Monday, July 31, 2006

Playing Womb Politics


What does it really mean to be Pro-Life? What does it really mean to promote "Life?"
The inconsistency in people's views on this and the religious fervor surrounding it has interesting reverberations into public policy. But from a practical approach, there is a potential for greater common ground than the debate has shaped to date. Do the Republicans just want to hang on to this as a wedge issue that never dies, or can we really get serious about solving the problem? I choose that great American optomism that says that if we get real with a problem and face it head on, we can defeat it.
The Republicans have had about five years controlling both Houses of Congress and the White House and it is still legal to have an abortion, while incrementally more unavailable, and the statistics on numbers of people having them has not decreased appreciably. That is in spite of some of the nastiest campaign rhetoric and the loudest moral condemnations against anyone who disagreed with republican strategy on this issue ever.
We still have a national scandal in the fact that about three million abortions take place every year in America (over 40 million since Roe v. Wade) according to admitted Democratic statistics.
Three million a year. There are about six million people in the Greater Philadelphia area, including the city proper and surrounding suburbs, and there are just over nine million people in Los Angeles. Every two years, we abort a population the size of greater Philadelphia and every three years a population the size of Los Angeles. One way to destroy cities is to do it like they are doing it in the Middle East. Another way is to never let people be born in the first place. In either case, there is a proliferation of terror and appauling loss of life and limb.
Today at the Center for American Progress Harry Reed, Democratic Minority Senate Leader, who calls himself a "pro-life" Senator from Nevada, and John Podesta, Clinton's former Chief of Staff came just shy of declaring war on abortion- but not on women. It is fact that the numbers of abortions were lower under Clinton that they have been under Bush.
There is common ground between Democrats and Republicans in the war on abortion. Democrats want to focus on making them unnecessary-a goal that should be universal. Reed and Hillary Clinton are proposing a bill called The Prevention First Act which seeks to make abortions unnecessary.
Lest Adriana Huffington starts booing Hillary for floating toward the center, it should be noted that this Prevention First Act is just good common sense, morally, economically and every way for women. The socio-economic dynamics involved in poor women having abortions are here addressed as a huge number of women who get abortions are motivated by a belief in their inability to afford the child (or another child). The bill contemplates such things as allowing insurance or medicaid to provide for prenatal and post-partum care, finances comprehensive health care and abstinence education, particularly teen pregnancy prevention education, makes contraception available and other measures and takes care of families. It rejects intrinsically the idea that making abortions unavailable will reduce the numbers. That is a fallacy that has proven largely wrong in other countries where it is not legal; women resort to self mutilation and destroy themselves and their unborn self aborting when they do not want pregnancies and are driven underground in places where it is illegal. That was certainly the case prior to Roe in this country.
The goal should be for all women to want all their pregnancies. Legislation is never going to completely solve the fact that all women do not want all their pregnancies. Legislation is never going to make men or boys honorable all the time and never have sex with women unless they are sure they want to raise children and help pay for them. Legislation can't make people love each other and want to care for their offspring. But we can make a kinder gentler world more hospitable to Moms and their kids so that Moms feel so much better about wanting to bring a baby into the world that they choose life in spite of their circumstances by dramatically altering the socio-economic environment that women land in when they find themselves pregnant. That's a good start. If you think you can survive having a child you are more likely to risk it. If you are not thriving you can't see past your naval to contemplate bringing someone else in the picture whom you are singularly responsible for.

It is sometimes remarked that abortions don't hurt anyone- unless of course you are the Fetus.

Every Fetus conceived in America should have a shot at their American dream.
When Gabriel, as the story goes in the New Testament, the Angel of the Lord, visited a Jewish virgin teenager Mary he had an announcement to make. Mary- don't be afraid. This is good news. You are going to have a son.
Legislation can tell women, listen- don't be afraid. This is really good news. You are going to have a baby. There is nothing to fear because we are going to help you both survive. Its good news because we as a country value you and your child so much that we are going to take care of you even if the rest of your world has failed you. That can be the promise of America for every pregnant woman. The promise of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness for everyone, including Fetuses. I would rather give women hope than condemn them. People respond better to love than restraint and condemnation.
There are no easy answers. But we all can and should agree- its high time we stopped playing womb politics and started playing with more children.

Sunday, July 30, 2006



Follow Peace With All Men, And Holiness, without which no man shall see God.”
Hebrews 12:14. (New Testament Christian Bible.)

Rice has the intellectual subtlety of a Katyusha rocket in understanding the dynamics of Middle Eastern conflict and peace. Ann Coulter, the “Anti-Shipman” was on Fox this week snorting that those doves and the Democrats are as uncomfortable talking scripture as they are in Foreign Policy. She apparently fancies herself more a moral authority than that famous dove, Pope Benedict who has been calling for a cease-fire for weeks. The Republicans are just clueless.

Claire Shipman, on the other hand, understands the power of Imagery in Diplomacy. On the heels of Abu Graib, Guantanamo, “thousands of strategic errors” in Iraq, a completely delusionally deceptively premised invasion, last night we had Rice schmoozing with the Israeli diplomatic corp camping for photos for her autobiography while a building in Lebanon was bombed killing 34 innocent civilians airing all over Al Jazeera. No wonder she was disinvited from Beirut (but she called him first...sure.)

Tom Friedman, a Jewish American journalist and a noted expert in the region and who just returned from Damascus urges that we all stop now. Seriously. Everyone has made their point -the Israelis can bomb to bits anything they like, Hezbollah can crawl from the floorboards and spit back and the US can send collossally inept ineffectual insulting faux diplomats to see if they can find their head up their tails. It can not go anywhere but uglier, more murderous, and potentially more globally catastrophic.

Denial is not a River in Egypt. The Cheney/Bush hawk view that the way you defeat terror is with more over the top violence and shock and awe in your face terror back is clearly wrong. Its self-defeating. Its counterproductive. Its anti-Biblical from a New Testament perspective, its demonstrably not working. Its just baffling that they stick to this strategy. The very definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Clearly we are not going to get any different result transporting the philosophy to this conflict.
It went barely with notice that this week we are sending more troops to Iraq because we are not "winning" there, the insurgents are stronger and more pissed off, 100 Iraqis a day die just inflaming the Arab street while Iran sees what is going on next door and will be damned if they are going to let it encroach on them.

Bush and company have a remarkable ability to deny that there is any natural and obvious repercussion to anything they do, while the rest of the world looks on agast and stunned. They can't connect the dots if a coloring book was put in front of them. They believe what they want to believe- forget the facts and reality the rest of the world lives in.
OBVIOUSLY, the Iraq war has inflamed opposition against Israel and against us everywhere. OBVIOUSLY, our destabilization of Iraq has played into Iranian hands (as the double agent Chalabai plotted all along apparently) strengthening Shiite credibility in the Arab world. OBVIOUSLY ignoring the discontented Syrian element moves to push them into the anti-US camp. Obviously the more bombing of Lebanon goes on, the more it mobilizes moderate and fanatic elements of the Arab street to do everything they can, build every ally they can against us.
OBVIOUSLY, by openly repudiating a cease fire until something “lasting” or “enduring” can be established-assumes that this can ever be established- and is just code for green light for Israel to bomb out Lebanon to their hearts content inviting more Katysha rocket assaults and even longer range missiles on Israel and will serve to invest more and more Hezbollah’s sponsoring countries to engage in the fight and mobilize moderates into the militant camp until we are truly in a nuclear world war without end.

How everyone else in the world can see this while Rice camps for photos and Bush mindwashes Blair and embarrases all of Britain by recruiting it to our goals, is just mind- boggling. It's nothing short of insane.

The nutcase who attacked a Synagogue responding to the Jihad call in Seattle is only the beginning if we continue "staying the course."

The people at the rudder of US Ship Fear here need to propagate violence to mobilize fear to perpetuate war to politically legitimate their illegitimate ignorant selves in power. That is their agenda. It will continue until the day we get rid of them off the public payroll along with their surrogates in Congress. We need to get these people off the public payroll because they do not speak for us, they endanger us. They boldly endanger us. It's high time we all woke up.

Hezbollah is not just a terrorist organization. It is the tip of the Shiite Crescent that loops back to Iran. But, it is not just a state sponsored or proxy terrorist organization that is backed by Syria and Iran. It is effectively an adjunct of the Lebanese military operating openly with the blessings of the Lebanese government and people. The thought that the people would turn on Hezbollah if the destruction was more severe was ill-conceived –like virtually all this Administration’s anti-terror strategy.
Hezbollah is not attacking Lebanon, Israel is -so OBVIOUSLY the Lebanese people blame their attackers, not the entity they perceive is protecting their borders and fighting back.
On Meet-The-Press today the Lebanese Ambassador told Russert that he “respected” Nasrallah, the cleric leader of Hezbollah who openly calls for the destruction/elimination of Israel. He prevaricated a bit noting that it cannot be done militarily alluding to the fact that they think that they can do it politically (if you listened close enough you see that this speaker for Lebanon is of the camp that believes Israel can be eliminated). What is happening now is that the Arab world by storming the UN and playing victim is attempting to mobilize world opinion in their favor charging the Israelis with excessive force and
responses while at the same time the Lebanese know that Hezbollah are using Lebanese civilians as human shields and cover for Hezbollah attacks.
The Lebanese government could insist and demand that the civilians get out of the way of Hezbollah and issue evacuation orders but they are not doing that. They could send the Lebanese Army to retrieve reluctant refugees who claim they have no money or transport just as we could have removed trapped people during the Katrina flooding. The fact that the Lebanese government is not only not chastising Hezbollah or issuing any critical statements, but hiding behind the “we don’t want to provoke civil war” demonstrates that Hezbollah is working with the blessing of the Lebanese government.

Therefore, we now have essentially two countries at war with each other-not just Israel fighting terrorism. Therefore, Israel is going to consider it within their self-defensive right to attack anywhere in Lebanon they believe threats originate. It will not stop so long as each uses the other’s aggression as excuse to perpetuate more aggression against the other. It will downward spiral into a much wider conflict that directly threatens the US.

Dick Cheney’s comple lack of any critical analysis is explainable by the fact that his serious heart ailment and medication has clearly hardered all arteries into his brain depriving it of the oxygen that it needs to function responsibly. Bush and Condi’s delusional myopia can’t be explained by anything other than that double lethal combination of ignorance and arrogance.

Therefore, it is now necessary for the national security of the country for high level former US diplomats, generals, cabinet officials, sitting or former Congress people and experts in the region to organize themselves into a Peace Envoy to visit the region, listen to the Syrians, go to the UN and meet with the representatives there, issue stern recommendations and do what this Administration in its blind misdirected ideological ambition is incapable of doing.

World Peace in this region of the world will not be achieved by letting Rice at it and her visits are a waste of taxpayer money, because she represents an element that believes Peace is only achieved by disarmament through war and bloodshed. It has always been and continues to be a moronic illogical irresponsible predicate for any Foreign Policy.

BREAKING NEWS.......................
CNN is now at 5:15 pm Sunday reporting that the Israelis will stand down for 48 hours to allow civilians to leave Southern Lebanon but reserve the right to reinitiate attack if rockets fly into Israel. We shall see.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Energy dependence and the Persian Gulf- Addicted to Oil; When the Pusher Hates You

Holy Help Us. What Else Needs To Happen?

Grab a Starbucks pomegranate Frappacino with whip, sit back in an overstuffed chair and calmly think about where we are now.

Blood-drain in an endless war in Iraq killing about a hundred Iraqis who did nothing to us before we invaded them every day. Over 2,500 of us dead in Iraq. Half a million new refugees from Lebanon that a month ago slept in their own beds, washed their own dishes in their own kitchens, and picked herbs from their own gardens. At least five countries bringing in Naval and other ships to get their nationals out in a panic as missiles fly over their heads.
Two-thousand or so missiles lobbed into Israel killing lots of people full of ball-bearing for maximal destruction, destroying buildings and infastructure and terrorizing an entire country. Israeli retaliatory incursions/invasions and bombing into Southern Lebanon. UN observers killed. Violence rages everywhere in Iraq and a quarter of Beirut is a pile of concrete dust.

And in Rome today? No consensus but don't call it a failure. Condi cannot figure out how to make a Cease-Fire worthwhile still resisting one in spite of universal world opinion arguing that any such cease-fire would just return us to the "status quo ante" or revisit "spasms of violence." "Smasms" are apparently not better than wholescale ongoing slaughter. If she says "Status Quo Ante" or "spasms" again I think I will puke because there is nothing very Status Quo Ante about the state of Crisis we are currently experiencing or that will ever result now and she is Queen Spastic whose policies have fomented this hideous violence.

Are these the "birth pangs" of Condi's delusional baby delivery in some sort of pathetic transference that could keep psychologists busy scratching their heads for years, or just what it looks like: a big fat total mess, just a failed ridiculously conceived Foreign Policy based on deceptions, a pathetic demonstration of short-sighted ineptitude and complete lack of understanding of the underpinnings of World Affairs and the ingredients of Peace. I just take things at face value and call them like I see them. People tried to tell them. They thought they knew better. Clearly, they didn't.
Now they wonder if John Bolton should actually be permanently confirmed by the Senate as our UN Ambassador? Are they kidding?. I trust this guy like I trust Jack the Ripper- and so does the rest of the UN. Colonel Mustard on crack makes Bagdad Bob look like Oprah. Do these people get cable?

First we have an unconditional confirmation that the regime that we forced in to power in Iraq, into which we poured billions, billions of dollars is basically still essentially Arab, anti-Semitic, more anti-semetic, Israel-hating, and not on board with US Foreign Policy objectives at all concerning our friend Israel while it is under relentless assault. Malicki faced a Congressional boycott of his speech by, inter alia, Schumer who would not dignify the speech with his presence. We are not getting any solid open statements from anyone in Iraq to encourage the disarmament of Hezbollah-and that is the No. 1 terrorist organization in the world now with more power than a paramilitary organization because it is a direct hostile State proxy. And that is clearly what we, and the Israelis were looking for -surely some condemnation-from what Bush surely hoped would function more like a puppet proxy for all our billions.

All the years of rhetorical blah blah blah about imposing by force Democracy that will !poof! create friendly countries who want to assist the US in their Foreign Policy objectives because now they are-hallelujiah-FREE!- has proved to be as much bunk as most thinking people knew from the outset. Some people when they are free are freely happy to support freely people lobbing rockets into Israel or to knock off our soldiers. So much for the Bush Doctrine. Malicki condemned narrowly terrorism but defines it as anyone violently against his vision or Iraqi security. He stated that Iraqis are our "Allies on the War on Terror." He didn't condemn Hezbollah. With friends like that, Holy help us.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, appearing in a panel forum on Energy Policy and Security that the Center For American Progress sponsored today answered a blunt question: Should we diplomatically engage the Syrians? Absolutely, she affirmed, and she has. She tried to meet any and everyone who had any influence on a conflict or potential conflict and the Syrians have always had clear influence in the region, then and now. Diplomatically addressing or engaging even hostile entities is a way to "deliver tough messages." It's Diplomacy and Mediation 101 to understand that by meeting with people to deliver tough messages you are not adopting, affirming or condoning their agenda and that all "interests or stakeholders" in any given conflict must be addressed or confronted. We need to get Syria more in the Egyptian friendly corner than aligning themselves totally with Iran. Nothing is served by snubbing them.

When I look at the level of wisdom and competence that Clinton appointed, next to what is steering our rudder today I want to cry- or run for office.
Rice met with the Lebanese, and instead of getting them on board to disarm Hezbollah, she succeeded in apparently causing them to start defending the Southern border by joining Hezbollah against Israel. See, I really think that Ms. Rice, who admits she grew up in the back of a Southern Church in a poverty stricken state, didn't have paper delivery and didn't watch any news or read a newspaper until she went to College. She has absolutely no historic context to anything she steps into. That's what it looks like. Someone ask her how many days the Six Day War took and who won?

Here is what her resume should look like now:
1. Started a Civil War in Iraq, worked for an Administrative team that killed 2,500 Americans and between 50,000-100,000 Iraqis (we don't know for sure how many because we bomb the hospitals who disagree with our modest counts.).
2. Initiated Lebanese to engage Israel again in War aligning them with powerful terrorist group Hezbollah and did nothing productive to stop 2,000 rockets from being launched at Israel while they menacingly threaten more rockets going deeper into Israel.
3. Assisted in the displacement of about a half million people.
4. Refused to talk to people I didn't know how to handle like anyone in Syria.
5. Refused to "shuttle" because couldn't figure out who to talk to and where to go.

And how much did this cost the US?

Congressman Robert Wexler, in speaking to Wolf Blitzer on CNN from Israel, said we need to implement the provisions in the The Syrian Accountability Act that are already available to us. He agrees apparently with Schumer that the head of the Iraqis should not have been ever given the privilege of addressing a joint session of Congress after his comments and lack of support in disarming Hezbollah. You can hardly call yourself an "Ally on the War on Terror" when you take no public position on the group lobbing rockets into Israel as you speak.

The Center for American Progress is a think tank which has on its board what looks like a Shadow Cabinet, Chaired by a unique brilliant renaissance policy man, John Podesta, former Clinton Chief of Staff, who understands like few people do how events are connected and cause and effect in international relations. He is a true humble visionary. The Center for American Progress puts together task forces on substantive issues to craft policies and is composed of former Senators, Congresspeople, and Cabinet officials among other noted experts.
Today Madeleine Albright was joined by Carol Browner, who for 8 years was the head of the EPA under Clinton, Gayle Smith and Podesta, all members of the National Security Task Force on Energy that drafted the policy on "Energy Security In the 21st Century."
You can get a copy online at It's quite brilliant. Get it.

Also on the Task Force was Tim Wirth, Samuel Berger, Tom Daschle, John Deutch, Congressman Tom Downey. Gayle Smith (who Mediated a Peace Agreement between Eritrea and Somalia during Clinton's Administration and is a noted expert on African security issues) moderated, and numerous other dignitaries and notables were on the task force.

Its deep and detailed and contains practical suggestions for what can be done to make us not dependent on Foreign Oil and develop industries that support technologies for biofuels- imagine it. We are essentially funding both sides of this war with our dependence on Foreign Oil from dangerous places run by people who hate us and our allies. It has to stop. The good news- it really can with the political will and vision of people like Podesta, Albright, Browner and Smith.

Bush announced that we were "Addicted to Oil." You don't say. You heard of the "Amen" corner? He chairs the "DUH" corner here (in Simpsonville it's the "DUOH" corner.) Podesta noted understatedly that Bush must be the last man in America to notice. Bush announcing we are addicted to Oil (while Cheney in his Energy Task Force sells the country and its national security to his oil buddies-do we know yet who was on that task force?) is a bit like making a national State of the Union announcement that "Traffic at Rush Hour on Wisconsin Avenue is Bumper to Bumper."

Podesta thinks that in less than fifty years, by the middle of the Century, 2050, we can be off this dependancy to Foreign Oil completely with developed technologies that would convert biofuels, switchgrass, corn and other organic matter into real fuel. Instead of "High Fructose Corn Syrup" in every soda and drink including things that used to be healthy for you like ice tea, if we could convert corn into fuel, wouldn't that be wonderful? I would rather put it in my car than make it 22 percent of the sugar content of a drink I don't want corn fructose in. (And don't get me started on that and the connection to epidemic juvenile diabetis in this country.)

It would be good for the environment too and assist the Global Warming impending slide to disaster. It would be good for poorer countries who can grow this stuff even in drought climates for possible export. Brazil has apparently converted its sugar cane into fuel and almost its entire national fleet is either hybrid or sugar cane derived fuel powered. Browner noted that we are not going to drill our way out of this mess and merely moving the drilling to off-shore in the US is not any viable solution. The solution is innovation into technologies that convert our home grown energy sources and supplies into biofuels and (organic) cellular ethanols- things that don't require we sell our national soul to people who don't like us and our Allies.

This got me thinking- I was born 46 years ago. I was born the year John F. Kennedy was elected President. Here is what did not exist when I was born: Microwave ovens, cell phones (or any phone that wasn't plugged in the wall with a clunky rotary dial), home videos, CDs, DVDs (or any of their players), personal computers (IBM punchcard computers existed in an entire room--no PCs, no MACs) broadband, internet, personal videocams, cameras or video on or in portable phones, digital cameras, portable printers, personal GPS systems, that thing in the car that tells you where you are going or if you are lost, disposable diapers, and lots of things I have not noticed.

So if we had an Administration that was not just "Unilateral" in its wierd myopia but "Unidimensional" (to quote Podesta) in its obsessive focus on Iraq, which for 300 billion dollars is the worst rip off to bankrupt the country we have ever blindly tolerated, think what we could innovate. Instead, we are ignoring the dramatic effect that converting off Petroleum will have everywhere, including the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, Latin America and elsewhere. Believe.
The unfortunate link and effect between Foreign Energy Interdependence and Foreign Policy is something that has been remarked upon by every President since Nixon and is taught in every responsible graduate school worth its tuition. Yet, Ms. Rice declared her surprise- oh my- that her job would be tainted by this connection.

Do we really have to live through two more years of this nightmare? Our leadership is so obviously incompetent that I think my old pet Labrador Winston would do a better job at keeping international peace. At least he engenders fond feelings.

I am told griping isn't productive. So here are a few ideas that the American public might be a little more impressed by:
1. Dump Bolton- no question. Like today.
2. Get together a BIPARTISAN task force on Peace and Diplomacy and draw on people like Gayle Smith and Albright who know how to run a Foreign Policy or Mediate a dispute without people killing hundreds of each other off and displacing half a million people;
3. As Feinstein suggested, send a high level Emissary to do what Condi, aka "Flat-on-her-Ass" Rice clearly is incapable of doing. Let it be Bush's Dad and Mom. I don't care- anyone he will listen to other than his own stubborn ego.
4. Get a cease-fire. That means on both sides. Can I get a "DUH" from the "DUH" corner?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Whose Map Are We Reading And Why Should It Matter

Where in the World is "Palestine?"

In the Ancient world there was no such place as "Palestine."
At times in early or pre-Roman, pre-Christian era times a small portion of land surfaces in some writings unofficially as "Philistia" which references where the Philistines were- in a land that doesn't come close to the magnitude of land mass the current "Palestinians" claim. The Philistines were notably defeated by Samson at one point (until his devious evil Philistine wife Delilah betrayed him and did him in as the story goes) and by King David such that during the time of King Solomon (King David's son), Philistines didn't have an identified geographic location attached to them. They were as gone a people as the Aztecs are to us today. Note that the ancient world is full of people named things we don't recognize today as identifiably any particular nation, such as Hittites, Ammonites, Moabites, Jebbuzites, etc. What country should all those people have? Where is Hittiteville or Moabland?

During Roman times the land was referenced by the Romans as "Palestine" picking up on and Romanizing the "Philistia" name which was a goofy name to begin with and didn't accurately describe the inhabitants at the time (remember that Romans spoke Latin and the Jews spoke Aramaic and Hebrew- with a spattering of Romans and Greeks in the area speaking Ancient Greek, while hundreds of other dialects referenced in the Pentacost story flourished). Who knows why the Romans actually chose the name Palestinian, but it is a Latinization of Philisia and the Philistines were by that time long since defeated as a power.

The British, who for a time themselves were under Roman rule under Hadrian and for whom Latin was for a time an official language through the 1066 invasion of William the Conqueror, reused the Roman name Palestine when they controlled the area under a "Protectorate."
The name is a complete political fiction because neither the "Philistines" nor any non-Jew residents of Roman "Palestine" of Philistine heritage controlled or ruled (self-ruled or otherwise) any part of the world at any time after King David. At some point, as the below biblical references indicate, Philistines did occupy a portion of this land at one time until they were driven out and clearly defeated. That is why in large part King David is King David.

Why would you want to name a country after people who about three Millenia ago were driven out by God's will and help? Wouldn't that be a little like insisting we all now call Iraq "Babylon" or Lebanon "Phonecia?"or Peru "Matsupishu" or New York "Mowhacanville?" or Washington, DC "Chippawa Swamp." How about if we all insist on it loudly and start killing people over it? How bloody ridiculous would that be?

The Philistines were always referenced biblically as enemies of the Jews who were always out to kill them off. Christians and Jews believe (or should) enemies of Jews are enemies of their God. It's about that simple. So why would anyone call anything the Romanized version of Philistines or Philistia?

I have another idea-let's just call the folks who don't want to live in peace with the Jews in Israel who are openly hell-bent on their destruction and have the nerve to announce it at the UN, "ContraDeo" or the Latin for "Against God" and the part of Gaza and portion of Lebanon from where they are lobbing missiles "TerraContraDeo". Republic of TCD for short. (I am amazed at how easily Christians forget that they are worshipping the Jewish Messiah who first came to save his own and asked us to do likewise.)

Here are various references to the lands biblically referenced as belonging to the Jews by Covenant promise to Abraham first referenced in Exodus 15:17. The boundaries first referenced speak of all the land from the "Great River of Egypt" to the Euphrates. Some biblical scholars think that this must mean the Nile, or some tributary thereof whether currently extant or not. Some have interpreted "great river" without a more concrete reference to mean the Tigres (while that does not run through Egypt). The Nile is the one of the largest five Rivers in the world currently running through Egypt, down through the Sudan. Some scholars believe the reference may indicate where the Nile hits or "falls into" its Source at the Mediterranean or around the Suez Canal to create the Southern most border. Additional boundary descriptions appear as given to Moses from that originally spoken to Abraham.

I leave it to the reader to determine whether God changed the map at various epochs for reasons known only to Him, or whether all these biblical references are internally consistent. Maybe they just reflect bad translations. One thing is certain that from one translation to the next, at least in the Christian versions, there is some discrepancy, thus it requires reading all of them, and preferably going back to the more original of Hebrew Torah texts to get the right or closest to right reading when it comes to boundaries. In other words, you cannot just read the Christian bible your grandmother gave you or the one you got at confirmation and know with certainty where God wants his people to live now.
(This isn't an academic article or I would have to exhaustively list and footnote my sources which are a combination of my commentary, biblical quotes and internet searches that anyone can do. None of it is original as I didn't author the Bible. The reader is encouraged to read as many versions as possible to do the comparison. We aren't all reading from the same Bible.)

Land of Israel
The Land of Israel (Hebrew: Eretz Yisrael) is the land that made up the ancient Jewish Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The term has been used by Jews and Christians throughout history. The Bible explains how the kingdom was split into two with the names Israel and Judah(too long a story to tell here, but suffice it to say God never called either place "Palestine" and you won't find a reference to any portion of any land God gave the Jews "Palestine.")

During the British mandate of Palestine, the Anglicization of the Hebrew name Eretz Yisrael (abbreviated Aleph-Yod), was part of the official name of the territory athough, as much for a political statement it was more commonly referenced as "Palestine", which is just Anglicized Roman nomenclature. Consequently, in its modern usage, the term usually denotes only those parts of the land which came under the British mandate, i.e. the land now or recently controlled by Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and sometimes then also Transjordan (now the Kingdom of Jordan). As the below biblical passages demonstrate, this is a narrower vision of what the biblical "Promised Land" is supposed to look like. "Palestine" even under the British Protectorate did include the West Bank and Gaza. (What was Sharon thinking?)

Biblical passages

The actual borders defined in God's covenant with the Israelites from Abraham on through Joshua is actually much larger than the current borders of the State of Israel. Several verses from the Torah, (commonly referred to as the First Five Books of Moses, while we don't think Moses wrote Genesis for example) a verse from the Book of Joshua, and a sequence from the Book of Ezekiel speak to the definition of the borders of the Promised Land (that God covenanted to Abraham's seed/ancestors for all time). Translations vary significantly.

Genesis 15:18-21 From this desert and Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the great sea westward shall be your boundary (Genesis 15:18-21).
Significantly, a Christian translation has no reference whatever to Lebanon and reads: "From the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites."

Exodus 23:20-33 Behold, I am sending an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Beware of him and obey him; do not rebel against him, for he will not forgive your transgression, for My Name is within him. For if you hearken to his voice and do all that I say, I will hate your enemies and oppress your adversaries. For My angel will go before you, and bring you to the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivvites, and the Jebusites, and I will destroy them. You shall not prostrate yourself before their gods, and you shall not worship them, and you shall not follow their practices, but you shall tear them down and you shall utterly shatter their monuments. And you shall worship the Lord, your God, and He will bless your food and your drink, and I will remove illness from your midst. There will be no bereaved, (miscarrying) or barren woman in your land; I will fill the number of your days. I will send My fear before you, and I will confuse all the people among whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you. And I will send the tzir'ah before you, and it will drive out the Hivvites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from before you. I will not drive them away from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field outnumber you. I will drive them out from before you little by little, until you have increased and can occupy the land. And I will make your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert (wilderness) to the river (Euphrates), for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hands, and you shall drive them out from before you. You shall not form a covenant for them or for their gods. They shall not dwell in your land, lest they cause you to sin against Me, that you will worship their gods, which will be a snare for you.(Exodus 23:20-33)

Numbers 34:1-12 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Command the children of Israel and say to them, When you arrive in the land of Canaan, this is the land which shall fall to you as an inheritance, the land of Canaan according to its borders. Your southernmost corner shall be from the desert of Zin along Edom, and the southern border shall be from the edge of the Sea of Salt Dead Sea to the east. The border then turns south of Maaleh Akrabim of Akrabim, passing toward Zin, and its ends shall be to the south of Kadesh barnea. Then it shall extend to Hazar addar and continue toward Azmon. The border then turns from Azmon to the stream of Egypt, and its ends shall be to the sea. The western border: it shall be for you the Great Mediterranean Sea and the border this shall be your western border. This shall be your northern border: From the Great Mediterranean Sea turn yourselves toward Mount Hor. From Mount Hor turn to the entrance of Hamath, and the ends of the border shall be toward Zedad. The border shall then extend to Ziphron, and its ends shall be Hazar enan; this shall be your northern border. You shall then turn yourselves toward the eastern border, from Hazar enan to Shepham. The border descends from Shepham toward Riblah, to the east of Ain. Then the border descends and hits the eastern shore of Lake Kinnereth (Sea of Galilee). The border then continues down along the Jordan, and its ends is the Sea of Salt Dead Sea; this shall be your Land according to its borders around. (Numbers 34:1-12).

Deuteronomy 1:7, 11:24 Turn and journey, and come to the mountain of the Amorites and to all its neighboring places, in the plain, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south and by the seashore, the land of the Canaanites, and the Lebanon, until the great river, the Euphrates River (Deuteronomy 1:7). Every place upon which the soles of your feet will tread, will be yours: from the desert and the Lebanon, from the river, the Euphrates River, and until the western sea, will be your boundary (Deuteronomy 11:24).

Joshua 1:4 From this desert and Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the great sea westward shall be your boundary (Joshua 1:4).Ezekiel 47:13-20 So said the Lord God: This is the border whereby you shall divide the land for inheritance to the twelve tribes of Israel, Joseph two portions. And you shall inherit it, one as another, being that I lifted up My hand to give it to your forefathers, and this land shall be to you an inheritance. And this is the border of the land: to the northern side, from the Great Sea the way to Hethlon to the road leading to Zedad. Hamath, Berothah, Sibraim, which is between the border of Damascus and the border of Hamath; Hazer-hatticon, which is by the border of Hauran. And the border shall be from the sea to Hazer-enon, the border of Damascus, and in the north northward is the border of Hamath; this is the northern side. And the eastern side is between Hauran and Damascus, between Gilead and the Land of Israel is the Jordan; from the border by the eastern sea shall you measure; this is the eastern side. And the southern side is from Tamar until the water of Meriboth Kadesh to the stream falls into the Great Sea; this is the southern side. And the western side is the Great Sea from the border until opposite the road leading to Hamath; this is the western side. (Ezekiel 47:13-20)
The size of the Promised Land of the Tanakh (or Hebrew Bible referred to also as the "Old" or "First" Testament" by Christians) encompasses a region that extends from the "Great River of Egypt" to the Euphrates. Area known to be included depending on the translation one reads are the modern states of Israel, Lebanon, much of modern-day Syria, and "Yesha" or Yemen. Also in this region would be the Sinai Peninsula, which is widely believed to encompass the route of the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt if one takes the reference to mean the whole Nile rather than where it falls into the Sea as the Southern Border which would mean the territory doesn't go into Egypt. However, it should be noted that the most exact definitions of the borders, the ones in Numbers and Ezekiel, describe a much smaller area, with the river Jordan as its eastern border and the Nile (or where it hits the Med) in the SouthWest. It encompasses most of modern Israel -- excluding however most of the Negev desert in the south -- the territories, a small part of modern Egypt, southern Lebanon, and the southwestern tip of Syria.
Another point of debate for some religious scholars is the consistent reference to the inclusion of "the Land of the Hittites" within the borders. Some view the Hittites as one of the tribes that had settled in Canaan and was conquered by Joshua, while others refer to a greater empire that encompassed most of Central Turkey.

The "land of Canaan" or land of the "Canaanites" or "Cana" is a consistently repeating reference as part of the inheritance of the Jews. The Canaanites take their name from Canaan which name is linked to a relative (son?) of Noah (the Noah of the Flood) who because he saw Noah's uncovered drunken Nakedness was cursed to be a slave to his brother. The land of Canaan was given in inheritance as a blessing because the land of Canaan was cursed to the Canaanites.
It is no accident that the first miracle performed by Jesus in his ministry was the turning of the water to wine at the "wedding in Cana" thus spiritually connecting himself and his believers to the blessings of covenental inheritance.

Now a closing word on "proportionality." The "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" commandment wasn't made up by a bunch of European anti-semites. That is the very definition of proportionality and from it comes the Catholic understanding of "just war"-e.g. over the top reactions can turn a "just" response unjust. Christ taught the "turn the other cheek" rule; you hit me on the cheek, I turn it and give you the other one. That has been the hardest concept for anyone to grasp and doesn't feature in the Catholic Just War proportionality concept.
You take out my eye, I can take yours out. I can't however bludgon your skull into pulp. You knock out my tooth I can beat the tooth-fairy to your front tooth, but I can't firebomb your village and mushroom cloud your house. You take out a couple of my buildings and 3,000 people, I can't take out your leader, kill all his sons, destroy all your major cities, firebomb the capital to smitherines, install my military in your leader's palace, and corner the market on all your natural resources. You lob 2,000 missiles into my back yard, killing 100 people, I don't get to kill 200,000 and displace half a million more. I may however, get to destroy all your missile launchers and 2,000 guys who intended to kill with them. Self-Defense is a concept that has to be merged with proportionality. I will leave its definition to Talmudic scholars to determine the blend.

But what is ethically permissible is not always what is wise. What is permissible is not always what is beneficial. The wisdom behind the Proportionality of the "Eye for an Eye" commandment (not a suggestion) is protection from blistering retaliation and foaming resentment that invites more over the top blistering retaliation into an unstoppable escalation. I don't judge what is proportionate. I caution what is unwise.

Nothing about the Unjust War doctrine or Proportionality Concept says that if you take out two of my buildings and 3,000 people I get to go to another country not affiliated with the aforementioned act, and because I think that country sympathized with the act or likes the guy who did it, I get to firebomb the place to smitherines, take out the leader, kill all his sons, destroy his cities, camp in his palace, shoot anyone who objects and bulldoze anything getting in my way. The proportionality doctrine does not even apply in that context because I there am the aggressing offendor and I was not justified in doing anything to the neighboring country whose only involvment in the first act was to sympathize with it and the perpetrator.

See alsoPalestine History of Palestine Holy Land Promised land IsraelExternal links What Should We Call Eretz Israel/Land of Israel - Falastin/Palestine?

Think. Think. Think. Think. (someone needs to)

Below is an appreciated monologue of Dennis Miller, the Comedian on his take of the "Crisis"

Here are the questions Condi and company should be asking themselves- some of these questions are admittedly plaguarized from Anderson Cooper who is remarkably sanely and calmly reporting round the clock in the line of fire (hats off to Anderson Cooper of CNN)-journalists sometimes have better sense than the people and events they are covering:

1. If Iran and Syria are really State sponsors of Hezbollah why do you expect that they are not going to just keep endlessly replenishing the Hezbollah rockets and recruits-over 2,000 have fallen on Northern Israel/Haifa since this started? They don't appear to be weakened after weeks of the assault?
2. If Iran and Syria are really State sponsors of Hezbollah how do you think you ever are going to get a Peace without engaging them in diplomatic dialogue? (Isn't that a bit like the old debate in Britain about not engaging the IRA or inviting them to the table until they lay down their arms first which proved over eighty years to be completely counter-productive?)
3. If Iran and Syria are really "the problem" how do you think ignoring them diplomatically is going to advance Peace? Isn't that a bit like wishing Hurricaine Katrina won't destroy the levies by ignoring the possibility?
4. Ms. Rice: How does perpetuating a conflict not encourage escalation and where do you think escalation will end?
5. Ms. Rice: You keep alluding to the "New Middle East" as something contrary to Peace and Cease-Fire. Please describe your vision of this "New Middle East" and explain how it requires elimination of whole populations of Shiites and other Arabs through war and massacre. Explain how this is not a genocidal vision of "New."
6. Explain how your open encouragement of confrontation is not going to invite massive unprecedented retaliation on the part of Syria or Iran in a matter of months if not weeks?
7. Please identify the miscreant at Notre Dame who was your faculty advisor and overly-generously awarded you a PHD. (Anderson didn't say that.)

For those who don't know, Dennis Miller is a comedian who has a show called Dennis Miller Live on HBO. Although he is not Jewish, he recently had the following to say about the Middle East situation:"A brief overview of the situation is always valuable, so as a service to all Americans who still don't get it, I now offer you the story of the Middle East in just a few paragraphs, which is all you really need. Here we go: The Palestinians want their own country. There's just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians. It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern invention. Before the Israelis won the land in the 1967 war, Gaza was owned by Egypt, the West Bank was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians." As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the "Palestinians," weeping for their deep bond with their lost "land" and "nation." So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word "Palestinian" any more todescribe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths until someone points out they're being taped. Instead, let's call them what they are: "Other Arabs Who Can't Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death." I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then: "Adjacent Jew-Haters." Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing: No, they don't. They could've had their own country any time in the last thirty years, especially two years ago at Camp David. But if you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living.That's no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region want:Israel.
They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course -- that's where the real fun is -- but mostly they want Israel. Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel - or "The Zionist Entity" astheir textbooks call it -- for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on God's Earth, and if you've ever been around God's Earth, you know that's really saying something. It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Mid east. Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one. Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five Million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals. Really? Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding. My friend, Kevin Rooney, made a gorgeous point the other day: Just reverse the numbers. Imagine five hundred million Jews and five million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it. Can anyone picture the Jewsstrapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of course not. Or marshaling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab State into the sea? Nonsense. Or dancing for joy at the murder of innocents? Impossible. Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children? Disgusting. Now, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death. Mr. Bush, God bless him, is walking a tightrope. I understand that with vital operations in Iraq and others,it's in our interest, as Americans, to try to stabilize our Arab allies as much as possible, and, after all, that can't be much harder than stabilizing a roomful of super models who've just had their drugs taken away. However, in any big-picture strategy, there's always a danger of losingmoral weight. We've already lost some. After September 11th our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the countries that supported them. Beautiful. Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day) start to do the same thing we did, and we tell them to show restraint. If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east of the Jordan. My friends - Walk in peace! Be Happy! Have a wonderful life!"

Editorial correction; Palestine sounds awefully like Philistine, and is where the name comes from- Philistines were repeatedly defeated, most famously by King David-remember the Giant Golliath who fell with five stones of a slingshot by the upshot young David? Go to the Uffizzi in Florence and you can see Michelangelo's statue of him. The Romans called it Palestine more than two thousand years ago which was as an affront to the Jews as it is today. The British adopted it when it was a British Protectorate- all of which had a decidedly anti-Semetic tilt to it in just the preferential naming of the place.
It was properly titled Israel and Judea biblically. Those of you who have New Testament bibles probably have a map of the area in it at the time that Jesus was around and not one of those maps has the word "Palestine" on it. It has the word Israel and Judea. Go look.
The Romans just called it "mine" or "tax booty to finance exploits and ambitious Roman architecture and aqueducts" or
"land of rebellion" and that sort of thing. Palestine has historic reference that dates at least back to Roman Times which started several hundred years before Christ enters the scene.
The land, if you believe the biblical covenant promise of Abraham in the First Testament if you are Christian and the only Testament if you are Jewish, previously "land of Canaan" or "Cana" was to belong to the Jews and extended from the Euphrates to the Tigres rivers.
The Rivalries, hatreds and hostilities there are Millenia old, historically deeply ingrained, cultural, identity embedded and woefully wholly misunderstood by people currently constructing Foreign Policy who need to cash in their Reality Check that people like Wesley Clark and other generals have been trying to give them concerning the obvious natural repercussions of taking such a militant posture in the middle of this tinder box.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

What they Don't Want You To Know- Can Kill You

This message is available online at
"For those who can't find information about the alleged [9/11 conspiracy] on the nightly news, there is Loose Change, a documentary about 9/11 conspiracy theories which just might be the first Internet blockbuster. Since it appeared on the Web in April 2005, the 80-minute film has been climbing up and down Google Video's "Top 100," rising to No. 1 this May, with at least 10 million viewings. It's safe to say that, if it were a theatrical release, Loose Change would be one of the most popular—and incendiary—movies in the country right now. " -- Vanity Fair, August 2006 Issue
Dear friends,
Media articles covering an alleged 9/11 conspiracy on the part of rogue elements within the U.S. government have been on the rise in recent months. One of the best I've seen comes from the popular fashion magazine Vanity Fair, which previously did an excellent, in-depth article on key 9/11 whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who clearly laid out her own shocking experiences of deep levels of deceit and corruption. The current article deals with the wildly popular 9/11 conspiracy documentary Loose Change. To understand the critical role of the media in this and other cover-ups, click here. If you care about upholding democracy and building a better world, I most highly recommend reading the engaging article below and viewing this eye-opening documentary which is sweeping the nation. Together, I have no doubt that we can and will build a brighter future.
With best wishes,Fred Burks for PEERS and the TeamFormer language interpreter for Presidents Bush and Clinton
Click Here for Conspiracy
With $6,000 and a laptop computer, three kids from upstate New York made a documentary about 9/11 that spread across the Internet and threw millions for a loop
Nine-eleven conspiracy theories have been circulating for years, producing millions of Web links, scores of books, and a nationwide collection of doubters known as the "9/11 Truth" movement.
In 2005 the State Department responded by posting some "clues" to "identifying misinformation" on their Web site. "Does the story claim that vast, powerful, evil forces are secretly manipulating events?" it asks. "If so, this fits the profile of a conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theories are rarely true, even though they have great appeal and are often widely believed. In reality, events usually have much less exciting explanations."
One of the first American officials to publicly acknowledge conspiracy theories in connection with 9/11 was President George Bush, who on November 10, 2001, in a speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations, said, "Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September 11."
Yet according to a May 2006 Zogby poll, 42 percent of Americans now believe that the U.S. government and the 9/11 commission "concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence that contradicts their official explanation of the September 11th attacks," and that "there has been a cover-up."
For those who can't find information about the alleged cover-up on the nightly news, there is Loose Change, a documentary about 9/11 conspiracy theories which just might be the first Internet blockbuster. Since it appeared on the Web in April 2005, the 80-minute film has been climbing up and down Google Video's "Top 100," rising to No. 1 this May, with at least 10 million viewings.
"We beat the woman getting punched in the face," says its director, 22-year-old Dylan Avery, from Oneonta, New York (population 13,000), referring to an oft watched video.
"We beat the guy who beats his computer with his keyboard," says his producer, 23-year-old Korey Rowe, also from Oneonta and an army specialist who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"We beat the [Stephen] Colbert speech," says Jason Bermas, 26, their researcher. "The viral videos, we dominate them."
Told in MTV-style jump cuts, illustrated by high-end graphics, and scored with hip music written by a few of their friends, Loose Change is an investigation into the official story of 9/11 as told by The 9/11 Commission Report, asking a number of highly controversial questions:
What, for example, were the explosions some witnesses heard after the towers were hit by planes? Why was the site of the collapse not treated as a crime scene, and why was the debris shipped off as waste to several foreign countries?
Why were the black boxes from American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 never found, when the passport of one of Flight 11's alleged hijackers, Satam Al Suqami, turned up unscathed a few blocks from the World Trade Center?
How did American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon, disappear into a 20-foot hole, leaving no trace of its 124-foot wingspan on the building? And what's with all the forewarnings that the government ignored?
For the past three months, 20,000 people a day have been clicking on to the official Loose Change Web site,; more than 50,000 have placed orders for the DVD since its release. ("But we're not really making any money," says Rowe, "because we gave away like 100,000 copies for free.") Millions more have been downloading the film from a growing number of unaffiliated sites.
It's safe to say that, if it were a theatrical release, Loose Change would be one of the most popular—and incendiary—movies in the country right now. Avery and Rowe say they are talking to several major movie studios about releasing a third and "final cut" of the film on September 11, 2006. They wonder if the government may be watching, too. "I hope so," says Avery.
In the opening credits of Loose Change, we hear Mick O'Regan, a host on Australian radio, asking the late Hunter S. Thompson, in a 2002 interview, "How would you rate the American media in their coverage of the events of the attack last September?"
"Well let's see, uh, 'shamefully' is a word that comes to mind," says the father of gonzo journalism. "I've spent enough time, well, on the inside of the White House and political campaigns, and I've known enough of the people who do these things, to know that the public version of the news or whatever event is never really what happened."
Most of what we see on-screen during Loose Change are actually news reports from mainstream-media outlets like CBS News, Newsweek, CNN, the Associated Press, even Fox News—the "loose change" which Avery adds up into a conspiracy theory. "Some people accuse me of like, Oh, you're taking quotes out of context," he says. "I'm giving you the article and the date. Go look it up yourself."
Loose Change runs clips from almost every major TV news organization on that horrible day, wherein we see footage of people escaping the towers, firemen, and reporters who talk of hearing explosions after the planes hit; for some this raises questions of whether there were pre-set bombs going off in the buildings. Here's Bryant Gumbel on CBS: "We understand there has been a secondary explosion on Tower One … "
Freeze-frame images of the towers going down show what some say appear to be demolition "squibs," or horizontal plumes of smoke and debris being ejected during the collapse, also suggesting explosions.
Loose Change also delves into the question of why the United States' elaborate air-defense system failed to thwart the September 11 attacks. The 9/11 Commission Report says "there was no one to blame." The film points to a 20-page instruction from June 1, 2001, issued by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff which reassigned the authority for aircraft interceptions and shoot-downs to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Titled "Aircraft Piracy (Hijacking) and Destruction of Derelict Airborne Objects," the instruction states that henceforth "the NMCC [National Military Command Center] will … forward requests for DOD assistance to the Secretary of Defense for approval." Neither the president nor the vice president is mentioned in the new directive as being part of the chain of command. By military protocol, the authority belonged to Rumsfeld, who later claimed he was "out of the loop."
'Are you sort of suggesting that [9/11] worked in the favor of the Bush administration?," Mick O'Regan asks Hunter S. Thompson in Loose Change.
"Oh, absolutely. Absolutely," Thompson says. "You sort of wonder when something happens like this, well, who stands to benefit? Who had the opportunity and the motive?"
The film's answer to this is the September 2000 report from the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative think tank whose members include Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz. Titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses," it envisions a future of burgeoning defense spending and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. "The process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor," Avery reads from the report in voice-over.
It's a long leap from all this, however, to claiming, "The government did it." There is no conclusive evidence in Loose Change of U.S. government involvement in 9/11. The film relies too heavily on already published reports, some of which have been discredited. For example, the segment on United Flight 93 cites an early story from a Cincinnati ABC News affiliate, WCPO, on the plane's safe landing at a Cleveland airport on the morning of September 11. WCPO later retracted the story.
For the final cut of Loose Change, Avery says, "We're tracking down potential eyewitnesses to the landing of Flight 93 in Cleveland." He also says the third edition of the film will include more on-screen interviews; the first version had only one, with Marcel Bernard, the chief flight instructor at Freeway Airport, in Bowie, Maryland. Bernard recalls that, in early August 2001, Hani Hanjour, one of the alleged hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77, had trouble controlling and landing a single-engine Cessna 172 when he did test runs. "Average or below-average piloting skills," Bernard says.
And yet, according to the official version of events, if Hani Hanjour had been the pilot he would have had to execute a perfect 330-degree turn at 530 miles per hour, descending 7,000 feet in two and a half minutes, in order to crash Flight 77, a Boeing 757, into the Pentagon.
"[Flight 77] could not possibly have flown at those speeds which they said it did without going into a high-speed stall," Russ Wittenburg, a former commercial and air-force pilot, is quoted saying in Loose Change. The film also makes much of the visual similarities between the hole left in the west wing of the Pentagon and damage to buildings done by cruise missiles.
On May 16, the Department of Justice released two Pentagon videotapes of the crash of Flight 77 after a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog. "Finally, we hope that this video will put to rest the conspiracy theories involving American Airlines Flight 77," said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. The video "shows the nose cone of the plane clearly entering the picture," said Fox News.
You can decide for yourself by watching the video at
The Pentagon crash, the collapse of the World Trade Center, the crash of Flight 93—almost every aspect of what happened on 9/11 but the sheer horror of it—have become the subject of debate the world over. Yet in America, questioners of the government's official story are often depicted as harmless loonies. (In a piece in The New York Times in June, the 9/11 Truthers were said to include "professors, chain-saw operators … and a long-haired fellow named Hummux … who, on and off, lived in a cave for 15 years.")
In 2002, Italy awarded its highest literary prize, the Naples Prize, to The War on Freedom: How and Why America Was Attacked, September 11, 2001, a book by British writer Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed that claims the U.S. government was complicit in the attacks. The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11, by David Ray Griffin, a professor at the Claremont School of Theology, in California, has become the leading book on 9/11 conspiracy theories in this country, selling more than 100,000 copies and popularizing among 9/11 Truth activists the expressions "MIHOP" and "LIHOP"—for the government "made it happen on purpose" or "let it happen on purpose."
But go down the wormhole of 9/11 conspiracies and you will find Loose Change detractors even among 9/11 Truthers, one of whom recently called the film a "very fine piece of CIA disinformation."
"That's ridiculous," Avery says. "The idea that three kids from a hick town in upstate New York are part of a C.I.A. disinformation campaign would just show how desperate our government is."
There's a blog dedicated to debunking his film (, and detractors will point you to a widely read Popular Mechanics cover piece from 2005 entitled "9/11, Debunking the Myth," which tackles many of the questions raised in the film. (Conspiracy buffs claim that the article's lead researcher, Benjamin Chertoff, is a cousin of Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff. Benjamin Chertoff could not be reached for comment.)
Avery and Rowe have also received a letter threatening a lawsuit by Gedeon and Jules Naudet, whose footage from the morning of the attack on the Twin Towers was used without permission in Loose Change. Avery's lawyer is arguing that it's permissible under "fair use." (Full disclosure: The editor of this magazine was an executive producer on the Naudet brothers' CBS special, 9/11.)
Certainly, few can accept the claim on the Loose Change DVD box that says, "What you will see inside will prove without a shadow of a doubt that everything you know about 9/11 is a complete fabrication." One thing seems sure: Loose Change has struck a nerve. "Love us or hate us, we've done the movement a favor," Avery says. "We've gotten 9/11 truth out there."
Undoubtedly what has put Loose Change ahead of the pack of 9/11 conspiracy fare is that it's a pretty watchable movie—especially considering it cost $2,000 and was made on Avery's Compaq Presario laptop. "I saved money serving ice cream at Friendly's," Avery says. He never attended college himself and was rejected from Purchase Film College twice.
Loose Change: 2nd Edition (which has additional footage Avery bought on eBay) cost about $6,000 to make, money he saved while working at a Red Lobster and a Starbucks in Silver Springs, Maryland, where he moved in 2004 to "get out of Oneonta." In 2005 he moved back to his hometown.
And now Avery, a South Park–watching, video-game-writing, self-described "nerd," has become an Internet folk hero—at least for many young people, for whom 9/11 is the defining news event of their lives. "This is our generation's Kennedy assassination," says Rowe.
Consider another Zogby poll from August 2004, which found that 63 percent of New Yorkers under 30 believe some U.S. leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act." For young people like these, coming of age at a time when 9/11 is being used to justify war, the slashing of civil liberties, domestic spying, and torture, Avery is a new sort of yippie, doing something outrageous in the face of power, making him the subject of boy worship and girl crushes.
"You're an amazing man," a young woman named "Kaella" recently wrote on his MySpace page, where Avery has over 2,600 "friends." "More people should see this documentary. I'm spreading the word."
In February, after watching Loose Change, Samantha Woodhouse, 21, quit paramedic school in Corning, New York, to be near Avery. "She tracked me down," Avery says with a shrug. Now she's his girlfriend and his secretary too.
"Awesome work, man," wrote "James," another of Avery's MySpace fans. "I've shown the 2nd edition to everyone I know and it's opening some eyes, even of my parents. Remember, the truth will set us free."
"You're my hero," wrote "Ali."
After Mike Malloy of Air America talked up the movie on-air last year, Avery, Rowe, and Bermas were off on a tour of college campuses, including Princeton, SUNY Binghamton, and the University of Arizona. "We went and screwed some people's minds up there," Rowe says.
Lefty radio stations like KPFK, in Los Angeles, and WBAI, in New York, find they get such positive responses when they do a program on the film they're now using it during fund-raising drives. "Every time we offer [the film as a pledge gift] it generates some excitement throughout the city," said WBAI program director Bernard White during a May interview with Avery, Rowe, and Bermas.
'It's weird," Avery told me over Memorial Day weekend. "It's all been so weird." He was standing in the field behind the dilapidated house he shares with Rowe, Bermas, and Woodhouse. They were having a party, which they called Louderfest, for their film company, Louder than Words. There was a barbecue going; a jazz band of local young guys was playing. About 40 kids were milling around, smoking and drinking, some wearing black "Investigate 9/11" T-shirts.
"I was supposed to be making a fictional story about me and my friends discovering that 9/11 was an inside job, and doing something about it," he said, "and basically that happened in real life."
When he started writing this film, also called Loose Change, he was 18. "I started researching 9/11 and I found an article on the World Trade Center—someone had posted a picture of a controlled demolition and then a picture of the World Trade Center collapsing. And I was like, Wow, O.K. And then you find one article and that article links to 10 others, and before you know it you're up until six in the morning. It's crazy, the information takes over."
He started relaying the information to his childhood friend Rowe, who was stationed in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division, 187th Infantry. ("I didn't believe it at first," Rowe later told me. "I was like, things are wrong, but they're not that wrong.")
"It wasn't supposed to be true," Avery said. "And then I started realizing that, you know, we were lied to. And then it was: Well, do I keep making this a fictional film, or do I focus on the real thing and write about what really happened? And that's where I went with it."
He said he always knew he wanted to be a director. In 2002 he met Sopranos star James Gandolfini at the opening party for Vines, a restaurant in Oneonta that Gandolfini had helped finance.
"He told me if I want to be a successful director I have to say something to the entire world. I have to have a message," Avery said. "I think that's one of the reasons our movie's successful, because it's a movie about something that...matters. Even if you disagree with it you still walk out thinking back to that day and at least questioning something.
"You have to be a skeptic," he said. "You can't believe anything someone tells you just because they told you to. Especially your government, and especially your media—the two institutions that are put there to control you. And you're going to tell me you're going to take their word for everything? I don't think so."
I asked him what he thought was going to happen with the 9/11 issue. He paused for a moment.
"Second American revolution," he said. "I really think there's going to be anger. There's going to be a lot of anger. I think a lot of people are really pissed off and I think that the people that aren't pissed off are going to be even more pissed off than the people that already are. Because when it becomes irrefutable public record that 9/11 was done by our government the sh-- is gonna hit the fan. People are going to be upset. You can't stop it. People say, Aw, we need a peaceful revolution. We need to peacefully change things. Trust me, that's a great idea—I'm all for it. But Americans are violent, especially when they've been lied to, especially over something like this. So much has been lost because of 9/11—I mean, families have been shattered. There's so much pain...."
Some of the kids were lighting a bonfire. He went off to watch it.
Nancy Jo Sales is a Vanity Fair contributing editor. Sales has profiled Hugh Hefner, Damien Hirst, the 3 A.M. Girls, and Kimora Lee Simmons, among others, for V.F.
Note: I don't at all agree that we need a violent revolution. There are many people with good intentions in government. A truth and reconciliation commission might be the best way to bring the truth out and keep something like this from ever happening again. You can verify many of the claims made in this article and Loose Change using links to original major media articles provided at To watch this powerful video documentary, see
Final Note: believes it is important to balance disturbing cover-up information with inspirational writings which call us to be all that we can be and to work together for positive change. Please visit our Inspiration Center at for an abundance of uplifting material.
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Foreign Policy for Morons-
Was her PHD in "Conflict Perpetuation?"
It takes more than a nice wardrobe to be a Secretary of State.

It is being stupidly broadcast all over the news that Condolezza Rice is stating that we are going to "give" the Israeli's one more week to accomplish their mission in driving Hezbollah across the River to create a buffer zone beyond and larger than the 12 miles that their Rockets can reach the Israeli border.
After setting the curtains on fire, she now apparently wants to look like she has the power to
call in the fire-fighters to stop the inferno and save the House. But wait, its worse, she is broadcasting that she doesn't think she has to do it yet because she wants to recreate the Middle East in the image of their New World Order which she thinks can only be done after we raize in a blaze of glory the whole of Southern Lebanon. WHAT AN IDIOT.
I can't think of anything more stupid than broadcasting that we think we have the power to stop this conflict and at the same time saying we want it to go on for another week because the only way we can achieve our objectives in the "war on terror" is to facilitate or allow the raizing in a blaze the entire Southern portion of Lebanon because we have no confidence that anything we try to accomplish will stick at this point. ASSININE.
In a week, about a half million innocent civilians will die. More will be physically and/or mentally impaired with the war trauma. More will be that much more inflamed and incited to call their Shiite buddies to action across the globe, more fundamental ire will be whipped up, more calls to destroy the US will rise from the ashes, more hatred and loathing will foam from every Jihad corner of the globe and Iran waits poised.
Rather than try to diplomatically stop Hezbollah from sending the Rockets (they have members in the democratically elected new Lebanese democracy she touts as her baby but apparently concedes now she has no control over), she wants the Israelis to militarily decimate the entire Southern portion of Lebanon.
I have to tell you that the country, and the world are beyond disgusted at the US government. We are viewed as not just diplomatically incompetent and so ill-esteemed as to be futile, but we are viewed as quite evil- not by just Jihadists but by Christian "civilized" nations. European ones. The ones from whom we for the most part inherited our value structures in civilized life. It's this sort of strategy that gives the world this impression.
The rest of Europe including Tony Blair, Chirac, Merkel the German Chancellor, the UN and all "civilized" nations, the ranks from which we are fastly falling because of our penchant for carnage over diplomacy has been calling
on getting Hezbollah to cease-fire and hostage exchange which would in turn stop the Israeli justification for the Southern Lebanon incursion. But OH NO, the twisted Sister from the South,
the sick hate filled vicious glaring diplomatic blow torch we call a Secretary of State would rather see the entire Southern Lebanon go out in a blaze. Even the Saudis have better sense. Certainly the Israelis do- they want NATO troops to enforce a cease-fire. But we don't.
The Israeli's know that if the Rocket attacks continue absent a cease-fire, they will have to continue to "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" retaliate ratcheting up the escalation and the eventual intervention of Syria to save Lebanese civilians will result. That will be an uncontainable fire and make peace-making all that more difficult.
What's the rush? Let this go on for twelve days before she ever sets foot in the Middle East then let it go on for another week or so. Someone please grab the wheel of this ship before the country is shipwrecked on the shoals.
It was recently remarked "Here is where the people in the white coats come to get the Neo-Cons" because people like William Kristol and no doubt Cheney, the Master of Malice, are foaming at the mouth at the "opportunity" the assault on Israel has presented to clean out Iran. Kristol actually hailed this as an "opportunity."
Who is in control of this country? By that I mean the US. Who ever is condoning this moronic vile "strategic error" should be not only Impeached, and tarred and feathered, but should never ever ever again be given a dime to make one public speech or profit in any fashion from what are surely war crimes upon war crimes upon war crimes upon the bodies of burned children.
Iraq is on the brink of Civil War. Condi thinks that this and the Lebanese massacre are just the "birth pangs" of the new world order that they are creating. Here's a thought- have a real baby, adopt an embryo or something and leave the World Order to the real professionals. There will be no "order" from your carnage. The only "New World Order" we are going to inherit from the most ill-conceived, misguided foreign policy that has ever been constructed in my lifetime is generations of hatred and loathing by millions of Muslims, hundreds of thousands of dead people, completely destroyed civilizations and cities, piles of rubble and fractured concrete falling on the heads of bewildered innocents, and a world who thinks that we have lost our collective minds and needs to be contained. We are asking for it.

Monday Update:
Day 13 of the "Crisis." CNN is reporting now that Rice has a surprise visit to Lebanon and is in Beirut to discuss the Humanitarian issues and "fact find." She isn't planning on engaging the Syrians to help construct any cease-fire. It is still being reported that the purpose of the visit to Beirut is not to put pressure on Beirut to stop the Hezbollah rocket attacks.
Hopefully she is trying to enlist the Lebanese to enforce law and order there and enscript them to fight Hezbollah. There seems to be no popular will to do that to date as Hezbollah appears entrenched in Lebanese Shiite society.
No one believes a cease-fire should be unilateral and just the obligation of Israel. But everything should be done to stop the Rocket attacks.
Today, it is reported that subsequent to the attacks on Tyre and Sidon, the dawn of Monday saw some quieting of the rocket attacks. Lets hope Rice can put pressure on Beirut to come down hard on Hezbollah.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

BUTLER BLOG by Another Name

The Butler Blog is Renamed. Someone throw water on the computer to baptize it.

It will now be coming to you as Pilgrims, Patriots and Prophets.
Why? Because (1) we are all pilgrims on a journey toward TRUTH and PEACE, (2) The highest form of Patriotism is dissent and (3) God is still trying to talk to us through the prophetic voices of the age and we want to tap into them and give them more air and light than they would ever see in the main stream press.

We don't want to spam you. If you get an email that you don't like and don't want anymore just send us an email back saying "Quit it please" and you won't get any more. You can always bookmark

We welcome comments, corrections and catcalls from the peanut gallery (like they do in Parliament). If you want something considered for publication send an email to

The Editor in Chief and Chief Editorialist is
Cynthia L. Butler, Esq.
An attorney, graduate of Cornell University and Georgetown University Law Center, with 20 years of private litigation practice,
member of the State Bars of California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the
District of Columbia.
Cynthia Butler has been associated with assisting the Presidential
aspirations and Campaigns of:
Jerry Brown, William Jefferson Clinton, Albert Gore, and John F. Kerry.

Friday, July 21, 2006

For Pete's Sake- it took a Kennedy to make People Wake-Up

For Pete's Sake- Peter Peckarsky that is.

The issue of Electronic Voting Machinery and the Fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election got little traction in spite of a little publicized action in the Supreme Court of Ohio right after the Blackwell certification of the trumped up electoral college filed by Peter Peckarsky, Esq. (who when he isn't chasing down electronic voting machinery fraud was involved in litigation involving Microsoft and is an intellectual property attorney with a degree from M.I.T.), Robert Fritakis, Esq. who is an award winning investigative journalist, author, attorney and experienced international election monitor, and in spite of the courage of Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barbara Boxer and John Conyers to make it an issue until Robert Kennedy, son of the Robert Kennedy, and nephew of JFK got in on the act, wrote an article in Rolling Stones magazine and filed Qui Tam lawsuits to challenge the fraud.
We all feel vindicated, but there is much work to be done to unravel the unholy bedfellows of
electronic voting machinery manufacturers such as Diebold (the folks who make ATMs so know better) and Republican Secretary of States such as Blackwell and the GOP who has figured out how to make votes count in their favor with clever electronic hokus pokus.
I want to first applaud those pioneers who were first hailed as the Tin Hat Crazies and bad losers by even some at the DNC, and who now should be given credit for not being dissuaded by the high and mighty computer illiterate who tried to run them off the road.

Here is an article on an interview with Robert Kennedy that is now making its way all over the Democratic Underground and listserves across the country. Read it and Weep.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Democracy in Crisis
Go to Original
Democracy in Crisis - Interviewwith Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Tuesday 18 July 2006
An Exclusive Interview for The BRAD BLOG [1] as Guest Blogged by Joy [2] and Tom WilliamsÅ 
"The Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, has been using old-fashioned, Jim Crow, apartheid-type maneuvers to steal the last two national elections."- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Recently, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., (bio [3]) , wrote the article: "Was the 2004 Election Stolen [4]" where he examined the election fraud in Ohio that took place during the last Presidential Election. He also has written a book "Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush & His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking our Democracy [5]". Mr. Kennedy, along with Mike Papantonio have filed a "qui tam" lawsuit [6] against some of the voting machines companies, in an effort to save our Democracy.

I've long had a deep respect for Robert F. Kennedy for his dedicated work as an environmental advocate. Tom and I enjoyed interviewing him and were moved by his passion and dedication to our country and our Democracy. We spoke to him via phone at his office at Pace University's Environmental Litigation Clinic in White Plains, New York, which he founded, about the election of 2004. This was an experience to remember...

BRAD BLOG: In your book, "Crimes Against Nature," you said that Bush won the 2004 election because of an information deficit caused by a breakdown in our national media. You go on to say that "Bush was re-elected because of the negligence of-and deliberate deception by-the American press." Your recent article in "Rolling Stone" seems to suggest that your opinion has changed, focusing more on the fraud and deception in Ohio with the computerized voting machines. What was the most important thing that made you suspect fraud and decide to investigate the 2004 election?

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.: Well, my opinion hasn't changed, that the press has been negligent, and that the large amount of support for the President, and for the people that did vote for the President, that large numbers of them would not have done so, had they known the truth about his policies, and his record. You say my opinion changed, but it hasn't changed.

You know I've known this for many years, because of my anecdotal experience. I give about 40 speeches a year, in red states to Republican audiences, and I get the same enthusiastic responses from those audiences as I get from Liberal college audiences. The only difference is, is that the Republicans often say to me, "How come we've never heard this before?" I made the conclusion many years ago that there's not a huge values difference between Red State Republicans and Blue State Democrats. The distinction is really informational. 80% of Republicans are just Democrats who don't know what's going on. And my anecdotal conclusion was confirmed by a survey done immediately after the 2004 election called the PIPA [7] report, which tested Bush supporters and Kerry supporters based upon their knowledge of current events. It found that among Bush supporters, they were widespread in its interpretations, or there were factual errors in the way that they viewed Bush's major public policy initiatives.

For example, 75% of the Republican respondents believed that Saddam Hussein bombed the World Trade Center, and 72% believed that WMD had been found in Iraq. And most of them believed that the war in Iraq had strong support among Iraq's Muslim neighbors and our traditional allies in Europe, which of course is wrong. The Democrats as a whole had a much more accurate view of those events. And then PIPA [8] went back twice to these same people. The first time it went back to the people that had these misinterpretations, and asked them where they were getting their news, and invariably they said talk radio and FOX news. And PIPA went back a third time, and made inquiries about their fundamental values, and it did start with a string of hypotheticals:

"What if there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? What if Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with bombing the World Trade Center? What if the U.S. Invasion of Iraq had little support among Iraq's Muslim neighbors and was largely opposed by Iraq's Muslim neighbors, and by our troops and allies in Europe? Should we have still gone in?" And roughly 80% of Dem and 80% of Rep said the same thing, "We should not." And so the values were the same. It was the facts, the information, it was the access to information that was different.

BB: Are you then adding a layer of suspicion about the direct manipulation and fraudulent counting through computerized voting?

RFK JR.: That also happened, that was another factor. Our democracy is broken. Our democracy is broken because of our campaign finance system, which is just a system of legalized bribery, which has allowed corporations and the very wealthy to control the electoral results. Let me go back and say our electoral system is broken for three reasons, in three large respects: The first is our campaign finance system, which is a system of legalized bribery, and which has allowed corporations and the very rich to control the results of our electoral process. Number two is the failure of the American press and that is also a function and result of corporate control, as I showed in my book. Number three is the election system itself, which is broken. We've privatized it and allowed four large corporations to count our votes on machines that don't work.

But also the Republican party has inculcated a culture of corruption. The Republican party has adopted a strategy of denying votes to blacks and other minorities, and to other people more traditionally Democratic, suppressing Democratic vote and fraudulently expanding Republican vote. And this is happening all over the country. I would urge you to read Greg Palast's latest book, Armed Madhouse [9]. He does for the national elections what I did for the Ohio election, which is to synthesize the information that's out there into a readable document, in which he shows exactly how this election was stolen-not just in Ohio but in many other states as well.

BB: Have any of your expert witnesses or anyone referred to some of the stringent requirements in the gaming industry which uses computerized slot machines, poker machines and so forth involving the levels of certification and disclosure of the security requirements of its vendors?

RFK JR.: Well, you see this was just another corporate boondoggle that gave the most venal mendacious corporations charge of our most sacred public trust, which is the right to vote. These corporations were making hundreds of millions of dollars. The machines, as it turns out, were manufactured by wireless companies and were just a cheap piece of junk that cost less than $100 to manufacture, and they were selling them for $2400 apiece. And they were using Jack Abramoff and other corrupt lobbyists to persuade federal officials to pass the federal act to appropriate the money and then to persuade state and local officials to purchase the defective machines.

BB: Jack Abramoff was involved in this?

RFK JR.: Oh yes. Jack Abramoff, and Bob Ney [10](R-Oh), the principle figure in the Abramoff scandal and he's the author of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). And Diebold contributed millions of dollars to these guys, including hundreds of thousands of dollars to Abramoff to lobby on behalf of HAVA, and to lobby states like New York and the other states, to adopt the Diebold machines.

BB: So HAVA was "created specifically to disenfranchise voters and verfication"?

RFK JR.: HAVA was written specifically to require the states to buy Diebold machines. I mean one company basically had control of the whole legislative process. That's why HAVA has a provision in it that discourages vote verification by paper ballots. Both Republicans and Democrats tried to reform the HAVA, saying of course we should have paper verification of the vote. Paper verification would allow you to go in, make your vote on the electronic machine, and you get a receipt that is a copy of who you voted for and you are allowed to examine that receipt. You deposit it in a locked box in the voting area. That way, if there's ever any question, if you need to count, you can count the papers, and see if it compares to what the machine says.

But Bob Ney fought tooth and nail against that provision because Diebold made a machine that does not provide a paper ballot. And he went so far, because Diebold contributed a million dollars to an organization that purportedly protects the rights of blind people. And in exchange for that, that organization got one of its officers to testify on Capitol Hill at the HAVA hearings, that blind people in America did not want paper ballots - voter verified ballots - because it would deprive someone of the right to vote secretly. Now the other organizations that support handicapped rights and rights of the blind, do not take that position. This was a position that that organization adopted after accepting a million dollars from Diebold. The whole operation was corrupt and now Bob Ney is going to jail for it.

BB: Also, speaking of those guys, election officials in several states, most notably Ken Blackwell in Ohio and Bruce McPherson here in the state of California, appear to be be deliberately flaunting established law and procedures as well as direct court orders, and they seem to be just "getting away with it". How can that be?

RFK JR.: Well, again, it's because of the failure of the American press. This is the most important issue in American Democracy and the press isn't covering it. So the politicians who want to fix the elections, and who want these fraudulent machines, can get away with it, don't take a position because it gets no traction in the press.

BB: But then why didn't people like Kerry want to contest the results?

RFK JR.: You'd have to ask Kerry.

BB: Why hasn't the DNC done anything about this?

RFK JR.: You'd have to ask the DNC.

BB: We watched Howard Dean on television having a hack demonstrated to him by Bev Harris [11], and he doesn't seem to say anything... I guess we'll have to ask them! But there seems to have been a pattern here in the leadership of the Democratic Party....What I was getting to in those questions was not for you to interpret the actions of the those in the DNC and so forth, but there seems to be a pattern in the leadership of the Dem Party that shies away from direct conflict in this....

RFK JR.: The Democratic leadership on this issue has been abysmal. And particularly since this is a civil rights issue and it's a racial issue. The machines themselves are kind of a distraction because the machines are recent innovations. The Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, has been using, old-fashioned, Jim Crow, apartheid-type maneuvers to steal the last two national elections.

BB: Like in Georgia, who were trying to establish the Poll Tax again...

RFK JR.: And this has been happening all over the country. If you look at who's being denied the right to vote, on absentee ballots, on provisional ballots, it's Hispanics, it's Blacks and it's Native Americans, and the Democratic Party ought to be touting this as the biggest civil rights issue of our time. But they are ignoring it, and that really is shocking. It's shocking that the Republicans are not up in arms about this too, because this should not be a partisan issue. This is a fundamental basis of our American value system, which is representative Democracy. For a party that claims to speak for "American Values" to ignore the fact that other members of the party, that the leadership of the party is involved in an active national campaign to stop black people from voting, and to steal elections, shows the moral bankruptcy of everybody in that party!

Why aren't Republicans standing up and speaking on this issue? Why isn't Republican leadership standing up and speaking on this issue?

BB: California just recently went to Diebold machines, all over the state. If California "goes" Republican, do you think we will be able to say, ok, there's no doubt anymore?

RFK JR.: Listen: all I can say is that the Diebold machines are among the worst. They break down, they are easily hacked, Diebold uses fraudulent misrepresentations to sell the machines, and they should not be part of our voting system.

BB: Are there any plans on a national or state level to contest suspicious results this time around?

RFK JR.: They make it very difficult to contest crooked elections. Nebraska is one of several states that have now passed laws, and I believe Florida is one of those states, that prohibit counting paper ballots in votes that were originally counted by machines. The only way that you can count votes is the original way in which they were counted. And so, of course, that makes it easy to fix any election and make sure that nobody has the right to challenge it.

Many other states, including Ohio, have made it impossible for anybody to challenge an election, even if it was obviously fixed. And these kinds of initiatives are happening all over the country. Why would any state legislature vote for such a rule unless they were Republicans who felt that elections would be fixed in their favor? Why would any American vote for such a rule? It is completely anti-American and un-American. We should be encouraging Americans to vote and encouraging EVERY American to cast a vote and to make sure that every vote is counted. And both parties should be working toward that.

But instead you have a Republican party that is trying to suppress votes and trying to defraud the public. And you have a Democratic party that is like the deer in headlights. And the Democrats are never going to win another election if they don't fix this issue because they are starting out every election with a 3 million vote deficit, and those are mainly the black voters in this country and who no longer have their votes counted.

And you know, this may sound shrill, but look at the facts. And I challenge anyone who says that this is shrill and inaccurate to read Greg Palast's book, to read my article, to look at the facts, because the facts are infallible.

BB: Do you think we are going to need a reaction like they are having currently in Mexico?

RFK JR.: Well, I wish the Democratic Party had the cojones that the Mexican opposition party has! They're saying "We're not gonna stand for our elections being stolen anymore!" It's great for these (our) political leaders to stand up and say "I will gracefully concede" but what does that mean for the rest of us? We are getting stuck with these governments that are absolutely running our country into the ground.

BB: You said in your recent interview with Charlie Rose, that this is the worst Presidency we've ever had, and they've ruined our reputation in the world. So if you had your ideal President, what kind of things would he or she need to do to restore our credibility?

RFK JR.: Well the first thing we need to do is to restore American Democracy.

Number One: Fix the campaign finance system to get corporate money out of the electoral process. Corporations are a great thing for our country. They drive our economy but they should NOT be running our government because they don't want the same thing for America that Americans want. Corporations don't want democracy, they want free markets, they want profits, and oftentimes the easiest path to profits is to use the campaign finance system to get their hooks into a public official and to use that public official to dismantle the marketplace to give them monopoly control and a competitive edge and to privatize the commons-to steal our air, our water, or our public treasury, and liquidate it for private profits.

Number Two: We have to fix the press: restore journalistic ethics in this country, and that is by bringing back the fairness doctrine and strengthening the FCC. The Fairness Doctrine was abolished by Ronald Reagan in 1988, and it recognized that the airwaves belong to the public; that the broadcasters can be licensed to use them to make a profit, but they use them with the proviso that their primary obligation is to advance democracy and promote the public interest. They have to inform the public because a democracy cannot survive an uninformed public. As Thomas Jefferson said, "An uninformed public will trade a hundred years of hard-fought civil rights for a half an hour of welfare." And they will follow the first demagogue or religious fanatic that comes along and offers them a $300 tax break.

Number Three: We have to fix our electoral system so that every vote is counted. Those are the first three things that any President should do, Republican or Democrat, to restore American Democracy.

BB: Now all these state laws that are being put in place could be trumped by Congress...

RFK JR.: Of course, we should have a federal law that creates federal standards for elections. All federal elections have to be verified by paper ballots. Election officials, whose job is to ensure the integrity of federal elections, cannot simultaneously serve as campaign managers or candidates who are participating in that contest. Many states already have that rule, but Florida and Ohio do not. It's a formula for corruption!

BB: In summary, how optimistic or pessimistic are you about our ability to get our country back?

RFK JR.: Well, you know, my attitude is that I don't try to predict the future, I can only say that those of us who care about this country have to keep fighting, and whether you think you're gonna win or lose, you gotta just keep slugging and you gotta be ready to die with your boots on, because that's what our forefathers did, they started a revolution, and they put their fortunes and their lives at stake. And we need to summon the same kind of courage from our generation, and demand that kind of courage from our leadership.

BB: And we have to get that message out to the Democratic leadership as well.

RFK JR.: And that's what you guys are doing....


Article printed from The BRAD BLOG:

URL to article:

URLs in this post:
[1] The BRAD BLOG:
[2] Joy:
[3] bio:
[4] Was the 2004 Election Stolen:
[5] Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush & His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking our Democracy:
[6] lawsuit:
[7] PIPA:
[8] PIPA:
[9] Armed Madhouse:
[11] Jack Abramoff, and Bob Ney :
[11] Howard Dean on television having a hack demonstrated to him by Bev Harris: