Webster Quote

Webster Quote

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cheney Impeachment Effort Gets Major Boost

You may have heard about the effort of Florida Congressional Representative Robert Wexler to promote the idea of impeaching Richard Cheney. In the interest of continuing to promote this idea, I am proud to present the following statement of Rep. Wexler.

I also recommend pursuing the various links included in the statement, including the webcast with Mr. Wexler.

*******************

Statement of Rep. Robert Wexler:


As we prepare to celebrate the New Year, my resolution is to hold George Bush and Dick Cheney accountable for their abuses of power.

In the last days, we have made real progress:

The mainstream media has awakened to this movement and to the extraordinary support you have given it. Your calls, letters, and emails have clearly made a difference. Already 140,000 people have joined us in demanding impeachment hearings for Vice President Dick Cheney by signing up at WexlerWantsHearings.com.

The power of these combined voices are already shaking up the established order on Capitol Hill and throughout the mainstream media:

This week, the Miami Herald printed an article on our efforts that was syndicated in papers across the country, including the Detroit Free Press, Philadelphia Inquirer, Fort Worth Telegram, Contra Costa Times, Sacramento Bee, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, NC News & Observer, and others. (Click HERE to read the article.)

In addition, CBS4 in Miami became the first station we know of to run a television segment about the call for hearings. Video of that can be found HERE.)

Perhaps most importantly, just this morning the Philadelphia Inquirer courageously ran the full editorial I drafted along with my fellow Judiciary Committee members Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (R-WI). (View it HERE .) Congratulations to the Inquirer for their willingness to publish a viewpoint that is so widely held by Americans yet one that other leading national newspapers refused to publish.

We have come so far in just a few weeks. No longer can the mainstream media ignore our efforts and dismiss this cause as only part of the fringe left.

Already we are seeing tangible results from our combined effort. As you already know, Congress is well behind the American people on this issue. This is an uphill battle, but it's one that has to be fought. It should not be the whole agenda, but it needs be *on* the agenda.

When Congress reconvenes in January, I plan to present a list to my Judiciary Committee colleagues of every single person that signed up at WexlerWantsHearings.com. I will go to more of my colleagues and ask them to join a letter in support of hearings. We will build on the momentum you have given us.

Last week, I spent an hour on Blog Talk Radio outlining thoughts and answering questions in regards to this work. So many people hit their site that their servers temporarily went down. If you'd like to hear the archived audio, please click HERE.

Let's do our best to further spread the message so that list will be up to a quarter million. Please continue to blog, email friends, and insist that your family and friends sign up!

Thanks for your commitment.

Congressman Robert Wexler

P.S. I have been running online ads to make more people aware of our impeachment campaign. If you are interested in making a contribution to this effort you can click here.


********************





Tuesday, December 25, 2007

From the Publisher of "End of America"

The following is from the publisher of Naomi Wolf's new best-selling book, "The End of America," written of on this page earlier. I continue to highly recommend the book and its crucial, urgent message.



In a stunning indictment of the Bush administration and Congress, bestselling author Naomi Wolf lays out her case for saving American democracy. In authoritative research and documentation Wolf explains how events of the last six years
parallel steps taken in the early years of the 20th century’s worst dictatorships such as Germany, Russia, China, and Chile.

The book cuts across political parties and speaks directly to those of us who are
concerned about the ever-tightening noose being placed around our liberties.

+++++++++++++++++++++

“I believe there are more
instances of the abridgment
of freedom of the people by
gradual and silent
encroachments by those in
power than by violent and
sudden usurpations.”

-- James Madison

++++++++++++++++++++

The End of America. Letter to a Young Patriot
now in paperback
$13.95, Chelsea Green Publishing

******************************

In this timely call to arms, Naomi Wolf compels us to face the way our
free America is under assault. She warns us—with the straight-to-fellow citizens
urgency of one of Thomas Paine’s revolutionary pamphlets—that
we have little time to lose if our children are to live in real freedom.
Wolf is taking her message directly to the American people in the most
accessible form and as part of a large national campaign to reach out to
ordinary Americans about the dangers we face today. This includes a lecture
and speaking tour, and being part of the nascent American Freedom
Campaign, a grassroots effort to ensure that presidential candidates pledge
to uphold the constitution and protect our liberties from further erosion.
The End of America will shock, enrage, and motivate—spurring us to act, as the Founders would have counted on us to do in a time such as this, as rebels and patriots—to save our liberty and defend our nation.

Naomi Wolf’s essays have been published in The New Republic, Wall Street Journal, Ms., Esquire, The Washington Post,
and The New York Times. She is the author of several books including the international bestseller, The Beauty Myth.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bush v. Gore Seventh Anniversary

On this date in 2000 at 10:00 p.m. in the evening the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling stopping the counting of votes in the 2000 election. This nefarious ruling, derided by Constitutional scholars ever since, effectively put George W. Bush in the White House against the wishes of the American people. (Vice-President Al Gore received 500,000 more votes than Bush in that election.)

In her recent book, The End of America, Naomi Wolf posits we are now in a fascist shift in this country. I very much agree! However, there have been many fascists shifts. The election of a House of Representatives led by a far-right Speaker, Newt Gingrich, was one. Another was the decision by the Fascist Five of the U.S. Supreme Court, contorting logic, defying legal precedent and laws, and in contempt of the will of the people to install G. W. Bush as President.

Let us not forget that all the nightmares which have flowed over the last seven years have been because of that one Supreme fascist shift.


More can be found here:
http://www.legitgov.org/index_hot_April5.html

Monday, December 10, 2007

"End of America" author on YouTube

At the link below you can watch author Naomi Wolf of "End of America" fame lecturing on the book's major points. The content of the talk, like the book, is terrifying, but, oh, so necessary to hear.

In a later post I plan to offer a more complete review of the book, especially now that I have finished it. For now, suffice it to say that this is surely one of the most important books of 2007 if not the decade. I and some others have been saying at least since the December 12, 2000, decision of the Supreme Court which brought G. W. Bush to power, that something like fascism was behind the Bush campaign.

Now, in this clearly-written book, Ms. Wolf has provided the evidence of the fascism of these many years since that fateful day, whose anniversary is two days away. I highly recommend the book and urge every American to read it as soon as possible. Our democracy, and even, our very lives depend on this kind of information.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjALf12PAWc

Friday, December 07, 2007

Interview with Author of "End of America" Available On the Web

As I write this I am listening to the interview with author Naomi Wolf which was broadcast on Democracy Now! on November 28, 2007.

I have read enough of the book to know this is the most important book I have read in 2007. Evidently many people agree as the book is now on the New York Times best-seller list according to the Democracy Now! website.

In the interview I am listening to Ms. Wolf is talking about torture. The Military Commissions Act of 2006, which remains the law of the land, gives the go-ahead to the Bush administration to commit acts of torture. We now know from writers such as Nat Hentoff, mentioned earlier on this blog, that torture has almost certainly continued in the very recent past and very possibly is being committed now.

One point Wolf makes is that you don't have to have the ovens in order to have fascism. Not every fascist or totalitarian state operates at that level of horror or depravity. Sometimes, it is more quiet and subtle. The corollaries between these dictatorships and the Bush administration remain, including secret prisons and mercenary armies. (When employees of Blackwater, Inc., operated on the streets of New Orleans following hurricane Katrina it was the first time mercenary soldiers had operated on U.S. soil since the Revolutionary War.)

I urge everyone to listen to this interview and to get and read "The End of America". Your freedom and mine will depend on how we react now.


The interview is here:

http://www.democracynow.org/2007/11/28/the_end_of_america_feminist_social

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"The End of America" -- Continued

Naomi Wolf's "The End of America" continues to frighten and inspire. I am encouraging our locally-owned bookstore to sponsor on author's book-signing.

Every citizen should read this book!

Please check back here for most postings on this very important book.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Future of America

Work demands have been very heavy over the last week and have included an interview for a new position.

I did, however, have time to purchase and begin reading an extremely important new book entitled The End of America; Letter to a Young Patriot by Naomi Wolf, mentioned on this blog earlier. In a real sense it is impossible to over-estimate the importance of this book. A clearer book on the federal government under G. W. Bush I have not read.

Because of the hour I am unable to write much more. However, I strongly encourage you, dear reader, to look the book up and purchase it. You will then have access to much information which can help you make sense of this very disturbing administration.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Proposal to Repeal Earlier Expansion of Presidential Power

In a provision in the 2007 Defense Authorization Act, Congress expanded the circumstances under which the President could use the military for domestic law inforcement purposes. This provision, passed in the dead of night and almost totally ignored by the major media, was subsequently opposed by the National Governors Association and the National Guard association.



The House Armed Services committee under new chairman Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri has proposed a repeal of the expansion of Presidential power. The article at the link below gives more information. It is from Congressional Quarterly on line and was published on October 19, 2007. The repeal appears to be still in committee as of this writing. I will continue my research on this topic.



The proposed repeal is another example of good work on the part of the new Democratic Congress.





http://public.cq.com/docs/cqt/news110-000002609356.html

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Warning to Patriots

Today I have read an article about a new book on the rise of fascist dictatorships. The interview is with Naomi Wolf.

The article is very interesting and I highly recommend it. The information here corresponds very much with my own research. Everyone in America and beyond who cares about democracy should read this article!

I will have more to say later.


http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/112107R.shtml

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Last evening's Bill Moyers Journal brought official word of the attempt by the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to allow a significant expansion of the reach and power of the already powerful corporate media in the United States. This outrageous power grab is being promoted at a time of high profits for newspapers (an average of 17% per year according to Bill Moyers).

Now Chairman Martin and his Republican cohorts are trying to push through on short notice the same sweetheart deal for big media which the public rejected in overwhelming numbers under the previous chairman, Michael Powell, in 2003. The proposed relaxation of rules would allow one company to own both a major newspaper and a major TV station in the same market. More details can be found at the link below.

Because Chairman Martin intends to railroad these rule changes through next month, Moyers is telling us we need to make our voices heard by December 11. Please do contact the FCC and your members of Congress as soon as possible. It is critical the policy-makers hear from us right away. A handy contact form is provided through the web site I have referenced below.

It is clear to me ownership rules need to be strengthened, not relaxed. These rule changes are a clear pay-back by the Bush administration to their corporate supporters in the huge media conglomerates. There are several links on the Moyers web page which I will be examining. One includes incidents of media companies providing favors to FCC members. If this information is true, we have corruption on a high order.

After you do contact the government officials, I would be glad to hear about it. (You may use the "Comment" button here.)

This is a time to stand together -- and -- take action.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cheney Impeachment Up-date

This afternoon I spoke with the office of the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary of the U.S. House, Mr. John Conyers. The subject of the conversation with the gracious woman who answered was the Cheney Impeachment matter. I was told that the matter would be dealt with after the first of the year, as there are only two weeks left in the current session.



The mere fact that the resolutions impeaching Cheney have been sent to the Committee on the Judiciary is, in itself, quite extraordinary. We have Rep. Dennis Kucinich to thank for this. It is clear to me that if there is a mass uprising of interest on the part of the American people the Judiciary Committee will be forced to at least hold hearings. And I believe any honest hearings by credible witnesses will establish that Richard B. Cheney should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, if not treason.



So we are in important times. Will you be part of solving the problems of our current executive branch? Your support of this impeachment effort is thoughtfully and urgently sought. Please call or write Rep. John Conyers and your own representative at your earliest convenience and respectfully express your opinion.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Explosive New Article by Elizabeth Holtzman

Please see the link below for an article by former Representative Elizabeth Holtzman on the possible culpability of Bush and Cheney on the issue of torture.





http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/111407R.shtml

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Lions for Lambs"

The new Robert Redford film, "Lions for Lambs" debuted this past week-end. I was priviliged to view it along with a friend last evening. The film is extremely well-done with fabulous acting by Redford with Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise. Focusing on the propaganda surrounding U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, the film throws light on the dilemmas faced by major media. The movie also contains a theme rare in films of today: pertinent and timeless advice for wayward youth.

All themes are handled intelligently, and, dare I say, entertainingly. "Lions for Lambs" is highly recommended.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Missing Class

They amount to 57 million Americans. They are the near-poor as defined by statistics and author Katherine Newman whose book (with Victor Tan Chen) The Missing Class has just been published.

Katherine Newman was interviewed this evening on Bill Moyers Journal in a very informative conversation about these forgotten Americans. I am not ashamed to say I am experienced with this economic class of Americans. I know the particular struggles and the hardships.

Because of the hour I am unable to write more. However, I did want to make this posting now so readers would be able to look up the book and check it out. I will plan on writing more about it in a future post.


http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2007/11/the_missing_class_1.html

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Is Iraq Another Vietnam?

I have just started reading an important new book about Iraq called Iraq and the Lessons of Vietnam, a compendium of essays edited by Lloyd C. Gardner and Marilyn B. Young. I am only in the first chapter, having already completed the introduction.

The book is a collection of essays by writers such as Christian G. Appy, David Elliott, Elizabeth L. Hillman, and John Prados. In coming days I will relate more about what I am reading. So far the book is a well-written accounting of the history of the propaganda surrounding the Vietnam war and its aftermath as well as the Gulf War and the current Iraq war. Being dealt with in the early pages are the hubris of George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld who changed stories as events did not go their way in Iraq.

Certainly it is crucial to get the story straight when it comes to understanding why the United States attacked Iraq in 2003 and remains stuck there in the proverbial quagmire. I am looking forward to reading this book.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Multitude of News

This week has been one of fairly rapid developments. With a very busy week behind me, I only now have time to post here. As there is still a great deal going on, it seems wise to hold off on a serious post tonight.

This does not mean that I am prepared to offer an "unserious" post. But it does mean that I want to be thoughtful in what I do write. So with the readers' permission I will simply say for now that I am watching the Mukasey nomination, the Presidential race -- and I am still interested in having the truth about the last two elections come out. (See early posts on this web log.)

Best wishes,

The Musical Patriot

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mending the Government

Earlier this evening I finished reading John W. Dean's new book Broken Government. Of all the recent books recently released by former government officials this book and Al Gore's Assault on Reason are two of the most important. Over the coming days I plan to write more about Broken Government. I will do this in the form of vignettes. A fuller review must await another time, and possibly another place.

John Dean advocates a surprisingly simple solution for the broken government we have experienced for the last several years: cease electing Republicans. Dean states that the Republican Party of today is a party he no longer recognizes. In four chapters and two appendices, Mr. Dean examines the functioning of all three branches of the federal government under Republican rule. He finds said government not only wanting but, in many respects, dangerous. He finds the current form of far-right Republicanism with its anti-government mindset to be incapable of running the government. He cites particularly the failure of the technique of government shut-downs.

In this book John Dean has performed a tremendous public service. Both in laying out the recent history of the federal government and a proposed solution, he has provided a reason for hope amidst despair, a plan amidst chaos. For this he is to be commended and congratulated.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Broken Government; Fixed?

I am now in the final chapter of John W. Dean's book Broken Government. In finishing the previous chapter on the judiciary it became clear how close our judicial branch is to a radical transformation at the hands of judicial fundamentalists (to be distinguished from religious fundamentalists). Mr. Dean reports on the gradual but steady slide toward authoritarianism under the Rhenquist and Roberts courts.

By way of a fix, there are only hints so far. One point which made an impression on me was that the courts depend on the willing obedience of the people. Aside from this the courts have no enforcement ability of their own. In a future post I hope to tell more about this grave danger of an increasingly politicized judiciary.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Broken Government

After the next chapter I will be finished with the main body of John W. Dean's new book Broken Government. How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches. This is a most valuable book, coming as it does from an insider of the Nixon administration, many of whose actions are described in some detail. Although the title is a bit hyperbolic, the essential truth behind it is amply set forth.



I will have a more complete review later. However, this book is well worth reading, and may be essential reading for these times. I am going to be especially interested in Dean's suggestions for repairing the damage done primarily by Republicans over the last thirty-five and more years.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The War

"Every war is the war for those who fight in it." So said Bill Moyers moments ago on his Bill Moyers Journal. He was referring to the Ken Burns documentary The War being broadcast this week on the Public Broadcasting network. And surely the Iraq War is the war for the men fighting it.

We in America, living our lives with our own daily concerns, often act as if we are oblivious to the reality of death in the middle east. Death comes suddenly there, at night and at day, often with no notice, except for the awful spector which haunts and permeates the very air. I am speaking of Iraq but also of Gaza, of Lebanon, and any place which bears the terror of violence.


To say that we in the United States are fortunate is something of an irony, because our fortune co-exists with our complicity in a policy which has brought devastation to the country of Iraq. It is true that our leaders and our media have lied to us. Yet, unlike in Hitler's Germany we do have the means to get the truth. There is the Internet and there are alternative media. Of course, it is also true that most Americans must work very hard to pay daily and monthly bills. For them, researching world events is a luxury, even if they happen to have research skills.

Thus one must return to the culpability of the press and media. They are the ones who knew or should have known the rationale given for this war was bogus. They knew or should have known this war was illegal under international and U.S. law. Yet, the overwhelming majority opted for position and access to the Bush administration over the truth.

Even as I excoriate the press, I admit I did not do all I could have. Yes, I called my congressmen before the Iraq invasion to express my opposition to the planned attack on Iraq. Yes, I had an "Attack Iraq? No!" bumper sticker. I still feel I could have done more.

A guest on the Moyers program stated tonight that we are seeing the final failure of the Bush administration policy in Iraq as refugees from the forlorn country run out of money and are forced to return. This is a huge and virtually ignored humanitarian crisis which we in America must face.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Election 2004 Up-date

A pre-cursor to this blog was a series of e-mails I sent out beginning several years ago. These letters to friends highlighted items of special interest.

Beginning almost immediately after the Election of 2004 I began sending links to articles questioning the announced result of a win for George W. Bush. At that time such questioning was being done by very few people. I received criticism, some of it harsh, for raising the possibility of a stolen election. Now, almost three years later, I feel more like an excavator than a radical. That is, I am now more of a historian, rather than a firebrand.

However that may be, the issues surrounding a Presidential election which was the first to be debated by Congress since the nineteenth century are still current. In the article referenced below, writer Michael Collins looks at the election break-down. How is it possible, he asks, that in an election in which the increase in turn-out in big cities, historically Democratic-leaning, was 66 per cent -- how was it Bush did so well, causing him to win the election? The article is must-reading. In a future post I hope to connect the import of the Dan Rather suit against CBS (and corporate parent) with the Collins article.


http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0708/S00284.htm

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Astonishing Allegation

I use the word "astonishing" in the title of this post in the context of Presidential history, not in the context of the history of the current Presidency. The allegation in the article linked below is right in line with other lies told by this administration. Who can still believe that this Bush/Cheney administration represents the American people?

Briefly, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC has alleged that Bush claimed an attack on the Capitol was imminent right before the vote to extend Presidential snooping. Surely, this is a new low in Presidential machinations. It is to be most strongly condemned.


http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/092507B.shtml

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Events Are a Prelude to Consideration

Important events have been numerous during the last two weeks. This, along with a busy schedule, has encouraged me to take a bit of time for reflection.

During this time I have begun reading John W. Dean's new book Broken Government which contains solid research and many excellent points. I will have more to say about this book later.

For the time being, I have felt it wise to be more thoughtful than usual about my postings here. As things come clear I will certainly post my conclusions.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

News of My Schedule

My September schedule has turned out to be rather hectic and exhausting. Thus when I am not busy I am resting. Unfortunately, that has meant an absence of more than a week from this web log. My schedule will once again be busy throughout the coming week-end. However, if there arises some free time, I will attempt to post here.

It is clear from a monitoring of events that a great deal is going on in the political world. And even more is going on, one can assume, behind the scenes. The world is at a critical juncture. One must decide which side one is on and act accordingly.

Be well, dear reader.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day Snapshot

On Labor Day 2007, it is time to reflect for a moment on the state of workers in America and around the world. We know from statistics that the welfare of workers in the U.S. is at severe risk -- from out-sourcing, from stagnant wages, and from diminishing health care.



Such a state of decline is not accidental. Such conditions are the result of greedy company owners trying to maximize profits at the expense of workers in order to enrich corporate executives and stock holders. The stock holders do no work, yet claim a share in the fruits of the labors of the workers. Such a system, I have seen, is evil in intent and effect.



It is hoped that the coming year will see a stiffening of the backbone of labor and an increasing resistance to a system which is so injurious to the best interests of working men and women.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Resuming After a Break

I have spent my dog days of August on vacation, both at home and out of state. Now that I am getting back into the swing of things, it is time to resume my blog entries.

As I commence anew the United States is getting ready for a new Attorney General. This, of course, is an extremely important matter. At the same time, I cannot help but reflect on the sorry state of the public discourse in this country. I cannot help but remember the botched "election" of G. W. Bush in 2000 and the election fraud which denied John Kerry the Presidency in 2004. In addition there is all the circumstantial evidence of inside knowledge of the September 11, 2001, tragedy.

Explanations tying all these events are available on the Internet. I have mentioned some of them here. In the past I have charged that the economic portion of the British Empire has been continued and -- along with collusion by American corporations -- has continued in operation around the world. Operating under a greedy profit motive these powerful financial forces have worked to undermine the democratic republic of the United States in increasinlgy sophisticated ways.

Not to acknowledge these facts, painful as they are, only seeks to obscure the truth and delay a solution to our problems. Thus, if democracy is not yet practiced here in its real form, we have the opportunity to establish it. If the corporations are too powerful, we have the opportunity to rein them in, modify their function, or dissolve them. We must remember, of course, that, as they say, Rome was not built in a day. But let us be about the business of securing between these shores a truly representative democracy -- one worthy of the best of our people and one which will truly serve as a light to the world.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Reason on the Throne

I have learned from chapter two of Al Gore's new book The Assault on Reason that the founding fathers, although not unalterably opposed to religion, nevertheless understood that in the old world, religion and the church had often stood with the forces of oppression and against the common man. This abuse of religion they were firmly oppososed to and sought to proscribe in the new United States. This is the meaning of the establishment clause in the First Amendment.





Thomas Jefferson said that state-sanctioned religious authority "has been hostile to liberty." In our time we have seen the rise of religious sects which claim a direct pathway to the mind of God. Anyone who opposes them is declared an enemy of God by definition. This outrageous, arrogant, and supercilious attitude is dangerous both to the common good and to freedom. That persons with such an attitude have reached the highest levels of the federal government should give every patriot pause.





As Christ Hedges has recently pointed out, the only thing a tolerant society cannot tolerate is intolerance. Thus I call for the elimination of "The 700 Club" and its like from our cable TV channels. If this sounds like over-reach I believe supporting evidence can be marshalled. Such evidence and support for this call will be given in coming days. (In the meantime you can consult American Fascists by the aforementioned Chris Hedges for details.)





The time to act is now. Well-financed individuals and groups are working every day to establish a narrow theocracy in America.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fear Overcomes Reason

In chapter one of his book The Assault on Reason, Al Gore writes about the relationship between fear and reason. Both, he says, are necessary for survival. Yet fear can shut down reason. This, he posits, is what has happened in America in recent years.

Surely Mr. Gore is right about this, even as others have made the same observation. We are a long way from President Franklin Roosevelt's statement that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. The message of the current administration is Be afraid, be very afraid.

This is a big subject and much can be said. For a further understanding you may consult Gore's book and also The Culture of Fear by Glassner.

Let us not be consumers of fear. Rather let us be consumers of knowledge and purveyors of reason. Such an approach is the only true antidote to unreasonable fear.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Al Gore's Defense of Reason

It is a pleasure to take in the message of Vice-President Al Gore as given in his new book The Assault on Reason. In this introduction to a series of reviews I will present some opening comments.

First, although I cannot say I agree with every statement in the book, the introduction and first chapter of the book alone are worth the purchase price. Mr. Gore presents in clear terms how the public sphere -- the area in which the national discussion of great issues takes place -- has been co-opted by a shallow one-way delivery system known as televison. This is no diatribe, nor is it any vindictive essay of regret about the 2000 election. This is a thoughtful and well-researched description of the loss of a method for learning about our nation's problems and collectively coming to solutions. Later in the book, Gore presents some beginning solutions to the problem.

For now I can say that the elucidation of the history of print media, public discourse, and the degeneration of this discourse currently being experienced chiefly through the national television media, and to a lesser extent through radio, is an extremely valuable explication of the vital role played by the press and media in a democracy and how the degradation of these media has seriously threatened our democracy. I am grateful for this book! It is a pleasure to recommend this book not simply for enjoyment but for its necessity in helping to maintain one's sanity in a deeply anti-intellectual environment. Get this book, and get it soon. You will be glad you did.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cancelling the Vote

At the hyperlink shown below is an important new article by elections experts Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis. This intrepid pair has closely investigated the vote rigging which went on in Ohio before, during and after the 2004 election. This kind of vote rigging and suppression went on all over the country.

Now these modern-day Paul Reveres are alerting us to the preparations by certain Republican operatives regarding the 2008 election. Knowing they are not favored to win, these Republicans are doing everything they can to undermine democratic elections in this country. There are even plans to "cancel" the election next year in the event a Democratic out-come becomes a forgone conclusion.

Read and weep or read and get busy. The choice is yours. I will write more on this subject in the future.

http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20070730235557492

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

July Goes Out With a Bang

Something unexpected happened between July 1 and July 31. Perhaps it was that subversive holiday in the United States known as Independence Day. Perhaps it was the sheer joy of long, warm and sunny summer days. Whatever the cause there is something in the air. There is a spirit of anticipation among freedom lovers as two "Bush administration" figures suffer.



While I am not a sadist, I do see the pain being experienced by Alberto Gonzales as justified. It is ironic to see Mr. Gonzales going to such lengths to protect his "boss", George W. Bush, when the latter man lets Gonzales twist slowly, slowly in the wind. We are now seeing the United States Congress becoming the independent branch of government it truly is. Certain members of Congress simply are not amenable to the spin machine of the White House. This does not bode well for Mr. Gonzales. There are now calls for Mr. Gonzales' impeachment. I support and applaud such calls.

The second ailment is a physical one being endured by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. The seizure had by Mr. Roberts was his second reported seizure of this kind. I now quote from the Associated Press story: "By definition, someone who has had more than one seizure without any other cause is determined to have epilepsy, said Dr. Marc Schlosberg, a neurologist at Washington Hospital Center, who is not involved in the Roberts' case." If no cause is found for the seizures, John Roberts has epilepsy according to Dr. Schlosberg. Can things get any stranger?



Is there some relation between an Attorney General whose memory seems to fail him at critical points and a Supreme Court Justice whose brain blacks out? Is there an aversion to truth as such? And do they share this trait with both George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney?



America is coming to its senses. America is in the process of returning to its roots. The process, though sometimes painful, is necessary because it is beginning to bring a small but real sense of hope.



Now if we can only prevent R. Cheney from launching an attack on Iran in August.





++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++



Coming soon: A review of Al Gore's new book, The Assault on Reason. I am coming to the end of this important book and look forward to writing about it.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Cascade of Events

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a large national music conference, one which was beneficial to me. I got to see old friends and I met new ones.

Thus I was not able to submit more than one post last week. Then this week I have been getting ready for vacation. If this sounds like a short litany of excuses, I will have to let the matter rest there.

While my own personal life has been proceeding apace, national events have seemed to cascade. One of the most important events was the sit-in at John Conyers' office after an unproductive meeting on the subject of impeachment. I know many people are very disappointed in Mr. Conyers at this moment, and justifiably so.

Among inadequately-reported events, there is a huge build-up in the middle east in preparation for a U.S. attack on Iran. There are reports that the Cheney-Bush administration is waiting for a "false flag", a pretense for launching an air war against that sovereign nation. (And in this instance I have seen fit to interchange the order of characters in the Bush-Cheney administration.)

The concern is that with Congress almost daily issuing statements condemning Iran, the stage is being set for such an attack. What folly we have come to! What preposterous and criminal nonsense all this is! Whatever the intemperance of the Iranian leader, with no evidence of a nuclear weapons program we have already pre-positioned a large expeditionary force in the waters off Iran. It would be little wonder that some trumped-up charge against Iran could set off a dire chain of events. This would be the Iraq War, Part II.

This is only one reason why Cheney and Bush must be removed from office through impeachment. The very health and safety of the world is at stake. It is Congress' responsibility to take the appropriate action and launch an impeachment inquiry immediately.

Coming soon: my review of Al Gore's important new book, The Assault on Reason.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Landmark Event

Nichols' argument...bases the power of impeachment in the hands of the people, rather than the [C]ongress.


For those of you in the U.S. who may not have seen the Bill Moyers Journal program last Friday evening on the subject of impeachment, I am happy to tell you how very refreshing and exhilarating it was.* Two experts, one from the left and one from the right, were essentially in total agreement about not only the need but the requirement for Bush and Cheney to be impeached. This program was a breakthrough for national broadcast television and thus for the country as a whole. It is essential viewing for anyone who either a) needs an uplift during this dark time; and/or b) anyone who cares about our country.

The program combined scholarship, eloquence and passion to present a rock solid case for impeaching these two governmental rascals. In fact, said John Nichols, and Bruce Fein, if they are not impeached it would be a grave injury to both the Constitution and the Republic.

As a result of this program, I have decided to make impeachment my number one civic project. I do believe, as Scott Ritter has stated, that impeachment cannot be the only remedy in our society. And, of course, my special fields of interest are both ethics and spirituality. But Nichols and Fein have made clear to me, nothing is really going to happen until the people rise up and take charge of the impeachment issue.

I will write more later about this. But for now I hope you will be able to see the program!


*The program is available for viewing on line here:
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07132007/profile.html

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Unspoken Co-conspirators

We hear much these days about the lies of administration officials which brought the U.S. to the sorry state of affairs in Iraq today. What we hear little of is the role played by the U.S. media in carrying the Bush administration propaganda directly to the people with precious little analysis, skepticism or criticism. Such lack is a colossal and criminal negligence on the part of what used to be an adversarial (if often friendly) relationship between the press and media and the White House.



As Americans rightly express their outrage with the failure of the Bush Iraq policy, we must remember the central role played by the media in pumping up a kind of mass hysteria surrounding alleged weapons of mass destruction. In the future it will be shown that certain people in the administration knew exactly what they were doing in playing the fear card. It will also be shown that the media, cowed by the fall-out from the attacks of September 11, 2001, instead of maintaining an objective distance from the President, instead simply asked where to line up and salute (as Dan Rather infamously offered.) There must come a time of accountability for the press and media as well. May God have mercy on these slimy people of the pen. In a sense of Christian charity may they be spared the fate they consigned thousands of American soldiers and many more thousands of Iraqi citizens to, dear in their humanity, even as each of us in this great land is dear and precious.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

2008 Is Too Late

As a service to my readers I am today posting the ad from a group known as The World Can't Wait. For several months now, this group has been advocating legal action to remove Bush from office, saying the dangers of leaving him in office are greater than the effort to remove him. I completely agree.

At the same time, I am cognizant of Scott Ritter's admonition to work in ways in addition to the impeachment effort. In various posts on this blog you will find many resources for further information.

But because this ad, which appeared in The New York Times on Friday, June 22, 2007, is so compelling, I am taking the time to present nearly the entire text of the ad along with a link to the World Can't Wait web site.

There is so much to be said about all of this. However, after reading the ad I believe you will agree that 2008 is too late and that peaceful but definite action must be taken now before the 2008 elections begin to dominate the airwaves. Thus time is of the essence. Please do what you think is right.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




2008 IS TOO LATE






What harm can Bush do before his term is up?



He can bomb Iran. He can appoint another Supreme Court Justice.



He can continue with impunity the crime of torture. And more:













YOUR GOVERNMENT, on the basis of outrageous lies, is waging a murderous and utterly illegitimate war in Iraq, with other countries in its sights.






YOUR GOVERNMENT is openly torturing people, and justifying it.






YOUR GOVERNMENT puts people in jail on the merest suspicion, refusing them lawyers, and either holding them indefinitely or deporting them in the dead of night.






YOUR GOVERNMENT is moving each day closer to a theocracy, where a narrow and hateful brand of Christian fundamentalism will rule.






YOUR GOVERNMENT suppresses the science that doesn't fit its religious, political and economic agenda, forcing present and future generations to pay a terrible price.






YOUR GOVERNMENT supresses the science that doesn't fit its religious, political and economic agenda, forcing present and future generations to pay a terrible price.






YOUR GOVERNMENT is moving to deny women here, and all over the world, the right to birth control and abortion.






YOUR GOVERNMENT enforces a culture of greed, bigotry, intolerance and ignorance.






People look at all this and think of Hitler -- and they are right to do so. The Bush regime is setting out to radically remake society very quickly, in a fascist way, and for generations to come. We must act now; the future is in the balance.






Millions and millions are deeply disturbed and outraged by this. They recognize the need for a vehicle to express this outrage, yet they cannot find it; politics as usual cannot meet the enormity of the challenge, and people sense this.






There is not going to be some magical "pendulum swing." People who steal elections and believe they're on a "mission from God" will not go without a fight.






There is not going to be some savior from the Democratic Party. This whole idea of putting our hopes and energies into "leaders" who tell us to seek common ground with fascists and religious fanatics is proving every day to be a disaster, and actually serves to demobilize people.






But silence and paralysis are NOT acceptable. That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn -- or be forced -- to accept. There is no escaping it: the whole disastrous course of this Bush regime must be STOPPED. And we must take the responsibility to do it.






And there is a way. We are talking about something on a scale that can really make a huge change in this country and in the world. We need more than fighting Bush's outrages one at a time, constantly losing ground to the whole onslaught. We must, and can, aim to create a political situation where the Bush regime's program is repudiated, where Bush himself is driven from office, and where the whole direction he has been taking society is reversed. We, in our millions, must and can take responsibility to change the course of history.






Acting in this way, we join with and give suppport and heart to people all over the globe who so urgently need and want this regime to be stopped.






This will not be easy. If we speak the truth, they will try to silence us. If we act, they will try to stop us. But we speak for the majority, here and around the world, and as we get this going we are going to reach out to the people who have been so badly fooled by Bush and we are NOT going to stop.






The point is this: history is full of examples where people who had right on their side fought against tremendous odds and were victorious. And it is also full of examples of people passively hoping to wait it out, only to get swallowed up by a horror beyond what they ever imagined.






The future is unwritten. WHICH ONE WE GET IS UP TO US.






THE WORLD CAN'T WAIT!



DRIVE OUT THE BUSH REGIME!






Sign this call. Join these endorsers and the thousands more who have already signed:






James Abourezk, Rocky Anderson, Edward Asner, Rene Auberjonois, Paulette Cole, Olympia Dukakis, Michael Eric Dyson, Niles Eldredge, Daniel Ellsberg, Eve Ensler, Laura Flanders, Jane Fonda, Mike Gravel, Paul Haggis, Stephen Hays, Ron Kovic, Cynthia McKinney, Tom Morello, John Nichols, Major Owens, Sean Penn, Michell Phillips, Harold Pinter, Franice Prose, Michael Ratner, Henry Rollins, Mark Ruffalo, James Schamus, Richard Serra, Jeff Sharlet, Sunsara Taylor, Gore Vidal, Alice Walker, Cornel West, Howard Zinn









Attend Town Meetings

Nationwide

IMPEACH BUSH

& CHENEY FOR

WAR CRIMES

For info: 866.973.4463


Los Angeles: July 12
Immanuel Presbyterian Church

San Francisco: July 15
Civic Center




More at worldcantwait.org











http://www.worldcantwait.org/

Monday, July 09, 2007

Justice Department Attorney Speaks Out

At considerable risk to his personal career, John S. Koppel, a long-time attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice has written a public letter clearing setting forth the truth about the politicized Department.

Mr. Koppel is an American hero for his bravery in speaking about his Department. This is obviously a man who loves his country and the Department of Justice. We need more people like John Koppel. Read his article here: < http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_6308408 >.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Illogic of Impeachment

Occasionally on this web log it has seemed necessary to be contradictory, even contrary. Such is the case this evening.

It has occured to me during the day that if one faces the facts as they are known, there is an illogic to the current efforts to impeach Cheney and Bush. The illogic is this. If we accept, as has been shown by prize-winning journalist Greg Palast and renowned prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi that the ascension of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney to power was illegitimate, then is not the impeachment of these two inappropriate? (The so-called re-election of 2004 can likewise be shown to be bogus.) In the strictest sense can someone who has not entered the office legitimately be then legitimately removed? Is not this the supreme irony of the current efforts toward impeachment? And is not this illogic a kind of protection for the impostors mentioned above? That is, for persons who care not a whit for the niceties of electoral law and procedure, it cannot be of any great concern that certain rabble rousers are putting forward the notion of impeachment.

At this point I may hasten to say that I whole-heartedly support impeachment if that is what will stop this heinous and hurtful renegade administration. Yet it is important to keep in mind the danger of pursuing a course of action which is based on a sour sense of history, that is, an incorrect reading of recent electoral history. Far better to come clean on the facts and through a process of a type of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, followed by proper Congressional vote, have the Bush Presidency cease to be. (The House of Representatives has the power to declare who is the legitimate President in such a situation.) This is the ideal. And being an unapologetic idealist, I am proud to present it here, regardless of the popular tide of the moment. I still believe truth has an intrinsic value and should be honored.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Impeachment Movement Continuing to Build

There was something about the Fourth of July this year which made it seem like a welcome blast from the past. It was a day for people to be happy. If it was not completely clear what we should be celebrating, what the heck, let's celebrate anyway. (And here I have adopted the informal style of the Internet.)

Still, there was a gnawing sense that something was amiss in the land of the golden grain, and the sparkling skycrapers. The laundry list of evil attacks on the Constitution, so adroitly justified by those in power, served as a check on the joy of the day.

Now comes word from Los Angeles of the opening of an Impeachment Center, whose link you will find below. The list of planned, on-going activities to culminate in the impeachment of Cheney and Bush is impressive. With Cheney's colossal gaffe declaring he was not part of the Executive Branch, people are wondering, at the least, whether Cheney has all his marbles these days.

I very much support the impeachment of Cheney. (Bush can be impeached as well, but not before Cheney leaves office. We can't have Cheney marching into the Oval Office.) He has exerted an incredible amount of control over policy development in this Administration. And his policies have led this nation into an unwinnable war. His policies have led to the extreme embarrassment of torture.

Yet even as the impeachment of Cheney is gone after, let us remember how we got here. Let us be about restoring a sense of decency and compassion in our public policy. Let us clean up our elections. Let us do all these things, looking within our own hearts, examining what evil may lurk there, unknown yet damaging to us. Then we will be better able to oppose the evil in our leaders.

http://www.bcimpeach.com/

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Dangerous End-Time Movement

There is afoot in the land a dangerous movement based on shoddy, selective and erroneous theology called End-Time Christianity. A number of years ago living in a small city in Florida, I became acquainted with the End-Timers, a sect which had recently taken up residence there. This group, whose members seemed ordinary in one sense, began to slowly permeate the community.

The End Time philosophy, which is said to be based on the book of Revelation, claims we are living in the last days before the re-appearance of Christ. Never mind that Jesus Christ himself said Of that day and hour no one knows. This theory states that the establishment of the nation of Israel was a sign that the apocalyptic age was at hand. Before the appearance of Christ, say these End-Timers, there will be a period of tribulation. Those who have been faithful to Jesus will be taken up directly into heaven in what is known as "the rapture."

As a student of the Bible and a former seminary student, I can assure the reader this is all bunk. Yet it seems to meet the need of numbers of uncertain people.

Considerations of time prevent me from writing more about this movement here. That is why I have included the link to an important article on the subject below. No one should minimize or attempt to simply laugh off this End-Time doctrine, no matter how kooky it seems. As the article shows, this pseudo-Christian philosophy has numerous adherents in our society and, now in the federal government, including -- reportedly -- George W. Bush.

The value of the article mentioned here, written by J.P. Briggs II, Ph.D., and Thomas D. Williams, is in analyzing the coded language being used by Bush and others in government. To some reading this, what I have just written may sound nutty. I believe, however, that as you read this well-thought-out piece, you will find the theory offered by the authors to be quite plausible.

As a person with a music degree from a seminary, and as a student of Christian history and theology I know the End-Time Prophecy is heresy. The sad thing is how powerful it has become in American society reaching even into the White House and many agencies and Congressional offices of the Federal Government. Is it not past time to take notice?



http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/062907J.shtml

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

"SiCKO"

It was my privilege to see the new film "SiCKO" by Michael Moore Monday evening. I highly recommend this important and moving film. The film, which contains the stories of several worthy but desperate Americans as they seek proper health care, is already something of a sensation. The pundits and public relations machine has already been deployed to counter the effects of this film.

As you will see, Michael Moore quite brilliantly juxtaposes the U.S. health care system with other systems in other countries. And the picture is not pretty: America is now 37th in the world, says Moore in the film, in the quality of its health care, ranking just above Slovenia. Michael Moore essentially says that the profit motive has no place in medicine. I have never heard this stated so clearly in film before now and I whole-heartedly agree!

Moore's film is full of heart. The editing and use of music and sound are wonderful. The only thing missing is a how-to list for those who want to do something, a la the ending of An Inconvenient Truth. As time permits I will try to offer some suggestions here. One thing to be done is to study up on the history of corporations as given by groups such as The Program on Corporations, Law, and Democracy and Reclaim Democracy. Both can be found on the world-wide web. This history shows how a certain motive of greed really got rolling in this country in the nineteenth century and how we are victims of this motive today, including in the area of health care.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

BAE Scandal Up-date

Below is the letter of June 21, written by the Honorable Senator John Kerry to Mr. Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General of the United States.

This scandal, now beginning to be revealed, appears to possibly involve the breaking of U.S. law. This is doubly important due to the attempt of BAE, a British concern, to take over Armor Holdings, Inc., a United States company.

Although not the first to post information on this scandal to the web, I do appear to be one of the first.


************************


June 21, 2007

The Honorable Alberto R. Gonzales
Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530


Dear Mr. Attorney General:


I am writing you concerning recent reports that the British defense company BAE Systems (BAE) may have violated U.S. anti-bribery laws in relation to its international arms deals. As you are undoubtedly aware, BAE is currently seeking approval for the acquisition of Armor Holdings, Inc., the U.S. maker of armor for Humvees. BAE also currently supplies Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the U.S. military.

According to published reports, Britain's Serious Fraud Office was investigating an $80 billion transaction, known as the Al-Yamamah deal, involving a series of illegal payments by BAE through the now defunct Riggs bank in Washington, D.C., to former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan. That investigation was halted last December by the British Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, on the grounds that it was not in the national interest to pursue the inquiry.

It appears that U.S. officials have also been concerned about BAE's business practices for some years. In July 2002, a State Department memorandum noted persistent allegations that BAE Systems pays bribes to obtain business. The memorandum concluded that this volume of allegations about one company would have triggered a Department of Justice criminal division investigation long ago. More recently, in October 2006, a high ranking official at the Department of Justice indicated that foreign-owned companies, such as BAE, could be targeted by U.S. investigators: The Department will not hesitate to enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, just as it does against American companies.

Recently published reports indicate that the Department of Justice's Fraud section, in cooperation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has begun a preliminary investigation to review allegations that BAE may have illegally paid key officials to win contracts to sell fighter jets and other major weapons systems. However, representatives of both BAE and Saudi Arabia have told media sources that they have not been notified of any investigation by the Department of Justice.

Given BAE's prominent role within the U.S. defense industry, their pending application before the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States for approval of the Armor Holdings sale, and the serious nature of the allegations against this company, full disclosure of the facts is essential. Accordingly, I would appreciate receiving from you a formal clarification on the following points:

1. Have there ever been any investigations, preliminary or otherwise, of BAE by the Department of Justice?

2. Is there an ongoing investigation of BAE by the Department of Justice?

3. If any investigation of BAE was ever initiated by the Department of Justice and subsequently dropped, what were the specific reasons for this decision?

4. Was the Attorney General's office, or any other office or official in the Department of Justice, ever contacted by any other officials, agencies or departments of the U.S. government, including the White House , concerning this matter? If so, please list any and all such contacts.

5. Is the Attorney General's office aware of any past or present investigation of BAE by any other agency or department of the United States government? If so, has the Justice Department requested access to any information relevant to this investigation? Has the Justice Department requested any information related to BAE from Britains Serious Fraud Office?

6. What contact, if any, has the Attorney General's office had with the Committee on Foreign Investment regarding the sale of Armor Holdings to BAE?

I look forward to a reply no later than June 30, 2007. I would also encourage you to share any information you may have related to this issue with the Committee on Foreign Investment.


Sincerely,

Senator John F. Kerry

Cc: Senator Joseph Biden, Chairman, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee

Friday, June 29, 2007

Letter of Leahy and Conyers to The White House

At the link below you will find the official letter sent by the chairs of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees to Fred Fielding, attorney at the White House. The letter is complete and elucidating of the reasons for seeking requested documents.

It is clear the White House is indeed stonewalling. What does the White House have to hide? I agree very much with the Congressional Committees that the American people deserve to know why the White House allegedly attempted to politicize the Justice Department.

I am proud and grateful for the leadership exhibited by the Senate and House Judiciary Committees in these exigent circumstances.


http://www.judiciary.house.gov/Media/PDFS/Leahy-Conyers070629.pdf

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Internet Radio in Danger

As a musician I support Internet Radio as long as musicians are fairly compensated. I understand the bipartisan "Internet Radio Equality Act of 2007" (H.R. 2060) will accomplish this. The bill, which was introduced in the House by Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Donald Manzullo (R-Ill.), will put in place a fair compensation system for artists without destroying the new webcasting marketplace. At the same time it will overturn the destructive decision by the Copyright Royalty Board. (Based on statement from Student PIRGs.)




You may follow the link below to sign an on-line petition.





http://studentpirgs.org/action.asp?id=2387

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It Can't Happen Here -- Conclusion

Yesterday I finished reading Sinclair Lewis's great 1935 work, It Can't Happen Here. The novel, a story of a fascist dictatorship taking power in 1937, holds up quite well after more than seventy years. Lewis gives a picture of what fascism American-style might look like. Certainly there are parallels to the present day. One of the most telling similarities is the initial gullibility of the people.



This work would make great summer reading.



(See my earlier posting about this work on this blog.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Global Climate Change Discussion Heating Up

It is becoming apparent to me that the theory of human causation relating to global warming is in fact not proven, as such. What seems clear is there is much more we need to understand about global warming. This does not minimize, however, the important work of scientists.

I am in process of investigating and exploring this issue myself, and cannot make any particular judgments. At the link below you will find some further links which you may find interesting. I particularly recommend the link titled "Canadian Professor says: Prepare for Global COOLING."


http://www.freedom-force.org/freedomcontent.cfm?fuseaction=global_warming&refpage=issues

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Developing Scandal

This topic may seem a departure from the normal news items presented here. It is a developing story with many details not yet known. How far these tentacles extend has also not been proven, although the allegations are they extend internationally. The scandal involves the British firm, BAE, formerly known as British Aerospace which is accused of being involved in bribery.

I intend to follow up on this matter in the future. Because of the implications of this developing scandal, I present it here now.



http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/news/article.html?in_article_id=410389&in_page_id=2

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Global Warming: Red Alert

No matter what the exact cause, scientists continue to warn of global warming. In a new paper published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, several U.S. scientists state that drastic changes in greenhouse gas emissions must be made in order for civilization to survive. This article certainly does not answer all questions, but it does quote the scientists explaining why they are so worried.


http://environment.independent.co.uk/climate_change/article2675747.ece

Monday, June 18, 2007

An Open Letter to My Senator

Dear Senator:



Thank you very much for your thoughtful e-mail regarding impeachment. With your kind understanding, I'd like to make a couple of points. First, I believe my e-mail to you regarded the impeaching of Richard Cheney only.



As a history buff and an American patriot, I have had the opportunity to study the history of impeachment and even the mechanism of impeachment. I understand both the purpose of impeachment and its limitations. Regarding the impeachment of Vice-President Richard Cheney, I wish to make a few brief points.



As I am sure you are aware, impeachment starts in the House of Representatives. As the resolution to impeach Richard Cheney has already been filed and now has eight co-sponsors, including the Honorable Lacy Clay of my own city, the matter has real weight and must be handled appropriately, respectfully. The Internet "blogosphere" of which I am proud to be a part grows daily stronger, challenging a little more all the time the stranglehold on information wielded by the corporate media. Thus, we are not at the end of the story quite yet. Up until this time, the brazen contempt for the Constitution, the lying to Congress and the American people, have left those same people with no other avenue of accountability save impeachment.



As I was between jobs at the time, I had the chance to study the selection of George W. Bush as President. Let us remember that he did not win the popular vote and would not be in the White House today save the decision of a polarized Supreme Court on December 12 of that year. (This has been documented in several books, including The Betrayal of America by Vincent Bugliosi, the famous prosecutor in the Manson case. I highly recommend this book, in particular.) Polls have shown that some 19% of the American people do not believe G. W. Bush is the legitimate President. Likewise, the "election" of 2004 has been studied by several university statisticians who have concluded it to be virtually impossible, statistically, for the exit polls and the announced results to have been so divergent. (I will find the names of these individuals if you so desire. Also you may wish to consult the work of David Cobb and Harvey Wasserman, of Ohio, among others.)



I share your concern about the matter of impeachment taking up a great deal of energy. But let us remember that the vote in favor of impeachment by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 led to the resignation of Richard Nixon, obviating a long, drawn-out impeachment proceeding. In any event, and to reiterate, there is currently little recourse of accountability save impeachment.



It will be up to the House, as an independent body of the Congress, to dispose of the impeachment resolution, which, by the way, was filed only after the out-cry of a large number of Americans directly to Rep. Dennis Kucinich who heard from all quarters of the country. Should impeachment come to the Senate, I have full confidence in your ability to weigh the evidence presented and come to the correct conclusion. Until such time, if any, perhaps the prudent course for all of us will be to let the will of the people be heard in the halls of the House of Representatives (for polls show considerable and perhaps majority support for the impeachment of Richard Cheney).



I will definitely take your views into account as I continue my work to have the House impeach Richard Cheney.



Thank you again for your e-mail. And thank you very much for your service in the United States Senate!



Sincerely,



(Signed)



author, Is There a Case for Impeaching Ronald Reagan?, unpublished, 1985. Circulated in offices of the House of Representatives in that year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Most Dangerous "Presidential Directive"

The post which is excerpted below was placed on Democrats.com. I was already aware of the so-called National Security Presidential Directive No. 51, a very dangerous document left virtually unexamined by the corporate media.

Priorities, PLEASE!
Submitted by Ruha on May 25, 2007 - 2:28pm.
Bob: I contend that Democrats.com needs to prioritize its communications and organizational power in order to seek [C]ongressional redress of what Bush has signed into law via his latest Executive Order on May 9. This is extremely critical to democracy's survival. No one should assume that Bush and/or his regime will even relinquish power by January 20, 2009, as there now exist conditions under which a new "terrorist" attack will conveniently "justify" Bush's unilateral declaration of emergency martial law with a resultant suspension of the Constitution, deployment of troops into U.S. cities, round-up of security threats ..., and control under his command of all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments, .... And considering that this White House (p)resident has declared the war against terrorism to be a perpetual twilight struggle, it may be quite some time before we even begin to again see a Constitutional form of government.... Please see my blog under
DictatorshipisEasier.us for more details....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Who Owns the Government?

They can try to have their votes of no confidence, but it's not going to determine who serves in my government. George W. Bush

I have begun a study of American government utilizing our local world-class library. However, I do not need a book to tell me that in America the people are supposed to own the government. Thus when a President refers to the government as his government it is extremely disturbing. It is clear this President while speaking in Bulgaria yesterday regarding the attempted Gonzales no-confidence vote was not speaking as a citizen. He was speaking as the President, declaring no one but himself has any right to determine who serves in his government. It is true the Supreme Court ruled many years ago that only the President can fire a cabinet officer once appointed. Yet, the President declared that only he can determine who serves. Misstatement or not, words matter. Congress still retains the right of advice and consent for all nominations.

And who decided that the President owns the government? This is the question which follows from the President's statement. It should be clear by now that this President and those who put him in office care nothing for government by the people, unless it should jibe with their wealth agenda. Let us be clear and let us remain on guard.

Report: Giuliani Campaign Has Peaceful Journalist Arrested

The article at the URL below is well worth looking at. The article begins, "Folks, if this is true..." so the reader should beware. However, from what I know of R. Giuliani and the people who seem to be backing him, the report has the ring of truth. Similar tactics were used by the G. W. Bush campaign in 2000.

Also on the <> website is at least one article questioning Giuliani's "leadership" on the day of September 11, 2001. From programs on Pacifica's "Democracy Now" I am aware of serious mistakes which Giuliani made leading up to that fateful day, such as placing New York City's emergency response headquarters in the World Trade Center (this after the attack on the World Trade Center of 1993). There were other serious problems of confusion relating to the mayor's office on that day, according to experts.

As for the present, reports that Giuliani's people have arranged for the arrest of a reporter are very disturbing to say the least.

As usual, I will let you be the judge. Here is the hyperlink:
< http://www.democrats.com/node/13186 > .

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Christian Right

To read a book chock full of information is a pleasure. To read a book full of information at a time when that information can do tremendous good is a thrill. Such was my sense of fulfillment in completing American Fascists. The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges. This important new book is must-reading for anyone who cares about America. The book is non-sectarian but unapologetically hostile to those who would take the name of Christ and use it for cheap personal and political aims.



We live in a time when irrationality has taken root in the American culture. It is a time when large numbers of people care more about who becomes America's next "idol", than who becomes its next President. The question in my mind at the moment is whether this culture of hostility to thought has taken over or whether it is simply a large threat. At the very least, any time you get such a high degree of ignorance of both American and world affairs on the part of so many people, conditions are right for despotism. The despot requires deceipt. The despot requires a compliant press. The despot makes use of a crisis.



For the moment, I will leave it to others to decide whether we have despotism in America. Certainly, powerful people with a fascist bent have gained the upper hand in many areas of government. The enforcers this time are not the brown-shirts. The Great Enforcer is Fear. This subject goes beyond the current confines of this web log. For now, it is useful to state that the events of September 11, 2001, have been used for nefarious purposes, for purposes of selfish economic gain (Halliburton, Blackwater, etc.) and political advancement (re-installation of political candidates running on a 9/11 platform). It was Fear which brought us the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act. It was Fear which brought us intrusive investigative techniques. And it is Fear which discourages Congressional Democrats from standing up completely to the forces which aim to keep America mired in Iraq for the next fifty years.



The book American Fascists is a good place to start for an understanding of the large role played by the Christian right in what has been happening in the United States over the last twenty-five years or so. (As was noted in one on-line review there is one instance of strong profanity in the book, for those who need to know. Otherwise, the book is free of obscenities.)



I hope you will be able to read this work very soon.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

An Important Essay from Scott Ritter

A new essay from former weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, advances the public discourse in important ways. I am currently finishing my reading of the article and will have more to say at a later time.



For now, I am reminded of the illegitimacy which attends the current Executive in Washington. Numerous esteemed writers have written books and articles about the infamous Supreme Court decision of December 12, 2000, which allowed G. W. Bush to move into the White House. What the most-valuable Ritter essay makes clear is this could not have happened without a docile and acquiescent American populace. And there could not have been an acquiescent citizenry without an ignorant citizenry, one woefully ignorant of Constitutional law and precedent.



One of the authors writing of the raping of our Constitution on that infamous day is Vincent Bugliosi, the lead prosecutor in the Charles Manson case. In The Betrayal of America, based on an article published in The Nation on February 5, 2001, entitled None Dare Call it Treason, Mr. Bugliosi makes clear the tortured logic of the Supreme Court majority. He also makes clear the crime which was committed against the American people. (Without making less of the previous assertion, it may be noted at this point that the Constitution does, in fact, give to the state Legislatures the power to regulate the electors. There are some caveats to this, which I would have to bone up on before relating them on this blog.)



It becomes clear, then, that the Bush administration is and has always been illegitimate. (And this includes the so-called election of 2004, the legitimacy of which has been successfully challenged by Greg Palast, Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, and Rep. John Conyers among others.) That the American people have allowed this travesty is remarkable. Yet, from my studies I can say it is understandable, for this is indeed a culture which has come to value security over freedom and responsibility.



It is time to change these priorities. It can be done! Education is the key!



Check back here for more later.





http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/053107F.shtml

Monday, May 28, 2007

First Anniversary

Today marks the first anniversary of this web log of information about politics, music, and my life. I am proud to continue bringing you news and features which may be over-looked by the major corporate media. I am grateful to Blogspot for this opportunity.

I am considering improvements and expansions to my efforts here. Nothing has been decided yet. My desire is to keep what is useful in the blog while being open to changes which will make it more effective. Your comments are welcome.

American Fascists

Currently, I am reading the new book by author and reporter Chris Hedges entitled American Fascists (Free Press, 2006). This is one of the most important books to be published within the past year and I highly recommend it. Although I obviously cannot give a full review until I have finished the book, what I have read so far is invaluable for an understanding of what is happening in the United States now. The only caveat I would give is that at least Congress has come under the control of the Democrats and there is at least token opposition to the fascists in the government. But the dangers of an irrational movement are still clearly with us.



As Mr. Hedges makes clear, the main institutions of our society have failed us: academia, the mainline church, and the Democratic Party. It is up to us, the citizens, to stand up for the principles of fair play, justice and true democracy, now so much under attack. (Many, many details are given in the book.) And as Hedges further makes clear the intolerance of these (often-willfully) ignorant ideologues must be proscribed if a truly free society is to be maintained. This is a national emergency. The opposition to the intolerant, the bigoted, the supercilious must become organized -- and quickly. The alternative is a protracted battle for the control of the body politic in America. Such a battle is not in the interests of this country as it would further divide and weaken us.



I urge you to secure a copy from your library or your favorite retailer. A review may be found at the link below.





http://www.amazon.com/American-Fascists-Christian-Right-America/dp/0743284437

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

An American Fascist Youth Movement

As I have said here before, I have begun fairly serious research into the subject of fascism. I am currently reading two books from my public library and have already completed one. I have one more to go. One of the books I am now reading is American Fascists by Chris Hedges, formerly of The New York Times and a seminary graduate.



My study is proving to be quite fascinating. It is also, I believe, an important one for these times. Although the far right has suffered some electoral defeats recently, there are movements in operation which are quite frightening and must be watched. One such movement I have only just become aware of is called BattleCry. You can read about this youth movement at the URL below. The article begins this way: If you’ve been waiting to get alarmed until the Christian fascist movement started filling stadiums with young people and hyping them up to do battle in “God’s army,” wait no longer. In reading about these events and the heavily militaristic content of the songs performed, everyone of sane mind should be alarmed. And the various attorneys general of these states should, likewise, be watchful.



http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20060511_battle_cry_theocracy/

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Corporation

I am currently watching the film The Corporation, a film the Seattle Times called "one of the must-see documentaries of the new century." I will have more to say after seeing the entire film, but I have already garnered new information about the reach of corporate power. Perhaps the most stunning piece of information -- something I knew but had forgotten -- is that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may patent living organisms. The government has further ruled that corporations may patent or license genes. Thus, any living thing except a birthed human being, but including the genes of a human being, may be privately owned! This is sick and outrageous! It violates all ethical, moral, and religious standards regarding the sanctity of life. Where is the vaunted Roman Catholic Church on this issue? Where is the National Council of Churches? Where is the Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church?

At least we have certain organizations and persons who do care about this issue. As for the religious institutions I mention above, I await further information and will be glad to publish anything I find.

In the meantime, if you have not already seen it, find The Corporation right away. You will be glad you did.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Cool, Fresh Breeze From Alaska

Several weeks ago I learned that former Senator Mike Gravel was running for President. As a follow-up to the recent post here about alternative candidates for President I am pleased to list a few links which may be of use. Included is a link to the You Tube video of Mr. Gravel in the recent MSNBC debate in South Carolina.

I certainly cannot say I agree with every detail of Sen. Gravel's program for America, but at least he has a well-thought-out series of proposals which would help get our country back on track again. And for this, I am pleased and grateful.

Incidentally, it seems to me possible to examine candidates of Sen. Gravel's caliber without plunging into Presidential politics at this point. At the same time, it does seem quite possible that enthusiasm for his candidacy is building.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gMlHv2lDqA

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/051507S.shtml

http://www.gravel2008.us/issues#fair_tax

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Field of Candidates May Be Richer Than You Think

As the ridiculously premature 2008 election campaign drones on, the American public already has many more choices than the approximately twenty people who have been featured in the media. At the link below you will see a fairly lengthy list of persons who have already announced and others who are potential candidates. I am aware of several other parties who have run candidates in the past who are not represented in this list, however. I will continue to research the matter and see whether I can come up with any other candidates.

The impossibility of knowing all the needs of the American people eighteen months in the future already makes the current campaign suspect. And the needs which are known are scarcely being mentioned. These include the need for: 1) full employment at a living wage, 2) universal health insurance, 3) a repeal of the egregious violations of civil rights in the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, and 4) repeal of NAFTA and other such agreements which facilitate a race to the bottom for American wage-earners.

Just why is it that only candidates from two parties are allowed access to the air-waves? (And here I hasten to say that it was an ill-advised third-party campaign by the egoistic Ralph Nader which greatly aided a G. W. Bush entrance into the White House. Thus one's actual vote, though never to be simply handed to any party or candidate, should be considered carefully.)

It is high time to express our disapproval of this dangerously inadequate and premature campaign. We can do this by refusing to participate in any kind of polling, by refusing to donate money to any candidate who is not addressing the issues listed above, and by working hard on line and in other ways to non-violently disrupt the campaign. So, my friend, are you on board?



http://www.vote-smart.org/election_president_search.php?type=alpha

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Plot to Seize the White House

The Shocking TRUE Story of the Conspiracy to Overthrow FDR

Here we have the title and subtitle of the newly-republished book by Jules Archer detailing the almost-unbelievable plot to subvert the Constitution, install an acting President, and leave Franklin Roosevelt as merely a ceremonial head of state. I have just begun reading the book and find it to be fascinating indeed. When the book is finished I will have more to say about its contents.

For the time being, I can say that the allegations of such a plot were thoroughly examined and confirmed by a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

What is equally amazing to me is that I had never heard of this plot. We were all taught about Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr. But we were never told of a planned military coup against Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930's.

I look forward very much to finishing the book and sharing some of the details with you at a later date.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Moyers Contribution

Of all the programs on broadcast television, few if any rival the new Bill Moyers Journal for timely news items, researched and trenchantly presented. I highly recommend the program for all who wish to keep their sanity in these times of lying by those in the government and media.

Tonight's program featured an interview with a true scholar, Marilyn B. Young, historian and co-editor of IRAQ AND THE LESSONS OF VIETNAM: OR, HOW NOT TO LEARN FROM THE PAST. Rebutting the assertions of Condelezza Rice and others in the Bush Administration, Ms. Young firmly shows the link between the current Iraq War and the Viet-Nam War. She accurately depicts the psychological and cultural state of people in the United States as our country proceeds apace with a deeply unpopular war.

There are other segments of interest as well, although none, save the one containing images from Iraq, were as powerful as the interview with Ms. Young.

At a time when the government-media team wishes to keep the truth of the Iraq situation fuzzy, the Moyers program is the closest thing to being indispensible as any regular television program I know of. For more, follow the link below.


http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/index-flash.html

Monday, May 07, 2007

The French Election

The French Election: A Poem


There was an election in France.
Many people got very excited and came out to vote.
This was even after the pundits in America said, It is a foregone conclusion.
The fascist will win.
After the election there was more emotion -- vast and exuberant cheering and --
Sorrow and disgust.
After the election the very nice man on NPR said
Now that France and Germany have rulers with similar views
It is hoped the economy of Europe will get moving again.
This is what the very nice man on NPR said.
This was in spite of the new French ruler's declaration
That people must work harder now, and maybe for less money
And have shorter vacations
And less job security.
This he said was patriotism.
And, oh, by the way,
Enough of the silly criticism of American fascism.
Now that we are fascist, too, what does it matter?
We are ever so alike now.
But, it seems, again, there is disquietude.
The important and smooth have declared victory.
But the people know better.
Deeply they know better.
They will see.
And they will have regret.
In the fullness of time, as the prophet said.
The world is for this seeing,
A seeing which will be ever so useful,
Humbly yet glowingly radiant.
In the fullness of time, the fullness of time.


-- Your Musical Patriot

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sinclair Lewis on Tyranny

Under a tyranny, most friends are a liability. One quarter of them turn "reasonable" and become your enemies, one quarter are afraid to stop and speak and one quarter are killed and you die with them. But the blessed final quarter keep you alive.


So writes the eminent author, Sinclair Lewis, in his important novel It Can't Happen Here. In this work, which I have already referenced on this log, Lewis writes a story about the coming to be of a fascist regime in the United States. The telling of the tale is insightful and frightening in its ringing, albeit fictional, accuracy.

Sadly, I have found Lewis to be three-quarters correct. I am glad to say that none of my friends has yet been "taken out" by the current powers that be. However, the suffering of persons, both spoken and unspoken has been significant.

As I have said before I highly recommend this book. I will keep you posted regarding my progress with this exciting novel.


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Bill Clinton Warns on Rising Nationalism

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