Monday, April 30, 2007

Army to EO Reps: “Discrimination Against Atheists OK”

"They are using my formal EO complaint as a training scenario...The Sergeant Major who conducted the EO training for Ohio’s unit level EO reps told them that “since atheism is not a religion, atheists are not protected by the regulation and it is acceptable for officers and chaplains to disparage their own soldiers.”



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Privatizing Infrastructure

This is scary! You think the bridge tolls are high now.....



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Proposals would turn highways into wind farms

Clogged highways and frustratingly waiting while your gas needle plummets to empty usually doesn't conjure up thoughts of green, but it seems like these very roads could become the source of a lot more energy. Several recent student designs have proposed that major roadways be retrofitted with various forms of wind energy collection devices...



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The CFL mercury nightmare

Steven Milloy, Financial Post

Published: Saturday, April 28, 2007

How much money does it take to screw in a compact fluorescent light bulb? About US$4.28 for the bulb and labour -- unless you break the bulb. Then you, like Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, could be looking at a cost of about US$2,004.28, which doesn't include the costs of frayed nerves and risks to health.

Sound crazy? Perhaps no more than the stampede to ban the incandescent light bulb in favour of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

According to an April 12 article in The Ellsworth American, Bridges had the misfortune of breaking a CFL during installation in her daughter's bedroom: It dropped and shattered on the carpeted floor.

Aware that CFLs contain potentially hazardous substances, Bridges called her local Home Depot for advice. The store told her that the CFL contained mercury and that she should call the Poison Control hotline, which in turn directed her to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP sent a specialist to Bridges' house to test for mercury contamination. The specialist found mercury levels in the bedroom in excess of six times the state's "safe" level for mercury contamination of 300 billionths of a gram per cubic meter. The DEP specialist recommended that Bridges call an environmental cleanup firm, which reportedly gave her a "low-ball" estimate of US$2,000 to clean up the room. The room then was sealed off with plastic and Bridges began "gathering finances" to pay for the US$2,000 cleaning. Reportedly, her insurance company wouldn't cover the cleanup costs because mercury is a pollutant.

Given that the replacement of incandescent bulbs with CFLs in the average U.S. household is touted as saving as much as US$180 annually in energy costs -- and assuming that Bridges doesn't break any more CFLs -- it will take her more than 11 years to recoup the cleanup costs in the form of energy savings.

The potentially hazardous CFL is being pushed by companies such as Wal-Mart, which wants to sell 100 million CFLs at five times the cost of incandescent bulbs during 2007, and, surprisingly, environmentalists.

It's quite odd that environmentalists have embraced the CFL, which cannot now and will not in the foreseeable future be made without mercury. Given that there are about five billion light bulb sockets in North American households, we're looking at the possibility of creating billions of hazardous waste sites such as the Bridges' bedroom.

Usually, environmentalists want hazardous materials out of, not in, our homes. These are the same people who go berserk at the thought of mercury being emitted from power plants and the presence of mercury in seafood. Environmentalists have whipped up so much fear of mercury among the public that many local governments have even launched mercury thermometer exchange programs.

As the activist group Environmental Defense urges us to buy CFLs, it defines mercury on a separate part of its Web site as a "highly toxic heavy metal that can cause brain damage and learning disabilities in fetuses and children" and as "one of the most poisonous forms of pollution."

Greenpeace also recommends CFLs while simultaneously bemoaning contamination caused by a mercury-thermometer factory in India. But where are mercury-containing CFLs made? Not in the United States, under strict environmental regulation. CFLs are made in India and China, where environmental standards are virtually non-existent.

And let's not forget about the regulatory nightmare in the U.S. known as the Superfund law, the EPA regulatory program best known for requiring expensive but often needless cleanup of toxic waste sites, along with endless litigation over such cleanups.

We'll eventually be disposing billions and billions of CFL mercury bombs. Much of the mercury from discarded and/or broken CFLs is bound to make its way into the environment and give rise to Superfund liability, which in the past has needlessly disrupted many lives, cost tens of billions of dollars and sent many businesses into bankruptcy.

As each CFL contains five milligrams of mercury, at the Maine "safety" standard of 300 nanograms per cubic meter, it would take 16,667 cubic meters of soil to "safely" contain all the mercury in a single CFL. While CFL vendors and environmentalists tout the energy cost savings of CFLs, they conveniently omit the personal and societal costs of CFL disposal.

Not only are CFLs much more expensive than incandescent bulbs and emit light that many regard as inferior to incandescent bulbs, they pose a nightmare if they break and require special disposal procedures. Yet governments (egged on by environmentalists and the Wal-Marts of the world) are imposing on us such higher costs, denial of lighting choice, disposal hassles and breakage risks in the name of saving a few dollars every year on the electric bill? - Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and CSRWatch.com. He is a junk-science expert and advocate of free enterprise, and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.



The RIAA's worst nightmare: computers that understand music

New programs can listen to and transcribe polyphonic music in real time and can even adjust to a live performer.



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Animal Extinction - the greatest threat to mankind

An eminent Harvard biologist predicts that our present course will lead to the extinction of half of all plant and animal species by 2100 and many biologists believe that mass extinction poses a colossal threat to human existence, a more serious environmental problem than even its contributor, global warming.



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Switzerland and the gun

The gun crime rate is so low that statistics are not even kept. The country has a population of six million, but there are estimated to be at least two million publicly-owned firearms, including about 600,000 automatic rifles and 500,000 pistols.This is in a very large part due to Switzerland's unique system of national defence.



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10,000+ may be on Washington, DC escort list

The demise of a call-girl ring and pending trial of an alleged madam claiming thousands of clients has the US capital riveted by the chance powerful men may now be caught with their trousers down, with a senior state department official apparently first to fall.



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72% of Troops Want Out of Iraq, 29% Now!

This is crazy! Why are they still there?



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Rice backs off Iraq 'imminent threat' claim

On ABC's morning program "This Week," host George Stephanopoulos asks Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice if Iraq ever posed an "imminent threat" to the United States.



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Vitamin D casts cancer prevention in new light

But research into vitamin D is suggesting both a plausible answer to this medical puzzle and a heretical notion: that cancers and other disorders in rich countries aren't caused mainly by pollutants but by a vitamin deficiency known to be less acute or even non-existent in poor nations.



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Let Gravel Speak: Sign The Official Petition To Stop CNN From Censoring Him

In light of democratic presidential candidate, Mike Gravel, being banned for the next debate, he is asking that you sign the official petition to prevent this blatant and unjustified censorship. Mike Gravel is a real voice of the American people, now it's our chance to return the favor and sign the petition!



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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Former CIA Director Says White House Focused on the Idea Long Before 9/11

Although Tenet does not question the threat Saddam Hussein posed or the sincerity of administration beliefs, he recounts numerous efforts by aides to Cheney and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to insert "crap" into public justifications for the war.



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McCain's New Title: Most Absent Senator

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has risen to a new rank within the Senate: he has missed the most votes of any active Senator in the 110th Congress — second only to Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who suffered a brain hemorrhage in December. Perhaps age *70* hasn't been so kind to Sen. McCain.



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RIAA claims rights to all artists' royalties

The RIAA is looking more and more like the Mafia. Not only is it trying to kill Internet radio, but its royalty-collecting subsidiary, SoundExchange, is now claiming the right to collect royalties for ALL artists, even those who want nothing to do with the RIAA and its jackbooted henchmen.



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Sen. Durbin Drops Bombshells on the Senate Floor

Saying that he knew about the lies the Bush Administration was telling



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Bill Maher Psychologically Analyzes President Bush

Bill Maher may not be a doctor, but his diagnosis of President Bush is pretty damn accurate.



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PROTESTERS DEMAND IMPEACHMENT AS BUSH SPEAKS

Miami - Hundreds of protesters gathered at the Kendell Miami-Dade College campus where President George W. Bush spoke on Saturday afternoon. Roughly 200 protesters were clustered near temporary fences and an estimated 600 altogether spent the better part of the afternoon marching and holding signs alongside a main road near the college campus.



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Saturday, April 28, 2007

70% Of Americans Don't Know Plastic Is Made With Oil

According to a recent nationwide online survey, 72 percent of the American public does not know that conventional plastic is made from petroleum products, primarily oil. Moreover, 40 percent of the respondents believe that plastic will biodegrade at some point.



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It’s Only Terrorism When They Are Muslim, Right?

"We classify these groups as violent and anti-government," said Jim Cavanaugh, who supervises the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operations in portions of the South. Um, how about we classify them as Domestic Terrorists?



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Could black holes be portals to other universes?

The objects scientists think are black holes could instead be wormholes leading to other universes, a new study says. If so, it would help resolve a quantum conundrum known as the black hole information paradox, but critics say it would also raise new problems, such as how the wormholes would form in the first place.



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CNN Bans Senator Gravel from next debate!

Yesterday, former Senator Mike Gravel stole the show at the Democratic debates with his humor and honesty about America's foreign policy. Now, the mainstream media is trying to pretend he and his alternative viewpoints don't exist. Fight the status quo's censorship and make sure candidates like Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, and Ron Paul get heard!



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Tenet Blasts Bush Administration: “Men of honor don’t do this”

60 minutes video included. While there is sometimes honor among thieves, there is no honor in the Bush inner circle. Everyone is expendable.



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EXPOSED: CIA warned Bush of 'ANARCHY' in Iraq if US invades.

The CIA warned the Bush White House seven months before the 2003 Iraq invasion that the U.S. could face a thicket of bad consequences, starting with "anarchy and the territorial breakup" of the country.



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Senior Bush official linked to escort service resigns.

"Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation."



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Inflation, Dow 13K and the Second Great Depression

This article points out what today’s younger generation has already long known: Simply surviving in this hyper competitive world is harder than ever, to say nothing of getting ahead.



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Friday, April 27, 2007

Save internet radio! Internet Radio Equality Act introduced into congress

A bill has been introduced that will save independent internet radio by setting these royalties at the same level paid by satellite radio services, and nullifying the CRB royalty rate that was in many cases several times the total gross revenues for indie webcasters. Call your congressman and ask them to support this bill!



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There's HUNGER For Impeachment. Will We Feed It?

The movement to impeach, Cheney first, is growing. This article shows how to cast your vote for impeachment.



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Obama : we are one signature away from ending Iraq War

“We are one signature away from ending the Iraq War. President Bush must listen to the will of the American people and sign this bill so that our troops can come home.”



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Free Speech is now a criminal offense

Essay arrest baffles experts

CARY | Say student's creative writing violent, but suggest counseling, not arrest

April 27, 2007

Police Thursday released portions of an essay used to charge a Cary-Grove High School student with disorderly conduct, leaving several experts puzzled at an arrest based on such schoolwork.

Asked to write about whatever he wanted in a creative writing class, would-be Marine and honors student Allen Lee, 18, described a violent dream in which he shot people and then "had sex with the dead bodies.''


But then he immediately dismissed the idea as a mere joke, writing, "not really, but it would be funny if I did.''

A second disorderly count accuses Lee of alarming first-year teacher Nora Capron by writing that "as a teacher, don't be surprised on [sic] inspiring the first CG shooting,'' an apparent reference to Cary-Grove High.

Lee said Thursday he was "completely shocked'' to be arrested Tuesday for his essay, especially because written instructions told kids not to "censor'' what they wrote.

"In creative writing, you're told to exaggerate,'' said Lee. "It was supposed to be just junk. . . .

"There definitely is violent content, but they're taking it out of context and making it something it isn't.''

"I have no intention of harming anyone,'' said Lee, who has been transferred to an alternative school setting. "I miss school.''

Lee's father, Albert Lee, who emigrated from China 32 years ago, said his son has a clean academic and police record. He, too, insisted his son's essay was not threatening but authorities "drew a conclusion before the investigation. They didn't want to do the investigation.''

However, the father would not comment on whether he believed authorities acted quickly because his son is of Asian heritage, as was the Virginia Tech campus shooter.

Family therapist Michael Gurian, author of The Minds of Boys, said Allen Lee needs at least good counseling, but "If he was arrested solely based on those words, I don't see that as the most helpful course.''

Bernardine Dohrn, director of Northwestern University's Children and Family Justice Center, laughed when she heard the charge.

"You might want to talk to him, talk to his parents, but the criminal justice system seems to be the last thing you'd want,'' said Dohrn, a former Weatherman leader who lived for years as a fugitive.

Mike McInerney, former head of the Cook County Public Defender's Juvenile Court office, said he "wouldn't be happy'' if his son wrote such words but "I wouldn't criminalize free expression. . . . I don't think it's going to hold up criminally.''

Ex-CIA Head Tenet Blasts Bush for "dishonest" use of WMD "Slam Dunk" Words

Tenet says to have the president base his entire decision to go to war on such a remark is unbelievable. "So a whole decision to go to war, when all of these other things have happened in the run-up to war? "It's the most despicable thing that ever happened to me,"



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Strawberries + Alcohol = A Healthier Happy Hour

According to new research, the antioxidant capacity of strawberries can be significantly enhanced when they are combined with ethanol, the type of alcohol found in rum, vodka, tequila and other spirits. Those antioxidants attack free-radicals that can cause cancer, arthritis and heart disease.



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Bush approval at 28%

President Bush's job approval rating has fallen to 28%, the lowest level of his presidency, according to a new Harris Poll released today



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White House admits politicizing government meetings, says, "So what!"

The White House acknowledged that it has conducted about 20 briefings recently for federal agency employees on the election prospects of Republican candidates; the sort of meetings that sparked an investigation into whether Bush aides engaged in illegal political activity. BushCo says the meetings are not in violation of the Hatch Act.



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A Reprieve For Net Radio?

"The Register reports that "Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) have headed the 'Internet Radio Equality Act,' which aims to stop the controversial March 2 decision which puts royalty of a .08 cent per song per listener, retroactively from 2006 to 2010 on internet radio," as imposed by a recent decision from the Copyright Royalty Board. "If passed, today's bill would set new rates at 7.5 percent of the webcaster's revenue — the same rate paid by satellite radio.""

State to Decide Who is a “Dangerously Unstable” Person

Recall the establishment of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in April 2002 and its “recommendations” issued in July, 2003. Bush’s commission found that “despite their prevalence, mental disorders often go undiagnosed” and the way to address this so-called problem was to screen “consumers of all ages,” especially preschool children, for mental problems, or what mental health “professionals” and drug company executives consider mental problems. “Each year, young children are expelled from preschools and childcare facilities for severely disruptive behaviors and emotional disorders.” According to the commission, schools are in a “key position” to screen the 52 million students and 6 million adults who work at the schools.

The commission commended the Texas Medication Algorithm Project (TMAP) as a “model” medication treatment plan that “illustrates an evidence-based practice that results in better consumer outcomes,” in other words, more people on expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, the sort of drugs that worked so well in Cho Seung-Hui’s case. It should be noted, as well, that the “Texas project started in 1995 as an alliance of individuals from the pharmaceutical industry, the University of Texas, and the mental health and corrections systems of Texas. The project was funded by a Robert Wood Johnson grant—and by several drug companies.” Allen Jones, an employee of the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General, “revealed that key officials with influence over the medication plan in his state received money and perks from drug companies with a stake in the medication algorithm,” reports BMJ, a medical journal. For his effort, Jones was fired.

Now we have Bush directing “federal officials to conduct a national inquiry into how to prevent violence by dangerously unstable people” in the wake of Virginia Tech, according to CBN News. Of course, in a free society, there are few ways to prevent “dangerously unstable people” from going postal, especially if they are law-abiding beforehand. No doubt we will see yet another commission recommending the widespread use of so-called antidepressants, never mind these SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are reported to cause “anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania … in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric,” according to David Healy and David Menkes from Cardiff University, and Andrew Herxheimer from the UK Cochrane Centre. In other words, in certain individuals, presumably such as Cho, SSRI drugs act as a catalyst for violence, both “self-directed” (i.e., suicide) and outward toward the community. Apparently, Bush and the pharms want to make sure every Cho in the country goes postal. It is a small price to pay for record pharm industry profits.

“President Bush has directed three cabinet secretaries to huddle with educators, mental health experts and government officials across the nation to recommend ways to avoid a repeat of Monday’s shooting rampage at Virginia Tech,” reports the Washington Post. “The review—to be headed by Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings—comes as educational institutions debate how to deal with early warning signs that a student may be dangerous to himself and others.”

Here we have a gaggle of bureaucrats, including one who specializes in legalizing torture, directing “mental health experts and government officials across the nation,” in other words figuring out how get the government even more involved in the lives of ordinary people who, after all, might have another Cho or any number of Chos in their midst. Leavitt will “summarize what they learn and report back to me with recommendations about how we can help to avoid such tragedies,” Bush said. Asked how long the review will take, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said: “Not long. This is a new tasking by the president, and so a lot of the details are still being worked out. Secretary Leavitt said he plans to get started quickly.” Translation: expect “recommendations,” similar to those reached by the Texas Medication Algorithm Project, to drug the population at large, that is after mandatory “screening.” It should be noted that Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, has empanelled a gaggle of “experts” of his own, including former Ministry of Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge.

According to Universal Health, “people with chronic mental illness or with exacerbations of symptoms could be guided directly into supervised and therapeutic settings…. Nurses learn early on that just because a patient says ‘no’ to care, doesn’t mean that it goes unquestioned. When ‘no’ isn’t based on rational decision making, or when cognition and judgement are suspect, we have clear and ethical processes to use to determine substituted judgment.”

In other words, “mental health” experts, in league with government bureaucrats, will decide who is mentally ill. “There is, of course, a balance to be struck between civil liberties and treating the mentally ill,” writes Rich Lowry for the Salt Lake Tribune. “But that balance is now badly off-kilter. Cho Seung-Hui was basically abandoned to his private mental hell at Virginia Tech. While he hatched his lunatic and hateful plot, everyone tried to ignore the scary guy in class behind the sunglasses.” It was Cho’s “poetry” and “plays” that supposedly provided the tip-off to his insanity.

“Certainly in this sensitized day and age, my own college writing—including a short story called ‘Cain Rose Up’ and the novel RAGE—would have raised red flags, and I’m certain someone would have tabbed me as mentally ill because of them,” writes the novelist Stephen King. “For most creative people, the imagination serves as an excretory channel for violence: We visualize what we will never actually do.”

Of course, in an era when “a balance” is “to be struck between civil liberties and treating the mentally ill,” there will be no tolerance for such “excretory” channels for violence. Is it possible, if now just coming up as a writer, Stephen King would be “guided directly into supervised and therapeutic setting” and force-fed massive quantities of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors? “On the whole, I don’t think you can pick these guys out based on their work, unless you look for violence unenlivened by any real talent,” King concludes.

Is it possible “Bush’s New Freedom Initiative, which recommends mental health screening for all Americans, could ultimately be used to institute ‘political psychiatry’ in this country”? muses blogger Mack White. “This practice is not without precedent, the most notorious examples being the Soviet Union and present-day China. Also, it is a fact that political psychiatry has been recommended by at least one psychiatrist working for the CIA. In 1974, MK-ULTRA scientist Dr. Jose Delgado, Director of Neuropsychiatry at Yale Medical School, stated in testimony to Congress: ‘We need a program of psychosurgery for political control of our society. The purpose is physical control of the mind. Everyone who deviates from the given norm can be surgically mutilated.’”

In our brave new era, surgical mutilation is no longer required.

Instead, our government, working with the pharm industry and psychiatric “experts,” can “guide” the officially designated paranoids, be they deluded writers or political activists, into “supervised and therapeutic settings” where massive doses of Paxil will be administered.

Panama Has No Central Bank

Presidential candidate Ron Paul has called for the abolition of the Federal Reserve system. His critics have said that without a "central bank" the US economy would fall into chaos. Here is a real world example of a country that has no central bank, no fiat money system and no "lender of last resort." The result: low inflation and a stable economy.



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Rice appears to reject Waxman's subpoena

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Norway on Thursday appears to have rejected Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) subpoena compelling her to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the intelligence used to build the case for the Iraq war, according to the Associated Press.



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BREAKING: House Passes Bill Requiring an Iraq Pullout

The House on Wednesday narrowly approved a $124 billion war spending bill that would require American troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq by Oct 1. The House voted 218 to 208 pass a measure that sought the removal of most combat forces by next spring. 2 Republicans Reps. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland and Walter Jones of North Carolina joined.



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National Debt


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Panama Has No Central Bank

Presidential candidate Ron Paul has called for the abolition of the Federal Reserve system. His critics have said that without a "central bank" the US economy would fall into chaos. Here is a real world example of a country that has no central bank, no fiat money system and no "lender of last resort." The result: low inflation and a stable economy.



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Discussion on recent Bill Moyers show on propaganda leading up to Iraq War

Includes comments from two Knight Ridder reporters who were interviewed in the show.



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Both Sides Dig In On Gonzales | TIME

The White House certainly seems to think it is. The administration has lately been chuckling to itself, pleased that in spite of all the resolute prognostication of pundits and experts and what most observers viewed as Gonzales' less than stellar performance on Capitol Hill last week, Bush has managed to keep his Attorney General in office.



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Marijuana Shrinks Tumors, Government Knew In 1974

While trying to prove the opposite, a researcher stumbled onto the fact that marijuana aggressively kills some forms of cancer.The government stepped in, shut down the study, and burned all the research. The study has since been proven to be true.



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I'll believe it when I see it

MPAA: We are Committed to Fair Use, Interoperability, and DRMAt a LexisNexis conference on DRM this week, MPAA boss Dan Glickman said the movie studios were now fully committed to interoperable DRM, and they recognize that consumers should be able to use legitimate video material on any item in the house, including home networks. In a major shift for the industry



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Breaking: Top Gonzales Aide Monica Goodling Offered Immunity To Testify

The House Judiciary Committee voted this morning to grant immunity to Monica Goodling, former counsel to Alberto Gonzales. Yesterday, fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias said he believes that Goodling holds the "keys to the kingdom" in terms of uncovering the roots of the U.S. Attorney purge.



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White House Rediscovers Constitution, Admits Congress Has Oversight Role

(W/video). Last month, the White House adopted talking points that reflected a truly radical interpretation of the Constitution: that Congress has no oversight responsibility over the White House. But today, the WH spokesperson admitted, "Congress has a role to play, which is oversight over the executive branch."



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D.C. Circus

There is so much bullshit going on in D.C. right now it makes my head spin. Scandal after scandal after scandal, it is just crazy. And the list keeps getting longer and longer every day. Bush is in so far over his head right now it just amazes me how stupid he thinks the American public really is. Things are so out of hand something has to give soon., but when and how I don't know. It just scares me to think what Bush could pull to try to distract us from all the scandals. Attack Iran, or maybe a false flag terrorist operation here in the states, or god knows what else he has in mind.

It just scares the hell out of me.

Arrogant White House Mocks Vermont Impeachment Resolutions

Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino mocked impeachment motions being undertaken by a Vermont's state senate during a press briefing on Wednesday. "Oh, I didn't even know there was a resolution in the state of Vermont," Perino said. "Is that a monthly occurrence?"



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BREAKING: Condy Rice will have her day in court

U.S. Democratic lawmakers voted on Wednesday to subpoena Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to testify about administration justifications for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.On a party-line vote of 21-10, the House of Representatives' Oversight and Government Reform Committee directed Rice to appear before the panel next month.



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Trucker Slowdown derailed and unreported

MANY of us showed up but were not allowed to go to the party. We were conspired against by our own government. Monday morning, April 23, about 11 AM, Drew Raines of A Marines Disquisition radio show, told me he could see on a live traffic cam for Montgomery county in DC, truckers lined up on the northbound I 95 into the D.C. Beltway, flags flying, banners on their trucks. Several hours later, he was told by some truckers, that the D.C. police were out in force and that no 18 wheelers were allowed on the Beltway for the next three days, the days of our rally, and they forced all the trucker traffic to go elsewhere. The truckers were also told that the only way they would be allowed on the beltway was if they were carrying a load in their trucks with a legal bill of lading that gave them permission to be in the capitol area.

We have also heard from a large convoy of protesting trucker that were coming into the beltway from the north, that the police were out in force up there too, pulling the truckers over and giving tickets to everyone participating in the convoy. We have heard this from all over the nation, same thing. So far we have heard from about 70+ truckers that got tickets, all over the US, for trying to participate in the slow roll around a capitol, or on the freeways. A convoy of 20+ truckers tried to go to Nashville capitol and were intercepted before they got there and told to leave or get ticketed, some still got tickets, same for Little Rock, same for Oklahoma City. Oklahoma city didn't give up though, we have heard that somewhere between 100 - 175 truckers showed up there, were turned away, regrouped and came back, but this time parking their trucks several blocks away from the capitol and joining the rally on the steps of the capitol, where a state senator joined them and said they had just unanimously passed a resolution urging Congress to repeal the Bush plan and to stop the NAU.

We may have been thwarted this time, but we are not through. We are now regrouping, and planning our second run at this for June, 14, 15, 16, but this time we will be far more organized and have a contact person in every state, organizing the truckers in that state.



This sounds like something is not quite on the rails.
How do you organize a failed event into a success?
Will the same obstacles be present?
This has an oddly familiar smell.

House passes Iraq withdrawal timetable

President Bush and the Democratic-controlled Congress lurched toward a veto showdown over Iraq on Wednesday, as the House passed legislation that would order troops to begin coming home by October 1. The bill passed the House by a vote of 218-208. Nine Democrats voted against the bill and two Republicans voted for it.



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Why The Military Commissions Act of 2006 Must Go

Its wording makes possible the permanent detention and torture (as defined by the Geneva Conventions) of anyone - Including American Citizens - based solely on the decision of the President. Indeed, the wording of section 948b of the act explicitly contradicts the Third Geneva Convention of which the United States is currently a signatory.



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Bill Moyers’ “Buying the War” Exposes the Media’s Failure to do Their Job

A point-by-point explanation of how the media failed the public en route to the war in Iraq is carefully assembled and patiently related Wednesday by Moyers on PBS.



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Pelosi pressed to put impeachment back on table

"Be it Resolved, that George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney, by such conduct, warrant impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States," reads a resolution that Swan, a Democratic delegate from California's 42nd Assembly District in Los Angeles...



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A Hyperdrive Engine that travels through other dimensions!

A paper about hyperdrives won 'paper of the year' from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. A hyperdrive motor would propel a craft through another dimension at enormous speeds...a space propulsion researcher at the US Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories has said he would be interested in testing the idea!



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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Working for the Clampdown

What might the president do with his new power to declare martial law?

By James Bovard

04/25/07 "
American Conservative" -- - How many pipe bombs might it take to end American democracy? Far fewer than it would have taken a year ago.

The Defense Authorization Act of 2006, passed on Sept. 30, empowers President George W. Bush to impose martial law in the event of a terrorist “incident,” if he or other federal officials perceive a shortfall of “public order,” or even in response to antiwar protests that get unruly as a result of government provocations.

The media and most of Capitol Hill ignored or cheered on this grant of nearly boundless power. But now that the president’s arsenal of authority is swollen and consecrated, a few voices of complaint are being heard. Even the New York Times recently condemned the new law for “making martial law easier.”

It only took a few paragraphs in a $500 billion, 591-page bill to raze one of the most important limits on federal power. Congress passed the Insurrection Act in 1807 to severely restrict the president’s ability to deploy the military within the United States. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 tightened these restrictions, imposing a two-year prison sentence on anyone who used the military within the U.S. without the express permission of Congress. But there is a loophole: Posse Comitatus is waived if the president invokes the Insurrection Act.

Section 1076 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 changed the name of the key provision in the statute book from “Insurrection Act” to “Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act.” The Insurrection Act of 1807 stated that the president could deploy troops within the United States only “to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.” The new law expands the list to include “natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition”—and such “condition” is not defined or limited.

These new pretexts are even more expansive than they appear. FEMA proclaims the equivalent of a natural disaster when bad snowstorms occur, and Congress routinely proclaims a natural disaster (and awards more farm subsidies) when there is a shortfall of rain in states with upcoming elections. A terrorist “incident” could be something as stupid as the flashing toys scattered around Boston last fall.

The new law also empowers the president to commandeer the National Guard of one state to send to another state for up to 365 days. Bush could send the Alabama National Guard to suppress antiwar protests in Boston. Or the next president could send the New York National Guard to disarm the residents of Mississippi if they resisted a federal law that prohibited private ownership of semiautomatic weapons. Governors’ control of the National Guard can be trumped with a simple presidential declaration.

The story of how Section 1076 became law vivifies how expanding government power is almost always the correct answer in Washington. Some people have claimed the provision was slipped into the bill in the middle of the night. In reality, the administration clearly signaled its intent and almost no one in the media or Congress tried to stop it.

The Katrina debacle seems to have drowned Washington’s resistance to military rule. Bush declared, “I want there to be a robust discussion about the best way for the federal government, in certain extreme circumstances, to be able to rally assets for the good of the people.” His initial proposal generated a smattering of criticism and no groundswell of support. There was no “robust discussion.” On Aug. 29, 2006, the administration upped the ante, labeling the breached levees “the equivalent of a weapon of mass effect being used on the city of New Orleans.” Nobody ever defined a “weapon of mass effect,” but the term wasn’t challenged.

Section 1076 was supported by both conservatives and liberals. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking Democratic member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, co-wrote the provision along with committee chairman Sen. John Warner (R-Va.). Sen. Ted Kennedy openly endorsed it, and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), then-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was an avid proponent.

Every governor in the country opposed the changes, and the National Governors Association repeatedly and loudly objected. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned on Sept. 19 that “we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law,” but his alarm got no response. Ten days later, he commented in the Congressional Record: “Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy.” Leahy further condemned the process, declaring that it “was just slipped in the defense bill as a rider with little study. Other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals.”

Congressional Quarterly’s Jeff Stein wrote an excellent article in December on how the provision became law with minimal examination or controversy. A Republican Senate aide blamed the governors for failing to raise more fuss: “My understanding is that they sent form letters to offices. If they really want a piece of legislation considered they should have called offices and pushed the matter. No office can handle the amount of form letters that come in each day.”

Thus, the Senate was not guilty by reason of form letters. Plus, the issue was not on the front page of the Washington Post within the 48 hours before the Senate voted on it. Surely no reasonable person can expect senators to know what they were doing when they voted 100 to 0 in favor of the bill? In reality, they were too busy to notice the latest coffin nails they hammered into the Constitution.

This expansion of presidential prerogative illustrates how every federal failure redounds to the benefit of leviathan. FEMA was greatly expanded during the Clinton years for crises like the New Orleans flood. It, along with local and state agencies, floundered. Yet the federal belly flop on the Gulf Coast somehow anointed the president to send in troops where he sees fit.

“Martial law” is a euphemism for military dictatorship. When foreign democracies are overthrown and a junta establishes martial law, Americans usually recognize that a fundamental change has occurred. Perhaps some conservatives believe that the only change when martial law is declared is that people are no longer read their Miranda rights when they are locked away. “Martial law” means obey soldiers’ commands or be shot. The abuses of military rule in southern states during Reconstruction were legendary, but they have been swept under the historical rug.

Section 1076 is Enabling Act-type legislation—something that purports to preserve law-and-order while formally empowering the president to rule by decree. The Bush team is rarely remiss in stretching power beyond reasonable bounds. Bush talks as if any constraint on his war-making prerogative or budget is “aiding and abetting the enemy.” Can such a man be trusted to reasonably define insurrection or disorder? Can Hillary Clinton?

Bush can commandeer a state’s National Guard any time he declares a “state has refused to enforce applicable laws.” Does this refer to the laws as they are commonly understood—or the laws after Bush fixes them with a signing statement?

Some will consider concern about Bush or future presidents exploiting martial law to be alarmist. This is the same reflex many people have had to each administration proposal or power grab from the Patriot Act in October 2001 to the president’s enemy-combatant decree in November 2001 to the setting up the Guantanamo prison in early 2002 to the doctrine of preemptive war. The administration has perennially denied that its new powers pose any threat even after the evidence of abuses—illegal wiretapping, torture, a global network of secret prisons, Iraq in ruins—becomes overwhelming. If the administration does not hesitate to trample the First Amendment with “free speech zones,” why expect it to be diffident about powers that could stifle protests en masse?

On Feb. 24, the White House conducted a highly publicized drill to test responses to IEDs going off simultaneously in ten American cities. The White House has not disclosed the details of how the feds will respond, but it would be out of character for this president to let new powers he sought to gather dust. There is nothing more to prevent a president from declaring martial law on a pretext than there is to prevent him from launching a war on the basis of manufactured intelligence. And when the lies become exposed years later, it could be far too late to resurrect lost liberties.

Senators Leahy and Kit Bond (R-Mo.) are sponsoring a bill to repeal the changes, but it is not setting the woods on fire on Capitol Hill. Leahy urged his colleagues to consider the Section 1076 fix, declaring, “It is difficult to see how any Senator could disagree with the advisability of having a more transparent and thoughtful approach to this sensitive issue.”

He deserves credit for fighting hard on this issue, but there is little reason to expect most members of Congress to give it a second look. The Section 1076 debacle exemplifies how the Washington establishment pretends that new power will not be abused, regardless of how much existing power has been mishandled. Why worry about martial law when there is pork to be harvested and photo ops to attend? It is still unfashionable in Washington to worry about the danger of the open barn door until after the horse is two miles down the road.

James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy and eight other books.

Copyright © 2007 The American Conservative

Security and Liberty by Ron Paul

The Virginia Tech tragedy may not lead directly to more gun control, but I fear it will lead to more people control. Thanks to our media & many government officials, Americans have become conditioned to view the state as our protector and the solution to every problem. Whenever something terrible happens, especially when it becomes a national news.



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FDA WANTS TO ELIMINATE NATURAL HEALTH CARE

By Tom DeWeese
April 25, 2007
NewsWithViews.com

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has launched another sneak-attack, trying to regulate your health freedom into oblivion. Through FDA’s unholy partnerships with Big Pharma and the Codex Alimentarius Commission (an offshoot of the UN), we are very close to losing alternative health care in America. This is a crisis, and needs your immediate action.

In 1994 Congress passed the Dietary Supplement Heath and Education Act (DSHEA), voting unanimously to protect your health care choices, in response to 2.5 million ordinary citizens demanding dietary supplements stay on the over-the-counter market.

The FDA is trying to end-run the DSHEA, and regulate you out from under Congress’ severe limitations on the authority the FDA has over items currently classified as "food" (and therefore presumed to be safe) including dietary supplements and herbs. DSHEA currently provides the FDA with plenty of legal authority to remove any herb or supplement from the market anytime the agency can show REAL evidence of REAL harm to the public.

The Codex Alimentarius Commission is working to "harmonize" food and supplement rules, pulling our American health care system down to the level of Third World nations. Under Codex rules, even basic vitamins and minerals will require a doctor’s prescription. As Europe moves ever closer to adopting Codex standards, it becomes more likely that the World Trade Organization will attempt to force those standards on the United States. This is yet another example of how the WTO threatens American sovereignty. By cooperating with Codex, the FDA is blatantly ignoring the will of Congress and the American people, hoping to overpower both through their fascistic "partnerships."

If the FDA adopts this proposal, all natural health care would be illegal even for medical doctors; all natural health care would be criminal in one way or another. Anyone else who advises, advocates, counsels, distributes, markets, recommends or suggests anybody use "medicine" is practicing medicine without a license. This is a felony in the USA punishable by fines and incarceration.

You can read FDA’s proposed Draft Guidance for Industry on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products and Their Regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (.pdf), or view the document here.

This guidance document details PDA’s plans to regulate virtually all herbs and supplements as drugs if they actually benefit a medical condition of a man or other animal. Believe it or not, the FDA has even targeted juice! If you plan to drink it "to promote optimal health", juice would be a "food subject to…the Act and FDA regulations." If you plan to drink juice "as part of a disease treatment regimen" juice would be "subject to regulation as a drug under the Act."

You would no longer dare recommend anyone drink cranberry juice to help with a bladder infection. And please remember, water cures dehydration!

Follow the Money!

The FDA wants to put your wallet, and your throat, within reach of Big Pharma’s greedy, fat fingers. According to the National Institutes of Health, over 1/3 of all American adults use some form of alternative therapy, spending tens of billions of out-of-pocket (read, not refunded by insurance) dollars annually. Americans now spend more on "Complimentary and Alternative Modalities" than they do on standard (allopathic) healthcare professionals. Consumers know that readily available vitamins, minerals, herbs, and supplements are often just as effective (if not more so) as the drugs without the harmful side effects.

Past attendees of recent Freedom21 conferences have heard Dr. Carolyn Dean, Dr. Madeleine Pelner Cosman (now deceased), and Henry Lamb talk about the little-known aspect of Agenda 21 known as Sustainable Medicine. If you don’t yet understand Sustainable Medicine, you had better educate yourself, as the UN expects you to accept their "lowered expectations" for your health care. You see, it’s just not fair for Americans to have better health care than the rest of the world.

If you value your health freedom you have only very little time to raise your voice. If you wait for someone else to protect your health freedom, you risk losing the freedom you now enjoy – freedom that is the envy of the world.

ACTION TO TAKE:

I assert my fundamental right to control my own health and health care. I want Complementary and Alternative Modalities ("CAM") to be freely available.

Submit comments on the draft guidance to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

OR, submit electronic comments to: [Click here]

Tell the FDA:

  • The American PEOPLE do not want the FDA regulating their alternative health care options.
  • You will NOT submit to Codex-type regulations.
  • Their "thinking," as expressed in the Draft Guidance, is irrelevant. As a federal agency, their "thinking" should be to follow the will of Congress! OR, in other words,
  • BACK OFF!

Finally, add Cc: Representative (Senator) _______________, so the FDA knows you’ve contacted your Congressmen.

Your comments must reference "FDA Docket No. 2006D-0480", and must be submitted by April 30, 2007. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Philip L. Chao, Office of Policy and Planning (HF-23), Food and Drug Administration, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, 301-827-0587.

1, It is urgent that you contact your own Congressman. You can write your Representative and Senator as below: Office of Congressman (Name)

United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Office of Senator (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

You may phone the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly with the Senate or House office you request. Or,

You can send an e-mail by going to each member’s website.

Tell them, First) you want your fundamental right to control your own health and health care protected; Second) you want the FDA reminded that their Draft Guidance violates the will of Congress, and the American people; and Third) it would be politically most unwise not to support and protect the health care choices of most American voters.

  1. Urge everyone in your personal and professional circles of influence to protect their health freedom – their personal right to make their own health choices.
  2. It is also important to email the manufacturers of the health care products you take. Ask them to alert their suppliers and customer base, to protect their businesses.
  3. Make sure your health care providers know of FDA’s fascist attempt to put them out of business. They need to alert their patients and colleagues, too.

URGENT! Please take action today and pass this alert on to at least 10 more people.

Related Article:
1, Feds eye control of vitamins, supplements – even water!
2, US Health Freedom on Verge of Collapse

© 2007 Tom DeWeese - All Rights Reserved

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Tom DeWeese is president of the American Policy Center and Editor of The DeWeese Report , 70 Main Street, Suite 23, Warrenton Virginia.
(540) 342-8911

E-Mail: apcmail@americanpolicy.org

Website: www.americanpolicy.org

Rudy Giuliani :Fear-Mongering AssHole

Rudy Giuliani : Expect another 9/11 if you elect a DemocratMANCHESTER, N.H. - - Rudy Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001. ........ ok I am scared... let me vote Neo-Con all the way... that works right.. I mean it saves us from wars and stuff.. right?



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Trucker Slowdown

Where is the press coverage for the National truckers slowdown? I have not seen anything in any mainstream news at all. Fucking Nothing. Today is the last day for them to get their message across, and they are being totally ignored. I guess the opening of our roads to mexican truckers is not a big issue.

Kucinich set to announce Articles of Impeachment for CHENEY today

Rep. Kucinich is presenting his Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney today. Groups around the nation are planning on holding demonstrations in support of his move.



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Is the US led War on Terrorism a War with Islam? Muslims believe so

More than 70 percent of Egyptians, Pakistanis, Indonesians and Moroccans believe the United States is trying to weaken and divide the Islamic world. While U.S. leaders may frame the conflict as a war on terrorism, people in the Islamic world clearly perceive the U.S. as being at war with Islam



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We Just Marched In (So We Can Just March Out)

Hon. Ron Paul Of Texas
Before the U.S. House of Representatives

04/24/07 "ICH" ----- WASHINGTON: April 17, 2007 --- - All the reasons given to justify a preemptive strike against Iraq were wrong. Congress and the American people were misled.

Support for the war came from various special interests that had agitated for an invasion of Iraq since 1998. The Iraq Liberation Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton, stated that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was official U.S. policy. This policy was carried out in 2003.

Congress failed miserably in meeting its crucial obligations as the branch of government charged with deciding whether to declare war. It wrongly and unconstitutionally transferred this power to the president, and the president did not hesitate to use it.

Although it is clear there was no cause for war, we just marched in. Our leaders deceived themselves and the public with assurances that the war was righteous and would be over quickly. Their justifications were false, and they failed to grasp even basic facts about the chaotic political and religious history of the region.

Congress bears the greater blame for this fiasco. It reneged on its responsibility to declare or not declare war. It transferred this decision-making power to the executive branch, and gave open sanction to anything the president did. In fact the founders diligently tried to prevent the executive from possessing this power, granting it to Congress alone in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution.

Today just about everyone acknowledges the war has gone badly, and 70% of the American people want it to end. Our national defense is weakened, the financial costs continue to drain us, our allies have deserted us, and our enemies are multiplying – not to mention the tragic toll of death and injury suffered by American forces.

Iraq is a mess, and we urgently need a new direction- but our leaders offer only hand wringing and platitudes. They have no clear-cut ideas to end the suffering and war. Even the most ardent war hawks cannot begin to define victory in Iraq.

As an Air Force officer serving from 1963-1968, I heard the same agonizing pleas from the American people. These pleas were met with the same excuses about why we could not change a deeply flawed policy and rethink the war in Vietnam. That bloody conflict, also undeclared and unconstitutional, seems to have taught us little despite the horrific costs.

Once again, though everyone now accepts that the original justifications for invading Iraq were not legitimate, we are given excuses for not leaving. We flaunt our power by building permanent military bases and an enormous billion-dollar embassy, yet claim we have no plans to stay in Iraq permanently. Assurances that our presence in Iraq has nothing to do with oil are not believed in the Middle East.

The argument for staying- to prevent civil war and bring stability to the region- logically falls on deaf ears.

If the justifications for war were wrong;

If the war is going badly;

If we can’t afford the costs, both human and economic;

If civil war and chaos have resulted from our occupation;

If the reasons for staying are no more credible than the reasons for going;

THEN…..

Why the dilemma? The American people have spoken, and continue to speak out, against this war. So why not end it? How do we end it? Why not exactly the way we went in? We just marched in, and we can just march out.

More good things may come of it than anyone can imagine. Consider our relationship with Vietnam, now our friendly trading partner. Certainly we are doing better with her than when we tried to impose our will by force. It is time to march out of Iraq and march home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The GOP's Cyber Election Hit Squad - By Steven Rosenfeld and Bob Fitrakis

Did the most powerful Republicans in America have the computer capacity, software skills and electronic infrastructure in place on Election Night 2004 to tamper with the Ohio results to ensure George W. Bush's re-election? The answer appears to be yes.



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'Impeachment rallies' scheduled across US for Saturday

People will call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at over 100 actions planned across the country on Saturday, April 28.The creative actions include rallies, banner drops on freeways, "guerrilla slide shows" on the sides of New York City buildings, skywriting, and "human murals"...



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Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps



From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

Tuesday April 24, 2007
The Guardian

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody. They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy - but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree - domestically - as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government - the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens' ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors - we scarcely recognise the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don't learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of "homeland" security - remember who else was keen on the word "homeland" - didn't raise the alarm bells it might have.It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable - as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realise.Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.1 Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemyAfter we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a "war footing"; we were in a "global war" against a "global caliphate" intending to "wipe out civilisation". There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space - the globe itself is the battlefield. "This time," Fein says, "there will be no defined end."Creating a terrifying threat - hydra-like, secretive, evil - is an old trick. It can, like Hitler's invocation of a communist threat to the nation's security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the "global conspiracy of world Jewry", on myth.It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.2 Create a gulagOnce you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where torture takes place.At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, "enemies of the people" or "criminals". Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders - opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists - are arrested and sent there as well.This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no information about the secret CIA "black site" prisons throughout the world, which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.Gulags in history tend to metastasise, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalised. We know from first-hand accounts, photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty, have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we can't investigate adequately.But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only scary brown people with whom they don't generally identify. It was brave of the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: "First they came for the Jews." Most Americans don't understand yet that the destruction of the rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.3 Develop a thug caste When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America's security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecutionYes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that episode - but the administration's endless war on terror means ongoing scope for what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for "public order" on the next election day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station "to restore public order".4 Set up an internal surveillance systemIn Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.5 Harass citizens' groupsThe fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass citizens' groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favour of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 "suspicious incidents". The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organisations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track "potential terrorist threats" as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as "terrorism". So the definition of "terrorist" slowly expands to include the opposition.6 Engage in arbitrary detention and releaseThis scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a "list" of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.In 2004, America's Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela's government - after Venezuela's president had criticised Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass at Newark, "because I was on the Terrorist Watch list"."Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that," asked the airline employee."I explained," said Murphy, "that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution.""That'll do it," the man said.Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist. History shows that the categories of "enemy of the people" tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and released several times. He is still of interest.Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is still on the list.It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the list, you can't get off.7 Target key individuals Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not "coordinate", in Goebbels' term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a group that fascists typically "coordinate" early on: the Reich Law for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on regents at state universities to penalise or fire academics who have been critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that "waterboarding is torture" was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service in April 1933, attorneys were "coordinated" too, a step that eased the way of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.8 Control the pressItaly in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy - a form of retaliation that ended her career.Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organisations ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters such as the BBC's Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or killed, including ITN's Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent prisons; the news organisations were unable to see the evidence against their staffers.Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.You won't have a shutdown of news in modern America - it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it's not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can't tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.9 Dissent equals treasonCast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalise certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor". When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times' leaking of classified information "disgraceful", while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the "treason" drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact, executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail for up to five months, and "beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and threatened with death", according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that, dissent was muted in America for a decade.In Stalin's Soviet Union, dissidents were "enemies of the people". National Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy "November traitors".And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realise that since September of last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 - the president has the power to call any US citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power to define what "enemy combatant" means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define "enemy combatant" any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation, as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy prisoners. That is why Stalin's gulag had an isolation cell, like Guantánamo's, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)We US citizens will get a trial eventually - for now. But legal rights activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving even US citizens fair trials. "Enemy combatant" is a status offence - it is not even something you have to have done. "We have absolutely moved over into a preventive detention model - you look like you could do something bad, you might do something bad, so we're going to hold you," says a spokeswoman of the CCR.Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point there are some high-profile arrests - usually of opposition leaders, clergy and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society. There just isn't real dissent. There just isn't freedom. If you look at history, just before those arrests is where we are now.10 Suspend the rule of lawThe John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act - which was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having seen citizens bullied by a monarch's soldiers, the founders were terrified of exactly this kind of concentration of militias' power over American people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini's march on Rome or Hitler's roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere - while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: "dogs go on with their doggy life ... How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster."As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions - and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the "what ifs".What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack - say, God forbid, a dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a President Giuliani - because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic negotiation and compromise.What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year? What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but they would suddenly be very polite.Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of tyranny for the rest of us - staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws, under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This small, disparate collection of people needs everybody's help, including that of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.We need to look at history and face the "what ifs". For if we keep going down this road, the "end of America" could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before - and this is the way it is now."The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands ... is the definition of tyranny," wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.