Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Horror of US Government Rendition

The article below was written by Maher Arar in response to receiving the Letelier-Moffitt International Human Rights Award. Mr. Arar was detained in NYC airport and sent to Syria, against his wishes, to be tortured. I have been following the story of Mr. Arar for a couple of years at least. It is appalling that the US government did this to him, and I sincerely hope that the men and the agencies who were behind this decision are brought to justice. And I do hope they have great difficulty sleeping at night and great difficulty looking in a mirror without throwing up. I hope they suffer ten times worse than anything Mr. Arar suffered, because (unlike Mr. Arar) they deserve it!

The Horrors of Extraordinary Rendition - By Maher Arar

“Since my release I have been suffering from anxiety, constant fear, and depression. My life will never be the same again. But I promised myself one thing, that I will continue my quest for justice as long as I have a breath. What keeps me going is my faith, Americans like yourselves and the hope that one day our planet Earth will be free of tyranny, torture and injustice.”

Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen, was a victim of the U.S. policy known as "extraordinary rendition." He was detained by U.S. officials in 2002, accused of terrorist links, and handed over to Syrian authorities, who tortured him. Arar is working with the Center for Constitutional Rights to appeal a case against the U.S. government that was dismissed on national security grounds.


This is a graph of the number of attacks that have been recorded in Iraq. Most of the attacks are against US/UK forces, but the attacks on civilians are growing. What is most disturbing is that the number of attacks in steadily going up.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Kucinich letter to Rumsfeld

Dennis Kucinich speaking from the Floor of the House - Extensions of Remarks

Link to this entry in the Congressional Record
May 4, 2006

"Mr. Speaker, [on April 5] I sent the following letter to Secretary Rumsfeld requesting records pertaining to Pentagon plans to use U.S. Special Forces to advise, support, and train Iraqi death squads:"

Hon. Donald Rumsfeld,
Secretary of Defense,
The Pentagon, Washington, DC.

April 5, 2006

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:

I am writing to request a copy of all records pertaining to Pentagon plans to use U.S. Special Forces to advise, support and train Iraqi assassination and kidnapping teams.

On January 8, 2005, Newsweek magazine first published a report that the Pentagon had a proposal to train elite Iraqi squads to quell the growing Sunni insurgency. The proposal has been called the "Salvador Option," which references the U.S. military assistance program, initiated under the Carter Administration and subsequently pursued by the Reagan Administration, that funded and supported "nationalist" paramilitary forces who hunted down and assassinated rebel leaders and their supporters in El Salvador. This program in El Salvador was highly controversial and received much public backlash in the U.S., as tens of thousands of innocent civilians were assassinated and "disappeared," including notable members of the Catholic Church, Archbishop Oscar Romero and the four American churchwomen. According to the Newsweek report, Pentagon conservatives wanted to resurrect the Salvadoran program in Iraq because they believed that despite the incredible cost in human lives and human rights, it was successful in eradicating guerrillas.

Mr. Secretary, at a news conference on January 11, 2005, you publicly stated that the idea of a Salvador option was "nonsense." Yet mounting evidence suggests that the U.S. has in fact funded and trained Iraqi assassination and kidnapping teams and these teams are now operating with horrific success across Iraq.

We know that the Pentagon received funding for training Iraqi paramilitaries.

About one year before the Newsweek report on the "Salvador Option," it was reported in the American Prospect magazine on January 1, 2004 that part of $3 billion of the $87 billion Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill to fund operations in Iraq, signed into law on November 6, 2003, was designated for the creation of a paramilitary unit manned by militiamen associated with former Iraqi exile groups. According to the Prospect article, experts predicted that creation of this paramilitary unit would "lead to a wave of extrajudicial killings, not only of armed rebels but of nationalists, other opponents of the U.S. occupation and thousands of civilian Baathists." The article further described how the bulk of the $3 billion program, disguised as an Air Force classified program, would be used to "support U.S. efforts to create a lethal, and revenge-minded Iraqi security force." According to one of the article's sources, John Pike, an expert of classified military budgets at "the big money would be for standing up an Iraqi secret police to liquidate the resistance."

We know that some of the Pentagon's Iraq experts were involved in the Reagan Administration's paramilitary program in El Salvador.

Colonel James Steele, Counselor to the U.S. Ambassador for Iraqi Security Forces, formerly led the U.S. Military Advisory Group in El Salvador from 1984-1986, where he developed special operating forces at brigade level during the height of the conflict. The role of these forces in El Salvador was to attack "insurgent" leadership, their supporters, sources of supply, and base camps. Currently Colonel Steele has been assigned to work with the new elite Iraqi counter-insurgency unit known as the Special Police Commandos, operating under Iraq's Interior Ministry.

Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, was U.S. Ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005. From 1981 to 1985, he was ambassador to Honduras where he played a key role in coordinating U.S. covert aid to the Contras, anti-Sandinista militias who targeted civilians in Nicaragua. Additionally, he oversaw the U.S. backing of a military death squad in Honduras, Battalion 3-16, which specialized in torture and assassination. The U.S. had similar programs of supporting paramilitary groups set up Nicaragua and Honduras as its program in El Salvador. In a Democracy Now interview on January 10, 2005, Allan Nairn, who broke the story about U.S. support of death squads in El Salvador, suspected that Ambassador Negroponte would most likely be involved in the economic side of U.S. support to death squads in Iraq.

We know that a wave of abductions and executions, in the style of the death squads of El Salvador, and with ties to an official government sponsor, and to the U.S., has hit Iraq.

News reports over the past 10 months strongly suggest that the U.S. has trained and supported highly organized Iraqi commando brigades, and that some of those brigades have operated as death squads, abducting and assassinating thousands of Iraqis. Some news highlights:

  • May 1, 2005 -- Los Angeles Times reports that the U.S. is providing technical and logistical support to the Maghawir (Fearless Warrior) brigades, the Interior Ministry's special commandos, according to Major General Rasheed Flayih Mohammed. Iraqi authorities plan to increase deployment of the 12,000-strong Maghawir (Fearless Warrior) brigades, which are composed of well-trained veterans who have worked closely with U.S. forces in Najaf, Fallujah and Mosul and include the Wolf, Scorpion, Tiger and Thunder brigades.
  • May 16-20, 2005 -- Los Angeles Times and New York Times reveal discovery of 46 bodies, all Iraqi men abducted and slain execution-style, in various locations: floating in the Tigris, dumped in ditches and garbage-strewn lots, and buried at a poultry farm.
  • June 15, 2005 -- Washington Post reports that U.S. forces had knowledge of secret and illegal abductions of hundreds of minority Arabs in Kirkuk. The abductions were by forces led by Kurdish political parties and backed by the U.S. military.
  • June 20, 2005 -- Los Angeles Times reports that Saad Sultan, of Iraq Human Rights Ministry said that police and security forces attached to the Iraqi Interior Ministry, thousands of whom have been trained by American instructors, are responsible for abusing up to 60% of estimated 12,000 detainees in prison and military compounds. He says the units have used tactics reminiscent of Saddam's secret intelligence squads.
  • July 3, 2005 -- Reuters News reports that the government of Iraq publicly acknowledged that the new security forces were using torture. Article further says that accounts are common of people being seized by armed men in the uniforms of the police, army or special units like Baghdad's Wolf Brigade police commandos, and then disappearing without trace or being found dead.
  • July 28, 2005 -- Los Angeles Times reports that members of a California Army National Guard company, the Alpha Company, who were implicated in a detainee abuse scandal, trained and conducted joint operations with the Wolf Brigade, a commando unit criticized for human rights abuses. In an online Alpha Company newsletter, Captain Haviland wrote, "We have assigned 2nd Platoon to help them transition, and install some of our 'Killer Company' aggressive tactical spirit in them." The article further states that despite the Wolf Brigade's controversial reputation for human rights violations, it is regarded as the gold standard for Iraqi security forces by U.S. military officials.
  • August 31, 2005 -- BBC reports that on the night of August 24, a large force of the Volcano Brigade raided homes in Al-Hurriyah city in the Baghdad, kidnapping and then executing 76 citizens. The victims were all shot in the head after their hands and feet had been tied up. They suffered the harshest forms of torture, deformation and burning.
  • November 16, 2005 -- Reuters News reports the discovery of 173 malnourished men, some of whom were tortured, imprisoned in a secret jail run by Shi'ite militias tied to the Interior Ministry.
  • November 17, 2005 -- Newsday reports that in the past year, the U.S. military has helped build up Iraqi commandos under guidance from James Steele, a former Army Special Forces officer who led U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in El Salvador in the 1980s. The brigades built up over the past year include the Lion Brigade, Scorpion Brigade and Volcano Brigade.
  • February 15, 2006 -- Associated Press reports that the Interior Ministry has launched a probe into death squad allegations.
  • February 19, 2006 -- BBC reveals that morgues in Baghdad receive dozens of bodies picked up daily from rivers, sewage plants, waste burial sites, farms and desert areas. Most of the bodies are handcuffed and blindfolded civilians with a bullet or more in the forehead, indicating that they were executed. The handcuffs used on the victims are like those used by the Iraqi police.
  • February 26, 2006 -- The Independent reports that outgoing United Nations' human rights chief in Iraq, John Pace, revealed that hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone by the death squads working from the Ministry of Interior. He said that up to three-quarters of the corpses stacked in the Baghdad mortuary show evidence of gunshot wounds to the head or injuries caused by drill-bits or burning cigarettes.
  • March 9, 2006 -- Los Angeles Times reports that Iraqi police officers who worked at the Interior Ministry's illegal prison had received American training, and that U.S. trainers have also given extensive support to 27 brigades of heavily armed commandos accused of a series of abuses, including the death of 14 Sunni Arabs who were locked in an airtight van last summer.
  • March 10, 2006 -- Sidney Morning Herald reports that men wearing the uniforms of U.S.-trained security forces, which are controlled by the Interior Ministry, abducted 50 people in a daylight raid on a security agency. Masked men who are driving what appear to be new government-owned vehicles are carrying out many of the raids.
  • March 27, 2006 -- The Independent reports that while U.S. authorities have begun criticizing the Iraqi government over the "death squads," many of the paramilitary groups accused of the abuse, such as the Wolf Brigade, the Scorpion Brigade and the Special Police Commandos were set up with the help of the American military. Furthermore, the militiamen were provided with U.S. advisers some of whom were veterans of Latin American counter-insurgency which also had led to allegations of death squads at the time.

Mr. Secretary, in light of this evidence of U.S. support for and the existence of death squads in Iraq, what is the basis for your January 11, 2005 statement, that the idea of a Salvador option in Iraq is "nonsense"?

I request a copy of all records pertaining to Pentagon plans to use U.S. Special Forces to advise, support and train Iraqi assassination and kidnapping teams. I look forward to receiving your response.

Dennis J. Kucinich,
Member of Congress

Now, go watch this flash movie: CRYING WOLF

I personally took notice of a young boy, Ali Nasir Jabur, who was the sole survivor of his family when gunmen wearing Iraqi Security Forces uniforms raided their home the previous night. Ali was ten years old, and this happened on August 20-21, 2005 in Tikrit. I have posted about him on this blog. Ali survived by hiding under a blanket. (Ali, I hope you live to be able to read all this one day, and let me know you survived.) I took his picture and his story to every US Senators office in September 2005. In May 2006, I took another letter to every US Senators office. It was a copy of the original letter with a hand written note shaming them for failing to take any action.

I do suspect the Iraqi Interior Ministry death squads were started and funded by the US government. It may (or may not) be out of their control at this point.

But I do believe they started it, just like in El Salvador.

Be a survivor, Ali, and then bring them to justice.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Some Questions for you, Mr. Edwards

Now that you don't support the Iraq war (being that it is unpopular now and all) after you helped get it started, what are you going to do about all the dead people? A recent study says there are 600,000+ excessive deaths in Iraq since March 2003, when you allowed the war to get going.

And, what are you going to do about all the people who will now get cancer from the D.U. you spread all over the country of Iraq? Do you think those poor people will have access to health care for their cancers (like your wife had)?

And finally, what are you going to do with your war profits? I know it was legal and all to put your money into a 'blind trust'just before the war started and then they invested it in defense industries, but doesn't it make you sick to think you made that money off of KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO NEVER HURT YOU OR YOUR COUNTRY?

Does that keep you up at night? Does it make you throw up when you look in the mirror? Hey, I took all my little bit of money out of mutual funds for that reason, I just could not stomach the idea of making a profit off of DEATH.

How about you?

Oh, I voted for you in 98 for Senate and again in 2004 - but that last vote was the VERY LAST TIME I will vote for anyone who is okay with killing people. I will never vote for another war-mongering again, and I don't care what anyone says about it.

I have better morals than that now.

(I posted the above in a comments section on Daily Kos. Yes, I am angry.)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Surrendering to Peace

Here is a letter that I wrote to a local paper last month:

This past Sept. 11, I participated in a wonderful event in Pritchard Park called Peace on Earth Peace with Earth. It was attended by an estimated 700 people, who were writing a new story for human presence on Earth. It marked and celebrated the work and the life of Gandhi. It was an awesome event. I heard so many voices … that spoke to our deepest longings for peace, justice and stability in our world. This celebration of diversity and the mystery of life itself included spiritual rituals from a couple of different faith backgrounds. From the proclamation by Mayor Bellamy to the many voices raised in song, it was a unifying experience. This was a gathering of people who know that when consumption outstrips local resources, it causes great harm to our brothers and sisters around the world and great harm to our planet. This was a gathering of people who understand that violence to others is violence visited on our own souls, and that we cannot harm others without harming ourselves. This was a gathering of people who needed to stand united and to speak the truths we know.

I went home from this event to see how it was covered on WLOS, but it was not mentioned. Unfortunately, Mark Hyman of Sinclair Broadcasting was on WLOS that evening, and as usual, he spoke from fear, with no recognition of our collective humanity across the planet. He spoke of evil existing in others, with no awareness of any evil that might reside within our own borders. He claimed that those citizens who are opposed to the current wars are part of a “pro-surrender” crowd, and that they were dishonoring the victims of the terror attack that happened five years ago. This would imply that the way to “honor” those victims is by revenge and violent retribution. Mr. Hyman did say, “Fortunately, there are those who withstand the criticism from the pro-surrender crowd.” Considering that the “pro-surrender” crowd is also nonviolent, that’s mighty brave of him! Instead of accusing the voices of dissent of not supporting our troops, perhaps Mr. Hyman could enlist in our military and offer some real support for our troops.

I want to be the first to declare that I am a proud member of the pro-surrender crowd. I surrender to the voices of peace and sanity and reason. I surrender to those voices that call for caring for ourselves, for each other, and for this amazingly beautiful little blue ball we all live on. I surrender to the voices calling for nonviolent solutions to our problems. Imagine a world where instead of invasion and war, we had opened schools, clinics or hospitals in Afghanistan and named every one after one of the victims of the terrorist attack on 9/11. Just imagine.

— Susan

Today, someone from Alabama wrote a response to my letter, so now I have to get busy writing a response to his letter! It's only words - but words are all I have - to turn this country around from the path it is currently on. And, the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence - they are only words too. But look what they started!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

For the innocent victims of war

Photo: A boy cries while holding the feet of his father outside a hospital morgue in Baquba, about 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, October 18, 2006. His father was killed by gunmen in a market in Baquba, police said. REUTERS/Helmiy al-Azawi (IRAQ)

This picture was used for my blog post on Iraq (News About Iraq) on October 18, 2006. It is the suffering of the children that gets me more than anything.

I am also deeply disturbed by the general attitude in the American population. They seemed to have forgotten about the Lancet study that showed between 400,000 and 900,000 excessive deaths in Iraq since the US/UK invaded. Some claim it isn't true, and some I think are very concerned but ignoring it to perserve their own sanity...... this last group would be the ones who have been against this war all along, and feel horrible that things are turning out so badly for the Iraqi people.

But most of the population is just concerned with their own little lives and their own little concerns - they may get out to vote, they may read a paper or watch the so-called "news" on TV, but they will do little else. They will never notice this little boy and his dead father. They will never notice how they contributed to this situation. They will never notice their responsibility for what has happened here.

They have noticed that Bush is incompetent and a liar, but a significant majority of them noticed over two years too late.

PBS is going to show a movie called "My Country, My Country" about a doctor in Baghdad at the time of the elections. It looks like it will be a very good film, please click HERE for more information and for listing times.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

From an Iraqi blogger....


I really need to be depressed to write something. Fortunately, this happens frequently. I feel sad and depressed. I lost my loved ones. Sorry to tell you that, but I did. I lost my father, my mother, my brother, and my sister, and finally I died. I died 660,000 times. Americans ask "why do you hate us?" well.... I have 660,000 reasons to hate you. But I'm not like you, I'm better, I am not going to go on a killing frenzy, and kill every American I see, I won't come to America and destroy it, I won't butcher your children, or rape your girls. I just won't. 660,000 people died in Iraq, and do you care? Nooooooooooooooooooo, you don't. You would have cared more if they were cattle or sheep; you would have cared more if they were chicken infected with bird flu. For god's sake, you care more about your dogs than about humane beings. But wait a minute, this is wrong, I'm terribly sorry, who said you even consider them to be humane beings anyway? They served their purpose, they died. Every person in this world has a purpose serve. People are born, they grow up, they go to school, they get married, they have kids, they work, they produce, you know the drill. But us, on the other hand, our only purpose is to die. We get married, we have kids, but we might just as well send to their graves immediately, because they are going to die anyway. You get married and reproduce children, we reproduce corpses. Corpses which only purpose is die and be buried. That's what we do, WE DIE.

660,000 died. But he doesn't believe in that number, they grave digger doesn't believe that he killed and buried 660,000 people. And does he give a number? No, he doesn't. he just says its not 660,000. OK, I'll go with that, lets say its half, 330,000. is that enough? No? OK, let's say its 100,000. OK now? No? Let's just say its 50,000. Is this fair? Who gives a rat's ass what the number is you dumb maniac? Whatever the number is, its people. It describes how many people who had been killed. Concentrate, people not cattle. People not dogs. People for god's sake. But again, I'm sorry, you should forgive me, sometimes I get emotional and forget what you think. They are not people, never have been. They served their purpose on earth, they died. That's what we do, WE DIE.

Also, riverbend has a new post up.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Cheney can make children cry

What We Have Done: An Iraqi boy cries outside a hospital in the restive city of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad. Iraq's beleaguered government was struggling to assert its battered authority, purging the police force and sending troops into a town reeling from a four-day sectarian bloodbath.(AFP/Ali Yussef)

And then Cheney has the nerve to say this: "The hopes of the civilized world ride with us".

Mr. Cheney, you made this child cry by killing his parents. Shame on you for being such a heartless murderer!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Progressive Dems of NC Annual Meeting October 2006

Progressive Democrats of North Carolina

Annual Meeting on 10/7/06 in Asheville, NC

This was the third annual meeting of the Progressive Democrats of North Carolina, with between 40 to 60 people present (some were there for part of the day). This meeting opened with a panel on state politics with NC House Representative Susan Fisher and Chris Fitzsimon, Director of NC Policy Watch. Fisher said she looks at candidates from the perspective of issues, and decides which candidate to support from their position on issues. What matters most to her is human rights and transparency of government. Susan felt that the most progressive accomplishment of the NC legislature this session was raising the minimum wage by one dollar – and she immediately added that it needs to go up more. She also worked on childcare subsidies.

Fitzsimon asked why do people who hate government want to get involved in government? He said that the last legislative sessions in the NC legislatures was one of the better ones, and felt several important and useful steps were taken. He said they passed some “reform of the system” – but not enough on legislators and election reform and campaign finance issues. He said 36,000 to 39,000 children are on waiting list for childcare subsidies in North Carolina. We expect people to get off welfare with no provisions for childcare. He also spoke about HIV/AIDS drugs and that NC has stringent criteria for health insuranc3e for 9,000 critically ill people in this state. He said that there was no house vote on a moratorium on the death penalty. He pointed out that there is a requirement to provide housing for migrant workers – but they are required to provide housing but not mattresses. Fitzsimon said that the system is the problem, not just unethical legislators. For example, someone can give a million to NC Democratic Party, who then hand out $100,000+ to NC Senate candidates. This is money laundering. He spoke about schools and testing, and how we are failing there. He said the State Ethics Commission is now established by law, but they hold closed-door sessions. The recent ‘gift ban’ for legislators will cover the amount of the contributions but not the amount that can be raised. It didn’t go far enough. [I felt this panel discussion was very enlightening, and it was also filmed. I hope it will be available on-line one day.]

We then had an opening address by Asheville’s Mayor, Ms. Terry Bellemy. She said, among other things, that we need to elect people who “work well with others” because they will not get anything accomplished if they don’t work well with others. They may have great ideas, but they will be unable to move them forward. Ms. Bellemy recognized Minnie Jones, a local activist in Asheville who started a health clinic and after school program.

We then proceeded to the election of new officers. Members who were unable to attend were able to vote by email, and this was careful regulated. We then had lunch and a short speech from Jim Long, who is running for NC House in District 110, in Cleveland and Gaston counties. I gave a short speech on Progressive Democrats of America and then introduced Doug Jones, who is running for NC House in District 116, in Buncombe County. While we were eating our lunch, they counted the votes. I think we elected a great slate of officers for the Progressive Democrats of NC! The results are listed below.

President: Pete MacDowell

1st Vice President: Isaac Coleman

2nd Vice President: Matilda Phillips

3rd Vice President: Susan Reed

4th Vice President: Chris Lizak

Treasurer: David Mills

Secretary: Helen Clark

The keynote speaker, Rev. Dr. William Barber, who is the president of the North Carolina NAACP, followed lunch. First off, Rev. Barber said we all need to be members of the NAACP, since it is a multi-racial and multi-cultural civil rights organization, not an African American organization. Rev. Barber spoke of “you shall know them by their fruits”. This reflects the reality that you cannot count on what our politicians say, but rather on the outcomes of their actions and decisions. Rev. Barber stressed that you cannot achieve moral objectives via immoral means. He gave several examples from the so-called ‘war on terror’. Our politicians and citizens use distortion, distraction, and lies about our own use of terror by our country and it’s agents. We don’t speak when our policies fuel terrorism, and we don’t speak the truth about our own terrorist history. He questioned if 9/11 was partly an inside job or just neglect. He said that the politicians used the broken heart of America to follow their own policies instead of talking about that pain and bringing us together – instead, it split us apart. Rev. Barber said we have blinded, one-eyed justice – and that is the problem now, along with the very high level of hypocrisy. He said we are unlearning lessons that we never learned. He said people don’t vote because they see everything politicians do as ‘gaming’ the system. Rev. Barber said a democracy should look like a democracy, sound like a democracy, and feel like a democracy. We should do things that are right, just because they are right. It was a very powerful and progressive speech that challenged us to advance a politics of principle, not a politics of calculated advantage.

This was followed by a panel discussion on progressive politics in Asheville and Chatham County. Robin Cape talked about the importance of ‘inside’ power and having a majority in city council. She stressed that we need to keep going for the highest good, even if it falls short of what we would like. Ms. Cape also said that people had her back, and she is counting on the support of the people who voted her into office. Holly Jones spoke of diversified campaigning and how making phone calls worked better for her. She also talked about fiscal responsibility and how progressives need to get it together around money. She said that Asheville City Council did not raise taxes. Brownie Newman talked about his various campaigns and how he kept trying in order to get on city council. Bryan Freeborn talked about his campaign where they were at first disorganized, but became like a machine and really did some momentum going. Bryan was appointed to City Council based on the fact that the Mayor vacated her council seat and Freeborn was the fourth highest vote getter. Jeffery Starkweather talked about the Chatham Coalition, and how they ran a slate of candidates based on issues. They felt this was the easiest way to win the election, and also felt they can hold the slate accountable since they are the majority. They emphasized collaboration, compromise and communication. He also emphasized that you need to make sure that people hear the message that you want to get across, and that the emphasis is on “we” not on “I”. He also felt that part of every campaign against incumbents is to hold them accountable.

The Progressive Democrats of North Carolina are focusing on the 2008 Lt. Governor’s race and are attempting to find and support a progressive candidate for this office. In light of this, we had three people invited to speak to our group. Lt. Governor candidates had a panel, and this was called a “Vision of the Race”. They pointed out how 2008 election will be a big election in North Carolina, with a US Senate seat, President, and Governor seats will be open. David Mills spoke about how state positions are important but overlooked. Dan Besse from Winston-Salem city council spoke about his decision to run for Lt. Governor. He talked about how Duke Energy got exemptions to pollute more, and how we need to win not by selling our principles, but by explaining our principles. Mayor Pat Smathers (Canton, NC) talked about how vision without action is a daydream, and action without vision is a nightmare. He felt that we should not wait for Raleigh or Washington to fix our problems. Leni Sitnick (former Mayor of Asheville) spoke for Hampton Dellinger. Mr. Dellinger was chief legal council to the Governor and worked in the Attorney General’s office. This Governor’s term (reportedly) executed more people than any prior government. This was brought out by Steven Dear of “People of Faith Against the Death Penalty” who questioned the two potential candidates and the one representative for the third candidate about the death penalty and the death penalty moratorium. All three candidates supported the death penalty but wanted to have a moratorium for some spell to look at the problems inherent in the system. It was pointed out to all of them that if they execute people, they will one day kill an innocent person, since the system is subject to human error. With this, the meeting was adjourned.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

First we have the "Roadmap to Nowhere"

This is, of course, a comment on Bush's claims of a "roadmap to peace" in the Middle East in June 2006.

A complete line of b.s.

Then we have the ROAD TO NOWHERE.....

Right here in western North Carolina, no less....

“In the midst of World War II, while many Swain and Graham County NC men were fighting for their country, the US Government and the Tennessee Valley Authority decided to build a hydroelectric power dam which would flood 11,000 acres of North Carolina land. The TVA bought or took 67,800 acres of land from Graham and Swain Counties leaving 1,300 families homeless, some of which were widows with children, some who were elderly and many of which had never lived anywhere else. These people received no relocation assistance from the TVA or the government and the ones who refused to sell, had their land condemned and taken.

The government in order to appease these people promised two things: First, to reimburse Swain County for Hwy 288, which would be flooded when the lake was filled, and second to build a road around the park to give access to the more than 28 cemeteries that were left behind when these people were forced from their land. In 1943 the Government did pay approximately $400,000 to the State of North Carolina, which represented the principle which Swain County then owed in outstanding bonds, but Swain County did not actually see any of this money.”

The ROAD TO NOWHERE is much, much more beautiful than the ROADMAP TO NOWHERE!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The face of someone

who MAY save America.

PHOTO: Darrell Anderson gestures to supporters after a news conference at the Colivn Community Center in Radcliff, Kentucky, October 3, 2006. Anderson, who deserted from the United States military after serving in Iraq , is due to return to Fort Knox, Kentucky, after spending two years in Canada. REUTERS/John Sommers II (UNITED STATES)

It will be the young who staighten this country out and save it, if that is possible. It will be the young adults who stand up for what is right and refuse to go along with what is wrong who will, maybe, turn this mess around.

And, as a member of their parent's generation, I just want to say I am sorry for having allowed things to get into such a horrible, evil mess. I personally worked hard to stop this, but it is my generation that made, or let, it happen.

Mt. St. Helens at night

The world is such a beautiful place.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Where we are headed

President Bush: “The only way to protect our citizens at home is to go on the offense against the enemy across the world. When terrorists spend their days working to avoid capture, they are less able to plot, plan, and execute new attacks on our people. So we will remain on the offense until the terrorists are defeated and this fight is won.”

And since he, and his official squad of kidnappers/torturers/sexual preverts/murderers have no idea who is or is not a terrorists, that means they will go right on with their evil behavior, and create more terrorists all along the way. And, of course, people will feel the need to fight back, or else they just get tortured and killed for no reason.

Oh, but Bush is learning all about how terrorists think by the torture methods. He claimed that by torturing one guy, they found out that terrorists will place bombs high enough in buildings that people cannot escape by jumping, so that all above the bombs will get killed. I guess Bush has never seen a horror movie and also lacks any imagination. I could have told him that. Here's another one they don't need to torture to uncover: if you block exits and then start a fire, or even a smoke bomb, people will panic and crush one another. Of course, that has actually happened many times, although not on purpose as far as I know. I have read that bin Laden got his idea to go after the WTC because he saw hits on buildings in Lebanon.

In the early 1980's.