Thursday, April 28, 2005

Adult Literacy

This issue pits the welfare of the individual and society against the institution of government. Adult literacy programs, adult education in general, is vital to the well-being of the nation. This article by Alexa Rose Steinberg makes the claim that Americans only want to fund educational programs for k-12. In other words, she says that most Americans believe that education benefits only children. I don't think that's true. And if it is, then American adults, in their ignorance and narrowness are feeding ignorance and narrowness.

The Pentagon has done something right today

It has finally released several hundred photographs of the ceremonies involving our war dead.

This is not the politically expedient thing to do.
But this is the right thing to do, morally and emotionally, for the nation. The truth will out. The cost of this and all our wars will force itself into the light of day again and again.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Justice & Injustice: The Individual & Institution

I've just found a website I believe to be trustworthy, albeit muckraking, about corruption in the administration of "not-for-profit" hospitals. Their chief contention is that these hospitals, which should be distinguished from "non-profit" organizations, gouge the uninsured and make inflationary profits.

Here is Where The Money Goes

Here is some material from their main page.

QUOTE:
April 22, 2005.

Uninsured Week is coming up!
I don't think Uninsured Week accomplishes anything, other than to let some people like the American Hospital Association, run around Washington DC, showing they are "concerned" about people who have no health insurance.
That puts them in a better light.
But here's a suggestion for Catholic HealthCare West (whose parent organization is a major sponsor of uninsured week), maybe you could announce a major breakthrough in making the cost of health care more affordable by stopping your practice of PRICE GOUGING THE UNINSURED!
Probably not, you need those profits to tell Congress that you are concerned about the uninsured.
So instead, maybe you could tell us why you maintain accounts in the Cayman Islands. And how much you have stashed there. END QUOTE.

I know the tone is bitter, but the objective of the site is advocacy, not journalistic disclosure of the corruption.

QUOTE:
Meet Sister Mary Dorothea Sondgeroth.
Sister Mary Dorothea Sondgeroth is President of not-for-profit St. Dominic Health Services in Jackson, Mississippi.
We were first introduced to her last December in an ABC News Primetime Thursday investigation titled "Non-profit hospitals profiting off the poor."
ABC News reported that she receives a whopping salary of $525,000.
She told ABC News that "she's proud of her hospital and it's mission of compassion and charity."
While that sounds like alot of money for someone, who according to ABC News "has taken a vow of poverty", it almost sounds okay when you are told "it's helping her support her order."
But wait---a mission of "compassion and charity"?
That made us look closer at not-for-profit St. Dominic's in Jackson, Mississippi.
The hospital is owned and operated by the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, Illinois.
The hospital mission statement reads in part..."means caring for all persons with respect to their personal wealth".
Well, this little hospital and it's parent organization, in one of the poorest states in the entire Union, apparently knows a thing about "wealth".
In addition to the $525,000 a year they pay the good Sister, they pay the President of the hospital $442,764.
The per capita income in Mississippi in 2003 was just $23,466.
Oh yes, this not-for-profit Christian hospital made a profit of over $6.3 MILLION, and they're sitting on over $19 MILLION in cash, stocks, bonds, etc. END QUOTE.

The profane marriage of medicine to profit indicates the dehumanization of the impoverished. To profit from the poverty of the uninsured is an obvious expression of evil.
The site attacks both institutions and individuals, secular and sacred alike.

Here are some of their sources:
http://wherethemoneygoes.com/makeVCharge.php

Again we see the attack of the institution against the individual as the chief expression of dehumanization in this society. Our cultural sickness is not sin. It is the inability to care for the afflicted without extracting profit, without turning the compassionate endeavor into long-term theft. The profiteering is a betrayal of the individual and family by the institution to chaos, terror and insecurity.

Friday, April 22, 2005

What-- Not Sure They're Criminals?

War, Occupation, Open-Door Policy, Nurturance of Poverty-- are they really crimes?

QUOTE:
Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907. Article 43:

“The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.” END QUOTE.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/viewtopic.php?topic=54936&forum=17

QUOTE:
DESPITE a decrease in American deaths in Iraq, Iraqis continue to die and suffer under poor economic conditions, a foreign policy expert said today. Between 500 and 1000 Iraqis would be killed each month in the war-torn country, the Washington-based The Brookings Institution foreign policy expert Michael O'Hanlon said. "Unfortunately, things have not yet gotten much better for the Iraqi population either in terms of car bombings or general casualties from crime or from the ongoing civil conflict," Dr O'Hanlon told ABC radio.
...
The economic conditions in the country, although gradually improving, were no better than under the leadership of Saddam Hussein. "I think that the progress here is probably only about back now to where things were under Saddam Hussein. "The economy is only a little better than it was under Saddam. It may be no better at all if you look at certain indicators like unemployment." END QUOTE.

Unemployment-- hey that affects people directly, right?
Again we see the neocon worship of capital and markets as sources of wealth, but no attempt to structure and nurture the productive sector of the economy. It reminds me of another place, the United States of America, where the trade deficit is through the roof, most jobs don't pay a living wage, people are forced to work overtime without being paid in compensatory fashion, and almost no one who has any political power at all gives a damn.
As it is in the occupied country, so it will go in the nation.
The thieves at home have turned to the big time. I guess it just wasn't enough to loot the US Treasury.

An Inaccurate Interpretation of Beard

I agree with much of what Thom Hartmann has written, but this article is very disturbing to me.
It's titled, "How Rich Is Too Rich For Democracy?"
And it's posted here:
http://www.smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=20771&mode=&order=0

Hartmann is trying to disclose the thesis of Charles A. Beard's history, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States, published in 1913, and reissued in 1935 with a new introduction written by Beard.

QUOTE:
The myth/theory of the "greedy white Founders" was first widely advanced by Columbia University professor of history and self-described socialist Charles Beard, who published in 1913 a book titled "An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States." END QUOTE.

First of all, Beard was not a socialist. In no part of either the original or re-issue does he describe himself as a socialist. Hartmann never quotes Beard directly, and that indicates that either he has never read Beard, or he has only read Beard's critics and is trying to ascertain Beard's stance and thesis in terms of his critics.

QUOTE:
Numerous historians - on both the right and the left - END QUOTE.

Names please?

QUOTE: have since cited his work as evidence that America was founded solely for the purpose of protecting wealthy interests. His myth unfortunately helps conservatives support ending the "death tax" as "the way the Founders would have wanted things" so that the very richest few can rule America. END QUOTE.

Is that how conservatives view his work? Are you sure?
I don't think so. And here is Beard in 1935.

QUOTE: “When my book appeared, it was roundly condemned by conservative Republicans, including ex-president Taft; and praised, with about the same amount of discrimination, by Progressives and others on the left wing. Perhaps no other book on the Constitution has been more severely criticized, and so little read.” END QUOTE.

And one of those critics and non-readers is Thom Hartmann.

QUOTE: Beard thought he saw his own era's Robber Barons among the Colonial economic elite. END QUOTE.

Not true. Beard was a historian, not a politician. He knew that there was a vast gulf between the practices and times of the early 20th and late 18th centuries. If anything, his extreme right-wing critics believed they saw themselves as the Founding Fathers of their own time and resented the implication that they governed to secure and maintain their economic interests.
Hartmann sets up a straw man here, putting the words of Beard's critics into Beard's book and passing it off as the genuine thesis of the work. From there he attacks Beard.

In this 1935 introduction, Beard explains both his stance and thesis exactly.

QUOTE:
“Many fathers of the republic regarded the conflict over the constitution as springing essentially out of conflicts of economic interests which had a certain geographical or sectional distribution.” END QUOTE.

QUOTE:
“[…] I called my volume An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution. I did not call it The Economic Interpretation or The Only Interpretation Possible to Thought. Nor did I pretend that it was The History of the Formation and Adoption of the Constitution. The reader was warned in advance of the theory and the emphasis. […] I simply sought to bring back into the mental picture of the constitution, those realistic features of economic conflict, stress and strain, which my masters had, for some reason, left out of it […]” END QUOTE.

Oliver Wendell Holmes praised Beard's book as the critics howled.
QUOTE: Oliver Wendell Holmes “[…] once remarked to me that he had not gotten excited about the book like some of his colleagues, but had supposed that it was intended to throw light on the nature of the Constitution. And in his opinion, did so in fact.” END QUOTE.

To throw light on the nature of the Constitution.
Nothing more. No myth here.
I defy Mr. Hartmann to prove to me that he has read this book and not read its critics.
I don't mind people using historical sources. I do mind it when they try to induce a book's thesis from what several critics have written about it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

An Inconsistent Pope

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=514&e=1&u=/ap/20050419/ap_on_re_eu/pope_61

QUOTE:
As dean of the College of Cardinals, Ratzinger had delivered a particularly sensitive homily at John Paul's funeral. He followed it up with a fiery speech to the cardinals before they entered their conclave Monday, warning about tendencies that he considered dangers to the faith: sects, ideologies like Marxism, liberalism, atheism, agnosticism and relativism — the ideology that there are no absolute truths.
"Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church is often labeled today as a fundamentalism," he said. "Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along by every wind of teaching, looks like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards." END QUOTE.

Here the new pope complains about moral relativism. My problem is that he wants us to believe that he was morally upright and perfectly Christian when he served Hitler and when he condemned the student riots of the 1960s. He is asking for moral relativism with respect to his past and yet now believes in moral absolutes.
He claims to embrace life as the condemnation of birth control and abortion, yet, he has mildly opposed, but not condemned poverty in the world, the death penalty, and the American wars of aggression. He has chosen control of the individual by the state or institution over the reform of the institution in service of the individual. His opposition to liberation theology is abhorrent.
The control of women and the impoverished is the repression of the individual by the institution.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What Really Happened

Here is a thread at Smirking Chimp about a recent exchange between a gay man and the most Catholic Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/viewtopic.php?topic=54805&forum=11

QUOTE:
Debriefing Scalia by _NONE [posted online on April 18, 2005] Editors' Note: Justice Antonin Scalia got more than he bargained for when he accepted the NYU Annual Survey of American Law's invitation to engage students in a Q&A session. Randomly selected to attend the limited-seating and closed-to-the-press event, NYU law school student Eric Berndt asked Scalia to explain his dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 Supreme Court case that overturned Bowers v. Hardwick and struck down the nation's sodomy laws. Not satisfied with Scalia's answer, Berndt asked the Justice, "Do you sodomize your wife?" Scalia demurred and law school administrators promptly turned off Berndt's microphone. As Berndt explains in his post to fellow law school students, it was an entirely fair question to pose to a Justice whose opinion--had it been in the majority--would have allowed the state to ask that same question to thousands of gays and lesbians, and to punish them if the answer is yes. We reprint Berndt's open letter below. END QUOTE.

My problem with the assertion of the next-to-last sentence is that the state won't just ask that same question to thousands of gays and lesbians. As if gays and lesbians are automatically easy to spot in the population, as if their practices are really that visible. No, that same question is something that Scalia wants the individual, regardless of orientation, to answer when asked by police, the government, and the public. In short, Scalia wants the individual to be totally accountable to the institutions of religion & government for every sexual act he or she commits. Scalia has opened the possibility in his thinking. He is a coward to refuse to answer the question. It is this which makes the question relevant in a legal sense.
What I want to see is more people of various orientations asking Scalia the same question. To see a gay man do it is inspiring. To see various members of the public do it every time Scalia chooses to make a speech or show his face would be better than inspiring. It might be effectual.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Are you buying it?

Here's another article about the NYT, the AP, and Fallujah.

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Apr05/Whitney0418.htm

If the detention of the Al-Aribiyah journalist prompts no questions from you, then you're a buyer not aware for sure.

Fallujah: an atrocity once and always

Here are two articles on the conduct of our military in Fallujah at the order and with the approval of the Bush Regime.

http://electroniciraq.net/news/1928.shtml

Alledges the illegal use of napalm in Iraq.

QUOTE:
4. Recent use of incendiaries: Firebombing FallujahIn November 2004 US forces launched a massive attack on the city of Fallujah. Much of the city was destroyed and tens of thousands of residents fled as refugees.Reports have emerged of burnt and melted bodies in the city, consistent with the use of napalm or the equally controversial weapon white phosphorus (also known as 'Willy Pete')Residents who survived the attack reported seeing incendiary bombs used in the city. Abu Sabah, who lived in the Julan district of Fallujah which witnessed some of the heaviest attacks, said:
"They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud... then small pieces fall from the air with long tails of smoke behind them."He said that pieces of these strange bombs explode into large fires that burn the skin even when water is thrown on the burns. [9]"Usually we keep the gloves on," said Army Capt. Erik Krivda, of Gaithersburg, Md., the senior officer in charge of the 1st Infantry Division's Task Force 2-2 tactical operations command center. "For this operation, we took the gloves off."Some artillery guns fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns.Kamal Hadeethi, a physician at a regional hospital, said, "The corpses of the mujahedeen which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted." [10] END QUOTE.

Here is another story making the same accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Apr05/Sanders0414.htm

QUOTE:
Fallujah: Dresden in Iraq
by Ken Sanders
www.dissidentvoice.org
April 14, 2005

Although studiously ignored by the mainstream news media, last month came reports that the U.S. used napalm and chemical weapons in its assault upon the city of Fallujah. The assault of November 2004 resulted in the near-total destruction of the city, as well as the deaths of thousands of non-insurgent Iraqi civilians. If the reports about napalm and chemical weapons are true, not only would the U.S. be in violation of international law, it would be guilty of the very crimes against humanity that it previously leveled against Saddam Hussein and used as a justification for invading Iraq. ...
According to the U.S., the false story about the U.S. military's use of chemical and nerve gasses in Fallujah was invented by a web site pretending to be that of the Qatari television network Al Jazeera.
Unfortunately, the U.S. denial of wrongdoing in Fallujah cannot withstand scrutiny.
For example, while the U.S. is correct that a fake Al Jazeera ("aljazeera.com") published a story about U.S. atrocities in Fallujah, the U.S. glosses over the fact that the real Al Jazeera ("aljazeera.net") published a similar story. On March 17, 2005, the real Al Jazeera reported on the wholesale killings of civilians by U.S. forces in Fallujah, including through the use of napalm. In that story, the real Al Jazeera provided eyewitness accounts of U.S. forces killing entire families, including women and children. Likewise, the real Al Jazeera reported that the U.S. raided the only hospital in Fallujah at the beginning of the assault in order to prevent reports of civilian casualties.
The U.S. has yet to attempt to discredit the story published by the real Al Jazeera.
Furthermore, U.S. denials about using prohibited weapons in Fallujah, particularly napalm, lack credibility inasmuch as the U.S. was forced to retract previous denials of similar accusations. On March 22, 2003, following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that U.S. forces had used napalm. Noting that napalm had been banned by a United Nations convention in 1980 (a convention never signed by the U.S.), U.S. military spokesmen denied using napalm in Iraq. On August 5, 2003, however, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that U.S. officials confirmed using "napalm-like" weapons in Iraq between March and April 2003.
In a feat of semantic hair-splitting of which Bill Clinton would have been proud, the U.S. claimed the incendiaries used in Iraq contained less benzene than the internationally-banned napalm and, therefore, were "firebombs" and not napalm. According to U.S. officials, had reporters asked about firebombs in March of 2003, the U.S. would have confirmed their use. Nonetheless, the U.S. was forced to concede that regardless of the technicalities, the napalm-like weapons were functionally equivalent to napalm. In fact, the difference between napalm and firebombs is so minute that U.S. forces still refer to the weapons as napalm.
With that kind of track-record, it is difficult to swallow the recent denials by the U.S. that it used napalm or any other banned weapons in Fallujah.
Such denials are even less convincing when contrasted with eye-witness reports of what happened in Fallujah. There are, first of all, the findings by Dr. Khalid ash-Shaykhil of Iraq's Ministry of Health that U.S. forces used napalm and chemical weapons in Fallujah. However, even taking as true the U.S. claim that Dr. ash-Shaykhli never existed, much less worked for Iraq's Ministry of Health, he is not the only individual to claim that the U.S. used banned weapons in Fallujah.
For instance, on November 10, 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Kamal Hadeethi, a physician from a hospital near Fallujah, as saying, "The corpses of the mujahedeen which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted."
When he spoke from Baghdad on November 29, 2004 with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, American journalist Dahr Jamail recounted stories told to him by refugees from Fallujah. According to Jamail, the refugees described bombs which covered entire areas with fire that could not be extinguished with water and which burned bodies beyond recognition.
Likewise, in a November 26, 2004 story for the Inter Press Service, Jamail reported eye-witness accounts of U.S. forces using chemical weapons and napalm in Fallujah. Later, in a January 18, 2005 report for Electronic Iraq, Jamail reported eye-witness accounts of U.S. forces using bulldozers and dump-trucks to remove tons of soil from various sections of Fallujah. Eye-witnesses also described U.S. forces using water tankers to "power wash" some of the streets in Fallujah. It does not take a conspiracy-theorist to conclude that U.S. forces wanted to "decontaminate" the city and remove evidence of chemical weapons.
On November 29, 2004, Al Jazeera TV (the real Al Jazeera) interviewed Dr. Ibrahim al-Kubaysi in Baghdad after his medical delegation was denied access to Fallujah. In that interview, Dr. al-Kubaysi recounted eye-witness descriptions of blackened corpses and corpses without bullet holes strewn throughout the streets of Fallujah.
On February 26, 2005, the German newspaper Junge Welt published an interview with Dr. Mohammad J. Haded, a member of the medical staff of the Central Hospital of Fallujah, and Mohammad F. Awad, a member of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society who helped gather corpses in Fallujah for identification. In that interview, Dr. Haded described Fallujah as "Dresden in Iraq" and Awad recounted the "remarkable number of dead people [who] were totally charred." Dr. Haded also described how U.S. forces "wiped out" the hospital in Fallujah, attacked rescue vehicles, and destroyed a makeshift field hospital.
American documentary-maker Mark Manning made similar observations while in Fallujah, as reported in the March 17, 2005 edition of the Santa Barbara Independent. Manning visited Fallujah in January 2005 and interviewed Iraqi physicians who told him that the first target of U.S. forces in the November 2004 assault on Fallujah was the hospital and that ambulances were fair-game. Iraqi physicians told Manning they were certain chemical weapons had been used in Fallujah "because they handled many dead bodies bearing no evident sign of trauma." As for the use of napalm by U.S. forces, Manning returned home from Fallujah with photographs of charred corpses "whose clothes had been melted into their skin." ...
Finally, on March 21, 2005, the Commission for the Compensation of Fallujah Citizens, established by the Iraqi transitional government, reported that approximately 100,000 wild and domesticated animals were found dead in Fallujah, killed by chemical or gaseous munitions.
An estimated 600 non-insurgent civilians died in the U.S. assaults upon Fallujah. Over half of them were women and children. According to an April 4, 2005 report by IRIN, a U.N. humanitarian information unit, as many as 70 percent of all structures were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. There is similarly no water, electricity, or sewage treatment in Fallujah. Not surprisingly, a mission that was meant to pacify an insurgent stronghold ended up breeding anti-American hatred among Fallujah's survivors and their sympathizers.
U.S. denials of wrongdoing notwithstanding, there are numerous independent sources making similar reports about U.S. forces employing banned weapons in Fallujah, as well as targeting hospitals and civilians. In the face of such independent and corroborating reports, it is hard to escape the sickening conclusion that the U.S. violated international law and committed war crimes in its assaults upon Fallujah. In doing so, the U.S. became the evil the Bush administration has vowed to eradicate.
Suddenly, the Bush administration's open hostility toward the International Criminal Court in particular, and international law in general, makes a whole lot more sense.

Ken Sanders is a writer based in Tucson, Arizona. Visit his weblog at: www.politicsofdissent.blogspot.com/.
END QUOTE.

The dehumanization of Iraqis and Americans was a key ingredient in the destruction of Fallujah. More evidence is submitted that indicts the Bush Regime on this beautiful sunny day.

Bush Policy Encourages Terrorism

The truth sounds bad, so why not just stop collecting statistics on terrorism. Well the indication of increased terrorism in Bushworld is so strong that the annual terrorism report, a 19-year practice of the State Department, has been phased out. The act and its motivation are clear enough in light of research. Fortunately, blogger P.M. Carpenter was able to do it.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=20762&mode=&order=0

QUOTE:
Q: What does the Bush administration do with bad news?
A: It starts thinking like the Stalin "administration."

What else, other than scrubbing reality - which Uncle Joe performed with bureaucratically ruthless efficiency -- would you call the State Department's recent decision to purge unwelcome news by simply suppressing its publication? Admittedly the bad news was really bad, even for this administration. It seems the international-violence bean-counters over at the National Counterterrorism Center tabulated last year's terrorist attacks and the number popped out as 625.By itself, the number is perhaps a tad unstartling. By comparison to 2003's count, however, it's hair-raising, because that count - and the use of emphasis is a sad way to have to put it - was only 175.
So we suffered a blistering three-and-a-half-fold increase in "significant" attacks in just one year. Worse yet, the 2003 count itself was the highest on record since experts started counting in 1985.
And even worse than that, the 625 number did not include attacks on American military personnel in Iraq. One cringes at the thought of the true count had those terrorist attacks - emanating from what the president himself calls "a central front in the war on terror" -- been counted in, oh, say, a terrorist attack count.
So what does the administration do with data that contradicts its tireless claims of "winning the war on terrorism"? It just quashes its publication. Presto. Contradiction begone; bad news be expurgated. It's the happy miracle of censorship. ...
We know the truth of the matter because of an insider somewhere handing it to former State Department official and CIA analyst, Larry Johnson, both of whose shoes I'm glad I'm not in right now. The backwash won't be pretty.
Naturally an unnamed State Department source hastened to the administration's rescue in denying as "categorically untrue" that suppression of the counterterrorism center's report was done for political reasons. ...
Somewhat attenuating the official source's claim of political innocence were those intelligence analysts interviewed for the Knight-Ridder newspaper story only on the basis of anonymity because "they feared White House retribution." Where these analysts would get such an idea is beyond all of us, I'm sure. ...
Aside from the very real reality that this cowboy administration has largely contributed to the explosion in international terrorism, there remains the very troubling question of its willingness to operate with the fundamental honesty demanded of elected officials by a democratic society. ... END QUOTE.

http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/

The point is that a world in which there is more terrorism with no statistical disclosure serves the ends of the Bush Regime. It produces fear without indicting the regime's efforts. It's a bait and switch away from objective analysis and toward the production of incident-by-incident anxiety. This regime requires an irrational mindset in the public, irrational enough to make people willing to give up the Bill of Rights, willing to stand for fixed elections and unconstitutional practices, and willing to engage constantly in the idolatry of flag and nation worship.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Disaster Capitalism,

another gem from Naomi Klein, author of "Baghdad Year Zero." Please read this article through for more explanation of the "shock treatment" approach to economic development and the exploitation and impoverishment by the affluent of already desperate nations and people.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=20731&mode=&order=0

QUOTE:
But if the reconstruction industry is stunningly inept at rebuilding, that may be because rebuilding is not its primary purpose. According to Guttal, "It's not reconstruction at all--it's about reshaping everything." If anything, the stories of corruption and incompetence serve to mask this deeper scandal: the rise of a predatory form of disaster capitalism that uses the desperation and fear created by catastrophe to engage in radical social and economic engineering. And on this front, the reconstruction industry works so quickly and efficiently that the privatizations and land grabs are usually locked in before the local population knows what hit them. Kumara, in another e-mail, warns that Sri Lanka is now facing "a second tsunami of corporate globalization and militarization," potentially even more devastating than the first. "We see this as a plan of action amidst the tsunami crisis to hand over the sea and the coast to foreign corporations and tourism, with military assistance from the US Marines. END QUOTE.

Here we see the combination of military, hard-right political and corporate entities against the individual, represented by the people.
With their houses gone, they're easily herded into places where their desperation can be nurtured to the point they can't resist those who take over the land.
It's Gilded Age imperialism all over again.

A Negative Definition of Faith

To the usurper, faith is the act of dismissing one's doubts.

http://www.charismanow.com/a.php?ArticleID=10931

QUOTE:
President Bush talked to the seven reporters traveling with him on Air Force One about Jesus after attending the pope's funeral in Rome last week. For 47 minutes, Bush and the journalists had an intimate, friendly chat largely about the pope, his legacy and Bush's own "walk with Christ," "The Washington Post" reported this week in an article with the headline, "Preacher Bush."
"There is no doubt in my mind there is a living God. And no doubt in my mind that Lord, Christ, was sent by the Almighty. No doubt in my mind about that," he said.
Bush said attending Pope John Paul II's emotional funeral last Friday strengthened his faith, his belief in a living God and in how religious faith is a lifelong journey, "not a respite."
...
"I think a walk in faith constantly confronts doubt, as faith becomes more mature," Bush said. "And you constantly confront, you know, questions. My faith is strong. The Bible [says] ... you've got to constantly stay in touch with the Word of God in order to help you on the walk.
END QUOTE.

First of all, doubt is my middle name. I haven't lived a day without doubt and I never dismiss it. Bush is full of what faith is not. When God says "come to me, all of you who travail or are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest," it just does not register. Faith is what you have when you take a chance, when you trust someone, and when you try to do good. It is not a sin to be unsure of yourself, it is not a sin to make a mistake provided that you recognize it and assert that you made it. Doubt is not sinful, it isn't wrong. Doubt is part of the human condition, and it becomes especially strong when your physical welfare is imperiled by uncertainty and poverty. The latter two conditions are ones the Bush has never known.
Faith is a respite from doubt, terror, and the darkness and injustice of the world. A walk, Mr. Bush? You do not know the meaning of the word unless you have canvassed for employment for several hours and been turned down everywhere you showed up. I am sure that Bush carefully avoids the parable of the vineyard in his readings of the New Testament. He has no idea that the people outcast from work, from well-being in this world, will be the first comforted by God. The terrified will find courage, and the weak will find strength in the light of God. But those who have produced and exacerbated their poverty will be dust and remain so for eternity.

10,000 New Victims of the State

From the BBC.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4446837.stm

QUOTE:
US police catch 10,000 fugitives

More than 150 murder suspects were arrestedUS police have arrested more than 10,000 fugitives in just six days, in what they say is the largest operation of its kind in US history.

More than 3,000 federal and local officers made the arrests during Operation Falcon, from 4-10 April.

Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales said law enforcement officers primarily targeted violent offenders.

The number of fugitives arrested is about 10 times as many as were detained in the same period last year.

Team effort
"Fugitives belong behind bars, and the arrests of 10,340 fugitives translates into safer communities," said Ben Reyna, director of the federal US Marshals Service, the Reuters news agency reported.

A total of 162 murder suspects, 553 rape or sexual assault suspects and 154 gang members were arrested, US Marshals said.
END QUOTE.

10,000 in one week. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
I'll wager that at least half of these people
1. are innocent of the crimes of which they stand accused, and
2. are black.
But who knows? If you torture them enough, I'm sure they'll own up to anything, Mr. Gonzales, anything you want them to.
Empty streets do not justice make.
Imprisoned people do not justice make either.
Misery isn't justice.
Punishment isn't justice.
Dragnets are not justice.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Bush Regime Budget "viciously uncivilized"

according to Jane Walsh, an advocate for the homeless in Kentucky. Here are excerpt from her op-ed piece in the Courier-Journal.

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050413/OPINION04/504130375

QUOTE:
A 'viciously uncivilized' budget
By Jane Walsh
Special to The Courier-Journal
This month, President Bush was widely quoted as telling the nation that "the essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak." If, by weak, the President means the disabled, the ill, the addicted, the impoverished, the uneducated, the elderly and the very young -- the federal budget he proposes for 2006 is a viciously uncivilized one.
Nearly 70 years ago, the U.S. government gave voice to the nation's duty to protect the weak in the National Housing Act of 1937. That law created the predecessor of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development -- the U.S. Housing Authority. With this legislation, the American people were told that the duty of the federal government was to assure decent and sanitary housing for every American. ...
Today, U.S. taxpayers dedicate less than 2 percent of the total federal budget to housing the nation's most vulnerable. We have become, in 30 years, a country less able -- and perhaps less willing -- to protect the weak by providing them decent shelter. ...
The President's budget proposal turns its back on American cities, on its rural communities and on its weak and vulnerable. The good news is that it is still only a proposal -- one undergoing scrutiny by our representatives in Washington. END QUOTE.

More crimes against humanity, no cop, no prosecutor in sight.

These 17,000 will be remembered

not forgotten because of the Australian media.

http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,12817613%5E401,00.html

QUOTE:
Record number of prisoners
By Sammy Ketz
11apr05
UNITED States and Iraqi forces are holding a record 17,000 men and women - most without being formally charged - and with those in Iraqi-controlled jails living often in deplorable conditions, said US and Iraqi officials.
About two-thirds are locked up as “security detainees” without any formal charges in US-run facilities, Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill, the US military spokesman for Iraqi detention operations, told AFP. END QUOTE.

If the occupation of Iraq was a real goer with the Iraqi people, we wouldn't be imprisoning and torturing them. The Bush Regime is indicted for crimes against humanity again & again.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Trade Deficit Goes Up-- Again

The trade and budget deficits represent not how much the people owe the government, but how much the government and elites owe the people. The trade deficit goes to the deliberate and malicious weakening of the productive sector of the economy. The budget deficit comes from tax breaks for the wealthy and imperialism through endless war.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050413/IBDEFICIT13/TPBusiness/International

The article is pessimistic.

QUOTE:
The U.S. trade gap surprised many analysts by growing another $2.5-billion (U.S.) to $61-billion, or 4.3 per cent between January and February, the U.S. Commerce Department reported yesterday.
Imports also hit a new high of $161.5-billion, up 1.6 per cent, paced by rising purchases of crude oil, cars, pharmaceuticals and various consumer and industrial products. END QUOTE.

We could produce our own cars and sell them.
We could produce every pharmaceutical we need and distribute them at low costs.
We could produce our own consumer, industrial products. The trade deficit represents the unwillingness of the corporate elites to invest in the American economy and toward improving GDP.
Wealth, they assert, comes from investment and markets. Without production or productive capacity, investment and markets are dead letters.
All we make any more is war.

Isolated In Iraq

From The Independent, an independent source. Meaning, it's not an American MSM whore.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=628860

QUOTE, Donald Rumsfeld:
"It's important that the new government be attentive to the competence of the people in the ministries, and that they avoid unnecessary turbulence," he said on his ninth visit to Iraq since the invasion. END QUOTE.

QUOTE: More understandably Mr Rumsfeld warned against delays in the political process - it is two months since the election results were announced - and said parliament should seek to draw a constitution by 15 August. END QUOTE.

Do you see something wrong with this? They should have drawn their constitution first, then held elections. That way, everybody would know how much and what kind of power they are supposed to have. It's just democracy for show, and a democracy that will keep liberty far, far away from the Iraqi people. Turbulence, Rumsfeld? When things are this disorganized turbulence is the appropriate result.

From National Priorities,

a running count of the cost of the Iraq war.

http://costofwar.com/

It's more expensive than national health insurance.
More expensive than fixing our infrastructure.
This is money we have squandered for oil, with very little return.
These are the resources we have wasted.






A Dissenters' Warning Becomes Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

http://www.onlinejournal.com/Commentary/041205Hassan/041205hassan.html

QUOTE:
April 12, 2005—After two months of wrangling and haggling over the forming of the new Iraqi "government," the US got what it wants, a US government. The Iraqi people are saying: 'How could we have elected those people'? And those are the people the US will continue to protect. At gunpoint, the Iraqi people have been denied the right to govern their country and live in peace. ...

The votes for secret candidate lists have to be altered so that US allies, the Kurds, will have the final say in any decision-making. On 13 February 2005 and a few hours before the final results were officially announced, Reuters reported that "the United Iraqi Alliance [UIA] said today it had been told by Iraq's Electoral Commission that it had won around 60 percent of the vote in the country's election." Scott Ritter later confirmed this. Ritter, a former UNSCOM weapons inspector in Iraq, announced in Washington State on 19 February that the UIA actually won 56 percent of the vote, and that "an official involved in the manipulation was the source." The manipulated 48 percent vote won by the 'Shiites' slate' deprives the UIA of an outright majority. And so, Mr. Rumsfeld's 'messy democracy' needs tidying up a bit when the US doesn't like the results. US actions in Iraq instigated violence, dividing Iraqis and preparing the nation for civil war. After all, the US and its allies have the most to gain from division and sectarian violence. ...

What Iraq will look like if the new "government" succumbs to US dictates and Orders?

A small sampling of the most important orders demonstrates the economic imprint left by the Bush administration:
Order No. 39 allows for:
(1) privatization of Iraq's 200 state-owned enterprises;
(2) 100 percent foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses;
(3) 'national treatment'—which means no preferences for local over foreign businesses;
(4) unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and
(5) 40-year ownership licenses," wrote Antonia Juhasz, a project director at the International Forum on Globalization in San Francisco (LATimes, August 05, 2004). ...

She continued; "Clearly, the Bremer orders fundamentally altered Iraq's existing laws. For this reason, they are also illegal. Transformation of an occupied country's laws violates the Hague regulations of 1907 (ratified by the United States) and the U.S. Army's Law of Land Warfare."
The US administration expects the new Iraqi "government" to legitimise and enforce the Orders on behalf of US corporations. The "new" Iraq will look like a K-Mart with oil pumping stations. ...

The new Iraqi parliament is a farce. The Bush administration is using this farce as a model of colonial dictatorship, in which few (Iraqi) expatriates or natives are allowed to manage their own affairs, while the Occupation and US control of Iraq's oil resources will continue. In this way, the US will create legitimacy to its ongoing occupation of the Iraqi people. It is important to remember that just after the elections, the US refused to provide a timetable for troop withdrawal, and the US Occupation of Iraq was no longer the focus in Western and US media. ...

Malnutrition among Iraqi children under the age of 5 years has doubled to nearly 8 percent since the US invasion of Iraq, as a result of a lack of drinking water, food, and adequate sanitation. A report prepared for the UN Human Rights Commission reveals that more than a quarter (3-4 millions) of Iraqi children do not get enough food to eat. Food, drinking water and the supply of electricity have continued to decrease to levels below those during the genocidal sanctions. ...

The war against Iraq was a murderous crime and those who are responsible for it, and for the destruction of Iraqi society, should face war crimes trials. The US-British Occupation is illegal and has failed to deliver to Iraqis the most basic necessities and security, let alone 'freedom' or 'democracy.'
The Iraqi people Resistance will continue until the US ends its murderous Occupation of Iraq. Resistance against the Occupation is the unquestionable right of the Iraqi people to self-determination. The Iraqi people had enough of tyranny and dictatorship. Colonial dictatorship has been tried in Iraq before and it ended in a bloodbath. The Iraqi people have rejected the presence of the US, and the violence brought with it. The US has no reason to be in Iraq. All the reasons for this act of aggression and the Occupation of Iraq have been exposed as lies. END QUOTE.

Do the Iraqi people have the right to resist American occupation? Of course they do. And they will consistently, I assure you. 100% foreign ownership of the country's production sector! Wow! That's the open-door policy all over again! If that's not Gilded Age, late 19th century imperial colonialism I don't know what is!
The orders of Bremer et al-- the voice of God, right? I'd love to kick some dust right into their narrow elitist throats.

US Senate Disapproved of Veterans' Relief Measure

More indications of the dehumanization of military people and veterans by the leaders to which they submit.

http://murray.senate.gov/news.cfm?id=236276

QUOTE:
WASHINGTON, D.C.) – United States Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) today offered her amendment to the $80 billion supplemental funding bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Murray Amendment would provide $2 billion in funding for a critical cost of war -- healthcare for America’s veterans, including those returning home from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. END QUOTE.

Here is how they all voted:

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00089

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Comments on Various Things

HISTORY IS NOT HAGIOGRAPHY

QUOTE:
April 10, 2005
EDITORIAL OBSERVER

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/10/opinion/10sun2.html?pagewanted=print&position=

Lust Across the Color Line and the Rise of the Black Elite
By BRENT STAPLES
The 1998 DNA study that linked Thomas Jefferson to the final child of his lover Sally Hemings has settled one argument and fired up another. Most historians who had argued that Jefferson was too pure of heart to bed a slave have re-evaluated 200 years of evidence and
embraced the emerging consensus: that Jefferson had a long relationship with Hemings and probably fathered most, if not all of her children. ...
Historians who are now searching for ways to understand the Jefferson-Hemings relationship have several models from which to choose. Some masters developed caring, de facto marriages with enslaved women and tried to leave their children money and property in their wills. Other masters were serial rapists or plantation potentates who made harems in their slave quarters and were profoundly indifferent to their offspring.
For the time being, however, the last word on this issue should go to Madison Hemings, who flatly and dispassionately describes the relationship as a bargain, in which his mother consented to share Jefferson's bed in exchange for the emancipation of her children.
END QUOTE.

The idea that Thomas Jefferson was pure in heart at all is the product of hagiographers, not historians. This assertion would have offended Jefferson himself as much as it offends me. I don't believe that historians are only "now searching for ways to understand the Jefferson-Hemings relationship..." There are historians who have read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs and other slave narratives which can give a truer picture of how the
allotment of power in such relationships dictated coldness and made the existence of any kind of love impossible. The institution of slavery itself opened the door to frigid passions like the relationship between Hemings and Jefferson. The offspring may be or become virtuous, but their begetting can only be characterized as the evil opportunity sought and taken.

ANOTHER ARTICLE WORTH READING,which treats of the Iraq war, the sanctions pre-existing, and their impact on children.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1457630,00.html

THE THOUGHTS OF A NEOCON SHYSTER
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/john_bolton.html

BIDEN SPEAKS:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/4/11/123530/148
"Quite frankly I am surprised the nominee wants the job that he's been nominated for given the many negative things he had to say about the U.N., international institutions and international law," Biden added [...]

To this let me add that tools of dubious or occasional usefulness are often misplaced and even displaced at times. Hagiography masquerading as history and John Bolton are such tools.

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Bloodless Attack on the People, aspects.

OBSCENE: SEDUCTION OF THE PUBLIC
Away from democratic republic & toward theofascism and empire.
Away from Social Security, toward desperation among the weak.
Away from genuine bankruptcy reform, toward debt slavery.
Away from social awareness, toward social neglect.
Away from religious pluralism, toward monoculture.
Away from election, toward appointment of all "representatives" and "public servants."
Away from an individualsitic judiciary, toward narrowed, religious morality & law.
Away from public education, toward the bridle of ignorance.
Away from principled economic practice, toward crony capitalism.
Away from a nation centered within itself, productive for itself, toward a nation crippled and strangling the world.
The reprobate Bush Regime dooms us until we control our country again.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/040805Y.shtml

QUOTE:Taking Issue with Social Security Campaign
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.: "Informing the public is the president's responsibility; using taxpayer resources to mount a sophisticated propaganda and lobbying campaign is an abuse of the president's high office."
Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo.: Seventh member of the Colorado congressional delegation to say people should not be removed from a presidential event for a bumper sticker- as happened March 21.END QUOTE.

Henry Waxman is the man to watch when you're looking for someone to expose corporate and political underhanded dealing, manipulation, and crime. If the man was not in Congress, he'd be an excellent detective. He brings the content of whistleblowers to light regardless of who looks bad. He's one of my heroes.

NARROWNESS IS IMPOVERISHMENT
To narrow the basis of judicial review and policy in general impoverishes the nation. Though that's true,
A DEGREE OF NARROWNESS IS NECESSARY
in the creation of intellectual products.

THE PRICE OF WAR, THE COST OF WAR

One was discussed but never debated going into the "war on terror," and the other has been hidden from the public. The soldiers died not privately, but as citizens representing the United States in a foreign country. As such, their deaths were public, their homecomings should be public, and there should be public mourning over them. People should be attending the landings at Dover in droves, and should be permitted to take as many pictures as they want. They are not. The Bush Regime and neocon Pentagon have prevented them from doing so with diligent labor and endless obfuscation.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=20654&mode=&order=0

QUOTE:The Pentagon has been accused of smuggling wounded soldiers into the US under cover of darkness to avoid bad publicity about the number of troops being injured and maimed in Iraq. The media have also been prevented from photographing wounded soldiers when they arrive at hospital. ...

It is not even clear how many troops have been injured since the start of President Bush's "war on terror". The Pentagon says that around 12,000 troops have been evacuated from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, though because officials only list as casualties those soldiers directly hurt by bombs or bullets, the actual total of injured and wounded is believed to be closer to 25,000. Walter Reed says it has treated 4,000 troops injured in Iraq. ...

At the beginning of 2003, Mr Bush issued a presidential order that the media should be banned from photographing the return of troops' coffins when they are flown into the US, usually at Dover air base in Delaware. Parents of dead soldiers have also often been banned from meeting the coffins. Controversy raged last year when the Pentagon released a series of photographs following a Freedom of Information Act filing, but later withdrew them.

But officials have also banned the media from taking pictures of the wounded being delivered to either Walter Reed or the National Naval Medical Centre in nearby Bethesda. Ms Kurkal told The Independent on Sunday: "We no longer allow such photos for patient-privacy reasons." However, a reporter from the online journal Salon was recently able to enter Walter Reed and photograph wounded troops without revealing their identities.

Nancy Lessin of Military Families Speak Out, a group made up of relatives of US troops, said: "The entire Bush administration has been trying to keep the cost of this away from the public. The whole issue of casualties and the toll has been very much hidden." END QUOTE.

This multi-faceted censorship of casualties in the American media is a political act. It has nothing to do with privacy and respect. It is the self-serving policy of a government engaged in endless imperialistic war. It is the closed system attempting to perpetuate itself through lack of exposure, reflection, and review. What they fear most, is that people who support them will change their minds. They know they cannot package this one such that the majority will buy it. So they hide it.

A NON-NEOCON REPUBLICAN
Read this speech by Representative Ron Paul.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=20652&mode=&order=0

GEM OF A QUOTE: Our government fails to recognize that legitimate elections are the consequence of freedom, and that an artificial election does not create freedom. In our own history we note that freedom was achieved first and elections followed-- not the other way around. END, GEM OF A QUOTE.

(truth, common sense and history) + neocon policy = oil and water, cognitive dissonance, identity crisis, existential breakdown.

ENJOY IT! ALL RIGHT! http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/4/9/14344/92756

A CRIMINAL HISTORY OF THE IMPERIAL UNITED STATES
Please note that this chronology begins in the first year of the 20th century, two years after we became an imperial power.

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/biowar.html

QUOTE: A SHORT HISTORY OF US GOVERNMENT RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE
Does our government respect human life the way it claims to do? Hardly. And being a soldier is no deterrent. Ignore for a moment the lies surrounding 9-11, TWA 800, the USS Iowa, and the Gulf of Tonkin, and step back into horrid history with me. END QUOTE.

Couple a history of racism, contempt for the impoverished by the elites and unbridled avarice with imperialism, militant Christianity and social darwinism and you should not be surprised that these are the results.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Ethics and Morality

Where ethics and morality are in conflict, choosing to do what is ethical and dismissing personal morality is the more altruistic choice.
Ethics and morality are both expressed in terms of principles of right and wrong, but they apply to two different dimensions of living. Morality is how an individual organizes in a personal sense, his or her principles of right and wrong. It is personally determined, sometimes religiously based, but can be secularly based also. Many Americans believe that without religion, there is no morality, but this just is not the case. The theofascist Americans would agree if they had read anything of Aristotle or Plato's Republic. If they knew anything of the ancient Egyptian concept of Ma'hat or Mayet, they would understand that even in ancient polytheistic cultures, people asserted that no leader, not even one believed to be divine, could act arbitrarily. Mayet, however is an ordering principle that encompasses both morality and ethics.
Ethics are principles of right and wrong applied to specific vocations. If a doctor refuses to treat a gay person because he or she believes homosexuality to be evil, then that doctor had violated the ethics dictated by the Hippocratic Oath, but has upheld his or her morality. The personal desire outweighs professional considerations, therefore the doctor has acted selfishly, not altruistically. If a pharmacist refuses to fill a prescription for RU 486, or birth control of any kind, then he or she has chosen to follow morality instead of doing what is ethical, that is, serving the patient. A judge who refuses to marry two gay people on moral grounds has chosen his morality over public service, has chosen to act morally rather than ethically. The judge is self-serving, unethical, and should be out of a job. He is no altruist.
By way of ethics, people serve each other in a pluralistic society. By way of ethics, people may become citizens and respect each other. I consider citizenship to be a vocation with ethics, one no one can escape. Every citizen has responsibilities and obligations. These have nothing to do with fighting for one's country, but everything to do with honesty and bringing "truth to power." A citizen is more obliged to vote and testify than to serve in the military. A dissenting citizen is more obliged to protest the war if it is wrong, to call the government out for all its crimes than to agree with the government. If he or she stays silent, then he or she is self-serving, not altruistic.
Morality serves no one except the individual, with indignation at the wrongs of others, and conscience in the event wrong is done. To be moral, though, is no indication of altruism and public spirit. If anything, to uphold morality at the expense of ethics indicates shallow mindedness and selfishness.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Reprobate Bush Regime

REPLACE APPROPRIATE WITH ETHICAL
and I think you've got a more truthful assessment of the situation.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/040905Z.shtml
QUOTE:
EPA Halts Florida Test on Pesticides
By David D. Kirkpatrick
The New York Times
Saturday 09 April 2005

Washington - Stephen L. Johnson, the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, said on Friday that he was canceling a study of the effects of pesticides on infants and babies, a day after two Democratic senators said they would block his confirmation if the research continued. Rich Hood, a spokesman for the agency, acknowledged that Mr. Johnson had canceled the test because of the objections to his confirmation. "They are pretty juxtaposed in time, aren't they?" Mr. Hood said. "There is clearly a connection."

But Mr. Hood said the opposition was not the only reason for the cancellation. "Mr. Johnson said in a meeting this morning that, his confirmation aside, he had come to pose serious questions as to whether or not this study was the appropriate thing to do," he said.

A recruiting flier for the program, called the Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, or Cheers, offered $970, a free camcorder, a bib and a T-shirt to parents whose infants or babies were exposed to pesticides if the parents completed the two-year study.

The requirements for participation were living in Duval County, Fla., having a baby under 3 months old or 9 to 12 months old, and "spraying pesticides inside your home routinely." ...But he [the illustrious and public-spirited Mr. Johnson] attributed the cancellation mainly to mischaracterizations of the study. Some Democratic critics have portrayed it as deliberately spraying infants with pesticides.

"EPA senior scientists have briefed me on the impact these misrepresentations have had on the ability to proceed with the study," Mr. Johnson said. "EPA must conduct quality, credible research in an atmosphere absent of gross misrepresentation and controversy." END QUOTE.

MORE EVIDENCE
of American crimes against humanity.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/040905C.shtml

QUOTE:[Picture caption]: A detainee is escorted to interrogation by US military guards at Camp X-Ray at Guantánamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2002. The government is holding about 550 terrorist suspects at the US Navy base in Cuba. An additional 214 have been released since the facility opened in January 2002 - some into the custody of their home governments, others freed outright. (Photo: Andres Leighton / AP Photo)

[The Lead] A terror suspect held at Guantánamo Bay asked his US military judge a pointed question: "Is it possible to see the evidence in order to refute it?" In another case, a judge blurted out: "I don't care about international law."

Court documents reviewed by The Associated Press are giving dozens of Guantánamo detainees what the Bush administration had sought to keep from public view: identities and voices. ...Feroz Ali Abbasi was ejected from his September hearing because he repeatedly challenged the legality of his detention.

"I have the right to speak," Abbasi said.
"No you don't," the tribunal president replied.
"I don't care about international law," the tribunal president told Abbasi just before he was taken from the room. "I don't want to hear the words 'international law' again. We are not concerned with international law." END QUOTE.

The Bush Regime is indicted.The Associated Press has collected a number of court briefs and
various documents in the cases of several detainees imprisoned in the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay.

http://wid.ap.org/documents/detainees/list.html

The evidence shouts the guilt of the imperialist, fascist, neoconservative one-party state in power. Reprobates, you are justly and rationally condemned. The bullet is your only defense, primitive fear is your only shield.

The Know-Nothing Congress

The usurpation of the judicial process by the Congress is truly under way. Nativism, racism, and xenophobia rule our Congress. Reason has been thrown out of any questions between Judiciary & Legislative.

Here are some variant emotions, first from Tom DeLay, quoted in the NY Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/08/politics/08judges.html?ei=5090&en=d4c2932f876ee779&ex=1270612800&adxnnl=1&partner=rssuserland&adxnnlx=1113051743-3Ve5YPwy0GElb68rzeARZA&pagewanted=print&position=

QUOTE:"Judicial independence does not equal judicial supremacy," Mr. DeLay said in a videotaped speech delivered to a conservative conference in Washington entitled "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith." ..."The failure is to a great degree Congress's," Mr. DeLay said. "The response of the legislative branch has mostly been to complain. There is another way, ladies and gentlemen, and that is to reassert our constitutional authority over the courts." ...

The organizers of the conference and Congressional staff members who spoke there called for several specific steps: impeaching judges deemed to have ignored the will of Congress or to have followed foreign laws; passing bills to remove court jurisdiction from certain social issues or the place of God in public life; changing Senate rules that allow the Democratic minority to filibuster Mr. Bush's appeals court nominees; and using Congress's authority over court budgets to punish judges whom it considers to have overstepped their authority.END QUOTE.

Cornyn Remarks, please note the presence of the Sovereignty as License Ethic
http://cornyn.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=236007

QUOTE: Secondly, the Court said: We will also look to our own decisions, our own judgment over the propriety of this law. In other words, they are going to decide because they can, because basically their decisions are not appealable, and there is nowhere else to go if they decide this law is unconstitutional. ... this is the end of the line. END QUOTE.

QUOTE:There is a serious risk, however, that the Court will ignore Texas law, will ignore U.S. law, will reverse itself, and decide in effect that the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court can be overruled by the International Court of Justice.

I won't dwell on this any longer, but suffice it to say there are other examples and other decisions where we see Supreme Court Justices citing legal opinions from foreign courts across the globe as part of the justification for their decisions interpreting the U.S. Constitution. These decisions, these legal opinions from foreign courts range from countries such as India, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, and the list goes on and on. END QUOTE.

The examples he gives, India, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, are just buzzwords for black, impoverished, and non-Christian. He's a frightened racist.

QUOTE: I am concerned about this trend. Step by step, with each case where this occurs, the American people may be losing their ability to determine what their laws should be, losing control in part due to the opinions of foreign courts and foreign governments. If this happens to criminal law, it can also spread to other areas of our Government and our sovereignty. END QUOTE.

An obvious tenet of the sovereignty as license argument.
The American people are "losing their ability" not because of foreign influences or international law, but because of the poverty of the education Americans are given. Here we have another bait and switch. Look at international law as the blight, not the twenty-year plague of social neglect that the neoconservatives made fashionable in Reagan's time, an imperative in this time.

QUOTE: Most Americans would be disturbed if we gave foreign governments the power to tell us what our Constitution means. Our Founding Fathers fought the Revolutionary War precisely to stop foreign governments -- in this case, Great Britain -- from telling us what our laws should be or what the rules should be by which we would be governed. In fact, ending foreign control over American law was one of the very reasons given for our War of Independence. END QUOTE

The point is that you haven't. Foreign governments have never had that kind of power and this man knows it. He is just trying to create the hysteria he feels. He does not want you to think logically about this. He wants you to see demons in the outside world and to run from them. He wants you to despise the things you don't know and to retreat further from learning.

QUOTE: The Declaration of Independence itself specifically complains that the American Revolution was justified in part because King George "has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution and unacknowledged by our laws."

After a long and bloody revolution, we earned the right at last to be free of such foreign control. Rather, it was we the people of the United States who then ordained and established a Constitution of the United States and our predecessors, our forefathers, specifically included a mechanism by which we the people of the United States could change it by amendment, if necessary. END QUOTE.

I will explain later the fallacy of this line of reasoning in relation to the Declaration of Independence and its intent and context.

QUOTE: Of course, every judge who serves on a Federal court swears to an oath to "faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me...under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God." END QUOTE.

Yes, and soon, we will deal with "so help me God." The mention of God perverts the oath and violates the reality that we live in a culturally and religiously pluralistic nation. If you want the Christian Sharia, implement it beyond the shores of North America.

QUOTE:There is an important role for international law to play in our system, but it is a role that belongs to the American people through the political branches -- the Congress and the President -- to decide what that role should be and indeed what that law should be; it is not a role given to our courts. Article I of the U.S. Constitution gives the Congress, not the courts, the authority to enact laws punishing "Offenses against the Law of Nations," and article II of the Constitution gives the President the power to ratify treaties, subject to the advice and consent and the approval of two-thirds of the Senate. Yet our courts appear to be, in some instances, overruling U.S. law by citing foreign law decisions in which the U.S. Congress had no role and citing treaties that the President and the U.S. Senate have refused to approve END QUOTE.

International standards of conduct frighten this man and his friends. They think it is all right to violate them with impunity in the name of sovereignty. It is just an excuse for imperialism, war crimes, and licentiousness.

QUOTE: Even more disconcerting than the distrust of our constitutional democracy is the distrust of America itself. END QUOTE.

The distrust of our constitutional democracy sprung up like a springtime daffodil when GW Bush usurped the presidency in the year 2000 by way of the Supreme Court.

QUOTE:Well, let me conclude by saying I find this attitude and these expressions of support for foreign laws and treaties that we have not ratified disturbing, particularly when they are used to interpret what the U.S. Constitution means END QUOTE.

Note that Cornyn has quoted the Declaration of Independence and used it to support the sovereignty as license ethic. What he does not realize is that the delcaration arose out of a context of revolution and conflict between an imperial power and colonies. There is no greater threat to the sovereignty of nations or would-be nations than imperialism. The foreignness of foreign nations does not threaten anyone's sovereignty.
This is just stupid, Know-Nothing, nativist hysteria.

The powers of Congress are:

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/art1.htm

From Article IQUOTE:Section 8 - Powers of CongressThe Congress shall have the power
1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States:
2. To borrow money on the credit of the United States:
3. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states,and with the Indian tribes:
4. To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States:
5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures:
6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States:
7. To establish post-offices and post-roads:
8. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries:
9. To constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court:
10. To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations:
11. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water:
12. To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years:
13. To provide and maintain a navy:
14. To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces:
15. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions:
16. To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress:
17. To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings: And,
18. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof. END, SECTION 8, END QUOTE.

The powers of the judiciary are:

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/art3.htm

ARTICLE III, Sections 1 & 2.QUOTE:Section 1- Judicial powers. Tenure. Compensation.The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
Section 2 - Judicial power; to what cases it extends. Original jurisdiction of Supreme Court Appellate. Trial by Jury, etc. Trial, where1. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made under their authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more states, between a state and Citizens of another state, between Citizens of different states, between Citizens of the same state, claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign states, Citizens or subjects.
2. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party, the supreme court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before-mentioned, the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make. END, SECTION 2, END QUOTE.

Cornyn mentions what he calls the Law of Nations.
Notice that he capitalizes it, acts as if it were formal, already agreed to and brought down with a sledgehammer. Because of where this phrase occurs, I am assuming that this law of nations (uncapitalized in the Constitution itself and unagreed upon by most nations at the time) applies to maritime commerce and naval affairs rather than to international law as we know it. No Law of Nations existed in the 18th century.

The Constitution says that the Congress will "enact" laws and "define" violations and punishments, but Congress will not determine finally whether or not laws are constitutional or worthy of remaining on the books. Congress has power, but not jurisdiction. This function belongs to the judiciary.

I also notice that Cornyn is complaining loudly about the International Criminal Court. No one fears a court more than a criminal, and no government fears an international court more than one belonging to a nation contemplating or carrying out criminal activity as we speak. In their hatred of the ICC and the judiciary, the neoconservatives reveal their licentious, immoral, and sociopathic nature.
Two men from Texas believe that they know more about judicial review than all of our judges combined. And all this because judges do not tell them what they want to hear. They are the sorest of losers, and the people most worthy of ridicule.

Friday, April 08, 2005

THEOCRACY AND SOVEREIGNTY AS LICENSE

THEOCRACY AND SOVEREIGNTY AS LICENSE
The sovereignty as license ethic is clear in the Orwellian Constitution Restoration Act.

The so-called Constitution Restoration Act is described here.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/4/3/32823/50890
The violations of Articles 1 and 6 are obvious.

More, Constitution Restoration Act:
http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/ConstitutionRestorationAct.htm

QUOTE:The House version is H.R. 3799 and the Senate version is S. 2082. The bill limits the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts to hear cases involving “expressions of religious faith by elected or appointed officials.”
Although the claim by its sponsors appears to be that the intention is to prevent the courts from hearing cases involving the Ten Commandments or a Nativity Scene in a public setting from being reviewed, the law is drawn broadly and expressly includes the acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law by an official in his capacity of executing his office. John Giles, Alabama President of Christian Coalition said, "The greatest unbridled abuse by the
federal judiciary for over forty years has been in the area of redefining the acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law...We define this as judicial activism, making law from the bench. These unconstitutional rulings have gone unchecked by other branches of government."END QUOTE.

I do not acknowledge God as the sovereign source of anything.
To do so as an individual would be arrogant.
To do so on behalf of a nation is despotic.
Arrest and impeach these reprobates!

QUOTE:The following proposed law will be added to Sec. 1260 of Title 28, Chapter 81 of the U.S. Code:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an element of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official personal capacity), by reason of that element’s or officer’s acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law,
liberty, or government.”END QUOTE.

God is the source of law, liberty and government? Not in a secular western society. This sounds like oriental despotism in the rooting stage.

QUOTE:In addition the proposed bill punishes sitting judges by requiring impeachment and removal, if they rely on decisions from another state or jurisdiction, such as another state’s constitution, law, administrative rule or judicial decision. The proposed Section 201,
“Interpretation of the Constitution” reads: “In interpreting and applying the Constitution of the United States, a court of the United States may not rely upon any constitution, law, administrative rule, Executive order, directive, policy, judicial decision, or any other action of any foreign state or international organization or agency, other than the constitutional law and English common law.”END QUOTE.

Again, we see the influence of the sovereignty as license ethic. Judges are not free to consult multiple sources of law, they are not free to think for themselves. The law restores nothing and destroys the Constitution. Next the citizens will be told they must bow with their head touching the ground before they may speak to Caesar via keyboard and purple screen!

Take the price tag off

Healthcare: Individuals versus Institutions

American society favors the welfare of institutions over that of individuals.

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/article.php?sid=20534&mode=&order=0
Byrne, Rick. "Lifetime Promise?"1 April, 2005.

The author interviewed Basil Chapman, a retired steel-worker and union negotiator.

QUOTE:"This story is part of a wholesale shift in risk from companies to families," says David Brancaccio, host of the PBS newsmagazine NOW, which is featuring Chapman in a report on April 1. "Healthcare costs are rising, but increasingly companies are insulating themselves from these costs with individuals left to shoulder the burden."
With no place for promises on corporate balance sheets, companies are turning to the fine print with their eye on the bottom line. California-based GenCorp is relying on a sentence in an enrollment form their employees signed a decade ago to increase monthly premiums. GenCorp, formerly the General Tire & Rubber Company, a tire manufacturer you may remember from its slogan: "Sooner or later you'll own General," has workers worried that sooner or later they'll have to drop out of their coverage because it's too expensive. ...As these cases make their way through the courts, there's little risk for the companies, which if they lose, will simply have to resume paying the benefits. In the meantime, Chapman says, retirees who can't wait will drop out, and for others it may just end up being a lifetime. "It's disturbing and scary for older people," he says. "They just die." END QUOTE.

Only in a world where the individual means nothing is there no room for promises on corporate contracts, balance sheets, etc. Invested money is more precious than living blood.The individual, old in this case, but certainly young in many, is not worth as much as the employer's investment in him or her. That is what society is saying when it does not allow the existence of universal health insurance in the United States. We claim to value health so much, and we express our esteem in the perversion of medicine tied to profit. Let's value the individual enough to take the price tag off.

Sovereignty As License

Neoconservative feelings about the UN and international instruments run from dislike to deep hatred. They believe that in committing itself to treaties and abiding by international law undermines American sovereignty. Reactionaries confuse American sovereignty with American license and the imperialistic exercise of arbitrary, irresponsible power.
American sovereignty does not lie in any instrument of the government, policy or laws.American sovereignty lies in all the people, therefore, no international instrument can possibly take it away.As we have seen, Article VI of the Constitution binds the United States to whatever international instruments it signs. It forces our country to deal in good faith with other nations. People who believe that our country is not bound by international commitments believe that the United States, to be sovereign, must have total license. In other words, it is okay for the United States to deal in bad faith, tell lies, commit crimes against property and humanity in the world without restriction, and disregard international standards of conduct. License is their way of keeping the US out of "foreign entanglements." Neoconservative imperialism is licentious. It opens countries to foreign economic domination and undermines whatever indigenous industrial development is vestigial or incipient. Laissez-faire paradise, anyone? So if international instruments are a threat to American sovereignty, how about Article VI? Anyone for repeal?
Our country is licentious in its war crimes, in its crimes against humanity, in its Guantanamo prison, its outsourcing of torture & murder, called "extraordinary rendition," and in its conduct of war in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
It is licentious in its production of domestic poverty for the purpose of internal repression.
The sovereignty and national identity of the United States is not in the license of the government. It is in the freedom of the people.
International standards of conduct do not and can never threaten American liberty.

MORE EVIDENCE OF US LICENTIOUSNESS
This amounts to a crime against humanity, a crime for which the US is responsible.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-03-30-un-iraq-malnutrition_x.htm

QUOTE: U.N.: Iraq kids suffer from malnutritionGENEVA (AP) — Almost twice as many Iraqi children are suffering from malnutrition since the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, a U.N. monitor said Monday.4% of Iraqis under age 5 went hungry in the months after Saddam's ouster in April 2003, and the rate nearly doubled to 7.7% last year, said Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food.
The situation is "a result of the war led by coalition forces," he said.END QUOTE.

Most Americans will shrug and say, "Well, that's just war."
The war should have been over more than two years ago. The children are dying not because of war, but because of deliberate social neglect by the United States, the occupying power.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Flags are flying at half staff

for the Pope. That's right. I believe in giving the papacy the respect it's due, but the Pope was no American. He did not live to serve the U.S. Yet he must have served the Bush Regime in some way to get this custom used. Or perhaps, the Bush Regime wants us to believe that the Pope was and always will be our guy, a man for the powerful, a man who supports the status quo as they think it should be in this country.
The majority of Americans favor legal abortion. That's the status quo.
Almost half of marriages end in divorce. That's the status quo.
Most Americans are not Catholic. That's a fact.
The government is secular. Its power & authority are not derived from God, but from the consent of the governed, the people.
The people are sovereign, not the government.
Of course, now, the government is deriving more and more of its power from the elites & corporations.
God-like entities, don't you think?-- in their capacity to manipulate the world & people. You're fired tomorrow, the people who ordered you so feel powerful.
Your house is being foreclosed, those who do the work must feel like God, and the fat cats who will own your house and so many more like it are feeling like God for sure.
Money and position really tend to make one feel close to God. I'm sure Antonin Scalia will confirm this statement.
Power provides the avenue for the complete expression of pride, the complete surrender of the spirit to arrogance.

Friday, April 01, 2005

On Hawthorne's "Devil In Manuscript."

"The Devil In Manuscript" is a very short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I just wanted to write a few observations of it. The story is written in first person, by an individual who is observing an author. The author is frustrated, he has tried repeatedly to get his tales published and finds no takers in the literary marketplace. His work also gives him a horrible sense of dread that the devil is in it, and so he decides to burn his manuscripts.
Now Hawthorne spends much time at the beginning of the tale describing the cold night. It is snowless, yet it is bitterly cold, the observer tells us as he is on the way to the author's office. The author has an unnamed mentor, a jurist who is away hearing other cases. So the two are alone.
The tales burn in the fire, leaving white ashes. As they burn, the observer and author can see the faces of characters, and even a hint of the devil. Then, the ashes are swept by some unseen force up the chimney, and then every building in the neighborhood, perhaps even in the town, either is on fire or in danger of catching fire. People are running around hysterically, furniture is being thrown from windows. It's a traumatic scene.
In the story, Hawthorne refers to the alarm the fire causes, but does not mention any bells as I recall. Yet the imagery evokes the third part of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells." And then there is a reference to an "iron tongue." It reminded me of the fourth part of "The Bells." I'm under the impression that these two works influenced each other.

A Government of Soldiers, by Weapons, and for War

This article, from the NY Times, is about the anticipated rise in defense spending over the next few years.

QUOTE:
April 1, 2005
Report Says Pentagon Spending on Weapons to Soar
By TIM WEINER

A new report by the Government Accountability Office warned yesterday that the costs of the Pentagon's arsenal could soar by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
...
A survey of 26 major weapons systems showed cost overruns of $42.7 billion, or 41.9 percent, in their research and development phase.
Last year, the overall projected cost for those same 26 systems rose $68.6 billion, or 14.3 percent, to $548.9 billion, from $480.3 billion in the last 12 months.

A wider assessment of 54 major weapons systems showed that a majority are costing more and taking longer to develop than planned.
While Defense Department officials questioned details of some assessments of the major weapons systems, they did not dispute the report's overall conclusions. ...
Congress and the Pentagon "create incentives for pushing programs and encouraging undue optimism, parochialism and other compromises of good judgment, [thus] ... persistent performance problems, cost growth, schedule slippage," and other failures "cannot all be attributed to errors, lack of expertise or unforeseeable events."
They are instead "embedded as the undesirable, but apparently acceptable, consequence of the process," the office has said. "These problems persist not because they are overlooked or underregulated, but because they enable more programs to survive and thus more needs to be met." END QUOTE.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/01/business/01military.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1112403625-uwKSNPyZgUWbsA4X/K9YxQ

It sounds like a closed system perpetuating itself and expanding to devour more and more of the gross domestic product. We have, then, four monsters I know of devouring this nation's productive capacity and ravaging society, infrastructure and culture. There is the corruption of the healthcare system, the national deficit, the trade deficit, and then the corporate-elite obsession with weapons systems, and imperialistic war. If there is some kind of massive social metaphor for cancer, this is it.

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