Thursday, September 29, 2005

Justice NO LONGER DeLayED

Justice DeLayed
by the Editors
Post date: 09.29.05
Issue date: 10.10.05
am innocent," Tom DeLay declared in the frantic hours
after his indictment by Texas District Attorney Ronnie
Earle. "I have done nothing wrong." It remains to be
seen whether the now-former House Republican majority
leader is guilty, as Earle's indictment charges, of
conspiring to direct corporate political contributions
illegally to Texas state candidates. The indictment,
after all, offers scant details establishing DeLay's
culpability. What's more, the Texas law in question is
arcane, and, in the realm of political money, the
$190,000 DeLay and his associates allegedly
misdirected is a relative pittance. But one can hardly
say that Tom DeLay has "done nothing wrong."

Throughout his Washington career, there is little
wrong that DeLay hasn't done. He has transformed the
House Republican majority into an arm of corporate
special interests that benefit from an unprecedented
"pay to play" culture of rewards for political
donations. As symbolized by his well-known chumminess
with the oleaginous Jack Abramoff, he has
unapologetically blurred the lines between
officeholders and lobbyists, deeply integrating K
Street into his party's political and legislative
strategy and treating it like a House Republican
patronage machine. And DeLay, more than anyone, has
been responsible for running the House of
Representatives like a one-party dictatorship, both
shutting out the Democratic minority (even denying
them simple meeting space) and militantly smothering
intraparty dissent.

Those are just the overarching themes of DeLay's
disgraceful tenure in Congress. One could type for
hours without exhausting the list of particular
offenses for which he should have been ostracized by
now: He has allegedly threatened K Street firms that
failed to hire Republican lobbyists in sufficient
numbers. He was admonished last year by the House
ethics committee for essentially selling access to
energy-industry executives just as Congress was
wrapping up a major energy bill. The ethics committee
also slapped DeLay for offering to endorse the
candidate son of Republican Representative Nick Smith
in exchange for Smith's vote in favor of a GOP
Medicare bill. Then the ethics committee rebuked him a
third time for his wildly inappropriate enlistment of
the Federal Aviation Administration to hunt for a
group of awol Texas legislators back in 2003.

Which brings us back to Earle's indictment. Those
Texas lawmakers DeLay was hunting had taken flight to
inhibit a Machiavellian GOP-led vote to redraw Texas's
congressional districts. The plan, which eventually
passed, led to the defeat of four incumbent House
Democrats at the hands of Republicans in 2004--and it
was all masterminded by DeLay. It had long been
customary for parties to redraw congressional
boundaries only after the once-a-decade U.S. census.
But, under DeLay's leadership, Texas Republicans
determined that they could boost their numbers in the
state legislature and ram through a new state
congressional map mid-decade. That's why DeLay worked
so hard in 2001 and 2002 to elect a new crop of
Republicans to the Texas legislature. Earle's
indictment contends that, during that election, a
DeLay political action committee, Texans for a
Republican Majority, essentially laundered
contributions from corporations (which, under Texas
law, may not fund state political races) through a
national Republican committee and on to several GOP
legislative candidates. It was classic DeLay:
hubristic, hyper-partisan, and corporate-funded.

Of course, even DeLay himself is merely a cog in a
Washington Republican machine that has abandoned
morality in its fanatical pursuit of power. Beyond
rooting for a jury in Travis County, Texas, to return
a guilty verdict in the months ahead, Democrats need
to make clear to the public that his indictment
represents a mere fraction of the Republican
Congress's corruption. The House ethics committee, for
instance, must continue to investigate Abramoff's
sleazy lobbying, which envelops several other GOP
congressmen and reveals the disgusting influence K
Street lobbyists enjoy over federal lawmaking. Within
the panoply of DeLay's countless other ethical (and
potentially legal) offenses, Earle's indictment is
relatively trivial. But a conviction would be a
fitting end for the career of a mean-spirited,
intellectually primitive, and ethically bankrupt man.
And, with any luck, it could be the beginning of a
desperately needed fumigation of Capitol Hill. That
much DeLay, a former exterminator, would understand.

the Editors

The Last Passion

The Last Passion of the Democratic Party

A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL


In June of 1964, three civil rights workers -- one black and two Jewish white young men -- didn't have any naive notions that Philadelphia, Mississippi, practiced brotherly love as allegedly did its Pennsylvania counterpart. On the 21st of that month, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman -- all in their early 20s -- traveled to the "Mississippi Philadelphia" to investigate the burning of a black church by the revived Ku Klux Klan.

In a conspiracy between the local sheriff and the Klan, the three were arrested on a trumped up charge, and released after local law enforcement notified a mob of white males as to which road the three would be riding out of town on. As Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman approached an intersection, they were dragged from their car and brutally murdered. Ironically, this past June, "Forty-one years to the day after three civil rights workers were ambushed and killed by a Ku Klux Klan mob, a jury found former Klansman Edgar Ray Killen guilty on three counts of manslaughter."

The murders of Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman in a summer that was a racial tinderbox for America, along with the bombing of a church that killed young black girls, set the civil rights movement aflame. As a result of the segregationist, anti-democracy actions of self-styled saviors of the white Christian southern lifestyle, America was about to finally fully emancipate itself. The vision of a democracy that belonged to every citizen of the United states -- regardless of race, creed or color -- was to belatedly become law as Lyndon Johnson, a gnarly, old school Texan Southern Democrat -- who somehow had truly been touched by the injustice of racism -- embraced a new guarantee of equality for every American.

It was, perhaps, the last time that the Democratic Party leadership stood passionately behind an issue that was integral to the preservation of the goals and grandeur of our revolutionary heritage -- and to the promise of our Constitution and democracy. Some southern Democrats dragged their feet, as did some northern lunch bucket mayors, but the party as a whole put its soul and its conviction behind the notion that all Americans are created equal and each one is entitled to one vote, to a quality education, and to equal opportunity.

For Democrats, it was a tense, but proud period. They had the law, the Constitution, and righteousness on their side. The hymn, "We Shall Overcome," became the rallying song for a generation that was motivated by the notion that America's greatness resided in the legal and equal rights it bestowed on all its citizens, not just the self-appointed few.

To those who say that the movement against the Vietnam War equally evidenced the last great passionate success of the Democrats, remember that the War was escalated by a Democratic President (the same Lyndon Johnson) -- and that many Democrats jumped to Nixon because Hubert Humphrey started talking about peace in the closing days of the 1968 campaign. The Vietnam War caused a split among the Democrats in a way that the Iraq War has now (at least among Democratic elected officials; the mainstream Democrats stand pretty solidly opposed to the Baghdad fiasco). It's worth remembering that Nixon trounced an eminently wise World War II hero, George McGovern, largely because McGovern was a peace candidate.

And so that brings us back to the historical significance of Philadelphia, Mississippi, in representing the last great passion of the Democrats. It seems that since the civil rights movement, the Democrats have been playing a defensive game of politics, letting the Republicans define the terms of the debate. Yet, ironically, it is the success of the civil rights movement that proves passion, commitment, and hard work can achieve goals and preserve democracy. The Democrats won the civil rights battle because they fought -- and died -- for what they believed in. They didn't wait to read the latest polls.

Conviction can move mountains; it can make the dreams of a Martin Luther King Jr. come true; it can change the attitudes of millions of Americans and appeal to their higher sense of fairness and decency. But if you don't have conviction, you can't have passion -- and if you don't have passion, you're just sitting in the shadow of those who do. Unfortunately, this means that the right wing's passion marginalizes most of the Democrats in Congress into insignificant timid back benchers.

Through a sadly ironic series of circumstances, the editor of BuzzFlash.com found himself in the middle of the dusty town of Philadelphia, Mississippi, in August of this summer. The small city apparently hadn't changed much since the early '60s. Three young white women in a coffee shop all appeared perplexed when we asked them where Railroad Avenue was. (In fact, one claimed not to even notice it as she held a map with the town's few streets just inches from her face.) None of them said that they knew, even though you could drive through the entire town while blinking.

Why didn't they "know"? Well, we can only speculate. But the answer may be in the response an auto repair shop owner told the BuzzFlash editor's wife when she subsequently asked where Railroad Avenue was. "Why would you want to go there?" he asked her. "That just leads to the black section of town. There is a feed lot up there though. Are you looking for the feed lot?"

Actually, we were looking for the Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church. According to a pamphlet put together by Neshoba County (in which Philadelphia, MS, is located), "When the civil rights workers first came to Philadelphia, Mt. Nebo was the only church that would allow C.O.R.E. (Congress of Racial Equality) to hold mass meetings to register people to vote. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a memorial service at Mt. Nebo two years after the slayings [of the three civil rights workers]." In front of the modest church is a tombstone memorial to Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner. The church was within walking distance of Railroad Avenue.

We had stopped in Philadelphia, after dropping our son off at college in New Orleans, a week before Katrina hit. He left within five days with his roommates. The poor, mostly black, weren't so lucky. The Busheviks and FEMA were merely carrying on the spirit of Philadelphia, MS (circa 1964) -- -- swirled together with a giant dose of incompetence -- when they abandoned the Crescent City for four days.

And local bigots, like the Gretna police who wouldn't let blacks walk across the Mississippi River bridge to safety, reminded us that the Southern Strategy that has been the underpinning of the Republican Party since Nixon was elected is, ironically, largely a reaction to the implementation of the voting and civil rights acts in the '60s. The white Christian males never forgave or forgot the outrage of patriotic Americans over vile acts like the murders that took place on Highway 19 South, as Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner sought safety. Remember the code word of "States Rights"? After all, it was in Philadelphia, Mississippi, that Ronald Reagan launched his 1980 presidential campaign -- and he wasn't there to memorialize the civil rights workers.

Maybe it began with Rosa Parks. Maybe it began when the Daughters of the American Revolution wouldn't let Marian Anderson sing in their Washington, D.C., Hall in the first part of the last century. Maybe it began when Lincoln ended the hideous practice of one person owning the life of another. Maybe it became a thunderstorm of righteousness when Martin Luther King Jr. preached Biblical, stirring words of emancipation, freedom, and equality.

The Democratic Party knew that the time had come to choose the fork in the road that led to justice -- and they embraced it, fought for it, died for it, and didn't let up until they had achieved their goal.

It was the last great passion of the Democratic Party. America is a better nation for it.

Maybe the Democrats are like the Jews who wandered for 40 years in the desert with Moses before arriving at the Promised Land. Maybe, someday, the Democratic leadership will re-find their passion and their conviction.

In the meantime, we wait -- and it's terribly, terribly painful.

Democracy is the greatest experiment in government, a gift to all who are privileged to be Americans, and it faces a dire threat.

COMMENTARY
It saddens me to think that after all this country has been through to ensure what we as a people believe to be certain inalienable rights guaranteed by our Constitution has been marginalized by Nixon's southern strategy that simply says, "You're bigots, we're bigots. Vote Republican." The black brothers who served with me shoulder to shoulder under fire in Vietnam are considered less than human by nearly half the country. What have we become? The bigoted Republicans who unconsciously beleive in white supremacy live in constant fear, and thus are more inclined to hide behind the flag rather than defend it. They appeal to the worst fears and lowest instincts of the weak and ignorant. They understand the weak and ignorant vote counts the same as the enlightened vote. Maybe Neitzsche was right. Democracy puts power into the hands of those unable to understand what that power entails. The great dumbing down has been encouraged and exploited by the Lee Atwaters and Karl Roves who have made great fortunes and weilded great influence as to how we live our lives. Nixon's "Law and Order" was code for we'll  keep minorities in their place. Reagan's "traditional values" was code for bringing back slavery, not only for minorities, but everyone who has to work to put food on the table. Anyone who continues to support the current Administration is either rich, stupid or hateful. George Bush is the poster boy for something deeply wrong with this nation. When a lying scumbag and war profiteer who ducked his military obligation is seen as some kind of hero by so many, something is really wrong.
Where have all the flowers gone? When will they ever learn?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Indict- Impeach- Imprison

September 27, 2005
By Bernard Weiner, The Crisis Papers

Suppose it could be proven that the integrity of the vote-counting in the 2004 election had been seriously compromised, and that Bush-Cheney probably lost. What would you do about it?

Suppose it could be proven that the Bush Administration told huge lies to get the U.S. military into Iraq, thus leading to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers, the maiming of tens of thousands of others, the deaths of more than 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians? What would you do about it?

Suppose it could be proven that the Bush Administration effectively has turned over the writing of pollution-control legislation to the corporations that create much of the pollution? What would you do about it?

Suppose it could be proven that the Bush inner circle knew that a huge terrorist attack was about to go down in the Fall of 2001 and chose, for whatever reason, to ignore the warnings. What would you do about it?

Suppose it could be proven that high officials of the Bush Administration, for political reasons, deliberately revealed the identity of a covert CIA officer, and that of a CIA mole inside Osama bin Laden's inner circle? What would you do about it?

Suppose it could be proven that the Bush Administration concocted a legal philosophy that would permit the President to ignore laws passed by Congress, and has "disappeared" a number of American citizens into military-base prisons away from public or legal scrutiny - in effect, making the President into a kind of dictator? What would you do about it?

Suppose it could be proven that under rules devised by the Bush Administration, confidentiality between lawyer and client no longer exists, federal agents can enter your home and conduct a search without you being present or even being told it happened ("sneak & peek," it's called), can hack into your computer and read your private emails without you being informed, can check what library books you're reading and prevent librarians from telling you they've done that. What would you do about it?

Suppose it could be proven that the Bush Administration devised legal rationales for torture of suspected terrorist-prisoners in U.S. care - with more than 100 dying while being interrogated - and that key detainees are being sent to U.S.-friendly countries where extreme torture methods are used? What would you do about it?

Suppose it could be proven that because of their incompetence and delay in responding to the Gulf Coast Katrina catastrophe, more than a thousand innocent American citizens drowned or starved to death? What would you do about it?

Suppose it could be proven that the Bush Administration, hostile to science, has denied the reality of global warming and its effects on regional weather changes, such as the increase in monster hurricanes like Katrina and Rita, and thus devoted little or no attention to the deadly implications. What would you do about it?

"WHAT DO I CARE WHAT YOU THINK?"

Well, you get the idea. You or I could continue this list forever - civil liberties, church and state merging, humongous deficits, activist judges enlarging the power of the central government, treating certain citizens (especially women and gays) unequally, etc. etc. And then we'd always come back to the same closing question: "What would you do about it?"

The reason I ask is that the Bush Administration has been caught in the spotlight on these issues for the past four-and-a-half years, with documented evidence reported in the mainstream media. Scandal after scandal, corruption after corruption, high crimes and misdemeanors - and yet, nothing happens.

As Bush himself once said about his critics, almost in these words: "So what, I'm the President. What are you going to do about it? What do I care what you think?" As long as Bush is in the White House, with all the power at his command, with all his loyalist toadies keeping real-world consequences away from him, he feels that he and his inner circle in the bunker with him are untouchable.

And, to date, he has been. So what are you, what are we, going to do about it?

ALMOST AT CRITICAL MASS

I suggest that anti-Bush critical mass is just about achieved in the body politic, especially after the disgraceful, shameful neglect and bungling associated with the Katrina scandal, which led to the deaths of so many American citizens. Nearly two-thirds of those polled these days agree that the Iraq War is a mistake, and the troops should be brought back home soon. Bush's approval rating is now in the high-30% range. If and when in the next few months indictments are unsealed against key Bush Administration officials - perhaps including not only Karl Rove and Scooter Libby but John Bolton and, maybe as unindicted co-conspirators, Bush and Cheney - true critical mass could be achieved.

At that point, we don't want to be just sitting there watching the unfolding of the Bush Administration's self-destruction, or witnessing their last, dangerous, martial-law death throes. We need to have protected ourselves, and helped prepare the way for the moral/legal/political turnaround that is coming.

One way to lay the necessary foundations is to get the citizenry talking seriously about the possibility of impeachment. Now. And, in addition to raising the issue amid the chattering class, perhaps the best way of getting the word out more widely is for an impeachment resolution to be introduced in the House. Now.

As I see it, such a move will not have a chance of success if such a resolution were introduced only by a single, and easily dismissible, member of Congress. No, this impeachment resolution - calling for hearings into the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors of Bush and Cheney - ideally should be introduced by a huge number of Representatives, including whatever courageous Republicans can be convinced to join.

There also is strength in numbers, perhaps giving members courage to take the giant step in the company of many of their peers. Who will start the process by talking along these lines to their fellow members of Congress? My guess is that if someone with the stature of John Conyers and Jim Leach began talking up the idea of an impeachment resolution, others might well consider signing on. Even better would be if Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were to bite the bullet and join in. I'd say a minimum of 40 names would be necessary to break through into the major media as a "serious" movement afoot.

WHY MANY REPUBLICANS MIGHT JOIN IN

Why would Republicans want to abandon the Bush cabal that helped turn them into the majority party in Congress? Well, for one thing, they want to get re-elected and Bush could well be an embarrassing and politically radioactive albatross around their necks in 2006. If Bush and Cheney were to go, they could run campaigns devoid of their association with that pair, and might well return to their seats of power in the Congress.

Likewise, CEOs and other business types, including stock market brokers and economic powers that be, see the damage being inflicted on the budget, on deficit financing, on the economy, and so on, and might well believe that three more years of this bumbling, ideologically-driven administration could well take the country down with it. Better to cut their losses now by abandoning Bush & Co. to the retribution of the public for four-plus years of reckless rule, and then stabilize things and get the country back on track.

So many retired military leaders and traditional Republicans, conservatives all (in the pre-Bush meaning of that term), already have cut themselves loose from a party kidnapped by far-right extremists. It's not outside the realm of possibility that these GOP forces might coalesce into a movement that sees the forced eviction of Bush & Co. from the White House as in the best interests of themselves, their party, the economy, and the American people in general.

Now, introducing such a resolution calling for impeachment hearings could well fail when it comes up for a vote. But Bush & Co. may have gone so far over the acceptable edge, it's not outside the realm of possibility that such a bill could pass. (Members of Congress were talking about the impeachment of President Nixon in the early-'70s and, though no such resolutions passed, they helped set the stage for Nixon's resignation later as the Watergate scandal unfolded.)

In any event, discussing the reasons for impeachment outside the fringes of internet discourse - actual governmental officials talking about it - would significantly alter the respectability of the topic being raised in the public sphere. Suddenly, it would be a serious issue being discussed seriously, both out on the street (where there would have to be unrelenting rallies and civil disobedience) and in the corridors of industry and political power.

NO SEX BUT PLENTY OF DEAD BODIES

The basis for impeachment of Bush-Cheney would not be a personal indiscretion a la Clinton - extremely bad judgment, but a private sexual act between consenting adults - but crimes and misdemeanors that have resulted, and continue to result, in the death and destruction of American citizens and their property, both abroad and at home.

As for the wording of such a resolution, my guess is that the experts in such things will opt for a simple, all-inclusive indictment rather than a laundry-list of specific offenses, which will come later. For example, Bush and Cheney took their oaths of office swearing to "preserve, protect and defend" the Constitution and, by implication, the citizens of the United States. They have done neither.

The Constitutional protections designed to shield citizens from an overbearing federal government are in shreds; citizens are being killed in a war based on lies; we Americans are less secure than we were before the invasion of Iraq; and monster storms have become more deadly because of unfeeling incompetence and a denial of scientific realities.

It is long since time to take corrective action. Many progressives and Democrats have been moving in that direction for a long time, but the time may be ripe, or may soon be ripe, for significant factions of the Republican Party to join in the movement to pry the grasping fingers of Bush & Co. from the levers of power.

Introducing a resolution calling for impeachment hearings is the first serious step along that road back to political sanity and moral accountability for our country. Let's demand that our Representatives in Congress do it, and if they won't, we will elect those who will.

Bernard Weiner, Ph.D. in government & international relations, has taught at various universities, worked as a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently co-edits The Crisis Papers. For comments, write crisispapers@comcast.net.

Monday, September 26, 2005

support the troops

To best support the troops visit the web sites below
http://www.marines.com/request/contact_recruiter_request.asp
http://www.goarmy.com/contact/find_a_recruiter.jsp

1% Solution

Now I've done it

News for Real

September 26, 2005

Last week I proposed The 1% Solution, and it struck a chord. My email was clogged with folks who said they thought it was a terrific idea and wanted to know how to get started.  So I got started . . . if only just. I registered 1percentsolution.org.
Now what? I'm only one guy. and a lazy one at that. We're going to need a hellulva lot more than that to make a splash with this. Because it's all up hill right from the start. On our right we face bought-and-paid for Republicans not about to to bite the One Percenters who feed them.

On our left we is an opposition party that's been beaten senseless by right-wing thugs over the past five years. About a third of them have even begun wearing the other gang's colors to avoid further beatings. Then there's the Hillary third of the party that now speaks only in tongues, making it nearly impossible to figure which side they're really on.

That leaves about a third of Democrats that we can probably count on. But even so, it will require enormous pressure from those Democrats, backed up by nothing short of a tsunami of support from the grassroots (that's you, in case you were wondering,) to drag that other two thirds of Democrats onto this bandwagon.

The good news is that a growing number of moderate Republicans, (even a few GOP full-mooners,) are grousing about Bush's mushrooming deficits. The 1% Solution may not be entirely palatable to them. But if it comes down to a choice between that or deficits, many of them will swallow hard, hide behind the "in times of emergency taxes are a necessary evil," rationale, and vote for it. With Democrats on board and a few dozen Republicans, we'd have a veto-proof bill to put in front of Borrow and Spend George. If he signs it, we win. If he vetoes it, we win – twice.

This plan could actually work. So, who out there wants to lend a hand? I will keep the page up only as long as I believe the necessary momentum is building and helping hands keep helping. (The last thing wanted to do when I retired was start something that put me back to work. So I'm not about to try to pull this wagon alone.)

So, here's what's needed... and soon:

A savvy Washington DC coordinator to get the 1% Pledge to each member of Congress and get 1% lapel buttons to each of those who sign it.

Someone/company to produce lapel buttons, bumper stickers, printed pledges, pledge certificates, etc.

Researcher(s) willing and able to compile a list of the Top 100 One Percenters, and then detail the extent of their most conspicuous assets. Also to provide to them copies of The 1% Solution petition to sign (or to refuse to sign it.)

Most important, we need a member or members of the House and Senate willing to step forward and sponsor 1% Solution bills. (Helloooo up there. Can you hear us yet?)

Okay, so there's the deal. If people step forward and pitch in, this campaign continues. If not, I pull the plug on it. Your call. Let's see if you're just all talk or really ready to act. I'm giving this one month to either fly or die.

Another Reason For the 1% Repeal
As I noted in an earlier column, whenever something awful happens in the nation or world, be it war or bad weather, it's always wealthy supporters of this administration and their friends who benefit. The hurricanes are the latest proof this theory.

"More than 80 percent of the $1.5 billion in contracts signed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency alone were awarded without bidding or with limited competition, government records show, provoking concerns among auditors and government officials about the potential for favoritism or abuse.... Already, questions have been raised about the political connections of two major contractors - the Shaw Group and Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton - that have been represented by the lobbyist Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former leader of FEMA. Bills have come in for deals that apparently were clinched with a handshake, with no documentation to back them up.... (Full Story)

Among those profiting from the misery in the Gulf, (that we know about) include:

The Shaw Group and Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton - that have been represented by the lobbyist Joe M. Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former leader of FEMA.

$568 million in contracts for debris removal has been awarded to a company with ties to Mississippi's Republican governor, and former GOP head, Haley Barbour. (Imagine what the Republicans would be screaming now if former DNC head, Terry McAuliffe had pulled a stunt like that.)

CH2M Hill and the Fluor Corporation, two global engineering companies have been awarded a total of $250 million in hurricane contracts. Both companies were previously cited by regulators for safety violations at a weapons plant cleanup.

The Bechtel Corporation, awarded a contract that could be worth $100 million, is under scrutiny for its oversight of the "Big Dig" construction project in Boston.

Kellogg, Brown & Root, which has bagged $60 million in hurricane clean-up contracts so far, has been rebuked by federal auditors for "unsubstantiated" billings for Iraq reconstruction and criticized for charging taxpayers $100-per-bag laundry service there.

So, besides the obvious problems with all the above, we can probably agree that at the very least these folks should not get more tax cuts. You have to know that at the head of each of those companies sit some of our One Percenters who deserve to have their Bush tax gift repealed. After all, they screw with us – or more precisely, screw us -- regularly. The least we can do is return the favor. You got a problem with that?

So, are you ready to throw your hat into the 1% Solution ring? If so, get ready to put some skin in too. I always appreciate nice emails telling me what "a great job" I'm doing. But I don't need slaps on the back for this to work. I need help. And I need it fast.

Contact: Stephen Pizzo
Phone: 707-829-7038
Email: Stephen@Pizzo.com

Stephen Pizzo http://www.stephen.pizzo.com

Friday, September 23, 2005

The gods are angry

THE GODS MUST BE ANGRY
The past five years have seen devastation, violence, official mendacity and cronyism at levels never before witnessed by America. We've had crisis and disaster in the past, but never this close together. We've had treasury looting by the wealthiest among us. Open ended, no-bid contracts are the rule of the day, not the exception. We have marched headlong into Gomorra under the guise of some unidentified theological junta. The gods are angry.
9-11 (19 guys with box cutters), Katrina, and Rita have brought this nation to its knees. An out of control deficit has our economy on shaky ground. The Iraq occupation has compromised out military. Do you feel a draft yet? Poverty is on the rise. Middle class income has declined in real dollars. Energy costs are driving up the cost of most things and living standards have declined in kind. We have a government that sends out the message that everyone is left to their own devices to survive in a increasingly predatory environment. We have political leadership that jeopardizes the nation's security for petty political retribution. We have a mass media that refuses to play its role as the fourth estate whose role it is to keep the light of day shining on the government and the officials who lean on the levers of power. They now operate as a fifth column against the people  they were originally intended to safeguard. We have high ranking government officials who deliberately lied and shaded the truth to start a war against a people who never attacked us.

"We can't seem to mind our own business.
The whole world has to be just like us.
Now we are fighting a war over there,
No matter the winner, we can't pay the cost.
There's a monster on the loose.
It's got our heads into a noose,
And it just sits there watching."
(Steppenwolf, "Monster." 1970)


We can thank Antonin Scalia for granting a stay on specious grounds to stop the Florida recount. With this action Scala drove a stake through democracy's heart.  If we're ever come to be known as the United States of Halliburton, thank Antonin Scalia.
Three questionable elections have brought one party rule. The perceived minority has no say. The majority of us have had our political leverage neutralized by prevarication. deception and outright criminal fraud. Free and fair elections are for a bygone era. Diebold now determines who will rule we the people. The whirring sound you hear in the background is the ghosts of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower spinning in their graves.
Science has taken a back seat to superstition. Mediocrity is celebrated as a cultural value. Incompetence is rewarded. The whole world wants to be just like us?
The number of dead bodies and wrecked lives left in the wake of the most corrupt administration since Caligula is evidence the gods must be angry.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bush on the sauce

Back on the Sauce, Prez snot slinging, commode hugging drunk

BUSH'S BOOZE CRISIS

By JENNIFER LUCE and DON GENTILE

Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has
hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal.

Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has
started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.

Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by
First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in
Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.

His worried wife yelled at him: "Stop, George."

Following the shocking incident, disclosed here for the first time,
Laura privately warned her husband against "falling off the wagon" and
vowed to travel with him more often so that she can keep an eye on
Dubya, the sources add.

"When the levees broke in New Orleans, it apparently made him reach for
a shot," said one insider. "He poured himself a Texas-sized shot of
straight whiskey and tossed it back. The First Lady was shocked and
shouted: "Stop George!"

"Laura gave him an ultimatum before, 'It's Jim Beam or me.' She doesn't
want to replay that nightmare -- especially now when it's such tough
going for her husband."

Bush is under the worst pressure of his two terms in office and his
popularity is near an all-time low. The handling of the Katrina crisis
and troop losses in Iraq have fueled public discontent and pushed Bush
back to drink.

A Washington source said: "The sad fact is that he has been sneaking
drinks for weeks now. Laura may have only just caught him -- but the
word is his drinking has been going on for a while in the capital. He's
been in a pressure cooker for months.

"The war in Iraq, the loss of American lives, has deeply affected him.
He takes every soldier's life personally. It has left him emotionally
drained.

The result is he's taking drinks here and there, likely in private, to
cope. "And now with the worst domestic crisis in his administration over
Katrina, you pray his drinking doesn't go out of control."

Another source said: "I'm only surprised to hear that he hadn't taken a
shot sooner. Before Katrina, he was at his wit's end. I've known him for
years. He's been a good ol' Texas boy forever. George had a drinking
problem for years that most professionals would say needed therapy. He
doesn't believe in it [therapy], he never got it. He drank his way
through his youth, through college and well into his thirties.
Everyone's drinking around him."

Another source said: "A family member told me they fear George is
'falling apart.' The First Lady has been assigned the job of
gatekeeper." Bush's history of drinking dates back to his youth.
Speaking of his time as a young man in the National Guard, he has said:
"One thing I remember, and I'm most proud of, is my drinking and
partying. Those were the days my friends. Those were the good old days!"

Age 26 in 1972, he reportedly rounded off a night's boozing with his
16-year-old brother Marvin by challenging his father to a fight.

On November 1, 2000, on the eve of his first presidential election, Bush
acknowledged that in 1976 he was arrested for driving under the
influence of alcohol near his parents' home in Maine. Age 30 at the
time, Bush pleaded guilty and paid a $150 fine. His driving privileges
were temporarily suspended in Maine.

"I'm not proud of that," he said. "I made some mistakes. I occasionally
drank too much, and I did that night. I learned my lesson." In another
interview around that time, he said: "Well, I don't think I had an
addiction. You know it's hard for me to say. I've had friends who were,
you know, very addicted... and they required hitting bottom (to start)
going to AA. I don't think that was my case."

During his 2000 presidential campaign, there were also persistent
questions about past cocaine use. Eventually Bush denied using cocaine
after 1992, then quickly extended the cocaine-free period back to 1974,
when he was 28.

Dr. Justin Frank, a Washington D.C. psychiatrist and author of Bush On
The Couch: Inside The Mind Of The President, told The National Enquirer:
"I do think that Bush is drinking again. Alcoholics who are not in any
program, like the President, have a hard time when stress gets to be great.

"I think it's a concern that Bush disappears during times of stress. He
spends so much time on his ranch. It's very frightening."

Published on: 09/21/2005

Sunday, September 18, 2005

hangings in order

crimes against America
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/southflorida/sfl-femareport,0,7651043.storygallery?coll=sfla-home-headlines

The solution: Hand counted paper ballots.
Your assignment if you choose to accept it: Contact your Senators and
Congressmen demanding hand counted paper ballots.
As long as we're at the mercy of computer hackers and proprietary
software code, democracy is compromised. The wholesale theft now taking
place is because no one can be held accountable under the current
election laws.

Reasons for impeachement Part 3

..."seven months before 9/11, George Tenet testified before Congress that Iraq posed no immediate threat to the United States."

"in a Feb. 12, 2001 interview with the Fox News Channel Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said: “Iraq is probably not a nuclear threat at the present time.”

"...intelligence reports released by the CIA and more than 100 interviews top officials in the Bush administration, such as Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, gave to various Senate and Congressional committees and media outlets prior to 9-11 show that the U.S. never believed Saddam Hussein to be an imminent threat other than to his own people."

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0306/S00211.htm


and this:

" And frankly they (the UN Sanctions) have worked. He (Saddam) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." Colin Powell Feb 24, 2001

"But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there, let's remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." ---Condoleezza Rice on CNN July 29, 2001

http://www.thememoryhole.org/war/powell-no-wmd.htm


Neglecting Intelligence, Ignoring Warnings
A chronology of how the Bush Administration repeatedly and deliberately refused to listen to intelligence agencies that said its case for war was weak
January 28, 2004
Updated January 29, 2004

Former weapons inspector David Kay now says Iraq probably did not have WMD before the war, a major blow to the Bush Administration which used the WMD argument as the rationale for war. Unfortunately, Kay and the Administration are now attempting to shift the blame for misleading America onto the intelligence community. But a review of the facts shows the intelligence community repeatedly warned the Bush Administration about the weakness of its case, but was circumvented, overruled, and ignored. The following is year-by-year timeline of those warnings.

2001: WH Admits Iraq Contained; Creates Agency to Circumvent Intel Agencies
In 2001 and before, intelligence agencies noted that Saddam Hussein was effectively contained after the Gulf War. In fact, former weapons inspector David Kay now admits that the previous policy of containment – including the 1998 bombing of Iraq – destroyed any remaining infrastructure of potential WMD programs.

OCTOBER 8, 1997 – IAEA SAYS IRAQ FREE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS:
"As reported in detail in the progress report dated 8 October 1997…and based on all credible information available to date, the IAEA's verification activities in Iraq, have resulted in the evolution of a technically coherent picture of Iraq's clandestine nuclear programme. These verification activities have revealed no indications that Iraq had achieved its programme objective of producing nuclear weapons or that Iraq had produced more than a few grams of weapon-usable nuclear material or had clandestinely acquired such material. Furthermore, there are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for t he production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance."

FEBRUARY 23 & 24, 2001 – COLIN POWELL SAYS IRAQ IS CONTAINED:
"I think we ought to declare a success. We have kept him contained, kept him in his box." He added Saddam "is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors" and that "he threatens not the United States."

SEPTEMBER 16, 2001 – CHENEY ACKNOWLEDGES IRAQ IS CONTAINED:
Vice President Dick Cheney said that "Saddam Hussein is bottled up" – a confirmation of the intelligence he had received.

SEPTEMBER 2001 – WHITE HOUSE CREATES OFFICE TO CIRCUMVENT INTEL AGENCIES: The Pentagon creates the Office of Special Plans "in order to find evidence of what Wolfowitz and his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, believed to be true-that Saddam Hussein had close ties to Al Qaeda, and that Iraq had an enormous arsenal of chemical, biological, and possibly even nuclear weapons that threatened the region and, potentially, the United States…The rising influence of the Office of Special Plans was accompanied by a decline in the influence of the C.I.A. and the D.I.A. bringing about a crucial change of direction in the American intelligence community."

The office, hand-picked by the Administration, specifically "cherry-picked intelligence that supported its pre-existing position and ignoring all the rest" while officials deliberately "bypassed the government's customary procedures for vetting intelligence."
2002: Intel Agencies Repeatedly Warn White House of Its Weak WMD Case
Throughout 2002, the CIA, DIA, Department of Energy and United Nations all warned the Bush Administration that its selective use of intelligence was painting a weak WMD case. Those warnings were repeatedly ignored.

JANUARY, 2002 – TENET DOES NOT MENTION IRAQ IN NUCLEAR THREAT REPORT:
"In CIA Director George Tenet's January 2002 review of global weapons-technology proliferation, he did not even mention a nuclear threat from Iraq, though he did warn of one from North Korea."

FEBRUARY 6, 2002 – CIA SAYS IRAQ HAS NOT PROVIDED WMD TO TERRORISTS:
"The Central Intelligence Agency has no evidence that Iraq has engaged in terrorist operations against the United States in nearly a decade, and the agency is also convinced that President Saddam Hussein has not provided chemical or biological weapons to Al Qaeda or related terrorist groups, according to several American intelligence officials."

APRIL 15, 2002 – WOLFOWITZ ANGERED AT CIA FOR NOT UNDERMINING U.N. REPORT:
After receiving a CIA report that concluded that Hans Blix had conducted inspections of Iraq's declared nuclear power plants "fully within the parameters he could operate" when Blix was head of the international agency responsible for these inspections prior to the Gulf War, a report indicated that "Wolfowitz ‘hit the ceiling’ because the CIA failed to provide sufficient ammunition to undermine Blix and, by association, the new U.N. weapons inspection program."

SUMMER, 2002 – CIA WARNINGS TO WHITE HOUSE EXPOSED:
"In the late summer of 2002, Sen. Graham had requested from Tenet an analysis of the Iraqi threat. According to knowledgeable sources, he received a 25-page classified response reflecting the balanced view that had prevailed earlier among the intelligence agencies--noting, for example, that evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program or a link to Al Qaeda was inconclusive. Early that September, the committee also received the DIA's classified analysis, which reflected the same cautious assessments. But committee members became worried when, midway through the month, they received a new CIA analysis of the threat that highlighted the Bush administration's claims and consigned skepticism to footnotes."

SEPTEMBER, 2002 – DIA TELLS WHITE HOUSE NO EVIDENCE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS: "An unclassified excerpt of a 2002 Defense Intelligence Agency study on Iraq's chemical warfare program in which it stated that there is ‘no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons, or where Iraq has - or will - establish its chemical warfare agent production facilities.’" The report also said, "A substantial amount of Iraq's chemical warfare agents, precursors, munitions, and production equipment were destroyed between 1991 and 1998 as a result of Operation Desert Storm and UNSCOM (United Nations Special Commission) actions."

SEPTEMBER 20, 2002 – DEPT. OF ENERGY TELLS WHITE HOUSE OF NUKE DOUBTS:
"Doubts about the quality of some of the evidence that the United States is using to make its case that Iraq is trying to build a nuclear bomb emerged Thursday. While National Security Adviser Condi Rice stated on 9/8 that imported aluminum tubes ‘are only really suited for nuclear weapons programs, centrifuge programs’ a growing number of experts say that the administration has not presented convincing evidence that the tubes were intended for use in uranium enrichment rather than for artillery rocket tubes or other uses. Former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright said he found significant disagreement among scientists within the Department of Energy and other agencies about the certainty of the evidence."

OCTOBER 2002 – CIA DIRECTLY WARNS WHITE HOUSE:
"The CIA sent two memos to the White House in October voicing strong doubts about a claim President Bush made three months later in the State of the Union address that Iraq was trying to buy nuclear materials in Africa."

OCTOBER 2002 — STATE DEPT. WARNS WHITE HOUSE ON NUKE CHARGES:
The State Department’s Intelligence and Research Department dissented from the conclusion in the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq’s WMD capabilities that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. "The activities we have detected do not ... add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what INR would consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquiring nuclear weapons." INR accepted the judgment by Energy Department technical experts that aluminum tubes Iraq was seeking to acquire, which was the central basis for the conclusion that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, were ill-suited to build centrifuges for enriching uranium.

OCTOBER 2002 – AIR FORCE WARNS WHITE HOUSE:
"The government organization most knowledgeable about the United States' UAV program -- the Air Force's National Air and Space Intelligence Center -- had sharply disputed the notion that Iraq's UAVs were being designed as attack weapons" – a WMD claim President Bush used in his October 7 speech on Iraqi WMD, just three days before the congressional vote authorizing the president to use force.

2003: WH Pressures Intel Agencies to Conform; Ignores More Warnings
Instead of listening to the repeated warnings from the intelligence community, intelligence officials say the White House instead pressured them to conform their reports to fit a pre-determined policy. Meanwhile, more evidence from international institutions poured in that the White House’s claims were not well-grounded.

LATE 2002-EARLY 2003 – CHENEY PRESSURES CIA TO CHANGE INTELLIGENCE: "Vice President Dick Cheney's repeated trips to CIA headquarters in the run-up to the war for unusual, face-to-face sessions with intelligence analysts poring over Iraqi data. The pressure on the intelligence community to document the administration's claims that the Iraqi regime had ties to al-Qaida and was pursuing a nuclear weapons capacity was ‘unremitting,’ said former CIA counterterrorism chief Vince Cannistraro, echoing several other intelligence veterans interviewed." Additionally, CIA officials "charged that the hard-liners in the Defense Department and vice president's office had 'pressured' agency analysts to paint a dire picture of Saddam's capabilities and intentions."

JANUARY, 2003 – STATE DEPT. INTEL BUREAU REITERATE WARNING TO POWELL: "The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), the State Department's in-house analysis unit, and nuclear experts at the Department of Energy are understood to have explicitly warned Secretary of State Colin Powell during the preparation of his speech that the evidence was questionable. The Bureau reiterated to Mr. Powell during the preparation of his February speech that its analysts were not persuaded that the aluminum tubes the Administration was citing could be used in centrifuges to enrich uranium."

FEBRUARY 14, 2003 – UN WARNS WHITE HOUSE THAT NO WMD HAVE BEEN FOUND: "In their third progress report since U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 was passed in November, inspectors told the council they had not found any weapons of mass destruction." Weapons inspector Hans Blix told the U.N. Security Council they had been unable to find any WMD in Iraq and that more time was needed for inspections.

FEBRUARY 15, 2003 – IAEA WARNS WHITE HOUSE NO NUCLEAR EVIDENCE: The head of the IAEA told the U.N. in February that "We have to date found no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq." The IAEA examined "2,000 pages of documents seized Jan. 16 from an Iraqi scientist's home -- evidence, the Americans said, that the Iraqi regime was hiding government documents in private homes. The documents, including some marked classified, appear to be the scientist's personal files." However, "the documents, which contained information about the use of laser technology to enrich uranium, refer to activities and sites known to the IAEA and do not change the agency's conclusions about Iraq's laser enrichment program."

FEBURARY 24, 2003 – CIA WARNS WHITE HOUSE ‘NO DIRECT EVIDENCE’ OF WMD:
"A CIA report on proliferation released this week says the intelligence community has no ‘direct evidence’ that Iraq has succeeded in reconstituting its biological, chemical, nuclear or long-range missile programs in the two years since U.N. weapons inspectors left and U.S. planes bombed Iraqi facilities. ‘We do not have any direct evidence that Iraq has used the period since Desert Fox to reconstitute its Weapons of Mass Destruction programs,’ said the agency in its semi-annual report on proliferation activities."

MARCH 7, 2003 – IAEA REITERATES TO WHITE HOUSE NO EVIDENCE OF NUKES:
IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said nuclear experts have found "no indication" that Iraq has tried to import high-strength aluminum tubes or specialized ring magnets for centrifuge enrichment of uranium. For months, American officials had "cited Iraq's importation of these tubes as evidence that Mr. Hussein's scientists have been seeking to develop a nuclear capability." ElBaradei also noted said "the IAEA has concluded, with the concurrence of outside experts, that documents which formed the basis for the of recent uranium transactions between Iraq and Niger are in fact not authentic." When questioned about this on Meet the Press, Vice President Dick Cheney simply said "Mr. ElBaradei is, frankly, wrong."

MAY 30, 2003 – INTEL PROFESSIONALS ADMIT THEY WERE PRESSURED:
"A growing number of U.S. national security professionals are accusing the Bush administration of slanting the facts and hijacking the $30 billion intelligence apparatus to justify its rush to war in Iraq . A key target is a four-person Pentagon team that reviewed material gathered by other intelligence outfits for any missed bits that might have tied Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to banned weapons or terrorist groups. This team, self-mockingly called the Cabal, 'cherry-picked the intelligence stream' in a bid to portray Iraq as an imminent threat, said Patrick Lang, a official at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). The DIA was "exploited and abused and bypassed in the process of making the case for war in Iraq based on the presence of WMD," or weapons of mass destruction, he said. Greg Thielmann, an intelligence official in the State Department, said it appeared to him that intelligence had been shaped 'from the top down.'"

JUNE 6, 2003 – INTELLIGENCE HISTORIAN SAYS INTEL WAS HYPED:
"The CIA bowed to Bush administration pressure to hype the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons programs ahead of the U.S.-led war in Iraq , a leading national security historian concluded in a detailed study of the spy agency's public pronouncements."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

We broke our promise to the Vietnamese

John T. Kuehn's seizing of Bruce Kesler's point is
here very much appreciated. It is often hard for
Americans to realize what their nation has meant to
peoples all over East Europe-- particulalry for those
who had been educated in the hard sciences. It is to
all making a real Mecca of freedom. It is hard to
realize that, except for the scientists working on the
Soviet atomic bomb, under Stalinism, physicists had to
explain the universe in terms of "dialectic
materialism," to satisfy "activist" imbecils and Party
hacks. For someone who devotes his/her youth to
learning and getting good grades, to have this demand
be all there is at the end of the rainbow, is quite a
blow. Thus, people who could barely lift a heavy book,
took their lives into their hands-- often family and
all-- fleeing with only the clothes on their backs to
treck through the whole of Europe (where thet were
very much unwelcome) in order to get to America where
their education can be put to mutual advantage. When
they got here they discivered how behind they all
were. And so, working at menial jobs, they study all
over again until they qualify and could start life
again the American Way.

As one who was dragged accross Europe, never knowing a
settled life until I reached America, I can say that I
was one of those too. However, I never really
appreciated what this freedom in the West was all
about because I was too preoccupied with the
Communists, also moving West, nipping at our heels.

With Khrushchev's new communism, many of us decided to
abandon both our fear of its Stalinist genre and our
battle against it, focusing on our private lives in
America. It seemed quite appropriate for us to become
self-seeking since, afterall, that's what most
Americans seemed to be doing. This was my attitude,
submerging myself into neurosciences, until I went to
UC Berkeley to work on locust flight mechanism. There
I confronted all the New York Communist (like Aptheker
and Atkins) whom I had known in New York, now leading
the Californians, not into totalitarian Communism but
in a demand for "meaningful dialogue." It is no wonder
that in 1964 they got 25,000 out of UC Berkeley's
27,000 students to join in the shutting down of the
university in the name of freedom of speech-- THE FREE
SPEECH MOVEMENT.

Once again I found myself in conflict with Communists,
but this time it was in exercize of the very
meaningful dialog they advocated, using it to oppose
their phase 2: the creation of a typical Communist
group control tool, the mandatory and controlled from
above, Student Union. By 1966 we had them beat,
excercizing the very freedom America is all about and
these New York Communist led the Sunny Californians
into demanding: "meaningful dialogue." It turns out
that had been only a "mobilization vehicle" for the
New Left, but for the rest of the students it was what
America is all about.

Then came the Vietnam War. That was, in 1965, a far
more polarizing issue, for the debate was: is the
bloodshed and destruction a worthwhile price in order
to promote democracy or is it not. Granted, LBJ was
really responding to Khrushchev's imprudent claim that
"we will bury you" and to Mao's insistance that the
"countryside" (Third World) would encircle the cities
(US and West) and strangle them into defeat, so it
really was a matter of global conflict. After speaking
to many Communists in many nations, I can assure you
that they meant what they said, and did so proudly.
But it was hard to get Asians and South Americans to
let us use their homelands as battlefields only so
that we need not face them from Florida or Califirnia.
And so, the American promise was made-- TO THE
PEOPLES, NOT THE REGIMES-- of American aid and
guidance to democracy and well being. So cognizant was
LBJ of that promise, that he assigned "Blowtorch" the
task of dualizing our military to both destruction and
construction (CORDS).

I recall an American obsession against which, as I
recall, only one American rebelled, John Paul Vann. It
is the concept that Star Treck always scripted into
Captain Kirk's mouth: never interfere with local
customs. Unfortunately, Americans did not realize how
very much they interfered with local customs in Asia
since 1950. US put in Diem, US took him out; and then
US invented a number of "generals" for ARVN that it
rotated through head of state musical chairs until it
found one who would not turn "neutralist" on us and
collaborate with deGaulle's mad scheme for a France
supervised "neutral" Southeast Asia. For example, Gen.
Lansdale played terminator on many a Vietnamese--Diem
included-- before he ended life dying of cancer in
deep regret of his earlier hubris. Even Nixon felt
shame over abandoning Vietnam after we so indirectly
screwed it up so much; but he felt that Vietnam was
paralyzing us in dealing with the Soviets in the rest
of the globe. By playing China and the USSR against
eachother, he made it possible to leave Vietnam
without all the dreaded concequences that kept
Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson stuck there.

Pres. Ford insisted, privately: "We payed our dues,
f--k them." I certainly can understand his frustration
and that of most Americans. The many VC I met did
indeed seem a lot more pallatable that the GVN guys I
knew. But then again, the GVN guys were put there by
the USA; and then-- here's our big mistake-- we let
loose our own Frankensteins without controlling them.
It wasn't long before it became clear that in Vietnam
we were, as JFK used to say, "pushing spaggetti." But,
these spaggettis we were trying to push into the
front, were OUR creations, impeding the very democracy
we promised. Here, I believe, the neocons have a
point: you don't promise someone democracy if he joins
you and then inflict on him cleptocracy instead,
claiming you can't do anything about it because you
don't want to interfere with "sovereignty" because
that would indeed make you the "imperialist" that the
Communists charged you to be.

But in fact, the Red Bloc called the US
"neo-imperialist," not "imperialist," specifically
because it imposes garbage as governemnt and sais it
can't interfere with its sovereignty. This was clear
when in 1963 Diem was the first in a long line of
overhtrown Saigon leaders seeking a neutral deal with
Hanoi after kicking out the Americans.

As much as I despise our Iraq involvement and its
reasons as well as the utter incompetence of most of
our civilians there, I must say that if the US had
percevered in democratizing South Vietnam as it is--
for now, until the 2006 election-- in democratizing
Iraq, things might have turned out quite differently.

The real issue, I believe, is were we then as
"democracy" determined as we are now? I think not. I
think we thought of South Vietnam as only a battle
field in our Southeast Asian struggle with Communism.
Thus, as soon as we paralyzed the Communists in
Southeast Asia by splitting them against each other so
they could no longer be a threat to us, we pulled out
and let Indochina go. Our "democracy" pledge seemed
illusory as did our responsibility towards the ARVN we
created as a high-caloie tail-heavy force used to
brrrrrrr on "automatic" of endless supply of amo and
transport.

There can be no quarell, in my view, over why LBJ--
full of trepadation-- told Westmoreland to preapare
for Americanization of the war. Nor is there any
question that Gen. Abrams did indee fight a "better
war." But, when, according to Hanoi's own official
history, the Red Bloc arms-supply to Hanoi became in
1974 seven times what it had been in all the previous
years of war and ARVN's was drying up (especially
fuel) one cannot wonder what fate awaited the South.

The insult on injury, I must insist, was Ford's when
he abrogated Nixon's promise of air power support
directed at the North's lifeline if it attacks in full
force, pejorativeldy declaring, "Our long Vietnam
nightmare is over." Well, it's not over. It haunts us
all every day and night. We promised democracy, we
didn't have the patience or the courage to do what we
had to do to keep our promise. We promised to defend
the Paris Accord from the air; again, we didn't have
the will and so we just declared the Republic of
Vietnam: OUT OF SIGHT OUT OF MIND. Indeed, for the
American media, as of April 30th, 1975, only published
Hanoi-cleared articles.

Perhaps now, the least we could do, is listen to the
refugees about what it was like that caused them to
brave ocean, sharks, anninition and pirates in the
same search for freedom so many of us embarked upon in
1947-48.

Daniel E. Teodoru

Friday, September 16, 2005

A DIEBOLD INSIDER SPEAKS!"

Company allowed election rigging
Insider claims company brainwashing.
http://www.bradblog.com/archives/00001838.htm

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A good read

From democraticdaily.com

  1. Andrew Says:

    The Noxious Lullaby:

    I have been wide-awake for five years now.

    Before that, I was adrift in a state of semi-consciousness, enjoying the sweet, feminine falsetto sung by our mainstream. Snuggled up in my supple and fluffy ignorance, I wandered softly through the ornate and fulfilling castle in the sky.

    I drifted around in my dream state, complaining and making observations specific to the issues that served nothing more than the preservation of my own sleepy decadence.

    I was a liberal, and despised racism, classism, and the like, but only to the limit of the range of my voice. Meanwhile, I drank too much and spent vast sums of money on causes beneficial to my own comfort.

    I would say that I was the typical Caucasian Democrat, talking whilst sleeping. It is something that I am not proud of, but a fact nonetheless.

    Admittedly, I was not a big fan of Al Gore way back when. My reasons were common among my friends as we felt that he seemed a bit too interested in methods that would seek to govern our personal lives. Simultaneously, I was not diligent in my knowledge of Mr. Bush, and relied solely on my contempt for his father to sway my vote away from him, making my choice a debate between “the lesser of two evils.”

    I chose the third, Mr. Nader, thus compounding my own sense of “genious.”

    As it turned out, my pride driven vote didn’t make much difference. Plans beneath the shallow surface had been drawn while I slept. Shills were in place. Crafted, powerful, and deliberate instigators worked feverishly to ensure the end result, and with great brilliance and success, the man who would turn out to be the worst President in our nation’s history was seated in the Oval Office.

    Suddenly, a loud crash had interrupted my slumber.

    Since the beginning of his Presidency, Mr. Bush has shown immense flaws of leadership. Some examples from the very beginning are legendary. All of us witnessed his swift disappearance from Washington upon failure after failure to pursue his agenda and that of his base.

    And then the planes struck.

    With this despicable act, we unified as a nation (I believe that If Gary Coleman were the President, we would have done the same.) With the nation behind him, his advisors must have taken a deep sigh of relief. For, we seemed to have blinded ourselves to the blatant truth that the President and his cabinet had failed us, resulting in the worst catastrophe to date in American history.

    With knowledge of this blindness, the machine began running at peak capacity, simultaneously revealing and subverting the President’s number one priority: the conquering of Iraq, and concurrently, the rebirth of imperialism.

    Yet again, plans were hastily drawn, but this time they were flawed from their conception by delusions of imperial proportions. Swift success in Afghanistan fed the delusional superiority of the new imperialists, who mistook their delusions for facts and deliberately ignored the historical consequences for imperialism.

    Blatant lies were perpetrated on the floor of our House and Senate. Trinkets were waved around to emphasize the depth of the “clear and present danger.” Sixteen mendacious words were uttered to invoke the instability and fear of the American people, whose sense of security was already fragile as a result of the first failure of the President.

    Meanwhile, our media, whose task is to protect its citizens from fascism, was in the midst of its own reprehensible failure.

    Americans were being deliberately distracted from seeking the truth by relentless warnings about poison pens, exploding neckties, and the life saving benefits of having three rolls of duct tape.

    Many major news networks opted to mimic the methods of Rojer Ailes, which lined the pockets of his bosses (including the Saudi Royal Family) with gold. In spite of any inkling of integrity we had witnessed wedged between the horrific “Alerts” and “Security Watch(es),” our media had recklessly and irreparably failed us.

    The consequence of the failure was dire. Many were lulled back to sleep, falling hook line and sinker for the dubious assertion that “America will be safer” if we support the conservative agenda. A profound exploitation of communal ignorance was underway.

    As it turns out, the lies of this President were much more complex than I had originally thought. It seems that his “agenda” had many layers. For example, to pursue his devious plan, he has made many concessions to repay his associates for their crimes. Unqualified and undignified individuals were placed in the highest offices of our ill-conceived protectorate. Corrupt and synonymous companies were granted large sums of money to “clean up” the various aftermaths.

    He might have been successful had the forces of nature not intervened, thus exposing the depth of his own incompetence and that of his corrupt minions, which served to erode the thin veil of lies and criminal contempt that has allowed him to push forward.

    As the destruction swept down from the heavens, the President, in his horrid narcissism, continued his “working vacation,” strumming guitars, sampling sweet frosting, and attending to matters of far less significance. The media, a shadow of what it once was, had inadvertently exposed the narcissism of this awful man; posting photographs of his decadence and delusion while concurrently recording the decline, fall, and death of our nations poor and abandoned people the South.

    A camera cannot lie. And so, my eyes were then permanently propped open.

    On this day, the machine- the battered but functioning mechanism of the President- is running at full steam. The levels of desperation are as glaring as they are astounding. In fact, one only needs to visit the White House website to witness the machine’s quest to put as many black faces on it as humanly possible.

    Worse, those who enjoy vast audiences: Mehlmens, Oreillys, Humes; all are unified in spreading covert and deceptive messages to cloud the reality of the President’s ignorance in the face of great dangers.

    In the wake of this deliberate plan, we are witness to the corrupt benefits that are once again being recklessly doled out to the Halliburtionous group of benefactors. Further, it seems that the quest to murk the obvious has shown growing success as we hear no outrage from the opposing institutions pertaining to the cronyism committed to accomplish expensive tasks ahead.

    Once again, the poor must suffer while the rich profit at their growing expense. With nothing, they are now subject to the penalties Mr. Bush has imposed on them by devaluing the value of their services.

    The following is fact:

    Another gargantuan lie is being served to the American people. It is a lie that intends to distract us from the depth of this administration’s corruption. It is a lie that intends to rebury the partially exhumed incompetence for which we have all paid a dear price yet again as a result of the former.
    By now, we should all be fully aware of the scope of this President’s evil; but we have not witnessed the success or failure of the new lie.

    I am fearful that many of my fellow Americans are not like I am. I fear that they are more interested in being lulled back to sleep. I fear that many wish to recapture the delusions of American life, of American insulation, of the American decadence, which we all are afflicted with.

    I fear that our “fourth estate” deliberately seeks to fail us. I fear that my paranoid fantasies of some vast conspiracy are truer and more powerful than my wildest imagination.

    In spite of my fears, I am clinging desperately that at least a handful of those who have endured my various writings are diligently defending their consciousness. I am hopeful that my message crescendos until it is unbearable to hear:

    Your President has failed you.

    Your government has failed you.

    Your media has failed you.

    Their lies are deliberate and their moralism, “a sham.” (Lefever, 5) Their efforts are in the interest of serving themselves above the likes of you and I.

    Once again, the wicked have overtaken the just, and we are now all victims of its wrath. Our only measure must be to seek to remove this vile President from his seat before the “American dream” retreats permanently from our collective grasp and is replaced with fascism.

    My most sincere hope is that we conscientiously pursue this measure. Nothing short of the sum of everything we consider “American” is at stake.

    All of us have taken a nap from time to time. I assume that many have done so solely for the sake of their own sanity. I, myself, am not immune to the temptation to give up and accept the reality that my lack of power has little if any effect on the outcome in spite of how loudly I shout. But now is not the time for anyone to return to his or her slumber.

    Now is the time to awaken the others.

    We must not allow our brothers and sisters to be lulled back to sleep. For, this time they are in danger of never regaining consciousness. This time, their dream will thrust our worst nightmare into a certain and ruinous reality.

    Work Cited

    Lefever, Ernest W. Ethics And World Politics: Four Perspectives; (Page 5: Paragraph 2; ) Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD; 1972.

    Summarized from:

    “The corruption of realism or idealism can be called moralism-the most popular rival and impostor of genuine morality. Morality and ethics (the Greek derivative with the same meaning) has to do with right or wrong behavior in all spheres. It is a discipline of ends and means. However primitive or sophisticated, all moral systems define normative ends and acceptable rules for achieving them. Moralism, on the other hand, is a sham, morality, a partial ethic. . .”

Could it be

FOX turns against Bush

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Can they be this shameless


http://rawstory.com/news/2005/FEMA_outsources_Katrina_body_count_to_firm_implicated_in_bodydumping_scan_0913.html

9-11, And the Sport of God

This is a bit long but well worth the time
9/11 And The Sport of God

Bill Moyers

September 09, 2005

This article is adapted from Bill Moyer's address this week at Union
Theological Seminary in New York, where Judith and Bill Moyers received the
seminary's highest award, the Union Medal, for their contributions to faith
and reason in America. Bill Moyers is a broadcast journalist and former
host
the PBS program NOW With Bill Moyers. Moyers also serves as president of
the
Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, which gives financial support to
TomPaine.com.

At the Central Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas, where I was baptized in
the faith, we believed in a free church in a free state. I still do.

My spiritual forbears did not take kindly to living under theocrats who
embraced religious liberty for themselves but denied it to others. "Forced
worship stinks in God's nostrils," thundered the dissenter Roger
Williams as
he was banished from Massachusetts for denying Puritan authority over his
conscience. Baptists there were a "pitiful negligible minority" but they
were agitators for freedom and therefore denounced as "incendiaries of the
commonwealth" for holding to their belief in that great democracy of
faith-the priesthood of all believers. For refusing to pay tribute to the
state religion they were fined, flogged, and exiled. In l651 the Baptist
Obadiah Holmes was given 30 stripes with a three-corded whip after he
violated the law and took forbidden communion with another Baptist in Lynn,
Massachusetts. His friends offered to pay his fine for his release but he
refused. They offered him strong drink to anesthetize the pain of the
flogging. Again he refused. It is the love of liberty, he said, "that must
free the soul."

Such revolutionary ideas made the new nation with its Constitution and Bill
of Rights "a haven for the cause of conscience." No longer could
magistrates
order citizens to support churches they did not attend and recite creeds
that they did not believe. No longer would "the loathsome combination of
church and state"-as Thomas Jefferson described it-be the settled order.
Unlike the Old World that had been wracked with religious wars and
persecution, the government of America would take no sides in the
religious
free-for-all that liberty would make possible and politics would make
inevitable. The First Amendment neither inculcates religion nor inoculates
against it. Americans could be loyal to the Constitution without being
hostile to God, or they could pay no heed to God without fear of being
mugged by an official God Squad. It has been a remarkable arrangement that
guaranteed "soul freedom."

It is at risk now, and the fourth observance of the terrorist attacks of
9/ll is an appropriate time to think about it.

Four years ago this week, the poet's prophetic metaphor became real again
and "the great dark birds of history" plunged into our lives.

They came in the name of God. They came bent on murder and martyrdom. It
was as if they rode to earth on the fierce breath of Allah himself, for the
sacred scriptures that had nurtured these murderous young men are
steeped in
images of a violent and vengeful God who wills life for the faithful and
horrific torment for unbelievers.

Yes, the Koran speaks of mercy and compassion and calls for ethical
living.
But such passages are no match for the ferocity of instruction found there
for waging war for God's sake. The scholar Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer carefully
traces this trail of holy violence in his important book, Is Religion
Killing Us? [Trinity Press International, 2003]. He highlights many of the
verses in the Koran that the Islamic terrorists could have had in their
hearts and on their lips four years ago as they moved toward their gruesome
rendezvous. As I read some of them, close your eyes and recall the
scenes of
that bright September morning which began in the bright sun under a blue
sky:

"Those who believe Fight in the cause of Allah, and Those who reject Faith
Fight in the cause of Evil."(4:76)

"So We sent against them A furious Wind through days of disaster, that

We might Give them a taste of a Penalty of humiliation In this Life; but

The Penalty of the Hereafter will be More Humiliating still: And they

Will find No help." (41:16)

"Then watch thou For the Day That the sky will Bring forth a kind Of smoke
(or mist) Plainly visible, Enveloping the people: This will be a Penalty

Grievous." (44:10-11)

"Did the people of the towns Feel Secure against the coming Of Our

Wrath by night While they were asleep? Or else did they feel

Secure against its coming in Broad daylight while they Played

About (carefree)? Did they then feel secure Against the Plan of

Allah?-But no one can feel Secure from the Plan of Allah,

except those (Doomed) to ruin." (7:97-99)

So the holy warriors came-an airborne death cult, their sights on God's
enemies: regular folks, starting the day's routine. One minute they're
pulling off their jackets, shaking Sweet n' Low into their coffee,
adjusting
the height of their chair or a picture of a child or sweetheart or
spouse in
a frame on their desk, booting up their computer-and in the next, they are
engulfed by a horrendous cataclysm. God's will. Poof!

But it is never only the number of dead by which terrorists measure their
work. It is also the number of the living- the survivors-taken hostage to
fear. Their mission was to invade our psyche; get inside our heads-deprive
us of trust, faith, and peace of mind: keep us from ever again believing in
a safe, just, and peaceful world, and from working to bring that world to
pass. The writer Terry Tempest Williams has said "the human heart is the
first home of democracy." Fill that heart with fear and people will give up
the risks of democracy for the assurances of security; fill that heart with
fear and you can shake the house to its foundations.

In the days leading up to 9/ll our daughter and husband adopted their first
baby. On the morning of September 11th our son-in-law passed through the
shadow of the World Trade Center toward his office a few blocks up the
street. He arrived as the horrors erupted. He saw the flames, the falling
bodies, the devastation. His building was evacuated and for long awful
moments he couldn't reach his wife, our daughter, to say he was okay. Even
after they connected it wasn't until the next morning that he was able to
make it home. Throughout that fearful night our daughter was alone with
their new baby. Later she told us that for weeks thereafter she would lie
awake at night, wondering where and when it might happen again, going to
the
computer at three in the morning to check out what she could about
bioterrorism, germ warfare, anthrax and the vulnerability of children. The
terrorists had violated a mother's deepest space.

Who was not vulnerable? That morning Judith and I made it to our office at
Channel Thirteen on West 33rd Street just after the second plane struck.
Our
building was evacuated although the two of us remained with other
colleagues
to do what we could to keep the station on the air. The next day it was
evacuated again because of a bomb scare at the Empire State Building
nearby.
We had just ended a live broadcast for PBS when security officers swept
through and ordered everyone out. This time we left. As we were making our
way down the stairs I took Judith's arm and was struck by the thought: Is
this the last time I'll touch her? Could what we had begun together a half
century ago end here on this dim, bare staircase? I forced the thought from
my mind, willed it away, but in the early hours of morning, as I sat at the
window of our apartment looking out at the sky, the sinister intruder crept
back.

Terrorists plant time bombs in our heads, hoping to turn each and every
imagination into a private hell governed by our fear of them.

They win only if we let them, only if we become like them: vengeful,
imperious, intolerant, paranoid. Having lost faith in all else, zealots
have
nothing left but a holy cause to please a warrior God. They win if we
become
holy warriors, too; if we kill the innocent as they do; strike first at
those who had not struck us; allow our leaders to use the fear of terrorism
to make us afraid of the truth; cease to think and reason together,
allowing
others to tell what's in God's mind. Yes, we are vulnerable to terrorists,
but only a shaken faith in ourselves can do us in.

So over the past four years I have kept reminding myself of not only the
horror but the humanity that was revealed that day four years ago, when
through the smoke and fire we glimpsed the heroism, compassion, and
sacrifice of people who did the best of things in the worst of times. I
keep telling myself that this beauty in us is real, that it makes life
worthwhile and democracy work and that no terrorist can take it from us.

But I am not so sure. As a Christian realist I honor my inner skeptic. And
as a journalist I always know the other side of the story. The historian
Edward Gibbon once wrote of historians what could be said of
journalists. He
wrote: "The theologians may indulge the pleasing task of describing
religion
as she descended from Heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more
melancholy duty is imposed on the historian [read: journalist] He must
discover the inevitable mixture of error and corruption which she
contracted
in a long residence upon earth, among a weak and degenerate race of
beings."

The other side of the story:

Muslims have no monopoly on holy violence. As Jack Nelson-Pallmayer points
out, God's violence in the sacred texts of both faiths reflect a deep and
troubling pathology "so pervasive, vindictive, and destructive" that it
contradicts and subverts the collective weight of other passages that
exhort
ethical behavior or testify to a loving God.

For days now we have watched those heart-breaking scenes on the Gulf Coast:
the steaming, stinking, sweltering wreckage of cities and suburbs; the
fleeing refugees; the floating corpses, hungry babies, and old people
huddled together in death, the dogs gnawing at their feet; stranded
children
standing in water reeking of feces and garbage; families scattered; a
mother
holding her small child and an empty water jug, pleading for someone to
fill
it; a wife, pushing the body of her dead husband on a wooden plank down a
flooded street; desperate people struggling desperately to survive.

Now transport those current scenes from our newspapers and television back
to the first Book of the Bible-the Book of Genesis. They bring to life what
we rarely imagine so graphically when we read of the great flood that
devastated the known world. If you read the Bible as literally true, as
fundamentalists do, this flood was ordered by God. "And God said to Noah,
'I have determined to make an end of all flesh© behold, I will destroy them
with the earth." (6:5-l3). "I will bring a flood of waters upon the
earth,
to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven;
everything that is on the earth shall die." (6:l7-l9) Noah and his family
are the only humans spared-they were, after all, God's chosen. But for
everyone else: "© the waters prevailed so mightily© that all the high
mountains©.were covered©.And all flesh died that moved upon the earth,
birds, cattle, beasts©and every man; everything on the dry land in whose
nostrils was the breath of life, died©." (7:17-23).

The flood is merely Act One. Read on: This God first "hardens the heart of
Pharaoh" to make sure the Egyptian ruler will not be moved by the plea of
Moses to let his people go. Then because Pharaoh's heart is hardened, God
turns the Nile into blood so people cannot drink its water and will suffer
from thirst. Not satisfied with the results, God sends swarms of locusts
and flies to torture them; rains hail and fire and thunder on them
destroys
the trees and plants of the field until nothing green remains; orders every
first-born child to be slaughtered, from the first-born of Pharaoh right on
down to "the first-born of the maidservant behind the mill." An
equal-murderous God, you might say. The massacre continues until "there is
not a house where one was not dead." While the Egyptian families mourn
their dead, God orders Moses to loot from their houses all their gold and
silver and clothing. Finally, God's thirst for blood is satisfied, God
pauses to rest-and boasts: "I have made sport of the Egyptians."

Violence: the sport of God. God, the progenitor of shock and awe.

And that's just Act II. As the story unfolds women and children are hacked
to death on God's order; unborn infants are ripped from their mother's
wombs; cities are leveled-their women killed if they have had sex, the
virgins taken at God's command for the pleasure of his holy warriors. When
his holy warriors spare the lives of 50,000 captives God is furious and
sends Moses back to rebuke them and tell them to finish the job. One tribe
after another falls to God-ordered genocide: the Hittites, the Girgashites,
the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites-names so
ancient
they have disappeared into the mists as fathers and mothers and brothers
and
sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, infants in arms, shepherds,
threshers, carpenters, merchants, housewives-living human beings, flesh
and
blood: "And when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat
them; then you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with
them, and show no mercy to them©(and) your eyes shall not pity them."

So it is written-in the Holy Bible.

Yes, I know: the early church fathers, trying to cover up the blood-soaked
trail of God's sport, decreed that anything that disagrees with Christian
dogma about the perfection of God is to be interpreted spiritually. Yes, I
know: Edward Gibbon himself acknowledged that the literal Biblical sense of
God "is repugnant to every principle of faith as well as reason" and
that we
must therefore read the scriptures through a veil of allegory. Yes, I know:
we can go through the Bible and construct a God more pleasing to the better
angels of our nature (as I have done.) Yes, I know: Christians claim the
Old
Testament God of wrath was supplanted by the Gospel's God of love [See The
God of Evil , Allan Hawkins, Exlibris.]

I know these things; all of us know these things. But we also know that
the
"violence-of-God" tradition remains embedded deep in the DNA of
monotheistic
faith. We also know that fundamentalists the world over and at home
consider
the "sacred texts" to be literally God's word on all matters. Inside that
logic you cannot read part of the Bible allegorically and the rest of it
literally; if you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, his crucifixion and
resurrection, and the depiction of the Great Judgment at the end times you
must also believe that God is sadistic, brutal, vengeful, callow, cruel
and savage-that God slaughters.

Millions believe it.

Let's go back to 9/11 four years ago. The ruins were still smoldering when
the reverends Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell went on television to
proclaim
that the terrorist attacks were God's punishment of a corrupted America.
They said the government had adopted the agenda "of the pagans, and the
abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians" not to
mention the ACLU and People for the American Way (The God of the Bible
apparently holds liberals in the same low esteem as Hittites and
Gergushites
and Jebusites and all the other pagans of holy writ.) Just as God had sent
the Great Flood to wipe out a corrupted world, now-disgusted with a
decadent
America-"God almighty is lifting his protection from us." Critics said such
comments were deranged. But millions of Christian fundamentalists and
conservatives didn't think so. They thought Robertson and Falwell were
being
perfectly consistent with the logic of the Bible as they read it: God
withdraws favor from sinful nations-the terrorists were meant to be God's
wake-up call: better get right with God. Not many people at the time seemed
to notice that Osama bin Laden had also been reading his sacred book
closely
and literally, and had called on Muslims to resist what he described as a
"fierce Judeo-Christian campaign" against Islam, praying to Allah for
guidance "to exalt the people who obey Him and humiliate those who disobey
Him."

Suddenly we were immersed in the pathology of a "holy war" as defined by
fundamentalists on both sides. You could see this pathology play out in
General William Boykin. A professional soldier, General Boykin had taken up
with a small group called the Faith Force Multiplier whose members apply
military principles to evangelism with a manifesto summoning warriors "to
the spiritual warfare for souls." After Boykin had led Americans in a
battle
against a Somalian warlord he announced: "I know my God was bigger than
his.
I knew that my God was a real God and his God was an idol." Now Boykin was
going about evangelical revivals preaching that America was in a holy
war as
"a Christian nation" battling Satan and that America's Muslim adversaries
will be defeated "only if we come against them in the name of Jesus." For
such an hour, America surely needed a godly leader. So General Boykin
explained how it was that the candidate who had lost the election in 2000
nonetheless wound up in the White House. President Bush, he said, "was not
elected by a majority of the voters-he was appointed by God." Not
surprising, instead of being reprimanded for evangelizing while in uniform,
General Boykin is now the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for
Intelligence.
(Just as it isn't surprising that despite his public call for the
assassination of a foreign head of state, Pat Robertson's Operation
Blessing
was one of the first groups to receive taxpayer funds from the President's
Faith-Based Initiative for "relief work" on the Gulf Coast.)

We can't wiggle out of this, people. Alvin Hawkins states it frankly: "This
is a problem we can't walk away from." We're talking about a powerful
religious constituency that claims the right to tell us what's on God's
mind
and to decide the laws of the land according to their interpretation of
biblical revelation and to enforce those laws on the nation as a whole.
For
the Bible is not just the foundational text of their faith; it has become
the foundational text for a political movement.

True, people of faith have always tried to bring their interpretation of
the
Bible to bear on American laws and morals-this very seminary is part of
that
tradition; it's the American way, encouraged and protected by the First
Amendment. But what is unique today is that the radical religious right
has
succeeded in taking over one of America's great political parties-the
country is not yet a theocracy but the Republican Party is-and they are
driving American politics, using God as a a battering ram on almost every
issue: crime and punishment, foreign policy, health care, taxation,
energy,
regulation, social services and so on.

What's also unique is the intensity, organization, and anger they have
brought to the public square. Listen to their preachers, evangelists, and
homegrown ayatollahs: Their viral intolerance-their loathing of other
people's beliefs, of America's secular and liberal values, of an
independent
press, of the courts, of reason, science and the search for objective
knowledge-has become an unprecedented sectarian crusade for state power.
They use the language of faith to demonize political opponents, mislead
and
misinform voters, censor writers and artists, ostracize dissenters, and
marginalize the poor. These are the foot soldiers in a political holy war
financed by wealthy economic interests and guided by savvy partisan
operatives who know that couching political ambition in religious rhetoric
can ignite the passion of followers as ferociously as when Constantine
painted the Sign of Christ (the "Christograph") on the shields of his
soldiers and on the banners of his legions and routed his rivals in Rome.
Never mind that the Emperor himself was never baptized into the faith; it
served him well enough to make the God worshipped by Christians his most
important ally and turn the Sign of Christ into the one imperial symbol
most
widely recognized and feared from east to west.

Let's take a brief detour to Ohio and I'll show you what I am talking
about.
In recent weeks a movement called the Ohio Restoration Project has been
launched to identify and train thousands of "Patriot Pastors" to get out
the
conservative religious vote next year. According to press reports, the
leader of the movement- the senior pastor of a large church in suburban
Columbus-casts the 2006 elections as an apocalyptic clash between "the
forces of righteousness and the hordes of hell." The fear and loathing in
his message is palpable: He denounces public schools that won't teach
creationism, require teachers to read the Bible in class, or allow children
to pray. He rails against the "secular jihadists" who have "hijacked"
America and prevent school kids from learning that Hitler was "an avid
evolutionist." He links abortion to children who murder their parents. He
blasts the "pagan left" for trying to redefine marriage. He declares that
"homosexual rights" will bring "a flood of demonic oppression." On his
church website you read that "Reclaiming the teaching of our Christian
heritage among America's youth is paramount to a sense of national destiny
that God has invested into this nation."

One of the prominent allies of the Ohio Restoration Project is a popular
televangelist in Columbus who heads a $40 million-a-year ministry that is
accessible worldwide via l, 400 TV stations and cable affiliates. Although
he describes himself as neither Republican nor Democrat but a
"Christocrat"-a gladiator for God marching against "the very hordes of hell
in our society"-he nonetheless has been spotted with so many Republican
politicians in Washington and elsewhere that he has been publicly described
as a"spiritual advisor" to the party. The journalist Marley Greiner has
been
following his ministry for the organization, FreePress. She writes that
because he considers the separation of church and state to be "a lie
perpetrated on Americans-especially believers in Jesus Christ"-he
identifies
himself as a "wall builder" and "wall buster." As a wall builder he will
"restore Godly presence in government and culture; as a wall buster he will
tear down the church-state wall." He sees the Christian church as a
sleeping
giant that has the ability and the anointing from God to transform America.
The giant is stirring. At a rally in July he proclaimed to a packed house:
"Let the Revolution begin!" And the congregation roared back: "Let the
Revolution begin!"

(The Revolution's first goal, by the way, is to elect as governor next year
the current Republican secretary of state who oversaw the election process
in 2004 year when a surge in Christian voters narrowly carried George Bush
to victory. As General Boykin suggested of President Bush's anointment,
this
fellow has acknowledged that "God wanted him as secretary of state during
2004" because it was such a critical election. Now he is criss-crossing
Ohio
meeting with Patriot Pastors and their congregations proclaiming that
"America is at its best when God is at its center.") [For the complete
stories from which this information has been extracted, see: "An evening
with Rod Parsley, by Marley Greiner, FreePress, July 20, 2005; Patriot
Pastors," Marilyn Warfield, Cleveland Jewish News, July 29, 2005; "Ohio
televangelist has plenty of influence, but he wants more", Ted Wendling,
Religion News Service, Chicago Tribune, July 1, 2005; "Shaping Politics
from
the pulpits," Susan Page, USA Today , Aug. 3, 2005; "Religion and
Politics
Should Be Mixed Says Ohio Secretary of State," WTOL-TV Toledo, October 29,
2004].

The Ohio Restoration Project is spreading. In one month alone last year in
the president's home state of Texas, a single Baptist preacher added 2000
"Patriot Pastors" to the rolls. On his website he now encourages
pastors to
"speak out on the great moral issues of our day©to restore and reclaim
America for Christ."

Alas, these "great moral issues" do not include building a moral economy.
The Christian Right trumpets charity (as in Faith Based Initiatives) but is
silent on social and economic justice. Inequality in America has reached
scandalous proportions: a few weeks ago the government acknowledged that
while incomes are growing smartly for the first time in years, the primary
winners are the top earners-people who receive stocks, bonuses, and other
income in addition to wages. The nearly 80 percent of Americans who rely
mostly on hourly wages barely maintained their purchasing power. Even as
Hurricane Katrina was hitting the Gulf Coast, giving us a stark
reminder of
how poverty can shove poor people into the abyss, the U.S. Census Bureau
reported that last year one million people were added to 36 million already
living in poverty. And since l999 the income of the poorest one fifth of
Americans has dropped almost nine percent.

None of these harsh realities of ordinary life seem to bother the radical
religious right. To the contrary, in the pursuit of political power they
have cut a deal with America's richest class and their partisan allies in a
law-of-the-jungle strategy to "starve" the government of resources needed
for vital social services that benefit everyone while championing more and
more spending rich corporations and larger tax cuts for the rich.

How else to explain the vacuum in their "great moral issues" of the plight
of millions of Americans without adequate health care? Of the gross
corruption of politics by campaign contributions that skew government
policies toward the wealthy at the expense of ordinary taxpayers? (On the
very day that oil and gas prices reached a record high the president signed
off on huge taxpayer subsidies for energy conglomerates already bloated
with
windfall profits plucked from the pockets of average Americans filling
up at
gas tanks across the country; yet the next Sunday you could pass a hundred
church signboards with no mention of a sermon on crony capitalism.)

This silence on economic and political morality is deafening but
revealing.
The radicals on the Christian right are now the dominant force in America's
governing party. Without them the government would not be in the hands of
people who don't believe in government. They are culpable in upholding a
system of class and race in which, as we saw last week, the rich escape and
the poor are left behind. And they are on they are crusading for a
government "of, by, and for the people" in favor of one based on Biblical
authority.

This is the crux of the matter: To these fundamentalist radicals there is
only one legitimate religion and only one particular brand of that religion
that is right; all others who call on God are immoral or wrong. They
believe
the Bible to be literally true and that they alone know what it means.
Behind their malicious attacks on the courts ("vermin in black robes," as
one of their talk show allies recently put it,) is a fierce longing to hold
judges accountable for interpreting the Constitution according to standards
of biblical revelation as fundamentalists define it. To get those judges
they needed a party beholden to them. So the Grand Old Party-the GOP-has
become God's Own Party, its ranks made up of God's Own People "marching as
to war."

Go now to the website of an organization called America 2l
(http://www.america21.us/Home.cfm ). There, on a red, white, and blue home
page, you find praise for President Bush's agenda-including his effort to
phase out Social Security and protect corporations from law suits by
aggrieved citizens. On the same home page is a reminder that "There are
7,177 hours until our next National Election©.ENLIST NOW." Now click again
and you will read a summons calling Christian pastors "to lead God's people
in the turning that can save America from our enemies." Under the headline
"Remember-Repent-Return" language reminiscent of Pat Robertson and Jerry
Falwell reminds you that "one of the unmistakable lessons [of 9/11] is
that
America has lost the full measure of God's hedge of protection. When we ask
ourselves why, the scriptures remind us that ancient Israel was invaded by
its foreign enemy, Babylon, in 586 B.C. ©.(and) Jerusalem was destroyed by
another invading foreign power in 70 A.D. ©. Psalm l06:37 says that these
judgments of God ©were because of Israel's idolatry. Israel, the apple of
God's eye, was destroyed © because the people failed© to repent." If
America is to avoid a similar fate, the warning continues, we must
"remember
the legacy of our heritage under God and our covenant with Him and, in the
words of II Chronicles 7:14: 'Turn from our wicked ways.'"

Just what does this have to do with the president's political agenda
praised
on the home page? Well, squint and look at the fine print at the bottom of
the site. It reads: America2l is a not-for-profit organization whose
mission
is to educate, engage and mobilize Christians to influence national policy
at every level. Founded in l989 by a multi-denominational group of pastors
and businessmen, it is dedicated to being a catalyst for revival and reform
of the culture and the government ." (emphasis added).

The corporate, political and religious right converge here, led by a
president who, in his own disdain for science, reason and knowledge, is the
most powerful fundamentalist in American history.

What are the stakes? In his last book, the late Marvin Harris, a prominent
anthropologist of the time, wrote that "the attack against reason and
objectivity is fast reaching the proportions of a crusade." To save the
American Dream, "we desperately need to reaffirm the principle that it is
possible to carry out an analysis of social life which rational human
beings
will recognize as being true, regardless of whether they happen to be women
or men, whites or black, straights or gays, employers or employees, Jews or
born-again Christians. The alternative is to stand by helplessly as special
interest groups tear the United States apart in the name of their "separate
realities' or to wait until one of them grows strong enough to force its
irrational and subjective brand of reality on all the rest."

That was written 25 years ago, just as the radical Christian right was
setting out on their long march to political supremacy. The forces he
warned
against have gained strength ever since and now control much of the United
States government and are on the verge of having it all.

It has to be said that their success has come in no small part because of
our acquiescence and timidity. Our democratic values are imperiled because
too many people of reason are willing to appease irrational people just
because they are pious. Republican moderates tried appeasement and survive
today only in gulags set aside for them by the Karl Roves, Bill Frists and
Tom DeLays. Democrats are divided and paralyzed, afraid that if they
take on
the organized radical right they will lose what little power they have.
Trying to learn to talk about God as Republicans do, they're talking
gobbledygook, compromising the strongest thing going for them-the case
for a
moral economy and the moral argument for the secular checks and balances
that have made America "a safe haven for the cause of conscience."

As I look back on the conflicts and clamor of our boisterous past, one
lesson about democracy stands above all others: Bullies-political bullies,
economic bullies and religious bullies-cannot be appeased; they have to be
opposed with a stubbornness to match their own. This is never easy; these
guys don't fight fair; "Robert's Rules of Order" is not one of their holy
texts. But freedom on any front-and especially freedom of conscience-never
comes to those who rock and wait, hoping someone else will do the heavy
lifting. Christian realism requires us to see the world as it is, without
illusions, and then take it on. Christian realism also requires love. But
not a sentimental, dreamy love. Reinhold Niebuhr, who taught at Union
Theological Seminary and wrestled constantly with applying Christian ethics
to political life, put it this way: "When we talk about love we have to
become mature or we will become sentimental. Basically love means©being
responsible, responsibility to our family, toward our civilization, and now
by the pressures of history, toward the universe of humankind."

Christian realists aren't afraid to love. But just as the Irishman who
came
upon a brawl in the street and asked, "Is this a private fight or can
anyone
get in it?" we have to take that love where the action is. Or the world
will remain a theatre of war between fundamentalists.