Monday, October 31, 2005
  Falwell Picks Next Supreme Court Nominee
Duhbya called up God to ask him who he should pick for his next nominee to the Supreme Court. God was out playing golf with Reagan and Eisenhower so Gabriel answered the phone.

“Hi. Gab here.” He listened a minute to the incoming call. It sounded awfully like mosquitoes buzzing.

“No. God is out,” Gabriel said trying to be patient – more mosquito buzzing. “Now look Junior, I’ve told you before, God doesn’t have time for your penny-ante bullsh*t. Besides, you don’t ever do what he tells you to do anyway.”

More mosquito buzzing. “Hold on there Junior. God didn’t tell you to nominate Miers. You’re not hitting the sauce again are you?”

“Buzz, buzz, buzz.”

Gabriel looked slightly amused and replied, “Yeah, well. I don’t care if Cheney did say that on the floor of the house, I’m not going to pass a message like that on to God. You do it yourself. In the meantime, why don’t you call Jerry Falwell? I think he’s in an alley just across town from you entertaining a guest.”

“Buzz, buzz, buzz.”

“Well, Junior, you know what they say. Judge not least ye be judged. And besides, Falwell will be a Born-Again Christian – again – before he goes to church tomorrow.” Gabriel gently hung up the phone.

Duhbya finally did get Falwell on the phone but there was a lot of interference. About every thirty seconds, Falwell would shout out, “Oh Lord, I’m coming.” The background noise was some kind of slurping sound, kind of like the pumps had made as they pumped the last water out of New Orleans.

Falwell was breathing hard but he finally managed to gasp out, “Alito, Alito, Alito-o-o-o, oh Lord I’m coming now.”

So that is how Alito became the next Supreme Court nominee – at least, that’s what I heard. Here is some other stuff I heard about Alito:

ALITO WOULD OVERTURN ROE V. WADE: In his dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Alito concurred with the majority in supporting the restrictive abortion-related measures passed by the Pennsylvania legislature in the late 1980’s. Alito went further, however, saying the majority was wrong to strike down a requirement that women notify their spouses before having an abortion. The Supreme Court later rejected Alito’s view, voting to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. [Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 1991]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW RACE-BASED DISCRIMINATION: Alito dissented from a decision in favor of a Marriott Hotel manager who said she had been discriminated against on the basis of race. The majority explained that Alito would have protected racist employers by “immuniz[ing] an employer from the reach of Title VII if the employer’s belief that it had selected the ‘best’ candidate was the result of conscious racial bias.” [Bray v. Marriott Hotels, 1997]

ALITO WOULD ALLOW DISABILITY-BASED DISCRIMINATION: In Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, the majority said the standard for proving disability-based discrimination articulated in Alito’s dissent was so restrictive that “few if any…cases would survive summary judgment.” [Nathanson v. Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1991]ALITO WOULD STRIKE DOWN THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) “guarantees most workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a loved one.” The 2003 Supreme Court ruling upholding FMLA [Nevada v. Hibbs, 2003] essentially reversed a 2000 decision by Alito which found that Congress exceeded its power in passing the law. [Chittister v. Department of Community and Economic Development, 2000]

ALITO SUPPORTS UNAUTHORIZED STRIP SEARCHES: In Doe v. Groody, Alito agued that police officers had not violated constitutional rights when they strip searched a mother and her ten-year-old daughter while carrying out a search warrant that authorized only the search of a man and his home. [Doe v. Groody, 2004]

ALITO HOSTILE TOWARD IMMIGRANTS: In two cases involving the deportation of immigrants, the majority twice noted Alito’s disregard of settled law. In Dia v. Ashcroft, the majority opinion states that Alito’s dissent “guts the statutory standard” and “ignores our precedent.” In Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, the majority stated Alito’s opinion contradicted “well-recognized rules of statutory construction.” [Dia v. Ashcroft, 2003; Ki Se Lee v. Ashcroft, 2004]
Thursday, October 27, 2005
  Rudeness and Bus Seats
1955, Little Rock, Arkansas: I was seven years old. I was trying very hard to be invisible because my daddy was raving again and when my daddy raved, somebody usually got hit. Usually it was me.

I huddled into myself as small as I could, listening to what he was saying. Listening and remembering was crucial. Any tidbits of information about boundaries that he wouldn’t allow to be crossed could save me from a future whipping.

“Damn uppity black bitch,” Daddy said. “And that Eisenhower – he ain’t no better ‘n one a them hisself. I wish they’d take that black bitch and a big black buck too, adder they’d been out pickin’ cotton all day and handcuff one to each side of ole Ike and make him sleep with ‘em all night long and see how he liked that.”

I didn’t figure he’d like it much. I’d seen a picture of the president in a newspaper. He was dressed in a suit and tie. He probably wasn’t used to being around people who were hot and sweaty from hard work. I know when we came in from picking cotton, we sure didn’t smell like any bouquet of roses.

The thought of that clean, neat little man sharing the same bed with two people who had been out working in the sun all day struck me as funny. I could feel a giggle welling up but I tried hard to choke it down.

Daddy heard me anyway, even above his yelling. He whirled on me as he unbuckled his belt and jerked it from his pants loops. “You laughing at me boy?” He folded the belt in half as he advanced towards me.

As he beat me with the belt, I screamed and cried and promised I wouldn’t do it again (whatever “it” was.) Finally, he got tired, put his belt back on and went to work. I didn’t know it then, but the “black bitch” was Rosa Parks. The crime she committed that so incensed my father was refusing to yield her seat on a bus to a white man in Mobile, Alabama.

My father and Eisenhower died long years ago. Rosa Parks just passed away peaceably in her sleep at the age of 92. I don’t know what happened to the rude white man on the bus.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
  What if ...?
What if you had been the winner of that $340 million lottory last week?

What if you had listened to all the advise that your daddy so freely handed out?

What if that hot one you tried to pick up in the bar last night had actually believed your BS?

What if - well, you get the picture. It's called the What IF Game. Here is a great one that is now going around on the web. What if Duhbya hadn't started the Iraq war and squandered over 203 billion dollars of hard-earned U.S. tax dollars over there - so far? What could we have done with that money? Well, here is some perspective on just how much of our money Duhbya has poured down that rathole. For that much money:

We could have fully funded GLOBAL anti-hunger efforts for 8 years.

We could have paid for 26,962,984 children to attend a year of Head Start.

We could have paid for health insurance for 12,189,859 children for ten years.

We could have hired 352,790 additional public school teachers for ten years.

We could have provided 9,868,665 students four-year scholarships at public universities.

We could have built 1,832,965 additional housing units.

We could have fully funded world-wide AIDS programs for 20 years.

We could have ensured that every child in the entire world was given basic immunizations for 67 years.

But no. Duhbya had rather spend our money on depleted uranium armory piercing bullets and super napalm bombs (M70). Of course, most of it he handed out to buddies in the form of no-bid contracts. Too bad there wasn't enough left over to buy body armor for the troops but, oh well. As Rumsfield said, "You fight with the army you've got, not the one you have to pay for." Maybe that's not an exact quote, but I'm sure I captured the meaning close enough for government work.

And by the way, speaking of Rumsfield, who out there really believes that Duhbya actually masterminded everything that has gone on in the last five years? I want everyone who thinks Duhbya is actually that smart to pat your head, rub your stomach, stand on your left leg, and jump two steps to your right. Just as I thought. Nobody believes that.

Steven Pizzo summed it up pretty well when he said:

"GWB – a kind of Forrest Gump from the Dark Side. A man ignorant, proud of it, and willing to take direction from those he considered friends."
Monday, October 24, 2005
  A Matter of Conscience
by Sgt. Kevin Benderman

Having watched and observed life from the standpoint of a soldier for 10 years of my life, I always felt there was no higher honor than to serve my country and defend the values that established this country. My family has a history of serving this country dating back to the American Revolution, and I felt that to continue on in that tradition was the honorable thing to do.

As I went through the process which led to my decision to refuse deployment to Iraq for the second time, I was torn between thoughts of abandoning the soldiers that I serve with, or following my conscience, which tells me: war is the ultimate in destruction and waste of humanity.

Thoughts that we could, and should, consider better ways to solve our differences with other people in the world have crossed my mind on numerous occasions. And this was the driving force that made me refuse deployment to Iraq a second time. Some people may say I am doing so out of fear of combat; I am not going to tell you that the thought of going back to that place isn't scary, but that is not the reason for my decision to not return.

I want people to know that the longer I thought about just how stupid the concept of war really is, the stronger I felt about not participating in war. Why do we tell our children to not solve their differences with violence, then turn around and commit the ultimate in violence against people in another country who have nothing to do with the political attitudes of their leaders?

Having read numerous books on the subject of war and having heard all the arguments for war, I have come to the conclusion that there are no valid arguments for the destructive force of war. People are destroyed, nations are destroyed, and yet we continue on with war. The young people that I went with to the combat zone looked at it like it was a video game they played back in their childhood.

When you contemplate the beauty of the world around us and the gifts we have been given, you have to ask yourself, "Is this what humanity is meant to do, wage war against one another?" Why can't we teach our children not to hate or to not be afraid of someone else just because they are different from us? Why must it be considered honorable to train young men and women to look through the sights of a high-powered rifle and to kill another human being from 300 meters away?

Consider, if you will, the positive things that could be accomplished without war in our lives: prescription medication that is affordable for seniors, college grants that are available for high school seniors - I could name a list of reasons not to waste our resources on war. The most important being to let the children of the world learn war no more.

I've received e-mails from people who said that I was a coward for not going to war, but I say to them that I have already been, so I do not have anything to prove to anyone anymore. What is there to prove anyway - that I can kill someone I do not even know and who has never done anything to me? What is in that concept that anyone could consider honorable?

I first realized that war was the wrong way to handle things in this or any other country when I went to the war zone and saw the damage that it causes. Why must we resort to violence when things do not go our way? Where is the logic of that? I have felt that there are better ways to handle our business than to bomb each other into oblivion. When you are on the water in a boat and you have a chance to see dolphins playing with each other as they go about their business, you realize that if they can live without war, then humanity should be able to as well.

Can't we teach our children to leave war behind in history where it belongs? We realized that slavery and human sacrifice were obsolete institutions, and we left them behind us. When are going to have the same enlightened attitude about war?

I look at my stepchildren and realize that war has no place with me in giving them what they need to survive the trials and tribulations of early adulthood. And if you look at all the time soldiers lose in the course of fighting wars, such as birthdays and anniversaries, their children going to the senior prom and college graduations, and other things that can never be replaced, then you have to come to the understanding that war steals more from people than just the sense of humanity - it also steals some of that humanity from their family.

I have learned from firsthand experience that war is the destroyer of everything that is good in the world; it turns our young into soulless killers, and we tell them that they are heroes when they master the "art" of killing. That is a very deranged mindset in my opinion. It destroys the environment, life, and the resources that could be used to create more life by advancing our endeavors.

War should be left behind us; we should evolve to a higher mindset even if it means going against what most people tell us in this country, such as that we can never stop fighting with other people in the world. I have made the decision to not participate in war any longer, and some people in this country cannot comprehend that concept, but to me it is simple. I have chosen not to take part in war, and it was easy to come to that decision.

I cannot tell anyone else how to live his or her life, but I have determined how I want to live mine - by not participating in war any longer, as I feel that it is stupid and against everything that is good about our world.

To read more about Kevin Benderman, or to offer support or assistance, go to Kevin Benderman Timeline, to the Kevin Benderman Defense Committee, or send an e-mail to Monica Benderman at
Friday, October 21, 2005
  Department of Peace and Nonviolence

On Wednesday, Dennis Kucinich and 57 (now 59) cosponsors introduced H.R. 3760, a bill to establish a Department of Peace and Nonviolence. This legislation will raise prevention of domestic and international conflict, and working for nonviolent resolutions to conflict when it arises, to the same or higher level of governmental priority as violent or repressive responses.
The department will work proactively with every branch of the Federal Government. It will draw upon the intellectual and spiritual wealth of organizations and individuals who are already developing and employing nonviolent approaches and practices which resolve conflicts and advance the human condition.

Among its many domestic and educational responsibilities, the department will develop policies and create programs that promote peace in America by implementing field-tested strategies that reduce and prevent violent crime, and teach tolerance and peacemaking skills. The department will serve as an ethical guide and checkpoint for Federal law and national domestic programs administered by all agencies of the Federal Government. Some areas of domestic and educational focus include:

Internationally, more than 100,000,000 people - over one hundred million - perished in war in the 20th Century, most of them civilian non-combatants, women and children. In its international component the bill seeks not to dismantle the military, but rather to add a voice at the President's table alongside the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense whose job it is to introduce non-violent strategic alternatives. Among other charges, the Secretary of Peace will advise on all matters relating to national security and the role of the U.S. in the world including:
Prevention, amelioration and de-escalation of armed and unarmed international conflict;

It has been suggested that our species stands at an evolutionary fork in the road. As a culture we can stay on a path which tends to respond to conflict with violence - wasting lives and destroying families, communities and countries - or we can actively choose another course. We can choose a course of actively lifting the American response to conflict at home and abroad to a level informed by the higher truths of compassion, respect, honor and integrity - which we recite, but need to practice better as a nation. One way leads toward darkness, fear and death, and the other toward light, hope and life.

This legislation, and the discussion among citizens and lawmakers that will ensue, come from that hope - and represent the germ of a new course for the human race. This bill will create a federal government structure to focus, communicate and leverage the dreams, ideas and toils of those who see a better way, a future marked by peaceful co-existence and a new era of working together. Let us draw from within every man, woman and child to build a future of peace and true security.

Contact your Member of Congress and tell them to support H.R. 3760, the bill to create a Department of Peace and Nonviolence - and if they don't, demand to know why. And while you're on a roll, call Representative Dennis Kucinich and think him for actually remembering he works for the people of this country and not a corporation.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
  Where does terrorism start?

by Soumaya Ghannoushi

It is interesting that while medieval Europe strove to dissociate the great achievements of the flourishing Islamic civilization from the religion of Islam, today's West insists on referring all Muslims' ills, from democratic failure to economic decadence, to the Islam religion. The terrorist plague is no exception. Its agents, we are told, are the product of an "evil ideology which must be uprooted".

Even so, this is only half of the truth. The questions we can not avoid are: why are would-be bombers driven towards this evil theology and not any other, after all it is hardly the only one on offer within the intensely diverse intellectual and political Islamic map?

What propels them to deviate from the mainstream body of Muslims and embrace a perverse interpretation that justifies the slaughter of innocent civilians? What triggers this radical ideology’s shift from the abstract realm of ideas to the concrete scenes of explosives, severed limbs and charred bodies?

If we were Hegelians we would accept Blair and Bush's explanations of historical phenomena by reference to ideology. I, however, prefer to do as Marx did and turn history from its head back on its feet. History is the generator of ideology not vice versa. Rather than explain, ideology is itself in need of explaining. We must go beyond the evil ideology to the evil reality that spawns and fosters it. Ideology can not be the starting point, but the conclusion to the search for causes and origins.

Take the four bombers who a few months ago created carnage and mayhem in London's tubes and buses. The striking picture that emerged from the media's scrutiny of every minutia of their menial lives was of four unexceptional men, with calm ordinary lives, no different from any Brit of their age. Most were born in Leeds and attended its primary and secondary schools. One was a sports fanatic who adored cricket and hockey and worked at his father's fish and chip shop, another was notorious for playing loud music in his Buckinghamshire home, and the third for hiding in back alleys to sip beer with local youths.

Those who bury their heads in the sand and insist that that terrorism arises from an evil ideology need to answer to this question: Why did these young men revert to a terrifying and deviant theology that sanctions the killing of the innocent, rather than their parents' calm traditional faith, the peaceful theology of the scholars, the spirituality of Sufism, or the moderation of mainstream revivalist Islamism?

That these men were radicalised by the stormy political events that unfolded before their eyes on TV screens and brought home to them the scenes of death, misery and destruction in Falluja, Baghdad, Jenin and Gaza is undeniable. A stream of reports by British and American intelligence services, leading think tanks like the Economic Social Research Council, and leaked foreign office memoranda, confirm the link between British and American foreign policies and the current wave of terrorist bombings.

The Chatham House organisation, a respected London based independent think tank on foreign affairs, found that a key problem for the UK in preventing terrorism is that the country is "riding as a pillion passenger with the United States in the war on terror" and that the Iraq war has given a "boost" to al-Qaida's recruiting abilities. As the former head of the Bin Ladin Unit in the CIA put it, "To deny that there is a link between our foreign policies" and terrorism "is madness itself".

Osman Hussain, one of the suspects in the 21 July failed bombings - who is said to have been a notorious womaniser in his earlier days - told his Italian interrogators that he and his friends had watched hours of footage on the war on Iraq, "of women and children killed or wiped out by British and US soldiers, of weeping widows, mothers and children".

The same message was echoed in Siddique Khan's video from the grave, all the more chilling in its flat Yorkshire accent. "Until you stop the bombing, gassing, and imprisonment, he declared ... we will not stop the fight."

In this globalised age dominated by the power of the image, the notion of geography has almost been stripped of content. Tragedies in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and other faraway lands are now part of the fabric of our daily lives. They can no longer be kept away, to rage in distant lands and devour obscure nations. They inevitably spill over our shores, cities and villages, lay bare our vulnerability and put an end to our false sense of immunity.

What happened in London is in fact, a small episode in a still unfolding global drama. Scores of families across the Islamic world, in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Algeria and Tunisia, continue to watch helplessly as their sons suddenly drop out of college courses and university degrees, quit their jobs, and disappear forever to join the terrible death cult of the Iraq suicide bomber.

Such is the spectacular folly of the United States colonial adventure in Iraq that al-Qaida could be transferred from Qandahar's caves and mountains to the very heart of the Muslim world. With its occupation, Iraq turned into a hotbed of terrorism and a magnet for the disenchanted.

It turns out it was not freedom or liberation America's tanks and B52s had brought Baghdad, but death, destruction, chaos, sectarian schism and al-Qaida.What seems to single the London bombers out, however, is their evident sense of alienation and rootlessness. They belonged neither to the majority around them, nor to their ethnic and religious communities. They rejected the wider Western culture of the majority, but also the mainstream Islam of their community. They belonged neither to one nor to the other. They were a minority within the minority.

In al-Qaida's extremism they sought a medium of expressing the profound tensions that seethed deep within them. Ideology, nationalist, socialist, or Islamist is, after all, the medium through which socio-political grievances are translated.Many have been quick to attribute the phenomenon of "Islamic terrorism" to the religious educational system, embarking on a frantic search for links with the traditional Islamic madrassas. Careful examination of the evolution of the bombers in London, New York and Washington throws serious doubts over such claims, however.

None of the young men involved appears to have received a substantial religious education, to have graduated from the theology departments of Islamic universities, or even to have attended a separate faith school. The religious establishment has in fact been the object of fierce condemnation by radical factions for its alleged estrangement from politics and acquiescence to the political status quo.

What appears to be common to all the young men in question is the striking weakness of their religious culture and their profound ignorance of Islamic theology, not the reverse. Following a sudden emotional upsurge, unrestrained by sound religious understanding and adequate political experience, they slip into the bottomless abyss of violent extremism.

Islam has always been the object of divergent strategies of interpretation. The most dominant has always been the calm and dignified Islam of the Ulama (scholars). This peaceful Islam is increasingly undermined by the turbulent reality of post-colonial Muslim society, aggravated by a gamut of myopic western policies that range from the obstruction of political change in the Arab region and sanctioning of genocide and illegal settlement in Palestine, to the revival of the colonial era through the military invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The mere sight of Bush greeting Sharon as a "man of peace" days after the Jenin refugee camp massacre, as though those his bulldozers had buried alive were cockroaches not human beings, would have been enough to turn the moral universe of countless young Muslims upside down and send them on the road to nihilistic perdition. The evils of reality always metamorphose into evil ideologies. The trail of the bombers’ insanity leads back to these insane "foreign" policies, which are destabilising the world, breaking it into opposite trenches and tearing the fabric of nations, communities and families apart.

Unless they are rectified, there can be little hope of our world emerging out of this monstrous pit of hatred and violence.

[Soumaya Ghannoushi is a researcher in the history of ideas at the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London.]
  Cindy Says No To Hillary - And Why.
"I would love to support Hillary for President if she would come out against the travesty in Iraq. But I don't think she can speak out against the occupation, because she supports it."

by Cindy Sheehan

I will not make the mistake of supporting another pro-war Democrat for president again: As I won't support a pro-war Republican.This country wants this occupation to end. The world wants the occupation to end. People in Iraq want this occupation to end.

Senator Clinton: taking the peace road would not prove you are weak. Instead, it would prove that you are the strongest and wisest candidate. As a mom, as an American, as a patriot: I implore you to have the strength and courage to lead the fight for peace.

I want to support you, I want to work for you, but like many American moms, I will resist your candidacy with every bit of my power and strength unless you show us the wisdom it takes to be a truly great leader.

Prove that you are "passionate" and reflect our nations' values and refusal to support imperialism, greed and torture. Senator Clinton: come out against this occupation of Iraq. Not because it is the politically expedient thing to do but because it is the humane thing to do. If you want to make Casey's sacrifice count, bring the rest of his buddies home alive.

* * *I did meet with Sen. Clinton, along with Sen. Harry Reid, on September 22, 2005. No one has asked me how it went with Sen. Reid, but I've been asked about my meeting with Sen. Clinton many times. A few days earlier in Brooklyn, I had referred to her as waiting for a politically "expedient" moment to speak out against the war in Iraq. I, of course, think that this tactic is wrong, because politics has nothing to do with the slaughter going on in Iraq. No one asked the almost 2000 Americans and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis who have been killed what political party they were rooting for. When a mother receives the news that her son or daughter has been killed for lies she never thinks "Oh no, how could this have happened? I am a Democrat(Republican)!!!

"Playing politics with our soldiers' lives is despicable. I thought the meeting with Sen. Clinton went well. I thought she listened and heard what we had to say. I went with another Gold Star Mother, Lynn Braddach, and my sister, Dede Miller. After Sen. Reid left, Mrs. Clinton stayed for a few more moments and she told us that she had met with the other Gold Star Mothers who had a different view from ours. I said it didn't really matter, because our view is right. Lynn, Dede, and I don't want our loved ones to be used as political pawns to justify the killing spree in Iraq. I can't believe any mother who has had her heart and soul torn out would wish that on another mother. How often do the lies have to be exposed before every American (elected official, media representative, average citizen) wakes up and says, "enough killing is enough!"

I thought Mrs. Clinton listened, but apparently she didn't because immediately afterwards she said the following to Sarah Ferguson of the Village Voice: "My bottom line is that I don't want their sons to die in vain... I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal... I don't think it's the right time to withdraw."

That quote sounds exactly like what the few Republicans I talked to that week said. Making sure that our children did not die in "vain" sounds exactly like something George Bush says. A "date" for withdrawal? That sounds like Rush Limbaugh to me. That doesn't sound like an opposition party leader speaking to me. What Sen. Clinton said after our meeting sounds exactly like the Republican Party talking points I heard from Senators Dole and McCain.

Sen. Clinton was in California last week to raise money for her political campaigns. An invitation to one star-studded gala reads: "We must stand with Senator Clinton as she stands up for what we believe in. Hillary is and always has been our champion in the White House and the Senate." And she's one of the "strongest, most passionate and intelligent Democrats."

I didn't get an invitation to any of the events, but maybe it's because she doesn't stand up for what I believe in. I don't believe in continuing this occupation of Iraq and I don't believe in killing more of our soldiers because my son has already been needlessly and tragically killed. I don't believe she is passionate. I think she is a political animal who believes she has to be a war hawk to keep up with the big boys. She is intelligent, there's no doubt about that. However, I believe that the intelligent thing for Democrats to do for 2006 and 2008 would be to come out strongly and correctly against the botched, bungled, illegal, and immoral occupation of Iraq.

62% of Americans now believe that this war is based on lies and betrayals and want our troops to start coming home. 53% of Americans want our troops to come home immediately. The last time I looked, Democrats did not comprise 62% of our population. Americans oppose this war in overwhelming numbers and it crosses party lines. Because America can see that the war in Iraq has fueled terrorism and has made the world and our country less secure. America can see that the murder of innocents is not a "right and left" issue, it is a "right and wrong" issue.

Sixty-nine of our best and brightest have been sent meaninglessly and unnecessarily to their premature deaths since I met with Mrs. Clinton on September 22nd. Sixty-nine mothers and fathers and who knows how many spouses, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, cousins, and friends have been meaninglessly and unnecessarily sent into tailspins of grief and emptiness since that meeting.

We all know that Sen. Clinton, along with many other Representatives and Senators voted to give George Bush the authority to invade a sovereign nation that was no threat to the USA. We know that they spinelessly abrogated their constitutional responsibility and duty to declare war. We (and most of them) know that voting to give an irresponsible person authority to wage war was a devastating mistake. But I know that knowing all of that will not bring my son or almost 2000 other Americans back and it won't bring back that nation's war dead, either.

Learn more about Cindy at or about Gold Star Families for Peace at
Thursday, October 13, 2005
  ...Say What?


Stupid Quotes About Iraq

From Daniel Kurtzman

25 Mind-Numbingly Stupid Official Statements About Iraq

1) "My answer is bring 'em on." —President George W. Bush, challenging militants attacking U.S. forces in Iraq, July 2, 2003 (Source)

2) "I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." --Vice President Dick Cheney, on the Iraq insurgency, June 20, 2005 (Source)

3) "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time." —Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, responding to a U.S. soldier serving in Iraq who asked him why troops had to dig through scrap metal to armor vehicles, Dec. 8, 2004 (Source)

4) "My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." –Vice President Dick Cheney, "Meet the Press," March 16, 2003 (Source)

5) "F**k Saddam, we're taking him out." –President Bush to three U.S. Senators in March 2002, a full year before the Iraq invasion (Source)

6) "Ladies and gentlemen, these are not assertions. These are facts, corroborated by many sources, some of them sources of the intelligence services of other countries." –Secretary of State Colin Powell, testifying about Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons capabilities before the United Nations Security Council, Feb. 5, 2003 (Source)

7) "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." –National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, on Iraq's nuclear capabilities and the Bush administration's case for war, Sept. 8, 2002 (Source)

8) "Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things." –Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on looting in Iraq after the U.S. invasion, adding "stuff happens," April 11, 2003 (Source)

9) "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." –President Bush, standing under a "Mission Accomplished" banner on the USS Lincoln aircraft carrier, May 2, 2003 (Source)

10) "It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army. Hard to imagine." –Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, testifying before the House Budget Committee prior to the Iraq war, Feb. 27, 2003 (Source)

11) "We found the weapons of mass destruction." –President Bush, in an interview with Polish television, May 29, 2003 (Source)

12) "Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere!" —President Bush, joking about his administration's failure to find WMDs in Iraq as he narrated a comic slideshow during the Radio & TV Correspondents' Association dinner, March 25, 2004 (Source)

13) "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." –Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when asked about weapons of mass destruction in an ABC News interview, March 30, 2003 (Source)

14) "British intelligence has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production." –President Bush, 2003 State of the Union Address (Source)

15) "Already, the Kay Report identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations." –President Bush, 2004 State of the Union Address (Source)

16) "They could still be there like the 50 tons of mustard gas hidden on a turkey farm." —President Bush, clinging to the claim that weapons of mass destruction may still be found in Iraq, April 13, 2004 (Source)

17) "U.S. officials never expected that we were going to open garages and find weapons of mass destruction." —National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, May 12, 2003 (Source)

18) "I think the burden is on those people who think he didn't have weapons of mass destruction to tell the world where they are." –White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, July 9, 2003 (Source)

19) "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason." --Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, "Vanity Fair" interview, May 28, 2003 (Source)

20) "Had we to do it over again, we would look at the consequences of catastrophic success, being so successful so fast that an enemy that should have surrendered or been done in escaped and lived to fight another day." —President Bush, telling Time magazine that he underestimated the Iraqi resistance, Aug. 2004 (Source)

21) "We know he's been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons, and we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." –Vice President Dick Cheney, "Meet The Press" March 16, 2003 (Source)

22) "I don't know anybody that I can think of who has contended that the Iraqis had nuclear weapons." –Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, June 24, 2003 (Source)

23) "In Iraq, a ruthless dictator cultivated weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. He gave support to terrorists, had an established relationship with al Qaeda, and his regime is no more." –Vice President Dick Cheney, Nov. 7, 2003 (Source)

24) "I am not going to give you a number for it because it's not my business to do intelligent work." --Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, asked to estimate the number of Iraqi insurgents while testifying before Congress, Feb. 16, 2005 (Source)

25) "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties." —President Bush, discussing the Iraq war with Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, after Robertson told him he should prepare the American people for casualties (Source)
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
  Chimpanzee Hacks Diebold Machine
Yes, a chimp (and it wasn't Bush) actually hacked a Diebold voting machine. See number 16 below. Stuff like this can't even be found in a bad novel - unfortunately, it is all true.

Twenty Things You Should Know About Voting In America

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S.

2. There is no federal agency with regulatory authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine industry.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year."

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in the U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machine is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as consultants and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.,2645,61640,00.html

13. Jeff Dean was Senior Vice-President of Global Election Systems when it was bought by Diebold. Even though he had been convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first degree, Jeff Dean was retained as a consultant by Diebold and was largely responsible for programming the optical scanning software now used in most of the United States.

14. Diebold consultant Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software and using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in Ohio.

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here:,2645,63298,00.html

17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper trail.

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor of Bush or Republican candidates.,2645,65757,00.html

19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.

20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically demonstrated and experts are recommending further investigation.,97614,00.html

NOTE: Please copy the above list and distribute freely!

Thursday, October 06, 2005
  Banana Republican

or years, many critics of the Bush administration and previous administrations have warned that this country is steadily undergoing a process of “third-worldization.” There is ample evidence to support this claim: the near-complete elimination of job security for working-class and middle-class Americans, plummeting standards of living, the slashing of government services, government corruption levels unmatched since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and an increasingly draconian police apparatus, among many other obvious examples. However, all of these negative changes to American society have been quietly incremental, their cumulative impact gradually becoming perceptible over time, that is until Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans last month.

What we have witnessed in the criminal non-response of the federal government to the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is the logical consequence of the unseen devastation that has been eroding this country for decades. America has been a Potemkin village of security, strength, prosperity, and competence for a long time now, and finally a strong wind has literally blown it all away, leaving us to face what the storm and the last twenty-five years of actively nurtured institutional disintegration has wrought. We face the results of a decades-long effort by right-wing and libertarian movements to sell the public on the dogma of small government and snake oil theories of the infallibility and superiority of the private sector, the so-called free market.

Regardless of your position on the proper size and role of the federal government, the reality is that it is the only entity with the resources and capability to have effectively handled Katrina’s aftermath, and if there is one basic service that nearly all people can agree a federal government should provide, it is the protection of its citizens. For all their talk about the ineffectiveness of “big government,” I did not notice bands of Young Republicans searching for survivors, or rescue teams spontaneously dispatched to New Orleans from the Cato Institute. For fuck’s sake, the Red Cross, a poster child for right wing notions of a charity-driven social welfare system, didn’t even make it down there until it was already days too late. While we have all seen amazing examples of voluntary acts of kindness, heroism, and compassion on the part of many individuals and groups, all of their efforts are dwarfed by the assistance the federal government could have offered if agencies like FEMA had not been utterly ransacked by the Bush regime and transformed into patronage mills where loyal party operatives, and their college roommates, could reap the rewards of prestigious high-level government jobs.

It may surprise some readers to know, after my seemingly spirited defense of the ominous FEMA and “big government” in general, that I am a leftist who is more opposed to the idea of centralized government than the most extreme libertarian. I would say that the difference with me is that I understand the world is a complex place that often obstinately refuses to fit into the parameters of my personal ideology. The size of the federal government had nothing to do with what happened in New Orleans. Blaming big government for the failure of FEMA and the white house to effectively respond to the Katrina disaster is a little like pulling the spark plugs from a car and blaming the inherent wrongness of the internal combustion engine for the fact that the car won’t run.

It doesn’t take a PhD to figure out that when you weaken an institution’s ability to perform its intended functions by defunding it and appointing unqualified people to leadership positions within it, you create a disaster waiting to happen. It takes no genius to grasp that when you cripple the ability of a government to protect its citizens from exploitation and disaster, when you eliminate the ability of government institutions to internally monitor and punish corruption, you lay the groundwork for a kleptocracy and you create the perfect conditions for a New Orleans to happen. The only thing surprising about all this is that it has been allowed to go on for so long, that we all have allowed things to descend to this level. It is something for which all Americans should share a certain level of collective responsibility and shame.

What’s worse is that the Bush administration represents a whole new paradigm in government corruption and malfeasance. Even the most corrupt politicians of the past understood that they had to maintain a reasonably functioning government apparatus to remain in power and reap the benefits that power brings. But this administration views government funds and institutions as little more than victor’s spoils, to be divvyed up and used to whatever end it pleases. The resulting disasters of all kinds are seen as mere inconveniences, which can be remedied with the proper application of public relations, political intimidation, and flat out lies. They understand something that we don’t: the public’s capacity for outrage is no match for its susceptibility to demoralization.

Far from being a failure and an embarrassment, for those who pulled the strings to make him a two-term president, George Bush’s administration is the crowning achievement of over thirty years of right-wing and libertarian activism—aided and abetted by the craven, moribund, and nearly equally corrupt Democratic party. (In the case of the libertarians, the Bush regime may be more of a “be careful what you wish for” disappointment, but that’s due more to how profoundly divorced from reality the libertarian belief system is and their lack—or denial—of even a basic understanding of the real-world consequences of their own policies.)

Don’t you get it? This is how things are supposed to work. There is nothing accidental about what has happened on the Gulf Coast. Bush and the people in his cabinet who really run the country are not incompetent or out of touch, they simply do not care. To the Bush administration, all of this is an inconvenience, nothing more, and if their past record is any guide they will get away with it. With the boldness of a daylight thief, they will wait this out. They will stymie every attempt at substantive investigation, and they will spin and lie about this until over half of the country denies what we all saw with our own eyes.

In a just world, Bush’s apologists should be a bunch of ideological dead-enders at this point, as creepy and pathetic as a serial killer groupie or a hardcore Nazi loyalist spending his last years alone in some senior citizens home in Dusseldorf still waxing romantic about der Fuhrer. In a just world, these criminals would be hooded and bound at Guantanamo Bay. But this is not a just world, not even close.

This is a time that demands of people to unabashedly take sides. If you are angry about what you’ve seen over the last few weeks then, goddamn it, you’d better stay angry, because if there is anything that Hurricane Katrina should have taught you it’s that no one is coming to save you. We can’t wait for the Democrats or anyone else; only our anger as citizens will save this country. It’s the only thing that ever has.

Saturday, October 01, 2005
  Bush OKs Human Trafficking.
As many as 800,000 people are bought and sold across national borders annually or lured to other countries with false promises of work or other benefits, according to the U.S. State Department. Most are women and children.

Poverty and lack of economic opportunity make women and children potential victims of traffickers associated with international criminal organizations. They are vulnerable to false promises of job opportunities in other countries. Many of those who accept these offers from what appear to be legitimate sources find themselves in situations where their documents are destroyed, theirselves or their families threatened with harm, or they are bonded by a debt that they have no chance of repaying.

While women and children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for the sex trade, human trafficking is not limited to sexual exploitation. It also includes persons who are trafficked into 'forced' marriages or into bonded labor markets, such as sweat shops, agricultural plantations, or domestic service. The prevention of human trafficking requires several types of interventions. Some are of low or moderate cost and can have some immediate impact, such as awareness campaigns that allow high risk individuals to make informed decisions. Strong laws that are enforced are effective deterrents. Public sanctions by the United Nations and major nations of the world have also proven to be highly successful.

Over a year ago, several countries were named by the U.S. State Department as countries that allowed human beings to be bought and sold. Near the top of the list was Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In June, the State Department reported back to President Bush that 14 or these countries had failed to adequately address this market in human misery. This allowed Bush the option of imposing a vast array of sanctions on the fourteen slave-selling nations.

After serious deliberation - it must have been serious to take from June until near the end of September - President Bush decided Wednesday, September 21 to waive any financial or other sanctions on Saudi Arabia. He also imposed the same harsh penalty on Kuwait.

So, the next time I see a story about the modern-day slave trade in prostitutes, child sex workers or forced laborers in sweat-shops I will think God that I had the forsight to vote for "Anybody-but-Bush" in 2000 and 2004. In 2006, I'll vote for "Anybody-but-a-Republican." Who knows? It might even get counted this time.
Samizdat: an underground system for the circulation of forbidden works of literature and political criticism in the Soviet era of Russia.

Location: Arkansas, United States

Angry, angry, angry ... but still, any day above ground is a good day.