Monday, December 31, 2007


Out with the old, in with the old...

Almost, repeat, almost, made it through another one. A few hours to go. Sure, if I go by reality, the new year happened a week or so ago, when the day became a bit longer than the one before it. But, we're obsessed by time and what-it-all-means.

I just looked at a rap about "Mayan prophecies" for the year 2012. That's sort of like the Millenium hoop-la eight years ao: like time has such magical qualities...No, time is just an arbitrary structure imposed by our European heritage. Other than that, it don't mean shee-itt, as Mr Natural used to say. OK: in 2012, something is going to happen at the equator of the Milky Way and that will have some vague cause and effect on life on earth—like the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius, I suppose. Remember that one? Sure did change things, didn't it? Didn't it?

It could be argued that things have changed, for sure: for the worse. From Nixon to Bush, Viet Nam to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Columbia—the list is long and those names are enough. The empire shudders and cracks and lintels are collapsing and cornices crashing into the streets below, but still, America lurches along, an ongoing earthquake. And here we are, waiting for the next year, wondering, will it be the last? Will there ever be a "last" or will just enough rabbits continue to be pulled out of the hat, enabled the country to keep tottering? It's going to out-last me, I know that. God help our children and grandchildren, the bills are coming due...

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Ahh, peace and love...

Definitely time for some humor!

Priests brawl at Bethlehem birthplace of Jesus
Dec 27 09:34 AM US/Eastern
Seven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Following the Christmas celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.

But the ladders encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests, according to photographers who said angry words ensued and blows quickly followed.

For a quarter of an hour bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods while the photographers who had come to take pictures of the annual cleaning ceremony recorded the whole event.

A dozen unarmed Palestinian policemen were sent to try to separate the priests, but two of them were also injured in the unholy melee.

"As usual the cleaning of the church afer Christmas is a cause of problems," Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh told AFP, adding that he has offered to help ease tensions.

"For the two years that I have been here everything went more or less calmly," he said. "It's all finished now."

The Church of the Nativity, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, is shared by various branches of Christianity, each of which controls and jealously guards a part of the holy site.

The Church of the Nativity is built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born in a stable more than 2,000 years ago after Mary and Joseph were turned away by an inn.

Copyright AFP 2007, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium


People having fun: fundamentalism's worst fear

Now that religiously-inspired violence is in the headlines again—Yes, the assassination of Ms Bhutto was religiously-inspired, just like so many other killings in the news—I'm reminded of a clipping I found in a magazine put out by the Unitarians.

I'm not a Unitarian, although I think as religions go they're pretty good...even if they don't know whether or not they get Sundays off, yeah... They're intelligent and try to see similarities, not differences. Of course there's nothing that pisses off fundamentalists of any and all varieties more than showing them similarities between view points...

The Fundamentalist Agenda
is absolutely natural, ancient, and powerful—but the liberal impulse makes us humane.
By Davidson Loehr

The most famous definition of fundamentalism is H. L. Mencken's: a terrible, pervasive fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun. There's something to this. Fundamentalism is too fearful, too restrictive, too lacking in faith to provide a home for the human spirit to soar or for human societies to blossom.

But there are far more fundamental things to understand about fundamentalism, especially in this age of terrorism. An adequate understanding also includes some inescapable and uncomfortable critiques of America's cultural liberalism of the last four decades. The attacks on September 11, 2001, provided us a rare revelation about fundamentalism that arrived in two installments.

First, we became vividly aware of the things some Muslim fundamentalists hate about our culture:

* They hate liberated women and all that symbolizes them. They hate it when women compete with men in the workplace, when they decide when or whether they will bear children, when they show the independence of getting abortions. They hate changes in laws that previously gave men more power over women.
* They hate the wide range of sexual orientations and lifestyles that have always characterized human societies. They hate homosexuality.
* They hate individual freedoms that allow people to stray from the rigid sort of truth they want to constrain all people. They hate individual rights that let others slough off their simple certainties.

Not much was really new in this installment of the revelation. We had seen all this before, when Khomeini's Muslim fundamentalists wreaked such havoc in Iran starting in 1979. We have long known that Muslim fundamentalism is a mortal enemy of freedom and democracy.

The surprise second installment came just a few days after 9 / 11 in that remarkably unguarded interview on The 700 Club when the Rev. Jerry Falwell told Pat Robertson, “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'” These men are so media-savvy it's amazing they would say such things on the air. But it's also remarkable because in their list of “causes” of the 9 / 11 attacks, we heard almost exactly the same hate list:

* They hate liberated women who don't follow orders, who get abortions when they want them, who threaten or laugh at some men's arrogant pretensions to rule them.
* They hate the wide range of sexual orientations that have always characterized human societies. They would force the country to conform to a fantasy image of two married heterosexual parents where the husband works and the wife stays home with the children—even when that describes fewer than 25 percent of current American families.
* They hate individual freedoms that let people stray from the one simple set of truths they want imposed on all in our country. Robertson has been on record for a long time saying that democracy isn't a fit form of government unless it is run by his kind of fundamentalist Christians.

Together, the two installments make vivid the fact that “our” Christian fundamentalists have the same hate list as “their” Muslim fundamentalists....


No, Iraqis don't particularly like us...

Just in case anybody is still buying the bullshit that the Iraqis really do love us and think we’ve liberated their country, freed them from slavery, and brought roses to every rain barrel... I really do want my country to act in ways that do not bring misery and pain to people, regardless of who they are or where they live. Too bad it doesn't act that way.

All Iraqi Groups Blame U.S. Invasion For Discord, Study Shows
Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, Wednesday, December 19, 2007; A14

Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of "occupying forces" as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.

That is good news, according to a military analysis of the results. At the very least, analysts optimistically concluded, the findings indicate that Iraqis hold some "shared beliefs" that may eventually allow them to surmount the divisions that have led to a civil war.

Dated December 2007, the report notes that "the Iraqi government has still made no significant progress toward its fundamental goal of national reconciliation." Asked to describe "the current situation in Iraq to a foreign visitor," some groups focused on positive aspects of the recent security improvements. But "most would describe the negative elements of life in Iraq beginning with the 'U.S. occupation' in March 2003," the report says.

Some participants also blamed Iranian meddling for Iraq's problems. While the United States was said to want to control Iraq's oil, Iran was seen as seeking to extend its political and religious agendas.

Few mentioned Saddam Hussein as a cause of their problems, which the report described as an important finding implying that "the current strife in Iraq seems to have totally eclipsed any agonies or grievances many Iraqis would have incurred from the past regime, which lasted for nearly four decades - as opposed to the current conflict, which has lasted for five years."


Guns, violence, fundamentalism and all the other stuff that makes the world go 'round...

Was Ms Bhutto stupid?

No...perhaps suicidal? A bit too driven by her ego? I don't know. She wasn't stupid, but she may have been foolish; certainly there've been millions of non-stupid people who have behaved foolishly. I don't think her story could have ended otherwise, though. Guns, explosives, religious fundamentalism: a real formula for violence.

Pakistan is clearly a country that has not been helped by America's War on Reality. I'm not sure what countries have been helped—I mean, apart from the ruling parties of those countries. Obviously, we've helped the people in power. Helped them get richer. We'll never know how much money we've spent on Ms Bhutto. Or on any of the politicians in Pakistan. We know the country is corrupt, even if the state department is reluctant to actually use such a concrete word. But, yeah, Pakistan, India, Russia, Afghanistant, Iraq, Egypt, China—America has made a lot of people very rich and helped keep millions of other people in the swamp of poverty. Why do we let that happen? Because that's the way it is here, too.

America really isn't all that much more moral or upright than any other country. It's just that it's easier to identify corruption elsewhere than in your own town, county, state, nation. "Oh yeah, them folks over in Bum Fuck, they're as crooked as a dog's hind leg, yup."

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Sad Reminder

Back in early August 2006, I posted about a little boy who was beaten to death. This happened over in Prineville, a smaller town northeast of Bend. It was one of those crimes that just simply shouldn't have happened. Beaten to death by his step-father.

I just got a post about it, correcting some details about the boy's age and giving a follow up on the abuser—doing life without parole. Good. It would have been much better if the crime hadn't happened: much much better, but at least the perp is out of the Circle for the rest of his life.

Ahh, all you can do is sigh and shake your head and say some sort of prayer. For everybody. Everything.


Rambling about mental health and "counselors"

Almost everyone I know has had some experience with counseling. Some people are or have been counselors, some have been in counseling (and, yeah, some have done both, and others went through the sort of peer-counseling that happens in 12-step groups. I’ve never worked as a counselor—at least I’ve never been paid for it... Counseling is a good thing: it’s helped me through some rough places.

But it isn’t perfect. Some counselors are control freaks, of course: they have a carefully constructed picture of how people should act and do their their utmost to try to get people to live up to that picture. A lot of that type are in religious work, sure. Some counselors are counselors almost by accident, because they studied it to help themselves and ended up trying to help others. And it goes on. I’ve known all kinds, socially and professionally. I’ve got counseling through social-service agencies, mostly.

Social service agencies, like mental health departments, have an often unstated agenda that drives the system: to get people “better.” By that I mean to get them in and out and produce results that look good as statistics.

Statistics mattter to agencies. Patients or clients or whatever they’re called—”consumers of services” is one of my favorite labels, need to be diagnosed. The diagnosis required for billing/funding purposes.

I think the whole idea of therapy is to help us become comfortable with who we are—not to "improve" ourselves or become better adapted—it's just to say, hey am what I am and if you don't like it, fuck off. But the way the money works...the patient or client has to acquire a label, and "get better." A lot of counselors are agents of the status quo, especially those who have public funding. Results, results, results, otherwise no more money.

The big thing in our local mental health system is "DBT:" Dialectical Behavioral Therapy—sans Marx or Engels, of course. It's actually, I think, an improvement on a lot of behavioral stuff because it includes elements from outside the rat labs. There's no doubt that skewed thinking underlies a lot of our conflicts and misery. But skewed thinking is also a cornerstone of our economy and society ("You're nobody till somebody loves you..."), and where would we be if people didn't go out and shop (which means having money) to prove their patriotism... However, the purpose of DBT is still to turn out employable and employed people who are off the dole. This makes it hard for the counselors and it makes it hard for the people seeing those counselors. There are those of us, like I mentioned, who just believe we need to accept ourselves as we are—free up the energy it takes to struggle with internal conflicts between what is and what we think we should be. I mean, fuck getting better.

Who wants to move into a house in a neighborhood that's burning down?

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Socialized Medicine for the government but not the people?

Must be a good time to slam Dick's always a good time to do that. Cheyney is a good example of how good government health care can be. The man has been kept alive at almost no expense to himself by the real socialized medicine in this country, the kind that goes to our politicians.

New Ad: If Cheney Didn't Get Government Health Care, "He'd Probably Be Dead by Now"
By Matt Corley, Think Progress
Posted on December 11, 2007, Printed on December 11, 2007

This post, written by Matt Corley, originally appeared on Think Progress

In Iowa yesterday, 10 newspapers are running a full page ad advocating for a single-payer health-care bill, highlighting the fact Vice President Dick Cheney has benefited from his government-provided coverage. "If he were anyone else, he'd probably be dead by now," the ad claims. Cheney, as the ad notes, has a long history of health problems:

The patient's history and prognosis were grim: four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, angioplasty, an implanted defibrillator and now an emergency procedure to treat an irregular heartbeat

The ad, which is sponsored by the California Nurses Association and the National Nurses Organizing Committee, argues that without his government-provided health care, Cheney's recent heart problems would have been "a death sentence":

For millions of Americans, this might be a death sentence. For the vice president, it was just another medical treatment. And it cost him very little.

Unlike the average American, the president, vice president and members of Congress all enjoy government-financed health care with few restrictions or prohibitive fees.

In response to the ad, Cheney spokesperson Megan Mitchell told the Wall Street Journal that "something this outrageous does not warrant a response."

The factual and provocative ad isn't outrageous. What is outrageous is the fact that there are roughly 47 million people in America without health insurance, including 3.2 million children, but President Bush vetoed legislation in October that would have extended coverage to 4 million more children.

While it is certainly good that Vice President Cheney was able get the medical attention he needed, the groups' ad is right. "The rest of us deserve no less" than Cheney.

Matt Corley is a Research Associate for The Progress Report and at the Center for American Progress.
© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.


Killing for the sake of killing: Cheyney bird-hunting

Sometimes I find stuff on the internet and I have to sit on for a while. Just to let the content and meaning percolate.

I like guns: I like shooting guns. I haven’t done any shooting for years, but if the occasion came along, I’d go shooting again. No necessarily at animals, though I’ve done quite a bit of that. I don’t see anything wrong with hunting, per se. But it depends on the rationalizations involved. Trophy-hunting, killing “big game” to have heads to mount on your wall seems kind of sick. I mean, killing anything, even a fish, is taking a life: it needs to be done for a damned good reason. Like getting food and fur to use later. Does anyone really need to eat lion meat? Or coyote meat? Is the amount and quality of wild sheep meat increased by the size of the horns? Hell, all a trophy head does is maybe make some people believe you got a bigger penis than most people have—like a big 4 x 4 pickup does, you know... And the idea of seeing how many semi-tame birds you can blast seems just plain old sick.

A lot of hunting is just to reassure the hunter he’s a REAL man. I’m thinking of Dick Cheyney, here.

Dick Cheney's Sadistic Passion for Shooting Tame Animals
By Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet
Posted on November 14, 2007, Printed on November 14, 2007

While most people are lamenting the violence in Pakistan, Burma, Afghanistan and Iraq, apparently it's not enough bloodshed for Vice President Dick Cheney.

Last month in a caravan of 15 sport utility vehicles and an ambulance -- no jokes, please -- Cheney made his way to Clove Valley Rod & Gun Club, about 70 miles north of New York City, near Poughkeepsie, for a day of controlled bloodletting.

Cheney landed at Stewart Air Force Base and took off the following day for the upscale gun club at a cost of $32,000 for local law enforcement officials who guarded his hotel, protected his motorcade and diverted school buses.

Unlike Cheney's 2003 trip to Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township, Pa., in which he killed 70 pheasants and an undisclosed number of ducks (his hunting party killed 417 pheasants), staff at the Clove Valley Rod & Gun Club remained tight-lipped about the take.

An employee who answered the phone would not disclose which species was being shot -- ads say pheasants, ducks and Hungarian partridges -- and kept repeating "I don't know anything about it" before hanging up. Like Cheney's last visit to Clove Valley in 2001, the 4,000-acre club, which costs $150,000 a year to join, was a fortress with Blackwater-style snipers "protecting" the vice president's right to shoot tame birds.

But a New York Daily News photographer did snap a picture of a small Confederate flag hanging inside a garage on the hunt club property, which prompted civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton to demand that Cheney "leave immediately, denounce the club and apologize for going to a club that represents lynching, hate and murder to black people."

Cheney spokeswoman Megan Mitchell said neither Cheney nor anyone on his staff saw such a flag at the hunt club. (Maybe the flag was on the women's side of Clove Valley; only men are allowed in the clubhouse.)

Of course the nation is still amused about Cheney's 2006 hunting mishap in which he shot 78-year-old attorney Harry Whittington in the face in Texas instead of a quail -- and everyone from Letterman to President Bush jokes about it.

But canned hunting isn't funny.

Birds raised for canned hunts at gun clubs and in state "recreational" areas are grown in packed pens -- think factory farmed chickens -- and fitted with goggles so they won't peck each other to death from the crowding.

When released for put and take hunters like Cheney, pen raised birds can barely walk or fly -- or see, thanks to the goggles. They don't know how to forage or hide in the wild and sometimes have to be kicked to "fly" enough to be shot.

Some hunters say shooting the pellet-ready tame animals, which offer no resistance, is like having sex with a blow-up doll.

But others say hunting itself is like sex with a blow up doll and that the 10 percent decline in hunters seen in the United States since the late '90s -- from 14 million to about 12.5 million -- coincides exactly with the debut of impotence drugs like Viagra.

Still for the veep to pursue his addiction to the "programmed massacre of scores of tame, pen-raised birds" despite all the "negative publicity it has generated for him" suggests a deep psychological disorder, writes Gerald Schiller in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Especially since criminologists have long recognized that premeditated, sadistic treatment of animals is a strong predictor of criminal and homicidal violence.

Sociopaths Jeffrey Dahmer and Richard Speck were both big on animal cruelty. And they weren't running foreign policy.

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
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Mother of God?!

...No, I’m not particularly enthusiastic about Christmas. It’s OK: I like it better than, say, Valentine’s Day or the 4h of July. Less than a nice camping trip, though, or visiting with friends I haven’t seen for a long time.

The idea of the sun starting a new year is good.

Intellectually, I like the way the christian church appropriated old ceremonies and holidays. Smart move. If you look at it as a conscious action it was a smart move; but if you look at it as the Old Religion, the Old Spirituality, finding cracks in newer structures and pushing on through—like grass coming up through cracks in a cement sidewalk—ah, that’s even better. Yesterday was the Feast of the Virgin of Guadlupe, a major N. & S. American Catholic-oriented event. It’s the day the Virgin appeared to a Mexican Indian and announced she was the Mother of God and she had a special place in her heart for those of us in the “New” World. She appeared at the site of an Aztec temple to the moon goddess. Hmm? No coincidence. You can look on this as a particularly Catholic, Mary-mother-of-god event, if you want, but I think it goes way deeper—and way older—than that.

Basically, I think the Catholic Church is...well.... When the leader of the church says stuff like this, it’s hard to keep a straight face:

Pope offers 'shortcut' through purgatory
12/07/2007 @ 1:10 pm
Filed by Mike Aivaz and Jason Rhyne

For devout Catholics fearful of a long stint in purgatory -- a vast metaphysical holding area where the faithful believe they will go to be "purified" prior to their admittance to heaven -- the Pope had some encouraging news this week: there's an easier way.

Pope Benedict XVI has decreed that Catholics can cut short their future purgatory stays by visiting a holy shrine in Lourdes, France, a site where believers say the Virgin Mary appeared to a shephardess in 1858. Catholic pilgrims who visit Lourdes from now through next year, which will mark the 150th anniversary of the miracle claim, will receive an "indulgence" from the Pope, which he says will speed the trip to heaven.

"The door for indulgences is not always open, though, and for years after the Vatican Council reforms of the 1960s, they were rarely offered -- until 2000, when Pope John Paul II started using them to attract pilgrims to World Youth Day," reports the New York Times' Mike Nizza. "The pilgrimage, which must be made in the next year, can be accomplished using Vatican charter flights that began over the summer."

For Catholics not in a position to jaunt off to France, prayer at other select sites during a ten-day span in February may also do the trick. According to the BBC, the Pope indicated that "believers who prayed at places of worship dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes from 2-11 February next year -- or who were unable to make the journey -- would also be able to receive indulgences."

"The spirit always has to be one of trust in Christ and trust in the words of Christ to his apostles," Father Jonathan Morris, a priest, told the BBC. "And those words were this: 'What you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven; and what you loose on Earth will be loosed in Heaven.' If those words are true, and if the Pope understands them correctly, indulgences really do work."

In 1998, Pope John Paul II announced that Catholic penitents would receive indulgences for such good deeds as quitting smoking, abstaining from alcohol, or performing a charitable act. "Indulgences are an ancient form of church-granted amnesty from certain forms of punishment, in this life or hereafter, for sin," the Times reported then. "The medieval church sold indulgences, a practice that drove Martin Luther to rebel, beginning the Reformation. They remain a source of theological debate between Protestants and Catholics..."


Gimme that old-time collusion!

Well, here's something disconcerting: it looks like one reason the Democratic leadership shies away from impeachment proceedings is because they colluded in letting the administration get away with torture. Why? Because they're players, too—just like the Republicans. The last thing any player wants is to have the game end or to have the game suddenly change. Politicians are politicians; for the most part they could care less about morals.

This came off OpEd News. It's good:

Well maybe it is a little clearer why the first thing Pelosi did after she became speaker of the house was to take impeachment off the table.

According to the Washington Post beginning in 2002 leading lawmakers both Republican and Democrat where briefed on the so called enhanced interrogation techniques including waterboarding. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during that time period included Nancy Pelosi, Jane Harman, Bob Graham, John Rockefeller IV, Porter Goss, and Pat Roberts.
The only one that objected the technique was Representative Jane Harmon.

So it looks as though Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats have colluded with the Bush administrations torture techniques because she knew about them but did not report them.

Senator Biden has called for an independent counsel to investigate the destruction of the torture tapes that have been in the news for the last week. It seems though Senator Jay Rockefeller D(W.V.) chairman of the Senate intelligence Committee does not think there is a need for an independent counsel because he said “ it is the job of the intelligence committee to do that.” I believe that the foxes are guarding the hen house.

This is starting to make some sense why after the Democrats took control of Congress that no serious investigation of this administrations lawlessness has occurred.

We the people need to make sure that there is an independent counsel appointed to investigate the destruction of the terror tapes and to determine who is complicit in this administrations total disregard for the rule of law.

The fox should not be guarding the hen house and we must enhance the improvements already made in Congresses ethics reform laws this year to include, a standing independent investigating body to watch Congress and the President. Without this who are we to trust, the politicians?????

Peace and Liberty through intelligence, strength, and integrity.

Monday, December 03, 2007


Just in case you forgot the reasons—for impeachment:

Impeach FAQ



By Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice

What are the grounds for impeachment for Bush and Cheney?


1. Refusal to comply with subpoenas (not disputable, and passed by the Judiciary Committee against Nixon)

2. Routine violation of numerous laws, preceded by announcement of intention to do so in signing statements (White House website and GAO study)

3. Violating U.S. law and the Constitution through widespread wiretapping of the phone calls and emails of Americans without a warrant. (Confessed to.)

4. Commuting the sentence of I Lewis Scooter Libby. (Both Madison and Mason argued at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia that impeachment would protect against a president pardoning someone for a crime that he himself was involved in).

5. Violating the United Nations Charter by launching an illegal "War of Aggression" against Iraq without cause, using fraud to sell the war to Congress and the public, and misusing government funds to begin bombing without Congressional authorization.

6. Violating U.S. and international law by authorizing the torture of thousands of captives, resulting in dozens of deaths, and keeping prisoners hidden from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

7. Violating the Constitution by arbitrarily detaining Americans, legal residents, and non-Americans, without due process, without charge, and without access to counsel.

8. Violating the Geneva Conventions by targeting civilians, journalists, hospitals, and ambulances, and using illegal weapons, including white phosphorous, depleted uranium, and a new type of napalm.

9. Violating U.S. law by using paid propaganda and disinformation, selectively and misleadingly leaking classified information, and exposing the identity of a covert CIA operative working on sensitive WMD proliferation for political retribution.

10. Violating U.S. and state law by obstructing honest elections in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006.

11. Gross negligence in failing to assist New Orleans residents after Hurricane Katrina.


1. Refusal to comply with subpoenas.

2. Creating and advocating the "Unitary Executive Theory" which is used by the White House to defy laws duly enacted by Congress and thereby justify dictatorial action. Cheney's office has drafted many if not all of the signing statements.

3. Cheney played a key role in setting up illegal spying programs.

4. Coordinating campaign to obstruct the investigation of Patrick Fitzgerald.

5. Coordinating a campaign of retribution against whistleblower Joseph Wilson, including the outing of a covert CIA operative.

6. Leading efforts to institute routine use of torture.

7. Leading campaign to manipulate pre-war intelligence.

8. Creating secret Energy Task Force which operated in defiance of open-government laws.

9. Directing massive no-bid contracts to his company, Halliburton, and profiting from the same illegal war he defrauded the American public to launch.

10-12 from H Res 333:
Cheney has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States by fabricating a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit….

Cheney purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda in order to justify the use of the United States Armed Forces against the nation of Iraq in a manner damaging to our national security interests, to wit….

Cheney has openly threatened aggression against the Republic of Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and done so with the United States proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining the national security of the United States, to wit….

Why would we want a President Cheney? Or why would we want a new Republican who could run as an incumbent? Or why would we want a President Pelosi?

We propose impeaching Cheney first or together with Bush. The first Articles of Impeachment to be introduced (H Res 333) are addressed only to Cheney. Impeaching Cheney first ought to put the fear of a President Cheney to rest. But there remains the possibility of fearing his replacement or even of not wanting Nancy Pelosi to be president or not wanting her to become president in this way. She won't. We will never succeed in removing Bush and Cheney from office simultaneously and by surprise. We will remove them, but they will be replaced by a new President Ford, who will operate within the rule of law and lose the next election.

But this whole discussion misses the point. The question of who holds which office for the next year or six months, as well as the question of who wins the next election, is of very minor importance in comparison with the question of whether future administrations will be compelled to operate within the limitations of the law. If we do not impeach Cheney and Bush, we will establish that it is permitted for future presidents and vice presidents to mislead the Congress and the public into wars, spy in violation of the law, detain without charge, torture, operate in secrecy, and rewrite laws with signing statements. Those powers in the wrong hands could do far more serious damage than Bush and Cheney have done.

So, if we keep this in perspective, the fear of Cheney appears trivial. It appears even more so when we consider that impeachment and removal from office are two separate steps and that we're only working on the first one so far, and when we recognize the extent to which Cheney has been running the country already for years. Were Cheney officially president, most policies would remain unchanged, but the public face of the White House and of the Republican party would be that of a man whose approval rating has been unable to top 20 percent. The Republicans will never allow this, so it would be rather foolish for the Democrats to retreat out of fear of it.

Whoever is president next will have to operate under fear of being impeached next. That is the point of impeachment. In the case of Cheney, he would be operating under the high probability of being impeached. No serious discussion of the evidence can incriminate Bush or Cheney but not the other. And, in any event, we will be impeaching Cheney first.

Why not just wait for the next election?

The authors of our Constitution established the schedule for elections, but devoted a lot more attention to the mechanism of impeachment as a check on elected despotism in between elections. They had recently thrown off a king and had no interest in electing temporary kings every four years. Neither should we.

Bush and Cheney can still do a great deal of damage before the end of their term. People are dying every day as a result of their policies. There is an urgent need to remove them from office in order to end the brutal occupation of Iraq and prevent an attack on Iran.

But we would need to impeach them were this January 2009 or had they already left office. The purpose of impeachment, again, is to set standards for future administrations. We cannot give the powers assumed by this administration (to mislead the Congress and the public into wars, spy in violation of the law, detain without charge, torture, operate in secrecy, and rewrite laws with signing statements) to future presidents and vice presidents without expecting similar or worse abuses.

Won't impeachment take up too much time and distract from other goals?

Nixon's impeachment took three months. Clinton's impeachment and trial combined took four months. The current Congress has wasted more than that amount of time already in avoiding impeachment, and has almost nothing to show for it (a minimal partial and gradual correction to the plummeting minimum wage). Congress has taken no serious steps toward ending the occupation of Iraq, and has in fact provided major new funding for it. During Nixon's impeachment and the lead up to it, in contrast, the threat of impeachment allowed Congress to raise the minimum wage, create the Endangered Species Act, and end a war.

Important as stem cell research and immigration policy may be, when did the Bill of Rights become a distraction? What is more important than restoring the right to not be spied on, to not be picked up without charge and locked away to be tortured with no access to a lawyer, a trial, or your family, not to be sent into an aggressive war for greed and power? Of course, there are many pressing areas in which we need to pass legislation. But the outgoing Republican Congress passed some important bills, including those banning torture and illegal spying. But Bush used signing statements to announce his intention to disobey those laws. Under the new Democratic Congress, Bush has made clear that he will either veto or signing statement any bill he disapproves of.

Isn't it more important to end the war?

Ending the war is a task that could best be accomplished by inaction, by Congress refusing to provide any more funding. Or it could be accomplished by a bill created by one committee. It is not a fulltime task for the entire Congress.

However, this Congress has already demonstrated that it has no intention of ending the war. Pelosi has sworn that cutting off the funding is "off the table."

What could help move Congress would be the same thing that helped a previous Congress find the nerve to end the Vietnam War and convinced Nixon not to veto the cut-off in funding: impeachment. In this case, even more so than Nixon's, impeachment would drive the war debate in the right direction, because impeachment would be for offenses either directly connected to the war or offenses that have been justified by "war on terror" propaganda.

In addition, should Congress actually cut off the funding and end the war, it is very likely that Bush and Cheney would misappropriate funds from the Pentagon to keep the occupation going. They did so in order to secretly begin the war, and they have never been held accountable for it. So, removing them from office is not only needed in order to give Congress the nerve to end the war, but is also needed if the war is ever to actually end.

Isn't it more important to win the next election(s)?

No. It isn't. But if it were, we would be wise to recognize that impeachment is the best guarantee of electoral success for Democrats and Republicans alike. Voters appreciate efforts to push for a cause. Cowardice and restraint are not very popular.

When the Democrats held back from impeachment during Iran Contra, they lost the next elections. When the Democrats led the effort to investigate and impeach Nixon, they won big in the next election, even though Ford was running as an incumbent. When the Republicans tried to impeach Truman, they got what they wanted out of the Supreme Court and then won the next elections. Articles of Impeachment have been filed against 10 presidents, usually by Republicans, and usually with electoral success following. When the Republicans impeached Clinton, impeachment was actually unpopular with the public. Even so, the Republicans lost far fewer seats than is the norm for a majority party at that point in its tenure. Two years later, they lost seats in the Senate, which had acquitted, but maintained their strength in the House, with representatives who had led the impeachment charge winning big.

Parties that seek to impeach are not punished at the next election. In fact, they frequently improve their position -- as evidenced by Dems in 1974, Republicans in 1952, and all the way back to the Whigs of last century. In every election back to 1842 where House members of an opposition party to a sitting president have -- as a whole or a significant caucus within the party -- proposed impeachment of the president, that opposition party retained or improved its position in the House at the following election. There is no instance of voters responding to a significant impeachment effort by sweeping its advocates out of office. In fact, history points in a different direction -- suggesting that voters frequently reward parties for taking the Constitution and the rule of law seriously.

Use this flyer.

Wouldn't impeachment split the Democrats?

It is splitting them now, but wouldn't if they united behind it. At least 80 percent of Democrats want impeachment. If 80 percent of Democratic elected representatives were pushing for impeachment, the Bush presidency would be over quite quickly. The Democrats in Congress tried to avoid the topic of the war, for fear it would split them. Iraq went unmentioned in Pelosi's plan for her first 100 hours. But the majority of the country wants to see the issues it cares about dealt with, and there are some Democrats who will stand with the people. The Democratic Party could unite by supporting peace and impeachment.

Why not do investigations and see where they lead?

They have led to the Bush administration refusing to comply with a growing list of subpoenas: . The House Judiciary Committee passed three articles of impeachment against Nixon. Article 3 was for refusal to comply with subpoenas.

And they've led to Bush ordering a former staffer not to comply with subpoenas, and to Bush announcing that the Justice Department will not enforce congressional contempt citations. Where do you go from there, for A YEAR AND A HALF, other than impeachment?

Impeachment is an investigation, leading to an indictment. A preliminary investigation is not possible when subpoenas are ignored, and is not needed when indisputable evidence is already public knowledge.

Has Bush announced his intention to violate numerous laws? The signing statements are on the White House website. The Supreme Court has begun citing them in rulings, as if they have the force of law.

Has Bush authorized spying programs knowing they violated the law and the Bill of Rights? He's on videotape lying about it for years. He's on videotape confessing to it. A federal court has already ruled what he's done a felony, finding in NSA vs. ACLU that the NSA program of broad data-mining and warrantless wire-tapping of U.S. citizens is illegal and unconstitutional, violating the Fourth Amendment.

Have Bush and Cheney threatened an aggressive war on Iran? They're both on videotape doing so.

Was Bush criminally negligent during Hurricane Katrina? He's on videotape being warned of the danger. He's on videotape claiming he was never warned.

Have Bush and Cheney used unlawful detentions and torture? The Supreme Court in Rosul v. George W. Bush ruled detainees were being wrongfully imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba. The Bush Administration’s detainment policies and actions were ruled unconstitutional and illegal - in violation of Amendments V, VI &VII. The use of torture, legally justified by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and thus condoned by President Bush and Vice President Cheney is an additional violation to the 8th Amendment. The Supreme Court again in Hamdan v. Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, et al. ruled that the Military Commissions instituted by the Bush Administration violate the Universal Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions to which we are bound by American law. Again, the Bush Administration’s actions were found by the highest court of the land to be illegal and unconstitutional - violating Amendments V, VI, VII . Bush and Cheney and their staffs have defended these policies on video and in writing. The practice of detaining without charge and the numerous victims of it are undisputed public knowledge. Evidence of torture is voluminous and indisputable and includes public photographs.

Did Bush and Cheney intentionally mislead the Congress and the public into the invasion and occupation of Iraq? They are on videotape doing so, and the evidence that they knew exactly what they were doing is overwhelming and has been collected here:

Isn't impeachment an extreme remedy? Doesn't there have to be an actual crime committed? Doesn't there have to be perjury?

There's nothing extreme about it. The authors of the Constitution expected it to be used frequently. The U.S. House of Representatives has impeached 16 people, two of them presidents.

One of the better lists of the specific criminal violations is found in Congressman John Conyers' report:

Impeachment is the penalty for treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. The Constitution says nothing about perjury as a ground for impeachment. And it is a crime to mislead or to defraud Congress, whether or not you do so under oath.

When Diane Sawyer asked Bush on television why he had made the claims he had about Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction, he replied:
"What's the difference? The possibility that [Saddam] could acquire weapons, if he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger."
What's the difference? The difference is that had the President merely said that Saddam Hussein could conceivably acquire weapons someday, many people would have opposed his war who supported it. They supported it because Bush said that Saddam had nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and was behind the attacks of 9-11. He and his subordinates (for whom he is legally responsible) made these claims in the clearest language. In every such case, fraud was committed. And instances of implying and omitting are legally fraud as much as lying is.

When Bush lies, he is well aware of what he is doing. The day after the 2004 elections, he told reporters that he had lied to them about keeping Rumsfeld on as Secretary of Defense so that they wouldn't write anything about it.

It is illegal to spy in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It is illegal to detain without charge and to torture. It is illegal to take funds from other projects to begin a war before it has been authorized. It is illegal to target civilians and hospitals and journalists, and to use white phosphorous and napalm as weapons. It is a fundamental violation of the U.S. Constitution to alter laws with signing statements. Congressman John Conyers' report lists numerous other laws violated by Bush.

So what purpose does impeachment serve?

It denies future presidents and vice presidents the power to mislead the Congress and the public into wars, spy in violation of the law, detain without charge, torture, operate in secrecy, and rewrite laws with signing statements. Again, those powers in the wrong hands could do far more serious damage than Bush and Cheney have done.

If we do not impeach when the case is as compelling as it is now, we are effectively removing impeachment from the Constitution. Secretly, almost everyone agrees that the Bush/Cheney Administration has committed impeachable offenses. That’s why even the pundits and Republicans are not arguing the case on its merits, but trying to scare the Democrats off based on politics. Given that, how can we not pursue accountability?

Isn't impeachment divisive and unpleasant and traumatic and catastrophic and unsettling and partisan?

No. Impeachment is a remedy for trauma, and one that the majority of Americans long for. Here are the polls:

Our President belongs to a political party, it's true. But that does not make him any less of a threat to our system of government. Voters in 2006 rejected his party overwhelmingly. Not a single new Republican was elected, and enough new Democrats won to achieve a substantial majority in the House and a slim one in the Senate. Voters opposed the party of Bush and Cheney, who are incredibly unpopular. Even some Republicans who spoke against the war lost, primarily because they were Republicans. But Republican Ron Paul of Texas, who had spoken in support of impeaching Bush, won.

If Paul and other Republicans manage to put their country ahead of their party's president, as Republicans did during Nixon's presidency, impeachment will not look so partisan. But if Republicans fail to stand for impeachment, then Democrats must do it alone, and doing so will be partisan in the best sense. It will build the Democratic Party into a powerful force for years to come, and it will be divisive primarily on Capitol Hill and in the world of media pundits.

Around the country it will bring us together. Hearings that expose Bush and Cheney's abuses of power will serve to educate many of those who still support them, including those who believe there really were WMDs, there really was a tie to 9-11, Bush was honestly mistaken but meant well, illegal spying is saving us from terrorists, nobody has been tortured, and a signing statement is just something a deaf person tells you with his hands.

Wouldn't impeachment be depicted as revenge?

Probably. But would you believe that depiction? Do you think everyone else is dumber than you are and would fall for it? The coverage thus far of the initial push for impeachment in Congress does not depict it as revenge.

What Articles of Impeachment have been introduced thus far?

Only three against Cheney, contained in H. Res. 333. (Not H.R. 333, but H. Res. 333. Let's say that one more time: You will not find it under H.R. 333, but must look up H. Res. 333.) You can find all the details at

How many towns, cities, states, state political parties, labor unions, and other groups have passed resolutions calling for impeachment?

The list grows every day at

Why should a small town or large city or county or state pass a resolution for impeachment?

Impeachment was placed in the House of Representatives as the part of our government closest to the people. Closer still are states and cities and towns and counties. The people can speak through their local governments. This is how impeachment is supposed to happen. There are precedents: state legislatures have petitioned Congress successfully to impeach. This tradition is laid out in the Jefferson Manual, a rule book for the House of Representatives originally written by Thomas Jefferson. The actions of local governments and state governments are heard by Congress Members.'s_Manual

But isn't impeachment a national issue?

As pointed out at , most city council members take an oath of office promising to "protect and defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic." They don't take an oath to fix potholes. If the Constitution is in danger, then their primary duty is to defend it. If it is safe, and they have time on their hands, then they can fix potholes.

Cities and towns routinely send petitions to Congress for all kinds of requests. This is allowed under Clause 3, Rule XII, Section 819, of the Rules of the House of Representatives. This clause is routinely used to accept petitions from cities, and memorials from states, all across America.

If a federal action has a significant negative impact on a city, then it is appropriate for the city to defend itself. Citizens from this city may be sent, or have been sent, to Iraq to fight in an illegal and unjustified war. Tax funds from this city that could have been spent locally have been spent in Iraq for war. Tax money from this city has been wasted in no-bid contracts with companies like Halliburton with deep ties to the Bush administration. Yet this city can barely afford the emergency services, libraries, and schools that we need. For the specific cost, see

The state National Guard should be available to protect this city from floods, hurricanes, earthquakes or other disasters. But instead they have been sent to Iraq by President Bush.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Remember When Brits "Impressed" US Ciizens?

According to a report in The Sunday Times (London), the US can kidnap whoever it wants, where-ever that person happens to be.

This is fucking insane. Only a demented wannabe cowboy (or couple of demented wannabe cowboys named Dick and George) could come up with such a whacked plan. “The rule of law”...anyone remember hearing that? “We’re a nation of laws” Remember that one? Lies, lies, lies, anymore.

The crowd running the show in Washington is both nuts and power-mad. They are convinced they have such a lock-down on power, as a matter of fact, they believe they can do anything they want. This is an insane concept held by a couple of insane people.

From The Sunday Times
December 2, 2007
US says it has right to kidnap British citizens
David Leppard

AMERICA has told Britain that it can “kidnap” British citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the United States.

A senior lawyer for the American government has told the Court of Appeal in London that kidnapping foreign citizens is permissible under American law because the US Supreme Court has sanctioned it.

The admission will alarm the British business community after the case of the so-called NatWest Three, bankers who were extradited to America on fraud charges. More than a dozen other British executives, including senior managers at British Airways and BAE Systems, are under investigation by the US authorities and could face criminal charges in America.

Until now it was commonly assumed that US law permitted kidnapping only in the “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist suspects.

The American government has for the first time made it clear in a British court that the law applies to anyone, British or otherwise, suspected of a crime by Washington.

Legal experts confirmed this weekend that America viewed extradition as just one way of getting foreign suspects back to face trial. Rendition, or kidnapping, dates back to 19th-century bounty hunting and Washington believes it is still legitimate.

The US government’s view emerged during a hearing involving Stanley Tollman, a former director of Chelsea football club and a friend of Baroness Thatcher, and his wife Beatrice.

The Tollmans, who control the Red Carnation hotel group and are resident in London, are wanted in America for bank fraud and tax evasion. They have been fighting extradition through the British courts.

During a hearing last month Lord Justice Moses, one of the Court of Appeal judges, asked Alun Jones QC, representing the US government, about its treatment of Gavin, Tollman’s nephew. Gavin Tollman was the subject of an attempted abduction during a visit to Canada in 2005.

Jones replied that it was acceptable under American law to kidnap people if they were wanted for offences in America. “The United States does have a view about procuring people to its own shores which is not shared,” he said.

He said that if a person was kidnapped by the US authorities in another country and was brought back to face charges in America, no US court could rule that the abduction was illegal and free him: “If you kidnap a person outside the United States and you bring him there, the court has no jurisdiction to refuse — it goes back to bounty hunting days in the 1860s.”

Mr Justice Ouseley, a second judge, challenged Jones to be “honest about [his] position”.

Jones replied: “That is United States law.”

He cited the case of Humberto Alvarez Machain, a suspect who was abducted by the US government at his medical office in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1990. He was flown by Drug Enforcement Administration agents to Texas for criminal prosecution.

Although there was an extradition treaty in place between America and Mexico at the time — as there currently is between the United States and Britain — the Supreme Court ruled in 1992 that the Mexican had no legal remedy because of his abduction.

In 2005, Gavin Tollman, the head of Trafalgar Tours, a holiday company, had arrived in Toronto by plane when he was arrested by Canadian immigration authorities.

An American prosecutor, who had tried and failed to extradite him from Britain, persuaded Canadian officials to detain him. He wanted the Canadians to drive Tollman to the border to be handed over. Tollman was escorted in handcuffs from the aircraft in Toronto, taken to prison and held for 10 days.

A Canadian judge ordered his release, ruling that the US Justice Department had set a “sinister trap” and wrongly bypassed extradition rules. Tollman returned to Britain.

Legal sources said that under traditional American justice, rendition meant capturing wanted people abroad and bringing them to the United States. The term “extraordinary rendition” was coined in the 1990s for the kidnapping of terror suspects from one foreign country to another for interrogation.

There was concern this weekend from Patrick Mercer, the Tory MP, who said: “The very idea of kidnapping is repugnant to us and we must handle these cases with extreme caution and a thorough understanding of the implications in American law.”

Shami Chakrabarti, director of the human rights group Liberty, said: “This law may date back to bounty hunting days, but they should sort it out if they claim to be a civilised nation.”

The US Justice Department declined to comment.

Additional reporting: Anna Mikhailova

© Copyright 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd.


My god is the One True God?

I came across this on an e-mail list I’m on. I think it nicely sums up the religious point-of-view.

There is only One True God, but there are many gods.
You can easily determine the One True God, because in
all cases of conflict He is on my side. Any god that is
not on my side is clearly not the One True God, and
*you* should be damned careful which you listen to!


Fish less important than votes to Republicans

Too bad fish are political; too bad they’re considered to be on the left-wing side of things. Anything non-human, it seems, is considered to be...well, less important than the right of white people to make as much money as they possibly can. Yeah, this is the view of the Republican Party—and it’s policy. Fish, trees, mountains, rivers, the air we breath, and the ground itself are only there to be exploited, according to the folks in power in Washington. Cut it down, dig it up, and plow it under. That’s what made this country great, they say...

When the National Research Council first said the fish in the Klamath River need more water, the administration leaned on them to change their opinion. That was so the issue could be used to milk farmers for votes to the Republicans. Actually, the Republicans can no more about the farmers in the Klamath Basin than they do about miners in Idaho or aero-space workers in Houston: groups like that are just votes. The groups that really matter to the Republicans are the ones that contribute big bribes—er, "campaign contributions."


Too bad fish are political; too bad they’re considered to be on the left-wing side of things. Anything non-human, it seems, is considered to be...well, less important than the right of white people to make as much money as they possibly can. Yeah, this is the view of the Republican Party—and it’s policy. Fish, trees, mountains, rivers, the air we breath, and the ground itself are only there to be exploited, according to the folks in power in Washington. Cut it down, dig it up, and plow it under. That’s what made this country great, they say...

When the National Research Council first said the fish in the Klamath River need more water, the administration leaned on them to change their opinion. That was so the issue could be used to milk farmers for votes to the Republicans. Actually, the Republicans can no more about the farmers in the Klamath Basin than they do about miners in Idaho or aero-space workers in Houston: groups like that are just votes. The groups that really matter to the Republicans are the ones that contribute big bribes.


Last updated November 28, 2007 1:12 p.m. PT
New report says Klamath River fish need more water


PORTLAND, Ore. -- A new report confirms research indicating that salmon and other fish need more water in the Klamath River.

A National Research Council report on two separate water studies says more work is needed to integrate all the research being done on the Klamath River Basin in southern Oregon and Northern California.

But the council praises one of the studies, conducted by Utah State University. It says more water in the lower Klamath could benefit fish runs.

Meanwhile, talks are under way about the future of four aging dams operated by PacifiCorp on the Klamath River.

Federal regulators have recommended keeping them in place, but environmentalists and others say the water studies show the dams should be removed.

Last updated November 28, 2007 1:12 p.m. PT
New report says Klamath River fish need more water


PORTLAND, Ore. -- A new report confirms research indicating that salmon and other fish need more water in the Klamath River.

A National Research Council report on two separate water studies says more work is needed to integrate all the research being done on the Klamath River Basin in southern Oregon and Northern California.

But the council praises one of the studies, conducted by Utah State University. It says more water in the lower Klamath could benefit fish runs.

Meanwhile, talks are under way about the future of four aging dams operated by PacifiCorp on the Klamath River.

Federal regulators have recommended keeping them in place, but environmentalists and others say the water studies show the dams should be removed.

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