Saturday, May 17, 2008

NeoCon Claptrap

There's no good reason why you should give one solitary hoot as to what the New York Daily News thinks about the recent Bush-Obama "affair," but since its editorial mirrored what a much larger community of neoconservative voices is saying and will persist in saying, it's worth taking a look at. It's a sad and early sign of what's to come, lots of it.

The paper said Barack Obama "is stuck with" a problem: "that during this campaign he did in fact say, and moreover did in fact say several times, that as President he would be entirely willing to sit down with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other rogues with no preconditions whatsoever." Just in case the flat "no" preconditions wasn't clear enough for you, "whatsoever" was added.

"That is why," the editorial continued, "for a second day Friday, the customarily unflappable Obama rather flappably chose to go on a tear over President Bush's remarks to the Israeli Knesset. He called those remarks 'appalling' and 'divisive' and much else, presenting himself as the victim of an untoward attack. He is no such thing."

In a way, the Daily News was correct on that last point. Because, as things soon became clear, Obama was far less a victim than a deliriously happy recipient of Bush's attack, since said attack was so mammothly stupid. Only afterward did the White House realize just how stupid, so only afterward did defensive rhetorical inventions such as the Daily News' neoconservative editorial become necessary.

Its principal invention in defense of Mr. Bush was the ho-hum approach. The president said, said the Daily News -- and this is stated emphatically three different times in three different ways -- nothing untoward. (The editors did not add "whatsoever," however, throwing their full-throated adherence to this claim into question.)

Raising the spectre of Hitler before the Israeli Parliament, denouncing domestic opposition abroad and characterizing that opposition's position as scurrilous "appeasement" -- none of this was deemed "untoward." It was, rather, or as the Daily News and similar outlets would have you believe, just another crack foreign-relations day at the office.

I'm still waiting for Bush's defenders to cite one specific example, or even one roughly similar occasion, in which a president of the United States stood on foreign soil and excoriated his own, or his would-be successor's, domestic political opposition as Chamberlainesque in cause and Hitlerian in effect.

None was offered by the Daily News, although one would think such offerings would abound -- it was, said the paper, "nothing that has not been said many times, by Bush and by others" -- in any legitimate defense.

Also stated as fact was that Ahmadinejad -- who, by the way, is not the ultimate power in Iran, which was left conveniently unstated -- "intends to attain nuclear weapons to get the job [of vaporizing Israel] done."

I wonder if he would settle for vaporizing the neoCons, if we can round them up for him. I will gladly volunteer!

It's just as simple and straightforward as that, no questions asked or skepticism raised. This Superman of an enemy will single-handedly build or "attain" a bomb and single-handedly drop it on Israel, with no other Persians intervening at any time to avert his nationally suicidal behavior.

Have you ever noticed? All of our enemies are supermen. Just take the latest, greatest Americans enemy, Osama bin Laden. Here is a superman of untold, even magical strength. Here is a man who did what the huge and horrible Soviet Union couldn't do in 40 years and he did it from a cave in Afghanistan, while on dialysis. If we had an army of people like him we would never lose a war. Until we do, we seem destined to lose all of them and that would include the one being planned even as I type. When will they ever learn.....

Ah, to live in the clean, simplistic, black-and-white world of the right, where never a complication arises in argument.

But I have saved the best of the Daily News for nearly last: "Obama has said he would treat unconditionally with Ahmadinejad. While far short of appeasement, that's a problem."

Sorry ... excuse me ... coming through ...

We were first told by the paper that what Bush charged -- "appeasement" -- was not only a rather commonplace attack for a president to launch, but, in this instance, an entirely appropriate one -- one that in no way was unfair or "untoward." Remember? Well, now, several paragraphs later, we're told that the policy which Bush attacked was, after all, something "far short of appeasement."

So it was appropriate for Bush to attack Obama for holding a position he doesn't hold and never has. And, it would seem, it's appropriate for Obama's opponents to belittle him as a "flappable" whiner when he quite appropriately strikes back. Furthermore, it's appropriate for the Daily News to write a blistering editorial based on an argument never made.

BushCo has so damaged this nation in the eyes of the rest of the world, has so weakened our military and our economy, that no one considers a visit from the president of the U.S.

Obama never said there would not be much back and forth between the State Department and their counterparts in Iran. What he said was that pre-conditions, which consist of everything the U.S. wants, before a meeting, are foolish. Iran would never agree to such a thing, not anymore than we would or anymore than the Soviet Union did, during over 55 years of cold war. What Obama sees, that the rest of the fools running for president apparently don't see, is that a visit from the U.S. president isn't worth much anymore Bush Co has so damaged this nation is the eyes of the world. The rest of America needs to get over that notion as well. After Bush's and Cheney's torture policy and other war crimes, like the mother of all war crimes, a war of aggression, we don't have a moral leg to stand on. As a matter of fact, our leadership (and that includes congress after congress, who allowed Bush and Cheney to run wild without any oversight of which to speak) can and should be considered amoral, because they believe that torure is a good and right thing to do. The only thing they worry about is getting caught in a foreign country and tried, like the Nazis at Nurenberg, because "old Europe" just isn't with it, as Rummy would say, and not because they have done anything wrong. (I once believed that "Rummy" was a nickname, but now I'm beginning to think he was called Rummy because he was at least three sheets to the wind the entire time he served as Sec Def. I mean, if you go back and look at some of his statements from the podium at the Pentagon, how could one think differently?)

Given all that, here's the even better of the best from The Daily News: its final, three-word editorial judgment on this matter -- that Obama possesses "insufficiently formulated thinking."

Oh, the irony of it all. Do you see the irony? I see the irony. Or should we just call it sufficiently formulated claptrap.

Insufficiently formulated thinking? Oh God, if that isn't rich, I don't know what is. The freakin' neocons have been planning the invasion of Iraq since 1995. Later they tried to sell the idea to Clinton, who was so bogged down in the Lewinski mess by that time, he could barely fire a missile at bin Laden without the Republican Congress screaming "wag the dog" on every news channel. Clinton declined, for reasons unknown, at least to me. This, again, points out the fact that Neocons have no party loyalty, much to Karl Roves chagrin, I'm sure. They don't give a damn about any political party, only their wicked, sick imperialistic ideology. They really don't care whether the next president is Hillary or McCain. They are pretty sure they can do business with either or both, but not Obama. He is the one they fear and if so much as a hair on his head is harmed, should he be elected, it is the NeoCons we will hold responsible.

Unfortunately, we're in for five, uninterrupted months of it.

Kinda makes ya want to drag out the bazookas and head for the Weekly Standard, does it not?

For personal questions or comments you can contact P.M. 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.

Israel, Religious Insanity and Our Current Self-made Nightmare

By Mike
read more Mark Biskeborn

The Bush Administration celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Israeli nation this week.

W visited the one or two places in the Middle East where the entire population would not massively attempt to undo him. Israelis are the only people to give W a standing ovation, moving our grossly failed president to tears. It’s the only country where he feels welcome.

Which should tell us much about our policy of continuing knee-jerk defense of Israel, no matter what crimes their government commits. As we wait for a new administration, and struggle toward survival in the dawning of a new age, we must re-think our relationship with Israel and it's neighbors.

As a nation founded on, among other things, the separation of church and state, we should not support, to the death, any religious state and yet, under this administration, that is exactly what we have done.

There can be no real Democracy in a religious state because, by its very definition, one group will have privileges and rights that another group does not. It never fails. Religion becomes just another excuse to beat up on someone else, as it has many, many times in the history of this world.

Our policy should be the same, no matter the religion and that would include the "worship of the state," as in Communism.

In 1947, the United Nations approved the partition of the Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Arab League rejected the plan, but on May 14, 1948, the Jewish provisional government declared Israel's independence. Israel thus became the first Jewish state in the world, now with a population of just under 8 million. It’s about the size of greater Los Angeles and 85% Jewish.

Which was one of the greatest mistakes in human history. When will we admit that and do something about it?

Since the UN recognized this new nation, especially after the 1948 Israeli-Arab War, Israelis have pushed their borders east into Muslim territories. Israeli expansion has enflamed decades long fighting between Jews and Muslims with no resolution in sight. Emphasis on the differences in their religions has continually ignited hate on both sides of the battles.

Oh joy. Lets commit more murders for God. Is this really any more civilized than sacrificing people to volcanoes for various gods and goddesses?

Neither side is innocent in this ongoing war between Jews and Muslims. Despite the holy image of Israel that once warmed the hearts of many Americans, war has stained the saintly Israeli aura.

Israel remains the preeminent military power in the Middle East. It has nuclear weapons, strong conventional forces and the capability to strike at will, as it did in September when it destroyed what it believed to be a Syrian nuclear facility.

(Oh poppy cock!)

Last year, Israel signed a 10-year, $30 billion arms deal with Washington aimed at keeping that edge for years to come.

That's pocket change compared to what we have spent on the Iraq quagmire.

Given Israel’s massive military capabilities, is it any surprise that Iran does everything it can to protect itself? Once a close ally with the US, Iran is now forming alliances with China and Russia for its oil and weapons exchanges.

Given Israel’s US support and military might, is it really any surprise that Palestinians resort to terrorist reprisals and other such guerrilla war tactics? Of course, terrorism and guerrilla warfare is unacceptable, as should be all types of war. Yet, let’s also keep in mind that Israelis have not been innocent of their share of terrorist reprisals either.

For the US to grant Israel complete unconditional love is to take sides with one party in a war that has no innocent perpetrators.

Israelis roll out the red carpet for Bush mainly because W and his old neocon war mongers have loved Israel unconditionally...and waged war for them. Israel enjoys all the benefits as if the 51st US State and without the tax bill for the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Funny, I said the same thing just the other day. Maybe more and more minds are changing. Let's hope so. But, in all seriousness, how long would Washington put up with California arming itself to the teeth, with it's own nuclear arsenal?

Many experts on Middle Eastern affairs have shown convincing evidence that W pushed the invasion and occupation of Iraq solely to serve Israeli interests to fortify its power in the region. As a fundamentalist Christian, Bush believes in the second coming of Jesus and, so prepares for Armageddon.

W, like his buddies Hagee, Falwell, Robertson and the rest, believes in an impotent God, one whom he must assist? Glad my God isn't all that weak.

This means that neither oil or freedom or anything else motivated W more in his personal war against Iraq than religious ideology.

It was about the religious fervor that stirs the hearts of neocons like Bush, and now McCain who has gained endorsements and support from Israeli enthusiasts like Pastor Hagee and Preacher Pat Robertson. Those religious fanatics beguile the blind following of large swaths of gullible, uneducated American voters.

It stands to reason that without the interest in oil wealth of the region, the US would not support a war in those deserts for the sole sake of ousting a dictator. If this were the case, the US could easily invade North Korea, or China, or Zimbabwe…ruthless dictators run all of these and other countries.

When W first came to power, Israeli leaders like Sharon and now Olmert had long since urged the neocon fundamentalists in the US to invade and occupy Iraq and Iran. This fact is so publicly documented no references are needed, except for those in denial.

The bitter pill of Bush’s complete failure as a President, though, comes from how these Israeli leaders now voice disappointment in the US invasion of Iraq. Did I say “bitter?” Bush served the Israeli leaders faithfully like a choirboy serves the Catholic priest, in orthodox and unorthodox manners, bending over, assuming the position, and taking it all in deeply.

During the Bush admin, the US has granted Israel complete and utter unconditional love, sacrificing thousands of young American patriots and trillions of tax dollars.

"The sum total is that if you measure Israeli security at the beginning of this administration and at the end of the administration, based on things the president either could have done, should have done or failed to do, the report card is pretty negative," said Daniel C. Kurtzer, who served as Bush's first-term ambassador to Israel. (Washington Post, 14 May 2008)

Kurtzer has since switched political parties. He saw the light. He now advises Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Kurtzer sees Bush's neglect of the peace process for most of his seven years in office. Despite the president's optimism that he can achieve a Palestinian-Israeli deal in his final year, Kurtzer and many other analysts believe that Israel remains unwilling to negotiate peace with its neighbors. As is typical of Bush, he ignores the advise of non-religious, non-neocons. In his recent speech in Jerusalem, Bush claims that “Israel stands for peace.”

Oh, My God! What total BS! If Israel stands for peace, it's for damn sure peace doesn't stand a chance. No nation has ever, in my lifetime, stood for peace, with the possible exception of Switzerland. Since before the recognition of Israel by the U.N, while the Zionists fought to build a religious state, there has been nothing but bloodshed there. We have only ourselves and Britain to blame for supporting such a state and, of course, the people in the area who believe that Religion is worth killing over or is meant to be killed for. I, for one, have just about had it with the Abrahamic religions. Now that Greenland is melting, why not put them all up there and let them fight it out and, preferably, to the death, or how about Anartica.

As a kick to the dead horse (Bush), the Israeli defense establishment voices second thoughts about Bush's decision to remove Saddam Hussein and the botched occupation of Iraq. Despite Israel’s urging the early Bush administration to invade Iraq, those policies, they now argue, have helped fuel the rise of Israel's nemesis, Iran, whose president has spoken openly of trying to wipe Israel off the map. The war has also threatened to destabilize neighboring Jordan with a flood of refugees.

Early on, the Iraq invasion "looked as if it would serve Israel's interest," said Shlomo Brom, a former director of strategic planning for the Israel Defense Forces. But "the way that it was implemented by this administration is eventually causing damage to Israel. It is strengthening the radical elements in the Middle East."

When will you people realize that war is not the answer?

"People are mistaken,” says Brom, “to think that the most friendly president [to Israel] is also the best president that Israel has ever had."

Interesting phraesology, don't you think?

And now to stave off further criticism from his Israeli masters, Bush pursues serious talks of invading Iran, and this even after various intelligence has proven that Iran has no nuclear capabilities. W and his neocons, like McCain, have not yet learned an obvious and simple lesson in leadership, namely, that to twist up CIA intelligence and to ignore common sense advise, can lead the US into military and financial catastrophe.

Like his neocon advisors, Bush wages his wars mainly motivated by religious ideology, ‘crusades’ as he calls them in speeches. We see the results.

I have a hard time believing that the Iraq war was completely motivated by religious insanity, although that was part of it. The Bushies (the neocon branch) never do anything for only one reason. If one carefully studies their actions over the past almost eight years, one will find that any action, especially a big action, on their part usually serves at least three purposes. At the top of those purposes, is the imperial presidency and one party rule for generations to come. They blew it, big time, which renders most of the rest of their goals null and void and leaves the nation in great peril. (I think that if I were a Republican, I would be packing heat and tracking them all down, just as soon as the next president takes office. Dick Cheney and Karl Rove would be at the top of my list.)

(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.

A New Age Is Dawning....Like It Or Not.

But as the new age dawns, to which I look forward for those younger than me, there will be the agony of death; the death of the old fossil fuel based industrial/corporate age. When something is certain, like death in a terminal patient, it is resistance itself that brings the most agony.

The author of the following article, Mr. Bliss, writes beautifully about this and gives ideas to those of us who are wondering what we can do to make this transition smoother and less painful, for ourselves and for others.

Let's all do what we can and then some.

Oil, Food, and Agrotherapy
by Shepherd Bliss | May 16, 2008 - 1:51pm

Petroleum supplies slowly dwindle as demand rapidly soars. So the prices of gasoline and oil that supply modern societies with their industrial production of food will go up, up, and away. A radically different future than the oil-energized twentieth century is dawning.

Let's face it: our world has become increasingly maddening. Bad news mounts each day: unending wars, financial crises, earthquakes, hurricanes and cyclones killing thousands, chaotic climate change, vanishing pollinating bees and polar bears, rising oceans, thinning forests and a host of human-created or -worsened threats. We live in uncertain times with an even more uncertain future. We face unprecedented, unpredictable converging threats. What can one do to remain somewhat sane? The ostrich approach of denial by burying one's head in the sand will not be effective or life-enhancing.

It is a good time for an increasing number of people to return to the multiple benefits and pleasures of growing at least part of their own food by gardening and farming. In addition to satisfying the need to eat and drink, farming can also help deal with depression, passivity, and other forms of psychological suffering. It can help treat both the body and the soul. Farming can be done in ways that preserve the Earth and put humans in direct contact with it.

Since growing one's own food is not possible for everyone, it is also a good time to establish direct relationships with local farmers and shop more at farmers's markets, farm stands, and by subscribing to Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs). Urban agriculture, farms on the urban fringe, and rooftop gardening are becoming increasingly popular. The large city of Havana, Cuba, grows 70% of its own food. Necessity will change how people get their food in the near future.

Many Americans take their food sources for granted, assuming that super-markets will be able to always supply them with what they need. Having lived in Hawai'i when delivery disruptions and the lack of transportation across the ocean left bare shelves in food stores, I know the panic this can cause.

The "Silent Tsunami," "Misery Index," and Mud Cakes

A "silent tsunami" of hunger sweeps the globe, reports the head of the United Nation's World Food Program, Josette Sheeran, speaking in late April at a food summit in London. The heightened hunger threat endangers 20 million of the world's poorest children and is pushing 100 million people into poverty.

"This is the new face of hunger--the millions of people who were not in the urgent hunger category six months ago but now are," Sheeran reports. "The world's misery index is rising."

During 2008 food riots broke out in the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. "You are seeing the return of the food riot, one of the oldest forms of collective action," commented Raj Patel in an April 25 San Francisco Chronicle article. The University of California at Berkeley scholar wrote the new book "Stuffed and Starved: Power and the Hidden Battle for the World Food System."

The World Bank estimates that food prices have risen 83% in three years; other estimates are in the 60 and 70 percent range. Even in the wealthy United States we have recently seen rationing of rice and other staples by food giants such as Costco and Wal-Mart's Sam's Clubs, the two biggest warehouse retail chains. Such trends are likely to continue and are creating stockpiling and hoarding.

"In the poorest districts (of Haiti), there is now a brisk trade in mud cakes," writes Patel in an article titled "The Troubles with Food," published at "Mothers feed the biscuits, made with water, salt, margarine and clay, to their children. The cake puts a dampener on hunger, at least for a couple of hours, but leaves your mouth dry and bitter for several hours more," he continues.

Industrial agriculture will be one of the many aspects of human life on the planet hit by the dwindle/demand oil trend and the related peaks of other fossil fuels, such as natural gas. Industrial agriculture depends upon petroleum in many ways--to run tractors and other machines, to make chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and to fuel the trucks that transport food an average of 1500 miles from field to fork. Oil is the most important ingredient in most of conventional food. As the dwindle/demand rate intensifies, food will be less available and more expensive. Famine is likely.

Survival will require that more people return to an earlier energy supply-- muscle power. As someone who made a transition in the early 1990's (while in my late 40s) from a livelihood based on college teaching and related intellectual activities to one based on farming, I can report that there are many advantages to such a change. I feel better as a result of living on the land, growing some of my own food, and sharing that organic food and the farm itself with others.

I have found my local place. In 2003 I accepted a great job offer in Hawai'i, but after a couple of wonderful years, I felt so homesick that I returned to my farm.

So this will be a report from the farm front, which will focus on some of the psychological benefits of farming.

The multiple consequences of a diminishing supply of humanity's major energy source at this point in history will include hardships, stress, and suffering. There are many ways of dealing psychologically with such matters, including with family, friends and professional counselors. This article will explore what I have come to describe as agropsychology and agrotherapy.

I was trained to be a counselor. Quite frankly, I was not good at delivering individual therapy. I got too emotional and involved. I did not adequately develop the necessary professional armor and shield. I did not take enough distance from the people I was working with or have enough "impulse control." So I shifted more to teaching, group work, and writing. In the time since my more conventional psychological training some forty years ago, self-disclosure and emotional men have become more acceptable as sex roles and professional codes have evolved.

Ecopsychology and Ecotherapy

Sierra Club Books published "Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind" in l996. The term refers to the emerging synthesis of the psychological and the ecological. The book's editor, Theodore Roszak, writes that "ecology needs psychology, psychology needs ecology." Roszak reports on a l990 conference entitled "Psychology as if the Whole Earth Mattered."

The Sierra Club plans to publish the book's sequel "Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind" in March of 2009. My chapter "Farming, Sweet Darkness, Poetry, and Healing" is scheduled to be part of that book. After finishing my contribution I began to realize that what I was writing about could be called agrotherapy, which is the practice of agropsychology, which are sub-sets of ecopsychology and ecotherapy. Farms have historically been healing places, for both those who live and work there and those who visit. Farm tours and even overnight farm stays are becoming increasingly popular as examples of ecotourism. The Small Farm Program at the University of California at Davis, Sonoma County Farm Trails, and Daily Acts are among the many groups that promote such tours.

Simply put, by living on a farm and working the land on a regular basis, I have become a healthier person--physically and mentally. In recent years I have been hosting an increasing number of farm tours at Kokopelli Farm in the Sebastopol countryside, Sonoma County, Northern California. Community, school, and religious groups, as well as families and friends, come to the farm, which grows mainly organic berries and fruit and cares for chickens.

My visitors tend to feel better from their time on this traditional farm; something positive usually happens to them. Being outside in nature can benefit people. People typically loose sight of chronological time. They can fall into berry time or chicken time, which tend to be slower than the human-made clock, and often more fun and stress-reducing. They sometimes lose their restraint and order, wanting to sprint ahead, or go off the path, as if they were animals, which they are.

Chicken Wisdom and Agrotherapy

This year I returned to teaching psychology, part-time, at Sonoma State University. I sometimes take chickens as Teaching Assistants (TAs). For example, I took two sweet silkies on Valentine's Day; they modeled being love birds as they cooed and cuddled, one even feeling safe enough to lay an egg.

Chickens can teach many things, such as surrender to what is, joy at the dawn, transformation of throwaways into jewels, and love of the Earth within which chickens take their dust baths to help them get rid of parasites. Chickens offer incredible eggs, humor, joy, and beauty. That other two-legged can teach chicken wisdom, that of a prey, to humans, who are predators. It includes, but is not limited to, the following: delight in simple things (like worms), keep dancing, recycle, snuggle into the earth, slow down, combine vulnerability and hardiness.

Agrotherapy is not therapy-as-usual. It happens mainly in the open, outside an office, a building, a city and without a defined time limit. The freedom to wonder and to meander characterize being outside. One does not enter the same human-made setting each time; farms are seasonal, as humans are, and are constantly changing. The therapists-of-the-outdoors include trees, berries, birds, bees, chickens, the moon and stars, the clouds, crow congresses and others who can help relieve stress, anxiety, suffering, and even sickness.

Tears sometimes come to the eyes of city folk when they sit on the ground beneath the giant redwoods or sprawling oaks at my farm. Something from their personal or collective memory seems to get activated. We listen to the wind and hear various sounds within it. Within just a few minutes I can usually feel a change in my guests. This is not a "talking cure." It is non-talking, opening to the other senses. There is not therapeutic couch or chair; the forest provides a comforting bed upon which one can relax and reduce their stress.

My presence on such tours is more as a guide who can point things out, including patterns in nature and persons, and pose strategic questions, than as an expert to make book-based diagnoses and human-devised treatments. Farming--like therapy or personal growth--is a process with no clear beginning or end. There are products along the way, but the topsoil, for example, takes thousands of years to make. Perennial trees and berries planted by one family member can endure far beyond his or her lifetime into that of descendants, continuing to provide beauty and healing.

An email I sent to a local online listserve about agropsychology generated the following response from Jennifer York, the owner of the Bamboo Sorcery outside my hometown of Sebastopol:

"I can vouch for what you call "agropsychology.' It saved me as a youth in my recovery from a traumatic childhood, and now in middle age. I am once again finding great healing, joy, and contentment in growing my own garden and raising my own farm animals (chickens, rabbits, and someday dairy goats, I hope!) for food, fun and deep connection with the cycles of life and death. For me it is a spiritual, as well as a practical avocation. I recommend it. Besides, it may come in very handy someday.

"In the meantime I am having fun, and feel good about sharing the experience with my 6-year-old daughter. I believe it is creating a sound foundation in her for the future. I have great gratitude to my deceased parents who were Back-to-Landers in the late 60's and 70's, and who exposed me to this rich and life affirming way of life.

"My husband says he can tell how happy I am by how much dirt is under my finger nails...and it's true."

In his book "Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines" Peak Oil theorist Richard Heinberg includes a chapter titled "The Psychology of Peak Oil and Climate Change." He writes, "The next few decades will be traumatic." One resource that Heinberg refers to is the work of eco-philosopher Joanna Macy with respect to workshops on "despair and empowerment." In them people are encouraged to deal with their grief, and thus feel their connection to the Earth.

Ecopsychology and ecotherapy can take many forms, including agropsychology and agrotherapy. These recently conceptualized fields can make a contribution to the larger fields of psychology and psychotherapy and thus to the healing of people and of the nature of which we are an integral part. Humans often seem to battle nature, whereas participation and collaboration with it seem more healthy, which these developing forms can advance.

(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.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Edwards Endorsement Pays Off For Obama

I am, personally, glad that Edwards came out for Obama. Being an Edwards supporter from the beginning, it's good to know that he made the same choice that I did, immediately after he dropped out. I couldn't help but wonder, as I saw them on television together, is that the ticket?

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press WriterThu May 15, 9:33 PM ET

Barack Obama collected the support of seven of John Edwards' Democratic convention delegates on Thursday, then gained the backing of four superdelegates and a large labor union as he marched steadily toward the party's presidential nomination.

The fresh support brought Obama's overall delegate total to 1,898, compared to 1,718 for his rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton. It takes 2,026 to clinch the nomination at the party convention in Denver this summer.

Ferchrissake, will the rest of you people get on board? It's time for this thing to be over!

Edwards, who bestowed his long-sought endorsement on Obama on Wednesday, won 19 delegates before departing the presidential race in January.

Within hours, Obama picked up the backing of five of them from South Carolina, one in New Hampshire and one in Iowa.

In addition, three superdelegates — Reps. James McDermott of Washington, and Henry Waxman and Howard Berman of California — endorsed Obama.

"I believe now is the time to unite behind Barack Obama so we can be in the strongest place possible to win in November," McDermott said.


Waxman said in a statement: "I have the greatest respect and admiration for Senator Clinton and former President Clinton ... It is now clear, however, that the Democratic Party is nearing a broad consensus on our nominee."

Edwards had been backed by the United Steelworkers Union, which announced it would now support Obama. The union has 600,000 active members, many of them blue-collar workers of the type that have favored Clinton in recent primaries.

Obama also picked up the personal endorsement of superdelegate Larry Cohen, the president of the Communication Workers of America union.

Campaigning in Rapid City, S.D., Clinton spoke for the first time about Edwards' endorsement.

"I have a great deal of respect for Senator Edwards," she said in response to reporters' questions. "He and I have a lot in common ... I imagine that Senator Edwards' endorsement will be of some help to Senator Obama in Kentucky, but I think that what matters are the people who actually vote."

Senator Edwards is a person ans he does vote, I believe.

Clinton said she had not spoken with Edwards but had spoken with his wife, Elizabeth, about the endorsement. Clinton declined to discuss their conversation.

The delegate and labor support came despite Obama's overwhelming defeat in Tuesday's primary in West Virginia, and suggested that Clinton's argument that she would be a better general election candidate was not finding a receptive audience.

Oh, who cares about West Virginia? That is probably the most racist state in the Union and hasn't voted for a Democrat for president since, maybe, Kennedy. No big loss there. If the people of West Virginia want to remain poor as church mice and considered "hicks with sticks" by the rest of the nation, even the people of the south, let then keep voting for the party that only cares about the owners of the coal mines, not those who labor in them; the party who allows the safety standards to not be enforced.

The former first lady is favored to win next week's primary in Kentucky, while Obama is expected to win in Oregon the same day.

The delegates won by Edwards are not bound by his endorsement of Obama, but several said it is important to their decision.

"I will cast my vote for who John Edwards asks me to," said Robert Groce, a South Carolina delegate won by Edwards.

Arlene Prather-O'Kane, of Cedar Falls, Iowa, said she is a backer of Edwards but "I will support who he is endorsing — which is Barack."

With the primary season winding down, both Clinton and Obama have turned their attention increasingly to the superdelegates, the members of Congress and other party officials who have seats at the convention by virtue of their positions.

Obama long trailed Clinton among superdelegates, but overtook her last week, and has pulled further away despite suffering one of his worst defeats in the campaign in West Virginia.

Clinton spent the day campaigning in South Dakota, one of two states that closes out the primary season on June 3. Obama was home in Chicago.

Both rivals had avidly sought Edwards' endorsement, particularly in the weeks after he dropped out of the race. The former North Carolina senator and 2004 vice presidential nominee had campaigned as a champion of the working class, and in the wake of his departure, Clinton consistently drew more blue-collar votes than Obama did.

"We are here tonight because the Democratic voters have made their choice, and so have I," Edwards said Wednesday as he endorsed Obama in Grand Rapids, Mich. He said Obama "stands with me" in a fight to cut poverty in half within 10 years, a claim Obama confirmed moments later.

If Edwards says it, I believe it.


Associated Press writers Matthew Daly and Jesse J. Holland in Washington, Jim Davenport in Columbia, S.C., Amy Lorentzen in Des Moines, Iowa, and Sara Kugler in Rapid City, S.D., contributed to this report.

(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 Committed Treason

Well, Geebus, how many times does this make, now? But I suppose there are different kinds of treason. Admittedly the one told of here is right up there with some of the others articles of impeachment, which have already been drawn up, by citizens.

Mr.Bush! Contrary to popular belief, Israel in not the 51st state. They don't pay taxes. Until they do, they are not a part of the U.S. and no, I would not be willing for my son or daughter to die in the defense of Israel. Let me know when someone attacks Canada or Mexico.

How dare you, idiot Boy, to say that Democrats would be a foreign policy disaster, when your selection as president has led to the current debacle!

As Keith Olbermann put it so well, "Just Shut The Hell Up!"

Thursday, May 15, 2008
President Bush committed political treason today

I've seen a lot of sad things in American politics in my lifetime -- the resignation of a president who became a national disgrace after he oversaw a campaign of break-ins and cover-ups, another who circumvented the Constitution to trade arms for hostages, and yet is now hailed as national hero. And those paled to what we have seen in the last seven years -- flagrant disregard for the Constitution, the launching of a "pre-emptive" war on false pretenses, and discussions about torture and other shocking abuses inside the White House inner sanctum.

But now it's come to this: A new low that I never imagined was even possible.

President Bush went on foreign soil today, and committed what I consider an act of political treason: Comparing the candidate of the U.S. opposition party to appeasers of Nazi Germany -- in the very nation that was carved out from the horrific calamity of the Holocaust. Bush's bizarre and beyond-appropriate detour into American presidential politics took place in the middle of what should have been an occasion for joy: A speech to Israeli's Knesset to honor that nation's 60th birthday.

But here's what he said:

JERUSALEM (CNN) – In a particularly sharp blast from halfway around the world, President Bush suggested Thursday that Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of "appeasement" of terrorists in the same way U.S. leaders appeased Nazis in the run-up to World War II.

"Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along," said Bush, in what White House aides privately acknowledged was a reference to calls by Obama and other Democrats for the U.S. president to sit down for talks with leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"We have heard this foolish delusion before," Bush said in remarks to the Israeli Knesset. "As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American Senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

As a believer in free speech, I think Bush has a right to say what he wants, but as a President of the United States who swore to uphold the Constitution, his freedom also carries an awesome and solemn responsibility, and what this president said today is a serious breach of that high moral standard.

Of course, there are differences of opinion on how America should handle Iran, and that's why we're having an election here at home, to sort these issues out -- hopefully with respect and not with emotional and inaccurate appeals. Not only is the president's comment a gross misrepresentation of Barack Obama's stance on the issue, but ironically, it comes just a day after his own Secretary of State, Robert Gates, said of Iran: "We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage . . . and then sit down and talk with them." Is Gates a Nazi appeaser-type, too? And Bush has been hardly consistent on this point, either. Look at his own dealings with oil-rich Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, linked to deadly terror attacks like Pan Am Flight 103.

But what Bush did in Israel this morning goes well beyond the accepted confines of American political debate, When the president speaks to a foreign parliament on behalf of our country, his message needs to be clear and unambiguous. Our democracy may look messy to outsiders, and we may have our disagreements with some sharp elbows thrown around, but at the end of the day we are not Republicans or Democrats or liberals or conservatives.

We are Americans.

And you, Mr. Bush, are the leader of us all. To use a diplomatic setting on foreign soil to score a cheap political point at home is way beneath your office, way beneath your country, and way beneath the people you serve. You have been handed an office once uplifted to great heights by fellow countrymen from Washington to Lincoln to Roosevelt to Eisenhower, and have plunged it so deeply into the Karl-Rove-and-Rush-Limbaugh-fueled world of political destruction and survival of all costs that have lost all perspective -- and all sense of decency. To travel to Israel and to associate a sitting American senator and your possible successor in the Oval Office with those who at one time gave comfort to an enemy of the United States is, in and of itself, an act of political treason.

In another irony, this comes from an administration that has already committed such grave abuses that its former officials are becoming fearful of traveling overseas, lest they be arrested for war crimes. Despite the alleged crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration, the Democrats who control the House have until now been restrained in their use of the impeachment process, hoping that the final eight months of our American nightmare can pass by quickly. Indeed, one has to wonder how much of Bush's outrageous statement this morning arose from fear -- fear that a President Obama will go after his wrongdoing in 2009.

Today, it's a whole new ballgame. I believe this treacherous statement by a U.S. president in Israel is a signal to the Democrats in the House in Washington, that it's time to play its Constitutional role in ending this trauma, before even greater acts against the interest of America are wrongly committed in our name.

(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.

Where are Muldar and Skully When We Need Them?

Files released on UFO sightings

A sketch of a UFO [Pic: National Archives]
This is how one person described the UFO they had seen

Secret files on UFO sightings have been made available for the first time by the Ministry of Defence.

The documents, which can be downloaded from the National Archives website, cover the period from 1978 to 1987.

They include accounts of strange lights in the sky and unexplained objects being spotted by the public, armed forces and police officers.

One man explained in great detail his "physical and psychic contact" with green aliens since he was a child.

The writer said that one of them, called Algar, was killed in 1981 by another race of beings as he was about to make contact with the UK government.

The letter's author said he visited their bases in the Wirral and Cheshire, while his wife reported seeing a UFO shot down over Wallasey on Merseyside.

The eight released files are part of almost 200 files set to be made available over the next four years.

These documents will be available to download for free for the first month.

A spokesman for the National Archives said they were now becoming available after several requests made under the Freedom of Information Act, and also because of a "proactive move by the Ministry of Defence for an open and transparent government".

Much of the previously classified paperwork is made up of correspondence from the public sent to government officials, such as the MoD and then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

You can go. You are too old and too infirm for our purpose
Reported alien comment to pensioner

Another document reveals the experiences of a 78-year-old man who alleged that he met an alien beside Basingstoke Canal in Aldershot, Hampshire in 1983.

He said he went on board the craft, giving a detailed explanation of it, before being quizzed by the aliens about his age.

He was then told: "You can go. You are too old and too infirm for our purpose."

'Britain's Roswell'

Another letter, from the director of a group called the Wigan Ariel Phenomena Investigation Team, asks the MoD if it had a code of practice for dealing with an alien invasion.

A further document reveals how, on 21 February 1982, a group of customers and staff at a Tunbridge Wells pub reported an unknown object with green and red flashing lights - seen heading in the direction of Gatwick airport.

There are some reports from more official sources. The United States Air Force filed a report about two USAF policemen who saw "unusual lights outside the back gate at RAF Woodbridge" in Suffolk in December 1980.

Let me assure this House that Her Majesty's government has never been approached by people from outer space
Government briefing to House of Lords

This relates to the well-known incident of an alleged alien encounter at Rendlesham Forest, dubbed "Britain's Roswell" after the supposed contact made with aliens at Roswell in the United States.

Several drawings are visible in the files from those keen to demonstrate what they had seen.

One such sketch was made by Metropolitan Police officers, who were called out to a house in Stanmore in the London Borough of Harrow on 26 April, 1984.

Three officers spent an hour observing the object in the sky, which "moved erratically from side to side, up and down and to and fro, not venturing far from the original position".

One of the Pcs, who saw the object through binoculars, described it as "circular in the middle with what appeared to be a dome on top and underneath" with different coloured lights.

Common explanations

Visitors to the National Archives site will also find a videocast from Nick Pope, a British UFO specialist.

Mr Pope picked out one incident where a UFO was spotted over central London.

A sketch of a UFO [Pic: National Archives]
A sketch of a UFO, made by a Metropolitan Police officer

"This is a very interesting illustration that, actually, UFOs are seen in built-up areas. People have this idea they're seen in desolate, rural places.

"There's a sighting actually on Waterloo bridge, when a number of witnesses actually stopped to look at this UFO that was seen over the Thames."

Mr Pope said the most common explanation for UFOs were aircraft lights, bright stars and planets, satellites, meteors, or airships.

A detailed briefing is available within the files, which was prepared by the MoD for Lord Strabolgi, then government chief whip, for a debate on UFOs in the House of Lords in January 1979.

The briefing said that "there is nothing to indicate that UFOlogy is anything but claptrap" and that the idea of an "inter-governmental conspiracy of silence" was "the most astonishing and the most flattering claim of all".

(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.

American, Peaceful, Grassroots Revolution

One thing is for sure, no one running now, or who has run in the 2008 election campaign, can fix what has befallen this without the help of the people. There must be a grassroots revolution well beyond the election; one that will take up residence in D.C., hound congress 24/7 and work in the hinterlands to help re-build this nation in a new way.

The movement is already there, perhaps in it's infancy, but it is a powerful movement, one that can shake the world, but in a good way, for a change. Obama felt it coming and took advantage of it, like riding the crest of a wave, he has been successful, but I am sure that he will tell you, he is the beneficiary of what is turning into a great movement. Obama did what a good leader does; he senses the mood of the people he wishes to lead, he catches the wave of a movement, he doesn't analyze every little piece of the latest internal or independent poll. Those polls don't show what's really happening in this country.

And one can be sure that the MSM is, as usual, clueless. To them, news is what ever issues forth from the mouths of politicians or natural or man-made disasters. They are as out of touch with the people as the vast majority of the D.C. politicians.

Americans must become accustomed to acting on their own to protect their own interests and that of their states and nation. It will take awhile to clean up Washington to the degree that representatives and senators understand that they work for the people, not the corporate giants.

If there is one thing I hope we learned from the 70s and all that has happened since, it would be that grassroots organizations should have three major concerns, not just one. "One issue organizations" are too easily marginalized. The other thing we should have learned is that organizations should be pro-something and not anti-something.

The pendulum is swinging back toward the left or liberal side of American politics. If liberal is defined as John Kennedy defined it, when he was called a liberal in a derogatory fashion, then count me in. Seems to me it would be impossible for anyone to call themselves conservative today, after the last 8 years of out-right fascism, calling itself conservatism, which has been building for the last 40 years.

The fascist movement, in this country, we have witnessed over the last 40 years, is as politically and morally corrupt as Rome was in her latter years. What's worse, it can be found in other countries as well. Even little New Zealand has her share of neoconservatives who would have had NZ involved in Iraq had Helen Clark not been Prime Minister.

It must all end now! Even now it may be to late. The industrialists, now called Corporatists (which, according to Mussolini, is the same thing as Fascists) have shown themselves prepared to destroy the planet and ever species on it in the name of greed, gluttony and lust for power. God willing, they will destroy themselves first, or the people will.

American Dissatisfaction and the Peaceful Grassroots Revolution, Part 4

Imagine a nonpartisan presidential candidate who lives in a modest house, walks or bicycles around town, mows his own lawn, travels in a 1990s motorhome, and does without air conditioning and TV. Meet "Average Joe" Schriner. Joe explains that his age (52), his height (5'10"), his weight (180 pounds), his yearly income (five digits), his home state (Ohio) and his overall political outlook represent the average American.

In 1990, this Cleveland journalist and inner-city substance abuse counselor relocated to Tiffin in northwest Ohio to experience rural life. In 1992, along with his wife Liz and children Sarah and Joseph, Mr. Schriner embarked on an eight-year, 60,000-mile journey of the nation's back roads, visiting hundreds of small towns to collect research. In 2000 "Average Joe" Schriner registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to kick off his quiet presidential campaign. Since then--with the added company of a third child, Jonathan--he has traveled another 20,000 miles through the Northeast, the South, the Midwest, and the Southwest. In this 2008 election year, Joe is touring his home state once again.

"We're running as concerned Midwestern parents," he explains to reporters. "What Liz and I are most concerned about are mounting levels of violence, poverty, drug abuse, sex in the media, pollution." The Schriners have devoted their lives to making a real difference in the country, and their enthusiasm is contagious. Joe's campaign slogan? "The common Joe for the common good."

In 1997 the Schriner family had moved from Tiffin to Bluffton, a quiet town on I-75 about one hour north of Sidney. This led to a 2002 book called America's Best Town: Bluffton, Ohio 45817, in which "Average Joe" presents this little-known village as the most accurate representation of his platform.

This is a man who is not simply walking the fence, pandering to each group of voters in order to win votes. No, Joe believes wholeheartedly in each of his positions on each issue. Very few candidates for office have presented so many helpful and innovative ideas, all within a devout Catholic perspective. Not only do most of "Average Joe's" issue positions make good sense by themselves, but they make superb sense when combined into a single, organic, positive and sensible political philosophy.

A holistic pro-lifer, Joe firmly opposes abortion, euthanasia, stem-cell research involving embryonic abortion, and the death penalty. He would also open more crisis pregnancy care centers thruout the nation.

No big-name candidate can compete with "Average Joe" on fiscal responsibility. Joe would abolish the personal income tax and the IRS; institute a national sales tax; simplify the tax code down to a one-page form; and ensure corporations pay their fair share. He says we must "tighten our belts and pay... [the record-busting national budget deficit] off so our children don't inherit it."

If elected, Joe would replace landfills with recycling centers and outlaw toxic pesticides. He sees a deleterious trend toward mass-production mega farms, which he hopes to reverse by encouraging the retention and growth of small family farms. He would slash energy prices and clean up the environment by dramatically shifting America's energy sources to electric, wind and solar power. Joe favors US ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.

On the surface, Joe's agenda of free health care and social security for all Americans sounds like Clinton socialism. Not so, however. "We would shift power in a tremendous fashion back to people at the local level," says Joe. With the federal bureaucracy tamed, less defense spending and America's nuclear weapons program stopped, hundreds of billions of dollars in annual revenue will be available for social programs. Banning toxic farm chemicals, tightening emissions regulations, and encouraging sustainable agricultural practices will lead to a healthier populace less in need of professional health care services. An emphasis on natural remedies as well as reining in the corrupt pharmaceutical industry will also reduce health care costs. In light of Joe's comprehensive approach and attention to the root causes of problems, free health care and social security make more sense.

Regarding the complex immigration issue, Joe would first have local communities support the aliens' immediate needs, including temporary employment, and would dismantle the nation's new southern border wall. Then he would cut red tape from the legal immigration system and clamp down on American mega-businesses operating in Mexico; the latter would help expose and clean Mexican government corruption. Then "Average Joe" would aid Mexico in developing its own distributist (free but fair) economic system, giving the Mexican people incentive to remain in their home country.

Joe is no slouch when it comes to foreign policy either. On a colorful website,, he has compared Middle Eastern terrorism to US inner-city violence: "Frustrated kids in US cities join gangs. Frustrated kids in the Middle East join terrorist cells." Joe will distribute foreign aid more evenly to develop the world's needy countries, initiate global nuclear disarmament to cool off the "arms race," and establish a U.S. Department of Peace. His plan for Iraq includes a formal apology to the Iraqi people for invading their land and stealing their oil, more intensive training of the Iraqi military, humanitarian and financial assistance for rebuilding the country, and a gradual withdrawal of troops effective immediately. "I would also admit there is a tremendous duality in telling other nations they can't have WMD's--when we have the biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world," adds "Average Joe."

Finally, Joe gives the current unthinkable atrocity in Sudan, "the first genocide of the 21st century," the attention it deserves. He supports the recent deployment of 18,000 UN-AU peacekeeping troops in Darfur; would demand that Omar al-Bashir halt the Sudanese genocide immediately; and would rally international humanitarian assistance for the millions of starving, destitute and threatened inhabitants of Sudan.

Mr. Schriner's first book about his unique presidential campaign, published in 2000, is entitled The Back Road to the White House. "We wouldn't live in the White House," declares Joe. "We've grown too soft as Americans...We're asking Americans to cut back tremendously on lifestyle." And Joe himself is leading by example. He told Alabama journalist Ken Kifer in 2002: "We share the bath water and then use the water to wash clothes. Not rhetoric, but our way of living." That year the Schriners spent Thanksgiving Day with Kifer, eating a simple four-course meal Liz had prepared the day before.

Says Joe, "I don't want to leave a world of climate change, war, abortion, rural and inner city poverty, violent streets, nuclear proliferation, astronomical national debt, little social security, dwindling access to healthcare... to our children. What sane parent would?" "Average Joe" sums up his grassroots campaign thus: "We believe that if you heal the family, you heal the country."

As a baby boomer, Joe deeply understands his generation's needs such as health care and Social Security, but he also strongly appeals to younger folks with his radically fresh, well-grounded, grassroots approach. Joe's philosophy transcends the ideological warfare of America's two-party system to reflect a perfect balance of individual responsibility and concern for the common good. The common sense, coherence and integrity of this philosophy are incomparable.

In the 2004 election, I wrote Joe Schriner's name on the ballot both to support him and show my dissatisfaction with Bush and Kerry. I intend to vote for Joe again in 2008. Currently, Joe is hoping to get his name on the ballot as the Green Party choice for president. This past September he attended the Green Party convention in Philadelphia and attracted considerable positive attention. After doing what little I can to support and promote his candidacy, I pray for Joe and his family and wish him the best of luck.

Instead of targeting big cities and preaching to emotional crowds about what his lobbyist backers claim America needs, Mr. Schriner ventures into every corner of the country to let people show and tell him what America needs. His courageous, idealistic, open-minded grassroots campaign is successful, vibrant and growing. Less than two months before writing his name on the ballot, I had the honor of meeting Joe personally at a farm festival in Yorkshire, so I can vouch for his honesty and integrity firsthand. He may be just "the little guy" with limited chances of winning the American presidency, but he gets me genuinely excited as no other candidate can. "Average Joe" Schriner has taken to heart John F. Kennedy's famous maxim, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." And he is inspiring the rest of us average folks to live by that motto as well.

(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.

Will No One Be Tried For 9/11?

How about Bush Cheney and Rumsfeld?

Torture Policies Undermine 9/11 Case

By Jason Leopold
May 15, 2008

The Pentagon’s decision to drop war-crimes charges against Mohammed al-Qahtani, the alleged “20th hijacker” in the 9/11 attacks, again underscores the consequences of the Bush administration’s descent into torture and other abusive treatment of “war on terror” detainees.

If al-Qahtani’s case had gone forward, the U.S. government would have been forced to reveal its own violations of the Geneva Convention, anti-torture statutes and the laws of war, according to lawyers representing al-Qahtani.

“All of the [incriminating] statements Mohammad al-Qahtani made or is alleged to have made were the result of torture or made under the threat of torture and that is in my view why the government decided to dismiss his case at this point,” said Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York.

CCR has been representing Mohammed al-Qahtani since 2005 and has led the legal battle for the human rights of detainees incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the last six years.

The harsh treatment of al-Qahtani was catalogued in an 84-page log of his interrogation that was leaked in 2006. The so-called “torture log” shows that beginning in November 2002 and continuing well into January 2003, al-Qahtani was subjected to sleep deprivation, interrogated in 20-hour stretches, poked with IV’s, and left to urinate on himself.

On Dec. 11, 2002, interrogators began to apply what they called the “pride and ego down approach,” subjecting him to religious and sexual humiliation, making him bark like a dog, and calling him “a pig” as he was made to pick up piles of trash with his hands cuffed.

According to one entry for Dec. 13, 2002, the interrogators sought to “escalate the detainee’s emotions.”

“A mask was made from an MRE [meals ready to eat] box with a smiley face on it and placed on the detainee’s head for a few moments. A latex glove was inflated and labeled the ‘sissy slap’ glove. This glove was touched to the detainee’s face periodically after explaining the terminology to him.

“The mask was placed back on the detainee’s head. While wearing the mask, the team began dance instruction with the detainee. The detainee became agitated and began shouting. The mask was removed and detainee was allowed to sit. Detainee shouted and addressed lead [interrogator] as ‘the oldest Christian here’ and wanted to know why lead allowed the detainee to be treated this way.”

The log contains numerous entries describing al-Qahtani’s reaction to the interrogations, as he cried, shook, moaned, yelled, prayed, cried out for Allah, trembled uncontrollably and asserted his innocence.

Psychological Trauma

According to a report by CCR attorneys, “on one occasion described in the interrogation log, Mr. al-Qahtani was rushed to a military base hospital when his heart rate fell dangerously low during a period of extreme sleep deprivation, physical stress and psychological trauma.

“The military flew in a radiologist from the U.S. Naval Station in Puerto Rico to evaluate the computed tomography (‘CT’ or ‘CAT’) scan. After being permitted to sleep a full night, medical personnel cleared Mr. al-Qahtani for further interrogation the next day. During his transportation from the hospital, Mr. al-Qahtani was interrogated in the ambulance.”

Legal experts, who have followed the al-Qahtani case since his capture in December 2001, say a core problem for the Pentagon was that the evidence against al-Qahtani was derived substantially from admissions that he made while under harsh interrogation.

There was also circumstantial evidence related to al-Qahtani’s attempt to enter the United States before the 9/11 attacks. An immigration official turned him back and U.S. government officials claim that action forced the 9/11 hijackers to proceed with only 19 participants.

Last February, the Pentagon announced its intention to pursue the death penalty against al-Qahtani and five other men for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

But on May 9, the Pentagon dismissed the case against al-Qahtani without explanation – and without prejudice, meaning that the charges could be reinstated at a later date. Though the charges were dropped, he will remain detained indefinitely at Guantanamo.

Al-Qahtani is believed to be one of the first detainees subjected to harsh questioning after the Justice Department issued a legal opinion in August 2002 permitting U.S. government interrogators to sidestep the Geneva Convention and use cruel and humiliating techniques, from forced nudity to stress positions to waterboarding, to extract information.

The Geneva Convention bars abusive or demeaning treatment of captives. However, John Yoo, then a senior lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, concluded that the Geneva Convention did not apply to alleged members of al-Qaeda.

As reported previously, specific interrogation methods used against al-Qahtani were approved by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in a December 2002 action memorandum.

Months of Torture

Gitanjali S. Gutierrez, an attorney with CCR and the lead attorney defending al-Qahtani, said in a sworn declaration that his client, imprisoned at Guantanamo, was subjected to months of torture based on verbal and written authorizations from Rumsfeld.

“Mr. al-Qahtani was subjected to a regime of aggressive interrogation techniques, known as the ‘First Special Interrogation Plan,’" Gutierrez said. “Those techniques were implemented under the supervision and guidance of Secretary Rumsfeld and the commander of Guantánamo, Major General Geoffrey Miller.

"These methods included, but were not limited to, 48 days of severe sleep deprivation and 20-hour interrogations, forced nudity, sexual humiliation, religious humiliation, physical force, prolonged stress positions and prolonged sensory over-stimulation, and threats with military dogs.”

Gutierrez’s claims about the type of interrogation al-Qahtani endured have since been borne out by the release of hundreds of pages of internal Pentagon documents, which described interrogation methods at Guantanamo, as well as by the findings of two independent reports on prisoner abuse.

Rumsfeld’s action memo was criticized by Alberto Mora, the former general counsel of the Navy.

“The interrogation techniques approved by the Secretary [of Defense] should not have been authorized because some (but not all) of them, whether applied singly or in combination, could produce effects reaching the level of torture, a degree of mistreatment not otherwise proscribed by the memo because it did not articulate any bright-line standard for prohibited detainee treatment, a necessary element in any such document,” Mora wrote in a 14-page letter to the Navy’s inspector general.

Additionally, a Dec. 20, 2005, Army Inspector General Report relating to the capture and interrogation of al-Qahtani included a sworn statement by Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt, who said Secretary Rumsfeld was “personally involved” in the interrogation of al-Qahtani and spoke “weekly” with Maj. Gen. Miller about the status of the interrogations between late 2002 and early 2003.

Last February, the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) confirmed that it had launched a formal investigation to determine, among other issues, whether department attorneys provided the White House with poor legal advice when it said interrogators could use harsh interrogation methods against detainees.

CCR’s Warren said a trial of al-Qahtani would have forced the government to disclose how it obtained information from the defendant about alleged terrorist plans and the inner workings of al-Qaeda.

“We were pursuing the case that the government got evidence through torture,” Warren said. “The government would have to talk about how the information was obtained. That would never be able to survive in court because the torture log is clear that Mr. al-Qahtani provided information because he was being tortured.”

Warren said he wants the Pentagon to release al-Qahtani and have him sent to Saudi Arabia “where they have a system in place to maintain custody of any former Guantanamo detainee who presents a danger, as well as a strong rehabilitation program supervising those that are released.”

“It’s unlikely he would face torture or abuse on the magnitude Mr. al-Qahtani faced at Gitmo,” Warren said.

Jason Leopold has launched a new Web site, The Public Record, at

To comment at Consortiumblog, click here. (To make a blog comment about this or other stories, you can use your normal e-mail address and password. Ignore the prompt for a Google account.) To comment to us by e-mail, click here. To donate so we can continue reporting and publishing stories like the one you just read, click here.

(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.

West Virginia; No Big Deal.

Before the West Virginia primary vote on Tuesday, it was a foregone conclusion that Hillary Clinton would sweep the state, perhaps by over 70 percent. In the event, she came close to that, with 68 percent of the vote. Now that the vote has happened, Clinton and a corporate media anxious to spin out the ratings-boosting contest as long as possible, are arguing that Obama is in trouble.

It is true that 20 percent of those voting for Clinton in this almost lily-white, low-income, low-education state said they voted for her on the basis of race, which is to say they wouldn't vote for a black man. Theirs was a vote Clinton has actively pursued. And 40 percent of her backers said they would not vote for Obama in the general election if he were the Democratic candidate.

What was not asked or reported, though, is what percentage of her voters would not vote for Clinton either, if she were to become the nominee. I'm guessing it's a fair number. That is to say, I think that people were voting for Clinton not because they support her, but because they wanted to vote against a black candidate.

You read it here: Hillary Clinton clearly has no more chance to win West Virginia in a general election than does Barack Obama.

So let's move on to a more salient question: Does Obama's poor showing in West Virginia mean he is going to lose in other states where many of the voters are white, working class, and don't have high school diplomas or college degrees?

No. Of course not.

West Virginia is not just Michigan without car companies and pasties. It's Michigan without Motown and Rap music. It is, that is to say, an almost totally white, incredibly insular, racist state -- the kind of place that if you're a black person traveling through on the Interstate, you'd best stick to the highway rest stops to get your coffee. It has plenty of fine people living inside its boundaries, but it also has people who'd be just as at home in rural Mississippi -- except that then they'd have to live -- god forbid! -- in the vicinity of "colored people" (West Virginia is only 3% African-American -- you can walk around even a city such as Wheeling all day and not see one).

Certainly Obama will have his work cut out for him winning over working class Americans. Hillary Clinton and her seemingly pump-headed husband Bill (see my April 28 column "Invasion of the Pumpheads") have been hard at work turning them against him for months now, and Republican John McCain, who knows a thing or two about how racist some voters can be (Bush's campaign, during the 2000 South Carolina primary, successfully spread the vicious lie that McCain's adopted Indian daughter was the "love child" of an adulterous relationship with a mythical black woman) can be expected to pick up where she left off, probably courtesy of surrogates and 527 campaign groups.

But the reality is that most of the American white working class is not racist. In most states, whites and blacks work together every day, share lunch and after-work beers, and get along fine. Most working-class people know that their real political enemies are the bosses who keep cutting their real wages, shipping their jobs overseas, busting their unions and financing the politicians who help them screw average Americans.

All Obama has to do is make it clear, during the general election campaign, that he understands all this, and is really going to take their side, by restoring labor law to some kind of at least impartiality, so that unions can start to organize the vast unorganized workforce whose members overwhelmingly want a union. All he has to do is say that he will call a halt to unfair trade agreements that encourage American firms to move overseas and sell their crap back to the U.S. instead of making it here. All he has to do is say that he will start taxing the rich again, and corporations, and cut the tax burden on working people.

Racism thrives on irrational fear. Hillary Clinton has been playing to that fear with her evocation of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. McCain will play to that fear too. That's why Obama's "hope" campaign has made sense, but he needs to go further than just hope. He needs to start making concrete what he will be doing for those working people who are the targets of the insidious fear campaigns.

The voters of West Virginia are probably a lost cause. Too many of them, like the Germans of the early 1930s, have been convinced by the fear-mongers that their enemy is a group of "others" -- in this case, black people. There's not much a candidate such as Obama can do about that. But the toxin of racism has been in retreat, thankfully, for years, in most of the nation, and Obama's excellent showings in states such as Virginia, Missouri, and Wisconsin are solid evidence of that.

The false calculus offered by the Clinton campaign, which argues that no Democratic presidential candidate can win the presidency without winning West Virginia, is based upon races that were won from the middle, leaving working class people with no real reason to vote -- the kind of campaign Bill Clinton ran, and that Clinton could be expected to run, should she improbably win the nomination.

What Obama has demonstrated in his primary campaign, is that he can reach beyond the hard-core Democratic Party base, and attract the votes of independents (mostly white people) and even Republicans. He now needs to work to replicate his successes in states such as Virginia, Wisconsin, and Missouri, to expand his reach to those working-class voters who have been leaning Republican or to Clinton.

To do that, he needs to make a much more populist case than he has to date.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Pennsylvania-based journalist. His latest book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin's Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition). His work is available 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.