jazzoLOG: God's Country    
 God's Country24 comments
picture25 Jun 2005 @ 11:03, by Richard Carlson

A monk asked, "What is the most important principle of Zen?"
Chao-Chou answered, "Excuse me, but I have to pee. Just imagine, even such a trivial thing as that I have to do in person."

---Zen mondo

Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven."

---Matthew 7:21

If you want to make the cart go, do you hit the horse or the cart?

---Zen saying

"City on the Hill (COTH) is a fantastic opportunity for high school students ages 15 through 18 to participate in leadership training and learn the governmental process. It will be held July 18-23,2005, on the campus of LANCASTER BIBLE COLLEGE [link] (new location this year!).

"For six action-packed days, you will learn the legislative process by becoming state legislators. You'll carry actual legislation, learn public speaking skills, and be equipped to debate today's critical issues.

"You will meet legislators. lobbyists, lawyers, educators, and others whose stories and examples will both challenge you and awaken your imagination to the many career opportunities awaiting you.

"The bottom line is this: You'll have a lot of fun. You'll love the people you meet. You won't be the same."
[link]

As a schoolchild in the 1940s, I was taught there was something special and exceptional about the founding and development of the United States of America. That something had a religious quality. The Pilgrims and other groups that emigrated here were Christian, prayerful people. The Indians welcomed us---although there was some confusion later. It was our destiny to stretch from sea to shining sea. And usually when our soldiers went somewhere else, it was because the people there invited us to come. And we were welcomed there too...and we liberated them. We saved them. And then we taught them how to live. I'm here to tell you not much has changed in the presentation here of that history in the past 60 years, because I've spent most the time working in schools. Americans get very nervous if you question this image, and censure anyone who dares to offer other views. Author and historian Howard Zinn did so recently in a lecture at MIT. Watch out for the lightning!

The Power and the Glory
Myths of American exceptionalism

Howard Zinn

The notion of American exceptionalism — that the United States alone has the right, whether by divine sanction or moral obligation, to bring civilization, or democracy, or liberty to the rest of the world, by violence if necessary—is not new. It started as early as 1630 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony when Governor John Winthrop uttered the words that centuries later would be quoted by Ronald Reagan. Winthrop called the Massachusetts Bay Colony a “city upon a hill.” Reagan embellished a little, calling it a “shining city on a hill.”

The idea of a city on a hill is heartwarming. It suggests what George Bush has spoken of: that the United States is a beacon of liberty and democracy. People can look to us and learn from and emulate us.

In reality, we have never been just a city on a hill. A few years after Governor Winthrop uttered his famous words, the people in the city on a hill moved out to massacre the Pequot Indians. Here’s a description by William Bradford, an early settler, of Captain John Mason’s attack on a Pequot village.

"Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword, some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived that they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy."

The kind of massacre described by Bradford occurs again and again as Americans march west to the Pacific and south to the Gulf of Mexico. (In fact our celebrated war of liberation, the American Revolution, was disastrous for the Indians. Colonists had been restrained from encroaching on the Indian territory by the British and the boundary set up in their Proclamation of 1763. American independence wiped out that boundary.)

Expanding into another territory, occupying that territory, and dealing harshly with people who resist occupation has been a persistent fact of American history from the first settlements to the present day. And this was often accompanied from very early on with a particular form of American exceptionalism: the idea that American expansion is divinely ordained. On the eve of the war with Mexico in the middle of the 19th century, just after the United States annexed Texas, the editor and writer John O’Sullivan coined the famous phrase “manifest destiny.” He said it was “the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” At the beginning of the 20th century, when the United States invaded the Philippines, President McKinley said that the decision to take the Philippines came to him one night when he got down on his knees and prayed, and God told him to take the Philippines.

Invoking God has been a habit for American presidents throughout the nation’s history, but George W. Bush has made a specialty of it. For an article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, the reporter talked with Palestinian leaders who had met with Bush. One of them reported that Bush told him, “God told me to strike at al Qaeda. And I struck them. And then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did. And now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.” It’s hard to know if the quote is authentic, especially because it is so literate. But it certainly is consistent with Bush’s oft-expressed claims. A more credible story comes from a Bush supporter, Richard Lamb, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, who says that during the election campaign Bush told him, “I believe God wants me to be president. But if that doesn’t happen, that’s okay.”

Divine ordination is a very dangerous idea, especially when combined with military power (the United States has 10,000 nuclear weapons, with military bases in a hundred different countries and warships on every sea). With God’s approval, you need no human standard of morality. Anyone today who claims the support of God might be embarrassed to recall that the Nazi storm troopers had inscribed on their belts, “Gott mit uns” (“God with us”).

Not every American leader claimed divine sanction, but the idea persisted that the United States was uniquely justified in using its power to expand throughout the world. In 1945, at the end of World War II, Henry Luce, the owner of a vast chain of media enterprises—Time, Life, Fortune—declared that this would be “the American Century,” that victory in the war gave the United States the right “to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit.”

This confident prophecy was acted out all through the rest of the 20th century. Almost immediately after World War II the United States penetrated the oil regions of the Middle East by special arrangement with Saudi Arabia. It established military bases in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and a number of Pacific islands. In the next decades it orchestrated right-wing coups in Iran, Guatemala, and Chile, and gave military aid to various dictatorships in the Caribbean. In an attempt to establish a foothold in Southeast Asia it invaded Vietnam and bombed Laos and Cambodia.

The existence of the Soviet Union, even with its acquisition of nuclear weapons, did not block this expansion. In fact, the exaggerated threat of “world communism” gave the United States a powerful justification for expanding all over the globe, and soon it had military bases in a hundred countries. Presumably, only the United States stood in the way of the Soviet conquest of the world.

Can we believe that it was the existence of the Soviet Union that brought about the aggressive militarism of the United States? If so, how do we explain all the violent expansion before 1917? A hundred years before the Bolshevik Revolution, American armies were annihilating Indian tribes, clearing the great expanse of the West in an early example of what we now call “ethnic cleansing.” And with the continent conquered, the nation began to look overseas.

On the eve of the 20th century, as American armies moved into Cuba and the Philippines, American exceptionalism did not always mean that the United States wanted to go it alone. The nation was willing—indeed, eager—to join the small group of Western imperial powers that it would one day supersede. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge wrote at the time, “The great nations are rapidly absorbing for their future expansion, and their present defense all the waste places of the earth. . . . As one of the great nations of the world the United States must not fall out of the line of march.” Surely, the nationalistic spirit in other countries has often led them to see their expansion as uniquely moral, but this country has carried the claim farthest.

American exceptionalism was never more clearly expressed than by Secretary of War Elihu Root, who in 1899 declared, “The American soldier is different from all other soldiers of all other countries since the world began. He is the advance guard of liberty and justice, of law and order, and of peace and happiness.” At the time he was saying this, American soldiers in the Philippines were starting a bloodbath which would take the lives of 600,000 Filipinos.

The idea that America is different because its military actions are for the benefit of others becomes particularly persuasive when it is put forth by leaders presumed to be liberals, or progressives. For instance, Woodrow Wilson, always high on the list of “liberal” presidents, labeled both by scholars and the popular culture as an “idealist,” was ruthless in his use of military power against weaker nations. He sent the navy to bombard and occupy the Mexican port of Vera Cruz in 1914 because the Mexicans had arrested some American sailors. He sent the marines into Haiti in 1915, and when the Haitians resisted, thousands were killed.

The following year American marines occupied the Dominican Republic. The occupations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic lasted many years. And Wilson, who had been elected in 1916 saying, “There is such a thing as a nation being too proud to fight,” soon sent young Americans into the slaughterhouse of the European war.

Theodore Roosevelt was considered a “progressive” and indeed ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket in 1912. But he was a lover of war and a supporter of the conquest of the Philippines—he had congratulated the general who wiped out a Filipino village of 600 people in 1906. He had promulgated the 1904 “Roosevelt Corollary” to the Monroe Doctrine, which justified the occupation of small countries in the Caribbean as bringing them “stability.”

During the Cold War, many American “liberals” became caught up in a kind of hysteria about the Soviet expansion, which was certainly real in Eastern Europe but was greatly exaggerated as a threat to western Europe and the United States. During the period of McCarthyism the Senate’s quintessential liberal, Hubert Humphrey, proposed detention camps for suspected subversives who in times of “national emergency” could be held without trial.

After the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, terrorism replaced communism as the justification for expansion. Terrorism was real, but its threat was magnified to the point of hysteria, permitting excessive military action abroad and the curtailment of civil liberties at home.

The idea of American exceptionalism persisted as the first President Bush declared, extending Henry Luce’s prediction, that the nation was about to embark on a “new American Century.” Though the Soviet Union was gone, the policy of military intervention abroad did not end. The elder Bush invaded Panama and then went to war against Iraq.

The terrible attacks of September 11 gave a new impetus to the idea that the United States was uniquely responsible for the security of the world, defending us all against terrorism as it once did against communism. President George W. Bush carried the idea of American exceptionalism to its limits by putting forth in his national-security strategy the principles of unilateral war.

This was a repudiation of the United Nations charter, which is based on the idea that security is a collective matter, and that war could only be justified in self-defense. We might note that the Bush doctrine also violates the principles laid out at Nuremberg, when Nazi leaders were convicted and hanged for aggressive war, preventive war, far from self-defense.

Bush’s national-security strategy and its bold statement that the United States is uniquely responsible for peace and democracy in the world has been shocking to many Americans.

But it is not really a dramatic departure from the historical practice of the United States, which for a long time has acted as an aggressor, bombing and invading other countries (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Grenada, Panama, Iraq) and insisting on maintaining nuclear and non-nuclear supremacy. Unilateral military action, under the guise of prevention, is a familiar part of American foreign policy.

Sometimes bombings and invasions have been cloaked as international action by bringing in the United Nations, as in Korea, or NATO, as in Serbia, but basically our wars have been American enterprises. It was Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, who said at one point, “If possible we will act in the world multilaterally, but if necessary, we will act unilaterally.” Henry Kissinger, hearing this, responded with his customary solemnity that this principle “should not be universalized.” Exceptionalism was never clearer.

Some liberals in this country, opposed to Bush, nevertheless are closer to his principles on foreign affairs than they want to acknowledge. It is clear that 9/11 had a powerful psychological effect on everybody in America, and for certain liberal intellectuals a kind of hysterical reaction has distorted their ability to think clearly about our nation’s role in the world.

In a recent issue of the liberal magazine The American Prospect, the editors write, “Today Islamist terrorists with global reach pose the greatest immediate threat to our lives and liberties. . . . When facing a substantial, immediate, and provable threat, the United States has both the right and the obligation to strike preemptively and, if need be, unilaterally against terrorists or states that support them.”

Preemptively and, if need be, unilaterally; and against “states that support” terrorists, not just terrorists themselves. Those are large steps in the direction of the Bush doctrine, though the editors do qualify their support for preemption by adding that the threat must be “substantial, immediate, and provable.” But when intellectuals endorse abstract principles, even with qualifications, they need to keep in mind that the principles will be applied by the people who run the U.S. government. This is all the more important to keep in mind when the abstract principle is about the use of violence by the state—in fact, about preemptively initiating the use of violence.

There may be an acceptable case for initiating military action in the face of an immediate threat, but only if the action is limited and focused directly on the threatening party—just as we might accept the squelching of someone falsely shouting “fire” in a crowded theater if that really were the situation and not some guy distributing anti-war leaflets on the street. But accepting action not just against “terrorists” (can we identify them as we do the person shouting “fire”?) but against “states that support them” invites unfocused and indiscriminate violence, as in Afghanistan, where our government killed at least 3,000 civilians in a claimed pursuit of terrorists.

It seems that the idea of American exceptionalism is pervasive across the political spectrum.

The idea is not challenged because the history of American expansion in the world is not a history that is taught very much in our educational system. A couple of years ago Bush addressed the Philippine National Assembly and said, “America is proud of its part in the great story of the Filipino people. Together our soldiers liberated the Philippines from colonial rule.” The president apparently never learned the story of the bloody conquest of the Philippines.

And last year, when the Mexican ambassador to the UN said something undiplomatic about how the United States has been treating Mexico as its “backyard” he was immediately reprimanded by then–Secretary of State Colin Powell. Powell, denying the accusation, said, “We have too much of a history that we have gone through together.” (Had he not learned about the Mexican War or the military forays into Mexico?) The ambassador was soon removed from his post.

The major newspapers, television news shows, and radio talk shows appear not to know history, or prefer to forget it. There was an outpouring of praise for Bush’s second inaugural speech in the press, including the so-called liberal press (The Washington Post, The New York Times). The editorial writers eagerly embraced Bush’s words about spreading liberty in the world, as if they were ignorant of the history of such claims, as if the past two years’ worth of news from Iraq were meaningless.

Only a couple of days before Bush uttered those words about spreading liberty in the world, The New York Times published a photo of a crouching, bleeding Iraqi girl. She was screaming. Her parents, taking her somewhere in their car, had just been shot to death by nervous American soldiers.

One of the consequences of American exceptionalism is that the U.S. government considers itself exempt from legal and moral standards accepted by other nations in the world. There is a long list of such self-exemptions: the refusal to sign the Kyoto Treaty regulating the pollution of the environment, the refusal to strengthen the convention on biological weapons. The United States has failed to join the hundred-plus nations that have agreed to ban land mines, in spite of the appalling statistics about amputations performed on children mutilated by those mines. It refuses to ban the use of napalm and cluster bombs. It insists that it must not be subject, as are other countries, to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

What is the answer to the insistence on American exceptionalism? Those of us in the United States and in the world who do not accept it must declare forcibly that the ethical norms concerning peace and human rights should be observed. It should be understood that the children of Iraq, of China, and of Africa, children everywhere in the world, have the same right to life as American children.

These are fundamental moral principles. If our government doesn’t uphold them, the citizenry must. At certain times in recent history, imperial powers—the British in India and East Africa, the Belgians in the Congo, the French in Algeria, the Dutch and French in Southeast Asia, the Portuguese in Angola—have reluctantly surrendered their possessions and swallowed their pride when they were forced to by massive resistance.

Fortunately, there are people all over the world who believe that human beings everywhere deserve the same rights to life and liberty. On February 15, 2003, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, more than ten million people in more than 60 countries around the world demonstrated against that war.

There is a growing refusal to accept U.S. domination and the idea of American exceptionalism. Recently, when the State Department issued its annual report listing countries guilty of torture and other human-rights abuses, there were indignant responses from around the world commenting on the absence of the United States from that list. A Turkish newspaper said, “There’s not even mention of the incidents in Abu Ghraib prison, no mention of Guantánamo.” A newspaper in Sydney pointed out that the United States sends suspects—people who have not been tried or found guilty of anything—to prisons in Morocco, Egypt, Libya, and Uzbekistan, countries that the State Department itself says use torture.

Here in the United States, despite the media’s failure to report it, there is a growing resistance to the war in Iraq. Public-opinion polls show that at least half the citizenry no longer believe in the war. Perhaps most significant is that among the armed forces, and families of those in the armed forces, there is more and more opposition to it.

After the horrors of the first World War, Albert Einstein said, “Wars will stop when men refuse to fight.” We are now seeing the refusal of soldiers to fight, the refusal of families to let their loved ones go to war, the insistence of the parents of high-school kids that recruiters stay away from their schools. These incidents, occurring more and more frequently, may finally, as happened in the case of Vietnam, make it impossible for the government to continue the war, and it will come to an end.

The true heroes of our history are those Americans who refused to accept that we have a special claim to morality and the right to exert our force on the rest of the world. I think of William Lloyd Garrison, the abolitionist. On the masthead of his antislavery newspaper, The Liberator, were the words, “My country is the world. My countrymen are mankind.”

Howard Zinn, the author of A People's History of the United States, is a historian and playwright. His essay is adapted from a lecture he gave for MIT's Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies.

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Copyright Boston Review, 1993–2005.
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24 comments

25 Jun 2005 @ 18:49 by vaxen : There is...
something special about AmeriKa. It's called Sovereignty. Better to teach the kids about that! Oh, you forgot what that means? You forgot that you are now a lackey of the British CROWN? You don't even know that there is a remedy cause you think the Constitution is the 'Law' of the land when it is just a simple 'contract.'

You think the 'Representatives' in Washington represent you? You are wrong. Know what the BAR really is? Do you know the process to become free of the Washington based Corporation, called the UNITED STATES, whose debts you are paying?

Did you know that YOU are actually the creditor and not the debtor? Well, you are if you can proove it. Proof begins with filing your Cancellatura and getting that Apostille! Ah, I forgot...you are one of them.  



1 Jul 2005 @ 03:50 by astrid : THANKS, Richard for
an EXCELLENT Article/Lesson in American History as it really happened -instead of the School-book version!

It is quite funny though...
( funny -as in England)that this "American" Sovereignty has never been practised in America!.... not even mentioned -ever- in any literature available to the PUBLIC until----- vax, do you know????
Nor did the American Emperors take that Sovereignty to any other country in and with all their 'battles for ending Tyranny and give the Freedom to these Nations', that Richard's article so well describes.
Sooo.... Before I finish this train of thought let me slip in a little info about other Countries that might -or might not had 'Sovereignty' written in their Constitution OFFICIALLY before US had (1776) but when they did: THEY PRACTICED IT RIGHT AWAY MUCH MORE than America does even today!... That COUNTS as 'Something' in my books, so to speak. Other Nations have practised the Sovereignty wich America STILL to this day, is not quite aware of!....
here's some History FActs that kinda prove the point Im trying to make here. The Info is from these links:
http://www2.worldbook.com/features/whm/html/whm010.html and http://www.betterworldlinks.org/book41zh.htm
"In 1893, New Zealand became the first nation to grant women full voting rights. In 1902, Australia gave women the right to vote in national elections. Other countries that enacted woman suffrage during the early 1900's included Britain, Canada, Finland, Germany, and Sweden. Swedish women with property could vote in city elections in 1862. Sweden granted women full suffrage in 1921. In Britain, the suffrage movement began in the 1860's, though women did not win full voting rights until 1928."
" (11) Woodrow Wilson, speech in Congress reported in the New York Times (1st October, 1918)
I regard the extension of suffrage to women as vitally essential to the successful prosecution of the great war of humanity in which we are engaged. It is my duty to win the war and to ask you to remove every obstacle that stands in the way of winning it. They (other nations) are looking to the great, powerful, famous democracy of the West to lead them to a new day for which they have long waited; and they think in their logical simplicity that democracy means that women shall play their part in affairs alongside men and upon an equal footing with them. I tell you plainly as the Commander-in-Chief of our armies that this measure is vital to the winning of the war.
(12) Crystal Eastman, Now We Can Begin (December, 1920)
The problem of women's freedom is how to arrange the world so that women can be human beings, with a chance to exercise their infinitely varied gifts in infinitely ways, instead of being destined by the accident of their sex to one field of activity - housework and child-raising. And second, if and when they choose housework and child-raising to have that occupation recognized by the world as work, requiring a definite economic reward and not merely entitling the performer to be dependent on some man. I can agree that women will never be great until they achieve a certain emotional freedom, a strong healthy egotism, and some unpersonal source of joy - that is this inner sense we cannot make women free by changing her economic status. "

A little more History facts about The Other HALF of Worlds (GrwonUp) Population, the women: A World Chronology of the Recognition of Women's Rights to Vote and to Stand for Election
Unless otherwise indicated, the date signifies the year women were granted the right both to vote and to stand for election. The countries listed below currently have a Parliament or have had one at some point in their history.
From http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/suffrage.htm comes more intersting Info:
1893 New Zealand (to vote)
1902 Australia*
1906 Finland
1907 Norway (to stand for election)*
1913 Norway**
1915 Denmark, Iceland*
1917 Canada (to vote)*, Netherlands (to stand for election)
1918 Austria, Canada (to vote)*, Estonia, Georgia1, Germany, Hungary, Ireland*, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation, United Kingdom*
1919 Belarus, Belgium (to vote)*, Luxembourg, Netherlands (to vote), New Zealand (to stand for election), Sweden*, Ukraine

Women I the US had to wait till 1920 till they were EQUAL with Men.
"Every MAN is Created Equal...etc" uhummm, ahhha.... exactly my point!

The TRUTH about USA is that its GREATNESS is YET TO COME!!!....which -of course- depends on a lot of FUTURE HISTORY!
If the Past is any kind of indicator of anything -hey, read Richard's article!- then.... I think... well that is not the point....

In this light it doesn't matter what year the concept of Sovereignty was written into the books here. KNOWLEDGE AND REALITY AND POSSIBILITY TO REALIZE THIS IN EVERYDAY LIFE HAS STILL TO BE SPREAD OUT TO THE POPULUS - not to mention, like I said already- to be realized by the people here... an' besides; ask any Native, huddling in their "SOVEREIGN" Indian Reservations how truly SOVEREIGN and free they are to live their live as they see fit! This link should shead some Light on this subject from the NAtives' point of view: http://feeds.bignewsnetwork.com/?sid=26f6c40196f15578

no, vax, Darling, ... there's lot more to this Sovereignty, than just the "Americans", just like Peoples of the other Nations as well, dis- owning the/ir STRAWMAN, I am sure!...
But it will all start coming up to the surface now.... It is a boil, filled age-old puss, ready to pop now!... an' watch up everybody, when it does!

Good Morning Richard, Firday morning here in the Mountains : ) How's your Neck of the Woods today? I am still in awe about your wellinformed Article!.... and I still want to spin on the idea what MIGHT become "AMERICAS GREATNESS".... ( Nothing in its PAst stand for true greatness... simply because the Greatness written in to the Constitution was never applied here AT ALL!...
I think there is good chance that the true SPiritual Awakening will start here!
The 'Spiritual Awakening' going on today over the whole Planet, is still just a "fringe-awakening"... The TRUE Spititurality has NOTHING to do with the old religions, their Human Guardians/Implementors , but to start living Life on Life's (that includes Nature very, very intimately!)terms!... to learn to understand that Life is made up of Universal, Cosmic Principles/Laws, that are THE SAME ALL OVER the vast-ness of ALL of UNIVERSES, applying the same way all over and to all: Nobody is an Exeption etc etc.
To learn to see, understand all these Principles/Laws,is the New Awakening, and then to learn to apply them makes up for the potential Greatness!...
There's the Three Sets of PHYSICS ( for "our Universe" )that we still have to TRULY learn and ADHERE TO!!!....
America, I think is mentally, emotionally YOUNG enough to accept DEEP Change! .... and THAT then will be America's Greatness!.... as I prophecy today.
Have a Lovely Day, Rich! : ) / Astrid  



4 Jul 2005 @ 10:19 by jazzolog : Astrid et al
Thanks for the greetings and comments these past several days. Thanks also to a particularly dear member who has been tending the Logs for me to present on our Front Page. (If you like her work better than mine, let me know and I'll try to convince her to split the duties more often.) We took a trip to New England to cool off from the steaming temperatures in Ohio...but it was in the mid-90s all the way to Montreal. Bangor, Maine hit 100 I understand. Don't we love the---er, climate change? The real purpose of the trip was to celebrate poet John Tagliabue's 82nd birthday with him and to reconnect with Quinty in the flesh, so to speak, for the first time in 45 years. We may get an article all its own out of that one.  


4 Jul 2005 @ 13:06 by jstarrs : Here's God's Country fo' ya...
{http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news0605/flyingdinos.html}
http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news0605/flydino1.gif  



6 Jul 2005 @ 11:11 by jazzolog : Catching Up
with email and Internet news, I came across FactCheck's dissection of Bush's speech on Iraq June 27th. If you didn't see it, please have a look~~~

http://www.factcheck.org/article334.html

I wish they would track everything the man says...but I suppose they intend to be as extremely nonpartisan as possible.

In Edinburgh, dear online friend Caroline Dempster is keeping tabs on our Bad Boy over there. Previously employed by the BBC, she knows her stuff...and just this minute tells me the police have cancelled the major demonstration of the day at G8. Wonder whose idea that was! Stand by for developments. If those folks get excited over their version of football, what will they make of this? Of course, we Yanks are used to being penned up miles away from Bush speeches...but what will the rest of the world think?  



6 Jul 2005 @ 11:58 by jstarrs : The BBC
...has it on again after negotiations.
Basically, the organisers gave the police an ultimatum saying that if they cancelled the march, they'd call a mass protest in town for that night. Yo!
People power, maybe.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4654483.stm

But...it seems you can't get a revolution
in edgeways these days
cos the hedges are patrolled longways
along with the perimeters
sideways
right out to where nobody cares
like maybe on some whiskeyed scottish inbred bog isle
off a bleak northeast corner of some map somewhere
or maybe in a hole in the ground in the county of cork
but, even there,
it seems you can't get a revolution in edgeways

(spontaneous poem 5/7/05)  



6 Jul 2005 @ 13:10 by jazzolog : Thank You Jeff
I sent your update on to friends over here...where of course we have state(corporate) news control.  


7 Jul 2005 @ 09:07 by jazzolog : Wherever Bush Goes
he receives the same warm welcome. http://us.f2.yahoofs.com/bc/42cced69_17233/bc/jazzoLOG/prexy.BMP?bfiUPzCB3OIm83Cc I faced guys like this, in full riot gear, when I dared to venture close enough to the candidate (without an invitation) during the campaign in Parkersburg WV. I had on Bermuda shorts, a T-shirt and a straw hat---just the togs to battle police in order to hear a political speech, eh?

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/07/international/europe/07prexy.html?th&emc=th

And this just in from Caroline in Edinburgh~~~

"182 protestors arrested/ 29 police injured/ Bush runs down officer with a bike"

which she says is this morning's headline in The Scotsman.  



7 Jul 2005 @ 09:58 by jazzolog : Fw: Explosions
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dempster, Caroline ML"
To: "Richard Carlson"
Sent: Thursday, July 07, 2005 5:37 AM
Subject: Explosions

Reports of explosions on London underground system. Not clear if
accidental or deliberate. Hope is not opportunism with half the
country's police up at Gleneagles.

Details on bbc.co.uk/news

CDx

Link is here~~~

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/4659093.stm  



7 Jul 2005 @ 22:17 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : A few questions...

Can we ask why the terrorists committed these acts without our patriotism being called into question?

We know what happened was horrid but can we ask?

Can we criticize our governments (US and British) without appearing insensitive to the sufferings of the victims of terror? Can we lay some of the blame on our governments without being told we are treasonous?

Can we expect from this latest outrage a turn toward inteligence, truth, and honour in this "war on terror?" Will we be expected to merely fall into jingoistic lockstep behind our political leaders?

Will President Bush continue to say that "if we don't fight them there we will have to fight them here?"

As if this war in Iraq had anything to do with our struggle against being the random victims of terror? As if the innocents who die at the hands of terrorists represented the foreign policies and designs of our leaders? And the whole of recent Western history?

Is our struggle random?

Will we blindly walk off a cliff?

Because we refuse to accept the truth?

That the war in Iraq never had anything to do with terror?

Is there any possibility for sanity in our own governments?

And can we plead for that without being told we are traitors?  



8 Jul 2005 @ 08:38 by jazzolog : A Couple Comments On London
Hopefully without sounding crass, allow me to remind us that close to 50 people are blown apart in Baghdad every day. I suppose we expect such casualties in a country where our troops are "helping out," but why is our response to the horror in London yesterday so different? Is it racial? Was our reaction to bombs going off in Madrid the same? Perhaps there are cultural and language ties, as well as the special relationship with England over the years. Bryan Zepp Jamieson's moving tribute to London yesterday http://zeppscommentaries.com/Sociology/london.htm recalls the city boasts of history of 3000 years. Truthout's William Rivers Pitt had a similar perspective http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/070705A.shtml . When we Yanks think back that far about anywhere on this continent, we find ourselves more intimately involved with Native Americans than is our ordinary behavior. How young and inexperienced the United States and our leaders and representatives still seem.

At our house we could not maintain objectivity. Our daughter Ilona's boyfriend, Keenan, is in London with his family, another schoolfriend, and a group of Ohio University students. They've been in Europe for a month, and Keenan has kept a promise to Ilona, that I imagine neither set of parents knew about: to phone her every day. (When we were traveling too, there were calls to cellphone---including one we got from London as we crossed the George Washington Bridge.) They Instant Message when he can get to a cybercafe. But no word yesterday. Ilona and her mother were in something of a paralysis of worry. We found BBC radio much more helpful with its constant coverage than the reporting over here, but we needed personal information and there was no way to get it. We finally began networking with other parents, and eventually heard last evening that Keenan's father had managed to get a call through and they're all OK. There were tears of relief. This was just a taste of the anxiety and suffering many hundreds of thousands of loved ones are going through every minute of every day and night.

One more thing: I nearly overlooked the resounding editorial yesterday morning in The New York Times, as reporter Judith Miller heads for jail until she cooperates---or else October, whichever comes first. It's one of those essays that needs to go into textbooks for every schoolchild---and all of us---to read~~~

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The New York Times
July 7, 2005
Judith Miller Goes to Jail

This is a proud but awful moment for The New York Times and its employees. One of our reporters, Judith Miller, has decided to accept a jail sentence rather than testify before a grand jury about one of her confidential sources. Ms. Miller has taken a path that will be lonely and painful for her and her family and friends. We wish she did not have to choose it, but we are certain she did the right thing.

She is surrendering her liberty in defense of a greater liberty, granted to a free press by the founding fathers so journalists can work on behalf of the public without fear of regulation or retaliation from any branch of government.

The Press and the Law

Some people - including, sadly, some of our colleagues in the news media - have mistakenly assumed that a reporter and a news organization place themselves above the law by rejecting a court order to testify. Nothing could be further from the truth. When another Times reporter, M. A. Farber, went to jail in 1978 rather than release his confidential notes, he declared, "I have no such right and I seek none."

By accepting her sentence, Ms. Miller bowed to the authority of the court. But she acted in the great tradition of civil disobedience that began with this nation's founding, which holds that the common good is best served in some instances by private citizens who are willing to defy a legal, but unjust or unwise, order.

This tradition stretches from the Boston Tea Party to the Underground Railroad, to the Americans who defied the McCarthy inquisitions and to the civil rights movement. It has called forth ordinary citizens, like Rosa Parks; government officials, like Daniel Ellsberg and Mark Felt; and statesmen, like Martin Luther King. Frequently, it falls to news organizations to uphold this tradition. As Justice William O. Douglas wrote in 1972, "The press has a preferred position in our constitutional scheme, not to enable it to make money, not to set newsmen apart as a favored class, but to bring to fulfillment the public's right to know."

Critics point out that even presidents must bow to the Supreme Court. But presidents are agents of the government, sworn to enforce the law. Journalists are private citizens, and Ms. Miller's actions are faithful to the Constitution. She is defending the right of Americans to get vital information from news organizations that need not fear government retaliation - an imperative defended by the 49 states that recognize a reporter's right to protect sources.

A second reporter facing a possible jail term, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, agreed yesterday to testify before the grand jury. Last week, Time decided, over Mr. Cooper's protests, to release documents demanded by the judge that revealed his confidential sources. We were deeply disappointed by that decision.

We do not see how a newspaper, magazine or television station can support a reporter's decision to protect confidential sources even if the potential price is lost liberty, and then hand over the notes or documents that make the reporter's sacrifice meaningless. The point of this struggle is to make sure that people with critical information can feel confident that if they speak to a reporter on the condition of anonymity, their identities will be protected. No journalist's promise will be worth much if the employer that stands behind him or her is prepared to undercut such a vow of secrecy.

Protecting a Reporter's Sources

Most readers understand a reporter's need to guarantee confidentiality to a source. Before he went to jail, Mr. Farber told the court that if he gave up documents that revealed the names of the people he had promised anonymity, "I will have given notice that the nation's premier newspaper is no longer available to those men and women who would seek it out - or who would respond to it - to talk freely and without fear."

While The Times has gone to great lengths lately to make sure that the use of anonymous sources is limited, there is no way to eliminate them. The most important articles tend to be the ones that upset people in high places, and many could not be reported if those who risked their jobs or even their liberty to talk to reporters knew that they might be identified the next day. In the larger sense, revealing government wrongdoing advances the rule of law, especially at a time of increased government secrecy.

It is for these reasons that most states have shield laws that protect reporters' rights to conceal their sources. Those laws need to be reviewed and strengthened, even as members of Congress continue to work to pass a federal shield law. But at this moment, there is no statute that protects Judith Miller when she defies a federal trial judge's order to reveal who told her what about Valerie Plame Wilson's identity as an undercover C.I.A. operative.

Ms. Miller understands this perfectly, and she accepts the consequences with full respect for the court. We hope that her sacrifice will alert the nation to the need to protect the basic tools reporters use in doing their most critical work.

To be frank, this is far from an ideal case. We would not have wanted our reporter to give up her liberty over a situation whose details are so complicated and muddy. But history is very seldom kind enough to provide the ideal venue for a principled stand. Ms. Miller is going to jail over an article that she never wrote, yet she has been unwavering in her determination to protect the people with whom she had spoken on the promise of confidentiality.

The Plame Story

The case involves an article by the syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who revealed that Joseph Wilson, a retired career diplomat, was married to an undercover C.I.A. officer Mr. Novak identified by using her maiden name, Valerie Plame. Mr. Wilson had been asked by the C.I.A. to investigate whether Saddam Hussein in Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger that could be used for making nuclear weapons. Mr. Wilson found no evidence of that, and he later wrote an Op-Ed article for The Times saying he believed that the Bush administration had misrepresented the facts.

It seemed very possible that someone at the White House had told Mr. Novak about Ms. Plame to undermine Mr. Wilson's credibility and send a chilling signal to other officials who might be inclined to speak out against the administration's Iraq policy. At the time, this page said that if those were indeed the circumstances, the leak had been "an egregious abuse of power." We urged the Justice Department to investigate. But we warned then that the inquiry should not degenerate into an attempt to compel journalists to reveal their sources.

We mainly had Mr. Novak in mind then, but Mr. Novak remains both free and mum about what he has or has not told the grand jury looking into the leak. Like almost everyone, we are baffled by his public posture. All we know now is that Mr. Novak - who early on expressed the opinion that no journalists who bowed to court pressure to betray sources could hold up their heads in Washington - has offered no public support to the colleague who is going to jail while he remains at liberty.

Ms. Miller did not write an article about Ms. Plame, but the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, wants to know whether anyone in government told her about Mr. Wilson's wife and her secret job. The inquiry has been conducted with such secrecy that it is hard to know exactly what Mr. Fitzgerald thinks Ms. Miller can tell him, or what argument he offered to convince the court that his need to hear her testimony outweighs the First Amendment.

What we do know is that if Ms. Miller testifies, it may be immeasurably harder in the future to persuade a frightened government employee to talk about malfeasance in high places, or a worried worker to reveal corporate crimes. The shroud of secrecy thrown over this case by the prosecutor and the judge, an egregious denial of due process, only makes it more urgent to take a stand.

Mr. Fitzgerald drove that point home chillingly when he said the authorities "can't have 50,000 journalists" making decisions about whether to reveal sources' names and that the government had a right to impose its judgment. But that's not what the founders had in mind in writing the First Amendment. In 1971, our colleague James Reston cited James Madison's admonition about a free press in explaining why The Times had first defied the Nixon administration's demand to stop publishing the Pentagon Papers and then fought a court's order to cease publication. "Among those principles deemed sacred in America," Madison wrote, "among those sacred rights considered as forming the bulwark of their liberty, which the government contemplates with awful reverence and would approach only with the most cautious circumspection, there is no one of which the importance is more deeply impressed on the public mind than the liberty of the press."

Mr. Fitzgerald's attempts to interfere with the rights of a free press while refusing to disclose his reasons for doing so, when he can't even say whether a crime has been committed, have exhibited neither reverence nor cautious circumspection. It would compound the tragedy if his actions emboldened more prosecutors to trample on a free press.

Our Bottom Line

Responsible journalists recognize that press freedoms are not absolute and must be exercised responsibly. This newspaper will not, for example, print the details of American troop movements in advance of a battle, because publication would endanger lives and national security. But these limits cannot be dictated by the whim of a branch of government, especially behind a screen of secrecy.

Indeed, the founders warned against any attempt to have the government set limits on a free press, under any conditions. "However desirable those measures might be which might correct without enslaving the press, they have never yet been devised in America," Madison wrote.

Journalists talk about these issues a great deal, and they can seem abstract. The test comes when a colleague is being marched off to jail for doing nothing more than the job our readers expected of her, and of the rest of us. The Times has been in these fights before, beginning in 1857, when a journalist named J. W. Simonton wrote an editorial about bribery in Congress and was held in contempt by the House of Representatives for 19 days when he refused to reveal his sources. In the end, Mr. Simonton kept faith, and the corrupt congressmen resigned. All of our battles have not had equally happy endings. But each time, whether we win or we lose, we remain convinced that the public wins in the long run and that what is at stake is nothing less than our society's perpetual bottom line: the citizens control the government in a democracy.

We stand with Ms. Miller and thank her for taking on that fight for the rest of us.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/07/opinion/07thu1.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all  



8 Jul 2005 @ 21:15 by David Whealey @132.235.45.204 : Judith Miller
I have mixed feelings about Miller because she uncritically accepted the contentions of the Bush,Rumsfeld,Cheney and Rice crowd to justify the need to invade was because Iraq was seeking weapons of mass destruction which turned out to be "the big lie" I would have been more impressed if she had revealed who her sources were when she and the NYT had to apologize for buying and selling the Bush propaganda. It is one thing to protect a whistleblower but it another thing to to protect a highly ranked administration source with an agenda  


8 Jul 2005 @ 22:38 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Yeah...

this one is convulted - as are all things in the Land of Bush.

Judith Miller accepted whole line and sinker the BS Ahmad Chalabi handed her. And, mirabile dictu! her reports in the Times were employed by the Bush administration to support the administration's rush to war. And it appears that she only too gladly boarded the Bush propaganda campaign. If the Times had been more pugnacious, independent, willing to buck power and authority, then Bush et al may not have been so persuasive and convincing. Though we know that many millions of Americans saw through it all. Or else what were we doing out on the streets in October, November, and in February before the war?

David Whealey makes a good point. This time around Judith Miller is protecting a criminal in the Bush administration. But, never mind, she appears to be doing it to safeguard a free press. And that, I presume, I hope correctly, to be true. That she is doing if to uphold journalistic standards. But why, as Whealey says, didn't she ever apologize for deceiving the American people before the war? Is this some sort of distorted careerist move? Is this the image of a modern day journalist?

Is the mass media all that independent, honorable, tenaciously searching out the truth, delivering it regardless of the consequences? Need I ask?

When Alice went through the Looking Glass she never found anything like this!  



9 Jul 2005 @ 09:55 by jazzolog : Thanks Guys, And The Polls
The Whealeys are one of the best features of Athens, Ohio, in terms of keeping the record straight. One rarely sees David, when he's at his ease, that he isn't reading a newspaper.

Jim Lobe has done yeoman's work in collating the various polls showing American shifting opinion about Bush, al-Qaeda, and what we're up to in Iraq. Mr. Lobe writes on international affairs for Inter Press Service, Oneworld.net, Foreign Policy in Focus and AlterNet.org.

Fighting the wrong war
By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - Thursday's terror attacks against London's public transportation system, which killed at least 37 people, came amid indications of growing skepticism here about the effectiveness of US President George W Bush's "war on terror", the policy initiative that earned him his highest public-approval ratings.

The Gallup organization released a new survey this week which found that 41% of US respondents believed that neither the US and its allies nor the "terrorists" were currently winning the war and that a two-and-a-half year high of 20% of the public believed that the "terrorists are winning".

Thirty-six percent of respondents, nearly two-thirds of whom described themselves as Republicans, said the US was winning the war, down sharply from 66% after the US-supported ouster of the Taliban in Afghanistan in January 2002, and 65% after US troops captured Baghdad in April 2003.

"Not only did the poll reveal increasing public frustration with the war in Iraq and flagging presidential approval ratings," said Darren Carlson, Gallup's government and politics editor, "but it also showed the public is not too confident that the United States and its allies are winning the war against terrorism."

Whether Thursday's attacks will add to that skepticism and further erode public support for Bush's leadership remains to be seen, although, as noted by Carlson, the growing pessimism about the Iraq war makes him more vulnerable than at any other time since the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Previous major bomb attacks give little clue. According to a Newsweek poll taken a week after the Madrid train bombings on March 11 last year, a small majority of respondents said the attacks did not shake their confidence in Bush's strategy.

But in October 2002, just days after the bombing of a Bali nightclub that killed more than 200 people, mostly Australian tourists, public confidence in Bush's approach fell to an all-time low: just 32% of respondents said they thought Washington was winning the war at the time.

Adding to Bush's vulnerability at the moment, however, is the fact that most Democrats, who generally stood by the president on foreign-policy matters between the September 11 attacks and the onset of last year's presidential election campaign in the spring of 2004, have been arguing for more than a year now that Bush's invasion of Iraq had diverted key resources and attention from the war against al-Qaeda and other hardline Islamist groups, effectively undermining that effort.

Analysts here clearly believe that al-Qaeda or an offshoot was indeed responsible for the London attacks. "It has all the earmarks of al-Qaeda," noted Dennis Ross, director of the Washington Institute on Near East Policy and a top US Middle East negotiator under former presidents George H W Bush and Bill Clinton.

He and other analysts noted the well-planned nature of the attacks, their simultaneity, and the timing to coincide with the first day of the Group of Eight summit at Gleneagles, Scotland - the world's central news event of the week - as hallmarks of an al Qaeda-like operation.

The BBC reported that a previously unknown group calling itself "The Secret Organization of al-Qaeda in Europe" had claimed responsibility for the explosions. The group reportedly warned the "Danish and Italian government and all other crusaders" to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Iraq and that the attacks were carried out in "revenge from the British Zionist crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan".

Some analysts pointed to a letter purportedly by Osama bin Laden himself that first surfaced June 20 in which he stated that he was "preparing for the next round of jihad". "We want to give the good news to the Muslim ummah that, with the blessing of Almighty Allah, we have been successful in reorganizing ourselves and are going to launch a jihadi program that is absolutely in accordance with the changed situation."

In the same communique, he warned the leaders of Muslim countries cooperating with enemy efforts that they would be targeted. Over the past week, high-ranking diplomats from the Baghdad embassies of Egypt, Bahrain and Pakistan - all countries that have been publicly urged by Washington to fully normalize relations with Iraq - were attacked by insurgents.

On Thursday, the al-Qaeda in Iraq group, reportedly led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, announced that it had executed the charge d'affaires at the Egyptian mission who had been with the first Arab ambassador to post-Saddam Baghdad, Imad al-Sharif, who was abducted from near his home earlier this week.

Michael Chertoff, the secretary for Homeland Security, indicated he also believed that an al-Qaeda-like group was involved in London, but stressed that Washington had no "specific credible information of an imminent attack here". His department raised the terrorism warning alert to "orange" and ordered extra precautions on public transportation systems, especially the rail system.

He added that the London's bombings were "not an occasion for undue anxiety" in the United States.

Bush, who arrived at Gleneagles in Scotland on Wednesday, expressed his solidarity with the British and repeated an oft-used line that "the ideology of hope" will win over "the ideology of hate". He also said the bombings showed that "the war on terror goes on".

While the latter observation was unquestionably accurate, it raised the larger question of how that war is defined and carried out.

With polls over the past two months showing a sharp plunge in public approval for the way Bush has carried out the war in Iraq, the president last week tried to rally the nation once again in a prime-time speech that was clearly designed to frame US efforts in Iraq - an issue on which the public has shown greater skepticism - as central to the "war on terror", the issue on which his approval ratings have been highest.

Just before the speech, a New York Times/CNN poll, for example, found that public approval for his handling of Iraq was just 37%, while approval for his "campaign against terrorism" stood at 52%, 15 percentage points higher.

Bush's renewed efforts to associate the Iraq war with the "war on terror", which drew loud complaints from Democrats and the media, may not be as effective as in the past. However, a succession of polls in recent months has shown that the public has come increasingly to see the two wars as separate.

Indeed, for the first time since the US invasion of Iraq, a majority of the public, by a 50-47% margin, sees Iraq as distinct from the "war on terror", according to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll released last week. The same poll found that a similar plurality believes the war in Iraq has made the US less safe from terrorism, and a 53% majority now believes that the Iraq invasion was itself a mistake.

The fact that al-Qaeda or one of its affiliates has now struck in the heart of another Western capital - and Washington's closest ally - could add to the growing sense that the Iraq war was and remains a diversion from the fight against al-Qaeda, despite the reportedly growing participation of radical Islamists in that conflict.

At the same time, according to Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland's Program of International Policy Attitudes, the attacks could favor Bush, at least in the short term. "Whenever there are bombings close to home, it generates fear, and fear intensifies concern about terrorism and makes people marginally more receptive to the kind of frames that Bush has used," he said.

(Inter Press Service)
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/GG09Aa04.html  



9 Jul 2005 @ 16:50 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Robert Fisk on the bombings

{link:http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article297623.ece|The Independent}

 The Reality of This Barbaric Bombing
    By Robert Fisk
    The Independent UK

    Friday 08 July 2005

    "If you bomb our cities," Osama bin Laden said in one of his recent video tapes, "we will bomb yours." There you go, as they say. It was crystal clear Britain would be a target ever since Tony Blair decided to join George Bush's "war on terror" and his invasion of Iraq. We had, as they say, been warned. The G8 summit was obviously chosen, well in advance, as Attack Day.

    And it's no use Mr Blair telling us yesterday that "they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear". "They" are not trying to destroy "what we hold dear". They are trying to get public opinion to force Blair to withdraw from Iraq, from his alliance with the United States, and from his adherence to Bush's policies in the Middle East. The Spanish paid the price for their support for Bush - and Spain's subsequent retreat from Iraq proved that the Madrid bombings achieved their objectives - while the Australians were made to suffer in Bali.

    It is easy for Tony Blair to call yesterdays bombings "barbaric" - of course they were - but what were the civilian deaths of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the children torn apart by cluster bombs, the countless innocent Iraqis gunned down at American military checkpoints? When they die, it is "collateral damage"; when "we" die, it is "barbaric terrorism".

    If we are fighting insurgency in Iraq, what makes us believe insurgency won't come to us? One thing is certain: if Tony Blair really believes that by "fighting terrorism" in Iraq we could more efficiently protect Britain - fight them there rather than let them come here, as Bush constantly says - this argument is no longer valid.

    To time these bombs with the G8 summit, when the world was concentrating on Britain, was not a stroke of genius. You don't need a PhD to choose another Bush-Blair handshake to close down a capital city with explosives and massacre more than 30 of its citizens. The G8 summit was announced so far in advance as to give the bombers all the time they needed to prepare.

    A co-ordinated system of attacks of the kind we saw yesterday would have taken months to plan - to choose safe houses, prepare explosives, identify targets, ensure security, choose the bombers, the hour, the minute, to plan the communications (mobile phones are giveaways). Co-ordination and sophisticated planning - and the usual utter ruthlessness with regard to the lives of the innocent - are characteristic of al-Qa'ida. And let us not use - as our television colleagues did yesterday - "hallmarks", a word identified with quality silver rather than base metal.

    And now let us reflect on the fact that yesterday, the opening of the G8, so critical a day, so bloody a day, represented a total failure of our security services - the same intelligence "experts" who claim there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when there were none, but who utterly failed to uncover a months-long plot to kill Londoners.

    Trains, planes, buses, cars, metros. Transportation appears to be the science of al-Qa'ida's dark arts. No one can search three million London commuters every day. No one can stop every tourist. Some thought the Eurostar might have been an al-Qa'ida target - be sure they have studied it - but why go for prestige when your common or garden bus and Tube train are there for the taking.

    And then come the Muslims of Britain, who have long been awaiting this nightmare. Now every one of our Muslims becomes the "usual suspect", the man or woman with brown eyes, the man with the beard, the woman in the scarf, the boy with the worry beads, the girl who says she's been racially abused.

    I remember, crossing the Atlantic on 11 September 2001 - my plane turned round off Ireland when the US closed its airspace - how the aircraft purser and I toured the cabins to see if we could identify any suspicious passengers. I found about a dozen, of course, totally innocent men who had brown eyes or long beards or who looked at me with "hostility". And sure enough, in just a few seconds, Osama bin Laden turned nice, liberal, friendly Robert into an anti-Arab racist.

    And this is part of the point of yesterday's bombings: to divide British Muslims from British non-Muslims (let us not mention the name Christians), to encourage the very kind of racism that Tony Blair claims to resent.

    But here's the problem. To go on pretending that Britain's enemies want to destroy "what we hold dear" encourages racism; what we are confronting here is a specific, direct, centralised attack on London as a result of a "war on terror" which Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara has locked us into. Just before the US presidential elections, Bin Laden asked: "Why do we not attack Sweden?"

    Lucky Sweden. No Osama bin Laden there. And no Tony Blair.  



9 Jul 2005 @ 19:07 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Regarding Fisk's comments


Supporters of the war may say, "well, if al Qaeda is attempting to break our will, our
resolve, we must stay the course. We can't let the terrorists win!"

But if the policy is wrong, if the "course" is wrong, if we have no business
being there - none of the rationales for the invasion and occupation proving
true - should we continue to lose American lives, billions of dollars, and
American prestige in this futile war? The quagmire we are now in? Oh what a
fantasy it is to believe that "democracy will bloom from the desert" if we stay
the course. And the terrorists will go away. Sure: especially with permanent
US military bases there.  



10 Jul 2005 @ 08:17 by jazzolog : The Organized Crime Of Miller's Jailing
I wanted to add something in my response to David Whealey and Quinty's comments about Judith Miller yesterday, but computer time turned out to be limited. During our morning walk I mentioned to my wife what they had said, and Dana replied that Miller's flirtation with becoming a mouthpiece for the Administration, while true, was not what really worries her. The problem, she maintains, is the unmistakable message sent to potential whistleblowers and leakers: try it, and this is what will happen to you (unless you leak to Robert Novak of course). Since at least Eisenhower, the truth about what goes on in US government coverup has come from leaks to the free press. Clearly it has proven vital to Bush to plug any openings to the Light. At this hour this morning Google News lists on its front page no fewer than 327 newspaper articles and editorials on the Judith Miller case, most of them reaching breakfast tables across America when the sun rises {link:http://news.google.com/?ncl=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml%3Fxml%3D/news/2005/07/10/wcia10.xml%26sSheet%3D/news/2005/07/10/ixworld.html&hl=en} . Among them is the media analysis of Frank Rich~~~

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The New York Times
July 10, 2005

We're Not in Watergate Anymore
By FRANK RICH

WHEN John Dean published his book "Worse Than Watergate" http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B02E1DB153AF931A35756C0A9629C8B63&n=Top%2fFeatures%2fBooks%2fBook%20Reviews in the spring of 2004, it seemed rank hyperbole: an election-year screed and yet another attempt by a Nixon alumnus to downgrade Watergate crimes by unearthing worse "gates" thereafter. But it's hard to be dismissive now that my colleague Judy Miller has been taken away in shackles for refusing to name the source for a story she never wrote. No reporter went to jail during Watergate. No news organization buckled like Time. No one instigated a war on phony premises. This is worse than Watergate.

To start to see why, forget all the legalistic chatter about shield laws and turn instead to "The Secret Man" http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/06/books/06kaku.html?n=Top%2fFeatures%2fBooks%2fBook%20Reviews , Bob Woodward's new memoir about life with Deep Throat. The book arrived in stores just as Judy Miller was jailed, as if by divine intervention to help illuminate her case.

Should a journalist protect a sleazy, possibly even criminal, source? Yes, sometimes, if the public is to get news of wrongdoing. Mark Felt was a turncoat with alternately impenetrable and self-interested motives who betrayed the F.B.I. and, in Mr. Woodward's words, "lied to his colleagues, friends and even his family." (Mr. Felt even lied in his own 1979 memoir.) Should a journalist break a promise of confidentiality after, let alone before, the story is over? "It is critical that confidential sources feel they would be protected for life," Mr. Woodward writes. "There needed to be a model out there where people could come forward or speak when contacted, knowing they would be protected. It was a matter of my work, a matter of honor."

That honorable model, which has now been demolished at Time, was a given in what seems like the halcyon Watergate era of "The Secret Man." Mr. Woodward and Carl Bernstein had confidence that The Washington Post's publisher, Katharine Graham, and editor, Ben Bradlee, would back them to the hilt, even though the Nixon White House demonized their reporting as inaccurate (as did some journalistic competitors) and threatened the licenses of television stations owned by the Post Company.

At Time, Norman Pearlstine - a member of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists, no less - described his decision to turn over Matt Cooper's files to the feds as his own, made on the merits and without consulting any higher-ups at Time Warner. That's no doubt the truth, but a corporate mentality needn't be imposed by direct fiat; it's a virus that metastasizes in the bureaucratic bloodstream. I doubt anyone at Time Warner ever orders an editor to promote a schlocky Warner Brothers movie either. (Entertainment Weekly did two covers in one month on "The Matrix Reloaded.")

Time Warner seems to have far too much money on the table in Washington to exercise absolute editorial freedom when covering the government; at this moment it's awaiting an F.C.C. review of its joint acquisition (with Comcast) of the bankrupt cable company Adelphia. "Is this a journalistic company or an entertainment company?" http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/01/politics/01comply.html?ex=1121140800&en=4c500e05a6e0ca54&ei=5070 David Halberstam asked after the Pearlstine decision. We have the answer now. What high-level source would risk talking to Time about governmental corruption after this cave-in? What top investigative reporter would choose to work there?

But the most important difference between the Bush and Nixon eras has less to do with the press than with the grave origins of the particular case that has sent Judy Miller to jail. This scandal didn't begin, as Watergate did, simply with dirty tricks and spying on the political opposition. It began with the sending of American men and women to war in Iraq.

Specifically, it began with the former ambassador Joseph Wilson's July 6, 2003, account on the Times Op-Ed page http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/06/opinion/06WILS.html?ex=1121140800&en=9953e8693ec5713e&ei=5070 (and in concurrent broadcast appearances) of his 2002 C.I.A. mission to Africa to determine whether Saddam Hussein had struck a deal in Niger for uranium that might be used in nuclear weapons. Mr. Wilson concluded that there was no such deal, as my colleague Nicholas Kristof reported, without divulging Mr. Wilson's name, that spring. But the envoy's dramatic Op-Ed piece got everyone's attention: a government insider with firsthand knowledge had stepped out of the shadows of anonymity to expose the administration's game authoritatively on the record. He had made palpable what Bush critics increasingly suspected, writing that "some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

Up until that point, the White House had consistently stuck by the 16 incendiary words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." The administration had ignored all reports, not just Mr. Wilson's, that this information might well be bogus. But it still didn't retract Mr. Bush's fiction some five weeks after the State of the Union, when Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, announced that the uranium claim was based on fake documents. Instead, we marched on to war in Iraq days later. It was not until Mr. Wilson's public recounting of his African mission more than five months after the State of the Union that George Tenet at long last released a hasty statement (on a Friday evening, just after the Wilson Op-Ed piece) conceding that "these 16 words should never have been included in the text written for the president."

The Niger uranium was hardly the only dubious evidence testifying to Saddam's supposed nuclear threat in the run-up to war. Judy Miller herself was one of two reporters responsible for a notoriously credulous front-page Times story about aluminum tubes http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/08/international/middleeast/08IRAQ.html?ex=1121140800&en=76eddceb628af81e&ei=5070 that enabled the administration's propaganda campaign to trump up Saddam's W.M.D. arsenal. But red-hot uranium was sexy, and it was Mr. Wilson's flat refutation of it that drove administration officials to seek their revenge: they told the columnist Robert Novak that Mr. Wilson had secured his (nonpaying) African mission through the nepotistic intervention of his wife, a covert C.I.A. officer whom they outed by name. The pettiness of this retribution shows just how successfully Mr. Wilson hit the administration's jugular: his revelation threatened the legitimacy of the war on which both the president's reputation and re-election campaign had been staked.

This was another variation on a Watergate theme. Charles Colson's hit men broke into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, seeking information to smear Mr. Ellsberg after he leaked the Pentagon Papers, the classified history of the Vietnam War, to The Times. But there was even greater incentive to smear Mr. Wilson than Mr. Ellsberg. Nixon compounded the Vietnam War but didn't start it. The war in Iraq, by contrast, is Mr. Bush's invention.

Again following the Watergate template, the Bush administration at first tried to bury the whole Wilson affair by investigating itself. Even when The Washington Post reported two months after Mr. Wilson's Op-Ed that "two top White House officials" had called at least six reporters, not just Mr. Novak, to destroy Mr. Wilson and his wife, the inquiry was kept safely within the John Ashcroft Justice Department, with the attorney general, according to a Times report http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/22/politics/22LEAK.html?ex=1121140800&en=9f827ed03337bb89&ei=5070 , being briefed regularly on details of the investigation. If that rings a Watergate bell now, that's because on Thursday you may have read the obituary of L. Patrick Gray, Mark Felt's F.B.I. boss, who, in a similarly cozy conflict of interest, kept the Nixon White House abreast of the supposedly independent Watergate inquiry in its early going.

Political pressure didn't force Mr. Ashcroft to relinquish control of the Wilson investigation to a special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, until Dec. 30, 2003, more than five months after Mr. Novak's column ran. Now 18 more months have passed, and no one knows what crime Mr. Fitzgerald is investigating. Is it the tricky-to-prosecute outing of Mr. Wilson's wife, the story Judy Miller never even wrote about? Or has Mr. Fitzgerald moved on to perjury and obstruction of justice possibly committed by those who tried to hide their roles in that outing? If so, it would mean the Bush administration was too arrogant to heed the most basic lesson of Watergate: the cover-up is worse than the crime.

"Mr. Fitzgerald made his bones prosecuting the mob," intoned the pro-Bush editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, "and doesn't seem to realize that this case isn't about organized crime." But that may be exactly what it is about to an ambitious prosecutor with his own career on the line. That the Bush administration would risk breaking the law with an act as self-destructive to American interests as revealing a C.I.A. officer's identity smacks of desperation. It makes you wonder just what else might have been done to suppress embarrassing election-season questions about the war that has mired us in Iraq even as the true perpetrators of 9/11 resurface in Madrid, London and who knows where else.

IN his original Op-Ed piece in The Times, published two years to the day before Judy Miller went to jail, Mr. Wilson noted that "more than 200 American soldiers have lost their lives in Iraq already," before concluding that "we have a duty to ensure that their sacrifice came for the right reasons." As that death toll surges past 1,700, that sacred duty cannot be abandoned by a free press now.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/10/opinion/10rich.html?th=&emc=th&pagewanted=all  



10 Jul 2005 @ 15:05 by Quinty @68.226.90.181 : Yes

Points well made.  



11 Jul 2005 @ 14:26 by jstarrs : But things are hotting up...
...
Rove Told Reporter of Plame's Role But Didn't Name Her, Attorney Says By Josh White, Washington Post Staff Writer
Mon Jul 11, 1:00 AM ET


White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove spoke with at least one reporter about Valerie Plame's role at the CIA before she was identified as a covert agent in a newspaper column two years ago, but Rove's lawyer said yesterday that his client did not identify her by name.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rove had a short conversation with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper on July 11, 2003, three days before Robert D. Novak publicly exposed Plame in a column about her husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV. Wilson had come under attack from the White House for his assertions that he found no evidence Iraq was trying to buy uranium from Niger and that he reported those findings to top administration officials. Wilson publicly accused the administration of leaking his wife's identity as a means of retaliation.


The leak of Plame's name to the news media spawned a federal grand jury investigation that has been seeking to find the origin of the disclosure. Cooper avoided jail time last week by agreeing to testify before the grand jury about conversations with his sources, while New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for refusing to discuss her confidential sources.


To be considered a violation of the law, a disclosure by a government official must have been deliberate, the person doing it must have known that the CIA officer was a covert agent, and he or she must have known that the government was actively concealing the covert agent's identity.


Cooper, according to an internal Time e-mail obtained by Newsweek magazine, spoke with Rove before Novak's column was published. In the conversation, Rove gave Cooper a "big warning" that Wilson's assertions might not be entirely accurate and that it was not the director of the CIA or the vice president who sent Wilson on his trip. Rove apparently told Cooper that it was "Wilson's wife, who apparently works at the agency on [weapons of mass destruction] issues who authorized the trip," according to a story in Newsweek's July 18 issue.


Rove's conversation with Cooper could be significant because it indicates a White House official was discussing Plame prior to her being publicly named and could lead to evidence of how Novak learned her name.


Although the information is revelatory, it is still unknown whether Rove is a focus of the investigation. Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, has said that Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has told him that Rove is not a target of the probe. Luskin said yesterday that Rove did not know Plame's name and was not actively trying to push the information into the public realm.


Instead, Luskin said, Rove discussed the matter -- under the cloak of secrecy -- with Cooper at the tail end of a conversation about a different issue. Cooper had called Rove to discuss other matters on a Friday before deadline, and the topic of Wilson came up briefly. Luskin said Cooper raised the question.


"Rove did not mention her name to Cooper," Luskin said. "This was not an effort to encourage Time to disclose her identity. What he was doing was discouraging Time from perpetuating some statements that had been made publicly and weren't true."


In particular, Rove was urging caution because then-CIA Director George J. Tenet was about to issue a statement regarding Iraq's alleged interest in African uranium and its inaccurate inclusion in President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. Tenet took the blame for allowing a misleading paragraph into the speech, but Tenet also said that the president, vice president and other senior officials were never briefed on Wilson's report.  



12 Jul 2005 @ 09:23 by jazzolog : Bush's Brain Springs Fatal Leak
Rove is that kid on the playground who always tried to weasel around the principal: "But I didn't lie! I said I didn't say her NAME. I just said Wilson's WIFE is CIA. I didn't say her name. I didn't KNOW her name." Any principal would expel such a brat, even if it did only encourage the child's sociopathology. Such an action has to do with something called the Common Good, which used to be the basis of democratic government.

Of the 649 news items about Karl Rove showing at Google News at this hour, I think I like best this column by Robert Scheer posted 2 hours ago by the LA Times~~~

Los Angeles Times
ROBERT SCHEER

The real Rove scandal
Robert Scheer
July 12, 2005

If you can't shoot the messenger, take aim at his wife.

That clearly was the intent of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove in leaking to a reporter that former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent. To try to conceal the fact that the president had lied to the American public about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program, Rove attempted to destroy the credibility of two national security veterans and send an intimidating message to any other government officials preparing to publicly tell the truth.

Rove's lawyer now says that Rove didn't break the law against naming covert agents because he didn't know Plame's name and therefore couldn't have revealed it. Perhaps he can use such a technicality in court, but in the meantime he should resign immediately — or be fired by the president — for leaking classified information, trying to smear Wilson and possibly endangering Plame's life.

"The White House promised if anyone was involved in the Valerie Plame affair, they would no longer be in this administration," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "I trust they will follow through on this pledge."

The background on this story is crucial. Ambassador Wilson had been honored as a patriot by President George H.W. Bush for standing up to Saddam Hussein in a face-to-face confrontation in Baghdad on the eve of the Persian Gulf War. But in 2003, Wilson committed an unpardonable crime in the eyes of the second Bush White House. He exposed its lies about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs.

In 16 now infamous words in Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech, the president — desperate to gain support for an invasion he was dead set on initiating — tried to scare Americans into believing Iraq was close to making nuclear weapons. "The British government," he told the nation, "has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." But the key documents that the claim was based on had already been proved to be fakes, and other intelligence reports along these lines were extremely speculative.

In fact, it was a CIA-organized mission by Wilson to the African country of Niger (where he had served as ambassador) that determined the reports were false. Wilson was therefore shocked to hear the uranium claims in the president's speech. When he exposed the chicanery in a New York Times commentary, Wilson became a prime target for a White House smear job.

According to e-mails that Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper sent to his editor (which were revealed by Newsweek over the weekend), Rove told Cooper that Wilson's devastating expose should be discounted because the Niger fact-finding trip had been authorized by Wilson's wife, who worked at the CIA.

This was three days before Robert Novak, citing two White House sources, outed Plame as a CIA agent in his column and put forward the same notion: that Wilson's information was suspect because the CIA had hired him on the advice of his wife.

In the end, though, what Rove's leak and Novak's column really exposed was the depravity of the administration's deliberate use of a false WMD threat and its willingness to go after anyone willing to tell the truth about it.

It's ironic that the expertise of this couple should be turned against them by a White House that has demonstrated nothing but incompetence in dealing with the WMD issue. But clearly truth and competence are virtues easily shed by the Bush administration in the pursuit of political advantage, even when this partisan game jeopardizes national security.

This is the most important issue raised by the Plame scandal. It has been unfortunately obscured by the secondary debate in the case: whether reporters should ever reveal their sources. Yet what the emerging Rove scandal demonstrates is the ease with which a wily top White House official can subvert the Bill of Rights' protection of the free press to serve the tawdriest of political ends.

Copyright 2005 Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/columnists/la-oe-rscheer12jul12,0,7142498.column?coll=la-home-headlines
Robert Scheer, a journalist with more than 30 years' experience, has built his reputation on the strength of his social and political writing. His columns appear in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines. Over the years, Scheer has been honored for his work, including his coverage of the underprivileged and the welfare system. Recently, he was the 1998 honoree of the Shelter Partnership, an organization of Los Angeles downtown businesses, and the USC School of Social Work's Los Amigos award recipient. He has also received awards and citations from Stanford University, the Moscow Academy of Sciences, UC San Diego and Yale University.

Scheer was raised in the Bronx, where he attended public schools and graduated from City College of New York. He studied as a Maxwell Fellow at Syracuse University and was a fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies at UC Berkeley where he did graduate work in economics. Scheer has also been a Poynter fellow at Yale, and was a fellow in arms control at Stanford.

And in case the reference to "Bush's Brain" is a mystery, there's both a book and documentary about Rove with that title. http://www.bushsbrain.com/  



13 Jul 2005 @ 11:03 by jstarrs : We..
we will be happy to answer your questions after the investigation we and especially and nobody more than the President wants to get to the bottom of this but in order to help the good guys catch the bad guys we have been asked and we're going to comply like good guys in order to help the good guys catch the bad guys so we'll be happy to answer your questions after the investigation has been completed.  


13 Jul 2005 @ 11:35 by jazzolog : You'll Like This, Jeff
The Toronto Globe And Mail is one of my favorite several newspapers. Their guy, Alan Freeman, finally checked in on Rove about an hour ago.

Scandal dogs Republican mastermind
By ALAN FREEMAN

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 Updated at 6:20 AM EDT
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

Washington — The scent surrounding "Turd Blossom" is growing ever stronger, and unfortunately for President George W. Bush, the odour is not sweet.
A Texas term referring to the flower that emerges from a pile of cow dung, Turd Blossom is one of the terms of endearment that Mr. Bush uses for Karl Rove, his closest political adviser and the man given credit for winning him two consecutive presidential elections...
Lou Dubose, a biographer of Mr. Rove, says that he is in serious trouble "for the first time in his career," a career in which Mr. Rove has engaged in political dirty tricks on behalf of his boss going back to Mr. Bush's first race for Texas governor.
"Maybe Karl will end up sharing a cell with Judith Miller," Mr. Dubose joked...
While the scent surrounding the affair grows increasingly pungent, some Rove watchers warn against predicting his early demise.
"Short of a criminal indictment, Rove is not going anywhere," said Marshall Wittmann, a former Republican aide who now works for the Democratic Leadership Council.
"For Bush to get rid of Rove would be like Charlie McCarthy firing Edgar Bergen."

The entire article also is a good summary for folks just catching up with this story.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050713.wxrove13/BNStory/International  



8 Aug 2005 @ 08:45 by jazzolog : Re:[appalchianohiosc] Member in the News
----- Original Message -----
From: loiswhealey
To: appalchianohiosc@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Sunday, August 07, 2005 5:35 PM
Subject: Re: [appalchianohiosc] AOG Member in the News

Hi. I attended the Thursday hearing with Loraine. I kept thinking "there's
something more here."
I think the something more requires looking a little more closely at "IGCC"
the technology AEP wants the rate hike for.
I suggest that Loraine, Elisa, Mary Beth look at: www.ohioairquality.org/symposium/final.asp
Check the slide show that
opened the 2004 Ohio Air Quality and Coal Research Symposium at Ohio
University, on 2 December 2004. The program was presented by Rita Bajura of
Morgantown, WV, Director, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Office of
Fossil Energy. This was the first program of the 2 day conference, and goes
into the genesis of President Bush's "Future Gen" (announced Feb. /03.
"This $1 billion, ten year project is to produce electricity and hydrogen
with near 0 emissions" in two demonstration plants. See especially slides
21-29.
Why should Ohio consumers pay costs for such a basic demonstration plant?
Are these the full costs? If not, how much of the costs are the ratepayers
expected to cover?

The entire thrust of the hearing was overly-narrowly focused on the
benefits to the union workers who provided over 20 of the 30 positive
comments, solely on the basis of jobs, and primarily to the construction
jobs on the demonstration plant. If these union workers are hired (not
guaranteed), will even they benefit from the immediate rate hikes?
Interestingly, the larger hikes are primarily in the later part of the 5
year period, not in the early part. (Maybe the construction won't begin for
several years while they draw up blueprints and do preliminary site
preparation.)

Basic unasked and unanswered questions in the Public Utility Commission of
Ohio hearing are: where will the coal come from?
How will it be mined (mountain top removal in Ohio--or more in WV and KY?)
How will the coal get to Meigs County? Coal trucks on 33 through Athens?
The hearing certainly did not do more than scratch the surface of the
questions that could be raised. (Despite Mary Beth's and Elisa's good
testimony.)
----- End Original Message -----

"Union workers" can be counted upon these days to get vocal in favor of more JOBS, whatever that employment is slated to do. They've trained themselves well. The union movement used to be progressive and Democratic, but as the hippy anti-war '60s ended the rank & file decided Reagan was the man. The very first action that president took was to bust a union...and it's been downhill ever since. No, it's worse: the great mountaintop that was the union movement in this country has been damned well removed!

Union workers need help---mental help. They're doing a ghost dance now with fundamentalist christians. As the tragic tribes of Native Americans did when resistance became futile, they cluster in those "megachurches," yearning for the End of the World to the tune of born-again rock and country stars amplified 10 times to the sound a pipe organ could make. Union members now go to church seminars on how to get rich and protect their perfect children from the bad public schools.

For nearly 10 years I've belonged to the AFSCME union, which represents mostly laborers around here in the Athens City Schools and at OU. When I attended gatherings in Columbus and Charleston during the 2004 campaign, AFSCME was out there, in union T-shirts supporting Kerry-Edwards...but I suspect representing only a smattering of the actual membership. When Edwards came to Athens, AFSCME people were on the stage...but I saw only one person I knew up there, and she doesn't work for Athens City anymore. There was not a political peep out of my local for change during the election, except from me. I heard my current union president say before he was elected, during a meeting to consider strike action, that he would never vote to strike. "Where would a guy like me ever earn $14 an hour anywhere else around here?" he said.

The bottom line for the union worker now is me and mine. My toy tractor lawn mower and my guns. My barbecue rig, my deck, my camper, my motorcycle, my NASCAR, my case of beer every weekend. My Wal-Mart. Where else is a guy like me going to find such low prices? I don't see Democrats trying to reclaim these people. I don't see university and public school liberals talking to them either. If even a few of the herd leaders could wise up, this country would be turned around in a jiffy!  



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