Saturday, January 29, 2005

Do you believe in an afterlife? Or is this all we get?

I felt this question from Phil merited it's own post. He's touched on an excellent point, the reason religion still flourishes.

Here's what I've learned. - For many individuals the notion of their own mortality is too painful and difficult to accept. They'd rather believe there's something...anything, no matter how illogical or silly it is. Their need to alleviate their fear of death and give their lives meaning out ways all rational thought.

I'll concede that I can't explain all their religious nutbag reasons. I've never believed that there’s a sentient, omnipotent being watching over us. Those who do, in my estimation, are either simple-minded about the universe or insane.

Of course, all the “holy” books demand blind faith. Most likely those in charge noticed what caused other superstitions to be put to bed and decided to add in some safety valves like, “don’t question any of this!”

Worse yet, one can’t prove a negative, but I doubt you’d meet anyone who believes in unicorns, elves, or dragons, nor would you meet anyone (except children) who believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy.

I’ll conclude with these final truths. Man created god, not vice versa. There's no afterlife; your mind cannot live without your body.

Also note, the societal belief that people need the notion of reward/punishment to behave morally is wrong. Morality and religion are not one in the same.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Leaked Salary List Shows Bush's Highest-Paid Staff Is Mostly Male

With new White House salary figures leaked to The Washington Post and an Excel spreadsheet, crack researcher Margot Williams determined that men in the Bush White House earn an average of $76,624 a year. Women earn $59,917 on average. That means Bush women earn about 78 percent of what Bush men earn.

I guess "W" wasn't for women after all.

PBS gets SpongeBobbed

PBS's Buster

Bush Administration panders to its homophobe base with micro-initiatives, like this:

This week, the new US secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, denounced PBS for spending public funds to tape an episode of a children's program that features [Karen] Pike, a lesbian, her partner, Gillian Pieper, and their 11-year-old daughter, Emma. The installment of ''Postcards From Buster," which is produced locally at WGBH-TV (Channel 2) and which had been scheduled to air March 23, was promptly dropped by PBS, which is refusing to distribute the footage to its 349 member stations.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Free Thought of the Day

"The doctrines of modern religions are no more tenable than those which, for lack of adherents, were cast upon the scrap heap of mythology millenia ago; for there is no more evidence to justify a belief in the literal existance of Yaweh and Satan than there was to keep Zeus perched upon his mountain throne or Poseidon churning the seas."

-Sam Harris

One in Three Americans Ashamed of Bush

Recent Zogby poll shows a higher percentage of Americans saying that they are ashamed that Mr. Bush is their president; three-in-ten (31%) Americans now hold that view, as compared to one-in-four (26%) a month ago.

Those numbers sound pretty damn low to me. It's more like one out of two Americans, not that one in three is good.

Help Restore the Fairness Doctrine

Oink if you listen to Rush

Support Representive Slaughter who's currently working to restore the Fairness Doctrine.

Since these attempts to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine, media ownership has passed into fewer and fewer hands. Mark Crispin Miller, professor of Film and Media Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, has written extensively on the media and the increasing concentration of ownership of media companies in the United States. Miller has created charts that trace the holdings of four major conglomerates: Time Warner, Disney/Cap Cities, General Electric, and Westinghouse. Each of these conglomerates owns a news network, CNN, ABC, NBC, and CBS, respectively. And not only do they own news networks, but also radio stations, magazines, cable TV, motion pictures, music, and newspapers. Furthermore, the (non-media) holdings of these conglomerates create "alarming conflicts of interests" says Miller.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Support Bill to Ban 'Credit Scoring'

Turner introduces bill to ban 'credit scoring'
If OK'd, electric companies would not be able to deny service over a poor financial history

by Jane Elliot

Electricity providers would not be allowed to deny service or charge higher rates to customers with poor credit history under legislation proposed by a Houston lawmaker. Rep. Sylvester Turner said he is not aware of any providers using "credit scoring" to set rates, but he thinks the Legislature should act pre-emptively to ban the practice.

"Credit scoring is discriminatory and wrong, and we must prohibit this detrimental practice," said Turner, a Democrat. Credit scoring by insurance companies has been a hot issue at the Capitol, although lawmakers declined in the last session to ban the practice. But Turner said electricity can be a matter of life and death.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Boxer Rebellion Gains Support

Senators joining the Boxer Rebellion

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and other Democrats assailed President Bush's decision to go to war with Iraq Tuesday and declared they would oppose Condoleezza Rice's nomination as secretary of state as a principal architect of a failed policy.

And Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., charged she concealed the Central Intelligence Agency's skepticism that Iraq was trying to obtain uranium for a nuclear weapons program from Africa.

On what was shaping up as a long day for the nominee and the president who promoted her to chief U.S. diplomat, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., said "we have a moral obligation to provide better leadership." "Those in charge must be held accountable for mistakes," Bayh said.

YES!!! Oppose Condo-liar Rice, Bush's prime apologist!

White House Admits 'No Coalition of the Willing'

The White House has scrapped its list of Iraq allies known as the 45-member "coalition of the willing," which Washington used to back its argument that the 2003 invasion was a multilateral action, an official said on Friday.

The official could not say when or why the administration did away with the list of the coalition of the willing.

How will the Repigs spin this?

Further Erosion of Fourth Amendment Protections

The Supreme Court yesterday expanded police power to conduct searches, ruling that an officer who stops a motorist for a routine traffic violation can use a drug-sniffing dog to detect narcotics in the vehicle, even if the officer had no reason to suspect the car would contain drugs.

The decision, in an Illinois case, gives law enforcement the authority to use drug-detecting dogs in the course of any minor traffic stop.

This is a direct violation of the fourth amendment.

  • The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

More evidence that the U.S. has become an overreaching, reactionary police state! What about the little inconvenient truths that expose these tactics is unjust and unreliable such as:

  1. Eighty percent of U. S. money has traces of illegal substances!
  2. Drug sniffing dogs falsely alert authorities to the presence of drugs more than half of the time.

Stop Military Recruitment in Our Schools!

Say no to Bush's wars!

Not In Our Name Youth and Students are launching a campaign to get the military recruiters out of our schools and their ads off of BET and MTV.

A generation is taking to the streets, standing with the people of the world against the US's unjust war on the world!

Youth refusing recruitment

Free Thought of the Day

I really enjoy Jericho's 'poignant quote of the day' feature so I'd like to incorporate something similar into my own blog. Courtesy of Freedom From Religion Foundation, I now present the Free Thought of the Day.

“I read the Book of Job last night--I don't think God comes well out of it.”
-- Virginia Woolf

Monday, January 24, 2005

Demonstrators chanted "Impeach Bush" as the presidential motorcade passed.

Already Not a Volunteer Force

During fiscal year 2004, 19,301 regular soldiers were kept on active duty involuntarily, some up to 18 months past their contractual obligations through "stop-loss" orders.

The intensifying personnel crunch, plus the unique requirements of occupation duty, has forced the Army into something it swore it would never do: send women into combat as combatants. The "ground combat exclusion rule" has eroded to the point where the Army is considering de facto abolition.

The Army knows that the war in Iraq is a war of choice fought to enforce a policy of democratizing the Middle East. It also knows utterly inadequate strategy when it sees it.

Bush backs the bigots

Anti-abortionists thrilled by Bush’s rally speech
By Nicole Colson

GEORGE W. BUSH just couldn’t resist the urge to insult women across the country last week. On January 22--the 29th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that gave women the legal right to abortion--Bush spoke via telephone to a rally of thousands of anti-choice fanatics in Washington, D.C.

"You’re working and marching on behalf of a noble cause and affirming a culture of life," Bush told the crowd. Bush’s speech was warmly received by the bigots, some of whom had the gall to compare abortion with the September 11 terrorist attacks.

As Gloria Feldt, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told reporters, "Those who oppose the freedom to choose believe that this is their time." That’s a belief that Bush has done everything he can to encourage.

There’s no telling how many women internationally must seek unsafe abortions each month because of Bush’s re-imposition of the "global gag rule," which prevents international family planning organizations from mentioning abortion if they accept U.S. government funding.

Bush’s telephone speech to the anti-choice rally came just two days after "National Sanctity of Human Life Day." Bush’s statement marking the day declared the "essential moral duties" of society, including "defending the elderly, strengthening the weak, protecting the defenseless, feeding the hungry, and caring for children--born and unborn."

What hypocrisy! Never mind that the Bush administration’s tax breaks for the rich have led to a rise in homelessness, especially among families, and that more elderly people are going without medical care.

If Bush was really interested in "caring for children," he might start in Afghanistan. Dozens of children have died in just the past few weeks from the terrible remains of U.S. carpet bombing--"bomblets" from cluster bombs that rip anyone who touches them to pieces. Hundreds of thousands of Afghan women and children are suffering in refugee camps with little or no food because the administration has dragged its heels in sending economic aid.

But that’s not enough suffering for Bush, apparently. So he recently decided to hold up $34 million in U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund.

Why? Because a few right-wing cranks in Congress insist that the program funds abortions.

The claims are a fabrication. But if the anti-choice bigots are upset, then Bush will listen--no matter what the cost in human suffering.

A Response to free0352's Faux Patriotism

He’s the one
He likes all our pretty songs
And he likes to sing along
And he likes to shoot his gun
But he knows not what it means
Knows not what it means....

Let Them Eat Cake!

Salon takes a look at the inauguration by the numbers:

  • $40 million: Cost of Bush inaugural ball festivities, not counting security costs.
  • $20,000: Cost of yellow roses purchased for inaugural festivities by D.C.'s Ritz Carlton.
  • 200: Number of Humvees outfitted with top-of-the-line armor for troops in Iraq that could have been purchased with the amount of money blown on the inauguration.
  • $10,000: Price of an inaugural package at the Fairmont Hotel, which includes a Beluga caviar and Dom Perignon reception, a chauffeured Rolls Royce and two actors posing as "faux" Secret Service agents, complete with black sunglasses and cufflink walkie-talkies.
  • 22 million: Number of children in regions devastated by the tsunami who could have received vaccinations and preventive health care with the amount of money spent on the inauguration.
  • 1,160,000: Number of girls who could be sent to school for a year in Afghanistan with the amount of money lavished on the inauguration.
  • $15,000: The down payment to rent a fur coat paid by one gala attendee who didn't want the hassle of schlepping her own through the airport.
  • 2,500: Number of U.S. troops used to stand guard as President Bush takes his oath of office.
  • 26,000: Number of Kevlar vests for U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan that could be purchased for $40 million.

The America That's Detested

The people who detest America take a look at this odd conjunction and assume the materialistic America is the real America; the ideals are a sham. The real America, they insist, is the money-grubbing, resource-wasting, TV-drenched, unreflective bimbo of the earth. The high-toned language, the anti-Americans say, is just a cover for the quest for oil, or the desire for riches, dominion and war.

Now let's take a look at Bush's 'Freedom Speech'

  • Only tyrants start wars, enslave people and provoke revolution, so Mr. Bush intends to start wars against those he identifies as tyrants, to occupy their countries and overthrow their governments.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Our children in harm's way

Girls sent to die too

Why are our soldiers there? There were no "weapons of mass destruction", no threat from Iraq. Is this war merely to assert U.S. dominance? Or for oil... Or maybe just for Bush's Glory? Regardlesss, it's obscene, blood shed needlessly... suffering heaped upon the helpless.

Who are we??? What happened to our ideals? When did working toward a better America get thrown into the bonfire?

Boys sent to die for a threat that didn't exist in Iraq, WMD

Friday, January 21, 2005

Bush style

Message to Bush

National Nightmare Continues

No weapons of mass destruction were ever found. Bush lied; they died. For oil, and for global Wall Street hegemony.Bush's Inaugural address reputedly went through fourteen editings, and yet it emerged as a completely insipid mishmash of contrivance and cliches.

Its poisonous centerpiece was an Orwellian deceit involving repeatedly substituting the word "freedom" for U.S. imperialism's profiteering desire to force its self-serving will on peoples abroad preemptively characterized as terrorists or tyrants for the resistance their sovereign self-determination will necessarily compel them to mount.

Bush's duplicitous words uttered while shamefully evoking both God and goodness were a complete mockery of right and wrong. As if moved by the darkest black magic, righteousness and evil totally traded places before a grandiose lectern in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2005.

George Bush presides over a nation where nothing is as claimed. And where very nearly everything is soul-devouringly wrong.

Steadily worsening social and economic injustice permeates our land, bringing a world record gap between haves and have-nots. The rural heartland is utterly devoid of opportunity for graduating high school classes. In urban cores, countless kids don't graduate at all.

The American Dream is fast becoming the Nightmare on Main Street.

Rumsfeld cancels trip after accusations

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cancelled a planned visit to Germany after a US human rights organisation asked German authorities to prosecute him for war crimes, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) has learned. Rumsfeld has informed the German government via the US embassy that he will not take part in the Munich Security Conference in February, conference head Horst Teltschik told dpa on Thursday.

Awww, too bad. If Rummy had gone, Gemany could have arrested him. Damn!

Soldier who served at Abu Ghraib speaks out against atrocities witnessed

Photo from Democracy Now!

What else did you witness at Abu Ghraib?

I worked in the radio headquarters of Abu Ghraib for a while. They were once again trying to punish me by putting me in an undesirable job. While I was there, I ended up reviewing the prisoner records and looking over the offenses of the people who were in Abu Ghraib prison. I found out that most of them were actually not there for anti-coalition offenses. They weren't insurgents. Most of them were there for petty theft, drunkenness, forged documents, really minor crimes.

thanks to for the coverage and this pic

Demonstrators gather for a protest denouncing President George W. Bush's inauguration on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

A protester burns an American Flag to protest President Bush's second inauguration during a march in downtown Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Monterey County Herald / Vern Fisher via AP

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Bush's Inaugural Approval Rating Lower Than Nixon's

Never has a president been sworn in with such low approval ratings. Polls have Bush's numbers circling the drain at a mere 48% while President Clinton's held firm at 63% before second term.

Approval rating -- Bush's approval rating has slipped to a combined 48%, while his disapproval rating has climbed to a combined 50%. When broken down by degree of approval and disapproval, a plurality (38%) "disapprove strongly" of Bush's performance as president (whereas only 27% "approve strongly").

"It's striking how weak he is right now," says presidential historian Richard Shenkman, editor of George Mason University's History News Network. "You'd have to go back to Woodrow Wilson to find a president who was reelected in a position as weak as this one. There's been no euphoria around Bush's win."

Boehlert has a point. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, which has tended in recent years to show Bush with stronger support than other national polls, says Bush is slipping badly.

Economy -- A majority of Americans continue to disapprove of Bush's handling of the economy, 51% to 46%.

* Iraq -- Americans support for Bush's handling of the war in Iraq has disappeared. The Post/ABC data showed a stunning 57% now disapprove of Bush's performance with the war.

* Domestic issues -- 52% disapprove of the way Bush is handling Social Security (only 38% approve), while 56% disapprove of the way he's handling health care (only 37% approve).

* War casualties -- Americans' patience with the death toll in Iraq has worn out. Now, 70% believe there have been an unacceptable number of casualties, as opposed to 27% who believe the number is acceptable.

This kind of popular support, or lack thereof, is likely to have consequences.

Watch Protests in D.C. or attend demonstrations in your area

Protests can be watched live on C-Span 2 on cable tv
OR online at

LOCAL ACTIONS NATIONWIDE Over 125 local protest events around the country are scheduled for January 20 (view a complete list).

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Get Your Protest on

Counter-Inaugural 2005 has begun!

Gender-adjusting Social Security???

Bill Thomas (R-CALIFORNIA), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said lawmakers should debate whether Social Security benefits should differ for men and women, because women live longer. "We never have debated gender-adjusting Social Security," he said. A House leadership official said that not even Republicans on Thomas's committee would vote for that idea. - Washington Post

I'm not sure how forcing old ladies into poverty fits with the whole compassionate conservatism thing. But there's an obvious solution: when papa has his massive myocardial infarction and meets his maker, just throw grandma on the funeral pyre. Call it retirement security reform. - Joshua Holland of the Gadflyer

Returning to 'The Jungle'

America in the slaughterhouse

Read the book online for free

Pure, unfettered capitalism allows the rich to become predators feeding off of the working poor. Greed is intrinsic to human nature and needs to be kept in check.

Democratic governments are granted their power from the masses. We trust them to rein in the powerful and to make the playing field more level and just. If those who are elected will not work for that, then what good are they?

Order direct from the publisher - 40% discount

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Bush's Blunt Statements Used in Iraq Rebels Video

"George W. Bush; you have asked us to 'bring it on'. And so help me, (we will) like you never expected. Do you have another challenge?," asked the narrator before the video showed explosions around a U.S. military Humvee vehicle.

Threats intended to demoralise and frighten in the tense build up to elections at the end of the month were tempered with invitations to desert and escape retribution.

A masked guerrilla from an unknown group called the Islamic Jihad Army, eschewing past impassioned Arabic-language threats of holy war, told U.S. soldiers: "This is not your war, nor are you fighting for a true cause in Iraq."

Perhaps our Preznit shouldn't taunt "insurgents". Duh!

Hearings Raise Tough Questions

Defending Dishonesty

Despite her inability to answer most of the senators' questions in a straightforward manner, it appears Condi-incompetent will be confirmed.

Senator Joe Biden, the top Democrat on the committee, took issue with Ms. Rice's estimate that more than 120,000 Iraqi security forces have been trained, saying he was told by U.S. officials in Iraq that the figure is closer to 4,000.

Senator Barbara Boxer of California noted that Ms. Rice often made the administration's case for war in the run-up to the invasion. "I personally believe, this is my personal view, that your loyalty to the mission you were given, to sell this war, overwhelmed your respect for the truth," she said.

Another Democrat, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, expressed concern that the decision to go to war deflected attention away from the war on terrorism. Just back from a fact-finding trip to Africa, Senator Feingold said the U.S. mission in Iraq is hampering anti-terror efforts in north and east Africa.

Army Opening New Amputee Center

WASHINGTON (AP) - A state-of-the-art rehabilitation center opening next year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center seeks to return more amputee soldiers to a place once thought impossible: the battlefield.

Wow, now that's compassionate! (sarcasm font needed)

Content of 'Texas Air National Guard' documents remains undisputed

CBS purge does not vindicate Bush

No one bothered to check, for example, how closely connected to Bush and the Republican Party were the "experts" who immediately claimed the papers were forgeries.

Indeed, it hasn't been proved that the papers are authentic. But, then again, it hasn't been proved that they aren't.

Nor did that investigation find that the Bush story was "erroneous."

Monday, January 17, 2005

King's Anti-War Words Ring True Today

by Kevin Danaher and Tony Newman

A major part of the Bush administration's rationale for invading Iraq is that we are liberating the Iraqi people from a cruel government. That is precisely what U.S. leaders said about liberating the Vietnamese people from the communists led by Ho Chi Minh. Here is what King had to say about ``strange liberators'':

"They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least 20 casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them -- mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers. What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

"We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only noncommunist revolutionary political force -- the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?''

During the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan and Iraq there were protesters in other parts of the world who held up signs saying: ''America: Ask why the world hates you.'' While that sentiment may be difficult for us to hear, King had a way of showing that it is in our self-interest to consider the opinions of those we label as enemies.

"Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.''

Although King's anti-war sentiments were directed mainly at the U.S. aggression in Vietnam, many of his statements would apply to our current policies toward other countries that have not attacked us.

"Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.''

As we increasingly militarize the planet and our own society, we should ponder King's words.

"We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate.

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.''

OSHA Finds its Own Inspectors Damaged by Deadly Beryllium

First Screenings Yield Disturbing Results, Whistleblower Vindicated

January 17 -- The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is finding that a significant percentage of its inspectors have become sensitized by exposure to beryllium, an extremely toxic metal that can cause an often-fatal lung disease, according to a report in today’s Chicago Tribune. OSHA acted to screen inspectors only under pressure from disclosures of one of its own top administrators, charges Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

In 2003, Dr. Adam Finkel was removed from his position as OSHA Administrator for the six-state Rocky Mountain Region after protesting an April 2002 decision by Assistant Labor Secretary John Henshaw to deny recommended blood screening tests for employees and to not inform potentially exposed individuals of their exposures and the value of undergoing a blood test for sensitization. An agency database OSHA created more than 5 years ago indicates that as many as 1,000 current and former compliance officers may have been exposed to beryllium levels up to several hundred times higher than permissible levels.

Summers' remarks on women draw fire

By Marcella Bombardieri, Globe Staff January 17, 2005

The president of Harvard University, Lawrence H. Summers, sparked an uproar at an academic conference Friday when he said that innate differences between men and women might be one reason fewer women succeed in science and math careers. Summers also questioned how much of a role discrimination plays in the dearth of female professors in science and engineering at elite universities.

Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, walked out on Summers' talk, saying later that if she hadn't left, ''I would've either blacked out or thrown up." Five other participants reached by the Globe, including Denice D. Denton, chancellor designate of the University of California, Santa Cruz, also said they were deeply offended.

Pentagon ban on filming coffins defied

The Pentagon does not want US media to film troops' coffins

A US National Guard unit has defied a Pentagon request that sought to stop television news crews filming six flag-draped soldiers' coffins arriving in Louisiana.

Inaugural Parade Participants Warned Not to Look Directly at Bush


Covert Propaganda from Bush Administration

Agency employees have complained to Social Security officials that they are being conscripted into a political battle over the future of the program. They question the accuracy of recent statements by the agency, and they say that money from the Social Security trust fund should not be used for such advocacy.

"Trust fund dollars should not be used to promote a political agenda."

White House paid US journalist

A conservative black commentator has admitted to taking public money to promote President George W. Bush's education plan, which Democrats called illegal propaganda.

Television and radio personality Armstrong Williams told CNN that he took 240,000 dollars to flog Bush's No Child Left Behind plan.

"I used bad judgement," he said. "I apologize to my audience."

Will this creep be fired like Dan Rather? Doubtful.

A must see!

American special forces are 'on the ground' in Iran

"I think they really think there's a chance to do something in Iran, perhaps by summer, to get the intelligence on the sites. "

Uh-oh, here we go again.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Great Deceiver

Ruling Through Fear & Lies

"This White House had made an art of creating crisis where a crisis does not exist," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

The Bush administration has been widely criticized for its repeated warnings of Saddam Hussein's deadly weapons cache, which now has been proven untrue.

Bush also exaggerated the nation's economic problems (to justify tax cuts) and terrorist threats (to convince the public of the need for restrictions on civil liberties).

"One of the key problems of this form of rhetorical leadership" is discerning the difference "between a genuine and manufactured crisis," said Jeffrey Tulis, author "The Rhetorical Presidency" and a government professor at the University of Texas.

The new 'crisis of the day', as Bush explains, is this: A decade or so from now the Social Security system will begin paying out more in benefits than it takes in payroll taxes because there will be a higher percentage of older Americans than there is today.

From that point, the system, if unchanged, will create a $3.7 trillion shortfall by 2075, or $10.4 trillion if calculated over eternity, that future generations will be forced to pay for.

But Bush's chief solution -- allowing younger workers to divert a portion of their 6.2 percent payroll tax into private investment accounts -- will do nothing to avert it unless it is accompanied by a reduction in future guaranteed benefits or other changes to the retirement program, according to many experts on Social Security.

"It is a crisis created in the mind of the White House because they want to take care of the fat cats on Wall Street," Reid said. He argued that Social Security is primed to pay out full benefits until 2055 -- even if no changes are made.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Bush Eager To Loot Social Security

Bush ready to axe benefits paid to orphans, poor, and elderly to protect tax cuts for the wealthy.

Three revelations have been critical in mobilizing resistance to the President's all-out drive to turn trillions in Social Security payments over to Wall Street.

All three have been highlighted by EIR and by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee in its mass pamphlet "Foot in the Door for Fascism," and were confirmed by early January admissions by the White House itself.

The revelations were:
1) that the scheme's model, is the 1981 privatization in General Pinochet's fascist Chile, and that its leading travelling salesman, José Piñera of the Cato Institute, is no "friendly academic," but was Pinochet's Labor Minister.
2) the White House's own blundering revelation to Congressional aides that it intends to make major cuts in Social Security benefits.
3) clear hints from the White House that it envisions a default by the Treasury against the Social Security Trust Fund, forgetting about repaying some $1.5 trillion which has been "borrowed" from the Trust Fund to cover tax cuts and deficits.

Get in their faces!

There’s a new front in the battle for abortion rights—the literal front, that is, of a t-shirt designed by writer and feminist activist Jennifer Baumgardner that proclaims “I had an abortion.” The shirt, initially for sale on Planned Parenthood’s national website and now available on Clamor magazine’s website, has generated controversy among not only the antiabortion community but also pro-choice feminists.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

warning of Martin Niemöller

In Germany they came first for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me... and by that time, there was no one left to speak up.

Clooney challenges ass-wad O'Reilly to put up or shut up.

Illinois Passes New Anti-Discrimination Measures

The Illinois House voted to ban discrimination of gays and lesbians Tuesday, sending the governor a bill that gay rights activists have sought for more than a decade. Gov. Rod Blagojevich called it "a landmark day in Illinois" and said he looked forward to signing the legislation. "This legislation sends a clear message that we will not allow our citizens to be discriminated against," Blagojevich said in a statement.

Illinois will join 14 other states that bar discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Watching the patrol: An Iraqi boy watches as U.S. Marines from Lima Company patrol the devastated city of Fallujah. (Photo: Hrvoje Polan / AFP)

Founding Fathers Were Not Christians

Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, Paine and most of our other patriarchs were at best deists, believing in the unmoved mover of Aristotle, but not the God of the Old and New Testaments.

Chicken George & CBS

CBS did not "break" this Chicken-Hawk George story; it's just that Dan Rather, with Mapes' encouragement, found his journalistic soul and the cojones, finally, after 5 years delay, to report it. Did Bush get special treatment to get into the Guard? Baby Bush tested in the 25th percentile out of 100. Yet, he leaped ahead of thousands of other Vietnam evaders because the then-Speaker of the Texas legislature sent a message to General Craig Rose, head of the Guard, to let in Little George and a few other sons of well-placed politicos.

View clip here

See some of the documentation at

'How many more will it take — how many more will have to die?

By Jack Dalton

Report after report has been telling us that PTSD is affecting 1 in 5 serving in Iraq--and that is expected to go as high as 1 in 3. These are not my numbers, but they come from the Veterans Administration, not a bastion of liberalism.

How many more will have to commit suicide before this madness unleashed by BushCo ends? How many more will force someone else to kill them, as did Andreas Raya? How many more will come back and kill their families as what happened at Ft Brag?

How many more will find themselves in the untenable position as does Sgt Kevin Benderman, his wife Monica, and the other 22 people in his unit, D Co., 3rd Forward Support Battalion, 2-7 Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, that also refuse to go?

How many more young men like Stu, who did 15 months in Iraq, will come home and within hours, drive their cars head first into a tree?

How many more above the 5,500 that have already fled, will also feel compelled to flee the country rather than go to Iraq--to kill or be killed in a war that was of choice, not necessity--a war which was started behind lies, misinformation, disinformation and deception--how many more? A war which BushCo had planned even before 9/11--which was "used" to "sell" what had already been planned by BushCo and the Project for a New American Century.

Does anyone know? How many young Americans are Bush and his cronies willing to send to their death for nothing????

Monday, January 10, 2005

Blackwell's damning letter

Dear Mr. Gonzales

Mr. Gonzales, you have concurred in, even commissioned, advice that led to the following:

Sodomy with a broomstick, chemical light, metal object
Severe beatings
Water boarding (simulated drowning)
Electric shock
Attaching electrodes to private parts
Forced masturbation

Pulling out fingernails

Pushing lit cigarettes into ears
Chaining hand and foot in fetal position without food or water

Forced standing on one leg in the sun

Feigned suffocation

Gagging with duct tape

Tormenting with loud music and strobe lights
Sleep deprivation

Subjecting to freezing/sweltering temperatures
"Dietary manipulation"
Repeated, prolonged rectal exams
Hanging by arms from hooks
Permitting serious dog bites
Bending back fingers
Intense isolation for more than 3 months
Grabbing genitals
Severe burning
Stacking of naked prisoners in pyramids
Injecting with drugs
Leaving bullet in body of wounded prisoner
Taping naked prisoner to board
Shooting into containers with men inside
Keeping prisoners in small, outdoor cages
Pepper spraying in face
Forcing heads into toilets and flushing
Threatening live burial, drowning, electrocution, rape and death
Beating prisoners to death
Killing wounded prisoners
Throwing off bridge into river and drowning

Saddam Hussein would be proud of you, Mr. Gonzales.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Alberto "RapeRoom" Gonzales

photo from ABC News

By Deborah Charles

Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel criticized for calling parts of the Geneva Conventions on prisoner treatment "obsolete," will promise to abide by anti-torture treaties if he is confirmed as attorney general, according to a statement obtained on Wednesday.

Gonzales said he was "deeply committed to the rule of law," in a statement for delivery at Senate confirmation hearings on Thursday. The hearings will likely focus on Gonzales' role in policies that critics say gave rise to abuses such as those at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

It's the "liberation" of the Iraqi people and it isn't pretty.

An Iraqi prisoner and American military dog handlers. Other photographs show the Iraqi on the ground, bleeding.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Wash. Judge Nixes Pregnant Woman's Divorce

Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. - A judge has refused to grant a divorce to a pregnant woman trying to leave her husband two years after he was jailed for beating her, ruling instead that she must wait until the child is born.

Shawnna Hughes' husband was convicted of abuse in 2002. She separated from him after the attack and filed for divorce last April. She later became pregnant by another man and is due in March.

Her husband, Carlos, never contested the divorce, and the court commissioner approved it in October. But the divorce papers failed to note that Hughes was pregnant, and when the judge found out, he rescinded the divorce.

"There's a lot of case law that says it is important in this state that children not be illegitimized," Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine told The Spokesman-Review newspaper on Thursday.

Hughes' attorney, Terri Sloyer, said nothing in state law says a pregnant woman cannot get a divorce.

"We don't live in 15th-century England," said Sloyer, who has appealed.

Under Washington state law, a husband is presumed to be the father of any child born within 300 days of a divorce. The judge argued that the paternity of the child needs to be determined before a divorce can be finalized.

Hughes has stated in court records that her boyfriend is the child's father, and that the judge's decision prevented her from marrying him.

"She has the right to divorce and be free to marry whoever she wants," Sloyer said. "It's about the choice, the fundamental right to choose."

More fundie crap! I bet this judge is a "Christian".

Monday, January 03, 2005

Pledge Resistance

We believe that as people living
in the United States it is our
responsibility to resist the injustices
done by our government,
in our names

Not in our name
will you wage endless war
there can be no more deaths
no more transfusions
of blood for oil

Not in our name
will you invade countries
bomb civilians, kill more children
letting history take its course
over the graves of the nameless

Not in our name
will you erode the very freedoms
you have claimed to fight for

Not by our hands
will we supply weapons and funding
for the annihilation of families
on foreign soil

Not by our mouths
will we let fear silence us

Not by our hearts
will we allow whole peoples
or countries to be deemed evil

Not by our will
and Not in our name

We pledge resistance

We pledge alliance with those
who have come under attack
for voicing opposition to the war
or for their religion or ethnicity

We pledge to make common cause
with the people of the world
to bring about justice,
freedom and peace

Another world is possible
and we pledge to make it real.

School defends slavery booklet

Apparently students at one of North Carolina's largest Christian schools are being forced to read a booklet which literally "whitewashes" slavery, suggesting that slaves led "a life of plenty, of simple pleasures."

Oh, for sure. You can bet that all those Africans loved being kidnapped from their homes and transported across the ocean to work without pay for their white masters. The backbreaking work; the dehumanization; the occasional flogging. Ah, the "simple pleasures" in life.

Incidentally, one of the authors of the booklet is a member of the board of directors of the League of the South, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And according to the News Observer, "Leaders at Cary Christian School say they are not condoning slavery by using 'Southern Slavery, As It Was,'" which apparently "attempts to provide a biblical justification for slavery and asserts that slaves weren't treated as badly as people think." No, they're not condoning it. Just, you know, pretending it didn't happen.

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