White Memorial Medical Center in East Los Angeles,  where he was immediately placed on life support, according to the U.S.  Marshals Service.  He remained on life support until Monday, when doctors consulted with the  marshal's office and decided to remove Murillo from the machines. His wife,  who visited Murillo weekly at the detention center, was not told about his  condition until a few hours after he was declared dead, when she received a  call from authorities.  U.S. marshals spokesman Jimell Griffin said it was possible that guards did  not contact Murillo's relatives about his hospitalization "because it was  late Friday by then, and over the weekend they didn't have time to get the  [the family] notified. Our offices are closed on the weekends, and we only  deal with emergencies as far as the after-hours stuff."  Griffin later added that authorities had trouble reaching Murillo's wife  because they didn't have a phone number for her. They found the number  after his death by manually searching visitor logs at the jail.  Murillo's family expressed outrage. They said Murillo's wife had visited  dozens of times since his arrival at the detention center in July.  The family said Catalina Hernandez had been looking for her husband since  Sunday, when she showed up at the facility for her weekly visit.  "She was told he wasn't there," said Ruby Murillo, the inmate's 31-year-old  daughter. "The guard gave her a phone number to call. She called the  number, and it just rang and rang."  On Monday morning, Ruby Murillo called her father's federal public  defender, but the attorney did not know where Murillo had been taken either.  The family said the circumstances of his death were all the more troubling  because he was incarcerated on an immigration violation, not for a more  serious crime.  Murillo was awaiting trial for allegedly reentering the United States  illegally after being deported to Mexico in 1986. Illegal reentry is a  federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison, followed by deportation.  Murillo had lived in the United States since 1958, the family said, and  labored for years as a farmworker in the Central Valley. He worked for the  last 20 years at carwashes in the Los Angeles area.  Officials at White Memorial said hospital policy allows doctors to  unilaterally remove life support from patients who have no hope of recovery  if family members cannot be located.  "If we are aware that a patient has a family, we have to make every  possible effort to contact the family," said hospital spokeswoman Beth  Powis, who declined to speak specifically about the Murillo case because of  confidentiality laws.  Murillo fell ill suddenly Friday, Griffin said. Ruby Murillo said prison  doctors discovered in July that her father had a blood clot near his heart  and prescribed daily medication. She also said her father fell off his  prison bunk bed in August and broke three ribs.  Griffin initially said Tuesday that U.S. marshals were aware that Murillo  had a preexisting heart condition when he was taken into custody. But in a  later interview, he said there was no record of Murillo having any medical  problems.  Griffin said he did not know why guards did not tell Murillo's wife when  she arrived at the detention facility Sunday that her husband was in the  hospital.  Officials tried to reach Murillo's family over the weekend, Griffin said,  but could find no emergency contact information on file Friday. They began  searching visitor logs but did not find the number until Monday, he said.  By then, two doctors had determined that Murillo was brain dead and removed  life support.  Ruby Murillo identified her father's body Monday afternoon, she said.  "He's been at the hospital since Friday," Ruby Murillo said. "They say they  didn't have any information about his family, but then they call us on  Monday, after he died. We didn't give no consent to take him off life  support. We didn't even know he was at White Memorial."  Ruby Murillo said the family would request that the Los Angeles County  coroner's office conduct an autopsy.  ### By Solomon Moore Times Staff Writer October 28, 2004 http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-immigrant28oct28,1,3723258,print.story?coll=la-headlines-california Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times 

Project Censored Alerts



Project Censored Alerts
http://www.projectcensored.org/
November 1, 2004

Edited by Tina Tambornini

Pesticides Found In 100 Percent of People Tested

A report released in May by the Pesticides Action Network North America, Washington Toxics Coalition and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found unsafe levels of pesticides in over 2,000 people tested. Pesticides were found in 100-percent of people having both blood and urine tests. The average person had 13 out of the 23 total pesticides analyzed found in their bodies. Many of the pesticides found have been linked to serious short- and long-term health effects including infertility, birth defects, and childhood and adult cancers.
The Washington State of Ecology has a program to eliminate persistent toxic chemicals. The program calls on the EPA to ban pesticides known to be hazardous and pervasive in the environment, and require that manufactures demonstrate that a pesticide does not harm human health before it is used. The 2004 legislature however, bowed to industry pressure and passed a budget proviso to exempt pesticides from the program.
Source: Washington Free Press, July/August 2004
"Many People Carry Toxic Pesticides above Safe Levels" by Washington Toxic Coalition
Synopsis by Erica Bosque


Texas Legislation Restricts Prisoner's Access to Media

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice passed a measure titled 03.91 that would restrict inmate's access to media within the prison systems of Texas. The measure has two distinct clauses that allow mail to be intercepted. The first clause addresses incoming mail containing "sexually explicit" images, i.e., "material that shows the frontal nudity of either gender, including the exposed female breast(s) with nipple(s) or areola(s), or the genitalia or anus of either gender." Explaining the new policy, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Gary Johnson pointed out that his office strives for "a more positive and safer environment for both staff and offenders," adding "the elimination of sexually explicit material helps us move in that direction."
The second clause adds that "outgoing special or media correspondence will be opened in cases where there have been known problems (special correspondence is defined as any official of any federal, state or local law enforcement agency, including offices of inspector general). This intent is to prohibit offenders from sending correspondence that seeks to threaten, harass or intimidate in any way (including anthrax hoaxes)." In other words, Texas prison officials are now permitted to read mail written by inmates to journalists, but only "in cases where there have been known problems." While the board went to great lengths in defining the female breast in the porn ban policy, the term "known problems" is not defined. The criterion by which media correspondence may be read by officials is left to the imagination of prison staff. The so-called "porn ban" received all of the media coverage.
Source: Toward Freedom, September 2004
"Silence is Brutal" by Barrett Brown
Synopsis by Brent Kidder


Small Technology Poses Serious Health Risks to Consumers

Nanotechnology involves human built structures measuring 100nm or less. Little research is being conducted in order to prove that nanotechnology is safe enough to be used. Nanotechnology has a wide range of uses, including wrinkle and stain free clothing, transparent sunscreens, self-cleaning windows and tennis balls that have infinite bounce. .Nanotechnology is also being used in aerospace, treatment of cancer and possibly in hydrogen-powered cars. There are some aspects of this phenomenon that could pose potentially serious health risks to consumers. A multi-million dollar budget was given to the industry by the government, but only about one percent is going to the research of nanotechnology. Of the few tests that have been conducted regarding this new technology, some studies show potential harm to the lungs and the brains of laboratory animals.
Eva Oberdorster, an adjunct scientist at Duke University, made headlines with disturbing news about nanoparticles called buckyballs. Ms. Oberdorster put a solution of these nanoparticles in a fish tank filled with large mouth bass. After examining different organs, she found signs of oxidative damage in their brains. Normally, she says, particles cannot enter the brain because of the blood-brain barrier; however, the nanoparticles are able to pass this barrier by traveling up the nerve cells because of their size. Nanotechnology researchers are not researching the potential harms of the technology because "Šwe want our stuff to save the World. We don't want to find out its toxic." Besides the effects on the brains and the lungs of animals, current nanotechnologies have harmful byproducts such as Iron, Cadmium, and Selenium. Although, the few studies that have been done, show health concerns for consumers who are exposed to nanotechnology. Exposure includes absorption through the skin and through breathing in the particles. The Bush administration claims that there will not be any new funding for the research of potential harms of nanotechnology.
<A2>Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 2004
"The Dark Side of Small" by Richard Monastersky
Synopsis by Brent Kidder

Native Women Murdered in Guatemala

In Guatemala More than 1,300 women have been murdered in the past three years. There has been much attention given to the roughly 300 murders that have taken place in Mexico's Ciudad Juarez over the past three years but in neighboring Guatemala there were 383 murders in 2003 by itself. Over the past three years 1,300 have been murdered, which averages one per day. Many of these women come from the poor segments of society and thus, may not be deemed important in their already impoverished country. In 2004, there have already been 230 deaths, many by means of strangulation, gunshot, stabbed, or mutilated. The killers are rarely brought to justice and most often are not even identified. Roughly 21% of these deaths are gang-related and 21% are the result of armed robbery. The remainder fall into the category of drug related violence or rape.
Since 1990, the CIA has been investigating murders that have taken place in Guatemala. US government officials sent to Guatemala, such as Michael Devine, as well as US citizens visiting Guatemala. have been reported missing. The CIA has opened investigations. Although one person is dieing in Guatemala, there has been no major media coverage on this important issue.
Source: Third World Resurgence, July/August 2004, Author Diego Cevallos,
Synopsis by Chris Getty


Bush Plan Screen's U.S. Population For Mental Illness

George W. Bush is promoting a program that screen's U.S. citizens for mental heath, regardless of age. This plan promises to integrate mentally ill patients fully into the community by providing a service, instead of an institution. In the year, 2002 Bush established the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health to study the U.S. mental health service delivery system. Bush's commission found that some of the mental disorders often go undiagnosed. The commission also found that preschool children are being expelled from preschool, because of severely disruptive behaviors and emotional disorders. The commission went to the Texas Medication Algorithm Project, which is a "model medication treatment plan that illustrates an evidence-based practice that results in a better consumer outcome." The Texas project is going to promote new antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, which are more expensive. The new antipsychotic drug, which is the first line drug of TMAP grossed over 4.28 billion dollars worldwide. Eli Lilly, who manufactures the new antipsychotic drug has both Sr. and Jr. Bush behind him. Lilly has contributed millions of dollars to the Bush Administration and the Republican Party. Bush is a front runner when it comes to drug companies. The Center for Responsive Politics, which is a manufacturer for drugs, contributed 764,274 dollars to the 2004 campaign. A developer of Texas project claims that the screening for mental illness is good for any age group and only good things can come out of this project.
Source: Asheville Global Report, June 2004
"Bush plans to screen U.S. for mental illness" by Jeanne Lenzer
Synopsis by Heather Caito


U.S. Stalls Payment to Black Farmers

Black farmers whose livelihoods were ruined by US government farm aid practices are asking Congress to intervene after a legal settlement failed to bring desperately needed compensation to the vast majority of those who filed suit. Five years ago, facing a class action lawsuit the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) conceded it had given unequal treatment to black farmers seeking assistance, and promised to pay up to $2.3 billion in restitution. New analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the National Black Farmers Association found the agency ultimately denied the claims because they were handled by a third party arbitrator. However, the agency hired attorney's from the US Justice Department to fight individual claims, at a cost of $12 million and 56,000 staff hours.
So far, the government has paid $657 million to 13,151 claimants. Most of the farmers turned away for restitution had filed late claims because their attorneys gave them the wrong deadline. Others were told they had insufficient documentation. Even some 9,000 farmers who met the criteria for "automatic" $50,000 payments (that they had applied for a USDA loan between 1981 and 1996, the agency's response was racially discriminatory, and they filed a complaint arising from USDA's treatment) were given nothing, a 40% denial rate. The report also charges the USDA made it as difficult as possible for farmers to prove that this was discriminating, by suppressing information that had already been compiled regarding loan disparities between white and black applicants. The situation is dire because so many black farmers have been forced off their land and left virtually penniless. From 1982 to 2002, the report notes, the number of farms run by African Americans fell from 54,367 to just 29,090. Overall African Americans have lost their farms at a rate three-times that of whites.
Source: Global Report, July 2004
"US Stalls Payments to Black Farmers" by Katherine Stapp
Synopsis by Alysia See


Native American Kids Not Adequately Protected in Government Schools

American Indian children in government run schools were entrusted to workers who been convicted of child endangerment and manslaughter, says federal investigators. The Interior Department's inspector general concluded that the Bureau of Indian Affairs "background investigation process is not sufficient to prevent Indian children potentially being in danger." The Bureau of Indian Affairs supports 187 schools, including 54 boarding schools and 14 dormitories that serve 48,000 children. In one case, an assistant at a New Mexico dormitory had been convicted of 26 offenses, including battery and endangering the welfare of a child, but worked at the school for nearly two years before a background check was completed and the worker was fired. In another case, a school secretary remained on staff for nine months after her background check revealed that she had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter. The inspector general said the Bureau of Indian Affairs has improved their screening process of school employees but there are still parts of it that should be strengthened. On one occasion 50 of 7,664 employees were found to be unsuitable - less than 1 percent. But the BIA process allows applicants to be hired and work in the schools before the screening process is complete.
Source: News From Indian Country, 4/19/04, Author: Robert Gehrke,
Synopsis by Matthew Holman


Gene Bombs

Human races or ethnic groups might have special genetically based vulnerabilities, which could be exploited by the U.S. biological weapons labeled as "gene bombs." Gene bombs represent the Holy Grail of biological research, and could theoretically be targeted against racial or ethnic groups whose behavior seems inimical to "American interests," especially as these are defined by the Bush administration. Since great genetic variation is in Africa, African American soldiers have been made the new secret weapon of the pentagon for biological warfare. This is because of their evolutionary history and because many of their ancestors come from the motherland of our species. Also they are more likely to harbor the genetic basis both for natural immunity and the potential for successful immunization. This includes interracial individuals because under the peculiar "one drop rule" of official American racism, they are all "Black" legally and socially. Ironically, the U.S. Army, after years of striving for racial integration, might find itself segregated biologically, with some units predominantly composed of African Americans.
Source: Covert Action Quarterly, Spring 2004, Race, Ethnicity, and Gene Bombs, author John H. Moore, Synopsis by Deanna Murrell
--  
Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Sociology Department/Project Censored
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
707-664-2588
http://www.projectcensored.org/

divination 365 Tao

ancestorghost
divination
divination
woman whispy and secret faces of men hide background ancestor?




How can divination
Exceed imagination?


You may be contemplating a very bold move in your life. It might be
taking a chance on love. It might be deciding to move across the world
to begin a new career. It might be combining things that have never been
put together before to make a new invention. What you're contemplating
is so surprising to you that you wonder whether or not to do it.

Traditionally, people turned to divination. But how can any system of
divination really help you? Whether it is turtle shells, yarrow stalks,
crystal balls, psychics, or spirit possession, are the forces "out
there" really going to provide any true reassurance? Depending on
divination means giving up control over your life. It's also avoiding
responsibility--you are able to say it wasn't your fault if things don't
work out.

Imaginative action is very important in life. Without it, we are less
than human. For imagination to come into being, we need decisiveness and
control. Unless we have these two factors, we cannot manifest the
concentration to bring something new into being. We should not surrender
our right to decide the course of our lives to vague propitiations of
the unknown. We should explore every new possibility that appeals to us
and, with wise action, build the force of our characters.




divination
365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

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Buying reality

In the next wave of the war on reality, several networks are refusing to air an ad created by the non-partisan vet's group, Operation Truth. The powerful ad features a wounded Iraq War veteran, Robert Acosta, challenging the government's rationale for the war culminating in a close-up of his missing right hand.

<>

The networks all cite "advocacy" as their reason for not showing it despite the fact that it speaks directly to the arguments made to justify the invasion, makes verifiable claims, and advocates for no candidate. One of the networks, the History Channel, had even broadcast a Swift Boat ad. The overwhelming reaction to those ads, they said, was the very reason they refuse to air Op Truth's ad.

Lost in this sober-sounding argument are the facts. If you perceive the Swift Boaters and the Op Truthers as mirror image partisans then yes, there might have been a case to be made for refusing this ad – although airing one and not the other would still have been partisan.

But they are not mirror images. The Swift Boat ads were debunked as lies very quickly. Angry viewers may well have been Democrats and liberals but they were challenging the facts presented in the ad. Everything in the Operation Truth ad is true, it's just filled with painful truths. Or as one OT member put it:

The disinformation did not start without complicity, the American people willingly suspended their common sense in order to feel comforted by the idea that a violent response to violence would make us safer. To get beyond this, will require a confrontation of our own self-delusion about what Americans are.

Posted by Evan on October 29, 2004 @ 11:33AM
http://www.alternet.org/mediaculture/2004/10/002624.html

Minimum Wage Yields Minimum Coverage: Connecting The Election Dots

Z

L
ike most people, the upcoming elections weigh heavy on my mind these days. Unfortunately, watching the debates is less than inspiring, if not disheartening. As always, political rhetoric rules and meaty discussions about how policies affect real people are, for the most part, non-existent.

If one is poor, middle class, a person of color, or an immigrant, you may be "alluded to" but rarely are issues of great concern discussed with any depth. This is unsettling--to say the least--and something that should give pause to democrats, liberals, leftists, independents and yes, even those republicans displeased with the current administration.

Like many people, when I need to think about things without interruption, I go for a ride in my car--without my cell phone. On just such a recent outing, while cruising down the freeway pondering what the November election will yield, I sense something awry with my car. As I switch on the blinker to pull into one of those quick-lube service stations, I muse on how wonderful it is that one can decide on a moment's notice to get an oil change on a lazy Sunday morning.

The shop is abuzz with activity but there are only two mechanics on duty and I am cordially solicited for patience. Filled with the feeling of immense fortune and privilege to live somewhere with so many conveniences, I clutch my latte, spread out the New York Times in the front seat and prepared to pass the time enjoyably.

All is going smoothly until one of the mechanics, Jim, receives a phone call from what sounds like a telemarketer, or perhaps a bill collector. Exasperated, the handsome man in his late thirties grips a crescent wrench and barks through the phone, "Didn't I tell you I work the whole work week (emphasizing the word 'whole')? I don't have time for this! What day is this? Yes, it's Sunday and I work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Jim continues to punctuate all the days of the week to illustrate that he works "every" day--no exceptions--and he does not like being bothered at work.

Even I, who normally cast spells on unwelcome callers who interrupt my dinner, feel pity for the stranger. Destiny has unwisely collided their fates and I envision the pained look of surprise, disappointment and perhaps humiliation on the caller's face. I console myself that telemarketers are probably accustomed to enduring the wrath of those who don't like being bothered by strangers--at home or at work.

Embarrassed to overhear such a personal and contentious exchange, I delve more deeply into the NY Times book reviews. But it only gets worse. After loudly enunciating the working days of the week--all of them-- Jim says, "So how am I supposed to have the time to come pick you up and go to the movies? You tell your momma, when I say I work the ?whole work-week,¹ that's what that means. Now quit calling me, son. I told you: I'll see you when I have a day off."

It takes several moments to digest this disturbing declaration. The face of a seasoned telemarketer instantly morphs into a young boy who wants nothing more than to be with his dad on a weekend.

Since Sunday, I have endeavored unsuccessfully to unwrap Jim's words from my mind and create a distance from the larger implications. I was informed that because of Jim's valuable skills, he receives approximately $6.85 an hour and could work his way up to customer service representative to earn $7.50. This means that currently, after working a 40-hour work week, Jim grosses $274 If he were to receive overtime pay (which is unlikely these days) Jim might receive an extra $164 -- for working a 56-hour week.

No wonder Jim doesn't have time for his son. And taking him to the movies once a week would take almost 10% of his base salary.

According to the AFL-CIO, economic experts who have examined the declining value of the dollar have determined that any job paying less than $8.47 is paying poverty-level wages. Like millions of Americans who cannot subsist on a 40-hour week, Jim is earning poverty wages. During the last four years, the Bush administration has fought against raising the minimum wage and has complicated the mechanism that allows minimum wage workers to receive overtime pay--while making it easier for employers to avoid paying time-and-a-half. At least John Kerry has proposed raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.00 by the year 2007. Although it is a modest proposal--and by some considered, only a token gesture-- it at least indicates an understanding of the gross inequities suffered by an enormous segment of our population.

And what will happen to Jim's son? How will he fare with a father who is too stressed out and overworked to spend time with him, and with a president whose actions confirm he is more concerned with offering tax breaks to millionaires rather than raising his dad's salary?

Will Jim's son act out his frustration in school in a violent way and be ensnared by the zero tolerance policy being enforced in Nashville high schools (a policy not unique to Nashville)? Will the penalty of a 10-day suspension really help someone like him, or will it give him10 more days to think about how much time his father doesn't have for him? And if, heaven forbid, Jim's son finds himself involved in a violent crime, would trying him as an adult (a popular and growing trend in U.S. criminal courts) somehow solve the problem and make us all sleep better?

Yes, in this election it matters who you vote for and how you connect the dots between policies, ideologies and people--and yes, however microscopic it feels at times, there are differences.

It matters what the minimum wage is--even for those who have achieved professional status, and make six-figure incomes and receive top-of-the-line health care. It matters because, whether we admit it or not, issues like minimum wage policies reveal a great deal about the parties involved and the perceived value of unskilled workers in this country. But more importantly, issues like minimum wage permeate every aspect of our collective lives from healthcare costs, education and crime.

For those who haven't already made up their minds about who to vote for in the upcoming presidential election--if there really are such people--instead of voting for policies that you believe benefit you directly on November 2nd, listen and reach beyond the rhetoric. Make the connections between the policies being promoted, those who benefit from them and the fall-out for those whose lives are most affected as a result. The minimum wage is one of many critical issues being shortchanged during this election.

After my oil change is complete, Jim walks in my direction. Seemingly embarrassed and clearly aware the entire shop has overheard his conversation, he says, "Kids! They want everything but they don't understand you have to make choices."

And so do we all, Jim.

###
full title and attributes:
Minimum Wage Yields Minimum Coverage: Connecting The Election Dots
October 31, 2004
By Molly Secours
Molly Secours is a freelance writer/speaker and radio talk-show host in Nashville TN.
She can be reached at: website

link to this article

Translators to sneak LPFM into Seattle

[engineer Sandi Woodruff is using the FCC's bizarrely inconsistent frequency allocation rules to sneak LPFM signals into Seattle's overcrowded radio spectrum. Her ingenious strategy borrows a page from the evangelical Christian radio playbook: acquire low-wattage translators and use them to relay signals from distant stations. Sandi may be the first to come up with the idea to use translators to expand the reach of LPFM community radio... -jl]

Radio Beat: New stations for FM listeners to try
by Bill Virgin, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Radio listeners throughout the region are about to encounter some new stations on the dial, thanks to the addition of translators.

Translators are simply a way of retransmitting a station's signal, on a different frequency. They're often used by radio stations to cover shadows in their signal coverage caused by terrain, although the Federal Communications Commission also allows translator stations to extend a station's coverage beyond its primary territory.

Last year the FCC opened a filing window for translators and got swamped by 13,000 applications. The commission has since been working through the backlog of applicants and has granted some approvals, including in Seattle.

"It's going to be a very full FM band when they're done," says Sandi Woodruff, an Olympia-based broadcast engineering consultant.

Woodruff has been working on several applications that have made it through the application pipeline. One is for 92.9 in the Seattle area, which will retransmit KGHO-LP (94.3), a low-power FM station with a rock-oldies format
broadcasting in Aberdeen-Hoquiam.

Two others in the Seattle area, at 94.5 and 97.7, were applied for by Sam-Sno Educational Media, which Woodruff says is a group interested in community radio.

The specific formats that those translators will carry haven't been announced. Woodruff, who consults with low-power FM stations, as well as commercial enterprises, says one idea is to tie LPFM stations and Web-based broadcasters into a sort of network that would use translators to cover the entire region. The low-power FM stations and the Webcasters would originate programming, since under FCC rules translators aren't allowed to originate programming themselves....

more at
link



A Small Circle of Friends: Larry Pratt, the Council for Inter-American Security and International Fascist Networks

Communism as the ultimate evil has always been the specter haunting property owners, as it threatens the very root of their class position and superior status. The Soviet, Chinese, and Cuban revolutions were traumas to Western elites, and the o­n-going conflicts and the well-publicized abuses of Communist states have contributed to elevating opposition to communism to a first principle of Western ideology and politics. This ideology helps mobilize the populace against an enemy, and because the concept is fuzzy it can be used against anybody advocating policies that threaten property interests or support accommodation with Communist states or radicalism. It therefore helps fragment the left and labor movements and serves as a political- control mechanism. If the triumph of communism is the worst imaginable result, the support of fascism abroad is justified as a lesser evil. -- Edward S. Herman & Noam Chomsky

See:

A Small Circle of Friends: Larry Pratt, the Council for Inter-American Security and International Fascist Networks
http://memes.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=3584&mode=thread&order=0&thold=0

Bush is Big in Middle East

Snips:
Disliking Bush is one thing, but working up enthusiasm for Kerry is another - and there's little sign of that in the Middle East. What interests Arabs most is America's attitude towards the Palestinian people. Although the US under a President Kerry might be expected to re-engage in the peace process, Kerry's emphatically-declared support for Israel does not inspire Arabs with hopes of an even-handed approach.

~

Bush's messianic view, some argue, will bring more polarisation in the Middle East if he gets a second term, simultaneously benefiting the most impatient reformers and the Islamist militants: the reformers will be encouraged by continuing US pressure on Arab regimes, while al-Qaida and its likes will look to Bush for further help with their recruiting.

~

On the surface there would seem to be little to unite the Aryan racialists of the neo-Nazi movement with the terrorists of radical Islam. To the neo-Nazis, Muslims are almost all members of "inferior" races; and to the Islamic terrorists, the neo-Nazis are almost without exception either atheists or members of fringe quasi-Christian sects.

But the reality is that there has been close cooperation between Muslim extremists and Fascists ever since the founding of the Nazi movement in the 1920`s. For all of their differences, Muslim extremists and Nazis have always been united by a common group of beliefs and goals: hatred of Judaism (and conventional Christianity), hatred of democracy, and a desire for the destruction of Israel and the United States.

See Neo-Nazi Al Qaeda

<>http://adreampuppet.blogspot.com/2004/10/bush-is-big-in-middle-east.html

PENTAGON CENSORS CHAIN OF COMMAND ON ABU GHRAIB

Taguba Report Named Names of Abusers and Commanders
Names Blacked Out in Documents Released Last Week to ACLU



Washington D.C.: The Department of Defense has refused to release the names of military officers in the chain of command over the soldiers charged with prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to an analysis of the documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University. DOD also refused to release the names of the officers who reviewed the so-called "Taguba Report," which recommended disciplinary and administrative actions for the abuses perpetrated at Abu Ghraib.

The redactions of the names of the officers are in documents ordered to be released by a federal court in New York, in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The judge's order stated: "No one is above the law: not the executive, not the Congress, not the judiciary." Thomas Blanton, the National Security Archive director commented, "Either the black magic marker got completely out of control, or the Department of Defense is covering up the names of the accused abusers and the superior officers who allegedly condoned the abuse."

The names hidden by the black redactions in the Department of Defense's court-ordered release are known because many of the same records are widely available on a variety of news media web sites, including the National Security Archive's own posting of July 13, 2004. "It is certainly possible that the redactions resulted from incompetence or more benign reasons," said Blanton. "Maybe it is just a case of trying to protect individual privacy. But I don't see how the privacy concern could apply to the name of Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, who was the top commander in Iraq."

A sample of the censored documents can be viewed at the National Security Archive web site at: http://www.nsarchive.org
_________________________________________________________
THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

For more information contact
Thomas Blanton - 202/994-7000
National Security Archive Update, October 29, 2004
http://www.nsarchive.org

Guantanamo Prison / Oct 30

Z
In August 2004, a special panel set up by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to investigate American abuse of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq reported that "Interrogation techniques intended only for Guantánamo came to be used in Afghanistan and Iraq." By this time, the revelations of torture at Abu Ghraib had helped to force the first U.S. concession of any rights at all for the hundreds of "unlawful combatants" confined in zoo-like cages at the U.S. naval base on Cuba's strategic Guantánamo Bay.  The profound historical connections between Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib are filled with revealing ironies.

Ever since New Year's Day of 1959 when the Cuban Revolution took power, Washington has promoted "freedom and democracy" for Cuba.  Yet, in the one section of Cuba occupied by U.S. military forces, Washington has instead created a prison that has become notorious around the world.

In 1902, when Cuba was still under military occupation by U.S. troops who had invaded ostensibly to bring freedom, the nation was forced to incorporate Washington's Platt Amendment into its constitution.  The Platt Amendment gave the United States the right to lease a 45-square-mile area at Guantánamo Bay.  The lease specifies that the area is "for use as coaling or naval stations only, and for no other purpose."

Use of the base as a prison began in November 1991.  After the first overthrow of the elected government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, this time under the first Bush Administration, Washington announced it would build a "tent shelter" at Guantánamo for thousands of Haitians fleeing the military dictatorship.  The "shelter" was surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by U.S. troops.  

When forced repatriation began in February 1992, the argument used by the George H.W. Bush administration presaged the 2004 argument before the Supreme Court by the George W. Bush administration:  the detainees were not entitled to any U.S. rights because they were being held on territory under the sovereignty of Cuba.

In June 1993, when only HIV refugees along with their relatives remained, a federal judge ordered the camp closed, calling it "nothing more than an HIV prison camp," where, "surrounded by razor barbed wire" and "subjected to pre-dawn military sweeps," people lived under continual threat of abuse by "400 soldiers in full riot gear."  However,  thousands of Haitians were again detained at Guantánamo in 1994, leading to uprisings.  

At the same time, Washington built a huge tent city surrounded by barbed wire to detain Cubans who were attempting to reach the United States.  Miserable conditions led some Cuban detainees to attempt suicide.  Their numerous uprisings were met by U.S. troops in riot gear with fixed bayonets.  Some Cubans managed to escape back to unoccupied Cuba by scaling the barbed wire, climbing down a 40-foot cliff and swimming about a mile to Cuban territory.  Children suffered from bronchial viruses, pneumonia, diarrhea, and fear.  

On January 18, 1995, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that detainees at Guantánamo could be forcibly repatriated because constitutional rights "bind the government only when the refugees are at or within the borders of the United States."

The way was paved for creation of Camp X-Ray, a prison for captives in President George W. Bush's "War on Terror."  The first captives arrived from Kandahar, 8,000 miles away, on January 11, 2002, to be incarcerated in wire cages.  The Defense Department labeled them "unlawful combatants," not "prisoners of war," in order to disregard rights guaranteed to POWs by the Geneva Conventions.  On January 16, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson stated that the captives are prisoners of war entitled to rights protected by the Geneva Conventions.

On January 20, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw asked Washington to explain the photograph that went around the world showing captives kneeling on the ground in leg shackles and handcuffs with eyes, ears, and mouths covered and wearing mittens in the tropical heat. "The Mail" captioned one photo "Tortured."  Among more than 600 prisoners from 43 countries, 27 tried to kill themselves by June 2003.  The International Committee of the Red Cross and other organizations argued for POW status.

More than two years later, when the Defense Department delivered five British citizens from Guantánamo to British custody, British prosecutors released all of them without charges the following day.  The men described being repeatedly beaten and subjected to solitary confinement in the sensory deprivation isolation wing.  Guards staged races of detainees in short leg shackles, violently punishing them if they fell.  Under pressure one of the three confessed to being the man in a videotape with Osama Bin Laden, but British intelligence later proved he was in England at the time.  

A Swede released in July 2004 said, "They put me in the interrogation room and used it as a refrigerator" where he sat in chains for 12 to 14 hours, partially losing the feeling in one foot.  Deprived of sleep, he was assailed with flashes of light in a dark room, loud music and noise.

The CIA?s "Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual--1983" justifies "coercive techniques" when subjects resist noncoercive techniques.  It points out that pain inflicted "from outside himself" may be less effective than "pain which he feels he is inflicting upon himself."  If "required to maintain rigid positions" for a long period, the source of pain becomes not the interrogator but the prisoner himself. "After a period of time the subject is likely to exhaust his internal motivational strength."

In December 2002 Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, overseer of captives at Guantánamo, requested that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approve a number of  "nondoctrinal" interrogation tactics, some of which he had already used on "unlawful combatants" at Guantánamo.  These included hooding, physical contact like poking or grabbing, and 20-hour interrogations.  Rumsfeld approved a list of 17, withdrew the list in January and approved a revised list of 24 in April 2003 for use only at Guantánamo.  

Then, in August 2003, Gen. Miller led  "intelligence specialists" to Iraq where some officers who met with him believe tortures at Abu Ghraib were "partly rooted" in Miller's "determination to apply his Guantánamo experience in Iraq."  In October, at the urging of Gen. Miller, the Defense Department sent intelligence teams from Guantánamo to train teams at Abu Ghraib for 90 days, the period when the worst prison abuses occurred.

More than two years after Washington established Guantánamo as a site where the United States could hold prisoners of the "War on Terror" indefinitely without allowing them any rights, the public was shocked to discover what such captivity could mean.  On April 28, 2004, CBS television aired the first of those graphic photographs of U.S. guards torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib.  This set off a string of further exposures, including CIA secret detentions at prisons known and unknown around the globe.  

Which in turn led to that August 2004 report to Rumsfeld by his own committee that "Interrogation techniques intended only for Guantánamo came to be used in Afghanistan and Iraq."

What does the future hold for Cuban land occupied by Washington?  One official speculated that a new prison being built at Guantánamo could hold the CIA's secret detainees, the disappeared, indefinitely.

Guantanamo Prison
By Jane Franklin
http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2004-10/22franklin.cfm



Republican View of Bush Administration : VOTE FOR A MAN, NOT A PUPPET

ONE Republican's View of Bush Administration

Look what we are up against fellow Republicans what are we going to do. It looks like Kerry is going to win.

Charlie Reese writes for the Orlando Sentinel. He's a Conservative Republican who is anti-abortion, anti-tax-and-spend, loudly critical of legislation by the judiciary, doesn't think much of ulticulturalism or secularism, has suggested Clinton "turned the Oval Office into a whorehouse," thinks Ronald Reagan is the greatest thing to come down the pike since canned beer, and voted for Bush in the last election. So, take a look at his article which follows.

Carrol C. Marks
801 International Parkway Suite 5
Orlando FL 32746
carrolassisatant@yahoo.com

************

Vote For A Man, Not A Puppet
Orlando Sentinel
Charlie Reese

************

Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war - Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal of neoconservative ideologues and their corporate backers. I have sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely a front man, an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his administration. Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any president in my memory.

It's no wonder the president avoids press conferences like the plague. Take away his cue cards and he can barely talk. Americans should be embarrassed that an Arab King (Abdullah of Jordan) spoke more fluently and articulately in English than our own President at their joint press conference recently.

John Kerry is at least an educated man, well-read, who knows how to think and who knows that the world is a great deal more complex than Bush's comic-book world of American heroes and foreign evildoers. It's unfortunate that in our poorly educated country, Kerry's very intelligence and refusal to adopt simplistic slogans might doom his presidential election efforts.

But Thomas Jefferson said it well, as he did so often, when he observed that people who expect to be ignorant and free expect what never was and never will be.

People who think of themselves as conservatives will really display their stupidity, as I did in the last election, by voting for Bush. Bush is as far from being a conservative as you can get. Well, he fooled me once, but he won't fool me twice.

It is not at all conservative to balloon government spending, to vastly increase the power of government, to show contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law, or to tell people that foreign outsourcing of American jobs is good for them, that giant fiscal and trade deficits don't matter, and that people should not know what their government is doing. Bush is the most prone-to-classify, the most secretive president in the 20th century. His administration leans dangerously toward the authoritarian.

It's no wonder that the Justice Department has convicted a few Arab-Americans of supporting terrorism. What would you do if you found yourself arrested and a federal prosecutor whispers in your ear that either you can plea-bargain this or the President will designate you an enemy combatant and you'll be held incommunicado for the duration ?

This election really is important, not only for domestic reasons, but because Bush's foreign policy has been a dangerous disaster. He's almost restarted the Cold War with Russia and the nuclear arms race. America is not only hated in the Middle East, but it has few friends anywhere in the world thanks to the arrogance and ineptness of the Bush administration.

Don't forget, a scientific poll of Europeans found us, Israel, North Korea and Iran as the greatest threats to world peace.

I will swallow a lot of petty policy differences with Kerry to get a man in the White House with brains enough not to blow up the world and us with it.

Go to Kerry's Web site (http://johnkerry.com) and read some of the magazine profiles on him. You'll find that there is a great deal more to Kerry than the GOP attack dogs would have you believe.

Besides, it would be fun to have a president who plays hockey, windsurfs, ride motorcycles, plays the guitar, writes poetry and speaks French. And . . it would be good to have a man in the White House who has killed people face to face. Killing people has a sobering effect on a man and dispels all illusions about war.

----------------------------------------------------------------

C 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



0the following annotations on 10/06/2004 05:21:18 PM
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With all I Know of the Bush Regime in the past 4 years. There is no way I would ever vote for Bush and how could you.
---------------
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Bush is one of us, say French

Knocking John Kerry's Gallic roots could be a thing of the past for George W Bush's camp after a claim that the president, too, is descended from the people his supporters call "cheese-eating surrender monkeys".

French historians believe that Bush is a corruption of the name Boucher (butcher).

The apparent connection was uncovered by a reporter on Le Figaro in a book on French America, Histoire de l'Amerique Française.

The paper suggested that was why the president's official biographers never traced the family tree beyond 1850.

"Perhaps that is the moment when the Boucher of the old world became the Bush of the new?" Le Figaro said.

Americanising French surnames was commonplace in the early 1800s. Desrochers, became Stone and Auclair became O'Clair. Yesterday Le Figaro revelled in its discovery, suggesting that it could tip the election in Mr Kerry's favour.

"With a name like Boucher, Mr Bush may even lose the vegetarian vote," it said. Such is the climate of American francophobia after France's opposition to the Iraq invasion that any mention of the F-word could be damaging.

Mr Kerry has played down the fact that he has a French cousin, Brice Lalonde, who was the environment minister in Franois Mitterrand's government. He has been urged not to give interviews to US newspapers.

When questioned about Mr Kerry's Gallic ties, White House officials came up with the worst insult they could think of. "He looks French," they said.


By Henry Samuel in Paris
(Filed: 30/10/2004)

copyright of Telegraph Group Limited

Cheers and Jeers of the Week

Egypt Changes Courts
Rape Exam Guide Omits E.C.

Cheers

A new family court system recently set up across Egypt will lead to a huge improvement in Egyptian women's legal rights, advocates say.

A total of 224 courts with about 1,200 judges are being set up to help solve the approximately million cases each year focusing on divorce, alimony, child custody and paternity.

The family courts will replace the century-old institution of personal status courts and their creation marks a significant breakthrough for Egyptian women, whose rights suffered a blow in 1985 when the government reversed some of their earlier gains.

Under the old system, a divorce could be decided by a court but then faced a possible challenge in an appeals court and then a cassation court. Sometimes a divorce was still denied several years after the initial ruling.

Such lengthy and often opaque procedures could lead to situations where women who remarried several years after the first ruling found themselves "legally wed" to two men at the same time, the system's critics argued.

Proponents of the new system said divorce cases will now be examined by the same court and judge instead of being scattered into separate cases in multiple courts--a situation that subjected women to unnecessary stress and frustration.

Combining courtroom facilities with psychological support, the family courts will attempt to bring about reconciliation between the spouses or lay out a separation deal without resorting to a lawsuit.


Jeers

A set of guidelines dealing with the medical examination of rape and sexual assault victims commissioned and recently made public by the Department of Justice's Office on Violence against Women is noticeably lacking any mention of emergency contraception, enraging many doctors and victims' advocates.

The report--the first ever "National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations" issued by the department--provides a detailed, 141-page set of guidelines for criminal justice and health care practitioners in responding to the immediate needs of sexual assault victims.

Yet only one page is devoted to "pregnancy risk evaluation and care." It advises health care personnel to discuss the possibility of pregnancy with rape victims, administer pregnancy tests if given the patients' consent, and "discuss treatment options with patients, including reproductive health services."

Those open-ended guidelines were the final product of a set of protocols that originally included direct mention of emergency contraception, according to several sources in contact with the document's reviewers who asked to remain anonymous. The Office on Violence against Women watered down the language, creating a glaring blank spot in an otherwise comprehensive report, those sources said.

Discussing emergency contraception is standard medical protocol in examinations of rape victims, and some states even require by that victims be offered it. But the Bush administration has taken steps to limit women's access to emergency contraception. In May 2004, the federal Food and Drug Administration denied over-the-counter status for emergency contraception, against the recommendation of its own staff and advice of the American Medical Association and other medical authorities.

In response to the Justice Department report, a group of women in the national nursing community are drafting a critique of the handling of the emergency contraception issue, according to a confidential e-mail read over the phone to Women's eNews. The critique is expected to run in the Journal of Emergency Nursing, an Illinois-based monthly publication.

-- Robin Hindery.

For more information:

U.S. Department of Justice - Office on Violence Against Women-- - A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations - (Adobe PDF format): - http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/ovw/206554.pdf

________________________________________________________________
For any comments about this and any other story, please send a letter to the editors at http://pub.alxnet.com/guestbook?id=2014438

Copyright 2004 Women's eNews.

"Nobody should have to go through so much to vote"

A poll watcher reports from the grueling, sunbaked front lines of a poor Dade County voting station.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Gail Williams

Nov. 1, 2004  |   I'm deeply inspired by the African-American voters here in Florida. And angry at how hard it is to vote, due to horrific waiting times.

 It's Monday morning. I'm very tired already, and due back volunteering soon. My group of four friends down here to monitor the voting process is in danger of burnout before Election Day, and we intend to pace ourselves today. I'm going to just blurt out some stream of consciousness notes before we go.

 Saturday we were at North Dade Regional Library. Voters here are overwhelmingly African-American. Hot sunny day, with a line out onto the sidewalk. Standing in the hot sun, surrounded by a cacophony of bullhorns. We wore NAACP-Election Protection shirts and handed out voter bill of rights sheets with instructions about need for identification, right to vote if you are in line when the polls close, and more. Voters are leaving the building satisfied that everything was smooth. Only one man complains to us about the small number of machines, and fills out one of our forms.

 We're concerned about the lack of water, and especially about the heat for curbside handicapped voters waiting to vote. We hear a few expressions of lack of trust about the machines. Two people told me that if this is stolen there will be revolution -- "a worldwide riot will break out."

 A man sings "We Shall Overcome" through a bullhorn. When voters came out they said it went fine, and thanked us for being there, shining a light on the process. References to the civil rights movement are the theme of the day.

 Sunday we were invited to a Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition training, and attended a local group's discussion of how the new touch-screen machines are working during this first-ever early voting process. This organization is monitoring the technical election process, and is primarily concerned that all of the steps needed to close the polls and tally the votes are done in the proper order, and that the new system works.

 Went to Model City -- a neighborhood with empty lots, beat-up buildings and huge, sprawling housing projects. Some precincts around here went 90 percent for Al Gore last time!

 Sound trucks, music blaring -- gospel songs in the parking lot -- mobbed by Kerry volunteers and leafleters for down-ballot candidates. Take-a-number situation set up in the large shady community building. Loudspeaker calling out voters' numbers like bingo. Kids, elderly, families waiting together. 4:30 p.m. We talk to a volunteer in an orange Community Relations shirt, who says the line is over two hours long. We go to eat and come back by 7.

 When we return it is dark; tired people are still sitting strewn in chairs. There are over 200 numbers to be called. Not many small children or seniors are in evidence now, and the Election Protection volunteers tell us quite a few people have reluctantly given up. The crowd is still mixed in terms of the age of the adults. There is a fierce, stubborn determination and fatigue on the faces around. A young white Election Protection volunteer tells us that it's the Third World attitude of resignation and patience. (In some way, it felt more like a march or a sit-in. I thought about the patience that is opposite to resignation, the Third World tradition that Gandhi crystallized.)

 Numbers were being called in tens and each group was ushered into the inside of the library, to an interior waiting room where 30 people sat out of the heat, waiting to go into the interior room with registration and polling booths.

 It shouldn't be this way. Nobody should have to go through so much in order to vote. People coming out were tired, grim. One mom was met by her costumed kids, concerned that it was getting too late to go trick-or-treating.

 The last voter left at 9:32. Four and one half hours after the line was shut down and tickets were no longer being passed out, a final voter emerged.

 We are invited in to observe the shutdown, and are told that we will not get to see the numbers of votes cast, but we are prepared for that and have been asked to politely learn what we can but not impede, disrupt or challenge. The local NAACP organization is doing this entire poll-monitoring effort on a meager $5,000 grant and felt they could not defend volunteers if arrested.

 The machines in use are iVotronics. Forty-two machines will have to be processed tonight, all the votes offloaded but none tallied. The total vote count from the machines will then be matched against the total number of paper certificates filed at this polling place.

 Two young white men who appear to be college students sit by the voter rolls laptops. We assume they are registered partisan watchers for this voting place. The breaking down of the polling place starts promptly enough, with poll workers counting paper certificates, declarations and affirmations, and other paper items. We're moved to where it is very hard to see exactly what papers are being counted. I have no sense that there was an attempt to hide the process, just a desire to do things by the book and get us out of the way, but the large team is talking and working, and it is not possible to hear numbers as they do their tallies. The poll clerk, supervisor of the action, spends a lot of time looking for something, asking where her version of the training binder is, and finally locates her official cellphone for calling in various tallies. She takes a counter device called a PEB and places it into the first machine of the 42 to be tallied. That machine takes an astonishing 12 minutes to download.

 The Republican observer leaves, amazed and astonished that pizza cannot be delivered to him in this neighborhood. I hold my tongue. I'm not so much amazed that he has no idea what it means to be poor as amazed that 10 percent of those who live in this area could have supported Bush four years ago. We stay through the downloading of four machines, each taking more than 10 minutes to complete. The math is glaringly obvious. It's 11 p.m., and we phone in to our volunteer coordinator.

 The word is that other sites have already been closed, using more than one final tally PEB device. We tell the clerk, and she says that can't be done at this site. We leave, thanking the poll workers for their heroics, hoping it really won't take all night.

 - - - - - - - - - - - -
Gail Williams is the director of Salon's communities, The Well and Table Talk
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/11/01/pollwatch/print.html


An Election Spoiled Rotten



TomPaine.com
Monday, November 1, 2004

It's not even Election Day yet, and the Kerry-Edwards campaign is already down by a almost a million votes. That's because, in important states like Ohio, Florida and New Mexico, voter names have been systematically removed from the rolls and absentee ballots have been overlooked-overwhelmingly in minority areas, like Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, where Hispanic voters have a 500 percent greater chance of their vote being "spoiled." Investigative journalist Greg Palast reports on the trashing of the election.


An Election Spoiled Rotten
by Greg Palast

John Kerry is down by several thousand votes in New Mexico, though not one ballot has yet been counted. He's also losing big time in Colorado and Ohio: and he's way down in Florida, though the votes won't be totaled until Tuesday night.

Through a combination of sophisticated vote rustling-ethnic cleansing of voter rolls, absentee ballots gone AWOL, machines that "spoil" votes-John Kerry begins with a nationwide deficit that could easily exceed one million votes.


---The Urge To Purge---

Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson just weeks ago removed several thousand voters from the state's voter rolls. She tagged felons as barred from voting. What makes this particularly noteworthy is that, unlike like Florida and a handful of other Deep South states, Colorado does not bar ex-cons from voting. Only those actually serving their sentence lose their rights.

There's no known, verified case of a Colorado convict voting illegally from the big house. Because previous purges have wiped away the rights of innocents, federal law now bars purges within 90 days of a presidential election to allow a voter to challenge their loss of civil rights.

To exempt her action from the federal rule, Secretary Davidson declared an "emergency." However, the only "emergency" in Colorado seems to be President Bush's running dead, even with John Kerry in the polls.

Why the sudden urge to purge? Davidson's chief of voting law enforcement is Drew Durham, who previously worked for the attorney general of Texas. This is what the former spokeswoman for the Lone Star state's attorney general says of Mr. Durham: He is, "unfit for public office... a man with a history of racism and ideological zealotry." Sounds just right for a purge that affects, in the majority, non-white voters.

> From my own and government
investigations of such purge lists, it is

> unlikely that this one contains many, if any, illegal voters.


But it does contain Democrats. The Dems may not like to shout about this, but studies indicate that 90-some percent of people who have served time for felonies will, after prison, vote Democratic. One suspects Colorado's Republican secretary of state knows that.


---Ethnic Cleansing Of The Voter Rolls---

We can't leave the topic of ethnically cleansing the voter rolls without a stop in Ohio, where a Republican secretary of state appears to be running to replace Katherine Harris.

In Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), some citizens have been caught Registering While Black. A statistical analysis of would-be voters in Southern states by the watchdog group Democracy South indicates that black voters are three times as likely as white voters to have their registration requests "returned" (i.e., subject to rejection).

And to give a boost to this whitening of the voter rolls, for the first time since the days of Jim Crow, the Republicans are planning mass challenges of voters on Election Day. The GOP's announced plan to block 35,000 voters in Ohio ran up against the wrath of federal judges; so, in Florida, what appear to be similar plans had been kept under wraps until the discovery of documents called "caging" lists. The voters on the "caging" lists, disclosed last week by BBC Television London, are, almost exclusively, residents of African-American neighborhoods.

Such racial profiling as part of a plan to block voters is, under the Voting Rights Act, illegal. Nevertheless, neither the Act nor federal judges have persuaded the party of Lincoln to join the Democratic Party in pledging not to distribute blacklists to block voters on Tuesday.


---Absentee Ballots Go AWOL---

It's 10pm: Do you know where your absentee ballot is? Voters wary about computer balloting are going postal: in some states, mail-in ballot requests are up 500 percent. The probability that all those votes-up to 15 million-will be counted is zip.

Those who mail in ballots are very trusting souls. Here's how your trust is used. In the August 31 primaries in Florida, Palm Beach Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore (a.k.a. Madame Butterfly Ballot) counted 37,839 absentee votes. But days before, her office told me only 29,000 ballots had been received. When this loaves-and-fishes miracle was disclosed, she was forced to recount, cutting the tally to 31,138.

Had she worked it the other way, disappearing a few thousand votes instead of adding additional ones, there would be almost no way to figure out the fix (or was it a mistake?). Mail-in voter registration forms are protected by federal law. Local government must acknowledge receiving your registration and must let you know if there's a problem (say, with signature or address) that invalidates your registration. But your mail-in vote is an unprotected crapshoot. How do you know if your ballot was received? Was it tossed behind a file cabinet-or tossed out because you did not include your middle initial? In many counties, you won't know.

And not every official is happy to have your vote. It is well-reported that Broward County, Fla., failed to send out nearly 60,000 absentee ballots. What has not been nationally reported is that Broward's elections supervisor is a Jeb Bush appointee who took the post only after the governor took the unprecedented step of removing the prior elected supervisor who happened be a Democrat.


---A Million Votes In The Electoral Trash Can---

"If the vote is stolen here, it will be stolen in Rio Arriba County," a New Mexico politician told me. That's a reasoned surmise: in 2000, one in 10 votes simply weren't counted-chucked out, erased, discarded. In the voting biz, the technical term for these vanishing votes is "spoilage." Citizens cast ballots, but the machines don't notice. In one Rio Arriba precinct in the last go-'round, not one single vote was cast for president-or, at least, none showed up on the machines.

Not everyone's vote spoils equally. Rio Arriba is 73 percent Hispanic. I asked nationally recognized vote statistician Dr. Philip Klinkner of Hamilton College to run a "regression" analysis of the Hispanic ballot spoilage in the Enchanted State. He calculated that a brown voter is 500 percent more likely to have their vote spoiled than a white voter. And It's worse for Native Americans. Vote spoilage is epidemic near Indian reservations.

Votes don't spoil because they're left out of the fridge. It comes down to the machines. Just as poor people get the crap schools and crap hospitals, they get the crap voting machines.

It's bad for Hispanics; but for African Americans, it's a ballot-box holocaust. An embarrassing little fact of American democracy is that, typically, two million votes are spoiled in national elections, registering no vote or invalidated. Based on studies by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and the Harvard Law School Civil Rights project, about 54 percent of those ballots are cast by African Americans. One million black votes vanished˜phffft!

There's a lot of politicians in both parties that like it that way; suppression of the minority is the way they get elected. Whoever is to blame, on Tuesday, the Kerry-Edwards ticket will take the hit. In Rio Arriba, Democrats have an eight-to-one registration edge over Republicans. Among African Americanvoters...well, you can do the arithmetic yourself.

The total number of votes siphoned out of America's voting booths is so large, you won't find the issue reported in our self-glorifying news media. The one million missing black, brown and red votes spoiled, plus the hundreds of thousands flushed from voter registries, is our nation's dark secret: an apartheid democracy in which wealthy white votes almost always count, but minorities are often purged or challenged or simply not recorded. In effect, Kerry is down by a million votes before one lever is pulled, card punched or touch-screen touched.

------
View Greg Palast's BBC Television film, "Bush Family Fortunes," available this week on DVD in an updated edition from The Disinformation Company at http://www.gregpalast.com/bff-dvd.htm

http://www.gregpalast.com/contact.cfm


Why does it feel so drafty in here?

Why does it feel so drafty in here?

 When John Kerry said recently that a Bush re-election would bring the "great potential" for a military draft1, he invited the scorn of Bush-Cheney '04, which accused him of "fear-mongering," and slaps from fact-checkers. Brooks Jackson of FactCheck.org said2 Kerry's remarks were a "matter of opinion, but I'm not sure what he is basing that opinion on."

 Donald Rumsfeld himself has taken to condemning draft rumors as "a mischievous political effort that's being made to frighten young men and women." He wrote in the Deseret News last week: "This plot is so secret that it doesn't exist. To my knowledge, in the time I have served as secretary of defense, the idea of reinstating the draft has never been debated, endorsed, discussed, theorized, pondered or even whispered by anyone in the Bush administration."

 Well, maybe Rummy should talk to his people. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer3 uncovered documents showing the Pentagon "has studied how to expand draft registration to include women, target some civilian work specialties for special attention by the draft and extend the required draft registration age from 25 years old to 34 years."

 "These draft plans were discussed at the Pentagon on Feb. 11, 2003, by the chief of the Selective Service System, the federal agency that would operate a draft, and senior Pentagon officials ... According to a copy of the meeting agenda, the Selective Service System leaders reviewed the past 30 years of draft registration planning and then made their pitch for more aggressive draft preparations."

 This comes on the heels of a New York Times report4 about the Selective Service "updating its contingency plans for a draft of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in case of a national emergency that overwhelms the military's medical corps." Maybe it's true that despite the strain placed on the military under Bush, a draft is a faraway option. Pentagon officials have said they much prefer professional, volunteer soldiers to conscripts, and that with improved recruitment and added incentives for volunteers, the military can attract more troops without a draft.

 But for Rumsfeld to say the draft has "never been debated, endorsed, discussed, theorized, pondered or even whispered" on his watch is just plain wrong, and if administration officials are wondering where these draft "rumors" are coming from, they need only to look within their own ranks.



http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/16/politics/main649757.shtml
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2004/story?id=179936&page=1
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/197438_pot30.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/19/politics/19draft.html

source: http://www.salon.com/politics/war_room/archive.html?blog=/politics/war_room/2004/11/01/draft/index.html


 -- Geraldine Sealey
 [09:24 PST, Nov. 1, 2004]

COMING HOME

COMING HOME

‘Swallowed by Pain’

Jeffrey Lucey joined the Reserves to help pay for college;
he wasn’t prepared for what happened next



BELCHERTOWN, Mass. | This is the paraphernalia of Jeffrey Lucey’s life. On one wall of his bedroom: a large, framed photograph of him and his Marine Reserves unit.


On the opposite wall, a much smaller group photo of his Chestnut Hill Community Class of 1995 hangs just a little askew.

On his bookshelf, at the top of two neat stacks, are the books Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and Living Sober. Bottles of cologne are arranged in a small semi-circle on top of his dresser — Abercrombie and Fitch, Baryshnikov, Nautica, Acqua di Gio, Obsession.

“It is our 53rd day of activation and we’ve been incountry four weeks to the day.”       — Jeffrey Lucey’s journal
On his bed, his mother has placed a DVD of one of his favorite movies, The Passion of the Christ, and near his dresser, there are six empty bottles: two Heinekens, one Mr. Boston Blackberry Flavored Brandy and the rest are of a beer called EKU-28 with the label, “EKU-28 is the one whenever something good and strong is needed.”

And here, in front of the dust-covered TV, the faint light from the shuttered windows reveals more of the paraphernalia of Jeffrey Lucey’s life. Brown spots stain the unwashed carpet.

It is the color of dried blood.

Y  Z


Going to Iraq was never in Lucey’s plans. He wanted to be a cop. He wanted to marry his high-school girlfriend. He wanted what most want in this town of 2,300 people.

He went to Holyoke Community College, trying to rack up enough credits for a degree. Too small for football, too slow for track, Lucey spent most of his time with friends, driving 4-wheelers on the paths near his house. He got into some trouble, his mother remembers, but no more than most kids his age.

He wasn’t sure he wanted to join the Marine Reserves. But some of his friends were joining, and there was a chance he could get some money to pay for college. He talked about it with his parents. Back then, before Sept. 11, 2001, there wasn’t a war to worry about, so he signed up.

In the next two years, everything changed. The country was at war, and young men like Lucey were being sent to fight an enemy halfway across the world. His unit was activated on Jan. 11, 2003.

Many in America’s armed forces are like Lucey: young, impressionable with a slight wild streak. Inexperienced in the world and unsure of themselves at home. He was a good soldier. But something else was going on inside Lucey and the war would only make it worse.

“I should have realized all our lives were about to change,” Lucey wrote in his journal.

Lucey’s unit was sent to Camp Pendleton, south of Los Angeles, where they spent the days moving equipment from the motor pool, getting weapons training and taking hand-to-hand combat courses — all preparations for their deployment in Iraq.

At night, they partied.

“When each day came to an end, it was like our barracks were suddenly changed into a college dorm,” Lucey wrote. “Alcohol and drinks flooded the area. You could smell steaks, hot dogs and burgers cooking outside on our makeshift barbecues. Everyone enjoying what we knew would be our last hurrah.”

In the relatively safe confines of the camp, Lucey saw the first of his buddies die. He wrote about seeing a Marine killed in a car crash. Three others were injured. The day after this accident, some of the Marines from his battalion went down to Tijuana. “On their way back, their vehicle somehow flipped, paralyzing one of the Marines from the neck down,” Lucey wrote.

After a month in California, Lucey’s unit left on a 22-hour flight to Kuwait, stopping once in Maine and again in Germany.

“Our first stop was in Bangor, which was difficult, knowing my home, my family and my girl Julie, who I love and cherish more than anything in the world, was only a couple of hours drive away,” he wrote.

In Kuwait, Lucey was stationed at Camp Shuiba, where he helped maintain the trucks, humvees and trailers that would be used in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It was tough in the desert. The heat. The toilets with water filled all the way to the top. The boredom. The food that was never hot enough, the water that was never cool enough. The sandstorms. The nights spent awake.

“Three days would go by,” Lucey wrote, “and your total sleep would be under 6 hours. This made the days seem like weeks.”

On March 18, Marine Reservist Lucey celebrated his 21st birthday. He was 5,000 miles from Belchertown, his family, his girlfriend —and although he may not have known it, the war was about to begin.

The day after his birthday, American forces launched a “decapitation strike” in hopes of taking out Saddam Hussein. Two days later, the famous “shock and awe” campaign began with three Tomahawk cruise missiles from the USS Donald Cooke. In the next two days, more than 800 missiles were launched on targets across Iraq, softening up the Iraqi defense for the ground assault.

At Camp Shuiba, Lucey felt the ground shake.

“At 10:30 p.m. a scud landed in our vicinity,” Lucey wrote. “We were just falling asleep when a shock wave rattled through our tent. The noise was just short of blowing out your ear drums. Everyone’s heart truly skipped a beat and the reality of where we are and what’s truly happening hit home.

“It’s now 11:30 and we still have no word of casualties, but from the power encompassed in that blast the fear of the worst for many is very real. We are now trying to go to sleep for at least a couple of hours but anxiety is high and sleep seems close to impossible.”

And then, Lucey added three more lines: “We now just had a gas alert and it is past midnight. We will not sleep. Nerves are on edge.”

“Hazel, who is in the rack beside me, was looking at his 3 month old baby boy when the scud hit... he picked up the picture off the floor and gave me a look that seem to say that I hope I will hold him again.”

Sometime around March 21, Lucey’s company, the 2nd Platoon, Section A, 6th Motor Transportation Battallion rolled into Iraq, slowly inching north toward Nasiriyah.

He wrote infrequently during his six months away from home. His family took to watching CNN in hopes of catching a glimpse of him.

Later, sitting on his back porch in Belchertown, Lucey told his mother and his sister stories about his time in Iraq.


There was the story about the flag.

On a short assignment in Nasiriyah, when he volunteered to go along with a convoy of Humvees, Lucey saw a dead child on the side of the road. The boy clutched to his chest an American flag stained with his blood. Lucey helped drag the body off the street into an alleyway, and as he left to join his convoy, he kept the flag for himself.

And then there’s the story about the old couple.

Lucey told his mother about his nightmares where faceless old people would run toward him asking for help, like the old couple in Nasiriyah he says he watched get shot in the back as they ran toward the shelter of their home. The nightmare came often, keeping Lucey up until three or four in the morning, until the last bottle of EKU-28 beer had run out, and he would finally fall asleep.

And then there is the story. The story Lucey kept bottled up inside him until last Christmas, when he finally let it out.

”Don’t you understand?” he shouted at his sister, Debra. “Your brother is a murderer.”

That’s when Debra Lucey first saw the dog tags. The ones Lucey said he took off the necks of the two Iraqi soldiers he was forced to shoot, one in the eye, the other in the back of the neck. The dog tags were simple, with faint letters scratched into their cheap metal, Debra remembers thinking. Lucey never took the dog tags out, and this was the first time he had shown them to the family.

The Marines have disputed some of these stories. They intially told local papers in Massachusetts that as a Reservist in the 6th Motor Transport Battalion, Lucey would most likely never have come close to Iraqi prisoners. Later, the Marine Corps admitted that in the confusion of Iraq, it was not only possible, but likely that Lucey volunteered to help in transporting the prisoners. A photograph that his parents developed from Lucey’s camera shows a bare-backed Iraqi sitting on the ground in front of a truck with a black bag over his head.

Two soldiers are standing guard over the Iraqi.

“Uncertainty can drive any man crazy, the uncertainty about what’s going to change in your life upon your arrival home. Will all your loved ones still be there. Was your significant other loving only you while you were 8,000 miles away? Will your friends and loved ones be the same people or will they have evolved into people you know longer know. Most importantly, will we be the same when we get back or will we have changed ourselves.”

It takes about five minutes to walk from Lucey’s house to a maple tree he used to sit by for hours. The tree has a rope — a long, ragged one with seven knots on it. As a child, Lucey would swing out on the rope and jump into the brook that runs past the house. Earlier this year, as he walked with his mother to the brook, he took the headphones from his CD player off his head and made her listen to a song about a soldier returning from war.

”Don’t you understand?” he shouted at his sister, Debra.  “Your brother is a murderer.”
“Whatever happened to the young man’s heart. Swallowed by pain, as he slowly fell apart,” the song’s chorus goes. “And I am staring down the barrel of a .45. Swimming through the ashes of another life. No real reason to accept the way things have changed. Staring down the barrel of a .45.”

“I am listening to the words, and I am thinking, ’This is my son, and he wants me to listen to this,’ ” Joyce Lucey recalled as she walked down the path to the tree. “And he goes, ’No no no, I am not going to do anything. Looking down the barrel of a .45 to me represents looking down a long dark tunnel.’ ”

After he returned from Iraq, Lucey’s drinking got worse. His private therapist recommended he seek professional help from the VA. His nightmares were more frequent, and Lucey had started hallucinating. He would go to bed with a flashlight because he felt spiders were crawling all over him.

The Luceys did what they could. They hid the knives in the house. They secreted away his Marine Corps-issued knives to his sister’s house. They took turns sleeping so they could keep an eye on him.

Drunk, confused and abusive, Lucey was brought by his father and sister to the VA medical center in Northampton, Mass., on May 28, 2004.

The same night that Lucey was involuntarily admitted, medical records show that a doctor decided that he was “a clear and present danger to self and others from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression with psychotic features and suicidal ideation, acute alcohol intoxication.”

For the next four days, Lucey was kept under observation, and the medical records that his father now pores over night after night show that the medical center had a pretty good idea of what he was going through.

“When we left him at the VA, I think it gave us a sense of false security,” said his father, Kevin Lucey. “I felt as if the professionals had things under control — things were out of my hands now.”

On two separate occasions, different health care professionals answered “yes” to questions about Lucey’s suicidal tendencies. In one chilling note, after checking yes to whether the patient planned to kill himself, a further note described how Lucey “plan ed (sic) to OD, hang himself or suffod=cate (sic) himself.”

On June 1, the VA medical center discharged Lucey. They diagnosed him with alcohol intoxication, alcohol dependence and mood disorder secondary to alcohol intoxication.

“Jeff knew that he was drinking too much,” said Dr. Mark Nickerson, a private therapist that Lucey had been seeing at the same time. “But it was the trauma that was really eating into him. As inappropriate a crutch as it (the alcohol) was, it’s about all he really had. To me, it would make sense to try and treat both the problems together, instead of focusing on the drinking.”

Less than four days later, Lucey was back at the VA medical center. His sister had come home after her college graduation ceremonies to find him drinking at the house and talking about hanging himself. She called the VA.

VA medical center rules say that for an involuntary admission to take place, the patient must be on the premises, or be committed by his family. Lucey refused to walk into the building, and VA staff spoke to him outside. There wasn’t much the staff could do: Records state that the patient “showed no grounds to seek a commitment or placement under protective custody by the VA police.” The Luceys had to bring him home.

Off and on, Lucey would ask for help when he was sober. Twice, he asked his father if he could curl up in his lap. Even though he thought his son’s request odd, Kevin Lucey thought of those times as progress. Just one week before Father’s Day, he sat for a half-hour in the family room, his 23-year-old son in his lap, and told himself “we were crossing some kind of hurdle.”

“It’s funny how alcohol affects people and makes things more interesting in a way.”

Jeffrey Lucey’s father came home from work June 22 to find the TV on, his son’s Iraqi dog tags on the bed and the cellar door open. He walked the 10 steps down to the cellar, and saw a small semi-circle of picture frames on the ground — photographs of Lucey and his Marine unit flanked by pictures of his girlfriend and his family. The glass in one of the frames was broken, and his mother later found the shards on the floor of her son’s room next to the blood stains.

Kevin Lucey took another step and saw his son’s feet hanging two inches above the ground. He doesn’t remember if he screamed — he wanted to act quickly. He lifted his 165-pound son, took the noose off his neck, and made a small pillow out of the rug on the floor.

“He was in my lap again,” said Kevin. “He looked so peaceful, and I just held him, and tried to warm him up.”

Lucey probably stood on a crumpled white cardboard box to get his neck inside the noose. Had he wanted to save himself, all he had to do was stretch his toes the two inches to the ground, take the noose off his neck, go back up the cellar stairs into his room and wait for his father to come home.

Instead, he left a note.

“Dear Dad, Don’t look. Just call the cops.”


###


written by Mehul Srivastava
10/11/2004
© DAYTON DAILY NEWS

http://www.duckdaotsu.org/Jeffrey_Lucey.html

Democrats denounce IRS audit of NAACP

N.Y. House member tells Bush to 'call off the dogs' investigating rights group

NAACP leadership continued to denounce an Internal Revenue Service audit of the Baltimore-based civil rights group yesterday, while three members of Congress challenged the IRS to drop the investigation.

 A letter sent yesterday to IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson by three House Democrats - Charles B. Rangel of New York, Pete Stark of California and John Conyers Jr. of Michigan - demanded that Everson "publicly, specifically and immediately repudiate the recent actions of the IRS taken against the NAACP."

 The IRS is auditing the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after its chairman, Julian Bond, criticized the Bush administration in a speech at its annual convention in July.

 An Oct. 8 letter notified the NAACP of the inquiry, saying Bond's speech "condemned the administration policies of George W. Bush on education, the economy and the war in Iraq."

 NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and Bond said yesterday that they couldn't recall the NAACP ever being audited for criticizing a politician. They called the inquiry a politically calculated attack on free speech that came just days before the Nov. 2 election.

'Obvious timing'

The Democratic congressmen agreed, stating in their letter:

 "First, it is obvious that the timing of this IRS examination is nothing more than an effort to intimidate the members of the NAACP, and the communities the organization represents, in their get-out-the-vote effort nationwide."

 In addition, Rangel offered a separate statement urging President Bush to "call off the dogs at the IRS."

 Bond, a longtime civil rights activist, stands by the denunciations of the administration that he hurled during the opening event of the 95th annual NAACP convention in Philadelphia.

 Bush turned down the NAACP's invitation to speak at the convention. Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry accepted. NAACP officials said Bush was the first sitting president since Herbert Hoover not to address the group.

 During Bond's July 11 convention speech, he criticized Bush's civil rights record, the Iraq war, the high black unemployment rate and the decline of educational opportunities for blacks.

 "Bush chose Martin Luther King's birthday this year to unilaterally elevate Charles Pickering to the federal bench in the face of Pickering's hostility to civil rights and leniency to cross-burners," Bond told the audience.

 He prefaced his remarks with a reminder that the nation's oldest civil rights group is nonpartisan, yet has a long history of critiquing elected officials.

Tax-exempt status

The NAACP's tax-exempt status - the same as that held by charities and religious groups - allows contributors to make tax-deductible contributions but restricts its lobbying efforts.

 If the IRS investigation determines that the NAACP intervened in a political campaign, the most severe penalty would be the loss of its tax-exempt status, although the group could reapply, said Sarah Ingram, deputy commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS.

 She said that in April, the IRS sent letters reminding charities that they are forbidden to engage in political activity, a practice of the agency in every general election since 1992. In addition, the IRS launched a program this summer that scrutinized more than 100 nonprofits concerning possible campaign activity, she said.

 Ingram declined to comment on whether the NAACP was among the 100 or so nonprofits examined. She said the group was a "mix of organizations in a cross-section of the community."

 Mfume said the NAACP will respond to the IRS by the deadline next week. Bond said the fund-raising impact could be significant, however.

 "At the very least, you would have to think that people who give us relatively large sums of money with the expectation of a break on their income taxes would be chastened by this, and would be a little less likely to do so," Bond said.

 Copyright © 2004, The Baltimore Sun
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.naacp30oct30,1,6230766.story?coll=bal-nationworld-headlines
 By Kelly Brewington            October 30, 2004

Urgent warning for US voters using voting machines: Double-check summary screen before casting ballot

Dear friends: Here is some further advice for voters voting on touch-screen electronic voting machines: DOUBLE-CHECK YOUR SELECTIONS LISTED ON THE FINAL "SUMMARY", "PROOF", OR "REVIEW" SCREEN BEFORE YOU FINALLY CAST YOUR BALLOT. Hopefully (and I mean hopefully), that will ensure your vote is accurately recorded by the machine. Pass on this advice to friends. Elections aren't what they used to be...

If I missed this, a LOT of people missed it.  This is probably the worst concrete news I've heard about electronic voting.  It's (frighteningly) reminiscent of the voting-joke website where the box for Bush has an on-again-off-again check mark that counts and every attempt to click in the Kerry space caused the Kerry space to jump to a different part of the screen:

     http://wearabledissent.com/101/floridaballot.html

This is real...

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Urgent warning to voters using touch screen / DRE voting machines
Voters urged to double-check the summary screen before casting ballot
by Bob Kibrick
October 23rd, 2004
https://vevo.verifiedvoting.org/article.php?id=5185

Early voting began the week of October 18 in many states. Our
Election Incident Reporting System (EIRS) has already received
numerous complaints from across the country of touch screen/DRE
voting machines failing to properly register voters' selections.

Because of these problems, it is absolutely vital that voters
double-check the selections listed on the final "summary", "proof",
or "review" screen prior to casting their votes. If the selections
listed on that screen are not what the voter intended, then the voter
must page back through ballot and make any needed corrections prior
to casting their ballot.

Many of these reports came from voters using ES&S iVotronic touch
screen voting machines in Florida and Texas. These voters reported
that the iVotronic touch screens registered selections for candidates
that the voters had not intended to select. If voters rest their
hands or thumbs on or near the edge of the touch screen, then the
voting machine can register a selection where none was intended.

This design flaw was identified weeks ago by Professor Doug Jones of
the Univerity of Iowa Computer Science Department and noted in
section 11 of his pre-election testing report submitted to elections
officials in Florida's Miami Dade County. Dr. Jones is a member of
the Iowa Board of Examiners for Voting Machines and Electronic Voting
Systems and he also serves on the Board of Advisors for the Verified
Voting Foundation.

This problem was also reported in the October 18 edition of the San
Antonio Business Journal in an article entitled "You touch it, you
voted for it". That article reads in part:

A potential user-interface problem has surfaced with the touch-screen
voting machines being used during early voting in San Antonio. The
problem also could affect voters nationwide.

Bexar County Elections Administrator Clifford Borofsky confirms that
the problem is real, but he insists it is a minor issue.

A San Antonio Business Journal reader brought the problem to the
attention of the newspaper after he claims his vote was registered
for the wrong candidate. He said the bad vote was cast because he
inadvertently rested his hand on the screen of the voting kiosk while
using his other hand to vote.

"The machine registered the vote from my thumb when I rested my hand
on the screen to vote," the reader claims.

The reader says he caught his error on the review screen before
finalizing his vote, but he questions whether everyone -- especially
new voters -- would do the same.

Borofsky says his office has received only two reports in 60,000
votes cast of votes being registered by individuals inadvertently
resting their hand on the voting screen. However, there is no way to
know how many people made the mistake without knowing it.

"That's what the review screen is for," Borofsky says, adding that it
is the fail-safe built into the system to guard against inadvertent
votes.

However, Borofsky does concede that it would be good to make voters
aware of the problem, "especially people foreign to the voting
process."

Currently, there are no warning signs on the machines or in the
polling places to make voters aware of the hyper-sensitivity of the
touch-screen voting machines, he says.

Other voters in New Mexico, Texas, and Florida have reported serious
problems when attempting to select individual candidates or to vote a
straight party ticket. Many voters reported that when they attempted
to select one candidate or party, the machine instead registered a
choice for a different candidate or party. Voters reported having to
make repeated attempts to get the voting machines to finally register
their intended selection. For just one such example, see the article
Some Voters Say Machines Failed, Incorrect Choices Appear on Screens
which appeared in the October 22 edition of the Albuquerque Journal,
which reads in part:

Kim Griffith voted on Thursday- over and over and over.
She's among the people in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties who say
they have had trouble with early voting equipment. When they have
tried to vote for a particular candidate, the touch-screen system has
said they voted for somebody else.

It's a problem that can be fixed by the voters themselves- people can
alter the selections on their ballots, up to the point when they
indicate they are finished and officially cast the ballot.
For Griffith, it took a lot of altering.

She went to Valle Del Norte Community Center in Albuquerque, planning
to vote for John Kerry. "I pushed his name, but a green check mark
appeared before President Bush's name," she said.

Griffith erased the vote by touching the check mark at Bush's name.
That's how a voter can alter a touch-screen ballot.

She again tried to vote for Kerry, but the screen again said she had
voted for Bush. The third time, the screen agreed that her vote
should go to Kerry.

She faced the same problem repeatedly as she filled out the rest of
the ballot. On one item, "I had to vote five or six times," she said.
Michael Cadigan, president of the Albuquerque City Council, had a
similar experience when he voted at City Hall.

"I cast my vote for president. I voted for Kerry and a check mark for
Bush appeared," he said.

He reported the problem immediately and was shown how to alter the ballot.
Cadigan said he doesn't think he made a mistake the first time. "I
was extremely careful to accurately touch the button for my choice
for president," but the check mark appeared by the wrong name, he
said.

Bernalillo County Clerk Mary Herrera said she doesn't believe the
touch-screen system has been making mistakes. It's the fault of
voters, she said Thursday.

Cadigan, for example, could have "leaned his palm on the touch screen
and it hit the wrong button," she said.

In Sandoval County, three Rio Rancho residents said they had a
similar problem, with opposite results. They said a touch-screen
machine switched their presidential votes from Bush to Kerry.
... Herrera said she's heard stories from Democrats and Republicans.
In some cases, when people have tried to vote a straight ticket, the
screen has given their votes to every candidate in the opposite
political party, she said.

She believes it's a people problem. "I have confidence in the
machines," she said.

"They are touch screens. People are touching them with their palms,
or leaning their hand. ... They're hitting the wrong button."
Herrera and others said voters should be diligent about reviewing
their touch-screen ballots so they can make alterations.

Griffith said she's afraid some votes will go to the wrong candidates
by accident. "People need to know that they have to be careful," she
said.

"I'm concerned that people who don't check and double-check will try
to vote for a candidate and not realize that the vote went to another
candidate," she said.

Other voters reported that when selecting a straight party ticket,
either the wrong party was selected, or the correct party was
selected but the selection of presidential candidate was wrong. In
other cases, voters reported that when selecting a straight party
ticket, they voting machine failed to present them with various
non-partisan ballot measures.

On Hart InterCivic eSlate voting machines used in Travis County,
Texas, a county Democratic party official reports that some voters
intending to vote the straight Democratic party ticket have
accidentally registered a selection for Bush/Cheney through incorrect
usage of the eSlate's "SELECT wheel" and "ENTER" buttons. The
official's explanation:

When pressing ENTER after marking Straight Democrat, some voters
inadvertently turned the SELECT wheel one click through the ballot while
meaning to go to the final "PROOF" page. If you hit ENTER at that point,
your cursor is over the first candidate on the ballot: Bush/Cheney.
So, the answer to this problem is this: TELL EVERYONE TO PROOF THEIR
BALLOT. If there is an error, page back and fix it and/or ask for
assistance in doing so. You must fix these things BEFORE you hit CAST
BALLOT.

_ ____

Also this, unverified but worth adding to the "stay alert" materials...

From: Moyers, Bill
Sent: Thursday, October 28, 2004 12:58 PM
To: PubAffTV
Subject: From a good friend of mine of many years.


Yesterday a friend voted early at a polling location in Austin. She voted
straight Democratic. When she did the final check, lo and behold every vote
was for the Democratic candidates except that it showed she had voted for
Bush/Cheney for president/vice pres.

She immediately got a poll official. On her vote, it was corrected. She
called the Travis County Democratic headquarters. They took all her
information, and told her that she wasn't the first to report a similar
incident and that they are looking into it.

So check before you leave the polling booth, and if anything is wrong, get
it corrected immediately. Report any irregularities to your local Democratic
headquarters.

Make sure you pass this along to your friends ... hopefully this is all over
the airwaves by tomorrow ...

10/30 Iraq: More Updates on Halliburton Gate

Expanding Halliburton probe confirms Bush administration is most corrupt in US history


On the eve of the 2004 presidential election, allegations about the corrupt relationship between the Bush administration and Halliburton Corp., the company formerly run by Vice President Richard Cheney, have taken center stage once again. Press reports Friday said that the FBI has expanded an ongoing investigation into contracts obtained by Halliburton’s subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), in Iraq and Kuwait.

The FBI sought an interview with Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, a senior Army civil servant who objected to the KBR no-bid contract and complained that it represented preferential treatment. The Army gave KBR a secret $7 billion contract to restore Iraq’s oil fields just before Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Greenhouse is the chief contracting officer for the Army Corps of Engineers. In a letter to acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee on October 21, she said that Army officials had not justified the no-bid award by satisfying procedural requirements such as showing that KBR had “unique attributes” that no other contractor could match. She also charged that her repeated complaints were ignored, and that the Army allowed KBR officials to sit in on Pentagon meetings at which the awarding of contracts was discussed.

The letter charges that “employees of the U.S. government have taken improper action that favored KBR’s interests,” according to citations published in the press. Greenhouse said she “experienced repeated interference with her role” as chief monitor of Corps of Engineers contracts.

Greenhouse’s lawyer said that his client, who still works at the Pentagon, was seeking the protection of whistleblower provisions to block retaliatory actions such as demotion or firing. Greenhouse was threatened with demotion earlier this month.

Tensions within the Army Corps of Engineers apparently reached the breaking point on October 8, when the Corps gave Halliburton a one-year $165 million extension on a contract to provide food, fuel and other supplies for US forces stationed in the Balkans. According to an account in the Los Angeles Times, which obtained a copy of the contract document, Greenhouse wrote on the proposal, “I cannot approve this,” and made other written comments protesting the award. Greenhouse did not sign the final approval of the extension, as required. Instead, her assistant, Lt. Col. Norbert Doyle, signed it.

Greenhouse apparently felt that with so many investigations underway into KBR overcharging the US military or engaging in bribery and other corrupt practices, the Corps should not simply rubber-stamp an extension of the KBR contract in the Balkans, first awarded during the 1999 US assault on Serbia. The contract is being expanded to cover the entire continent of Europe, including newly established US bases in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.

The Halliburton subsidiary has been hit with a series of complaints of overcharging and otherwise mishandling its contracts as the principal supplier of food, fuel and other materiel to the US invasion and occupation force in Iraq. It also faces investigations by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission over potentially illegal and corrupt dealings in Nigeria and Iran.

This is not the first time that top Pentagon officials appointed by George W. Bush have overruled career civil service professionals to award contracts to Vice President Cheney’s old firm. In the fall of 2002, an Army lawyer objected to the initial Iraq-related contract for KBR, $1.9 million to draw up a plan for operating the country’s oil infrastructure after a war. While tiny in relation to the huge oil field recovery and military supply contracts doled out later, this award was critical because it gave KBR an edge over any potential competitor. The Government Accountability Office later determined that the Army lawyer had been right.

Greenhouse herself objected at several points in the subsequent contracting process: when KBR placed a bid for the oil-field recovery contract whose specifications it had drawn up in the pre-war planning process; when the Army Corps of Engineers invited KBR officials to meetings where they were discussing the contract awards; and when the Pentagon proposed to make the “sole-source” no-bid contract for five years, longer than she believed necessary. Each time she was overruled.

Last December, after the first press reports about overcharging on KBR contracts to supply fuel to the military in Iraq, Army Corps contracting officer Mary Robertson found two alternative fuel suppliers who would offer a better price, but Halliburton refused to buy from them, insisting on continuing its exclusive relationship with the Kuwaiti-owned Altanmia. In a letter to KBR, Robertson protested, “Since the U.S. government is paying for these services, I will not succumb to the political pressure from the [Kuwaiti government] or the U.S. Embassy to go against my integrity and pay a higher price for fuel than necessary.”

A pattern of corruption and cover-up

Over the past year, one revelation after another has ensued, demonstrating not only that Halliburton/KBR has enjoyed privileged access to Pentagon contracts, but that the Bush administration has done everything in its power to block any review of this corrupt relationship with Cheney’s former company.

* In December 2003, Pentagon auditors uncovered a overcharge of $61 million by KBR on a contract to supply fuel for the military in Iraq. Halliburton was also suspected of overcharging by $67 million on food for military mess halls in Kuwait and Iraq.

* In January 2004, Halliburton repaid $6.3 million in overcharges and kickbacks for fuel contracts in Kuwait.

* In February 2004, the Pentagon announced that Halliburton would repay it for $27 million in KBR overbilling for meals served to troops at five military bases in Kuwait and Iraq. The meals were never delivered.

* In March 2004, the Pentagon requested the Justice Department join the probe of overbilling, a strong indication that potential criminal fraud charges were at issue.

* In June 2004, Time magazine obtained and made public an internal Army Corps of Engineers e-mail from March 2003, reporting that the initial contract award to Halliburton had been “coordinated” with the office of Vice President Cheney.

* Later in June, press reports confirmed that a Bush political appointee, Michael Mobbs, was the Pentagon official who decided to award the initial planning job to KBR which facilitated its selection for the subsequent $7 billion implementation contract.

* In July 2004, a federal grand jury subpoenaed records of Halliburton’s subsidiary in the Cayman Islands, as part of an investigation into illicit dealings with Iran.

* In August 2004, a Pentagon audit found that $1.8 billion in billion by KBR for work in Iraq was inadequately documented and potentially unjustified. The Pentagon initially said it would withhold 15 percent of scheduled payments to KBR pending the result of an investigation—the usual procedure in such cases—but reversed the decision two days later.

* In September 2004, a federal judge in Dallas rejected a proposed $6 million settlement of a lawsuit by Halliburton stockholders charging the company with accounting fraud, suggesting that the penalty was far too small.

The month of October has seen one report after another about dubious or plainly corrupt ties between Halliburton and various federal agencies, some of them directly mediated by Vice President Cheney’s staff. These revelations underscore one reason for the ferocity of the Bush campaign in the November 2 election. Should Bush and Cheney fail to retain the White House—and thus lose the power to block and suppress the myriad investigations into corrupt contracting—dozens of individuals, right up to the topmost levels of the administration, will face trial, conviction and imprisonment.

On October 13, the Los Angeles Times ran a detailed analysis of the Nigeria bribery scandal, which could lead to criminal charges against Cheney from his tenure as Halliburton CEO from 1995 to 2000. Halliburton became part of the four-company consortium building a huge natural gas complex in Nigeria when it acquired Dresser Corp. in 1998, merging Dresser’s construction subsidiary M.W. Kellogg with its own construction arm Brown & Root, to form Kellogg Brown & Root.

Kellogg’s boss, Jack Stanley, was a key figure in the alleged scheme to funnel $180 million in bribes to Nigerian military ruler Sani Abacha, routed through a complex series of shell corporations in Gibraltar and Switzerland, to gain the lucrative contract, ultimately worth more than $5.2 billion. Cheney installed Stanley as the head of the merged KBR. US authorities are now investigating whether Halliburton violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Cheney would be legally liable if he knew that illegal payments were being made in 1998 and 1999, while he was CEO.

On October 14, the Times followed up with a report on apparent Bush administration favoritism towards Halliburton in the regulatory field, through a series of actions that boosted a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, devised by Halliburton, despite environmental concerns. The technique involves the injection of liquid chemicals, including gasoline, napalm, crude oil and other toxic substances, into oil wells, to force out greater quantities of petroleum than can be recovered by ordinary drilling.

The Bush administration has intervened to oppose efforts to regulate hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act, authorizing an EPA study declaring that the technique poses no threat to drinking water. At least one EPA career civil servant has sought whistleblower protection and filed a complaint with the agency’s inspector general and Congress over that decision. Weston Wilson, an environmental engineer with 30 years experience, charged that the finding was not supported by science and that a current Halliburton employee sat in on the review panel that approved it.

A lawsuit brought by a group of Alabama residents living near a Halliburton well challenged hydraulic fracturing and won a 1997 Appeals Court decision ordering the EPA to regulate the practice under the drinking water law. Action on this decision has been repeatedly stalled, and the issue was ultimately referred to the Bush administration’s energy task force—headed by former Halliburton CEO Cheney. Not surprisingly, the panel sided with the energy industry and overruled the EPA. The US Department of Energy issued a statement declaring hydraulic fracturing vital to the US economy and proposing its exemption from regulation. Language to that effect was inserted in the Bush administration’s energy legislation, which failed to pass Congress last year.

Halliburton and Whitewater

The decision of a high-ranking civil servant to publicly challenge the Halliburton-Cheney connection demonstrates the shattering impact of the crisis in the US occupation of Iraq on the entire Pentagon apparatus. Questions have been raised about Halliburton’s sweetheart deals in Iraq for nearly two years, both by the media and by congressional Democrats, but only sporadically and ineffectively. The investigation has remained bottled up in the Pentagon inspector general’s office. Greenhouse’s October 21 letter has likewise been referred to this office, headed by Republican lawyer Joseph Schmitz.

The chief of staff in Schmitz’s office is L. Jean Lewis, a right-wing Republican Party loyalist who first came to public notice—and notoriety—as an anti-Clinton activist in the Whitewater investigation more than a decade ago. Lewis was named to the $118,000-a-year job in 2002, as a reward for her role in instigating the charges linking Bill and Hillary Clinton to the failed Madison Guaranty, an Arkansas S&L she was responsible for investigating as an employee of the Resolution Trust Corporation.

Lewis filed a criminal referral in September 1992, trying unsuccessfully to provoke an RTC and FBI investigation of the Clintons on the eve of the 1992 presidential election. The Little Rock FBI office concluded there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and said that Lewis’s efforts to initiate such a probe were a blatant effort to influence the outcome of the vote. More than a year later, Lewis’s charges were taken up again by congressional Republicans and became the initial pretext for the series of investigations that led to Clinton’s impeachment.

There is a clear and obvious difference in the way that the American political establishment has handled the Halliburton and Whitewater affairs. In the first instance, the Clintons’ loss of money on a small, failed real estate venture more than a decade old was leveraged into a massive scandal warranting a probe costing $50 million, culminating in impeachment. In the second case, a real, ongoing corrupt relationship, involving influence peddling worth billions of dollars—perhaps the most blatant corruption in the long history of political corruption in the United States—has been largely downplayed. Certainly, there have been no suggestions that Cheney warrants impeachment, or that his long-running effort to block disclosure of the proceedings of his energy task force constitutes a cover-up.

By Patrick Martin
30 October 2004
World Socialist Website
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/oct2004/hall-o30.shtml


================================================

F.B.I. Investigating Contracts With Halliburton

By ERIK ECKHOLM
New York Times

October 29, 2004

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/29/politics/29contract.html

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether the Army's handling of a large Iraq contract with the Halliburton Company violated procurement rules, according to lawyers for an Army official who made the charges of improprieties.

F.B.I. agents have requested an interview with the official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, the chief of contracting with the Army Corps of Engineers, on her allegations regarding a 2003 contract with Halliburton to repair Iraqi oil fields, her lawyer, Michael D. Kohn, said in an interview yesterday.

Ms. Greenhouse, in an Oct. 21 letter to the acting Army secretary, charged that officials had shown favoritism toward Halliburton, the Houston-based conglomerate formerly led by Vice President Dick Cheney, in the awarding and oversight of the oil contract. She also said officials at the Army Corps of Engineers had tried to remove her as chief contract monitor after she raised persistent questions about Halliburton contracts. The Army says it has referred her letter to the Pentagon's inspector general for review.

The oil contract was awarded in early 2003 without competition to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, as the American-led invasion of Iraq began, and was initially for five years and up to $7 billion.

Ms. Greenhouse argued that if the press of war required granting an award without competition, its duration should be restricted to one year. After a public outcry over the large contract with Halliburton, the Pentagon did cut short the agreement after less than a year and $2.4 billion in expenditures and put the remaining work out for bid.

One aspect of the company's performance - the importation of high-priced fuels into Iraq soon after the invasion - had already attracted the attention of Pentagon auditors, who say the government may have been overcharged by $61 million.

The F.B.I. has been investigating those charges and has collected documents from the Washington and Texas offices of the Army Corps of Engineers as well as from KBR.

It is unclear whether the decision to question Ms. Greenhouse reflects an expansion of the criminal inquiry on fuel charges into the broader, more politically explosive allegation of favoritism in the initial award. One of Ms. Greenhouse's charges relates to the narrower issue: she said in her letter that the Army Corps of Engineers issued a waiver calling those fuel costs reasonable without her knowledge or assent, which she says was legally required.

Bill Carter, a spokesman for the F.B.I, refused to comment, saying that the agency never confirms or denies the existence of ongoing investigations.

Wendy Hall, a spokesperson for Halliburton, said in a message yesterday that the company had cooperated fully with the Justice Department and the Army Corps of Engineers as they investigate the fuel-importation issue. The company has denied any wrongdoing, saying it paid what was necessary in an emergency situation. Ms. Hall said it was her understanding that any document seizures were related to the fuel inquiry.

"We have disclosed the U.S. attorney's investigation into the fuel issue in our public filings," she said.

Ms. Hall denied Ms. Greenhouse's suggestion that the company got unjustified favors when the oil contract was first granted. "The old allegations have once again been recycled, this time one week before the election," she said.


=================================================



Whistleblower Says Halliburton Contract Abuse Blatant

Fri Oct 29, 2004 09:20 PM ET
By Joanne Morrison

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' top contracting official on Friday called the government's grant of multi-billion dollar contracts to oil services giant Halliburton the worst case of contracting abuse she has ever seen.

 

"It was misconduct, and part of that misconduct was blatant," said Bunny Greenhouse, in an interview on NBC's Nightly News program.

 

Greenhouse has already demanded an investigation into the contracts that last year were granted to Halliburton, the energy services firm run by Vice President Dick Cheney from 1995-2000. According to her attorney, the FBI has since asked her for an interview on the matter.

 

A spokesman for President Bush on Friday said the president expects a full investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in how Iraq-related contracts were awarded to Halliburton.

 

"If there is wrongdoing, the president expects it to be investigated fully and dealt with," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters traveling with Bush to New Hampshire.

 

That letter to Acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee, sent by lawyers for Greenhouse, complained of repeated interference in the billions of dollars of contracts given to Halliburton unit Kellogg Brown and Root for work in Iraq and the Balkans.

 

"It was the worst abuse of the procurement and contracting system that I have seen," Greenhouse told NBC.

 

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall earlier this week said KBR did not have any information on what Greenhouse may or may not have said to Pentagon officials in 2003 when the no-bid contract worth up to $7 billion was given to KBR to rebuild Iraq's oil industry.

 

"On the larger issues, the old allegations have once again been recycled, this time one week before the election," Hall told Reuters earlier this week in response to Greenhouse's letter. Hall could not be reached for comment on Greenhouse's latest remarks about the contracts.

 

Greenhouse, who is registered as an Independent, said she was not trying to influence the election.

 

Nonetheless, on Friday she also questioned the Pentagon's decision to award Halliburton that 5-year, no-bid contract worth up to $7 billion to repair the Iraqi oil industry.

"One year to me was reasonable. But not 5 years," she said.

 

That contract has since been replaced by a smaller competitive bid contract of which Halliburton's KBR was awarded a portion.

 

Greenhouse also questioned the Pentagon's waiver of its rules requiring Halliburton to justify pricing for services after a government auditor found the company may have overcharged by $61 million for fuel.

 

"It all favored Halliburton," she said.

 

Halliburton, which is already under investigation for overcharging for work in Iraq, has been a target of Democratic criticism ahead of the Nov. 2 election, with suggestions the Texas firm got special treatment because of Cheney.

 

But Greenhouse vowed she was not alleging any impropriety by President Bush or Vice President Cheney.

 

"None whatsoever," she said.

=============================================================


Peace, No War
War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate
Not in our Name! And another world is possible!


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Beyond Bush and Kerry: Building a New Resistance

With Sen. John Kerry in basic agreement with so much of the Bush agenda, including waging war in Iraq and, at home, keeping the Patriot Act, PNS contributor Larry Everest says it's time to probe the fundamental reasons for the country's ever-quickening slide to the right. Resistance, he says, is possible. Everest is the author of "Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda" (Common Courage Press, 2004).

BY LARRY EVEREST, PACIFIC NEWS SERVICE

Millions of people wanted this election to be a referendum on the Bush agenda and the Iraq war. Yet that choice isn't even being offered. Instead, the 2004 elections have been turned into a referendum on who's the best "Commander-in-Chief." So no matter who wins on Nov. 2, these elections will not reflect the sentiments of many millions.

People do -- and should -- deeply fear a Bush victory. But even the "anybody but Bush" crowd still doesn't realize just how dangerous the whole Bush agenda is, where it is going, and, more fundamentally, what it springs from.

The "war on terror" launched by the Bush administration is an unbounded war for greater empire, in which Iraq is merely phase two. Which country might be next? Simultaneously, the Bush team aims to reshape American politics, economics, culture, and social relations, instituting new forms of repression and imposing traditional morality and religion -- through the power of the state if need be. To do so, Republicans seek permanent control over the Supreme Court, Congress, the presidency and the military corps for generations.

Meanwhile, Kerry and the Democrats have basic agreement with core tenets of the Bush agenda, epitomized in the "war on terror," the Patriot Act and prevailing in Iraq. Thus, Kerry is trying to out-macho Bush -- hunting geese in a camouflage jacket -- and competing for the mantle of toughest warrior. In Wisconsin, he declared, "We will hunt down, capture, and kill the terrorists wherever they are." Meanwhile, as Robert Collier points out in the San Francisco Chronicle, neither campaign is addressing crucial questions like America's petroleum addiction.

Even if he wanted to, it's unlike that Kerry and company can oppose the Bush program, because the right is so powerful. Former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich brags, whether Bush is re-elected or not, "We have the governors of the four largest states, we have the House, we have the Senate." He could have added the courts and top tiers of the military. Should Kerry win, he'll be hounded and hemmed in -- like President Clinton -- from the moment he takes office.

Finally, because they represent the status quo, the Democrats are afraid to rouse the one force that could stop the right-wing juggernaut -- the many people who deeply despise the direction Bush is taking the country. This fear of upheaval from below, which could threaten the whole establishment, was amply illustrated by Al Gore's response to the 2000 election. Why didn't he call his followers to the streets to demand that all votes be counted? Instead, he gaveled down Congressional opposition to ratifying the stolen election.

So rather than giving us a real choice, the election is instead designed to ratify choices already made by the powers-that-be. Whomever wins, a mandate to keep America "safe" and to continue the "war on terror" will be declared. No wonder millions feel outraged and/or terrified at the prospect of a Bush victory, but profoundly alienated by the Kerry campaign and the whole electoral process.

Where are things heading, and why have they gotten to this sorry and very dangerous state of affairs? At times like this, it is crucial to dig for truth, in many quarters.

Author and scholar Noam Chomsky writes that the bush administration has enacted an extremist foreign policy centered on resorting to "force to eliminate any perceived challenge to U.S. global hegemony." Former Republican congressman Bob Barr has opposed Bush actions for stripping citizens of freedoms and civil liberties and for "lack of allegiance to basic U.S. constitutional principles."

Revolutionary communist Bob Avakian argues compellingly that the actions of the right are fundamentally rooted, not in partisan politics or the personality of George W. Bush, but in the dynamics of global capitalism and in particular the compulsions it faces in a rapidly changing, post-Soviet, 21st century world. In short, he argues there is a consensus among the most powerful elements of the establishment that the United States cannot maintain its pre-eminent position globally without "reshuffling the whole deck" to deepen and extend American dominance.

Domestically, the right-wing agenda recognizes that globalization and profound social and demographic transformations could rip the social fabric -- unless traditional relations and morality are forcefully reimposed. There are deep connections here to the whole rightward trajectory of U.S. politics. Thirty-some years ago, arch-Republican Richard Nixon was a firmer defender of welfare and affirmative action than the Democrats are today. The Republicans feel they are the only legitimate stewards of the empire, willing to break with legal precedent and bipartisan tradition to get power and retain it.

All this raises profound questions -- about what people should do now, and, more fundamentally, whether it is possible to create a better system than our current corporate-capitalist democracy. We urgently need a conversation on alternative futures while we build resistance, a resistance that refuses to be bound by the parameters dictated by the political establishment.

This means reviving the experience of movements past -- from the anti-Vietnam war struggle to the sanctuary movement of the 1980s and more. Already, areas of the country are becoming "Bush/Ashcroft free zones," beginning with many cities and librarians refusing to implement the Patriot Act and other imperial dictates of war and repression. Given popular discontent and anger, this vision has the potential to become a reality and turn back the ominous rightward tide.

(10292004) ****END**** (C) COPYRIGHT PNS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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Women's GlobalNet #263: Beijing+10 Online Conference (Oct 04-Jan 05)

Activities and Initiatives of Women Worldwide

By Vicki J. Semler
October 31, 2004


1. BEIJING PLUS 10 ONLINE CONFERENCE (October 2004 to January 2005) IN
PREPARATION FOR 49th SESSION OF CSW: Gender equality and women's
empowerment ten years after Beijing - Where do we stand?

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will undertake a
review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration
and Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women
(1995) and the Outcome of the twenty-third special session of the
General Assembly (2000) during its 49TH session from 28 February to 11
March 2005.  The CSW will focus on implementation at the national level,
to identify achievements, gaps and challenges, as well as future actions
needed to further implementation.

From October 2004 to January 2005,
WomenWatch is hosting a series of

online discussions on the Platform's critical areas of concern and other
important issues to provide input into the review and appraisal. The
discussions are being facilitated and moderated by members of the
Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality. You can make a
contribution to the review and appraisal through your participation in
the online discussions, which will be summarized and submitted to the
CSW in February 2005. The summaries will also be posted on WomenWatch.

TO PARTICIPATE, subscribe separately to each online discussion by
choosing the discussion topic from the list on the website
(http://www.un.org/womenwatch/forums/review/) and then clicking
"Register for this discussion" button.

Online discussions are as follows: 1). Women and the Economy. Moderated
by UNDP. 11 October - 11 November 2004. 2). Human Rights of Women.
Moderated by OHCHR. 8 November - 3 December 2004. 3) Women and the
Environment. Moderated by UNEP. November 2004. 4) Violence against
Women. Moderated by UNIFEM. November 2004. 5) Women and Health
-(including Reproductive and Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS). Moderated by
UNFPA, WHO. November 2004. 6) Women and Poverty. Moderated by World
Bank. 10 January - 4 February 2005. 7) Education and Training of Women
and the Girl Child. Moderated by UNESCO/UNICEF. 10 January - 4 February
2005.

2. LAUNCH OF NEW AFRICA ICT POLICY MONITOR WEBSITE.
New website: <http://africa.right.apc.org>

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) announces the
launch of a new Africa ICT Policy Monitor website. With the second World
Summit of the Information Society to be held in Tunis in 2005, this
website is particularly important and appropriate at this time.
Collecting indispensable documentation since 2001, the new look Africa
Monitor‚ has a new design and structure to make it even easier for
African civil society to find the materials they need to get involved in
ICT policy lobbying.

3. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN WILL CONTINUE UNLESS ITS ROOTS IN GENDER
DISCRIMINATION AND INEQUALITY SERIOUSLY ADDRESSED

Addressing a United Nations Security Council Open Debate on "Women,
Peace and Security," Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of the UN
Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), emphasized that any real solutions
to eliminating violence against women must derive from a concerted
attack on its origins -- deeply rooted, historical patterns of
discrimination against women and systemic gender inequalities that are
pervasive both in peacetime as well as during conflict.

"The international community is now fully aware that rape and other
forms of violence against women are systematically deployed, with the
cruelest effect, as a weapon of war," she said. "However, gender-based
violence during conflict is but part of the continuum of violence that
runs through women's lives, from times of peace to times of war. It only
deepens with war. Discrimination and gender inequality are seeds that,
during wartime, become a bitter fruit that destroys the fabric of
communities and the lives of women and their families."

4. WOMEN STILL FACE OBSTACLES IN REACHING SENIOR STAFF POSITIONS AT UN

The United Nations has given itself a mixed report card for its efforts
to reach the General Assembly's target of equality between the numbers
of men and women in professional and managerial staffing. A report from
Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the UN General Assembly says although
the proportion of women at those levels in the Secretariat, with
contracts for one year or longer, rose 1.7 percent last year to 37.4 per
cent on 30 June of this year, "the analysis of the longer-term trends
portrays a picture of uneven progress in women's representation at all
levels."

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

5. OFFICE FOR THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN AUSTRALIA DOWNGRADED.
At least one of Australia’s main women organisations has criticised the
merging of the Office for the Status of Women (OSW) into a new portfolio
in Prime Minister John Howard’s reorganised government. At yesterday’s
swearing-in ceremony in Canberra, PM Howard kept Senator Kay Patterson
as Minister for Family and Community Services and also Minister
Assisting the PM for women’s issues. This effectively downgraded the OSW
to a department, which the PM said would provide policy advice, income
support and assistance to families and their children, senior citizens
and community groups.

The Women Services Network (WESNET), Australia’s peak women’s
organisation working to eliminate domestic and family violence, says the
downgrade was “a disgraceful announcement by the Howard Government and
“a sad day for Australian women”.  

“How ironic that on the day the devastating costs of domestic violence
to the Australian economy are released to the public we find out that
the Howard Coalition government has downgraded the Office for the Status
of women to a division within the Department of Family and Community
Services”, said Pauline Woodbridge, National Chairperson of WESNET.

IWTC Women's GlobalNet is a production of:

International Women's Tribune Centre
777 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel:  (1-212) 687-8633
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For  publications on women and development by, for and about women worldwide, write for  Women, Ink's   catalogue, or view it at : <http://www.womenink.org>.

Contact Women, Ink. at 777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA.  Tel:  (1-212) 687-8633 ext 212. Fax: (1-212) 661-2704. E-mail: <wink@iwtc.org>

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The Most Tragic Victims of the Iraq War

Recent information on the consequences of the Iraq war on civilians and
children only confirms a devastating picture of the situation. According
to an article in the medical magazine The Lancet, there has been an
excess of 100,000 civilians deaths since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The deaths have included a substantial number of children. Carol
Bellamy, UNICEF's Executive Director, has called the death of 34
children in recent bomb attacks "an unconscionable slaughter of innocents."

Many of those deaths have been the consequence of coalition forces'
actions. According to the authors of the study published in The Lancet,
there has been substantially more deaths in Iraq since the war began
that in the period immediately before the conflict. The killings of
dozens of children in Baghdad's recent bombings show, according to
UNICEF, "a disregard for innocent lives that recalled the recent
massacre of children in Beslan, Russia."

This is the third time that Iraqi children have been victims of war in
that country's recent history. The two conflicts previous to the present
one were the eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s and the Gulf War in
1991, which caused considerable damage to Iraq's infrastructure. In
addition, the country has been under over 12 years of comprehensive
United Nations' sanctions.

Although after it was introduced in 1996 the Oil for Food Program
(OFFP), which allowed the Iraqi government to sell oil and use the
revenue to purchase humanitarian supplies, contributed to reduce the
impact of the sanctions, it had significant shortcomings. Among them was
Saddam Hussein's decision to use the funds for personal gain rather than
to improve the basic services' infrastructure in the country.

Previous to this last conflict, Iraqi children were already highly
vulnerable to disease and malnutrition. One in four children under five
years of age was chronically malnourished, and one in eight children
died before their fifth birthday. This was happening on a population
where almost half is under the age of 18.

A limited post-war nutritional assessment carried out by UNICEF in
Baghdad found that acute malnutrition has nearly doubled to what it was
before the war. That assessment also found that seven out of ten
children suffered from various degrees of diarrhea, which led to a loss
of nutrients and often to death if not properly treated. Following this
last war an already deteriorated water and sanitation system practically
collapsed, leading to loss and/or contamination of piped water and
greater susceptibility to contracting diarrhea.

It was estimated that 270,000 children born after the war had none of
the required immunizations and routine immunization services were all
but disrupted. In addition, the existent stock of vaccines became
useless as a result of the destruction of the cold-chain system.

Hundreds of thousands tons of raw sewage are still pumped into the
Tigris and Euphrates rivers every day. Because water cleaning chemicals
have been looted or destroyed, the quality of water being pumped into
the homes is extremely poor and leads to more frequent illness and
malnutrition among children.

As a consequence of all these factors, Iraq is the country that has
least progressed in reducing child mortality since 1990. In the 1990s,
the most significant increases in child mortality occurred in southern
and central Iraq, where under-five child mortality rose from 56 to 131
per 1,000 live births. Due to lack of security, many babies are now
delivered at home, and many mothers do not receive any pre-natal care.

In the main cities, every day children are killed or injured when in
contact with unexploded ordnance (UXO), land mines and other kinds of
live ammunition littering the country. In Baghdad alone there are
approximately 800 hazardous sites related to cluster bombs and dumped
ammunition.

The Iraq Education Survey, carried out by the Iraqi government with
support from UNICEF, describes how children educational opportunities
have been affected by the war. In the most affected governorates, more
than 70 percent of primary school buildings lack water service. The
survey shows that since March 2003, over 700 primary schools had been
damaged by bombing, more than 200 had been burned and over 3,000 had
been looted. After a year and a half of hostilities the suffering of
civilians seems to increase, rather than decrease. Even more poignantly,
that over half of the deaths caused by the occupation forces are women
and children is a severe indictment against this senseless war.


http://www.commondreams.org/views04/1030-23.htm
Dr. César Chelala, an international public health consultant, is a
co-winner of an Overseas Press Club of America award for an article on
human rights.
by Dr. César Chelala
###

Scary Reading Deep In the Duelfer Report | Disasters Depicted as Triumphs

ntroducing two new papers from Foreign Policy In Focus

For Scary Halloween Reading, Dig Deeper into the Duelfer Report
By Michael Roston

America received a frightening jolt when the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that heavy-duty explosives perfectly suited for terrorist bombing attacks had gone missing from critical sites in Iraq.  But a far more terrifying revelation was made in the Central Intelligence Agency’s publicly released Duelfer Report on October 6.  It took some effort, but anyone who dug deep enough into this document submitted by Charles Duelfer, fully titled the Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, found reading far more scary than any of the ghost stories you might hear this Halloween.
 
If you thought the missing explosives were bad, just turn to the annex labeled “Al-Abud Network” buried in the report’s third volume.  In plain language, the Iraq Survey Group reports on the activities of insurgents who worked with a civilian Iraqi chemist to build chemical weapons to use against Coalition forces. Fortunately, these insurgents foundered before they were caught by U.S.-led troops.  But, the report menacingly warns that al-Abud is “not the only group planning or attempting to produce or acquire CBW agents … availability of chemicals and materials dispersed throughout the country, and intellectual capital from the former WMD programs increases the future threat to Coalition Forces.”

So, since we toppled Saddam Hussein for threatening us with WMD that weren’t there, terrorists in Iraq have started working with Saddam’s intellectual dream team to build new WMD to use against American forces?

Michael Roston (mr2302@columbia.edu) is a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and an analyst for Foreign Policy In Focus (http://www.fpif.org). He previously covered the issue of Iraqi scientists for the Russian American Nuclear Security Advisory Council. This article represents his own personal views.

See new FPIF commentary online at:
http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2004/0410halloween.html

With printer friendly PDF version at:
http://www.fpif.org/pdf/gac/0410halloween.pdf

For More Information:
Duelfer Report
http://www.cia.gov/cia/reports/iraq_wmd_2004/

Bush Administration Disasters Depicted as Triumphs
By Stephen Zunes

Even putting aside the many important legal and moral questions about the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq, it has been a disaster even on practical terms. Mainstream to conservative strategic analysts and retired generals--along with the majority of career professionals in the State Department, Defense Department, and CIA--recognize that the invasion and occupation has made America less secure rather than more secure.

Still, the Bush administration continues to defend its actions and public opinion polls still show that a majority of Americans trust George W. Bush more than John Kerry to defend America. This is in large part because, throughout this fall’s campaign, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been making demonstrably false and misleading claims about what motivated administration decisions as well as the results of their actions.

Stephen Zunes is a professor of Politics and chair of the Peace & Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco.  He is Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy in Focus Project (online at http://www.fpif.org) and the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003) available for purchase online at http://www.irc-online.org/content/books/zunes.tinderbox.php.

See new FPIF Policy Report online at:
http://www.fpif.org/papers/0410gopiraq.html

With printer friendly PDF version at:
http://www.fpif.org/pdf/reports/PR0410gopiraq.pdf

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Produced and distributed by FPIF:“A Think Tank Without Walls,” a joint program of Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC) and Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

For more information, visit
www.fpif.org. If you would like to add a name to the “What’s New At FPIF” specific region or topic list, please email: communications@irc-online.org with “subscribe” and giving your area of interest.

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http://www.irc-online.org/
Siri D. Khalsa
Outreach Coordinator
Email: communications@irc-online.org
 

Soldier, homeless people among challenged voter registrations

One voter picks up letters at the post office because trucks kept hitting his mailbox. Another serves in Iraq. Hundreds more are homeless, listing shelters as permanent addresses.

All are among the 35,000 whose eligibility has been challenged by the Ohio Republican Party. Since mail came back undelivered, the GOP says, those registrations could be fraudulent. Democrats say the GOP is trying to keep the poor and minorities, who move more often, from voting.

A federal judge put a temporary halt to the challenges Wednesday, ruling in favor of Democrats who said the GOP was targeting new voters registered by political groups supporting Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic challenger to President Bush. U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott ruled that six county elections boards should stop hearings scheduled this week in Ohio.

Dlott, appointed by former President Clinton in 1995, said her temporary order would remain in effect until further rulings in the case. She scheduled a hearing in her Cincinnati court for this morning.

Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro appealed the judge’s order on Thursday, saying it “has just thrown Ohio’s electoral process into disarray, and has opened the door to voter fraud.”

In southwest Ohio, Republicans challenged the registration of Surjo Banerjee, a fact his brother found unusual. Banerjee, 40, is an Army sergeant who is now in Fallujah, Iraq.

Banerjee, also a veteran of the first Gulf War, uses his brother’s house in Centerville as a permanent address, said his brother, Dr. Partha Banerjee.

Republicans withdrew all 2,319 challenges in Montgomery County, including the one against Banerjee, after acknowledging several mistakes in its mailing.

In suburban Franklin County, the registration of Raven Shaffer was wrongly challenged because he gets mail at a post office box, according to the federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by Democrats. The “family’s mailbox has been repeatedly hit by delivery trucks,” the lawsuit said.

Also in Franklin County, 291 homeless people are being questioned out of the 2,370 total challenges, according to an analysis of the challenges by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. In Cuyahoga County, 757 people of the 17,717 total being challenged are homeless.

Mary Sullivan, 57, looked for work for a year after losing her job in August 2003. She was evicted from her apartment after her money ran out this past June and spent two months at Friends of the Homeless, a shelter on Columbus’ east side.

“My vote has to be counted,” Sullivan said. “Just because you’re homeless doesn’t mean you’re stupid.”

It isn’t just Kerry supporters who’ve had their registrations challenged. Roy Bottiggi, a 31-year-old registered Republican who plans to vote for President Bush, was confused when he got a call about a challenge to his registration. He has been a registered voter for 13 years, has lived in the same house for five years and voted in every election, general and primary, during that time.

The Republican Party withdrew its challenge after the Lake County Board of Elections documented his registration.


By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS Associated Press writer
http://www.cantonrep.com
This page was created October 29, 2004
©2004 The Repository

Increasingly, families of troops killed in Iraq turn against war

Ken Gardner is proud he enlisted in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War and proud his son followed that same path, telling him that going to fight in Iraq was the right choice.

Gardner's voice breaks as he recalls that parting conversation, a goodbye said through a bus window last winter at a Southern California Marine base. His son, 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Derek Gardner, was killed in a suicide car bomb attack last month – three weeks before he was due home.

The father, a third-generation combat veteran, is still proud of his son. But he no longer supports the war. He doesn't want other families to experience the same paralyzing grief that deprives him of sleep or prompts him to break down sobbing.

"I want all our Marines to come home ... Let's just get out of there," Gardner said in an interview at his Orange County home, where he surrounds himself with photos of Derek and even hangs his son's combat fatigues on a wall near the television for company.

In changing his opinion of the war, Gardner joins a growing list of people who have lost family members in Iraq and have become poignant opponents of the invasion. Some actively support John Kerry over President Bush; others, such as Gardner, find politics beside the point.

"I'm not a Bush fan or a Kerry fan. I'm nobody's fan except my son. He is my hero," said Gardner, 54, a hulking former ironworker on disability from his job at a cable company.

When the war started, the families of those killed in action seemed invariably to say they found comfort that their loved ones died for a good cause. Most continue to express that view, but it's no longer the automatic response.

There is the Ohio father who posted a sign outside his home with the message "Thanks Mr. Bush for the death of our son," and the bereaved New Jersey mother detained for interrupting a speech by first lady Laura Bush. In Minnesota, relatives of a dead Marine protested outside an appearance by Vice President Dick Cheney. An August poll by Quinnipiac University found that a majority of voters from military families in Pennsylvania said the war was wrong.

One of them is Christine Weismantle, a Pittsburgh nurse whose husband was killed in Baghdad a year ago. She no longer feels the invasion was worth the cost in casualties – but she also worries her criticism could hurt troop morale.

"We should still support the troops and what they're doing. They're not the ones calling the shots," said Weismantle, 28, who plans to vote Nov. 2 for the first time ever. Her criteria for presidential candidate: who will end the war soonest.

Still, she is not a political activist.

Weismantle said she won't attend any demonstrations or join Military Families Speak Out, a group of relatives of active duty personnel opposed to the war that has signed up about 1,700 members since it formed in November 2002.

"The worst thing that could ever happen to me happened," Weismantle said. "It takes all my energy just to go to work."

Gardner faces the same paralyzing grief.

He walked out of a restaurant crying at the sight of a newspaper photo of returning Marines. One night when he again couldn't sleep, Gardner wrote a lengthy essay about his son's death, detailing what he says was the military's failure to protect Derek's convoy from attack.

He has asked military officials why the convoy had no air support, leaving it exposed to the suicide bomb attack that also killed six other Marines. Gardner, who guarded convoys as a Marine in Vietnam, says he hasn't gotten a satisfactory answer.

"They had a plan A to get rid of Saddam, but they had no plan B, what was going to happen after Saddam," he said bitterly.

But Gardner is no war protester.

His only public commentary is the tattoo he got after his son's death: "My Son. My Bud. My Friend. My Marine." It closes with the Marine Corps motto, semper fi, Latin for always faithful.

Far more outspoken is his son's mother – the couple divorced in 1991 but remain on friendly terms.

Vickey de Lacour, 49, said she always had mixed feelings about the war but kept them to herself because Derek Gardner seemed to love the Marine Corps. He was so eager to enlist like his father, she recalls, that he began preparing for boot camp while still a high school senior.

De Lacour stifled her rising anger about the war at her son's funeral out of deference to the troops. Now, her rage flows.

"The American people have to know the truth about what's going on," she said.

From her purse, de Lacour removed a copy of the Sept. 11 Commission report and slammed it down to emphasize that Saddam was not linked to the terror attacks.

"He died for nothing," De Lacour said, sobbing as she collapsed into a chair at her ex-husband's house.

Gardner said he hasn't decided how to vote on Nov. 2 – he has trouble even focusing on the question. He spends much of his day like a lost man, hobbling around his home and cradles his son's Jack Russell terrier.

"Every day just seems to get worse," he said. "I just wish it were me instead of him."


By Ben Fox  ASSOCIATED PRESS  9:50 a.m. October 31, 2004

Find this article at:
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/iraq/20041031-0950-ca-iraq-changedhearts.html

MUSGRAVE, THE MORAL CANDIDATE or, part of the daily elvis sighting

dirty tricks from that "moral leader" Marilyn Musgrave




*Stan News Update*

As we come down to the wire, the news is coming down the pipeline pretty
quickly. We know you won't mind the pace as we strive to keep you
updated. As always, send comments to Karen .

*Musgrave's Taxpayer Abuse Deepens*

We've been alerting you in our newsletter and on our website to concerns
about illegal activity that appears to be going on within the Musgrave
campaign.

Musgrave now seems to be engaging in illegal mailings to voters from her
Congressional office using taxpayer money. During the 90 days before a
campaign, Congresspeople aren't allowed to send unsolicited mailings
using official Congressional funds. Yet evidence points to the
conclusion that Musgrave has done just that.

We thought you'd like to see a copy of this letter so click here
to see it in all
its glory. For more information, also check out our press release
on the subject.

*News coverage and lack of coverage interesting*

When we sent you our last newsletter we pointed you to a Rocky Mountain
News
article on Musgrave's Congressional office abuse which we'd posted on
our website. Our website always links to online versions of papers which
keep an archive of their news articles.

If you attempted to go to the Rocky Mountain News page where we
originally found this article, however, you'd find a blank page

there now.

Apparently, the RMN originally ran the article online and then not only
failed to put it in its physical version but also pulled the story from
online. We do note that the RMN has endorsed Musgrave.

Since some people do like to actually read an article on the masthead of
the newspaper in which it ran, we took the snapshot we had that was
automatically captured on the computer when the piece was first viewed
and recovered it for you to see yourself.

That's now posted on our website
.

Note that the html code for the online version of RMN articles
automatically pulls up ads and certain other information unrelated to
the news stories themselves from the RMN server which are current rather
than historical. Since we didn't want to tinker with the html code,
you'll see the piece as it would look if you could view it today
directly from the RMN website.

We were pleased to see the Boulder Daily Camera
run an article on
this story about the use of Congressional office space for campaign
purposes.

And the Sterling Journal Advocate
reports that a
watchdog group headed by a former federal prosecutor asked the
Department of Justice to investigate whether Musgrave engaged in an
abuse of taxpayer funds.

*Musgrave campaign struggling*

The big story all over the news is that the Republican party and the
Musgrave campaign are catching on that voters in our Congressional
District want a change. The Denver Post
reported that our
race is much closer than some had expected.

The Longmont Daily Times-Call
quotes
Stan's assessment of where things stand: "It's just like I tell the
football team I coach, 'We're in the last two minutes of this game and
it's tied,'" he told the crowd. "How bad do you want it?"

And the Coloradoan

discusses speculation that Bush and other Republican national leaders
are flocking to Colorado to try to salvage the race for Musgrave.
*Election night celebration*

The Larimer County Democrats invited us to spend our election night
celebration with them in Fort Collins. We'll have the whole first floor
of 555. S. Howes Street. This is a potluck event. Beverages and victory
cakes will be provided, but please bring a dish to share.

* Thanks again to our readers for all your help!*
Paid for and authorized by the Matsunaka for Congress Committee, 2881
North Monroe Avenue, Loveland, Colorado 80538; David Sullins, Treasurer.
Contributions to the Matsunaka for Congress Committee are not
tax-deductible.

Medicines Without Borders

I have a confession to make. I am a drug company executive who believes we should legalize the reimportation of prescription drugs. I know that I have a different opinion from that of my employer on this matter, but to me, importation of drugs is about much more than money; it is about saving American lives.

According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation issued in 2000, 15 percent of uninsured children went without prescription medication in the previous year because of cost, 28 percent of uninsured adults went without prescription medication because of cost, and 87 percent of uninsured people with serious health problems reported trouble obtaining needed medication. We have 67 million Americans without insurance for drugs, according to the foundation. They pay cash - full price - and can't always afford life-saving drugs. American drug prices are about 70 percent higher than in Canada and almost twice as high as in Europe.

Drugs won't help save millions of lives if people can't afford to take them. I know that some people do not agree with me. Among them is  President Bush. Senator John Kerry noted in the second presidential debate that Mr. Bush in 2000 had said that importation of drugs approved in the United States "makes sense," but that Mr. Bush had blocked legislation allowing it. Mr. Bush countered: "When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't kill you,'' and added, "What my worry is, is that, you know, it looks like it's from Canada, and it might be from a third world."

What Mr. Bush didn't say is that regulated importation of drugs would take away that risk, a risk Americans now face every day when they go surfing on the Internet for cheaper drugs. In fairness, Mr. Bush did say that he hoped to revisit the issue soon.

 What I know about importation of drugs is based upon my experience in marketing pharmaceuticals in the United States and Europe for two decades. Importation or parallel trade of drugs has been done safely within Europe for over 20 years.

 A few years back I was responsible for a region in Northern Europe. We had lots of drugs coming into my area through parallel traders. I countered by lowering some of my own prices and in the process doubled sales in my region in just two years.

 In Europe, importers supply only authorized wholesalers or registered pharmacies; they do not sell to the public. So the chain remains closed. Authorized drugs are purchased from authorized wholesalers in one European Union country and sold to authorized distributors in another union country. This is the kind of system we should put in place in the United States.

 Until that happens, to ensure safety, a good intermediate step is for states and cities to step in and provide access to lower-priced drugs. Boston and Springfield, Mass., have already established import programs for low-cost, Canadian drugs, while states like Minnesota and Wisconsin have established Web sites linking residents to Canadian pharmacies approved by state health officials.

Make no mistake about it, they are the real heroes in this battle. Every day Americans die because they can't afford life-saving drugs. Every day Americans die because Congress wants to protect the profits of giant drug corporations, half of the top 10 of which are French, British and Swiss conglomerates.

 I have another confession to make. Americans are dying without the appropriate drugs because my industry and Congress are more concerned about protecting astronomical profits for conglomerates than they are about protecting the health of Americans.

 Peter Rost, a doctor, is a [for the moment at least] a marketing executive for Pfizer.
October 30, 2004
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Medicines Without Borders
By PETER ROST

 2004 The New York Times 

Who Deserts, and Why

WHAT'S A DESERTER? The military defines a deserter as a member of the service who is absent from his or her post without permission for more than 30 consecutive days. Before that, the soldier is considered to be absent without leave, or AWOL. A desertion conviction also generally requires proof the soldier never intended to return to duty.

WHO DESERTS? According to a 2002 Army report, deserters tend to be first-year, low-ranking soldiers; the main motives are family or marital issues, financial problems and inability to adjust to military life and authority.

WHAT'S THE PRICE? According to the Army report, replacing the first-year desertions is costly in money and morale. Though the report said few deserters are actually sent to jail, it noted that less-than-honorable discharges often mean a deserter loses rank and benefits, can't get a federal job or home loan, and may be looked at less favorably by potential employers.


http://www.wcnc.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D861SCL80.html
Who Deserts, and Why
10/30/2004
Associated Press

duck note ( '?

Hello all,

I am getting started a bit late.  Been trying to assist a friend in India who is attempting to get her ballot over here via fax.  the rules are outrageous.  It took us three hours and I made at least 20 phone calls.

so I am starting now, hope all the news is fit to print!

xo
ducks

Monday

[TD] Tomgram: Osama's surprise

Osama bin Laden as Global Shock Jock

By Tom Engelhardt

Looked at realistically Osama bin Laden's intervention in our presidential election was undoubtedly an act of immediate organizational weakness, not strength. Had he had been capable of orchestrating the bringing down of another American tower or its equivalent, he certainly would have done so, but it was no less ingenious for that. His last major intervention, his self-scripted action-adventure film in real time, The Humiliation of America, cost his organization hundreds of thousands of planning dollars and 19 suicidal believers (plus the price of airplane tickets, box-cutters, and mace). Still, those 19 followers and the almost 3,000 dead from the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and United Flight 93, which never made it to Washington thanks to the heroic action of its passengers, was clearly a cheap enough price to pay in his eyes for the notoriety he instantly achieved.

On the other hand, his new intervention -- the video seen ‘round the world – must have cost but a few riyals. All that was needed, after all, was home-video equipment, a lectern, a brown cloth for a backdrop, and Osama's elegant Halloween costume, described in the New York Times as "traditional white robes, a golden cloak and a turban." ("I'll take the sheik outfit for $39.95!") In terms of price, impact, and horrific effect, however, it's already the real-world equivalent of that bargain-basement horror-film success The Blair Witch Project, and it was even released on the eve of Halloween. In this video are echoes of so many other horror films in which the dead return to life, the vampire is not slain, the zombies walk yet again. Remarkable.

Let no one say that Osama isn't a thoroughly modern man. His timing was TV perfect. He has, as they might say in Hollywood, a golden gut and the purest instincts of a network programmer. And he's an incredible ham -- or at least a man willing to change roles as well as costumes as the opportunity arises. In this video, to judge from the transcript, he's abandoned the role of Islamic true believer (and of course mass murderer) to take up the bloodless role of rational critic. As a friend of mine said, he's joined the Capital Gang -- or is it the Peshawar Gang? Osama as pundit.

He offers a reasonably detached assessment of our President's actions and his own, suggesting that the Bush administration learned its ways from the corrupt Middle Eastern regimes with which the Bush family was long associated. ("We have not found it difficult to deal with the Bush administration in light of the resemblance it bears to the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half of which are ruled by the sons of kings and presidents. Our experience with them is lengthy and both types are replete with those who are characterized by pride, arrogance, greed and misappropriation of wealth.") He considers the Patriot Act and election fraud in Florida like any TV talking head. ("So he took dictatorship and suppression of freedoms to his son and they named it the Patriot Act under the pretences of fighting terrorism. In addition, Bush sanctioned the installing of sons as state governors and did not forget to import expertise in elect! ion fraud from the regions presidents to Florida to be made use of in moments of difficulty.") He analyzes why the President acted as he did. ("All that we have mentioned has made it easy for us to provoke and bait this administration.")

Then, like any good TV critic, like, say, Tom Shales of the Washington Post, or perhaps like one of those generals from some recent American war brought in to analyze the way the present one is being fought, he offers his critique of how the President played his role on September 11, 2001: "It never occurred to us that the Commander in Chief of the armed forces would abandon 50,000 of his citizens in the twin towers to face those great horrors alone at a time when they most needed him. But because it seemed to him that occupying himself by talking to the little girl about the goat and its butting was more important than occupying himself with the planes and their butting of the skyscrapers we were given three times the period required to execute the operations."

Calm as he appears, he might as well be a global shock jock. ("Stay tuned --from Karachi, Jerry Springer interviews Satanic worshippers directly after the local news.") What a bizarre way to complete a three-year cycle of global madness. This single figure off in the middle of nowhere has once again managed, like the Wizard of Oz, to magnify himself until he fills every screen in sight and drives events, as he has for three years. After all, he was the one, as he puts it, who "provoked" George Bush into becoming the "war president" of both men's dreams on 9/11/2001.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

Election: Michael Moore to Have Hundreds of Cameras at Polls to Film Voter Suppression

Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.
-- Mark Twain

 The director of the anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" announced Saturday that a total of 1,200 professional and nonprofessional cameramen, filmmakers and videographers will bring their cameras to polling places in the two presidential battleground states, especially in minority communities.

Moore to Have Cameras at Polling Places
 Sat Oct 30,10:26 PM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore plans to have hundreds of cameras outside polling places in Ohio and Florida o­n Election Day to watch for attempts to suppress voter turnout.

The director of the anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" announced Saturday that a total of 1,200 professional and nonprofessional cameramen, filmmakers and videographers will bring their cameras to polling places in the two presidential battleground states, especially in minority communities.

"I'm putting those who intend to suppress the vote o­n notice: Voter intimidation and suppression will not be tolerated," Moore said in a statement.

Moore, who was in Columbus for a rally Saturday night, planned visits to Ohio and Florida o­n Tuesday, his publicist Terri Hardesty said.

Polls in both states indicate the race between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry  is too close to call.

There have been voting problems already in Florida, where 537 votes tipped the state and the presidency to Bush in 2000. In Ohio, Democrats are fighting Republican attempts to challenge voter registrations.

http://memes.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=3587&newlang=eng&topic=202&catid=37
memes are mind viruses



Bloody Iraqi attacks include TV centre bomb

Eight US Marines have been killed in fighting west of Baghdad, while a car bomb outside a television centre in the Iraqi capital has left at least seven dead.

The Marines died during fierce fighting around Fallujah and Ramadi. Nine others were injured during the incident in the Anbar province west of the capital.

The American military has been threatening a heavy assault on the Sunni rebel-held towns where Islamist militants are believed to be holed-up.

Meanwhile, south of Baghdad, witnesses said Iraqi forces opened fire randomly and threw hand grenades, hitting three minibuses and three vans, after a US convoy came under attack - killing at least 14 people.

In a separate incident, a car bomb went off outside the studio of Arab television channel al-Arabiya in the al-Mansour area. Nineteen people were injured, police and hospital officials said.

Fierce clashes erupted in Fallujah as an American military convoy entered the southeastern industrial Shuhada neighborhood and nearby Nueimiya village - an apparent probing foray on the city's edges. Explosions and gunfire rocked the area and smoke was seen billowing in the air, witnesses said.

Marines responded with heavy artillery fire after insurgents shot mortar shells from positions in the southeast of the city. A Marine Harrier jet bombed a mortar position inside Fallujah.

Al-Arabiya correspondent Najwa Qassem confirmed that one guard and one administration worker were among the dead.

A militant group calling itself the "1920 Brigades" claimed responsibility for the attack, blasting al-Arabiya as "Americanized spies speaking in Arabic tongue" in a statement posted on the web.

 It was not possible to verify the claim's authenticity.


http://news.telegraph.co.uk/core/Content/displayPrintable.jhtml
 copyright of Telegraph Group Limited
(Filed: 30/10/2004)

Paper Skulls Honors U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan, Iraq

An ancient Aztec tradition will take on new meaning at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe this evening, when artists and community groups bless hundreds of papier-maché skulls, meant to honor U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
       
Some 30 artists have created as many clay skull sculptures, which were used in turn to make casts for mass-produced paper skulls. Artists and volunteers plan to make more than 1,100 skulls— each one bearing the name of a soldier killed in the ongoing conflicts. They will be placed on racks that will eventually hold rows of skulls stretching 70 to 80 feet long and 16 feet high.
       
Artists hope to have several hundred skulls completed for tonight's community Day of the Dead celebration at El Museo Cultural. Once they've made a skull for each soldier killed— perhaps by sometime next month— project organizers would like to send the plaster casts to other communities, where the project could continue as more soldiers are killed.
       
"It humanizes what's going on and gives us an opportunity to grieve," said Tim Origer, a Vietnam War veteran and member of the group Veterans for Peace, which organized the project.
       
In some Mesoamerican cultures, the skull rack, also known as a tzompantli, was used to honor warriors killed in battle. Origer said his group's project is based on an ancient belief that a warrior's soul would leave Earth as an eagle and return as a hummingbird, which would act as a messenger or conduit between heaven and Earth.
       
"It's kind of like a continuous prayer, which is kind what we're trying to do," Origer said.
       
In addition to the blessing of the skulls, this evening's event will feature a slideshow and book signing by Nina Berman, a photojournalist whose recent work, "Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq," documents disabled Iraq war veterans.
       
One of the veterans profiled and pictured in the book will also be on hand to speak tonight. Twenty-one-year-old Robert Acosta, who was a munitions specialist with the 1st Armored Division, lost his hand and suffered severe leg injuries when a grenade was tossed into his Humvee last year. Acosta tried to throw it out of the vehicle, but the grenade exploded before it left his hand.
       
After being hospitalized for seven months, Acosta is now publicly criticizing the war in Iraq, appearing in a national television ad that questions President Bush's case for the invasion.
      
 "I've met parents that have lost children in Iraq, and I've lost a couple of friends, and it's just not worth it," Acosta said in a recent telephone interview from New York.
       
Joining Acosta in the panel discussion will be Fernando Suarez de Solar, the father of the first Marine killed in the Iraq war.
       
While the Veterans for Peace skull rack raises the question of whether the war in Iraq has been worth the cost in casualties, project leaders insist it does not necessarily reflect political leanings of those involved in the project. Some of the skull-makers, for example, support President Bush's re-election, according to David Shanfeld, a College of Santa Fe art teacher who helped make casts for the skulls.
      
 "All of these skulls represent different opinions and different points of view," Shanfeld said.
       
The Day of the Dead, which falls this year on Tuesday, is an amalgamation of indigenous Mexican and Catholic religious beliefs. Traditions focus on celebrating and honoring the dead through artwork, food, dance and processions.
       
Following tonight's panel discussion and blessing, a procession will make its way through the Santa Fe Railyard from El Museo Cultural to Warehouse 21. The event will continue afterward with entertainment and food at El Museo Cultural.       
       
        WHAT: Community Day of the Dead Celebration
        WHEN: 5 p.m. today
        WHERE: El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, 1615 Paseo de Peralta, in the Santa Fe Railyard
        HOW MUCH: Free
       
       

Copyright 2004 Albuquerque Journal
 http://www.abqjournal.com/north/venuenorth/250491venuenorth10-29-04.htm
Friday, October 29, 2004
    Paper Skulls Honors U.S. Troops Killed in Afghanistan, Iraq
    By John Arnold
    Journal Staff Writer

Cheney oil firm faces UK inquiry

US vice-president mired in claims of bribery and corruption
 against his former company in four countries


British authorities have opened a new front in the widening investigation into allegations of bribery at Halliburton, the American oil services business, while it was being run by the US vice-president, Dick Cheney.

The Guardian has learned that the Serious Fraud Office has joined the international effort at the request of the US Department of Justice in Washington. French and Nigerian officials are already involved in the inquiry.

Halliburton has become a political liability for the Bush administration as the US prepares to vote in presidential elections next week.

The company, one of the chief government contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, has been dogged by controversy, which includes claims of White House favouritism in awarding the firm billions of dollars of contracts without being forced to bid and Pentagon allegations that the firm has massively overcharged for its work.

It emerged late on Thursday that the FBI had launched an inquiry into how Halliburton secured contracts in Iraq, so far worth almost $9bn (£4.9bn).

The Nigerian investigation centres on $180m in payments allegedly made by a consortium led by Halliburton to secure the contract to build a natural gas plant in Nigeria.

The cash was allegedly channelled through a US-owned oil engineering firm in London called MW Kellogg and was handled by a company executive based in Berkshire. The funds were said to have been paid into a Swiss bank by a British lawyer.

The Democratic challenger, John Kerry, has made repeated jibes at Halliburton during his campaign for the White House, suggesting that the vice-president is using his position to look after his friends. Referring to the shortage of flu vaccine in the US, Mr Kerry told a rally in Orlando last week: "If Halliburton made flu shots, you'd have more flu shots here than there are oranges in the state of Florida."

Mr Cheney ran Dallas-based Halliburton for five years before quitting to run for office in 2000. He banked $36m when he left and continues to receive deferred income from the company. There has been no suggestion that Mr Cheney had any personal knowledge of the Nigerian payments.

When Mr Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, referred to the Nigerian scandal during a televised debate earlier this month, Mr Cheney said there was "no substance" to the charges. But Halliburton admitted last month that it had found evidence that bribery was at least discussed. In June, the US company cut ties with a former senior executive, Jack Stanley, and said he had received as much as $5m in "improper personal benefits" related to the Nigerian scandal. The company has said it is cooperating with authorities.

A French judge has been inquiring into the alleged bribes for the past two years. He has been joined by a Nigerian par liamentary commission. The scandal has gathered pace in recent months as the justice department and the chief US financial watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission, launched investigations.

The French judge, Renaud Van Ruymbeke, has called for Halliburton's agent, London solicitor Jeffrey Tesler, to return to Paris next month for a second round of questioning. Mr Tesler has denied wrongdoing.

Malcolm Bruce, the Liberal Democrat trade spokesman who has pressed the British government to investigate the bribery allegations, welcomed the SFO inquiry but questioned why it had taken so long.

"Clearly the SFO is only about to take action, well after everyone else and only when asked by other governments who have been taking action for months. The British government appears to have a pretty supine and passive attitude to stamping out bribery in international contracts. The resources are not there, the will is not there."

Halliburton was secretly awarded a contract ahead of the Iraq invasion, then worth up to $7bn, to help repair the country's oil industry in the wake of war. Halliburton was handed the contract without bidding. It was also given an other contract on a no-bid basis to provide logistical backup to American troops.

The FBI investigation is based on claims by a senior army contracting official who claims she was frozen out of decisions when she questioned the Halliburton contracts.

Halliburton has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. "The old allegations have once again been recycled, this time one week before the election," a spokeswoman said.

The company has paid $7.5m to settle claims that it failed to disclose a crucial change in its accounting policy that allowed it to report higher profits and shore up its share price while Mr Cheney was in charge.

David Leigh, Rob Evans, David Pallister, and David Teather in New York
Saturday October 30, 2004  The Guardian


http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5051490-110878,00.html
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

What Kerry Knows: Democrats Can't Take Black Votes for Granted

Democrats thought they could ignore African Americans after two terms of centrist President Bill Clinton's successful appeals to white middle class voters. Al Gore's loss to Bush Jr. changed all that, and, writes PNS contributor Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Kerry knows he can't afford to treat blacks as a political liability. Hutchinson (ehutchi344@aol.com) is a political analyst and author of "The Crisis in Black and Black" (Middle Passage Press).

BY EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON, PACIFIC NEWS SERVICE

Top Democrats finally admitted this election that they can't win without black votes. That should have been apparent after the 1960 cliffhanger presidential race between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Midway through the campaign, Kennedy made a courtesy phone call to Martin Luther King Sr. in Atlanta to express concern for Martin Luther King Jr., imprisoned on criminal charges following civil rights protests in Georgia. Nixon refused to call King. Blacks had up until then routinely given a significant percent of their vote to the Republicans. Instead, they voted for Kennedy in droves. This was a crucial factor in his victory.

In the near-half century since then, blacks have given 80 percent or more of their vote to the Democratic presidential contender. Democratic candidates knew that black votes could provide the safe cushion they needed for victory. That was the case in the winning effort of Jimmy Carter in 1976. Even in defeat, black votes could make the race respectable. That was the case with Walter Mondale in 1984 and Michael Dukakis in 1988.

Top Democrats, however, did not reward that political loyalty. Following the smash victories of Reagan in 1980 and 1984, they concluded that blacks were a political liability, radically shifted gears and made a mad dash after white, middle class votes. That strategy seemed to pay dividends with Bill Clinton. He beat Bush Sr. in 1992 with an unabashed pitch to beef up law enforcement and defense spending, boost middle-class earnings, tout family values, downsize welfare, modify affirmative action and keep Jesse Jackson at arm's length.

The idea was to neutralize white male support among Republicans, or at least not do anything to swell the numbers of whites that would rush to the Republicans, while avoid being tagged by the Republicans as a tax-and-spend Democrat who tilted toward special interests -- i.e., blacks and Latinos. Despite Clinton's directional shift toward the white middle-class, the insurgent campaign of Ross Perot and the solid support of black voters enabled him to snatch four Southern states from Bush Sr. and ensure victory.

Gore pretty much followed Clinton's script. He said little about civil rights, health care and education issues, and until late in his campaign made few appearances in black communities. He paid dearly for it. In Ohio, also a key battleground state in 2000, Bush's margin of victory over Gore was less than 4 percent. But more than 100,000 eligible black voters didn't bother to vote in Ohio. If Gore and the top Democrats had made a real effort to inspire and organize them, they might have tipped the scale to Gore. Despite alleged Republican voter machinations, and the dumping of thousands of ex-felons from the rolls in Florida, many eligible black voters also didn't bother going to the polls there. A strong black turnout could easily have put Gore over the top in the state. The loss of Ohio and Florida because of the tepid black turnout ultimately cost him the White House.

Gore simply did not have the charisma and dynamism of Clinton, or his eight-year track record of paying symbolic attention to some black issues. They did not perceive that the stakes were as high in his race against Bush Jr.

Kerry learned from Gore's folly. He crunched the numbers and found two things: that the overall percentage of black voter turnout in 1996 and 2000 matched that of whites, and that the number of white votes that Clinton got in 1996 and Gore got in 2000 continued to decline. Kerry concluded there was little chance that he could increase his take of the overall percentage of the white vote, especially the white male vote, which makes up 40 percent of the electorate. Their flight from the Democratic Party during the Reagan years appeared irreversible.

Kerry and the Democrats also concluded that a marginal increase in the overall black voter turnout in the key battleground states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania could partially offset the solid bloc of white male votes that Bush had a lock on. Simply hammering Bush as the archenemy of blacks wasn't enough, however. Kerry had to pull a page from the past and make special appeals to blacks, even at the risk of being tarred by Republicans as pro-minority. He promised to increase spending on jobs and education, strengthen and protect civil rights, and civil liberties, and appoint moderates to the Supreme Court. He also did something that the Democrats hadn't done in the past three elections: he publicly embraced civil rights leaders and black elected officials. That ignited the missing spark among blacks, and considerably bumped black registration numbers up.

This was a significant break with the Democrats' sorry, recent history of retreating from black voters. It was also much overdue public recognition that in tight races the black vote can make or break Democratic presidential contenders.

(10292004)****END**** (C) COPYRIGHT PNS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

For subscription information or to reprint PNS articles, please go to http://news.pacificnews.org/news/view_custom.html?custom_page_id=48, or contact catherine@pacificnews.org.


Fear and loathing of the Bush mafia

By Hunter S Thompson

The genetically vicious nature of presidential campaigns in America is too obvious to argue with, but some people call it fun, and I am one of them.

Election day - especially when it's a presidential election - is always a wild and terrifying time for politics junkies, and I am one of those, too. We look forward to major election days like sex addicts look forward to orgies. We are slaves to them.

Which is not a bad thing, all in all, for the winners.

They are not the ones who bitch and whine about slavery when the votes are finally counted and the losers are forced to get down on their knees. No. The slaves who emerge victorious from these drastic public decisions go crazy with joy and plunge each other into deep tubs of chilled Cristal champagne with naked strangers who want to be close to a winner.

That is how it works in the victory business. You see it every time. The weak suck up to the strong, for fear of losing their jobs and money and all the fickle power they wielded only 24 hours ago. It is like suddenly losing your wife and your home in a vagrant poker game, then having to go on the road with whoremongers and beg for your dinner in public. Nobody wants to hire a loser. Right? They stink of doom and defeat.

"What is that horrible smell in the office, Tex? It's making me sick."

"That is the smell of a loser, senator. He came in to apply for a job, but we tossed him out immediately.

Sgt Sloat took him down to the parking lot and taught him a lesson he will never forget."

"Good work, Tex. And how are you coming with my new enemies' list? I want them all locked up. They are scum."

"We will punish them brutally. They are terrorist sympathisers, and most of them voted against you. I hate those bastards."

"Thank you, Sloat. You are a faithful servant. Come over here and kneel down. I want to reward you."

That is the nature of high-risk politics. Veni, vidi, vici, especially among Republicans. It's like the ancient Bedouin saying: "As the camel falls to its knees, more knives are drawn."

Presidential politics is a vicious business, even for rich white men, and anybody who gets into it should be prepared to grapple with the meanest of the mean. The White House has never been seized by timid warriors.

There are no rules, and the roadside is littered with wreckage. That is why they call it the passing lane.

Just ask any candidate who ever ran against George Bush - Al Gore, Ann Richards, John McCain - all of them ambushed and vanquished by lies and dirty tricks. And all of them still whining about it.

That is why George W Bush is President of the US, and Al Gore is not. Bush simply wanted it more, and he was willing to demolish anything that got in his way, including the US Supreme Court. It is not by accident that the Bush White House (read: Dick Cheney & Halliburton Inc) controls all three branches of our federal government today. They are powerful thugs who would far rather die than lose the election in November.

The Republican establishment is haunted by painful memories of what happened to Old Man Bush in 1992. He peaked too early, and he had no response to "It's the economy, stupid". Which has always been the case. Every GOP (Grand Old Party - Republican) administration since 1952 has let the Military-Industrial Complex loot the Treasury and plunge the nation into debt on the excuse of a wartime economic emergency.

Richard Nixon comes quickly to mind, along with Ronald Reagan and his ridiculous "trickle-down" theory of US economic policy. If the rich get richer, the theory goes, before long their pots will overflow and somehow "trickle down" to the poor, who would rather eat scraps off the Bush family plates than eat nothing at all. Republicans have never approved of democracy, and they never will. It goes back to pre-industrial America, when only white male property owners could vote.

Things haven't changed much where George W Bush comes from. Houston is a cruel, crazy town on a filthy river in East Texas with no zoning laws and a culture of sex, money and violence. It's a shabby, sprawling metropolis ruled by brazen women, crooked cops and super-rich pansexual cowboys who live by the code of the West - which can mean just about anything you need it to mean, in a pinch.

Houston is also the unnatural home of two out of the last three presidents of the United States, for good or ill.

The other one was a handsome, sex-crazed boy from next-door Arkansas, which has no laws against any deviant practice not specifically forbidden in the New Testament, including anal incest and public cunnilingus with farm animals.

Back in 1948, during his first race for the US Senate, Lyndon Johnson was running about 10 points behind, with only nine days to go. He was desperate. And it was just before noon on a Monday, they say, when he called his equally depressed campaign manager and told him to call a press conference for just before lunch on a slow news day and accuse his high-riding opponent, a pig farmer, of having routine carnal knowledge of his sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children.

His campaign manager was shocked. "We can't say that, Lyndon," he supposedly said. "You know that it isn't true."

"Of course it's not!" Johnson barked. "But let's make the bastard deny it!"

Johnson - a Democrat, like Bill Clinton - won that election by fewer than 100 votes, and after that he was home free. He went on to rule Texas and the US Senate for 20 years and to be the most powerful vice-president in the history of the United States.

Until now.

Armageddon came early for George Bush this year, and he was not ready for it. His long-awaited showdowns with John Kerry turned into a series of embarrassments that broke his nerve and demoralised his closest campaign advisers.

They knew he would never recover, no matter how many votes they could steal for him in Florida, where the presidential debates were closely watched and widely celebrated by millions of Kerry supporters who suddenly had reason to feel like winners.

Kerry came into October as a five-point underdog with almost no chance of winning three out of three rigged confrontations with a treacherous little freak like George Bush. But the debates are over now, and the victor was John Kerry every time. He steamrollered Bush and left him for roadkill.

Did you see Bush on TV, trying to debate? Jesus, he talked like a donkey with no brains at all. The tide turned early, in Coral Gables, when Bush went belly-up less than halfway through his first bout with Kerry, who hammered poor George into jelly. It was pitiful ... I almost felt sorry for him, until I heard someone call him "Mister President", and then I felt ashamed.

Karl Rove, the president's political wizard, felt even worse. There is angst in the heart of Texas today, and panic in the bowels of the White House. Rove has a nasty little problem, and its name is George Bush. The president failed miserably from the instant he got onstage with John Kerry. He looked weak and dumb.

Kerry beat him like a gong in Coral Gables, then again in St Louis and Tempe. That is Rove's problem.

His candidate is a weak-minded frat boy who cracks under pressure in front of 60 million voters.

Bush signed his own death warrant in the opening round, when he finally had to speak without his teleprompter. It was a Cinderella story brought up to date in Florida that night - except this time, the false prince turned back into a frog.

Immediately after the first debate ended, I called Muhammad Ali at his home in Michigan, but whoever answered said the champ was laughing so hard that he couldn't come to the phone. "The debate really cracked him up,"

he chuckled. "The champ loves a good ass-whuppin'. He says Bush looked so scared to fight, he finally just quit and laid down."

This year's first presidential debate was such a disaster for George Bush that his handlers had to be crazy to let him get in the ring with John Kerry again. Yet Karl Rove let it happen, and we can only wonder why. But there is no doubt that the president has lost his nerve, and his career in the White House is finished.

Indeed. The numbers are weird today, and so is this dangerous election. The time has come to rumble, to inject a bit of fun into politics. That's exactly what the debates did. John Kerry looked like a winner, and it energised his troops. Voting for Kerry is starting to look like serious fun for everyone except poor George, who now looks like a loser. That is fatal in a presidential election.

I look at elections with the cool and dispassionate gaze of a professional gambler, especially when I'm betting real money on the outcome. Contrary to most conventional wisdom, I see Kerry with five points as a recommended risk. Kerry will win this election, if it happens, by a bigger margin than Bush finally gouged out of Florida in 2000. That was about 46%, plus five points for owning the US Supreme Court - which seemed to equal 51%. Nobody really believed that, but George W Bush moved into the White House anyway.

It was the most brutal seizure of power since Hitler burned the Reichstag in 1933 and declared himself the new boss of Germany. Karl Rove is no stranger to Nazi strategy, if only because it worked for a while, and it was sure fun for Hitler. But not for long. He ran out of oil, the whole world hated him, and he liked to gobble pure crystal biphetamine and stay awake for eight days in a row with his maps and bombers and his dope-addled general staff.

They all loved the whiff. It is the perfect drug for war, as long as you are winning, and Hitler thought he was king of the hill forever. He had created a new master race, and every one of them worshipped him. They were fanatics. That was 66 years ago, and things are not much different today. We still love war.

George Bush certainly does. In four short years he has turned our country from a prosperous nation at peace into a desperately indebted nation at war. But so what? He is the President of the United States, and you're not. Love it or leave it.

BULLETIN: Kerry wins gonzo endorsement; Dr Thompson joins Democrats in calling Bush "the syphilis president".


"Four more years of George Bush will be like four more years of syphilis," the famed author said yesterday at a hastily called press conference near his home in Woody Creek, Colorado.

"Only a fool or a sucker would vote for a dangerous loser like Bush. He hates everything we stand for, and he knows we will vote against him in November."

Thompson, well known for the eerie accuracy of his political instincts, went on to denounce Ralph Nader as "a worthless Judas goat with no moral compass".

"I endorsed John Kerry a long time ago," he said, "and I will do everything in my power, short of roaming the streets with a meat hammer, to help him be the next president of the United States."

Which is true. I said all those things, and I will say them again. Of course I will vote for John Kerry. I have known him for 30 years as a good man with a brave heart - which is more than even the president's friends will tell you about George W Bush, who is also an old acquaintance from the white-knuckle days of yesteryear. He is hated all over the world, including large parts of Texas, and he is taking us all down with him. Bush is a natural-born loser with a filthy-rich daddy who pimped his son out to rich oil-mongers.

He hates music, football and sex, and he is no fun at all.

I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, but I won't make that mistake again. The joke is over for Nader. He was funny once, but now he belongs to the dead. Nader is a fool, as is anybody who votes for him in November - with the obvious exception of professional Republicans who have paid big money to turn him into a world-famous Judas goat.

Nader is so desperate that he's paying homeless people to gather signatures to get him on the ballot. In Pennsylvania, the petitions he submitted contained tens of thousands of phoney signatures, including Fred Flintstone, Mickey Mouse and John Kerry. A judge dumped Ralph from the ballot there, calling it "the most deceitful and fraudulent exercise ever perpetrated upon this court".

But they will keep his name on the ballot in the long-suffering Hurricane State, which is ruled by the president's younger brother, Jeb, who also wants to be the next president of the United States. In 2000, when they sent Jim Baker to Florida, I knew it was all over.

In that election, 97 488 people voted for Nader in Florida, and Gore lost the state by 537 votes. You don't have to be from Texas to understand the moral of that story. It's like being out-coached in the Super Bowl. Only losers play fair, and all winners have blood on their hands.

Back in June, when Kerry was beginning to feel like a winner, we had a quick rendezvous on a rain-soaked runway in Aspen, Colorado, where he was scheduled to meet wealthy campaign contributors. I told him that Bush's vicious goons in the White House are perfectly capable of assassinating Nader and blaming it on him.

His staff laughed, but the Secret Service men didn't. Kerry suggested I might make a good running mate, and we reminisced about trying to end the Vietnam War in 1972.

That was the year I first met him, at a riot on that elegant little street in front of the White House. He was yelling into a bullhorn and I was trying to throw a dead rat over a black-spike fence and on to the president's lawn. We were angry and righteous in those days, and there were millions of us. We kicked two chief executives out because they were stupid warmongers. We conquered Lyndon Johnson and we stomped on Richard Nixon - which wise people said was impossible, but so what? It was fun.

We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river. That river is still running. All we have to do is get out and vote, while it's still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House. - The Independent

# Dr Thompson is a veteran US journalist, author and widely held to be the king of gonzo.

          o This article was originally published on page 9 of Cape Times on October 29, 2004
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=22&art_id=vn20041029183517626C527100


Along With Prayers, Families Send Armor

When the 1544th Transportation Company of the Illinois National Guard was preparing to leave for Iraq in February, relatives of the soldiers offered to pay to weld steel plates on the unit's trucks to protect against roadside bombs. The Army told them not to, because it would provide better protection in Iraq, relatives said.

 Seven months later, many of the company's trucks still have no armor, soldiers and relatives said, despite running some of the most dangerous missions in Iraq and incurring the highest rate of injuries and deaths among the Illinois units deployed there.

"This problem is very extensive," said Paul Rieckhoff, a former infantry platoon leader with the Florida National Guard in Iraq who now runs an organization called Operation Truth, an advocacy group for soldiers and veterans.

Though soldiers of all types have complained about equipment in Iraq, part-timers in the National Guard and Reserve say that they have a particular disadvantage because they start off with outdated or insufficient gear. They have been deployed with faulty radios, unreliable trucks and, most alarmingly for many, a shortage of soundly armored vehicles in a land regularly convulsed by roadside attacks, according to soldiers, relatives and outside military experts.

 After many complaints when the violence in Iraq accelerated late last year, the military acknowledged there had been shortages, in part because of the rapid deployments. But the Army contends that it has moved quickly to get better equipment to Iraq over the last year.

 "War is a come-as-you-are party," said Lt. Gen. C. V. Christianson, the Army's deputy chief of staff for logistics, in an interview yesterday. "The way a unit was resourced when someone rang the bell is the way it showed up.

 "As we saw this become a more enduring commitment, those in the next rotation had full protective gear, like the newest body armor," he said. General Christianson acknowledged, however, that more work needed to be done to protect vehicles in particular and that broader changes were needed so that the Army and Reserve would be better prepared in the future.

Not all National Guard units are complaining about their equipment. The soldiers in Company C of the Arkansas Army National Guard's First Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment, have operated in one of the riskiest parts of Baghdad since they arrived in April.

 Capt. Thomas J. Foley, 29, the company commander, and his soldiers bragged in recent interviews that their equipment, from Bradley fighting vehicles to armored personnel carriers, was on par or better than what many regular Army units in Iraq now have.

The improvements are of little solace to many soldiers' families. Progress has been made, but it has been slow and inconsistent, soldiers, families and other military observers said. When 18 reservists in Iraq refused an order to deliver fuel on Oct. 13, they cited the poor condition of their trucks and the lack of armed escorts in a particularly dangerous area.

Families Buy Equipment

Before the 103rd Armor Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard left in late February, some relatives bought those soldiers new body armor to supplant the Vietnam-era flak jackets that had been issued. The mother of Sgt. Sherwood Baker, a member of the regiment who was killed in April, bought a global positioning device after being told that the Army said his truck should have one but would not supply it.

 And before Karma Kumlin's husband left with his Minnesota National Guard unit in February, the soldiers spent about $200 each on radios that they say have turned out to be more reliable - although less secure - than the Army's. Only recently, Ms. Kumlin said, has her husband gotten a metal shield for the gunner's turret he regularly mans, after months of asking.

"This just points to an extreme lack of planning ," said Ms. Kumlin, who is 31 and a student. "My husband is part of the second wave that went to Iraq."

 Critics who say that disparities and shortages persist fault the Pentagon for incorrectly assuming that American troops would return home quickly after the war. As a result, they say, little was done to equip and train the thousands of National Guard and Reserve soldiers who were called to serve in Iraq and who now make up 40 percent of American troops there.

 "I am really surprised that planners relied on the best-case military scenario," said Jonathon Turley, a military historian at George Washington University Law School who wrote last year about shortages of body armor. He was then deluged with e-mail messages from soldiers complaining of such shortages, 90 percent of them from the National Guard and Reserve.

 Military officials strongly dispute assertions that reservists and National Guard troops have training and equipment inferior to that of the regular Army. "The resourcing and equipping of the National Guard today is indistinguishable from that of active duty soldiers," said Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum. "In no time in history have soldiers gone to battle as well equipped as they have gone into Iraq."

 Structured like the regular Army, the National Guard functions as a state militia, typically called out for natural disasters or civil disorder. The Reserve, in contrast, is largely composed of support elements like civil affairs, the military police and supply. Both groups train one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. The rest of the military does not consider them as well trained, well equipped or well led as the standing Army, and many of these part-time soldiers are also older.

Reliance on Reserves

Under a reorganization of the military after the Vietnam War, support functions were passed from the Army to the Reserve. Historians say the idea was to protect the Army from being sent into another unpopular war because widespread support would be needed to call up the reserves.

 In his biography of Gen. Creighton Abrams, "Thunderbolt" (Simon & Schuster, 1992), Lewis Sorley wrote than General Abrams built into the restructuring "a reliance on reserves such that the force could not function without them, and hence could not be deployed without calling them up."

The reliance on the Reserve and National Guard also increased with the shrinking of the active military from roughly 2.1 million at the end of the Persian Gulf war to some 1.4 million today.

But for years, under what is called the Tiered Resourcing System, new equipment went to those most likely to need it - the active Army - while the Reserve and the Guard got the hand-me-downs.

"In addition to personnel shortfalls, most Army Guard units are not provided all the equipment they need for their wartime requirements," said Janet A. St. Laurent of the General Accounting Office in testimony before Congress in April. Ms. St. Laurent noted that many Guard units had radios so old that they could not communicate with newer ones, and trucks so old that the Army lacked spare parts for them.

Army officials concede that the old approach to training and equipping the Guard and Reserve did not prepare them for the new realities of Iraq. Progress appears to have been made in providing modern body armor and some other equipment, families and soldiers say.

 The Army says it is on schedule to armor all its Humvees in Iraq by April 2005, despite the fact that only one factory in the United States puts armor on the vehicles. Moreover, the Guard is developing a plan to heighten the training and preparedness of its soldiers, under which a given unit could expect to be deployed every six years.

 But the glaring problem for soldiers and families remains the vulnerability of trucks. In a conventional war there would be a fixed front line and no need for supply trucks to be armored. But in Iraq, there are no clear front lines, and slow-moving truck convoys are prime targets for roadside attacks.

 Gen. James E. Chambers, the commander of the 13th Corps Support Command, to which the recalcitrant soldiers who refused the assignment are attached, told a news conference in Baghdad: "In Jim Chambers' s opinion, the most dangerous job in Iraq is driving a truck. It's not if, but when, they will be attacked."

Of the Illinois National Guard units now in Iraq, none of the 11 units has suffered as many casualties as the 1544th Transportation Company. Of the approximately 170 men and women in the unit, 5 have been killed and 32 wounded since the unit arrived in Iraq in March and began delivering supplies and mail and providing armed escort to civilian convoys.

Three of the soldiers died during mortar attacks on their base south of Baghdad. The other two were killed when roadside bombs exploded next to their unarmored trucks. Soldiers' relatives said that they expected the Army to outfit the trucks better than they themselves could have, after being told by the military that the steel plates proposed by the families would shatter if hit.

 But in fact, most of the trucks in the unit have nothing more than the steel plates that the families offered to have installed in the first place, said Lt. Col. Alicia Tate-Nadeau, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Guard.

3 Meanings of Armored

The Army considers the 1544th's vehicles armored, a word that has a broad and loose meaning in the Iraq conflict. There are three categories of armored vehicles, Colonel Tate-Nadeau said. The "up-armored" ones come that way from the factory and provide the best protection for soldiers. Then come vehicles outfitted with "armor kits," or prefabricated pieces, on the chassis. The last option consists of "whatever the soldiers try to do themselves, from large sheets of metal on their trucks to sandbags on the floor of the cab," Colonel Tate-Nadeau said.

"If we're one of the richest nations in the world, our soldiers shouldn't be sent out looking like the Beverly Hillbillies," said the mother of one soldier in the unit, who, like many parents, asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions for their children.

According to figures compiled by the House Armed Services Committee and previously reported in The Seattle Times, there are plans to produce armor kits for at least 2,806 medium-weight trucks, but as of Sept. 17, only 385 of the kits had been produced and sent to Iraq. Armor kits were also planned for at least 1,600 heavyweight trucks, but as of mid-September just 446 of these kits were in Iraq. The Army is also looking into developing ways to armor truck cabs quickly, and has ordered 700 armored Humvees with special weapons platforms to protect convoys.

 Specialist Benjamin Isenberg, 27, of the Oregon National Guard, died on Sept. 13 when he drove his unarmored Humvee over a homemade bomb, the principal weapon of the insurgents, said his grandmother, Beverly Isenberg of McArthur, Calif. The incident occurred near Taji, the town north of Baghdad where the 18 reservists refused to make a second trip with fuel that they say had been rejected as contaminated.

"One of the soldiers in his unit said they go by the same routes and at the same times every day," said Mrs. Isenberg, whose husband is a retired Army officer and who has two sons in the military and another grandson in the Special Forces who was wounded in Iraq. "They were just sitting ducks in an unarmored Humvee."

By NEELA BANERJEE and JOHN KIFNER
Carolyn Marshall contributed reporting for this article.
Copyright 2004 The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/30/international/middleeast/30equip.html

Missing the Evidence on Missing Explosives

Reports ignore videotapes that debunk administration claims

October 29, 2004

When the New York Times reported on Monday (10/25/04) that over 300 tons
of high-explosive materials appeared to be missing from an Iraqi weapons
facility, it was no surprise that the Bush administration and conservative
pundits would quickly challenge the story. But recent reporting has taken
this spin as proof that the facts of the story are in dispute-- even
though new evidence disproves the administration's rebuttals.

On October 28, ABC affiliate KSTP released footage that was shot by its
embedded reporters on April 18, 2003, showing members of the 101st
Airborne Division searching the Al Qaqaa bunkers. Clearly visible on the
tape are containers marked with labels that indicate the barrels contained
the high explosives in question. ABC World News Tonight broadcast the
footage on October 28, noting that soldiers opened the bunkers that had
been sealed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), discovered
the high explosives, and then left those bunkers open and unguarded.
Given that the tape was shot nine days after the fall of Baghdad, it would
appear to prove that at least some of these explosives were looted after
the U.S. invasion-- a scenario that is consistent with statements from
Iraqi officials and witnesses to the looting (Agence France Presse,
10/27/04; New York Times, 10/28/04). As ABC's Martha Raddatz put it, "It
is the strongest evidence to date the explosives disappeared after the
U.S. had taken control of Iraq."

On the other hand, on the same day the Pentagon released satellite images
that they claim show vehicles near some of the bunkers at the Al Qaqaa
site on March 17, 2003. That would seem to be an attempt to bolster the
administration's claim that the explosives were removed by Saddam Hussein
prior to the U.S. invasion, though there is no evidence that the trucks
did anything at all with the explosives in question. Indeed, the fact
that trucks were in the vicinity of bunkers that contained large amounts
of battlefield weapons (in addition to the high explosives) just before a
war seems hardly newsworthy. Certainly the presence of trucks near the
bunkers does nothing to undermine the footage of explosives in the bunkers
days later.

But despite their dubious relevance, the Pentagon images-- along with the
White House's continued criticism of Kerry for bringing up the issue at
all-- seemed to leave some news outlets uncertain about the facts. A
subhead above a Los Angeles Times story read, "Reporters Taped Troops
Apparently Finding Munitions. A Pentagon Photo Implies Otherwise." The
actual article, however, noted that the Pentagon photo implied very
little: "The photograph reveals little about the fate of the 377 tons of
explosives, part of an estimated 600,000 tons of explosives believed to
have been scattered throughout Iraq at the time."

And even though ABC's network newscast had broadcast the KSTP footage,
ABC's Ted Koppel reached a very different conclusion on the Nightline
broadcast later that evening (10/28/04). Koppel explained that "a friend"
in the military had reminded him that he was actually at Al Qaqaa during
the war, and that "my friend, the senior military commander, believes that
the explosives had already been removed by Saddam's forces before we ever
got there. The Iraqis, he said, were convinced that the U.S. was going to
bomb the place." For some reason, the theory advanced by his military
friend was apparently more credible to Koppel than the television footage
ABC had aired hours earlier that debunked his thesis.

Instead of reporting on this newly discovered footage from Al Qaqaa, the
Washington Post (10/29/04) pursued a different angle: "This week's
assertions by Sen. John F. Kerry's campaign about the few hundred tons
said to have vanished from Iraq's Qaqaa facility have struck some defense
experts as exaggerated." The story's point, that the invasion allowed
vast quantities of weapons to be looted all over Iraq, would hardly seem
to undermine Kerry's critique of the Bush administration.

Ignoring the evidence released the day before that explosives were on site
after the fall of Baghdad, the Post instead reported that "Pentagon
officials, reconstructing a timeline of what might have occurred at Qaqaa,
believe they have narrowed the window for the disappearance to a two-month
period between mid-March 2003, when the IAEA verified its seals were still
in place, and May 2003, when U.S. military search teams arrived at the
site and found it had been looted, stripped and vandalized." If the Post
had reported on the KSTP footage, though, the paper would have been able
to shut much of the Pentagon's "window."

Not surprisingly, Fox News Channel continued to aggressively challenge the
explosives story, even after the KSTP footage surfaced. On Special Report
(10/28/04), anchor Brit Hume told viewers that "officials cite further
evidence the material had been moved before U.S. troops arrived"--
apparently a reference to the inconclusive Pentagon satellite images.
Special Report did not even mention the KSTP footage. But Fox campaign
reporter Carl Cameron claimed that the news of the day was damaging to the
Kerry campaign, since "the Iraqi explosives may have disappeared before
the invasion, undercutting Kerry's attack on the president." Cameron
added, "The Democrat hoped the explosive story would be explosive. But the
president is already calling it a dud, accusing Kerry of saying anything
to get elected."

The Los Angeles Times followed a similar tack with an article (10/29/04)
headlined "Munitions Issue Cuts Both Ways." The only evidence the paper
found to support the idea that the issue would be harmful to Kerry were
the claims of White House strategist Karl Rove, Bush communications
director Nicolle Devenish and George W. Bush.

That the subject of a scandal gets to decide how important it is is an odd
notion-- but many journalists seemed to put more faith in administration
pronouncements than in videotaped evidence.


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Thailand to free 900 protesters

The Thai authorities say they are to release 900 people detained six days ago during a protest in the south of the country in which 85 Muslims died.

 A further 300 protesters will remain in custody for further questioning, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said.

 Tensions have been high following the deaths of 78 protesters in police custody. Most died of suffocation after being loaded onto army trucks.

 Mr Shinawatra has set up an independent inquiry into the incident.

 The BBC's Kylie Morris in Bangkok says the government appears to have embarked on a campaign to calm tensions in the south of the country.

 It follows a week of violence, which began with a protest outside a police station in Takbai, Narathiwat province, on Monday.

 As the protest turned violent, seven people were killed in clashes with security personnel.

 More than 1,000 people were arrested; 78 suffocated after being loaded into trucks and taken to army barracks.

 'No hidden agenda'

 Thailand's minority Muslim community - based almost exclusively in the country's southern provinces - has been at loggerheads with Bangkok for decades.

 Thailand's Muslims often complain of discrimination and a lack of opportunities.

 In a televised address on Friday, Mr Thaksin sent condolences to relatives of the dead and vowed to punish those responsible.

 He described the crowd at the demonstration as a mix of criminals and law-abiding citizens.

SOUTHERN VIOLENCE
 25 Oct: Protest in Narathiwat turns bloody - 85 dead
 26 Oct: Muslim separatists vow revenge
 28 Oct: Bomb attack in Narathiwat - 2 dead
 29 Oct: Two blasts in Yala - about 20 injured

 And he blamed the deaths of the 78 men on a shortage of army trucks and poor decisions by the military.

 Announcing an independent commission into the events, he said: "The government must not conceal any fact, as the government has no hidden agenda."

 The incident has fuelled anger among Thailand's Muslims, and at Friday prayers people were both angry and sad at the week's tragic events.

 "Why did this have to happen to our Muslim brothers?" said Mayawewe Keada, a worshipper at the Wadi al-Hussein mosque, about 50 km (30 miles) from the scene of Monday's protests.

 Muslim leaders warned of further violence in the troubled region.

 On Thursday, two people were killed in a bomb attack in Sungai Kolok, Narathiwat, on the Malaysian border.

 At least 19 people were injured in two bombs in Yala province on Friday.


 http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/3967151.stm
 Published: 2004/10/30 08:10:43 GMT
 © BBC MMIV

Profound changes in warming Arctic tied to emissions

A comprehensive four-year study of warming in the Arctic shows that heat-trapping gases from tailpipes and smokestacks around the world are contributing to profound environmental changes, including sharp retreats of glaciers and sea ice, thawing of permafrost, and shifts in the weather, the oceans, and the atmosphere.

The study, commissioned by eight nations with Arctic territory, including the United States, says the changes are likely to harm native communities, wildlife and economic activity but also to offer some benefits, like longer growing seasons. The report is due to be released Nov. 9, but portions were provided yesterday to The New York Times  by European participants in the proj-ect.

While Arctic warming has been going on for decades and has been studied before, this is the first thorough assessment of the causes and consequences of the trend. It was conducted by nearly 300 scientists after representatives of the eight nations met in October 2000 in Barrow, Alaska, amid a growing sense of urgency about the effects of global warming on the Arctic.

The findings support the broad but politically controversial scientific consensus that global warming is due mainly to rising atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, and that the Arctic is the first region to feel its effects. Although the report is advisory and carries no legal weight, it is likely to increase pressure on the Bush administration, which has acknowledged a possible human role in global warming but says the science is still too murky to justify mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The State Department, which has reviewed the report, yesterday declined to comment on it.

The report states that "while some historical changes in climate have resulted from natural causes and variations, the strength of the trends and the patterns of change that have emerged in recent decades indicate that human influences, resulting primarily from increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, have now become the dominant factor."

The Arctic "is now experiencing some of the most rapid and severe climate change on Earth," the report reads. "Over the next 100 years, climate change is expected to accelerate, contributing to major physical, ecological, social and economic changes, many of which have already begun."

Scientists long have expected the Arctic to warm more rapidly than other regions, partly because as snow and ice melt, the loss of bright reflective surfaces causes the exposed land and water to absorb more of the sun's energy. Also, warming tends to build more rapidly at the surface in the Arctic because colder air from the upper atmosphere does not mix with the surface air as readily as at lower latitudes, scientists say.

The report says the effects of warming might be heightened by other factors, including overfishing, rising populations and rising levels of ultraviolet radiation from the depleted ozone layer (a condition at both poles). "The sum of these factors threatens to overwhelm the adaptive capacity of some Arctic populations and ecosystems," it states.

Prompt efforts to curb such emissions could slow the pace of change, allowing communities and wildlife to adapt, according to the report. But it also stresses that further warming and melting are unavoidable, given the century-long buildup of the long-lived gases, mainly carbon dioxide.

The report is a profusely illustrated window on a region in remarkable flux, incorporating reams of scientific data as well as observations by elders from native communities around the Arctic Circle.

The potential benefits of the changes include projected growth in marine fish stocks and improved prospects for agriculture and timber harvests in some regions, as well as expanded access to Arctic waters. But the list of potential harms is far longer.

The retreat of sea ice, the report says, "is very likely to have devastating consequences for polar bears, ice-living seals, and local people for whom these animals are a primary food source."

Oil and gas deposits on land are likely to be harder to extract as tundra continues to thaw, limiting the frozen season when drilling convoys can traverse the otherwise spongy ground, according to the report. Alaska already has seen the "tundra travel" season on the North Slope shrink from about 200 days a year in 1970 to 100 days now.

The report concludes that the consequences of the fast-paced Arctic warming will be global. In particular, the accelerated melting of Greenland's 2-mile-tall sheets of ice will cause sea levels to rise around the world.

Several of the Europeans who provided parts of the report said they did so because the Bush administration had delayed publication until after the presidential election, partly because of the political contentiousness of global warming. But Gunnar Palsson of Iceland, chairman of the Arctic Council, the international body that commissioned the study, said yesterday that there was "no truth" to that contention.

Palsson said all the countries – the United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden – agreed to delay the release, originally scheduled for September, because of conflicts with another international meeting in Iceland.

The American scientist directing the assessment, Dr. Robert W. Corell, an oceanographer and senior fellow of the American Meteorological Society, said he could not yet comment on the specific findings, but noted that the signals from the Arctic have global significance.

"The major message," Corell said, "is that climate change is here and now in the Arctic."


By Andrew C. Revkin  NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE  October 30, 2004
 http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20041030/news_1n30arctic.html

Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq

An interview with photographer Nina Berman,
whose new book vividly shows that many U.S. soldiers bring the war back home.

They are the images the government doesn’t want you to see -- of soldiers returning from “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” wounded for life, physically and emotionally. Many are in their late teens and early twenties. They are double-amputees, paraplegics, burn victims, depressives.

Every day we hear of soldiers killed, and more injured, in Iraq. Yet we see very little of them. Last spring, Nina Berman, a New York-based photographer, decided to take action. She scoured the country, from Prichard, Alabama to Santa Ana, California, interviewing and photographing soldiers, and documented the human costs of war. In her recently published book, Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq, Berman collects her portraits and interviews with soldiers to capture the ongoing war in Iraq in a simple, blunt -- and shocking -- language.

"I’ve been a photographer for many years and I did this book because I want people to see these pictures," Berman explains. "As a journalist and as an American living here I feel like there’s something that I must be able to contribute that isn’t being done. I was too young to do anything during the Vietnam War but if I don’t do something during this war then I’ll just feel like I’m as bad as everybody else."

Some of Berman’s photos appeared in the March/April issue of Mother Jones. Her photo essay, "The Damage Done", drew an enormous response from readers. Headed to New Mexico for a book tour with wounded soldiers and their families, she talked with MotherJones.com about the war, yellow ribbons, America’s violent youth culture, and the “dirty little secrets” of the Iraq war.

MotherJones.com: Why did you decide to photograph wounded soldiers?

Nina Berman: In the summer of 2003, I kept hearing all these news reports about soldiers being wounded, but I never saw any images on television, or in newspapers, or in magazines. So I felt a responsibility to show a more realistic picture of the war. There are actual casualties, soldiers are being injured, and some of these injuries are really serious. The American public needs to see this.

MJ.com: How did you find returning soldiers?

NB: There are no lists of wounded soldiers that I know of, so I went on Google and just plugged in words -- like “amputee,” “leg,” “arm,” “wounded,” “brain damage,” and “local hero comes home” -- and I found local newspaper reports about wounded soldiers returning home. From there, I looked to see if they listed a name of either a politician or someone I could call to get the soldiers phone number.

I really wanted to get a number of soldiers from around the country. I didn’t concentrate on one geographic region. Some I photographed at Walter Reed hospital while on assignment for Time magazine and two from a military base in Fort Riley, Kansas. The rest, expect for one or two others, are photographed in their homes.

MJ.com: How have critics responded to Purple Hearts?

NB: Well, I get feedback on the website -- www.purpleheartsbook.com -- which gets 100,000 to 200,000 hits a day. Of those, I have received only two negative responses. Most people, from a wide-range of the political spectrum, are glad to see these soldiers recognized. That was my intention and I wanted soldiers to tell their own stories so that someone could not dismiss Purple Hearts as an anti-war book or a pro-war book. It’s important to just let the soldiers speak for themselves.

MJ.com: Were you surprised by some of the soldier’s positive reactions, given the considerable physical and emotional damage they suffered, to the war and their experiences in Iraq?

NB: I expected bitter soldiers, but as I talked to more people and family members, I realized that wasn't really the experience of a wounded soldier returning home. Most of the soldiers I photographed had literally just been released from the hospital. They’re still in shock. For them to turn around and say, “I’m blind” or “I don’t have any legs” and then think that it wasn’t worth it -- that's a very hard leap to make. So I expected more bitterness and the pictures reveal soldiers who look quite lonely and almost in a state of shock.

MJ.com: How did you conceive of the layout of the book? Why did you use the black and white statements alongside small and large pictures of each soldier?

NB: Well, I wanted the reading of the book to be a sobering process. The first soldier shown, Jose Martinez, says that he’s the “perfect picture of the Army” and then the picture shows him so horribly burned in the face and you cannot believe this is possible. The pull quotes kind of pit you down one road and, after flipping the page, you go down another road. The book is meant to be complicated and complex, and not just a simple quick look at war and its result.

MJ.com: When Jose Martinez says, “I’m this great picture of the Army,” what struck you about that statement?

NB: When he said it, near the end of the interview, I felt a great deal of denial in his voice. Earlier he had said that he was glad this happened to him, because he had previously relied on his physical appearance and other superficial things -- whereas now he’s realized that what's inside of him is what's important. But, you know, Martinez is 20 years old, and I can’t believe that this lesson makes it all okay for him. I feel it’s his way of finding something good out of something horrible.

The perfect picture of the Army is something different. Martinez, like many soldiers I spoke with, really wants to stay in the Army. This is all they know and their short time in the Army is their first adult experience in the world. They had jobs, they had routines, and they were usually pretty good at their jobs. For a wounded soldier it’s all taken away from you. Not only are you wounded, and your life completely changed, but you also don’t have the Army structure and the so-called Army family that many soldiers become attached to.

MJ.com: Most of these soldiers are in their late-teens and early twenties. What expectations did they have joining the U.S. Military and what are their future expectations as wounded soldiers?

NB: Well that’s interesting because when you spend a long time with them, some bitterness comes out now and again. Almost all of them have had difficult experiences completing their discharges. This is a massive bureaucratic problem for soldiers, and it's critical to make certain they’re compensated fairly. What happens is they get wounded and sent to a hospital, usually to either Walter Reed or Brook Army, and begin the process of trying to get discharged. If you’re really wounded -- a quadriplegic, a double-amputee or totally blind -- you’re not a deployable soldier and you should be discharged. But I just spoke with a soldier yesterday who’s waited a year to get medically discharged. This is a major difference for wounded soldiers. If you’re not medically discharged you still get paid a crappy substandard soldier pay, whereas once you’re medically discharged you become a disabled veteran and begin collecting some actual benefits. These guys are stuck in the system for months and months and months, and all of them are quite frustrated by this. If the military were smart they’d get their act together because it leaves a sour taste in soldier’s mouths.

I asked them all what expectations they had had about the war, and a lot of their answers were really shocking. One soldier said he thought it would be fun, that he would be jumping out of planes. A couple of soldiers said they watched Desert Storm on TV as kids and thought it looked really cool. One soldier watched war movies as a kid and said American soldiers were always treated “awesome” in the world. He’s saying this and he doesn’t have a leg. That’s how “awesome” he was treated.

I also started asking them how they defined freedom and democracy, and some couldn’t even answer the question. For Jose, freedom was about being able to play video games or go to the movies. It was striking how simple these responses were, for soldiers being told that they were going to Iraq to liberate the people and bring them freedom and democracy.

MJ.com: What do the soldiers think when Americans say that “I’m against the war but I support the troops”?

NB: Well, I would really side-step political questions about whether they were in favor of the war or not because when I asked that question most soldiers tended to give robotic responses, saying: “I’m a soldier and I have no political feelings.” One soldier, though, whom I met at Walter Reed, said to me, “Look, whatever the book does or whatever you do, just make sure you say that people support the troops.” So I’m not sure what they think it means. I think, for me, the banner “support the troops” is an almost meaningless expression. I saw that banner all over the Republican convention, but then you see Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits getting cut, or you talk to soldiers who don’t even have appropriate equipment. So I don’t really know what “support our troops” means. If you really want to learn about the war and support the troops, head to the local VA and learn about the war and support members of Congress who are going to fund the Veteran’s Administration -- instead of just putting a banner in your window or wearing a yellow ribbon.

MJ.com: That reminds me of what Spc. Robert Acosta, a twenty year-old soldier from Santa Ana, California, said about how Americans “watch action movies and glorify all of this stuff.”

NB: Right, Robert Acosta was probably the most articulate in the book. He’s become quite an activist. He recently appeared in an ad working with this group called Operation Truth and this morning, we were on the radio together. Since I met him, he’s made quite a substantial leap in his thinking about the entire war.

MJ.com: What influenced that transformation?

NB: I asked Robert about it the other day, because he was a very rare unguarded soldier and he gave me a lot of hope when I met him. When I first spoke with him, and started talking about politics, he remembered being one of those military kids who was worshipped as a hero, one of those kids who just used to say, “I’m a soldier and I have no political feelings.” But I asked him what changed and basically, when he was injured, the military tried to screw with him. First they wanted to make him a hero, giving him a bronze star for his injury [a grenade was thrown into his Humvee near Baghdad International Airport and he lost his right hand and use of his left leg]. But then they turned around and decided that his injury was his fault. He felt incredibly betrayed. They tried to say he shouldn’t have been in the Humvee in the first place and he saw, first hand, the military hypocrisy at work and that started changing his thinking.

MJ.com: Do these soldiers feel their voices and situations are acknowledged in the mainstream press?

NB: All the soldiers wanted to participate in my book because they felt like their voices weren’t being heard. Some soldiers have been on TV. For example, Martinez is still living pretty much at Brook Army hospital so when they get a public relations request, they put Martinez out there. Jeremy Feldbusch, who is now brain-damaged and blind, works with the Wounded Warriors project and speaks on television shows. But, in comments on the website, people seem surprised by these images and that’s something I have a hard time understanding because, man, here we are 18 months into this war and these images should be commonplace by now. When you have almost 8,000 injured in combat and another 15,000 or so injured in combat support, you should be seeing these images all the time. You look at Time magazine, which funded part of this project, and they have really only produced one story on wounded soldiers.

MJ.com: How did the soldiers react when it become known there were never any weapons of mass destruction?

NB: It was interesting. Two soldiers that I talked to seemed to buy into the whole reason for war. Then I asked them about WMDs, and their entire thinking changed and you could see their brain flip. Lt. Jordan Johnson, the one woman in the book, said it was a major disappointment because she supposedly had a mission and that mission was based on something that did not exist. And one soldier, Corey McGee, who had a rough trip stationed in Fallujah, said he bought into the whole 9/11 and Iraq equation. But when I asked him about WMDs, he said it makes you wonder if everything else they say is even true or not. I felt that, in many ways, I was the first person who talked with these soldiers about the broader issues of the war. Their whole understanding of the war, and how they process their injuries, depends on how much information they have access to and whom they talk to.

MJ.com: Did any of the soldiers talk about the Vietnam War?

NB: One soldier, Sgt, Josh Olson, who’s an amputee up to the hip, had relatives in Vietnam. He had the view that U.S. hands were tied in Vietnam and that we should have finished the job. He was also very hard-core about the war in Iraq, saying we’re going to have to kill a lot of people and “if they want to go to Allah, I’m going to send them to Allah.”

What I found, though, is that Vietnam Veterans are very interested in these sorts of soldiers. Purple Hearts' afterword is written by Tim Origer, a Vietnam veteran who returned from Vietnam at 19 as an amputee, works with Veterans for Peace and is making contacts with these soldiers. Many Vietnam vets are super, super upset about this war. They identify with these wounded soldiers and basically see the whole nightmare unfolding for a second time.

MJ.com: I want to ask you about the book's afterword. Tim Origer writes that books like Purple Hearts “can awaken [our contemporaries] from their comfortable and complacent dreams.” Do you think Purple Hearts can have this type of impact? What else needs to emerge to change the culture of war?

NB: Well, for me, it comes down to basically two things with this book. One is let’s start getting a real look at war. If you want to start sending your sons and daughters to war then don’t have this cartoon version of what is going to happen to them. You know, they are not going to be action heroes coming home in a blaze of glory. So let’s face up to that. That was a really important reason for me to do this book because to me we’re all kind of complicit in this experience here.

And the second thing is that I hope the text gives people a little bit of an understanding of the kind of youth culture that exists in America, and what these youths know, what they don’t know, and what they imagine about the rest of the world. A lot of these soldiers come from very poor communities and the Army was the only thing out there. The Army recruiters are in their school every week, while corporate recruiters never enter these schools. The only people that are showing up in these high schools are Army recruiters in snappy uniforms with smiling faces.

I just got an e-mail off my site from this couple in Hawaii saying what can I do, the recruiters are coming to the school all the time and taking away all these children. I also made a ten-minute movie -- which records these soldiers in their own voices -- and I hope to get this movie shown in public schools. That’s what I’m hoping to do, that’s the next round.

Basically, I’ve been a photographer for many years and I did this book because I want people to see these pictures. As a journalist and as an American living here I feel like there’s something that I must be able to contribute that isn’t being done. I was too young to do anything during the Vietnam War but if I don’t do something during this war then I’ll just feel like I’m as bad as everybody else.

MJ.com: Who’s the most compelling figure for you in the book?

NB: Well Acosta is amazing and so thoughtful because he is the only one who talked about the confusing emotions when the enemy gets hurt and what that does to you. Tyson Johnson is important because his situation is just so bad. I keep in touch with him and his mom. His house was destroyed in the hurricanes last month and he’s just been screwed over so badly. And Sam Ross, who is blind amputee living alone in a trailer.

MJ.com: What happened with Tyson Johnson and his National Guard $2999 bonus pay?

NB: Basically, he was in the National Guard and received a bonus for joining the regular Army. He then suffered massive internal injuries and became 100 percent disabled and, therefore, could not fulfill his three-year contact. His credit report shows he owes the government back all this money, so he was deemed a credit risk when he tried to rent an apartment. Supposedly this is being sorted out for him. ABC did something on Tyson last week and they interviewed some three-star General, who said they would fix it, but I talked with Tyson a couple of days ago and it still hasn’t been fixed. But you know the bottom line is that he lives in this crappy town, away from anyone to advocate for him. And these soldiers don’t know how to advocate for themselves. They’re taught to take orders and not challenge and question authority, and this makes it really hard for them, especially if they are in pain twenty-four hours a day, which many of them are.

MJ.com: What about the rhetoric around troops that politicians use in campaign rallies and commercials?

NB: They say, “support our troops” or they show up at a veteran's parade and that’s it. Or, like Acosta says, they show the war and America changes the channel. For me, the best possible solution is to humiliate politicians publicly, because that’s the only way I can figure out how to make them move.

MJ.com: Are there any similar projects underway that attempt to document the considerable number of Iraqi casualties and injuries?

NB: The only one I know about, and maybe a little off subject, is a short movie about what happens to soldiers who’ve killed someone in combat. Because that’s the thing nobody wants to talk about. And if you want to find a soldier who has post-traumatic stress, it’s not so much the one who saw his buddy killed; it’s the one who did the killing himself. I don’t get into that too much in the book but it’s something as a country that we should start talking about. Because when you send 19 year-olds to Iraq and they kill a bunch of people, what are they supposed to do when you send them home?

That’s why I think matching up Vietnam vets with these Iraqi vets