Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Think About It. . .

Remember All The Movies And Novels Of "Future" You've Experienced?
by The Old Hippie Because Of The Fact That Our Reality Is Not Non-Fiction

"1984," and "Brazil" are two classics of fictionalized possible futures with an oppressive right-wing single-party ruled fascist totalitarian oligarchical plutocratic government.  You know, the fiction literature and movies, sci-fi, as well as many other genres, that have described this form of future government rule at many levels and degrees, none of which were benevolent or good for the masses, only for "the few."  We all have watched the movies, read the books and stories. . .

Are we Americans, similar to the German citizens of the 1930s, now living through, allowing, a non-fiction, reality-based, enhanced modern version of those depicted future governments?

Why have we allowed it to get to the point were I, and many others, would even have reason, or feel the need, to ask that question in a serious tone?

The other question, that is more prevalent, is, "How much more will it take. . .?"

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Nothing else at this time.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

And Now - The Reality Is. . .

Some Have The Ability To "Put It All Together" - Here Are But A Few
by The Old Hippie Because The End Of The Constitutional Republic Is, (not maybe,) At Hand.

  1.  Notes For Converts - Reality is a Bitch - Huffington Post

  2.  Worse Than a Fool - Rainwater is No Crackpot - Vanity Fair

  3.  Finally!  Large Protests - But Not to Stop War. - L.A. Times

  4.  Jurassic President - May Be Hard to Fathom - IC Daily Planet

  5.  Bush Didn't Bungle Iraq - You Fools - Greg Palast

  6.  Violating the Constitution is Just a Technicality? - BuzzFlash
 Your Right

  7.  USA Has More Poor Than Any Other Developed Nation - This Is "Our" Reality

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

"What Do You Do That's Positive?"

I Do As Much Of This As I Can. . . Maybe You Can Too. . . ?
by The Old Hippie Because In Many Areas, Way Too Many Maybe, It's Not Too Late.

The excellent "Do Something" page at Michael Moore's site.

I can't do a lot of it. I'm retired, without income, married to a working wife, who will also be retiring in not too many years.  We are a long way from well off, but not desperate.

I do, just like you, all I can, (which I know deep inside is still not enough with these organized, well-funded, opportunistically criminally corrupt theocratic corporatists profiteers that have successfully overtaken "our" once respected, and once great, Constitutional Republic.)  I spend long hours researching online, double/triple checking "facts" stated by all sides, articles, stories, events, etc., that I am able to, and then "spread the word" as best as I can, through my web site, blog, and email-elist, along with simply talking to others locally.

And - yes - I recycle, purchase with an informed conscience, boycott what I know to be truly bad for people, the environment, and the common good.  I talk/write about what I do support and boycott and why I do.  Sonni, my wife, and I do spend what we can afford, which is not much, not nearly enough, to support others that can use the funds to do more good with than we can.

And I try, sincerely, to reduce my own hypocrisy every day, which in America, under its controlling corporatist single-party rule, is very hard to do in reality - It takes a constant an consistent vigilance.

Outside of dumping everything, and marching on the capital in revolt, I don't know, like you, what else I can do.  Except to continue fighting as I best as I can, and supporting others with encouragement and reality-based researched info, and not "allowing" the "allowing" as much as possible.

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[Disclosure: This is a comment-reply to a reader who asked me, "What do you do?"]

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Seriously. . .

What Part Of The "Still Allowing" - Do You Just Not Understand?
by The Old Hippie, Because It Is So Beyond The Pale, And So In Our Collective Face

The spin, propaganda, bullshit lying just continues on, and you keep "allowing" them to continue to get away with it, without real protest or revolt.  Just as they are continuing to be "allowed" to change the very structure of what used to be "our" America, its laws, its ideals, even its definition,

{-The Way Many Picture Me-}
 into an openly criminal, and proven corrupt, arrogantly opportunistic theocratic corporatist profiteering single-party-ruled imperialist oligarchy, of, by, and for, the few.  All of the born-again imbeciles that actually wanted this, do truly deserve what's coming much more than the "we" that have fought this from its beginnings, even though it is now obvious we just didn't fight hard enough. - Most of "us" actually believed, right up to the end, that our democracy was still intact, and its structure of checks and balances would weed out the truly insane religious zealots, and the criminally opportunistic corporatist politicians - with the vote - What a joke on us - But the "why" of our deserving what's coming?  It is because - "We" knew private corporations, run by two arrogant "Bush Pioneers," - "We" knew the two brothers heading both corporations, had "opportunistic" control of "our"
voting computers - without any "checks and balances" on their manipulations, and "we" knew these same corporations had 23 convicted felons in positions of management, and software control, of the programs that control the "count," without any traceable paper trail.  "We" knew it, and allowed it to happen anyway.  And even more mind-boggling, is "we" are still "allowing" them, these proven corrupted machines to be used in the upcoming national elections.

And Now. . . ?  The voting machines have spread even further in the states, We know that they corrupted all of the last three national elections, (2000, 2002, and 2004.) - But yet - Even in the face of all the expose facts of criminal corruptions - We continue to "allow" their use?!?  Seriously - What part of the "allowing" do you just not understand?

Are we, as a nation, insane, or simply stupid???

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Yes - I'm angry at "them" for bringing this about - BUT - I'm much more pissed off at the "we" that "allowed" this to come about.  No matter how you reason it, or justify it, or deny it, the "we" are more at fault, than the "them," of our divided nation.

"We" were not deluded by insane religious rapture, "we" were not lost within the throes of profit and power of neo-con'ed aggressive Empire, "we" were not members of the corporate criminal cronies - "we" were/are simply naive Americans that believed our Constitutional Republic actually was still a reality.  Believed it would protect us.  But the reality is our government is now, and has been for the last six years, run by the combination of insane fundamentalist zealots, delusional neo-con imperialists, and opportunistic corporatist criminals taking every advantage of the other two's insanity.

No matter how you twist it - It is a conspiracy that is so obvious that it's invisible within the denial.
Every day we look more and more like Germany of the late 1930s, or a least not different enough.

We deserve what is coming. . .

The rest of the innocents on the planet do not.

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Recent Surge In Violence -

You See That Headline Everywhere, And For The Last Three Years. . .
by Williams River Pitt - Truthout|Perspective Op Ed

"Deranged, Disconnected, and Dangerous"

The following is from Mr. Pitt's recent|Perspective Op Ed, linked to full original above.

Speaking of deranged, and of the 33-percenters, let me show you something.  This was put together by one of the administrators of the web forum DemocraticUnderground, who noticed that news reports out of Iraq seem to continuously use the phrase "a recent surge of violence" to describe what is happening there.  Feast:  . . .

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    Middle East Online, September 3, 2003: "Meanwhile, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac were to meet in Germany on Thursday to discuss ways for the West to respond to the recent surge in violence in Iraq and the Middle East."

    UK Telegraph, October 31, 2003: "Ansar is believed to be channeling into Iraq the foreign fighters who are behind a recent surge in violence in the country, officials say."

    KNI News, November 3, 2003: "Bush blamed loyalists to ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and foreign terrorists for the recent surge in violence in Iraq."


    Reuters, March 4, 2004: "A wave of bomb attacks in Baghdad and Karbala killing at least 171 people earlier this week has highlighted the difficulties in rebuilding the country and restoring peace.  But Mr. Blair, speaking after a meeting in Rome with his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi, said the recent surge in violence in Iraq did not constitute civil war."

    Radio Free Europe, April 14, 2004: "US President George W. Bush held a major news conference at the White House on 13 April in the middle of the deadliest month for Americans in Iraq since Baghdad fell a year ago.  He spoke of the recent surge in violence there, but urged his countrymen not to lose faith.  He also said he would adhere to the 30 June deadline for handing over sovereignty to Iraqis."

    US State Department, April 15, 2004: "Pace said the recent surge in violence in Iraq is being driven by 'terrorists' who see the June 30 deadline for turnover of sovereignty approaching rapidly and are petrified by the promise of democracy."

    CBS News, April 26, 2004: "Lt. Gen. David Barno, the top American commander in Afghanistan, said Monday that the military has seen a recent surge in violence, but that most attacks were directed against soft targets, such as civilians or isolated Afghan security outposts."

    Pew Research Center, May 12, 2004: "Despite the prison abuse scandal and the recent surge in violence in Iraq, a majority of the public (53%) continues to support keeping troops in Iraq until a stable government is established."

    China Daily, May 25, 2004: "In his speech to the Army War College here, Bush warned that 'there are difficult days ahead and the way forward may sometimes appear chaotic.'  Yet he vowed the handover would take place on schedule and that the US-led coalition would not be defeated by insurgents blamed for the recent surge in violence."

    The New Standard, June 24, 2004: "Compelled by the recent surge in violence, US Central Command (CentCom) has informally asked Army planners for as many as 25,000 more troops in Iraq, the Baltimore Sun reports."

    The Washington Post, July 22, 2004: "Despite a recent surge in violence, including kidnappings, car bombings and assassinations, senior US and Iraqi officials gave a relatively optimistic assessment on Wednesday of the security situation in Iraq since the transfer of political authority from US to Iraqi authorities June 28."

    Progress Magazine, July/August, 2004: "In the short term, ongoing help will be required with the maintenance of security within the country.  The response to the recent surge in violence must emphasize political solutions and not be just a simple deployment of military power."

    The Washington Post, September 9, 2004: "'The recent surge in violence has been especially surprising because in the weeks after the transfer of power there was a phase that, for Iraq, felt to some almost like a lull.'"

    Al Jazeera, September 17, 2004: "The assessments, made before the recent surge in violence in Iraq and the US military death toll there topping 1000, appear to conflict with Bush's upbeat description of the US-led effort to stabilize and democratize Iraq."

    The Washington Times, September 22, 2004: "The Iraqi leader also said that despite a recent surge in violence in Iraq, it is 'very important for the people of the world really to know that we are winning, we are making progress in Iraq, we are defeating terrorists.'"

    Al Jazeera, December 18, 2004: "Mosul has experienced a recent surge in violence.  On Friday, a car carrying Turkish security guards was attacked in the city, in Iraq's far north near the Turkish border, and four people were killed, one of them decapitated."


    Radio Free Europe, January 4, 2005: "The incident marks the most senior assassination since the death in May of Governing Council president Abd al-Zahra Uthman Muhammad and should be seen within the context of the recent surge in violence ahead of national and provincial elections slated for 30 January."

    CBS Chicago, January 17, 2005: "The area around Kut has seen a recent surge in violence.  In a separate attack, two Iraqi provincial government auditors were shot to death late Sunday after armed gunmen stopped their car in Suwaira, about 25 miles southeast of Baghdad, an official at a Kut hospital said."

    ABC News, March 2, 2005: "Most of the victims were Shiites, the targets of a recent surge in violence, most notably a series of suicide bombings and other attacks that killed nearly 100 people during the Shiite religious commemoration known as Ashoura."

    The BBC, April 27, 2005: "But he added it was too early to say if a recent surge in violence amounted to a concerted campaign, and insisted that US-backed forces were 'winning.'"

    The International Herald-Tribune, May 16, 2005: "The insurgents' choice of adversary is unusual.  But the recent surge in violence, at least, follows a time-tested pattern."

    The Washington Post, May 19, 2005: "A senior US military official told reporters Wednesday that the recent surge in violence in Iraq followed a meeting in Syria last month of associates of the Jordanian insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi."

    The Council on Foreign Relations, May 20, 2005: "It's unclear how much of the recent surge in violence stems from tribal leaders, but as Metz points out: 'Local elites recognize that in a secular, modernized Iraq, their power would be challenged.'"

    Salon, May 23, 2005: "Even despite the recent surge in violence, in some areas - downtown Mosul, for example - Iraqi forces have begun limited independent operations."

    Associated Press, June 17, 2005: "It is also believed to be the main hideout of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian militant whose al Qaeda-linked group has carried out many of the deadliest attacks in Iraq and who US forces believe is behind a recent surge in violence."

    White House press conference, June 20, 2005: "Mr. President, we were told that you planned to sharpen your focus on Iraq.  Why did this become necessary?  And given the recent surge in violence, do you agree with Vice President Dick Cheney's assessment that the insurgency is in its last throes?"

    Iran Focus Online, August 4, 2005: "His comments came as the 15-nation council unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution condemning a recent surge in violence in Iraq that has killed hundreds ..."

    Radio Free Europe, August 12, 2005: "But a recent surge in violence and reports of growing public hostility to the Japanese presence are prompting many to question the prospects for continued humanitarian assistance there."

    Associated Press, September 17, 2005: "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, has reportedly said the recent surge in violence is in retaliation for a coalition offensive against the group's stronghold in the northern city of Tal Afar."

    The Washington Times, October 31, 2005: "The fresh US effort to crack down on insurgents followed a recent surge in violence caused by the passing of the new Iraqi constitution in a referendum held earlier this month."


    Agence France Presse, January 7, 2006: "US officials have sought to downplay a recent surge in violence that on Thursday alone claimed the lives of more than 115 Iraqis and 11 US servicemen."

    The Sidney Morning Herald, January 8, 2006: "The recent surge in violence is "an anomaly" and Iraq is not on the verge of civil war, the top US commander there said yesterday, after one of the country's bloodiest days since the fall of Saddam Hussein."

    The American Chronicle, February 1, 2006: "Recently, five other members of Congress and I sat on a C-130 transport plane surrounded by soldiers going from Kuwait to Baghdad.  The backdrop is a recent surge in violence."

    The Associated Press, February 4, 2006: "Dozens of bodies have been discovered in various parts of Baghdad gagged, bound and shot repeatedly in the past week, amid recent surge in violence, which analysts have repeatedly described as initial stages of an open-ended civil war between Iraq's ethnic groups."

    Associated Press, March 1, 2006: "AP reports that he was giving an unusually frank assessment of the stakes in the country's recent surge in violence."

    The Baltimore Sun, March 4, 2006: "The top US commander in Iraq said yesterday that he hopes to make an assessment this spring about whether to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq.  But Pentagon officials speaking anonymously said a recent surge in violence there has dampened hopes that force levels can be cut anytime soon."

    Associated Press, March 6, 2006: "The training at the desert village is especially important for the Marines of the First Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.  The battalion, made up mostly of Marine reservists, is leaving soon for Iraq, where sectarian tensions have brought a recent surge in violence - and growing concerns about civil war."

    Reuters, March 10, 2006: "Iraqi forces, not American troops, would deal with a civil war if one erupts in Iraq and US troop cuts remained possible despite a recent surge in violence, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday."

    Al Jazeera, March 11, 2006: "Moving to the recent surge in violence that has swept Iraq, Ritter said he wasn't surprised as the only thing holding the three infighting ethnic and religious groups (Kurds, Shia, and Sunnis) together since the end of the Ottoman Empire after World War I was Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist Party."

    The New York Times, March 13, 2006: "Despite the recent surge in violence in Iraq, Mr. Reid said he believed that civil war was "neither imminent nor inevitable."  He said Iraqi security forces now numbered around 235,000, with 5,000 more volunteering to join every month."

    There you have it, folks. There isn't anything to worry about in Iraq.  It has only been a "recent surge of violence" we have been hearing about ... every week for the last three years since this whole catastrophe was first undertaken.  Have no fear, though.  As Army General George Casey states in the January 8, 2006, article above, "This level of violence, I think as we've seen, is an anomaly."  George can keep right on admiring his rug.

[Note: To understand the rug reference, you need to read the whole article, Linked Here.]

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

Just In Case. . .

For Those Of You Who Missed It. . .
by George Clooney

Here is what George Clooney had to say in the Guardian:

"In 2003 I was saying, where are the ties [between Iraq] and al-Qaida?  Where are the ties to 9/11?  I knew it;  where the fuck were these Democrats who said, 'We were misled'?  That's the kind of thing that drives me crazy:  'We were misled.'  Fuck you, you weren't misled.  You were afraid of being called unpatriotic."

[Note: this is a cut & paste from The Huffington Post.  Red and italic emphasis are mine, not the author's]

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Nothing else, as it pretty much says it all.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Undeniable & Unacceptable. . .

Are We Americans Insane?  The "Allowing" Is Still "Allowed."  Why?!?
by The Old Hippie Because I See The Destruction Of My Nation - From Within - Not From Without

It is undeniable, and unacceptable, that my beloved "America" is being "allowed" to be destroyed, and turned into the complete opposite of the "America" I was taught it to be, as I grew up, not by the "enemies" from without, but from within - By "American" sociopathic, opportunistic, criminally corrupted theocratic corporatists, that have been "allowed" to get a death-grip on all of the controlling structures of "our" government, and consequently, the majority of peoples' fates worldwide.


But understand well. . .  That my frustration, and anger, lies more with the continued "allowing" of the crimes by "America," than with the criminals themselves.

Which are you more anger about?  The criminals. . . ?  The crimes. . . ?
Or "our" nation's continuing "allowing" of the criminals, and their crimes?

I'm just curious to know which.  Aren't you?

Seriously, just how much more "real" does it have to get before the unacceptable denial is finally accepted as the reality.  I mean we have a conservative republican appointed Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O'Conner, a proven sane moderate, and definitely not a tinfoil-hatted "liberal," warning of the "beginnings of dictatorship."  And not to mention. . .

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1.  We are no longer "the land of the free" - Just One Link Of Proof

2.  We no longer fight tyranny, we are a tyranny - Just One Link Of Proof

3.  The obviousness of the coming resource wars - Just One Link Of Proof

4.  The ongoing "allowed" destruction of "our" environment - Just One Link Of Proof

The above links are just a beginning - Follow them - Read - Study - Research - Absorb - Decide - Then. . .  Discuss - Debate - Write - Argue - Fight - Spread the word - Do Something about it - Here's a helpful link to a very good "Do Something" site.  Do as much of what is listed as you can, and more if possible, because. . .

It is undeniably unacceptable that the "allowing" can be "allowed" to continue - "Our" America is being purposefully destroyed by a relatively small cabal of sick sociopathic profiteering theocratic corporatist "Americans," and this purposeful destruction is, undeniably and unacceptably, being helped by the "Americans" that continue to "allow" them their freedoms, for whatever reasons they claim, or deny.

"You are with us, or with the terrorists!"  Oh really. . .?  But who are the true terrorists?  Desperate, even suicidally desperate people, or the people that create, or "allow" the creation of, the desperately suicidal situations, and people?

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Compare & Contrast. . .

These two "IPDI" Reports, Decide Which Is The More Real "Reality."
by Eric Blumrich and Patrick Ruffini

The "Institute For Politics Democracy & The Internet" (IPDI)
- The Politics Online Conference, 2006

First - Eric Blumrich's Report - Linked Here.

Second - Patrick Ruffini's Report - Linked Here.

Third - Decide - Which is the more revealing and accurate view of "reality?"

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Nothing else at this time.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Okay. . .

Everything Predicted, And Much Worse, Is Now True - But No Revolt?
by The Old Hippie Because I Wonder How Much Worse Must It Get, Before We Stop "Allowing."

Everyone, outside of the approximately 35% of Americans that are the completely blinkered Americans that only get their "news/info" from the radical religious right's media networks and/or Fox, are wondering in awe at our lack of protest or revolt.  By "everyone" I mean everyone else on the planet, including reality-based Americans like myself.

Go to the excellent web site of "Watching America" and read what the other nations, allies and "enemies," are saying/thinking/wondering.  It's a great place to start.

Even "our" own media is noting the beginnings of "rebellion," even from inside the GOP itself - Like in this recent article in the New York Times.  And even this, from the conservative Cato Institute, as reported in the Washington Post.

Every single thing, and much worse, that was predicted by the "loopy, unpatriotic, Bush-hating, blame-America-first, liberals(!)," the reality-based citizens of this planet, Americans and others, has come true - and undeniably it is continuing to get worse, day by day - But yet - There are no real mass protests, or revolt, by "the awakening and angered" Americans.

Hyperbole can not express my amazement, my awe, at my fellow citizens' "allowed" demise of, the purposeful and open destruction of, "our" constitutional representative republic - without any revolt whatsoever.  The denial is obvious, but its reality is beyond dangerous to many more than just the "us" here in America.

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Just how much more of our "allowing" do you really believe the citizens of the other nations are going to continue to "allow?"

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Even More - The Reality Is. . .

It's (Almost) Over - And Some See How Close It, The Reality, Is.
by The Old Hippie Because The End Of The Constitutional Republic Is, (not maybe,) At Hand.

  1.  A Marine In Iraq Using The Web?
       Wonkette - blocked
       O'Reilly -- OK
       Air America -- blocked
       Limbaugh -- OK
       ABC News "The Note" -- OK
       Al Franken Show -- blocked
       G. Gordon Liddy Show -- OK

  2.  Poverty & The Environment - A Grist Mag Special Series

  3.  It's Official - We Are Now Worse Than Saddam - 3/2/06
 Your Right

  4.  USA Has More Poor Than Any Other Developed Nation - This Is "Our" Reality

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Encouraging. . .

In Our Darkest Hour, It's Encouraging To See Reality Perceived. . . ?
by The Old Hippie Because I Really Need To Know It Is Being Perceived

At Kurt Vonnegut's - "last speech for money" - Harvey Wasserman noted, "The students are hushed with the prospect of the final appearance of America’s greatest living novelist.  Alongside Mark Twain and Ben Franklin, Will Rogers and Joseph Heller and a very short list of immortal satirists and storytellers, there stands Kurt Vonnegut, author of SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE and SIRENS OF TITAN, CAT’S CRADLE and GOD BLESS YOU, MR. ROSEWATER, books these students are studying now, as did their parents, as will their children and grandchildren, with a deeply felt mixture of gratitude and awe."  In my reading of the text of this appearance, I too felt a similar mixture of gratitude and awe.


At the blog of Joseph Hughes, a writer and designer - Writes in an excellent, and thoughtful, rant, "We've traded our admiration for intelligence for a love of the lowest common denominator.  And it should stop as soon as possible, or else our once-great nation's slide toward irrelevance will proceed unabated."

Yesterday, on CBS's "Face The Nation," John Murtha, (D-Rep-PA) stated, "the only people who want us in Iraq is Iran and al-Qaeda.  I’ve talked to a top-level commander the other day, it was about two weeks ago, and he said China wants us there also.  Why?  Because we’re depleting our resources — our troop resources and our fiscal resources."  [Video Link] + [Important Related Link]

A environmental Special Report in the March/April 2006 Issue of Mother Jones online magazine - "The Last Days of the Ocean" - The reality perceived, and exposed, is undeniable.  An intelligent "teaching" report that should not be passed up.

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Nothing else - For now. . .

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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Only A Payment. . .

Pay Too Much And You Could Raise The Alarm. . .
by Bob Kerr - The Providence Journal - Feb. 28, 2006  [ LINK to original ]

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Walter Soehnge is a retired Texas schoolteacher who traveled north with his wife, Deana, saw summer change to fall in Rhode Island and decided this was a place to stay for a while.

So the Soehnges live in Scituate now and Walter sometimes has breakfast at the Gentleman Farmer in Scituate Village, where he has passed the test and become a regular despite an accent that is definitely not local.

And it was there, at his usual table last week, that he told me that he was "madder than a panther with kerosene on his tail."

He says things like that.  Texas does leave its mark on a man.

What got him so upset might seem trivial to some people who have learned to accept small infringements on their freedom as just part of the way things are in this age of terror-fed paranoia.  It's that "everything changed after 9/11" thing.

But not Walter.

"We're a product of the '60s," he said.  "We believe government should be way away from us in that regard."

He was referring to the recent decision by him and his wife to be responsible, to do the kind of thing that just about anyone would say makes good, solid financial sense.

They paid down some debt.  The balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten to an unhealthy level.  So they sent in a large payment, a check for $6,522.

And an alarm went off.  A red flag went up.  The Soehnges' behavior was found questionable.

And all they did was pay down their debt.  They didn't call a suspected terrorist on their cell phone.  They didn't try to sneak a machine gun through customs.

They just paid a hefty chunk of their credit card balance.  And they learned how frighteningly wide the net of suspicion has been cast.

After sending in the check, they checked online to see if their account had been duly credited.  They learned that the check had arrived, but the amount available for credit on their account hadn't changed.

So Deana Soehnge called the credit-card company.  Then Walter called.

"When you mess with my money, I want to know why," he said.

They both learned the same astounding piece of information about the little things that can set the threat sensors to beeping and blinking.

They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment.  And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified.  And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted.

Walter called television stations, the American Civil Liberties Union and me.  And he went on the Internet to see what he could learn.  He learned about changes in something called the Bank Privacy Act.

"The more I'm on, the scarier it gets," he said.  "It's scary how easily someone in Homeland Security can get permission to spy."

Eventually, his and his wife's money was freed up.  The Soehnges were apparently found not to be promoting global terrorism under the guise of paying a credit-card bill.  They never did learn how a large credit card payment can pose a security threat.

But the experience has been a reminder that a small piece of privacy has been surrendered.  Walter Soehnge, who says he holds solid, middle-of-the-road American beliefs, worries about rights being lost.

"If it can happen to me, it can happen to others," he said.

(Bob Kerr is a columnist for The Providence Journal. E-mail

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Nothing else at this time. . .

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Friday, March 03, 2006

A Simple Comment. . .

Left By A Member Of The Truthout "Town Meeting" Forum. . .
by "ljmgbp" - A Comment For "No One Could Have Anticipated..." By Wiliam Rivers Pitt

"Americans Are Cowardly S.O.B.s" 
[ Link - original at Truthout ]  [ Link - Video Discussed ]

A lot of my frineds got together in Africa a few minutes ago and called me.  They said that they had just read and seen the Brownie video and they were calling to see if I was alright.

Alright?  I queried.

Yeah!  We thought that with the demonstrations and the coming revolution you might be in harm's way - are you living in a quiet red state then?

No, I live a few miles from DC, I answered beginning to get embarased yet again because I knew what was coming...

You mean there are no demonstrations!??  Nahhh, you're joshing us - come on!  Tell us what is happening because of this video...

I held my breath and let it out as I said "Nothing, not a goddamned thing - there is not even one single person except Conchita (yeah! THEY know about her) in front of the White House"

Silence.  More silence.  "Why didn't you go out?"  one of them finally yelled who must have been far from the receiver and then the avalanche came; they began to scream with rage!!  They were saying things that weren't even in english in their anger and absolute incomprehension - "Don't any of you realize what he is doing to the rest of us or do you also not care about that?"

"He's not here - he's in India."  I said meekly and defenselessly...

"Well then go after that fat pig No. 2 but don't just sit there..."  Finally someone was quieting the rest of them down and she said, "They asked me to speak in their name, please tell whatever Americans you can contact that the world thinks that Americans are cowardly sons of bitches.  Grossly irresponsible spoiled children..."  and then they all began screaming again in numerous languages and profanities.  Someone pulled the receiver away and yelled "It's not you, dear brother, we love you but we want you to get the hell out of there and come back and be with us humans, please..."

I hung up, cried and called to find out what the plane ticket cost but I can't afford it yet...

by ljmgbp on Thu Mar 2nd, 2006 at 06:10:10 PM EDT

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Kind of puts it into a nutshell - Doesn't it?

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Undeniable Video - Proof -

Proof - Undeniable, Concrete - Of Just "A Few" Of Their Lies. . .
by An AP Exclusive Video, Via The Washington Post

[If the image below shows "Loading" - Right-click on it, select "Forward," then click on it to start]
[Otherwise, Just click on the image to start]

Watch as President Bush is briefed on the arrival of Hurricane Katrina, in this video obtained exclusively by The Associated Press.  Hear what aides told him just before the storm hit the Gulf Coast.

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Okay, come on republicans - Try to deny to me, and yourselves - all the lies. . .
The following is William Rivers Pitt's take on this video. . .

'No One Could Have Anticipated ...'
By William Rivers Pitt - t r u t h o u t | Perspective - Thursday 02 March 2006

The video is gut-wrenching.

There they sit, a whole room full of hurricane experts and disaster managers, shouting down a telephone line at George W. Bush, warning him a full day ahead of time that Hurricane Katrina is a catastrophe waiting to happen.  There stands Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center, emphatically explaining that Katrina is far larger and more dangerous than Hurricane Andrew, that the levees in New Orleans are in grave danger of being overtopped, and that the loss of life could be extreme.

There sits the much-maligned FEMA Director Michael Brown, joining in the chorus of warnings to Mr. Bush and giving every appearance of a man actually doing his job.  "This is, to put it mildly, the big one," says Brown. "Everyone within FEMA is now virtually on call."  Brown goes on to deliver an eerily accurate prediction of the horrors to come within the Louisiana Superdome.  "I don't know what the heck we're going to do for that, and I also am concerned about that roof," says Brown.  "Not to be kind of gross here, but I'm concerned about (medical and mortuary disaster team) assets and their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe."

And there, of course, is Mr. Bush, sitting in a dim conference room while on vacation in Texas, listening to all the pleas for immediate action on the telephone.  With an emphatic hand gesture, Bush promises any and all help necessary.  "I want to assure the folks at the state level that we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm," says Bush, "but we will move in whatever resources and assets we have at our disposal after the storm."  After the delivery of this promise, however, Bush goes mute.  No questions, no comments, no concerns.  As if to foreshadow what the people of New Orleans received from their leader, Mr. Bush finishes the conference by delivering a whole lot of nothing.

That's the video, 19 hours before the bomb struck New Orleans.  It is gut-wrenching because everyone now knows what came next.  The storm struck, the waters rolled in, and thousands were left to die.  Days passed with no help reaching the city.  Images of corpses left to rot in the streets were broadcast around the globe.

It is gut-wrenching, more than anything else, because of this: four days later, when questioned about his flaccid response to the catastrophe in Louisiana, Bush stated, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."  Right.  No one anticipated the breach of the levees except the Director of the National Hurricane Center, the Director of FEMA, and a half-dozen other experts who implored Mr. Bush to take this storm seriously a full day before the hammer dropped.

No one could have anticipated it?  That has a familiar ring to it.

No one could have anticipated the failure of the levees.

No one could have anticipated the strength of the insurgency in Iraq.

No one could have anticipated that people would use airplanes as weapons against buildings.

No one could have anticipated these things ... except all the people who did.  We are forced to get into some very large numbers today to accurately assess the body count from all the things the Bush administration would have us believe no one could have anticipated.

No one could have anticipated the vigorous violence the Iraqi people would greet any invaders with, said the Bush administration, except a roomful of now-unemployed generals, a whole galaxy of military experts, several former weapons inspectors, more than a few now-silenced voices within the administration itself, and millions of average citizens who took to the streets to stop the impending disaster they easily anticipated.  Add this to the "No One Could Have Anticipated" body count: nearly 2,300 American soldiers, thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police, and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

No one could have anticipated that people would use airplanes as weapons against buildings, said the Bush administration.  Really?

In 1993, a $150,000 study was undertaken by the Pentagon to investigate the possibility of airplanes being used as bombs.  A draft document of this was circulated throughout the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  In 1994, a disgruntled Federal Express employee invaded the cockpit of a DC10 with the intention of crashing it into a company building.  Again in 1994, a pilot deliberately crashed a small airplane into the White House grounds, narrowly missing the building itself.  Also in 1994, an Air France flight was hijacked by members of a terrorist organization called the Armed Islamic Group, who intended to crash the plane into the Eiffel Tower.

The 1993 Pentagon report was followed up in September 1999 by a report titled "The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism."  This report was prepared for the American intelligence community by the Federal Research Division, an adjunct of the Library of Congress.  The report stated, "Suicide bombers belonging to Al Qaida's martyrdom battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House."

On August 6, 2001, George W. Bush received his Presidential Daily Briefing.  The briefing described active plots by Osama bin Laden to attack the United States.  The word "hijacking" appeared in that briefing.  When he received this briefing, George W. Bush was in Texas for a month-long vacation.  Again.  He did nothing in response.  Again.

For the love of God, even the fiction writers saw this coming.  Tom Clancy's book "Debt of Honor," written in 1994, ends with a commercial aircraft being flown into the Capitol Building during a joint session of Congress, virtually wiping out the entire government.  The famous Stephen King novella "The Running Man," written in 1982, ends in similar fashion.  "Heeling over slightly," reads the ending of the King novella, "the Lockheed struck the Games building dead on, three quarters of the way up.  Its tanks were still better than a quarter full.  Its speed was slightly over five hundred miles an hour.  The explosion was remendous, lighting up the night like the wrath of God, and it rained fire twenty blocks away."

Add this to the "No One Could Have Anticipated" body count: more than 3,000 people killed in the Towers, the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field, in addition to thousands of Afghani civilians who found themselves collaterally damaged in our attack upon that nation.

Remember the Bush-Gore debate from what seems a thousand years ago?  Bush was asked about the responsibilities of an executive in a time of emergency.  He said in response, "I remember the floods that swept our state.  I remember going down to Del Rio, Texas ... that's the time when you're tested not only - it's the time to test your mettle, a time to test your heart when you see people whose lives have been turned upside down.  It broke my heart to go to the flood scene in Del Rio where a fellow and his family got completely uprooted.  The only thing I knew was to get aid as quickly as possible with state and federal help, and to put my arms around the man and his family and cry with them."

Thousands in Louisiana and the surrounding states.  Thousands in New York, Washington, Pennsylvania and Afghanistan.  Tens of thousands in Iraq.  Is Mr. Bush crying with them, and their families, because no one could have anticipated this?

There is, perhaps, one aspect to all this that no one could have anticipated.  No one could have anticipated that the United States of America would ever be governed by a man so callow, so unconnected, so uncaring, so detached, that tens of thousands of people would die during his time in office because he just didn't give a damn.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books:
War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Guess Which Nation This Is. . .

Everything Listed Is Easily Verified.  Have Doubt?  Look It Up. . .
by The Old Hippie Because "You" Are Still "Allowing" The Denial Of The Destruction.

Name This Nation. . .

   - It has locked up more of its citizens than any other nation on the planet.
   - It has also locked up a higher percentage of its citizens than any other nation on the planet.
   - It has locked up more of its citizens than any other nation in the written history of this planet.
   - It has imprisoned its own citizens - without any charges filed.
   - It has imprisoned its own citizens - without any access to legal counsel.
   - It has imprisoned its own citizens - without any access to family.
   - It has imprisoned its own citizens - without any habeas corpus.
   - Almost all its imprisoned citizens are in prisons run by corporations, not the government.

   - Incredibly, it refers to itself as "the land of the free."

   - It has been proven to have "secret" military prisons of torture in other nations.
   - It claims that its brutal torturing of men, women, and children - is "legal."
   - Its citizens have seen the visual proof of the torture - But yet, they "allow" it to continue.
   - Its own military/intel people have made it clear that most were innocent of any crimes.
   - When its proven that over a hundred of these tortured prisoners died from the torture,
   - Its citizens still continue to "allow" the torture and murders to continue.

   - It spies on its own citizens, without warrants.
   - It spies on its own citizens, without just cause.
   - It spies on its own citizens, against its own laws.
   - Yet, when it is openly exposed and proven to its citizens - They "allow" it to continue.

   - It's the only 1st world nation that still has a death penalty.
   - It's the only 1st world nation without universal health care.

   - It has the highest rate of pollution of the environment on the planet.
   - It is the largest emitter of CO2 on the planet.  [Update: US is now #2 behind China.]
   - It has broken from every single international environment treaty.

   - It has the highest rate of poverty of all the industrial nations.
   - Its military budget exceeds the total of almost all the other nations - combined.
   - It is the largest supplier of arms on the planet to other nations.
   - It has been proven to use chemical weapons on civilians.

Do I really need to go on. . . ?

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Nothing else at this time. . .

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