Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lancaster County Rules Classic Art Is Pornography 

OC Woman Calls Sheriff When Her Burger Comes Out Wrong 

Man Sentenced For Attacking Girlfriend For Supporting Kerry 


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- An 18-year-old man was sentenced to 90 days in jail Wednesday for attacking his girlfriend after learning she planned to vote for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry last fall.

Steven Soper pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery and resisting arrest without violence.

In addition to three months in the Broward County Jail, Circuit Judge Jorge Labarga sentenced Soper to five years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

The judge also ordered Soper to write a letter of apology to 18-year-old Stacey Silveira, who said she and Soper dated for two years.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Living will is the best revenge 


By ROBERT FRIEDMAN, Perspective Editor
Published March 27, 2005

Like many of you, I have been compelled by recent events to prepare a more detailed advance directive dealing with end-of-life issues. Here's what mine says:

• In the event I lapse into a persistent vegetative state, I want medical authorities to resort to extraordinary means to prolong my hellish semiexistence. Fifteen years wouldn't be long enough for me.

• I want my wife and my parents to compound their misery by engaging in a bitter and protracted feud that depletes their emotions and their bank accounts.

• I want my wife to ruin the rest of her life by maintaining an interminable vigil at my bedside. I'd be really jealous if she waited less than a decade to start dating again or otherwise rebuilding a semblance of a normal life.

• I want my case to be turned into a circus by losers and crackpots from around the country who hope to bring meaning to their empty lives by investing the same transient emotion in me that they once reserved for Laci Peterson, Chandra Levy and that little girl who got stuck in a well.

• I want those crackpots to spread vicious lies about my wife.

• I want to be placed in a hospice where protesters can gather to bring further grief and disruption to the lives of dozens of dying patients and families whose stories are sadder than my own.

• I want the people who attach themselves to my case because of their deep devotion to the sanctity of life to make death threats against any judges, elected officials or health care professionals who disagree with them.

• I want the medical geniuses and philosopher kings who populate the Florida Legislature to ignore me for more than a decade and then turn my case into a forum for weeks of politically calculated bloviation.

• I want total strangers - oily politicians, maudlin news anchors, ersatz friars and all other hangers-on - to start calling me "Bobby," as if they had known me since childhood.

• I'm not insisting on this as part of my directive, but it would be nice if Congress passed a "Bobby's Law" that applied only to me and ignored the medical needs of tens of millions of other Americans without adequate health coverage.


How To Talk To A Neocon If You Must 


I have to infer from that (statement) that you would be happier if Saddam Hussein were still in power" - Paul Wolfowitz.

"It's the classic retort given by neocons and other war supporters when anyone questions the wisdom of the Iraq War… But let's say I get disturbed by a spider crawling the garage wall. I slam the car into it at 50 miles an hour, destroying the car and causing a few thousand dollars in damage to the garage. When my wife objects, I say: 'I have to infer from that statement that you would be happier if that spider were still crawling up the wall.' No, schmuck, she says, I'd be happier if we still had a car and didn't have to fork out ten thousand dollars to fix the garage."


The Expert Versus The idiot The Amazing Transcript 


Neurologist Cranford confronted Scarborough, MSNBC daytime anchor: "[Y]ou're asking me if a CAT scan was done? How could you possibly be so stupid?"

On the March 28 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, host Joe Scarborough interviewed Dr. Ronald Cranford, one of the two neurologists selected by Michael Schiavo to examine Terri Schiavo pursuant to an October 2001 appellate court mandate. As part of that duty, Cranford "reviewed her medical records and personally conducted a neurological examination of Mrs. Schiavo," according to the June 2003 Florida appeals court review of that hearing.

Following is the transcript of the interview:

SCARBOROUGH: Now, the question on everybody's mind tonight is this: How is Terri Schiavo doing? You know, it's been 10 days. She is starting her 11th day now without food and water. Let's go back to Pinellas Park [Florida], where Lisa Daniels [MSNBC daytime anchor] is standing by -- Lisa.

DANIELS: Well, Joe, at this point, we are going to delve into the medical aspect of the story. I want to bring in Dr. Ronald Cranford. He's a neurologist at Hennepin Medical Center in Minneapolis. And, Doctor, before we continue, I want our viewers to understand what your role was in the legal case. I understand that Michael Schiavo and his team asked you to examine his wife. Is that correct?

CRANFORD: Yes. Yes, they did.

DANIELS: And from my understanding, I just want to be accurate, you examined Terri Schiavo for about 45 minutes. Is that right?

CRANFORD: I think 42 minutes, but 45 is fine, sure.

DANIELS: All right. Well, we want to be accurate here. What was your conclusion at the end of --


CRANFORD: Wait a minute. You are not accurate on a lot of things here. You're saying a lot of -- she's not starving to death. Do you understand that? She is dehydrating to death.

DANIELS: Well, why do you say that? Tell us how you came to that conclusion?


CRANFORD: Can I tell you why? Because I have done this 25 to 50 times. I don't know how many times Joe has done it, but I've done it 25 to 50 times in similar situations. And they die within 10 to 14 days.

Nancy Cruzan did not die in six days [as guest Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition suggested earlier in the program]. She died in 11 days, 11.5 hours. And Terri Schiavo will die within 10 to 14 days. And they are dying of dehydration, not starvation. And that's just a lie. And Joe doesn't have any idea what he is talking about. And you don't have any idea what you're talking about.

DANIELS: Well --

CRANFORD: I have been at the bedside of these patients. I know what they die from. I've seen them die. And this is all bogus. It's all just a bunch of crap that you are saying. It's totally wrong.

DANIELS: Well, with all due respect, Doctor, it sounds like you think that you know what you are talking about, so let's ask you about that.


DANIELS: Are you 100 percent correct in your opinion that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state? Do you agree with that?

CRANFORD: I am 105 percent sure she is in a vegetative state. And the autopsy will show severe irreversible brain damage to the higher centers, yes.

DANIELS: Why are you so sure, Doctor?

CRANFORD: Because I examined her. The court-appointed guardian examined her. Four neurologists at the hospital where she was has said she's carried a diagnosis of vegetative state for 12 years. Every neurologist that examined her, except for Dr. [William] Hammesfahr [a neurologist selected by Terri Schiavo's parents], who is a charlatan, has said she is in vegetative state. That's what the court found. Just because you don't like --


DANIELS: Doctor, was a CAT scan -- Doctor, your critics would ask you, was a CAT scan used? Was an MRI taken? Were any of these tests taken?

CRANFORD: You don't know the answer to that? The CAT scan was done in 1996, 2002. We spent a lot of time in court showing the irreversible -- you don't have copies of those CAT scans? How can you say that?

The CAT scans are out there, distributed to other people. You have got to look at the facts. The CAT scan is out there. It shows severe atrophy of the brain. The autopsy is going to show severe atrophy of the brain. And you're asking me if a CAT scan was done? How could you possibly be so stupid?

SCARBOROUGH: Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait a second.


SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, if I can interrupt here.

CRANFORD: Go ahead. Joe, interrupt me.

SCARBOROUGH: Why don't you go ahead and tell the rest of the story there? Why don't you tell us that the radiologist that looked at the two CAT scans said she showed improvement in 2002 over 1996? You know, you seem so sure of yourself. The Associated Press reported yesterday --

CRANFORD: Joe, the judge didn't believe him.

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. Hold on a second. You're so sure of yourself -- respond to this. AP had a report yesterday. They said seven doctors have looked at her. Four said she was in persistent vegetative state. You were one of them, hired by Michael Schiavo to do that. There were three others that looked at her that disagreed. How can you be so absolutely sure that everybody that agrees with you is 100 percent accurate and everybody on the other side is a charlatan?

CRANFORD: Joe, Judge -- Judge [George W.] Greer disallowed, didn't believe what [Dr. William] Maxfield [a doctor selected by Terri Schiavo's parents] said. You got your numbers wrong. There were eight neurologists saw her. Seven of the eight said she was in a vegetative state. Only one said she wasn't.

SCARBOROUGH: I am quoting an Associated Press report from yesterday.

CRANFORD: Joe, you've got to get your facts straight.

SCARBOROUGH: I have got my facts straight.

CRANFORD: Get your facts straight. You've got your facts way off.

SCARBOROUGH: Why don't we talk about -- hold on a second.

CRANFORD: Go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH: You talked about a 1996 scan.

CRANFORD: No, 2002, 2002.

SCARBOROUGH: Let's talk about it. A radiologist told the court that the 2002 scan actually showed improvement over the 1996 scan. Is that inaccurate? Did the AP report that wrong?

CRANFORD: Absolutely. Maxfield said it was improved. And Judge Greer didn't buy it because the others said it wasn't improved. It was probably worse than it was before.

SCARBOROUGH: Is he a charlatan also?

CRANFORD: Yes. Maxfield is an HBO [hyperbaric oxygen], vasodilator -- look it up, Joe. See what vasodilator does. See what hyperbaric oxygen, see in these cases, and you tell me they are not charlatans. Just because you don't agree with me -- I don't call everybody a charlatan. I'm not calling [Dr. Richard] Cheshire [who has argued that Terri Schiavo is not in a persistent vegetative state] a charlatan. I think he's a reputable neurologist. I think he examined her, he interviewed her. So, just because I disagree, I don't call them charlatans. But you have got your facts so far off that it's unbelievable, Joe. You don't have any idea what you are talking about. You've never been at the bedside of these patients. And this will come out in the next three to five years about this condition and starvation.

SCARBOROUGH: You were there 42 minutes, Doctor.

CRANFORD: Yes, I was.

SCARBOROUGH: You are only one doctor that's been there. And somehow, in your 42 minutes of observing her, you have all the answers and everybody that disagrees is dead wrong, I guess.

CRANFORD: No, that's just a -- you know what? You've gotta see what Judge Greer said. You've gotta see what the appeals court said. If you read that, Joe, you will understand why the judge decided the way he did.


CRANFORD: He didn't believe Hammesfahr. He didn't believe Maxfield. And it's not starvation. And Nancy Cruzan did not die in six days. She died in 11 days and 11.5 hours, 11 days and 11.5 hours.



SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, Doctor.

CRANFORD: My pleasure.

SCARBOROUGH: You know what? This is the disappointing thing. You try to have a conversation. You try to talk about what is going on. And I found this as an attorney, too. I have been attorneys for plaintiffs. I have been attorneys for defendants. And what I always find out is, there are certain doctors -- I am not claiming that this doctor is a charlatan. I don't know his body of work. I am not claiming that he is a hired gun.

But too many doctors out there can be bought off by attorneys on either side. And then they come out, instead of telling you the facts, you get into debate like you are talking to an attorney. It is very, very disappointing.

I want to apologize to Lisa for interrupting her, but the thing is, Lisa was getting attacked because of what I said. I think that is unfair.

Posted to the web on Tuesday March 29, 2005 at 4:58 PM EST

From an e-mail to Kos 


Very rarely does the everyday public get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes in a normally-secret Bush Administration.

But Monday, March 28, the Secret Service called three everyday people into their offices to discuss why we were kicked out of a presidential event in Denver last week where Bush promoted his plan to privatize Social Security. What they revealed to us and our lawyer was fascinating.

There we were - three people who had personally picked up tickets from Republican Congressman Bob Beauprez's office and went to a presidential event. But as we entered, we were told that we had been "ID'ed" and were warned that any disruption would get us arrested.

After being seated in the audience we were forcibly removed before the President arrived, even though we had not been disruptive. We were shocked when told that this presidential event was a "private event" and were commanded to leave.

More astonishingly, when the Secret Service was contacted the next day they agreed to meet with us this Monday, March 28 to discuss the circumstances surrounding our removal. We had two big questions going into this meeting:

1. How is the Bush Administration "ID'ing" citizens before presidential events?

2. Why was an official taxpayer-funded event called a "private event" - leading to citizens being kicked out?

Most shocking of all, we got answers to both questions.

The Secret Service revealed that we were "ID'ed" when local Republican staffers saw a bumper sticker on the car we drove which said "No More Blood For Oil." Evidently, the free speech expressed on one bumper sticker is cause enough to eject three citizens from a presidential event. (Similarly, someone was ejected from Bush's Social Security privatization event in Arizona the same day simply for wearing a Democratic t-shirt.)

The Secret Service also revealed that ticket distribution and staffing of the Social Security event was run by the local Republican Party. They wanted us to be clear that it was a Republican staffer - not the Secret Service - who kicked us out of the presidential event. But this revealed something else that should be startling to all Americans.

After allowing taxpayers to finance his privatization events (let's call them what they really are after all,) and after using the White House communications apparatus to set them up, Bush is privatizing the ticket distribution and security staffing at his events to the Republican Party. The losers are not just taxpayers, but anyone who values the First Amendment. Under the banner of a "private event" the Republican Party is excluding citizens from seeing their president because of the lone sin of expressing the wrong idea on a bumper sticker or t-shirt. The question for Americans is - will we allow our freedom to be privatized?

Karen Bauer, Leslie Weise. Alexander Young
Denver residents


Things To Piss You Off And Things To Think About 


Delay Allowed His Father’s Feeding Tube

(Don’t they know about Google yet?)

Today's Los Angeles Times unearths the story of Tom DeLay's father, who was in a serious accident--and when doctors told the then young Congressman and his family that the elder DeLay would "basically be a vegetable" (as the Congressman's aunt told the L.A. daily), the family took the decision to withhold life-extending care from the father and let him die quickly. In the Schiavo case, of course, Congressman DeLay has denounced the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube as "an act of barbarism." But that's not what he felt 16 years ago when he told the doctors not to put his father on dialysis to prevent kidney failure.

Kids Opine About War With their Feet

Bush has repeatedly pledged to fulfill the nation's overseas commitments with an all-volunteer military. But recruitment and reenlistment numbers will continue to fall short. The President faces a skeptical cohort of savvy young adults - kids who have already been hit with enough false advertising to check the fine print.

Is This The Best We Can For Our Soldiers?

WASHINGTON — A single red rose in hand, Karen Meredith leans over her son's simple white stone marker at Arlington National Cemetery.

Tears fall before words.

It's her first visit since she buried 1st Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard, a fourth generation soldier, last fall.

Still fresh, like the soil churned behind her son's grave for another row of dead, is her anger. Anger at the way the Pentagon refused her sole wish when her son was killed by a sniper last May to photograph his casket returning from Iraq.

Meredith wanted to capture the way fellow soldiers respectfully draped the American flag across the casket, tucking the sides just so, and the way an honor guard watched over him as he was unloaded from a cargo plane.

But the Pentagon firmly said "no." It was against regulations and would violate the privacy of family members of other slain soldiers.

Corruption Incorporated

April 4 issue - By many accounts, Custer Battles was a nightmare contractor in Iraq. The company's two principals, Mike Battles and Scott Custer, overcharged occupation authorities by millions of dollars, according to a complaint from two former employees. The firm double-billed for salaries and repainted the Iraqi Airways forklifts they found at Baghdad airport—which Custer Battles was contracted to secure—then leased them back to the U.S. government, the complaint says. In the fall of 2004, Deputy General Counsel Steven Shaw of the Air Force asked that the firm be banned from future U.S. contracts, saying Custer Battles had also "created sham companies, whereby [it] fraudulently increased profits by inflating its claimed costs." An Army inspector general, Col. Richard Ballard, concluded as early as November 2003 that the security outfit was incompetent and refused to obey Joint Task Force 7 orders: "What we saw horrified us," Ballard wrote to his superiors in an e-mail obtained by NEWSWEEK.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A Tiny Bit Of Sanity In A Center Of Insanity 


I have no problem with jurors using the Bible to pass sentences. If only they would remember all of the Bible and Bible related literature. Like Thou Shalt Not Kill. Thou Shalt love Thy Neighbor As Thyself. There But Not For The Grace Of God Go I.

It's the Bible, not a menu.


When Will This Start Happening? 


This is Scary


Monday, March 28, 2005

James Wolcott Quotes 


* Our best guide to truth is free and rational inquiry; we should therefore not be bound by the dictates of arbitrary authority, comfortable superstition, stifling tradition, or suffocating orthodoxy. We should defer to no dogma - neither religious nor secular - and never be afraid to ask "How do you know?"
* We should be concerned with the here and now, with solving human problems with the best resources of human minds and hearts. If there is to be meaning in our lives, we must supply it ourselves, relying on our own powers, observation, and compassion. It is irrational and ultimately harmful to hang our hopes on gods, the supernatural, and the hidden, which arise out of imagination and wishful thinking. It is pointless - and often dangerous - to push aside human intelligence to reach for some flimsy veil of alleged truths.
* We must be committed to moral principles, which are derived from critical intelligence and human experience, and we must pursue positive ideals. We should therefore observe the common moral decencies: integrity, humanitarianism, truthfulness, trustworthiness, fairness, and responsibility. This means caring for one another, being tolerant of differences, and striving to overcome divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, creed, or class.
* Constitutional democracy is the best known means for protecting the rights of all people to form worldviews and live out their commitments in a free and mutually respectful way. Governments should promote open societies, ensure universal human rights, and be secular, having no bias against any religious or non-religious group.
* We should strive to bring about a genuine world community and nourish an appreciation for global ethics and our planetary interdependence.
* Secular humanism aims to bring out the best in people so that all can achieve fullness in life. Thus we must strive to realize personal potential, maximize creative talents and artistic expression, and choose joy and hope over despair, guilt, and sin.


Pissed Yet? 


Money Trumps Everything In America. Children. Health. Even Soldiers.

¶At Fort Hood, Tex., a soldier's wife was sued by a creditor trying to collect a debt owed by her and her husband, who was serving in Baghdad at the time. A local judge ruled against her, saying she had defaulted, even though specialists say the relief act forbids default judgments against soldiers serving overseas and protects their spouses as well.

¶At Camp Pendleton, Calif., more than a dozen marines returned from Iraq to find that their cars and other possessions had been improperly sold to cover unpaid storage and towing fees. The law forbids such seizures without a court order.

¶In northern Ohio, Wells Fargo served a young Army couple with foreclosure papers despite the wife's repeated efforts to negotiate new repayment terms with the bank. Wells Fargo said later that it had been unaware of the couple's military status. The foreclosure was dropped after a military lawyer intervened.

No Problem Here

This week I was fascinated by article in the March/April edition of Foreign Affairs titled “The Overstretch Myth, or How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Current Account Deficit.” The authors of this article, David Levey and Stuart Brown, say that America ’s economy isn’t about to implode from debt. “ U.S. hegemony is … solidly grounded: it rests on an economy that is continually extending its lead in the innovation and application of new technology….” According to Levey and Brown, “The dollar’s role as the global monetary standard is not threatened, and the risk to U.S. financial stability posed by large foreign liabilities has been exaggerated.”

I smell fear.

A brave front is presented. Rationalizations are offered. Dangers are denied. The authors refuse to acknowledge that all systems are fragile, that America ’s global dominance stands on a questionable foundation. Ignoring today’s danger signs, the authors make love to calamity. Disasters are avoided only when we recognize the danger signs. Levey and Brown look at the current account deficit and see no danger. Instead, they rationalize the deficit – denying the danger while rationalizing its course. Their reaction is based on a hidden level of emotion – i.e., FEAR.

All Bills Come Due Eventually

The Bush administration is desperately trying to keep the full story from emerging. But there is no longer any doubt that prisoners seized by the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have been killed, tortured, sexually humiliated and otherwise grotesquely abused.


Sunday, March 27, 2005

My Thoughts Exactly 

jeanne garofalo says

She goes on to jab "those red-state value voters" who are "really, really supportive of the rights of a globule of presentient cells" but whose state laws permitted capital punishment for juveniles. She takes a few shots at the president, whom she regularly labels a hypocrite and a liar. Just for variety, she assails the actor Ron Silver. Bush supporters like Mr. Silver, she likes to say, are apologists and collaborators.


China On US Human Rights 


China Gives America a D

SINCE 1977, the United States State Department has issued an annual global report card called the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

The document has long been a thorn in the side of authoritarian governments, including

China's, which responds with a nettled review of its own, called "The Human Rights Record of the United States," the 2004 version of which was recently released.

China's assessment, unlike the sober State Department tome, is a frank indictment and draws a picture of America that approaches caricature. But that doesn't mean it won't buttress the negative image of the United States held by its critics around the world.

Excerpts follow, with the document's grammatical and other errors intact.

Life, Liberty and Security of Person

American society is characterized with rampant violent crimes, severe infringement of people's rights by law enforcement departments and lack of guarantee for people's rights to life, liberty and security of person.

The United States has the biggest number of gun owners, and gun violence has affected lots of innocent lives. About 31,000 Americans are killed and 75,000 wounded by firearms each year, which means more than 80 people are shot dead each day.

The United States characterizes itself as "a paradise for free people," but the ratio of its citizens deprived of freedom has remained among the highest.

According to statistics from the Department of Justice, the number of inmates in the United States jumped from 320,000 in 1980 to two million in 2000, a hike by six times. The number of convicted offenders may total more than six million if parolees and probationers are also counted.

Political Rights and Freedom

The United States claims to be "a paragon of democracy," but American democracy is manipulated by the rich and malpractices are common. Elections in the United States are in fact a contest of money. The presidential and Congressional elections last year cost nearly $4 billion.

Campaign advertisement and political debates were full of distorted facts, false information and lies.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Poverty, hunger and homelessness have haunted the world richest country.

Upper middle- and upper-class families that constitute the top 10 percent of the income distribution are prospering while many among the remaining 90 percent struggle to maintain their standard of living. According to the statistics released by the United States Census Bureau in 2004, the number of Americans in poverty has been climbing for three years. It rose by 1.3 million year on year in 2003 to 35.9 million.

Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination has been deeply rooted in the United States, permeating into every aspects of society. The colored people are generally poor, with living condition much worse than the white. The death rate of illness, accident and murder among the black people is twice that of the white. The rate of being victim of murders for the black people is five times that of the white. The rate of being affected by AIDS for the black people is ten times that of the whites while the rate of being diagnosed by diabetes for the black people is twice that of the whites.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the United States received 29,000 complaints in 2003 of racial bias in the workplace

The Declaration of Independence said all men are created equal, so the gap between black and white people is simply an insult to the founding essence of the United States.

After the Sept. 11 incident, the United States openly restricts the rights of citizens under the cloak of homeland security, and uses diverse means including wire tapping of phone conversations and secret investigations, checks on all secret files, and monitoring transfers of fund and cash flows to supervise activities of its citizens, in which, people of ethnic minority groups, foreigners and immigrants become main victims.

The Rights of Women and Children

The situation of American women and children was disturbing. The rates of women and children physically or sexually victimized were high. According to F.B.I. Crime Statistics, in 2003 the United States witnessed 93,233 cases of raping. The statistics also showed that every two minutes one woman was sexually assaulted and every six minutes one woman was raped.

Children were victims of sex crimes. Every year about 400,000 children in the U.S. were forced to engage in prostitution or other sexual dealings on the streets.

In recent years scandals about clergymen molesting children kept breaking out.

It is believed that from 1950 to 2002 more than 10,600 boys and girls were sexually abused by nearly 4,400 clergymen.

The Human Rights of Foreign Nationals

In 2004, United States Army service people were reported to have abused and insulted Iraqi prisoners of war, which stunned the whole world. The United States forces were blamed for their fierce and dirty treatments for these Iraqi P.O.W.'s. They made the P.O.W.'s naked by force, masking their heads with underwear (even women's underwear), locking up their necks with a belt, towing them over the ground, letting military dogs bite them, beating them with a whip, shocking them with electric batons, needling them sometimes and putting chemical fluids containing phosphorus on their wounds.

The United States frequently commits wanton slaughters during external invasions and military attacks. Spain's Uprising newspaper on May 12, 2004, published a list of human rights infringement incidents committed by the United States troops, quoting two bloodthirsty sayings of two American generals, "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead" by Gen. Philip Sheridan, and "we should bomb Vietnam back to the Stone Age" by Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay.

A survey on Iraqi civilian deaths, based on the natural death rate before the war, estimates that the United States-led invasion might have led to 100,000 more deaths in the country, with most victims being women and children. In addition, the United States troops often plunder Iraqi households when tracking down anti-United States militants since the invasion. The American forces has so far committed at least thousands of robberies and 90 percent of the Iraqis that have been rummaged are innocent.

Despite tons of problems in its own human rights, the United States continues to stick to its belligerent stance, wantonly trample on the sovereignty of other countries and constantly stage tragedies of human rights infringement in the world.

Instead of indulging itself in publishing the "human rights country report" to censure other countries unreasonably, the United States should reflect on its erroneous behavior on human rights and take its own human rights problems seriously.


Saturday, March 26, 2005

From One Day In Iraq 


Bring ‘em on: Two US soldiers killed, two wounded by roadside bomb in Baghdad.

Bring ‘em on: One US Marine killed fighting in Al-Anbar province.

Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi soldier killed, four wounded in car bomb ambush near Baghdad.

Bring ‘em on: Iraqi Army general assassinated in Baghdad.

Bring ‘em on: Oil pipeline ablaze near Abu Ghraib.

Bring ‘em on: Iraqi colonel kidnapped near Kirkuk.

Bring ‘em on: US/Iraqi convoy ambushed by car bomb in Ramadi.

Bring ‘em on: US patrol ambushed near Baquba; three insurgents killed.

Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi soldier killed in mortar attack near Suleiman Beg.

Bring ‘em on: Turkish truck destroyed in mortar attack on convoy near Tikrit; driver missing.

Bring ‘em on: Two Iraqis killed, 19 wounded by cat bomb at police station near Hilla.

Bring ‘em on: Iraqi and US troops seize 131 insurgents and material in raid near Karbala.

Two Iraqi civilians killed as US troops detonate booby-trapped car in Baghdad.


Atrios says 


Now that I've been up for awhile I can confirm what my initial sense was - that CNN has completely ignored the story about the "possible showdown" between local police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It's a bizarre thing really, as it follows the narrative to the logical end. Crazies demand Jeb Bush "do something" and Bush getes his people ready to do just that - though, apparently, saner heads prevail. The unwillingness of the media to confront this story, which is the logical conclusion of having Jeb Bush try to substitute his authority for that of a judge, a storyline that the media have been desperately pushing all week, is to me an unwillingness of them to confront their own role in encouraging this. The orders of Bush and the orders of a judge are only as good as peoples' willingness to obey them, or the ability and desire of law enforcement agents to enforce them.

Two authorities, two law enforcement agencies -- what do they think would happen?

-Atrios 9:44 AM


From an Actual Scientific American Editorial 


There's no easy way to admit this. For years, helpful letter writers told us to stick to science. They pointed out that science and politics don't mix. They said we should be more balanced in our presentation of such issues as creationism, missile defense and global warming. We resisted their advice and pretended not to be stung by the accusations that the magazine should be renamed Unscientific American, or Scientific Unamerican, or even Unscientific Unamerican. But spring is in the air, and all of nature is turning over a new leaf, so there's no better time to say: you were right, and we were wrong.

In retrospect, this magazine's coverage of socalled evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies. True, the theory of common descent through natural selection has been called the unifying concept for all of biology and one of the greatest scientific ideas of all time, but that was no excuse to be fanatics about it.

Where were the answering articles presenting the powerful case for scientific creationism? Why were we so unwilling to suggest that dinosaurs lived 6,000 years ago or that a cataclysmic flood carved the Grand Canyon? Blame the scientists. They dazzled us with their fancy fossils, their radiocarbon dating and their tens of thousands of peer-reviewed journal articles. As editors, we had no business being persuaded by mountains of evidence.

Moreover, we shamefully mistreated the Intelligent Design (ID) theorists by lumping them in with creationists. Creationists believe that God designed all life, and that's a somewhat religious idea. But ID theorists think that at unspecified times some unnamed superpowerful entity designed life, or maybe just some species, or maybe just some of the stuff in cells. That's what makes ID a superior scientific theory: it doesn't get bogged down in details.

Good journalism values balance above all else. We owe it to our readers to present everybody's ideas equally and not to ignore or discredit theories simply because they lack scientifically credible arguments or facts. Nor should we succumb to the easy mistake of thinking that scientists understand their fields better than, say, U.S. senators or best-selling novelists do. Indeed, if politicians or special-interest groups say things that seem untrue or misleading, our duty as journalists is to quote them without comment or contradiction. To do otherwise would be elitist and therefore wrong. In that spirit, we will end the practice of expressing our own views in this space: an editorial page is no place for opinions.

Get ready for a new Scientific American. No more discussions of how science should inform policy. If the government commits blindly to building an anti-ICBM defense system that can't work as promised, that will waste tens of billions of taxpayers' dollars and imperil national security, you won't hear about it from us. If studies suggest that the administration's antipollution measures would actually increase the dangerous particulates that people breathe during the next two decades, that's not our concern. No more discussions of how policies affect science either—so what if the budget for the National Science Foundation is slashed? This magazine will be dedicated purely to science, fair and balanced science, and not just the science that scientists say is science. And it will start on April Fools' Day.

Okay, We Give Up

THE EDITORS editors@sciam.com


Friday, March 25, 2005

Thank God It's Good Friday 


From those of us who made it all possible, Happy Easter.


Thursday, March 24, 2005

Prepare To Be Pissed Off 


Was This Victory Fabricated?

Iraqi commanders said 85 suspected insurgents were killed in an assault by Iraqi troops and US aircraft on the camp yesterday.

No one was captured and others had fled by boat, he said.

Asked about the presence of rebels at the camp early today, a member of the Iraqi police commandos that took part in the operation said Iraqi and US troops withdrew from the area about 6.30pm Tuesday (2.30am AEDT Wednesday).

Local hospitals said they had received no casualties from the battle.

Schiavo will be resurrected to bite them in the ass

Is it me or does anyone else feel a draft?

The Army also has increased the number of recruiters on the street by 33 percent and is offering bigger signup bonuses. Last week the Army announced that the National Guard and Reserve were raising the maximum age for recruits from 34 to 39 in order to expand the pool of potential enlistees. The regular Army could not raise the maximum age without congressional approval.

In a related matter, the Army said more people in the Individual Ready Reserve — those no longer in uniform and not obligated to train — are going to be hearing from the Army in the weeks ahead. The Army has revised upward the number of IRR soldiers it plans to put on active duty, from the 4,402 announced last summer to 4,653. Of those given mobilization orders so far, 370 have failed to report for duty, according to Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman. An additional 2,229 have asked for delays in their reporting dates or for exemptions.

Suppose I've been accused of stealing this computer but after launching an investigation of me, I find that I did not in fact steal this computer. Stupid? Absolutely. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I give you your Pentagon, refusing to reopen a faulty investigation in which none of the accusers were even questioned.

Three Iraqis working for Reuters were detained near Fallujah and claim that they were sexually abused and tortured (this was prior to the Abu Ghraib abuses) before being released without charge.

Since the Iraqis were not allowed to testify, here's all investigators have to go on: "A U.S. military investigation said soldiers had sworn under oath that they were not involved in any abuse."

Oh, well, that certainly clears things up. I mean, how often do you find a person accused of a serious offense swearing up and down that they didn't do it?

Perhaps this Pentagon statement offers a clue (emphasis added): "all accusations of abuse are thoroughly and promptly investigated." Seeing as how they haven't disputed the fact the Iraqis weren't interviewed, we may safely assume that anyone who believes that a "thorough" investigation has taken place has a unique relationship with the word "thorough."

And here's the kicker for those whose minds are prone to wandering: The letter sent to Reuters by Rumsfeld's assistant Lawrence Di Rita concludes by urging Reuters to embed with the military.

"Of course, I reiterate my recommendation that you consider embedding your reporters with U.S. units. It is an excellent opportunity to cover U.S. military activities in Iraq."

Torture? What? US? Come on!!!

Nor has the U.S. punished a single soldier responsible for killing journalists in Iraq. 'We have had three deaths, and they were all non-embedded, non-coalition nationals and they were all at the hands of the U.S. military, and the reaction of the U.S. authorities in each case was that they were somehow justified,' says David Schlesinger, Reuters global managing editor. 'What is the U.S.'s position on non-embeds? Are non-embedded journalists fair game?' One of the BBC's top news anchors, Nik Gowing, said recently that he was 'speak[ing] for a large number of news organizations, many of whom are not really talking publicly about this at the moment,' when he made this statement about the dangers facing reporters in Iraq: 'The trouble is that a lot of the military ­ particularly the American...military ­ do not want us there. And they make it very uncomfortable for us to work. And I think that this...is leading to security forces in some instances feeling it is legitimate to target us with deadly force and with impunity.'

Stop Or we’ll Shoot

How The Anti Evolutionists Are Keeping Business Away from Texas


Time To Piss U Off All Day 


Social Security Trustees Serve Up False Information

It's bad enough that the trustees began some of their calculations with that $10.4 trillion figure. It's arrived at by projecting the system's shortfall over infinity, rather than the usual 75-year time frame - as if the system's finances 10,000 years from now are a legitimate policy concern. Moreover, no less an authority than the American Academy of Actuaries is already on record debunking infinite projections as conveying "little if any useful information about the program's long-range finances" and "likely to mislead anyone lacking technical expertise ... into believing that the program is in far worse financial condition than is actually indicated."

Compounding the subterfuge is that the difference between this year's $11 trillion eyepopper and last year's number - $600 billion - is being used as evidence of a scary deterioration in Social Security's finances. That's just wrong. The two monster numbers are actually the same quantity - different ways of expressing an unchanging level of debt at two different points in time. If you owe someone $1,000 in 10 years, for instance, you could retire the debt now with $500, or next year with $530. Your level of debt doesn't change, just the time point.

Some people who interpret the numbers as a deterioration appear to be confused. But others, like President Bush, are being deliberately alarmist. Mr. Bush's persistent misstatements on Social Security leave little doubt that he wants Americans to believe that the system is irretrievably broken so that they will buy into his unnecessary privatization plan.

Fortunately, the unpoliticized numbers in yesterday's report are not overly dire. Using a 75-year time horizon, the trustees project that the system will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, at which time it will be able to pay 74 percent of the promised benefits, falling to 68 percent by 2079. That works out to a gap of $4 trillion, which could be bridged with modest tax increases and benefit cuts, phased in over the next few decades. If people try to tell you different, they need to be set straight.

Friedman Hits Grand Slam. I mean this is THE POINT about the Bush Administration

Yes, I know war is hell and ugliness abounds in every corner. I also understand that in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, we are up against a vicious enemy, which, if it had the power, would do great harm to our country. You do not deal with such people with kid gloves. But killing prisoners of war, presumably in the act of torture, is an inexcusable outrage. The fact that Congress has just shrugged this off, and no senior official or officer has been fired, is a travesty. This administration is for "ownership" of everything except responsibility.

President Bush just appointed Karen Hughes, his former media adviser, to head up yet another U.S. campaign to improve America's image in the Arab world. I have a suggestion: Just find out who were the cabinet, C.I.A. and military officers on whose watch these 26 homicides occurred and fire them. That will do more to improve America's image in the Arab-Muslim world than any ad campaign, which will be useless if this sort of prisoner abuse is shrugged off. Republicans in Congress went into overdrive to protect the sanctity of Terri Schiavo's life. But they were mute when it came to the sanctity of life for prisoners in our custody. Such hypocrisy is not going to win any P.R. battles.

Republicans Decide One Person’s Life More Important Than US System Of Government

Republicans easily abandon their cherished principles of individual privacy and states rights when their personal ambitions come into play. The first time they snatched a case out of a Florida state court to give to a federal court, it was Bush v. Gore. This time, it's Bush v. Constitution.

While Senate Democrats like Hillary Clinton, who are trying to curry favor with red staters, meekly allowed the shameful legislation to be enacted, at least some Floridian House members decided to put up a fight, though they knew they couldn't win.

The president and his ideological partners don't believe in separation of powers. They just believe in their own power. First they tried to circumvent the Florida courts; now they're trying to pack the federal bench with conservatives and even blow up the filibuster rule. But they may yet learn a lesson on checks and balances, as the federal courts rebuffed them in the Schiavo case.

Mr. DeLay moved yesterday to file a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court asking that Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube be restored while the federal court is deciding what to do. But as he exploits this one sad case, Mr. DeLay has voted to slash Medicaid by $15 billion, denying money to care for poor people in nursing homes, some on feeding tubes.

Mr. DeLay made his personal stake clear at a conference last Friday organized by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. He said that God had brought Terri Schiavo's struggle to the forefront "to help elevate the visibility of what's going on in America." He defined that as "attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others."

So it's not about her crisis at all. It's about his crisis.


Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Erring On The Side Of “Life”? 


The president was not about to be outpreached by these saps. The same Mr. Bush who couldn't be bothered to interrupt his vacation during the darkening summer of 2001, not even when he received a briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.," flew from his Crawford ranch to Washington to sign Congress's Schiavo bill into law. The bill could have been flown to him in Texas, but his ceremonial arrival and departure by helicopter on the White House lawn allowed him to showboat as if he had just landed on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Within hours he turned Ms. Schiavo into a slick applause line at a Social Security rally. "It is wise to always err on the side of life," he said, wisdom that apparently had not occurred to him in 1999, when he mocked the failed pleas for clemency of Karla Faye Tucker, the born-again Texas death-row inmate, in a magazine interview with Tucker Carlson.


Tiny Bit Of Hope 


the poll numbers recently indicate that americans see the republicans' action for what they are: hypocritical but political theatre.


Blair And Religion 


"I don't want to end up with an American-style type of politics with us all going out there and beating our chests about our faith."

-- British Prime Minister Tony Blair, responding to questions after a
speech before a meeting of church leaders, other faith representatives and community activists in London. Blair said using a person's faith in the political process is "a bit unhealthy."


Tuesday, March 22, 2005

More shit to piss u off 


What Would Jesus Smell Like?

Is That Congress In Your Bedroom?

In passing the legislation to "save" Terri Schiavo, Congress overturned two centuries of legal precedent that gives states the power to regulate such matters and state courts the power to settle disputes over them. If they are not deterred by the U.S. Constitution or legal history or by the Florida rulings issued after painstaking consideration of Schiavo's case, why would they be stopped by my simple paragraph? How can anyone, in any state, be free from fear that the congressional cops will appear beside our hospital beds?

Cheney For Social Security Is Like Saddam For Democracy

As a sign of how politically charged the issue has become, Sen. Jon Corzine, D-NJ, one of the leading opponents of the president's plan, told reporters Monday that Cheney had "a virtual career of disdain for Social Security" and compared his appearances to sending Saddam Hussein to campaign for democracy in Iraq.

More Torture

U.S. law enforcement agents working at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, concluded that controversial interrogation practices used there by the Defense Department produced intelligence information that was "suspect at best," an FBI agent told a superior in a memo in May last year.

Recently, Madison Wisconsin's Capitol Times opined, "if we had a better press, we'd have a better president."

US In Central Asia For Oil? Naw!!!!

Iraq is a crucial pawn in the US oil strategy - which includes the former Yugoslavia (now with a permanent US military base in Kosovo, right in the pipeline route from Russia and the Caspian to Europe); the Caspian and Venezuela (major oil reserves); Afghanistan (now also with a permanent US military base); Ukraine (a crucial pipeline route to Europe); Moldova (oil reserves); Iran (oil reserves); and Syria (on the route of a pipeline through which Israel wants to get Iraq's oil).


from Kos 


The 2000 Republican Platform: "Medical decision-making should be in the hands of physicians and their patients."

The 2004 Republican Platform: "We must attack the root causes of high health care costs by: ... putting patients and doctors in charge of medical decisions."


500 hours 


VIDEO footage of the treatment of prisoners by the US military at Guantanamo Bay would reveal many cases of substantial abuse as "explosive as anything from Abu Ghraib", a lawyer said today.
Adelaide lawyer Stephen Kenny, who represented Australian David Hicks during the early part of his detention at the military prison in Cuba, told a law conference today 500 hours of videotape of prisoners at the US base existed.


Monday, March 21, 2005

Irony Dies 



In Beijing early Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Mr. Straw's "sobering comments" reinforced the United States' continuing concern that lifting the embargo now would alter the balance of military forces in the region and undercut American efforts to get China to improve its human rights record.

Or This?

Washington likes to hold up Afghanistan as an exemplar of how a rogue regime can be replaced by democracy. Meanwhile, human-rights activists and Afghan politicians have accused the US military of placing Afghanistan at the hub of a global system of detention centres where prisoners are held incommunicado and allegedly subjected to torture. The secrecy surrounding them prevents any real independent investigation of the allegations. "The detention system in Afghanistan exists entirely outside international norms, but it is only part of a far larger and more sinister jail network that we are only now beginning to understand," Michael Posner, director of the US legal watchdog Human Rights First, told us.


More Shit To Piss You Off 


Russians State The Obvious

On the pretext of fighting international terrorism the United States is trying to establish control over the world’s richest oil reserves, Leonid Shebarshin, ex-chief of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence Service, who heads the Russian National Economic Security Service consulting company, said in an interview for the Vremya Novostei newspaper.

Using the anti-terrorist cause as a cover the United States has occupied Afghanistan, Iraq and will soon move to impose their “democratic order” on the Greater Middle East, Shebarshin said. “The U.S. has usurped the right to attack any part of the globe on the pretext of fighting the terrorist threat,” Shebarshin said.

Referring to his meeting with an unnamed al-Qaeda expert at the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization in the U.S., Shebarshin said: “We have agreed that [al-Qaeda] is not a group but a notion.”

“The fight against that all-mighty ubiquitous myth deliberately linked to Islam is of great advantage for the Americans as it targets the oil-rich Muslim regions,” Shebarshin emphasized.

With military bases in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, Shebarshin said, the United States has already established control over the Caspian region — one of the world’s largest oil reservoirs.

US Systematically Torturing Foreigners

All the host countries are renowned for their poor human rights records, enabling interrogators (US soldiers, contractors and their local partners) to operate. We have obtained prisoner letters, declassified FBI files, legal depositions, witness statements and testimony from US and UK officials, which document the alleged methods deployed in Afghanistan - shackles, hoods, electrocution, whips, mock executions, sexual humiliation and starvation - and suggest they are practised across the network. Sir Nigel Rodley, a former UN special rapporteur on torture, said, "The more hidden detention practices there are, the more likely that all legal and moral constraints on official behaviour will be removed."…

…Evidence we have collected, however, shows that many more of those swept up in the network have few provable connections to any outlawed organisation; experts in the field describe their value in the war against terror as "negligible". Former prisoners claim they were released only after naming names, coerced into making false confessions that led to the arrests of more people unconnected to terrorism, in a system of justice that owes more to Stanley Milgram's Six Degrees Of Separation - where anyone can be linked to everyone else in the world in as many stages - than to analytical jurisprudence.

The floating population of "ghost detainees", according to US and UK military officials, now exceeds 10,000…

.. And perhaps this event above all others - of a nervous phalanx of US marines forcing its way across a prayer ground on one of the holiest, most joyous days in the Islamic calendar, an itching trigger away from a Somalian-style dogfight of their own making - is the one that encapsulates everything that has gone wrong with the global war against terror. The US army came to Afghanistan as liberators and now are feared as governors, judges and jailers. How many US marines know what James Madison, an architect of the US constitution, wrote in 1788? Reflecting on the War of Independence in which Americans were arbitrarily arrested and detained without trial by British forces, Madison concluded that the "accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny"

This is Success?

On February 22 2005, tens of thousands of Lebanese protesters took to the streets of Beirut to call for the Syrians to leave the country. Within a week the Syrians announced indefinite plans to leave. Front covers of magazines carried pictures of pretty young Lebanese women waving flags (at last, some Arabs editors could fancy) proclaiming a "cedar revolution" and "people power". The protest was hailed in the White House as a vindication for the US strategy of bombing and occupying Iraq. "By now it should be clear that authoritarian rule is not the wave of the future," said Bush. "We want that democracy in Lebanon to succeed, and we know it cannot succeed so long as she is occupied by a foreign power."

On March 8 2005, 500,000 pro-Syrian protesters took to the streets of Beirut to oppose US and European interference. The demonstration was backed by Hizbullah, which the US has branded a terrorist organisation. People carried banners saying "Death to America". It was several times bigger than the first anti-Syrian protest. They too waved Lebanese flags. But editors didn't find them pretty. They did not appear on the front pages of the news magazines. Their protest was not hailed in the White House. In fact, its existence was barely acknowledged.


We have entered a world where reality - like the photographs of torture or the absence of weapons of mass destruction - is just a minor blockage in a flood of official, upbeat declarations and statements. Each new dispatch from the departments of irony on both sides of the Atlantic suggests that truth can be created by assertion, principle can be established by deception and democracy can be imposed through aggression. These people would claim credit for the good weather and deny responsibility for their own signature if they thought they could get away with it.

Two years on, the death toll keeps rising, the size of the "coalition" keeps shrinking and global public support for this reckless occupation has maintained its downward spiral from a low base. Indeed, the only thing that changes is the rationale for starting the war, where the sophistry of the occupying powers keeps plumbing new depths and selective amnesia has attained new highs.


Damned Turks!!! 


The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has blamed the inability to gain permission to invade Iraq through Turkey for the power of the insurgency that the US now faces.


"Rumsfeld's never going to admit ... that he was negligent in not formulating a plan for dealing with [postwar] insurgency or lawlessness," said Michael O'Hanlon, of the Brookings Institution.


Amy Sullivan Says 


STOP THIS MAN BEFORE HE DIAGNOSES AGAIN....I wasn't going to comment on the Terry Schiavo case, mostly because it seems that any attention just feeds directly into what conservatives are hoping to achieve: a trumped-up culture war. (See Ed Kilgore's comments for my general take on the issue.) But Senator Frist's recent diagnosis--via a home-made video, it's important to note--that Schiavo is not actually in a persistent vegetative state, compels me to write. To the extent that Frist's comments have been covered at all, it has been through the 2008 "Oh, he's just trying to suck up to the Christian Right" lens. (And by the way, Senator, if that's what you're doing, let me save you the effort and a few years of your life: the Christian Right favorites are Santorum and Brownback. No amount of false diagnosing is going to change that. Oh, and by the time the Social Security debacle is over, your political career will be as well.)

But what's really appalling about Frist's latest I'm-not-a-neurologist-but-I-play-one-in-the-Senate routine is that he does this all the time. For at least eight years, Frist has been making medical pronouncements on all manner of medical issues outside his speciality (he's a heart surgeon), and his message is always the same: You can't trust all those other doctors, but you can trust me because I am a doctor.

Last December, when asked by George Stephanopoulos whether HIV could be transmitted through saliva or tears, Frist refused to say that it could not, stalling three times before finally admitting, "It would be very hard." That's putting it mildly. In October 2001, after a letter containing anthrax was sent to Senator Daschle's office, Frist assured his fellow senators that the anthrax wasn't powerful enough to kill anyone, even though several people had already died in Florida and postal workers who handled the letter in D.C. subsequently died. And in 1997, when the Senate was debating the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban," Frist claimed on the Senate floor that D&X, the abortion procedure they sought to ban, was a "rogue procedure" that was not taught in medical schools, a claim that would come as a surprise to many teaching hospitals.

Frist is a doctor, yes. But he is not a neurologist, he is not an infectious disease specialist, he is not a biological agent expert, and he is not an obstetrician. He uses his "Dr." title as a smokescreen to make politically-motivated pronouncements. The only reason he gets away with it is that people are intimidated by his certainty, reminded (because he repeats it all the time) that he is the Senate's only physician.

Except he's not. Now that Tom Coburn is the junior senator from Oklahoma, Frist is merely the Senate's only not insane physician. Who are you or I to question his medical judgment? When it comes to diagnosing neurological function on the basis of watching a home video for an hour, you and I are just about as qualified as Frist.


What Arabs Really Think About Us 

(Translated from Arabic- an intyeresting viewpoint of America from all them born again "Freedom Loving Arabs".

March 19, 2005

Who is it that has the authority to institute laws, decrees, decisions and recommendations that define the suitable forms for the world's governments to follow, sets their "democratic" specifications, the nature of freedom and the dialogue on human rights, and intervenes in all of the world's meetings, conferences and summits, both large and small?

Is it not strange that Americans demand that others do one thing, but then do the opposite? Is it not strange that they accuse others, for example, of human rights violations while at the same time, they themselves cross every red line in the violation of human rights? Or that in Washington, human beings differ in description and definition from one county to another, so that the death of an Israeli soldier while aiming his rifle at a Palestinian child's head is a crime, but when that Palestinian child becomes a martyr, that child is called a terrorist?

This is the state of the world today, a world turned on its head ... Because of the deceit of the one nation that pins its name on human rights, freedom and democracy.

And if we exceed this rare state in human history, represented by the subversion of truth and the forgery of the past and present, if we exceed that, and arrive at the free world that the United States says it want to lead us toward by force and fire, we would like to ask … When does Mr. George Bush's Administration plan to abide by its shining slogans?

How can Bush abide by his democratic slogans as long as the nations of the world are arbitrarily divided between two camps: the camp of wealth that Bush's Administration leads, with its fleets, armies and occupations, and the evil camp, comprised of the small countries that have committed no sin other that that they want to defend themselves and their borders for future generations.

Why is it that he [President Bush] wants our cultures to approve the principle of dialogue and be open to other opinions, but when we try to open our mouths to speak, we are branded terrorists and in violation of American law as if Washington embodies heaven's will. Why isn't it suitable for us to justly defend ourselves and our views. Why should our attitudes and policies change to match and satisfy the policies of Washington and Tel Aviv?

The current American administration is perhaps the only government in the world that enacts laws and regulations that other nations may not exceed.

The American administration is alone in closing the door on dialogue and approving a policy of threats and pre-emptive war, while it is oblivious to its own interventions in the affairs of other nations.

There is nothing new in pointing out these truths - I say truths because they are real and because the world knows that they are truths. What is new, however, is that these American concepts and those that accept them, do so because they serve their own narrow and selfish interests, even if that leads destruction.

The United States is alone in closing the door on constructive dialogue with smaller powers. It closes the door on dialogue and closes its ears to the call of the mind and believes that it will reap gains. But if it continues to refuse dialogue, it will lead itself and perhaps our entire region into the abyss.

We can only hope that those who wish to gamble on American interventionism withhold their praise long enough to wake up and see the consequences of it.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

From Digby 


By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes. It is called the Texas Futile Care Law. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother's wishes in Texas just this week. A 68 year old man was given a temporary reprieve by the Texas courts just yesterday.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are also aware that Republicans have voted en masse to pull the plug (no pun intended) on medicaid funding that pays for the kind of care that someone like Terry Schiavo and many others who are not so severely brain damaged need all across this country.

Those of us who read liberal blogs also understand that that the tort reform that is being contemplated by the Republican congress would preclude malpractice claims like that which has paid for Terry Schiavo's care thus far.

Those of us who read liberal blogs are aware that the bankruptcy bill will make it even more difficult for families who suffer a catastrophic illness like Terry Schiavo's because they will not be able to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh start when the gargantuan medical bills become overwhelming.

And those of us who read liberal blogs also know that this grandstanding by the congress is a purely political move designed to appease the religious right and that the legal maneuverings being employed would be anathema to any true small government conservative.

Those who don't read liberal blogs, on the other hand, are seeing a spectacle on television in which the news anchors repeatedly say that the congress is "stepping in to save Terry Schiavo" mimicking the unctuous words of Tom Delay as they grovel and leer at the family and nod sympathetically at the sanctimonious phonies who are using this issue for their political gain.

This is why we cannot trust the mainstream media. Most people get their news from television. And television is presenting this issue as a round the clock one dimensional soap opera pitting the "family", the congress and the church against this woman's husband and the judicial system that upheld Terry Schiavo's right and explicit request that she be allowed to die if extraordinary means were required to keep her alive. The ghoulish infotainment industry is making a killing by acceding once again to trumped up right wing sensationalism.

This issue gets to the essence of the culture war. Shall the state be allowed to interfere in the most delicate, complicated personal matters of life, death and health because a particular religious constituency holds that their belief system should override each individual's right to make these personal decisions for him or herself. And it isn't the allegedly statist/communist/socialist left that is agitating for the government to tell Americans how they must live and how they must die.

One of the things that we need to help America understand is that there is a big difference between the way the two parties perceive the role of government in its citizens personal lives. Democrats want the government to collect money from all its citizens in order to deliver services to the people. The Republicans want the government to collect money from working people in order to dictate individual citizen's personal decisions. You tell me which is the bigger intrusion into the average American's liberty?


from a Kossack 


If asked to serve my country as a physician, I will go. I will even go before I graduate next May. I will fight their unjust war. I will even kill if the field hospital is attacked.

But I will be damn honest first. This is a negotiation with a citizen of a Republic, and it isn't a just war. I am not going to simply go.

I will tell my draft board I have Crohn's Disease, and I will not fight for my government if it does not supply me with Remicade every eight weeks. I will not heal anyone if they allow me to get sick. I will not settle for a lesser drug, as I already have osteopenia from immunosuppressive steroids in my youth. That will cost the government nearly 100K a year. I will tell them I will desert and go to the media if they do not do this for me.

I will not fight their war if they do not supply my patients with lifelong healthcare. The guard men, the draftees, all of them. I want to have supplies, and I want to have backup. I am best suited as a simple medic or psych counselor, not a field surgeon. I will desert and go to the media if they do not do this for me. I will raise Cain if my patients are EVER turned away from a VA. And I will resign if the Manhattan VA is EVER closed.

I want to be able to ship men out of the field for serious psychiatric illness. It is equivalent to losing a leg. I will not oversee the creation of more McVeighs. I will take men with me and desert if I have to.

I am a member of DailyKos, I will tell my draft board. I have been agitating for the fair electoral defeat of the President, the Congressional leaders, and most of the controlling party of these United States. I believe Al Gore and John Kerry both won their elections. I believe Dr. Howard Dean was crucified by a corporate media. I believe in universal health care by some mechanism. I believe in the current Social Security System. I believe in the original intents of the first GI Bills. I oppose the use of military personnel to spread any religion among an invaded people. I am a Jew. I oppose the occupation of the Palestinan territories. I will inform the locals that many Jews in America feel as I do, and most hate Bush as an anti-semitic quasi-fascist Xtian. I oppose torture. I will report ANY and ALL irregularities in the field if I see them. I believe in evolution and I will teach or debate any soldier in my care who wants to learn the facts. I intend to be an advocate for health care, empiricism, and the working poor. I intend to convince as many of my patients as will listen that the current GOP has been hijacked by an American Taliban, and that they should survive this ill-begotten war so they can agitate for its rapid removal by means of the ballot box.
They will write home urging their families to do so.

And, inspired by an entirely fictional physician, Dr. Franklin on Babylon 5 ... I will not use my meagre scientific knowledge to build any weapon, augment any armor, or assist any psy ops.
If I stop posting after the draft begins, and you don't see me on Olbermann, I'm in Gitmo.


Send This To Your Newspaper 

( This is from a law signed in by Bush)

Baby born with fatal defect dies after removal from life support
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

The baby wore a cute blue outfit with a teddy bear covering his bottom. The 17-pound, 6-month-old boy wiggled with eyes open and smacked his lips, according to his mother.

Then at 2 p.m. today, a medical staffer at Texas Children's Hospital gently removed the breathing tube that had kept Sun Hudson alive since his Sept. 25 birth. Cradled by his mother, he took a few breaths, and died.

"I talked to him, I told him that I loved him. Inside of me, my son is still alive," Wanda Hudson told reporters afterward. "This hospital was considered a miracle hospital. When it came to my son, they gave up in six months .... They made a terrible mistake."

Sun's death marks the first time a hospital has been allowed by a U.S. judge to discontinue an infant's life-sustaining care against a parent's wishes, according to bioethical experts. A similar case involving a 68-year-old man in a chronic vegetative state at another Houston hospital is before a court now.

"This isn't murder. It's mercy and it's appropriate to be merciful in that way. It's not killing, it's stopping pointless treatment," said William Winslade, a bioethicist and lawyer who is a professor at the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "It's sad this (Sun Hudson case) dragged on for so long. It's always sad when an infant dies. We all feel it's unfair, that a child doesn't have a chance to develop and thrive."

The hospital's description of Sun — that he was motionless and sedated for comfort — has differed sharply from the mother's. Since February, the hospital has blocked the media from accepting Hudson's invitation to see the baby in the neonatal intensive care unit, citing patient privacy concerns.

"I wanted y'all to see my son for yourself," Hudson told reporters. "So you could see he was actually moving around. He was conscious."

On Feb. 16, Harris County Probate Court Judge William C. McCulloch made the landmark decision to lift restrictions preventing Texas Children's from discontinuing care. However, an emergency appeal by Hudson's attorney, Mario Caballero, and a procedural error on McCulloch's part prevented the hospital from acting for four more weeks.

Texas law allows hospitals can discontinue life sustaining care, even if patient family members disagree. A doctor's recommendation must be approved by a hospital's ethics committee, and the family must be given 10 days from written notice of the decision to try and locate another facility for the patient.

Texas Children's said it contacted 40 facilities with newborn intensive care units, but none would accept Sun. Without legal delays, Sun's care would have ended Nov. 28.

Sun was born with a fatal form of dwarfism characterized by short arms, short legs and lungs too tiny to sustain his body, doctors said. Nearly all babies born with the incurable condition, often diagnosed in utero, die shortly after birth, genetic counselors say.

Sun was delivered full-term at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, but Hudson, 33, said she had no prenatal care during which his condition might have been discovered. He was put on a ventilator while doctors figured out what was wrong with him, and Hudson refused when doctors recommending withdrawing treatment.

"From the time Sun was born ... he was on life support because his chest cavity and lungs could not grow and develop the capacity to support his body. He was slowly suffocating to death," Texas Children's said in a statement today.

Texas Children's contended that continuing care for Sun was medically inappropriate, prolonged suffering and violated physician ethics. Hudson argued her son just needed more time to grow and be weaned from the ventilator.

Another case involving a patient on life support — a 68-year man in a chronic vegetative state whose family wants to stop St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital from turning off his ventilator — was supposed to be heard today by the Houston-based 1st Court of Appeals.

But in a procedural switch, the case was transferred today to the 14th Court of Appeals, which promptly issued a temporary injunction ordering St. Luke's not to remove the man's life support, much as the 1st Court did Saturday. No hearing date has been set.



Kevin Drum Says 


LYING TO OUR FRIENDS....Laura Rozen points to what ought to be — but sadly isn't — a startling story in the Washington Post today:

In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya.

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

I'm willing to cut Bush some slack on Pakistan. Yes, his policies have been inconsistent and often hypocritical, but Pakistan is genuinely a tough nut: a dictatorship, a nuclear proliferator, and a country with key officials who are sympathetic to radical Islamism; but also a nuclear power, a necessary ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, and an unstable country in a powderkeg region. Bush is hardly the first president to have a tough time figuring out what to do about Pakistan.

But to actively cover up their role in transferring uranium to Libya? In private briefings to key allies? What the hell was he thinking?

Bush seems bound and determined to ensure that no U.S. ally will ever again believe anything we tell them. Does he really think that's in America's best long-term interests?

Machiavelli patron Saint of Republicans 


"I say, therefore, that the arms with which a prince defends his state are either his own, or they are mercenaries, auxiliaries, or mixed. Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were. Thus it was that Charles, King of France, was allowed to seize Italy with chalk in hand; and he who told us that our sins were the cause of it told the truth, but they were not the sins he imagined, but those which I have related. And as they were the sins of princes, it is the princes who have also suffered the penalty".


Saturday, March 19, 2005

1000 Orphans 

A No Bid Contract From THIS Administration? Come on… 


WASHINGTON, March 18 - Democrats in Congress are questioning a small no-bid contract that the Department of Homeland Security recently awarded to a college in Erie, Pa., the hometown of Tom Ridge, the former department secretary.

The contract, with Mercyhurst College, has a maximum value of $96,000, a tiny sum for a department that expects to buy $11 billion in goods and services this fiscal year.

But Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said Friday that the arrangement "certainly raises eyebrows," given Mr. Ridge's longstanding ties with Mercyhurst.

The chairwoman of the college's trustees, Marlene Mosco, and her husband are longtime friends of Mr. Ridge, and a profile published by Mercyhurst describes her as co-chairwoman of his state finance committee when he ran for Pennsylvania governor, the post he held before coming to Washington.


Half of America Feels Exactly The Same Way 


Police hunt poo protesters

Police in Germany are hunting pranksters who have been sticking miniature US flags into piles of dog poo in public parks.

Josef Oettl, parks administrator for Bayreuth, said: "This has been going on for about a year now, and there must be 2,000 to 3,000 piles of excrement that have been claimed during that time."

The series of incidents was originally thought to be some sort of protest against the US-led invasion of Iraq.

And then when it continued it was thought to be a protest against President George W. Bush's campaign for


But it is still going on and the police say they are completely baffled as to who is to blame.

"We have sent out extra patrols to try to catch whoever is doing this in the act," said police spokesman Reiner Kuechler.

"But frankly, we don't know what we would do if we caught them red handed."

Legal experts say there is no law against using faeces as a flag stand and the federal constitution is vague on the issue.


Friday, March 18, 2005

Should America Split Up? 


Is this return of American regionalism linked to George Kennan’s observation that the United States has grown so big it has to devolve into more local subsets? As Kennan observed, a centralized government is virtually incapable of responding flexibly and creatively to hundreds of millions of widely varying inhabitants. Central laws and regulations by their nature treat citizens as interchangeable units, the same in New Mexico, Oregon, Nebraska, and West Virginia. Whether run by Democrats or Republicans, subject only to the half-hearted restraint of the federal judiciary, centralized rule tends to make everything from cable television rates to the color of schoolbuses into literally a federal case. Then national government is perceived as arrogant, out of touch, and intrusive. The heretofore “Southern” experience of seeing the institutions of government, commerce, and culture in alien hands is thus growing increasingly widespread.


In the American case, the collapse of Soviet Communism has removed a powerful external adhesive, and it remains to be seen what, if anything, will replace it. The “New World Order” is a concept that only a banker could love and only a mercenary would fight for. And if we’re not to rally around the Stars and Stripes, most normal Americans will find various subnational attachments much more plausible than loyalty to some transnational alphabet organization.

So far, regionalist sentiments and interests have received only muted expression in American politics. But I sometimes wonder whether we’re about to see a resurgence of sectionalism. If we do, it won’t be just Southern this time.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Let Her Die You Cruel Fucks 


The War party is all atwitter about Ms. Schiavo, a BRAIN DEAD vegetable who suffers insider her own body, who will have her feeding tube removed tomorrow.

"She reactes to people," the wingnuts say.

Yeah? She reacts the exact same way when NO ONE is in he room.

The Party of Death is AOK with killing hundreds of thousands of Commies or Arabs or Prisoners, but a BRAIN DEAD woman is somehow higher that all that.

Fucking idiots.

Hell, If I were in Florida, I would ask someone to help me die too..


From Oliver Willis 


Republicans Vote No on Providing Rail Service to Millions of Americans. Senate Republicans voted no on the Byrd amendment to provide funding for Amtrak. The amendment called for an increase in funding for Amtrak by $1 billion. The amendment failed 46-52. [RC 51, S. Amdt. 158 to S. Con. Res. 18, 3/16/05]

Republicans Vote No on Protecting the Arctic Refuge. Senate Republicans voted against the Cantwell amendment to protect the Arctic Wildlife Refuge from drilling. The amendment failed 49-51. [RC 52, S. Amdt. 168 to S. Con. Res. 18, 3/16/05]

Republicans Voted Against Paying for all Tax Cuts and Spending. Senate Republicans voted against the Feingold amendment that would have reinstated the “Pay-as-you-go” rules. These rules would require any new tax cuts or spending to be fully offset and paid for. The amendment failed 50-50. [RC 53, S. Amdt. 186 to S. Con. Res. 18, 3/16/05]

Republicans Voted Against An Amendment to Provide for the Health Care Needs of Our Veterans. Senate Republicans voted against the Akaka/Murray amendment that would have increased the Veterans Affairs budget by $2.85 billion. The amendment would also rejects the President’s proposal to cut funding to State veterans’ homes, eliminate the means-test for veterans to enroll for VA care, provide for much-needed mental health services, rejects the President’s proposal to drive veterans away from the VA with annual user fees and increased prescription drug costs. The amendment failed 47-53. [RC 55, S. Amdt. 149 to S. Con. Res. 18, 3/16/05]


Shit To Piss You off 


This Is News?

If two weeks go by without a celebrity scandal or a particularly grisly murder case, the media and its talking heads grow noticeably restive. The Kobe Bryant, Martha Stewart, Scott Peterson, Robert Blake and Jackson cases tend to merge into one lengthy, undignified assault on public intelligence and decency.

The basic trend in the American media is toward a vast expansion of “yellow journalism,” with its sensationalism and scandal-mongering, even within “respectable” outlets. This has deep social causes. The US is a country seething with social contradictions and tensions, none of which can be discussed openly. The vast chasm between the elite and the rest of the population must remain a secret as far as the media is concerned.

Wake Up America

We need to remind ourselves of the function journalists are supposed to serve. We are the surrogates of the people. The people cannot be in the chambers of the judiciary, the halls of Congress, or the offices of the executive branch -- all those people won't fit and they couldn't be in all three simultaneously.

Though not elected by you at the polls -- yet chosen by you when you buy a paper or tune in a program -- we are supposed to be your eyes and ears. You're too busy living your lives and can't be watching what the politicians are doing. We're supposed to do that for you.

Many people don't seem to understand this. They believe freedom of the press is some freedom enjoyed only by the press. No, it's actually the people's freedom to get the news from whomever and wherever they want.

Bagdhad = Dodge City II

Nearly two years since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq, Baghdad is still one of the most dangerous cities in the world. It is ringed in peril. Travel in any direction a few miles outside city limits and the risks intensify. The ferocity and growth of these no-go zones underscores the need for additional Iraqi security forces in and around Baghdad as the US begins to reduce its manpower here.

Because of kidnappings and murders on the road immediately south of Baghdad, that area has been dubbed the "triangle of death" by journalists. The areas immediately north and west of the city that have long been called the Sunni triangle has also become shorthand for a no-go zone.

Bush is Hurting US

Foreign central banks buy U.S. currency, in the form of Treasury notes, the way you buy stock in a company. Trouble is, they also can sell it the way you can dump stock when you lose faith in a company. The plummeting dollar is a global vote of no confidence in Brand U.S.A. and its current management. This decline is likely to accelerate if the administration doesn't begin to be more candid about the nation's real problems, such as the government's budgetary shortfalls, and take them on. Foreign investors don't want to trust their money to a country governed by propagandists. That's why they invested in the U.S. in the first place.




This month, Republican leaders say they are chucking the open town-hall format. They plan to visit newspaper editorial boards and talk to constituents at Rotary Club lunches, senior citizen centers, chambers of commerce meetings and local businesses. In those settings, "there isn't an opportunity for it to disintegrate into something that's less desirable," says Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference.

Something less desireable. Like actual debate, surrounded by facts and skeptics not sycophants and fakes perhaps?


Adam Yoshida, Heartless Pig 


Folks…THIS is the right wing for you

"Well, it looks like it's time once more to recall the story of the traitor Rachel Corrie, who has now been burning in hell for exactly two years. Frankly, I find her story very comforting: I take it as a sort of reassurance that, though the Lord cannot answer all of our prayers, at least he will occasionally take the time to remind us that, at the very least, he still has a sense of humor.... What is standing alongside the enemies of the United States and burning a representation of the American flag if it is not treason?"

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

America’s Has Been Economy 


Outsourcing is rapidly converting US corporations into a brand name with a sales force selling foreign designed, engineered, and manufactured goods. Whether or not they realize it, US corporations have written off the US consumer market. People who do not participate in the innovation, design, engineering and manufacture of the products that they consume lack the incomes to support the sales infrastructure of the job diverse "old economy."

"Free market" economists and US politicians are blind to the rapid transformation of America into a third world economy, but college bound American students and heads of engineering schools are acutely aware of declining career opportunities and enrollments. While "free trade" economists and corporate publicists prattle on about America's glorious future, heads of prestigious engineering schools ponder the future of engineering education in America.


According to the Los Angeles Times (March 11), the percentage of college graduates among the long-term chronically unemployed has risen sharply in the 21st century. The US Department of Labor reported in March that 373,000 discouraged college graduates dropped out of the labor force in February--a far higher number than the number of new jobs created.

The disappearing US economy can also be seen in the exploding trade deficit. As more employment is shifted offshore, goods and services formerly produced domestically become imports. Nothink economists and Bush administration officials claim that America's increasing dependence on imported goods and services is evidence of the strength of the US economy and its role as engine of global growth.


The Asia Times reported (March 12) that Asian central banks have been reducing their dollar holdings in favor of regional currencies for the past three years. A study by the Bank of International Settlements concluded that the ratio of dollar reserves held in Asia declined from 81% in the third quarter of 2001 to 67% in September 2004. India reduced its dollar holdings from 68% of total reserves to 43%. China reduced its dollar holdings from 83% to 68%.

The US dollar will not be able to maintain its role as world reserve currency when it is being abandoned by that area of the world that is rapidly becoming the manufacturing, engineering and innovation powerhouse.

Misled by propagandistic "free trade" claims, Americans will be at a loss to understand the increasing career frustrations of the college educated. Falling pay and rising prices of foreign made goods will squeeze US living standards as the declining dollar heralds America's descent into a has-been economy.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: pcroberts@postmark.net


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

23 Dead in14 Days 


believe it or not this is an improvement

Now I’ll Post For Ralph Nader 


(typically you don't just repost an entire article. I don't think he'll care)

This War has Left the US Poorer, More Despised and Less Safe

Restarting the Anti-War Movement


Political movements require momentum, they need to consistently build and aggregate. When they take a lengthy break from organizing and stop the momentum it is difficult to re-start.

During the Vietnam War there was a consistent expansion of anti-war efforts. Every year the movement built and grew. Anti-war activists did not take breaks during election years. In fact, they targeted members of both political parties for their support for the war. Indeed, their work led to a sitting president, Lyndon Johnson; dropping out during the primaries as it became evident the Vietnam War would destroy his chances of re-election. This occurred even though Johnson was elected in what was the largest landslide ever in his previous 1964 campaign. And when that election year was over even Richard Nixon was pressured to announce a withdrawal plan.

The anti-Iraq war movement showed its power before the war putting millions of people in the streets. We were years ahead of the growth of the anti-war movement of the Vietnam era. Now that the Iraq war and occupation have unfolded all of the predictions of the anti-war movement have come true "" Iraq is a quagmire, has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians and more than 1,500 U.S. troops, hundreds of billions of tax dollars are being spent resulting in cuts of many stateside domestic programs. U.S. corporate interests have invaded Iraq and the widespread corruption related to corporate business is being exposed. But yet, the anti-war movement with few exceptions chose not to have a demanding impact on the presidential election and John Kerry.

The Iraq War and occupation have made the United States less secure. CIA Director Porter Goss testified before Congress this February saying that Iraq has become a training ground for terrorists, saying: "Those Jihadists who survive will leave Iraq experienced in and focused on acts of urban terrorism. They represent a potential pool of contacts to build transitional terrorist cells, groups and networks." This analysis is consistent with the findings of government reports and comments of intelligence officials. Yet, the anti-war movement failed to make this point during the election giving both major parties a free ride for their support of a war that makes us less secure.

Military intelligence, active and retired, as well as repeated documented exposes have found no WMD's, no Saddam-Al Qaeda or 9/11 connections and no threat to his more powerful neighbors from his tottering dictatorship with a dilapidated army unwilling to fight for him. Yet the silence of the anti-war movement during the election allowed both parties to avoid criticism for their support of the war based on false information.

The U.S. is poorer, less safe, and less respected because of the Iraq War.

If the peace movement had continued to advocate for an end to the war during the presidential election year, rather than remaining silent where would be today? We would have built on the successes of our beginnings rather than having to start anew. We'd be nearer the end of the war-occupation, not farther from it. President Bush would be on the defensive, not on the offensive. Iraqis would be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, when they would get their country and economy back, rather than the darkness of continued occupation.

How does the anti-war movement recover from this lost momentum? There is much work to do to respond to this question; but it can be done because the people can have the power to make it happen.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate who has worked on a wide range of issues including civic skills, environmentalism, control of corporations and election reform. He has worked against the Iraq War since 2002.

Nader will be one of three people authoring a blog on Democracy Rising focused on their "Stop the War" campaign. (See: www.DemocracyRising.US). People can comment on the Nader blog on the site. In addition, Kevin Zeese, a director of Democracy Rising, authors a blog, the first one focusing on Iraq being worse off two years after the war; and Virginia Rodino, another organizer of Democracy Rising and a member of the steering committee of United for Peace and Justice, authors a blog focused on the strategy and tactics of the anti-war movement.


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