Saturday, August 25, 2007

GOP Strategist Murdered

Not just any old strategist, Gonzales worked for Tom Feeney, who was connected to a Chinese- owned software company, an employee of which was asked by Feeney to design software for voting machines which could be used to alter the results and leave no trace of manipulation.

Bradblog has the details

A Republican political strategist was identified as one of three people found dead inside a home in east Orange County on Thursday.The bodies were found at 2420 Hickory Oak Blvd. in the Hickory Cove subdivision, Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Solomons said.The mother of Ralph Gonzalez traveled from Miami to identify the body of her son, who was a popular GOP strategist and former executive director of the Georgia Republican Party.
"I have no idea. I couldn't believe it. I was shocked. I said, 'This can't be my son. Why my son? Why?' Eva Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez was among the three people found inside the home, and their bodies may have been inside since Tuesday, authorities said."The third person was the shooter. He shot my son first and then shot David and then killed himself," Eva Gonzalez said.

The last time Gonzalez spoke to her son was Tuesday, she said, and his best friend called her on Thursday to give her the bad news.

From his home, Ralph Gonzalez operated the Strategum Group, a political consulting firm. His list of clients included U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla."Ralph was a friend of mine, and we're hearing about this tragedy through the news. It's a terrible tragedy, and Ralph is a dear friend," Feeney said.

Feeney said he had known Ralph Gonzalez since he was a young man working as a legislative intern. He was a man Feeney would eventually hire. Nancy Patterson of the Republican Party Committee hired Gonzalez when she ran for the Florida Senate in 1994. Patterson said he was right out of college, broke and brilliant."He could quote facts and figures from preseidential races 25 years ago," Patterson said."When you see somebody and you have these great memories, it's a bit hard," Patterson said."He was a very sharp fellow. He grew into a mature, capable, very bright political consultant. He's done a lot of work for me over the years," Feeney said. "It was his passion. It was his life," political activist Doug Guetzloe said.

Ralph Gonzalez was a native of Miami. The other victims were identified as David Abrami and Robert Drake. Gonzalez lived in the home with Abrami, and Drake was a former roommate who was visiting from out of town."(It was) horrible. I can't believe he lied in there, and the more I see all that blood, it was sickening. Why would anybody want to shoot my boy?" Eva Gonzalez said.

Officials with the Orange County Sheriff's Office haven't released a motive yet for the deaths. Authorities said they received a call from a woman from North Carolina asking them to check on the well-being of a friend in the home. They found the bodies when they arrived, as well as an open garage door.There was no sign of forced entry, and one body was found near the entrance of home.

Detectives at the scene said they believe a dispute might have occurred, and they said weapons were found inside the home."There is some early evidence that suggests this may be a murder-suicide," Orange County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Allen Lee said.

Investigators are talking with neighbors to try to figure out exactly what happened. Neighbors said they knew little about the two men who lived there, and they only heard dogs barking in the yard."I think I would have went next door and asked them about the dogs barking because, like I said, they were barking all night long, and I've never heard that before. So now I look back, and I wish that I would have went to his door," neighbor Cindy Bargar said."It's real sad, you know. It should have never happened. Period. You know, they were nice gentlemen," neighbor Ray Perez said.

Investigators elected not to have a media briefing on Friday as planned. They said they do not anticipate releasing any additional details regarding the case Friday or over the weekend. Not counting these deaths, there have been 44 homicides in Orange County in 2007.

Copyright 2007 by WESH.COM.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

The White House Knew That The NOLA Levees Were Broken

...and failed to inform any local authorities

How Bush drowned New Orleans
by Greg Palast



"By midnight on Monday, the White House knew. Monday night I was at the state
Emergency Operations Center and nobody was aware that the levees had breeched. Nobody.”

The charge is devastating: That, on August 29, 2005, the White House withheld from the state police the info that New Orleans was about to flood.

The whistle-blower is Dr. Ivor van Heerden, deputy director of
the LSU Hurricane Center, the chief technician advising the state on saving lives during Katrina.

He charged that the White House, FEMA and the Army Corp hid, for critical hours, their discovery that the levees surrounding New Orleans were cracking, about to burst and drown the city.

Dr. van Heerden said, “Fifteen hundred people drowned. That’s the bottom line.”

They could have survived Hurricane Katrina. But they got no mercy from Hurricane George.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Bush's Perverse History Lesson

Is there anything about Junior that isn't perverse?

There is nothing quite as annoying as being lectured to by that dim-bulb in the White House about anything and certainly about history, about which he seems to know very little and what he does know, he twists beyond recognition.

Historian: Bush use of quote 'perverse'

By: Avi Zenilman
Aug 23, 2007 04:55 PM EST
Updated: August 25, 2007 05:10 AM EST

A historian quoted by President Bush to help argue that critics of the administration’s Iraq policy echo those who questioned the U.S. effort to bring democracy to Japan after World War II angrily distanced himself from the president’s remarks Thursday.

“They [war supporters] keep on doing this,” said MIT professor John Dower. “They keep on hitting it and hitting it and hitting it and it’s always more and more implausible, strange and in a fantasy world. They’re desperately groping for a historical analogy, and their uses of history are really perverse.”

In a speech on Wednesday, Bush quoted “one historian” as suggesting that foreign policy experts – and, by implication, critics of Bush’s approach to Iraq – aren’t always right. “An interesting observation, one historian put it, ‘Had these erstwhile experts’ — he was talking about people criticizing the efforts to help Japan realize the blessings of a free society — he said, ‘Had these erstwhile experts had their way, the very notion of inducing a democratic revolution would have died of ridicule at an early stage.’ ” [Update: See clip of the president's speech and MSNBC interview with Dower, courtesy of, here.]

A search of Google books revealed that the “one historian” is Dower. The quote is from his book, “Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II,” which won the National Book Award and the Bancroft Prize, among other awards, in 1999.

Dower was decidedly unhappy with his 15 minutes of fame. “I have always said as a historian that the use of Japan [in arguing for the likelihood of successfully bringing democracy to Iraq] is a misuse of history,” he said when notified of the Bush quote.

He immediately directed me to a November 2002 New York Times op-ed where he outlined 10 reasons why “most of the factors that contributed to the success of nation-building in occupied Japan would be absent in an Iraq militarily defeated by the United States.”

In March 2003, Dower wrote an essay for Boston Review, entitled “A Warning From History: Don’t Expect Democracy in Iraq.”

And what about the specific quote Bush used – that experts on Japan were wrong about the country’s capability for democracy?

“Whoever pulled that quote out for him [Bush] is very clever,” Dower said, acknowledging that “if you listen to the experts prior to the invasion of Japan, they all said that Japan can’t become democratic.”

But there are major differences, Dower said. “I’m not being misquoted, but I’m being misrepresented.”

“In the case of Iraq,” Dower said, “the administration went in there without any of the kind of preparation, thoughtfulness, understanding of the country they were going into that did exist when we went into Japan. Even if the so-called experts said we couldn’t do it, there were years of mid-level planning and discussions before they went in. They were prepared. They laid out a very clear agenda at an early date.”

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that Bush used Dower’s quote “to in no way endorse his view of Iraq, only his view of Japan.”

Added Fratto: “While professor Dower may disagree with the applicability of the quote, the president in no way endorses his view of Iraq.”

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Silly, Incompetence or...

Something much more sinister?

Terror Suspect List Yields Few Arrests

20,000 Detentions in '06 Rile Critics

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 25, 2007; A01

The government's terrorist screening database flagged Americans and foreigners as suspected terrorists almost 20,000 times last year. But only a small fraction of those questioned were arrested or denied entry into the United States, raising concerns among critics about privacy and the list's effectiveness.

A range of state, local and federal agencies as well as U.S. embassies overseas rely on the database to pinpoint terrorism suspects, who can be identified at borders or even during routine traffic stops. The database consolidates a dozen government watch lists, as well as a growing amount of information from various sources, including airline passenger data. The government said it was planning to expand the data-sharing to private-sector groups with a "substantial bearing on homeland security," though officials would not be more specific.

Few specifics are known about how the system operates, how many people are detained or turned back from borders, or the criteria used to identify suspects. The government will not discuss cases, nor will it confirm whether an individual's name is on its list.

Slightly more than half of the 20,000 encounters last year were logged by Customs and Border Protection officers, who turned back or handed over to authorities 550 people, most of them foreigners, Customs officials said. FBI and other officials said that they could not provide data on the number of people arrested or denied entry for the other half of the database hits. FBI officials indicated that the number of arrests was small.

The government says the database is a powerful tool for identifying and tracking suspected terrorists and for sharing intelligence, and that its purpose is not necessarily to make arrests. But the new details about the numbers, disclosed in an FBI budget document and in interviews, raise questions about the database's effectiveness and its impact on privacy, critics said. They argued that the number of hits relative to arrests was alarmingly high and indicated that the threshold for including someone on a watch list was too low, potentially violating thousands of Americans' civil liberties when they are stopped.

David Sobel, senior counsel with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy organization, said the numbers "suggest a staggeringly high rate of false positives with respect to the identification of supposed terrorists." He added that "this really confirms the long-standing fear that this list is inaccurate and ultimately ineffective as an anti-terrorism tool."

Jayson P. Ahern, deputy commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said focusing on arrests misses "a much larger universe" of suspicious U.S. citizens.

"There are many potentially dangerous individuals who fly beneath the radar of enforceable actions and who are every bit as sinister as those we intercept," he said.

The database is maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center, a joint operation between the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Rick Kopel, the TSC's deputy director, called it "one of the best things the government has been able to accomplish since 9/11."

The government said private-sector entities with a "substantial bearing on homeland security" could also gain access to the data, which is kept for 99 years, according to a notice in the Federal Register this week.

The watch list includes information from the Transportation Security Administration's air passenger "no-fly" list, the State Department's Consular Lookout and Support System list and the FBI's Violent Gang and Terrorist Organizations File.

To be included in the database, a person must be "a known or suspected terrorist such as those who finance terrorist activities, are known members of a terrorist organizations, terrorist operatives, or someone that provides material support to a terrorist or terrorist organization," said Michelle Petrovich, a spokesman for the Terrorist Screening Center. According to the Justice Department's inspector general, the database contained at least 235,000 records as of last fall.

Using the database, U.S. and international authorities prevented "numerous attempts" at entry into the United States by an Egyptian citizen, Omar Ahmed Ali, who went on in 2005 to commit a suicide bombing in Qatar that killed one British citizen and injured 12, Petrovich said.

Many U.S. citizens are stopped, questioned and, if no arrest warrant is pending, released. They are not told their watch-list status. To do so, the government says, could tip off suspects that they are likely to be questioned or detained.

Some travelers who are repeatedly stopped can only speculate that they are on the watch list.

Abe Dabdoub, 39, and his wife, both U.S. citizens, live in a Cleveland suburb. He said he has been detained 21 times at Michigan's border with Canada since last August. Dabdoub, who works for an electronics manufacturing company, said he has even begun to keep a spreadsheet. The first four times, he said, he was handcuffed. Once, his wife had to plead with the agents not to handcuff him in front of their 5- and 7-year-old boys, he said. The agents know him so well by now that they call him by his first name. Every time he asks them why he is being stopped, Customs officers tell him, "We can't tell you, for national security reasons," he said.

Customs officials declined to comment on his case.

Agencies nominate names to the list based on rigorous, classified criteria, Kopel said. The TSC has created a redress unit that ensures that watch-list and source information is accurate, officials said. Since 2005, the unit has resolved more than 90 percent of the several hundred complaints it has received, including by deleting names or adjusting data.

Each watch-list hit is a "positive encounter" -- what the government says is a conclusive match against the database -- by a customs officer or other official with an American or foreigner. U.S. citizens, if there is no arrest warrant, cannot be denied entry. About half of the encounters take place at land borders, airports or seaports. Other travelers are flagged at consular offices or by state and local police.

The number of hits has surged since the second half of fiscal 2004, when the database was created. That year, the FBI reported 5,396 encounters, with some people having multiple encounters. In 2005, 15,730 hits were logged. Next year, the FBI projects 22,400 hits.

FBI officials said the rising numbers result from wider information-sharing among international, federal, state and local authorities.

"A lot of times it's not to our advantage to make an arrest," FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said. "We don't want the subject to know what we know. It doesn't mean we're not paying attention. On the contrary, it shows that we're being very proactive in trying to identify threats."

But Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy, said growing use of this database magnifies the consequences of errors that are entered into it.

"There needs to be a reliable way to correct bad information and protect the innocent," he said.

The government's system casts too broad a net, and its definition of who should be watch-listed is too broad, said Harvey Grossman, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which has filed a class-action lawsuit against the government on behalf of 10 Muslim Americans who allege they were detained and mistreated after being placed on a watch list without grounds. People with only distant casual contact with a suspect might be listed, he said. "What you eventually get is a worthless list of people."

In rare cases, citizens have discovered they are on the watch list.

Francisco "Kiko" Martinez, a Colorado lawyer and civil-rights activist, said he was detained twice in recent years by police officers who pulled him over on traffic stops and held him in one case more than three hours, and in another, in handcuffs. Through legal proceedings, Martinez obtained police reports that revealed his watch-list status.

"A driver's license check revealed [Martinez] as a possible individual having ties with terrorism," a state trooper wrote after a 2004 stop near Chicago, according to one report.

Last year, Martinez sued the federal government, claiming that he was unlawfully detained and that he was included on a watch list as a result of his political activities.

Last month, he won a $106,500 settlement from federal, state and tribal authorities. Though the settlement did not address any of the underlying constitutional claims, Martinez asserted that it "shows that I shouldn't have been on this terrorism watch list in the first place" and that "the government is misusing this so-called war against terrorism to target its domestic political opponents."

Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said the department declined to comment on the case.

Jim McMahon, chief of staff for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which represents 18,000 state and local police agencies across the country, said the database helps police officers "make a better judgment" about whether to detain a person. One of the 9/11 hijackers, Ziad Samir Jarrah, was ticketed for going 95 miles per hour on Interstate 95 in Maryland two days before the attacks, he said. "Today, chances are he would have been on the list," he said.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Congress, Chase Rover Down Like A Rabid Dog

Will A Dark Cloud Follow Karl Rove Back To Texas?:

Congress Is Still Investigating Serious Criminal Abuses of Executive Powers

by John W. Dean

When Congress returns from its summer recess, it will again turn its investigative powers on questions regarding the Bush Administration’s politicalization of operations in the Executive Branch that, by custom and law, are not political. By “not political,” I mean these activities are properly conducted without partisan interest. With respect to them, it is improper for one political party to use the machinery of government for its own political benefit or to the detriment of its political opponents. Yet in several areas, that appears to be exactly what the Bush Administration has done.

The most prominent among these investigations are those being undertaken by the chairmen of the House and Senate’s Judiciary committees, Representative John Conyers (D. MI) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D.VT), who are investigating the politicization of the Department of Justice, particularly in the hiring and firing of United States Attorneys. But an even broader inquiry is underway, initiated by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, under the direction of Chairman Henry Waxman (D. CA), and that inquiry has uncovered the extensive use of federal resources by the Bush Administration to assist its political friends and punish its political enemies.

So far, the Bush White House has successfully stonewalled all these inquiries by invoking executive privilege, which it construes in a manner so extreme as to lead it to instruct White House witnesses under subpoena to not even show up at the hearings at which they are scheduled to testify. Among those now so defying the Congress is Karl Rove, the Bush White House player many believe to be at the center of virtually all of the Bush Administration’s politicalization efforts.

Rove, of course, has announced his departure from the White House. While I do not much like speculation, a secretive presidency like Bush’s invites it. This fact calms any qualms I might have about exploring possibilities as why Rove is leaving now, in particular.

Some Possible Explanations for Rove’s Resignation

After speaking with several knowledgeable people in Washington, I found none believe Rove is being forced out. Rather, the conventional wisdom holds that Rove is leaving now in order to lower his profile during these forthcoming Congressional investigations.

One criminal defense attorney who handles “government affairs” criminal matters said Rove is doing exactly what he would advise a client of his to do: Stay out of sight. This was also Rove’s strategy when Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald was focusing on whether Rove had committed perjury when testifying before the grand jury investigating the leak of Valerie Plame Wilson’s covert CIA identity. Then, too, Rove largely disappeared. Out of sight does not always mean out of mind, but it helps. Rove kept a low public profile and was never charged with perjury, after he apparently tap-danced privately for the grand jury.

Another attorney suggested that since Rove is facing potential contempt proceedings by the House, and the Senate, or both, for his refusal to appear and testify, he has become a lightning rod for the president and the White House. Several Washington insiders viewed Rove’s conspicuous “last hurrah” exit - visiting all the Sunday talk shows and giving farewell interviews to select members of the Washington press corps - as designed to help make the point to the public that he is now disassociated from the Bush White House. (Of course, this is not true, but public perception may now see him as an outsider.)

Everyone with whom I spoke feels that there was more going on here than meets the eye. That is because they are convinced that the reason the Administration is invoking executive privilege as to Rove (and the others involved in the programs of politicization) has to do with more than protecting the prerogatives of presidential power. Thus, while Bush did not force Rove to leave he did not request that he stay either. Rove is savvy enough to know when it is time to leave, and no one is going to be surprised if the Congress finds, upon further investigation, that Rove performed as an extreme partisan when working at the White House, even with respect to areas that are reserved as non-partisan.

After all, the evidence unearthed so far, though it is still slim, already suggests that Rove was abusing his power as Bush’s top political operative in the White House.

Did Rove Succeed Where Nixon Failed?

The Washington Post reports that Rove has been running a Nixonian-type political operation to benefit Bush in his 2004 reelection bid and to assist Republicans country-wide. It appears, in fact, that the U.S. Attorney firings and the White House political briefings at the departments and agencies, in blatant violation of the Hatch Act (which prohibits such activity), are merely examples of a grander scheme that operated behind closed doors.

I have long suspected that these are only small chips that have fallen from a mighty iceberg - a systematic, broad-based, wide-scale program to infuse the Executive Branch from top to bottom with Republicans stalwarts and thinking, creating an influence that will remain long after Bush has left Washington. These efforts, I believe, are part of Rove’s desire to create an enduring GOP majority; it is for this reason that he has worked to operate the Executive Branch not for the public interest, but rather for the particular interests of Republicans alone.

This is all strikingly familiar to anyone familiar with the Nixon presidency. However, it may be that Rove has actually accomplished what Nixon wanted to do during his presidency, for Nixon, of course, got caught abusing the powers of the presidency, in order to insure that he remained in office, by assisting other Republicans. It is unfortunate that the June 1974 Final Report of the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities is not available online as a reminder. But a central and significant aspect of the Senate Watergate Committee’s investigation examined how the Nixon White House devised and employed plans like “the Responsiveness Program,” which, for example, sought to “redirect Federal moneys to specific administration supporters and to target groups and geographic areas to benefit” Nixon’s campaign.

Nixon also used “the powers of incumbency” as never before to help his friends and hurt his perceived enemies. While no article of impeachment directly addressed this failure “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” his behavior provided the context for his removal. Congress was aware of Nixon’s plans, and they fell short of impeachable activity largely because Nixon both had not had time to fully implement them, and managed to keep buried much of what he had already done.

Given the basically un-cracked secrecy of the Bush Administration, it is not unreasonable to suspect that Rove has managed to accomplish what Nixon failed to do, and that the Bush Administration has undertaken a large-scaled politicalization program throughout the Executive Branch during the past six-plus years.

This, I suspect, is the reason for Rove’s resignation. Chairmen Conyers, Leahy, and Waxman are looking closely for such an operation, as are a number of similar but less visible inquiries underway by the Democratic Congress. Thus, the potential for such activities becoming known is very real, and this gathering storm means a few dark clouds are following Rove back to Texas. Should they burst, Rove may have far more serious problems than being in contempt of Congress.

Misusing Federal Powers Can Be a Crime Although Seldom Prosecuted

The Senate Watergate Committee’s report set forth an array of civil and criminal laws that are applicable to misuse of government for political purposes. For example, the Hatch Act contains a broad proscription that an employee of an executive agency may not use his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of a federal election. Such conduct has a civil sanction of dismissal from Federal service.

More seriously, it can also be a crime for a federal official to use his or her power for political purposes. On of the broadest federal criminal laws is the conspiracy statute that prohibits defrauding the government. Under federal law, which prescribes punishment by up to five years in prison, such a fraud has been broadly defined.

The leading case is the Supreme Court’s 1923 ruling in Hammerschmidt v. United States. There, the Court stated, “To conspire to defraud the United States means primarily to cheat the government out of property or money, but it also means to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful governmental functions by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest. It is not necessary that the government shall be subjected to property or pecuniary loss by the fraud, but only that its legitimate official action and purpose shall be defeated by misrepresentation, chicanery, or the overreaching of those charged with carrying out the governmental intention.” Misuse of federal power for political purposes, thus, can fall rather easily within this statute.

There are other criminal statutes that the evidence suggests Rove might have violated, as well. Section 595 of Title 18 prohibits “a person employed in any administrative position” of the Federal Government from using his or her “official authority for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, Presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives…” Violation of this statute can result in a fine or prison up to a year, or both.

Section 600 of Title 18 prohibits promising any Government benefit or “any special consideration in obtaining such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party” in connection with a Federal election. Violation of this “bribery-lite” statute can result in a fine of $1000 or prisons up to a year, or both.

Often, violations of these broad prohibitions, and related laws, are not discovered until an administration has departed, as occurred with the Reagan Administration. By that time, Congress has lost interest and federal prosecutors are not inclined to go after the political behavior of predecessor officials - a judgment call which is probably appropriate, for these are not the most egregious of crimes. Still, these crimes certainly represent conduct that is considered unacceptable.

Such behavior is best dealt with when Congress can expose it to voters, who know exactly what to do with a political party that places the politics of self-interest above those of the public interest. This is not to say that if Rove has made an utter mockery of the clear restrictions on politicizing the processes of the Executive Branch, he should be given a pass. To the contrary, Congress should double its efforts to find out why he has left town, and if he has crossed the line, refer the matter to the Department of Justice.

I would be willing to wager that Rove and his cohorts have violated one or more of these laws prohibiting uses of authority at the White House for purely political purposes, but they should only be prosecuted if their behavior was in pure defiance of these restrictions. If that is the case, such laws will, in the end, be meaningless and future Karl Roves will simply ignore laws that seek to protect the public interest.

John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the president.

© 2007

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Just Form A Commission, Write A Report...

Americans are too busy or stupid to read it.

Once it's published, the scandal is over, period.

Absolution As Accountability

by Pierre Tristam

It’s a literary genre all its own that will take its place among the few original contributions of the Bush administration: the Official Report analyzing failures and ascribing blame for one scandal or another: The 9/11 Commission report, the report on Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction, several Abu Ghraib reports, the various and near-annual reports on the USA Patriot Act’s civil rights violations, and now, the inspector general’s report about George Tenet’s woeful tenure as CIA chief, which, in effect, facilitated, if it didn’t enable, the 9/11 attacks. But every single one of those reports have this in common: they spread the blame to all, ascribing it to no one. They absolve even as they seem to criticize. Is it any wonder we’re so much worse off than we were on 9/11?

Benjamin DeMott picked up on this blame as absolution fad back on the heels of the publication of the 9/11 Commission report in 2004. This, DeMott wrote, was the report we were all anxiously anticipating, the report that was bound to answer all our questions. How couldn’t it with its 567 pages, including a hundred-plus pages of footnotes, the analytical summation of 2.5 million pages of documents, the public testimony of 160 witnesses and interviews with 1,200 knowledgeable persons in ten countries “(including every top official from two U.S. administrations whose jobs involved intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy, immigration, aviation, border control, congressional oversight, you name it).” But the promise of answers was not kept. “The plain, sad reality,” DeMott wrote,

is that The 9/11 Commission Report, despite the vast quantity of labor behind it, is a cheat and a fraud. It stands as a series of evasive maneuvers that infantilize the audience, transform candor into iniquity, and conceal realities that demand immediate inspection and confrontation. Because it is continuously engaged in scotching all attempts to distinguish better from worse leadership responses, the Commission can’t discharge its duty to educate the audience about the habits of mind and temperament essential in those chosen to discharge command responsibility during crises. It can’t tell the truth about what was done and not done, thought and not thought, at crucial turning points. […] [A] seeming terror of bias transforms query after commissarial query-and silence after silence-into suggested new lines of self-justification for the interviewees. In the course of blaming everybody a little, the Commission blames nobody-blurs the reasons for the actions and hesitations of successive administrations, masks choices that, fearlessly defined, might actually have vitalized our public political discourse.

But we are not only scared of true, deconstructive and reconstructive political discourse. We condemn it as uncivil, as divisive, as unseemly. We have reduced all attempts to search for truths and learn from mistakes into exercises in the national preservation of self-esteem. And if not national preservation, as in the case of the 9/11 report, then institutional preservation. The Pentagon mustn’t be blamed too much for training and turning out barbaric soldiers whose inhumanity was unleashed at Abu Ghraib (and whose inhumanity is unleashed daily on Iraqi civilians to this day) because after all the Pentagon can’t be blamed for its bad apples. The cause is larger than the cracked bones along the way. The president and his administration can’t be blamed for their failure of imagination (let alone leadership) in the run-up to 9/11 because after all it was a failure that everyone else shared in, supposedly. (Never mind that we elect a president expecting him to rise above the ordinary, to provide precisely the sort of leadership that doesn’t brook failures of imagination so catastrophic that they end up changing the course of national history.)

Weapons of Mass Destruction weren’t found in Iraq, but that failure, too, has now been excused, replaced by the narrative the Bush administration pout forward in the months and years since its Iraq adventure turned into the war crime it’s become: based on the evidence available at the time, Bush had to act as he did. The evidence didn’t lie. Bush didn’t lie. It just didn’t match up with the reality on the ground. And the electorate bought the narrative whole. This, despite the evidence of this administration’s incompetence piling up week after week, in report after report. Half the Bush cabinet should have been axed after the 9/11 attacks and the other half probably tried for criminal negligence. Instead, not a single member of the Bush administration walked, and its greatest culprit was reelected.

Now we get this CIA report: “The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, George J. Tenet, recognized the danger posed by Al Qaeda well before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but failed to adequately prepare the C.I.A. to meet the threat, according to an internal agency report that was released in summary form,” the Times reported. “Mr. Tenet was sometimes too occupied with tactics instead of strategy, and he was lax in promoting an information-sharing environment within the C.I.A., the inspector general’s office of the agency says in a report released today.” In other words, and in any language, the man failed. The man failed. Instead, we get this absolution from the Inspector General: “The team found neither ‘a single point of failure’ nor a ‘silver bullet’ that would have enabled the intelligence community to predict or prevent the 9/11 attacks,” the inspector general’s office said. “The team did find, however, failures to implement and manage important processes, to follow through with operations and to properly share and analyze critical data.”

Improve the process. Tweak protocol. Communicate better. Get along better. Anything but blame. Anything but true accountability. Anything but punishment for those cronies of incompetence collecting book deals and spinning their tales while the failures they ensured continue to wreck the scene for the rest of us. As Foreign Policy, the magazine, sums up in its latest Terrorism Index, after interviewing terrorism experts all over the world, “The world these experts see today is one that continues to grow more threatening. Fully 91 percent say the world is becoming more dangerous for Americans and the United States, up 10 percentage points since February. Eighty-four percent do not believe the United States is winning the war on terror, an increase of 9 percentage points from six months ago. More than 80 percent expect a terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11 within a decade, a result that is more or less unchanged from one year ago.”

This, too, is unchanged: George Bush is still president. All roads may have once led to Rome. Hell’s all lead to him, and not a one is paved with good intention.

Pierre Tristam is a News-Journal editorial writer. Reach him at or through his personal Web site at .

© 2007 Pierre Tristam

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Religious Insanity in Three Parts

Onward Christian Soldiers: Christiana Amanpour's Special

By SDrobny


The last of the trilogy of fundamentalist followers of the god of Abraham was broadcast yesterday on CNN. The previous two episodes were about Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists. Yesterday's show about Christian fundamentalism was clearly the most disturbing.

There is clearly no danger coming from Jewish fundamentalism. The height of Jewish zealotry occurred nearly 2,000 years ago during the Roman wars in which at least1.5 million Jews were murdered by the Romans. And that war was based upon a true desire for freedom from an oppressive occupation. Until 1948, the Jewish community was the subject of further genocides by the Christian heirs to the Roman Empire. During the Diaspora that followed the Roman wars, the bulk of the Talmud was written in what has been called the Rabbinic period of Judaism. The Talmud is essentially about discussions and debates about the meaning of the Torah. The Rabbis of that period were seriously interested in the interpretation of the literal scripture. From their prospective, the destruction of the second Temple was clearly a catastrophic event that caused the rabbis to question why god had abandoned the Jews.

The teachings of the Talmud had a direct impact on the Jewish view of fundamentalism. Accordingly, Jewish religious teachings even in the orthodox sect allows for debate about the literal scripture. And if one reads the literal scripture, the god of Abraham is not a very nice deity. In my view, the Talmud is a rationalization of the literal scripture. In effect, the Talmud says that scripture is subject to interpretation. The great Jewish sage Maimonides, had a very open and philosophical view of scripture and god. According to Maimonides, all of Jewish law aims at two things: the improvement of the body and the improvement of the soul. The former is in every case a means to the latter. The soul is improved by acquiring correct opinions and eventually knowledge on everything humans are capable of knowing. The more knowledge the soul acquires, the more it is able to fulfill the commandment to love God. The biggest stumbling block to love of God is the belief that the only way to remain true to the Bible is to interpret it literally. The result of literal interpretation is a material conception of God, which, in Maimonides' opinion, amounts to idolatry.

Maimonides wrote and spoke in Arabic in Cordoba, Spain when the Moors ruled most of Spain. During that period, the Moors had a great respect for science and education. Many Jews of that period were treated with great respect by the Moors and the two religions coexisted in friendship. Many of the stars are named in Arabic because, unlike Christian Europe, there was a great respect for science and observation in the Muslim community. The downfall of the Jews in Spain came after the Christian conquests of the Moors. We all know what happened to the Jews and the Moors in a Christian dominated Spain.

It took 1,000 years of Christian wars between themselves, the Muslims, and the Jews, and the deaths of tens of millions of people to finally turn the European community into a civilized secular society. And since 1945, the European community has become a responsible secular community. It is only in the United States that the last remnants of the fundamentalist Christian soldiers have had great influence. And they have been effective politically because of the corruption of the Republican Party and the sheer gutlessness of the corporate owned media. It is a shame that Christiana Amanpour did not comment about the insanity and danger of these Christian fundamentalists in America.

Authors Website:

Authors Bio: Sheldon Drobny was the co-founder of Nova M radio and Air America Radio. He has supported many philanthropic causes and is currently involved in purchasing radio stations for liberal talk radio with his new company, Nova M Radio, Inc. Mr. Drobny specializes in business and tax matters and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court as a non-attorney. Less than 200 non-attorneys have been admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court since its inception in 1942. Mr. Drobny received a Bachelor of Science Degree in accounting from Roosevelt University in Chicago and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, an honorary fraternity recognizing acadamic achievement in colleges of business administration.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

What To Do With A Lawless Government

Not a damn thing....

August 24, 2007

What To Do With an Administration that Refuses To Follow the Law?

By Rowan Wolf

What do you do with an administration that refuses to follow the law? Apparently not a damn thing. We have a situation where the Constitutional balance of powers have been disrupted, and where the opposition party cannot even rally all of its own members - much less a majority - to institute its responsibility of checks and balances. Instead, we have an administration which has challenged constraints since its first day in office, which now blatantly states that it will not recognize any constraints on its actions. What country is this?

Like me, you are probably outraged that the Dems let the Protect America Act of 2007 (PAA) pass. While one could argue that it is only a 180 day authorization (6 months friends), it has already been argued by numerous pundits that it not only legalizes the illegal surveillance already being done, but radically expands it to include physical searches.

To add insult to injury, aside from telling his top aides that they don't need to even show up if they are subpoenaed by Congress, he uses his refusal to respond to subpoenas if Congress further expands The PAA, essentially giving hem a blank check for any kind of warrantless surveillance, search, and seizure he sees fit (Ward, Wa. Times).

Bush is also arguing that the White House Office of Administration is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This is in spite of the fact that the White House web site says that they are (Eggen).

Want to see who was at a meeting? Screw you.
Want to have someone testify on a possible criminal act? Screw you.
Want to see documents? Screw you.
Want to change direction in Iraq? Screw you.
Want us to stop illegal surveillance? Screw you.

What does Congress do? They threaten to charge the White House with contempt. Oh DUH! Do ya think?

Should they be starting impeachment hearings? You better believe it. However, it does not look like they will, and there is every signal that the Administration is attempting to build a case for attacking Iran. They've been drooling for almost three years to do exactly that, and I have a feeling that if they can finagle it before Bush is out of office, they will.

Will the Dems act? Will Republicans look beyond party to country? Maybe or maybe not.

So what does that leave us? Well, there are various versions of a push for direct democracy. One is the Friends of the Article V Convention. Another is being pushed by presidential candidate Mike Gravel which is the The National Initiative for Democracy. Certainly, we should be pushing ALL representatives and candidates to step up to the plate and stop a rogue presidency.

8/05/07 White House press release. President Bush Commends Congress on Passage of Intelligence Legislation

8/07/07 Dan Froomkin, Wa. Post. Who's Afraid of George W. Bush?

8/08/07 Dan Froomkin, Wa. Post. Chief Spy or Chief Enforcer?

8/09/07 Paul Elias, AP. Eavesdropping Law Illegal, Lawyers Say

8/10/07 John Dean, FindLaw. The So-Called Protect America Act: Why Its Sweeping Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Pose Not Only a Civil Liberties Threat, But a Greater Danger As Well

8/16/07 David Kravets, Wired. Is Bush Administration Redefining New Spy Law?

Authors Bio: Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and a Senior Editor for Cyrano's Journal Online with her own page being CJO's Avenger.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

When The Delusional is No Longer Marginal

God Help Us All!

Fringe Evangelicals Distort US Military Policy
By Thomas D. Williams and JP Briggs II, Ph.D.
t r u t h o u t | Special Report

Friday 24 August 2007

"He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more;" - Micah, Chapter 4, The Bible

"And make not Allah because of your swearing (by Him) an obstacle to your doing good and guarding (against evil) and making peace between men, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing." - The Koran

For decades, especially since the end of the Vietnam War, the US military has been wrestling with aggressive sects of doomsday Christians demanding control and conversions of those of other faiths as well as nonbelievers within the armed forces.

Even beyond this high-pressure hard sell, those Judgment Day, apocalyptic Christian leaders, with followings estimated at 40 million parishioners, have urged public officials on all levels to wage war with Israel's enemies. Sometimes they and others even send their followers into dangerous war zones to preach their faith and risk lives. In at least one case, the Pentagon is supporting a Christian evangelistic group's efforts to promote itself inside the Muslim-dominated Iraq war zone.

The end-time evangelists' aggressive domestic and foreign relations stances have frequently caught the ears of President George W. Bush and those within his administration, as well as a large cadre of influential congressmen.

"The rise of evangelicalism in today's armed forces can trace its roots to the Viet Nam War," writes US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel William Millonig. "Public support for the war declined steadily as the years wore on, but evangelical Christians remained generally supportive of the war throughout. Over the course of the war, they found themselves progressively more aligned with the military - a military which increasingly found itself isolated from the general population." Millonig's March 2006 US Army War College piece is titled: "The Impact of Religious and Political Affiliation on Strategic Military Decisions and Policy Recommendations."

Initially willing to be interviewed, Millonig ultimately refused to discuss his article. His refusal came after he spoke with an Air Force superior who said it is inappropriate for Millonig to comment about anything unrelated to his current job, said a US Army War College spokeswoman, Carol Kerr.

"After the Vietnam War, there was disenchantment with military service by the mainline religions, because the war began to look like an unjust war," said retired US Army Chaplain Herman Keizer Jr. "The military chaplains were not talking about that, and the churches thought they should," explained Keizer, chairman of the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces. Then, he explained, with the advent of the all-volunteer Army, evangelical military chaplains began to increase, because their faith encouraged young people into the ministry and a vocation like military service to actively proclaim their beliefs to others.

Keizer, however, emphasized that more moderate evangelicals, as represented by the powerful National Evangelical Association, have been an influential voice for wartime justice for enemy prisoners. And, to promote peace, in late July the organization agreed to hold discussions in the nation's capital with Muslim leaders, with 14 evangelical preachers on one side and 12 US-based Arab diplomats on the other, The Washington Post reported. More than a year earlier, the organization called for religious freedom within the military.

On the other hand, the promotion of powerful Christian religious fundamentalist voices and religious conversions within the Armed Forces, especially encouraged and engineered by end-time evangelical Christians, has become a focus of concern among many other religious leaders. That concern heightened particularly after 9/11, when Islamic terrorists attacked New York City's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Less than a month later, on October 7, 2001, President George W. Bush launched the so-called war on terror with attacks on al-Qaeda camps and Taliban installations in Afghanistan. And, as the heated conflict in Afghanistan temporarily subsided, the Bush administration extended the "terror war" by invading Iraq on March 20, 2003.

Since 9/11, US officials, religious leaders, the press and the public have focused a continuous stream of criticism at religious Muslim fundamentalists. But, what has been largely glossed over by some in the public, media and government are the unrelenting cries for aggressive US military attacks by end-time US evangelicals such as Pastor John Hagee, not only against Islamic extremists, but also against Iran, Syria and the Palestinians threatening Israel.

This pressure for warlike behavior comes from two types of end-time Christians. The "dispensationalists" insist that true believers will be "raptured" into heaven just before a catastrophic war between "left behind" believers and the forces of the Antichrist. "Dominionist" end-timers presuppose that the United States, as a Christian nation, will act as a special representative of God in the final battles. The Dominionists forge on toward the construction, or "reconstruction," of an American theocracy to fulfill God's end-time plan. The two brands cross over and blend. Collectively, they call themselves Christian Zionists to affirm their support of Israel's control over the holy lands.

As war cries from Islamic terrorists and end-time Christians create a danger for ever-expanding religious battles in the Middle East, a small cadre of Christian and Muslim leaders has become alarmed.

"The most basic Christian commitment ... is that we say we believe in the Lordship of Jesus. But, if we claim that, how can a Muslim or Jew trust us, if we say Jesus is the Lord of all Lords?" asked Professor Lee Camp, a Lipscomb University theologian, last November at an interfaith gathering in Nashville, Tenn. "We need to forsake the Christendom model," Camp said. In its place, he explained, should be an international ideal, allowing leaders and members of all faiths to live in peace and communicate.

In February, Louis Farrakhan, 73, leader of The Nation of Islam, insisted the world was at war because followers of contrasting faiths did not understand one another. Jesus Christ and Muhammad would embrace with love if they were on the stage behind him today, he exclaimed. "Our lips are full of praise, but our hearts are far removed from the prophets we all claim," Al Jazeera quoted Farrakhan as saying.

Proselytizing by end-time Christians and others within the military has become a crucial issue within the armed forces, especially during the past half decade. And, US military leadership, influenced by war-encouraging, right-wing evangelists, endangers complex Middle East diplomacy efforts.

"To proselytize in this (military) environment is not allowed except as the individual asks (for it), said retired US Navy Chaplain Victor Smith, a Christian Scientist. "For example, the use of the name of Jesus in public prayers with a mixed congregation such as at a command or official function is prohibited," he said. "Most of the chaplains who pray, and rightly so, pray on behalf of the congregation, as well as with the congregation," said Smith. "Every single person in the military should be protected in every way, physically, sexually and spiritually, while they are serving their country. They already put their lives on the line in warfare. The damage from forcing religion on the unwilling is very deep emotionally. Well, have you ever talked to a rape victim? It's not quite that physical, but it sure is spiritually."

Smith pointed out, "There is a small subset of these faith groups that foster some more extreme views to others and sometimes punish those who don't follow their faith stances." He added, "They include some conservative wings of Baptists and others. These individuals, both lay and apparently some chaplains, say: 'You are not a good soldier unless you believe in my preachings and my faith. '"

While Smith confined religious aggressors to that "small subset," others watching closely for military religious territorial scuffles feel the right-wing evangelical clique is larger and more powerful.

Small or large, officials of the Department of Defense, at least in one telltale instance, are promoting an aggressive Christian group that promises to bring its views in a "crusade" to Iraq. Operation Straight Up "is working to help military children and families become stronger through faith-based entertainment," wrote The American Forces Press Service in April. The story appeared on the America Supports You Internet site sponsored by the Pentagon. It was initially reported in an outside publication by The Nation.

Operation Straight Up is evangelical. Its leaders are former boxer and kick boxer Jonathan Spinks and Hollywood actor Stephen Baldwin.

Here's what Spinks's website said about its potential operations in Iraq: "On the most dangerous soil in our world, we're taking a team of performers, professional athletes, and evangelists on a mission that will be both entertaining, as well as lend tremendous solitude to our men and women stationed in this war-torn country of Iraq. We are most excited about this crusade and yes we are willing to go to the front lines with a very encouraging word straight from God, to our troops. We feel the forces of heaven have encouraged us to perform multiple crusades that will sweep through this war-torn region. We'll hold the only religious crusade of its size in the dangerous land of Iraq." The link, describing these "crusade" plans, became difficult to fetch after emails questioning the "crusade" were sent to its advertised contact: and to the Defense Department. The Spinks site, which does not have a telephone contact number, did not answer repeated emails with queries for this article.

Asked if the Pentagon is lending support or security for these crusading efforts, a Defense Department health records public affairs spokesman, who declined to be identified, said: "There are none. OSU has stated its desire to go and we have suggested ways in which they can arrange that for themselves." Asked whether the Defense Department's announced public support for the Christian evangelistic Operation Straight Up in the Defense Department site, in light of its announced "crusade" inside Iraq, is in violation of federal separation of church and state guidelines, he said: "The Department of Defense is committed to upholding the Constitution of the United States. My oath of office swears me to uphold it." Department rules prevent its officials from sanctioning personal participation with a non-governmental organization. They forbid granting a selective benefit or preferential treatment to any organization. Its officials are constrained by federal law from promoting any specific religious group.

The spokesman also explained the department's support for Operation Straight up by saying: "America Supports You connects Americans supportive of our troops with organizations that are devoted to helping the troops and their families, while also providing a one-stop location on the Internet at where our military and their families can find hundreds of support organizations eager to help our heroes when they need it most. More than 250 home front groups, representing communities from coast to coast, have joined the America Supports You team to support the troops in many ways, including writing letters and emails, sending care packages and assisting military families or helping the wounded when they return home."

However, after an ABC segment on Operation Straight Up, the Defense Department prevented the sending of a controversial video game promoted by the evangelical group to service members in Iraq. The game depicts a film about the battle of Armageddon, in which believers of Jesus Christ fight the Antichrist.

Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an Air Force Academy graduate and former assistant general counsel for former President Ronald Reagan, said his organization intends to sue the Defense Department over its support of Operation Straight Up. He is vociferous about what he considers such saturated fundamentalist domination within the military.

"What we are seeing is an imperious, fascistic contagion of unconstitutional religious triumphalism that represents a national security threat internally to this country," he said. "This is every bit as significant in magnitude as that presented externally by the now resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida. Let's call a spade a spade: We are confronting the Christian Taliban, period!"

Weinstein has worked intensively through his foundation to battle the influential forces of Christian end-timers and other religious zealots. His foundation recently announced it is filing a federal lawsuit challenging alleged US military participation in a three-day evangelical Christian gathering in Georgia. It quotes the organizers, Task Force Patriot USA's Internet web site as saying it exists "for the purpose of sharing the fullness of life in Jesus Christ with all US military, military veterans and families," and exclaiming that "Christ is our Commander-in-Chief."

Jim Freeman, the Task Force's founder, said Weinstein "is driving a 'wedge' within the military ranks that will ultimately weaken the strength of our military forces. If Task Force Patriot set out to do the same things he is doing, he would scream violently and file more complaints. Our organization has done nothing of a clandestine nature. Our web site has been up for nearly nine years, clearly stating our position as a Christian Veteran To Veteran Outreach. My question is simply this: Does Mikey Weinstein have enough troops that support his exemption of Christians in the US military to defend America against her enemies? I think not. My organization is supported by a very large majority of America's 27 million-plus US military veterans, along with their families."

Late last year, Weinstein filed a complaint with the Defense Department's Inspector General, demanding an investigation of the Christian Embassy, whose Internet video showed "senior military officers, dressed in uniform and in their Pentagon offices, openly discussing their religious commitment and their strategy to bring religion into the military." Last month, the Inspector General concluded some high-ranking officers indeed violated military regulations by participating in the Christian promotional video in uniform and within the Pentagon's offices. The IG recommended that "the Secretary of the Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Army consider appropriate corrective action with respect to the military officers concerned; the administrative assistant to the Secretary of the Army and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency initiate inquiries into the manner; and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs review procedures to ensure that film crews operating within the Pentagon are appropriately escorted and monitored."

Other individual outrageous violations of the principles of the separation of church and state within the government, says Weinstein's foundation, include: "blatant displays of religious symbolism on military garb by the 523rd Fighter Squadron; placement of a biblical quotation above the door of the Air and Space Basic Course classroom at Maxwell Air Force Base; illegal use of official military email accounts to send emails containing religious rhetoric, and attempts by missionary organizations such as Force Ministries and the Officers' Christian Fellowship to create 'Christian soldiers' by training active-duty military personnel to evangelize their subordinates and peers."

Asked how strictly the Pentagon controls promotion of religious fundamentalism in the armed forces, Jonathan Withington, a Defense Department spokesman, said: "A basic principle of our nation is free exercise of religion. The Department of Defense places a high value on the rights of members of the armed forces to observe the tenets of their respective religions. It is DOD policy that requests for accommodation of religious practices should be approved by commanders when accommodation will not have an adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, standards, or discipline."

The concerns of some within the military are that not only do fundamentalist Christian public pronouncements seep into top-ranking military officials, but their beliefs can infect the decision-making of those officials. For instance: evangelical Army Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin made headlines in 2003 when he said he believed America was engaged in a holy war as a "Christian nation" battling Satan. Adversaries can be defeated, he said, "Only if we come against them in the name of Jesus."

Despite his highly publicized rhetoric, Boykin remains Bush's deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. Last February, Army Gen. Peter Pace joined with President Bush and the Fellowship Foundation, "a low-profile group that promotes Christian evangelism," to conduct a reading at the Washington, DC prayer breakfast.

With Christian evangelism at this level of the government, some worry about subconscious or even conscious decision making by these leaders at a time when the United States is "at war with Islamic extremists."

"If the armed forces' culture is allowed to stifle creativity and diversity of thought, then the strategic leader's difficult and often time-sensitive decision process may find itself with fewer courses of action from which to choose," wrote Colonel Millonig in discussing public religious proselytizing by military leadership. "Fewer choices are more easily influenced by a select group of individuals and can lead to disastrous consequences in the short term. Left unchecked, the credibility of the military's decision making and policy advice to senior civilians could steadily erode over the long term."

Millonig said his purpose in writing the academic paper "is not to analyze the validity of any individual beliefs, but to show how the rise of conservative Christian and Republican values have affected the military's decision making and policy recommendations. Whether right, wrong or indifferent - the conservative Christian voice has impacted our military. America's strategic thinkers, both military and civilian, must be aware of this trend and its potential implications on policy formulation. The role of intuition on subconscious biases and perceptions can dramatically impact the decision process."

On the other hand, Chaplain Keizer expressed full faith in the military leadership to weed out religious bias in crucial decision making and to prosecute those who force their faith on others. "In the military, I am not sure the evangelicals pose any more of a danger than any other religion on decision making. It is the political neocons who are pushing the US to become more supportive of Israel. The military leadership appears more pragmatic, while the politicians are more activist than reflective."

He cited what he considered crucial examples of this contrast. In one instance, he said, it was Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, then chief of staff, who went against the grain of former Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in suggesting troop strengths should be much higher in the Iraq war than the Bush administration did. He was heavily criticized by the Bush administration and retired. And, during the scandals over US military treatment of Iraqi prisoners, Keizer said, it was those within the military leadership, not US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who insisted prisoners should be treated humanely under the international Geneva Convention. In one instance, a dozen retired generals wrote the US Senate Judicial Committee to oppose torture tactics by the Central Intelligence Agency and the military.

Nevertheless, Colonel Millonig warns that the dangers of religious influences within the military are substantial. "America's military leaders must ensure preconceived notions based on religious or political ideology do not adversely shape the decision-making process, nor can it allow intuition based on 'automated expertise' to override an objective evaluation of relevant possibilities," he wrote. "Failure to do so can lead to an erosion of trust with civilian leadership and degrade national policy decisions."

"One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal," said Bill Moyers, a journalist-commentator for the Public Broadcasting Service in a speech to Harvard Medical School in December 2004. "It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington. Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts." Moyers is an ordained Baptist minister.

JP Briggs II, Ph.D. is a Distinguished CSU professor at Western Connecticut State University, specializing in creative process. A former reporter for the Hartford Courant and coordinator of the journalism program at WCSU, he is currently senior editor of the intellectual journal "The Connecticut Review." His books include "Fire in the Crucible" (St. Martins Press); "Fractals, the Patterns of Chaos" Simon and Schuster), and "Trickster Tales" (Fine Tooth Press), among others. Email:

Thomas "Dennie" Williams is a former state and federal court reporter, specializing in investigations, for the Hartford Courant. Since the 1970s, he has written extensively about irregularities in the Connecticut Superior Court, Probate Court systems for disciplining both judges and lawyers for misconduct and the failures of the Pentagon and the VA to assist sick veterans returning from war. He can be reached at


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.