Friday, September 30, 2005
We grew up in an America of idealism, and elevated, noble ideals. We saw the United States as an achievement of-- not just a half-completed "experiment" in-- democracy. It was the "real thing."
God (Love or compassion) had very much to do with this nation. It was indeed a vision of a just country ruled, and influenced, by honest men and women. To these intellectual and social giants, people meant more than money. Average Americans, and even the poor, were equal in value with the very rich. Foreign people were also equal human beings, not "less than" Americans. Their lives, and those of their children, were to be respected, valued, treasured, and preserved. "All men" [meaning "all persons"[ were "created equal." No human being was disposable, and none should be murdered for greed, oil, profits, or corporations.
We trusted our founders, as we trusted our leaders, to be paragons of real strength, real and strong leaders-- not those who fled and disappeared when threatened by terrorists. These strong men and women had the courage to be real Christians-- to live by the laws of kindness and compassion, to care truly for the poor, to stand against the filthy, dark, abominable nightmares of greed and fascism.
We worked together, with the rest of the whole world, for protecting the planet, serving the needs of most people (not just the elite), reducing dangerous pollutants and toxic, corrosive chemicals so that our kids were not poisoned for greed. Smarter people drove more efficient cars, and brave and intelligent people stood strong for the rights of women and minorities. Church and state were separated by a galaxy, and this was one of the most noble ideals of a free society. People were friendly rather than aggressive, united as human beings, or as Americans, not hiding behind slogans of "conservative" and "progressive."
We looked towards the future, and counted on human discernment and wisdom to make it better. We trusted the future to bring us education, intelligence, and wisdom, to end war, poverty, racial bigotry, and most of all, greed. We truly were naive enough to believe that the year twenty-oh-five would be better than 1975. We had every reason to think that we were, as a society, getting better and smarter. We thought, at any rate, that we were way above, and beyond, fascism. Other countries might be renegade, living outside of international law, but America, we said, would never engage in national criminal activity; we could and would never kill hundreds of thousands of innocent women and children; we could never attack a third-world country in an offensive war; enough of our best and smartest had died in the horrible, razor-toothed jaws of senseless wars. Never again!
But we who lived on such sweet idealism underestimated the great power of the humanimal nature, with its cruelty, stupidity, incompetence, and hideous greed. We thought that the "reptile within the brain" had been outgrown and conquered. Vicious evil was impossible for a sane, educated man.
Someday, God (Love) will have her triumph over the satan (fear). But that day was not then, and it is not now. Human leaders of government are as cruel, crass, stupid, and callous as they were in 2005 BCE. Vicious and omniverous greed was their demonic god then, and it is still so. Let us recognize these horrors, and those who perpetrate them for power and wealth. But, in the midst of the blood and noise, let us never give up the dream. For, when all the noisy, dirty engines of senseless war have been muffled in the ancient dust, the dream will arise anew, bringing again the rainbows, butterflies, and roses of a new world.
It saddens us and gladdens us that our dear friend and brother has left our miserable little planet and stepped into the Milky Way. We were blessed and privileged to know him as a member of our little Pneumarium-family.
We want all of you to know just how much we treasure his eternal life. Gale has not died; he has simply changed residences. He was and is an intelligent and gentle soul, with still very much to do, and much fun to enjoy! He now has perfect health, and ecstasy, and is surrounded by an ocean of Love,and many friends. But as we shall never forget him, neither will he forget his physical and spiritual family left behind on earth.
Now, he is a multidimensional superbeing of Light, and has planets and galaxies to explore. Let us send him into his everlasting form with our deepest Love and most sincere blessings.
We will be having a Memorial Service for Gale this Sunday at eleven am, at the Pneumarium. All are welcome.
Peace and everlasting Love.
We now have the equivalent of twenty people signed up to donate to the success of the "High Sppirits" radioprogram. We have received commitments from the following dear and special spiritual friends:
Adamaria and Richard Francis
Barbara and Dale Siler
Special thanks to you all for having joined us in our attempt to change the world. Welcome to the Love Education Team! This, my friends, is a most excellent and superb beginning! With twenty down, there are only twenty more to go! We are halfway there! So, if you know of anyone who might want to join this fine and noble cause, please forward her/his emailaddress to us.
Or send her/him this email. Please keep passing along the good word, and publicizing our attempt, and need, to change the world! Also, if you know of anyone who has a service, product, or message that needs publicity, please also turn her/him on to our great and worthy cause.
Invite everyone to become a member of the Love Education Team!
Peace, Joy, and Love,
Happy (slightly early) October! Here is the latest revision of our adletter. This third revision includes, as you can see, the funds of the Friendship Support Program. And, due to that, we have been able to cut in half the cost of an underwriter's running of a weekly ad. Any feedback or suggestions are certainly more than welcome. And please, please help us continue to spread the good word about "High Spirits"! Please forward this letter to any potentially interested party. And please forward it to anyone and everyone!:)
Your kindness, patience, and attention to this crucial matter are very much appreciated, and are promised to bring good karma into your life, both shorterm and longterm. Count on it!
IMPROVE THE WORLD!
We have exactly what you need! We can make it possible for you to network, and interact, with thousands of spiritually and politically progressive people! And we can do it for the cost of a fast-food meal!
We are starting a nonreligious spiritual education program on Cincinnati radio. At present, it is slated to run on Saturday at eleven pm.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM. "High Spirits" is a one-hour, call-in show about spirituality. It is meant to aid people in creating a spiritual path. We will help you find it, but we promise not to design it! One theme is the psychology of Love, for the self and others. On a community-level, this means charity and compassion.
ABOUT THE HOST. Richard "Shining Thunder" Francis has been a spiritual teacher, lifedesign consultant, and psychospiritual advisor for over thirty years. His formal training is in psychology, but his passion is spirituality. He has written and published fourteen books on spiritual psychology. He has served as advisor for the "Sixty Minutes" tv program, Newsweek and Time magazines, and his work has been mentioned in the New York Times. He served as advisor for both the Lexington Holistic Clinic and the Cincinnati Center for New-Age Studies. He has appeared on dozens of radioprograms throughout the U.S., and on national radio in Europe. For seven years, he served as cohost to the remarkably successful radioprogram "Heartmind" on wvxu in Cincinnati. He served as managing editor of Lovespirit and Cosmic Visions magazines, and is current managing editor of Lovelight magazine and the "Universal Love Digest." He has been the host of three tv series, "The Way of Universal Love," "The Psychology of Spirituality," and, "Spiritual Awakenings." He does all his spiritual work free of charge.
MORE ABOUT THE SHOW. We plan to explore the fascinating fields of mysticism, psychology, metaphysics, philosophy, religion, parapsychology, nature, eccentric cults, and a wide spectrum of related topics. We will advocate no single religious path, no dogma. But the show will orbit mysticism, the intercultural, inter-religious Way of Love and enlightenment.
But full success still depends on YOU, on how many local sponsors that we can drum up. Through our Friendship Support Program, we have signed up eighteen promises to support the show for five dollars per slot, per week, for six months. But more is still needed. We hope that you will help yourself and our community by becoming an "underwriter"-- a company who supports the show economically, and is advertised on the show.
Here is our plan: We are going to gather eleven very lucky underwriters.
Your cost would be only $9.95 per week (less than $260 for a six-month contract, as demanded by the station). For this relatively small sum, you could have your contactinfo broadcast weekly to a "hand-picked" audience of thousands of people passionate about, and motivated by, many aspects of healing, metaphysics, and spirituality, "tailored" for services, products, and messages exactly like yours!
The service that we provide is to announce your contactdata to all these thousands. This includes:
your name, or business-name
your phone-number, or business phone-number
your address, or business-address
your email address or business email address
A brief announcement describing the services, products, or message of
Any combination of the listed factors will be highlighted before thousands of potential, progressive, aware, politically and/or socially minded eager customers once every week! Repetition is the key to good advertising.
During the next six months, less than $260 would not be an expenditure, but a fine investment almost guaranteed to send your business into the clouds! (This is only slightly more than $40 per month.) In an instant, more people could learn about your product, service, or message than with years of ordinary word-of-mouth advertising! Prove that you really believe in your product, service, or message by advertising it! Repetition is the key! Working together, we can improve the world!
Never has our poor little planet needed improvement more than it does right now!
If you have any questions, please feel free to share them, at:
Or, call me, at 513-737-LOVE (5683).
We look forward eagerly to hearing from you soon, and to our cooperative harmony in renewing our planet together.
Peace, Joy, and Love, in your Service,
Richard "Shining Thunder" Francis and the Love Education Team
This is just a quick update to keep you informed of the progress of Project Sapphire-- the newly proposed radioprogram "High Spirits."
To date, we have eighteen slots filled for the five-dollar per week donation. This means that, if everyone comes through, we now have $90 a week promised. That means, of course, that we still need another $110 per week.
If we could find only four sponsors (underwriters), it would cost each only $27.50 per week to advertise her message, product, or service to thousands of people. So, please help us pass along the word.
Click here to donate and support Project Sapphire.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused massive oil spills in the Gulf states because platforms and refineries couldn’t withstand hurricane force winds. But apparently some members of Congress can’t withstand pressure from the oil industry, and are using the hurricane tragedies as an excuse to actually expand offshore drilling operations to other vulnerable coastal communities.
Take Action Now at Greenpeace
(Thanks to Isaiah Toran)
The world's finance ministers have reached agreement to cancel the debts of up to 38 of the poorest countries, freeing up close to $1 - $1.5 billion each year once all 38 have qualified, funding which will put schools, health clinics and clean water into more communities. The ministers, meeting in Washington to direct the IMF and World Bank, agreed to the outline of the G8 Summit agreement to cancel 100% of the debts owed by eligible poor countries, releasing them from crushing debt burdens left over in many cases from loans stolen by corrupt dictators and negligent donors.
Take ONE minute today to sign the ONE declaration and lend us your voice in the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty.
Save Pets from the Next Hurricane
Don't you think it's terrible that people were forced to leave their pets behind during Hurricane Katrina?
Please ask your U.S. Representative to support the PETS Act, H.R. 3858, which would require state and local authorities to plan for evacuating people with pets the next time a disaster like Hurricane Katrina strikes.
Monday, September 26, 2005
The term "sentient being" is often a translation of a Sanskrit term in Buddhism. What the Buddha had in mind was not any being who had any senses, which would include insects, and possibly amebas and paramecia. What he had in mind by using the term "sentient being" was a being who was selfaware, a being who could say, "I am" with meaning. In terms of biocomplexity, this "sentience" does not include insects, bacteria, viruses, amphibians, or reptiles. But neither is it limited to the highest forms of mammalian life (whales, elephants, dolphins, chimps and other higher primates.) Due to the complexity of brain-structure, no mammal can be considered non-sentient. That is why dogs are more sacred than fleas, and cats than ticks. It is also why cows and pigs are more sacred than chickens, and human beings more sacred than most other species.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
By Paramedics Larry Bradshaw and Lorrie Beth Slonsky
What you will not see, but what we witnessed,were the real heroes and sheroes of the hurricane relief effort: the working class of New Orleans. The maintenance workers who used a fork lift to carry the sick and disabled. The engineers, who rigged, nurtured and kept the generators running. The electricians who improvised thick extension cords stretching over blocks to share the little electricity we had in order to free cars stuck on rooftop parking lots. Nurses who took over for mechanical ventilators and spent many hours on end manually forcing air into the lungs of unconscious patients to keep them alive. Doormen who rescued folks stuck in elevators. Refinery workers who broke into boat yards, "stealing" boats to rescue their neighbors clinging to their roofs in flood waters. Mechanics who helped hot-wire any car that could be found to ferry people out of the City. And the food service workers who scoured the commercial kitchens improvising communal meals for hundreds of those stranded.
Most of these workers had lost their homes, and had not heard from members of their families, yet they stayed and provided the only infrastructure for the 20% of New Orleans that was not under water.
(Thanks to Jim Dwyer)
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Tradition states that each sign in astropsychology does indeed have an influence over a specific part of the body. These can be also erogenous zones. (Btw, an "erogenous" zone is not just one of particular sensitivity, but one that triggers a sexual response.) This is not true one hundred percent of the time, with each person of a particular sign; but the signs generally tend to "follow" the body from head to foot, starting with aries, which influences the head-area; taurus influences the neck and throat; gemini the lungs, arms and shoulders; cancer the stomach; leo the heart and spine; virgo, the large intestine; libra kidneys; scorpio, the genitalia; sagittarius upper thighs; capricorn lower thighs and knees, and bones generally; aquarius the calf-muscles, and pisces the feet.
The part of the body that is a sexual "turn-on" seems to be more culturally and socially determined. In the Middle Ages, for example, just about any part of a woman's body was considered "forbidden," and so, attractive. This forced women, as in Islamic countries, to wrap themselves up in opaque materials from the eyes to the toes. In various cultures, the ankle, wrist, back of the neck, shins, and other "nonsexual" parts were considered this way. It also has much to do with rearing: You might tend to reflect the preferences of the adult role-models with whom you were surrounded when growing up. In this field, human nature is so diverse that just about anything is possible!:)
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
"Did the government of the United States lie to the American people, more to the point, did President Bush and his Neocon associates lie to Congress, to initiate a war of conquest in Iraq? This question has been given currency by a memo leaked from inside the British Government which clearly indicates a decision to go to war followed by the "fixing" of information around that policy. This is, as they say, a smoking gun.
But the fact is that long before this memo surfaced, it had become obvious that the US Government, aided by that of Great Britain, was lying to create the public support for a war in Iraq.
First off is Tony Blair's "Dodgy Dossier", a document released by the Prime Minister that made many of the claims used to support the push for war. The dossier soon collapsed when it was revealed that much of it had been plagiarized from a student thesis paper that was 12 years old!
The contents of the dossier, however much they seemed to create a good case for invasion, were obsolete and outdated. This use of material that could not possibly be relevant at the time is clear proof of a deliberate attempt to deceive.
Then there was the claim about the "Mobile biological weapons laboratories". Proffered in the absence of any real laboratories in the wake of the invasion, photos of these trailers were shown on all the US Mainstream Media, with the claim they while seeming to lack anything suggesting biological processing, these were part of a much larger assembly of multiple trailers that churned out biological weapons of mass destruction.
The chief proponent of this hoax was Colin Powell, who presented illustrations such as this one to the United Nations on February 5th, 2003. This claim fell apart when it was revealed that these trailers were nothing more than hydrogen gas generators used to inflate weather balloons. This fact was already known to both the US and UK, as a British company manufactured the units and sold them to Iraq.
Colin Powell's speech to the UN was itself one misstatement after another. Powell claimed that Iraq had purchased special aluminum tubes whose only possible use was in uranium enrichment centrifuges. Both CIA and Powell's own State Department confirmed that the tubes were parts for missiles Saddam was legally allowed to have. Following the invasion, no centrifuges, aluminum or otherwise were found.
Powell also claimed to the United Nations that the photo on the left showed "Decontamination Vehicles". But when United Nations inspectors visited the site after the invasion, they located the vehicles and discovered they were just firefighting equipment.
Powell claimed the Iraqis had illegal rockets and launchers hidden in the palm trees of Western Iraq. None were ever found.
Powell claimed that the Iraqis had 8,500 liters (2245 gallons) of Anthrax. None was ever found.
Powell claimed that Iraq had four tons of VX nerve gas. The UN had already confirmed that it was destroyed. The only VX ever found were samples the US had left as "standards" for testing. When the UN suspected that the US samples had been used to contaminate Iraqi warheads, the US moved quickly to destroy the samples before comparison tests could be carried out.
Powell claimed that Iraq was building long-range remote drones specifically designed to carry biological weapons. The only drones found were short-range reconnaissance drones.
Powell claimed that Iraq had an aggregate of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical and biological warfare agents. Powell gave no basis for that claim at all, and a DIA report issued the same time directly contradicted the claim. No biological or chemical weapons were found in Iraq following the invasion.
Powell claimed that "unnamed sources" confirmed that Saddam had authorized his field commanders to use biological weapons. No such weapons were ever used by the Iraqis to defend against the invasion and, of course, none were ever found in Iraq.
Powell claimed that 122mm warheads found by the UN inspectors were chemical weapons. The warheads were empty, and showed no signs of ever having contained chemical weapons.
Powell claimed that Iraq had a secret force of illegal long-range Scud missiles. None were ever found.
Powell claimed to have an audio tape proving that Saddam was supporting Osama Bin Laden. But independent translation of the tape revealed Osama's wish for Saddam's death.
Colin Powell's UN debacle also included spy photos taken from high flying aircraft and spacecraft. On the photos were circles and arrows and labels pointing to various fuzzy white blobs and identifying them as laboratories and storage areas for Saddam's massive weapons of mass destruction program. Nothing in the photos actually suggested what the blobby shapes were and inspections which followed the invasion, all of them turned out to be rather benign.
In at least one case, the satellite Powell claimed had taken one of the pictures had actually been out of operation at the time. And many questioned why Powell was showing black and white photos when the satellites in use at the time over Iraq took color images.
Another piece of evidence consists of documents which President Bush referenced as in his 2003 State of the Union Speech. According to Bush, these documents proved that Iraq was buying tons of uranium oxide, called "Yellow Cake" from Niger.
Since Israel had bombed Iraq's nuclear power plant years before, it was claimed that the only reason Saddam would have for buying uranium oxide was to build bombs.
This hoax fell apart fast when it was pointed out that Iraq has a great deal of uranium ore inside their own borders and no need to import any from Niger or anywhere else. The I.A.E.A. then blew the cover off the fraud by announcing that the documents Bush had used were not only forgeries, but too obvious to believe that anyone in the Bush administration did not know they were forgeries!
In the end, the real proof that we were lied to about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction is that no weapons of mass destruction were ever found. That means that every single piece of paper that purported to prove that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was by default a fraud, a hoax, and a lie. There could be no evidence that supported the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction because Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. In a way, the existence of any faked documents about Iraq's WMDs is actually an admission of guilt. If one is taking the time to create fake documents, the implication is that the faker is already aware that there are no genuine documents.
What the US Government had, ALL that they had, were copied student papers, forged "Yellow Cake" documents, balloon inflators posing as bioweapons labs, and photos with misleading labels on them. And somewhere along the line, someone decided to put those misleading labels on those photos, to pretend that balloon inflators are portable bioweapons labs, and to pass off stolen student papers as contemporary analysis.
And THAT shows an intention to deceive.
Lawyers call this "Mens Rea", which means "Guilty Mind". TV lawyer shows call it "Malice aforethought". This means that not only did the Bush Administration lie to the people and to the US Congress, but knew they were doing something illegal at the time that they did it.
All the talk about "Intelligence failure" is just another lie. There was no failure. Indeed the Army agents who erroneously claimed that missile tubes were parts for a uranium centrifuge received bonuses, while the Pentagon smeared Hans Blix, and John Bolton orchestrated the firing of Jose Bustani, the director of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, because Bustani was trying to send chemical weapons inspectors to Baghdad.
The President of the United States and his Neocon associates lied to the people of the United States to send them off on a war of conquest.
Defenders of the government will point to the cases listed at the top of the page as proof that lying to the people is a normal part of the leader's job and we should all get used to it. And because "Everybody does it" that we should not single out the present administration. But this is madness. We do not catch all the murderers, yet when we catch a murderer, we deal with them as harshly as possible, in order to deter more murderers.
Right now, we have the criminals at hand. and, while other leaders in history have lied to start wars, for the first time in history, the lie stands exposed while the war started with the lies still rages on, to the death and detriment of our young men and women in uniform. We cannot in good moral conscience ignore this lie, this crime, lest we encourage future leaders to continue to lie to use to send our kids off to pointless wars. Lying to start a war is more than an impeachable offence; it the highest possible crime a government can commit against their own people. Lying to start a war is not only misappropriation of the nation's military and the nation's money under false pretenses, but it is outright murder committed on a massive scale. Lying to start a war is a betrayal of the trust each and every person who serves in the military places in their civilian leadership. By lying to start a war, the Bush administration has told the military fatalities and their families that they have no right to know why they were sent to their deaths. It's none of their business.
Our nation is founded on the principle of rule with the consent of the governed. Because We The People do not consent to be lied to, a government that lies rules without the consent of the governed, and ruling without the consent of the governed is slavery.
You should be more than angry. You should be in a rage. You should be in a rage no less than that of the families of those young men and women who have been killed and maimed in this war started with a lie. You need to be in a rage and you need to act on that rage because even as I type these words, the same government that lied about Iraq's nuclear weapons is telling the exact same lies about Iran's nuclear capabilities. The writing is on the wall; having gotten away with lying to start the war in Iraq, the US Government will lie to start a war in Iran, and after that another, and after that another, and another and another and another because as long as you remain silent, and as long as you remain inactive, the liars have no reason to stop.
As long as you remain inactive, the liars have no reason to stop.
It is time to fire the liars.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is
for good men to do nothing" .
U.S.C. TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 47 § 1001.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, WHOEVER, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by ANY trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or USES any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party's counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to—
(1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or
(2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.
SO HERE IS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO
The Bush administration and their friends in the media want this story to go away. More than want it to go away, they are in a panic, and will do everything they can to stop it. They will use every dirty trick, every paid shill, every presstitute that they can. Already there is a report that the Michael Jackson jury is "expected" to reach a verdict just before the Conyers hearings.
So, I want YOU to copy this article off, post it everywhere. This article is placed in the public domain. Mail it to your friends. Then send it to your local media and your Congresscritters and have everyone you know do the same. Get on the phones. Flood their offices.
The term is "Viral Marketing" where you get the people who need a product to market it for you. Well, this nation NEEDS this "product". It needs to know that this war was started with lies. INTENTIONAL lies. And they need to know there is something they can do about it, and that is to start pounding on the doors of power.
Because when a flood of such messages reaches the Congress and the media, what they will hear is that there is no more time. Either they will deal with these lies and the liars, in full, or they will lose all credibility as a government and as media.
A government that lies to the people cannot be the legal government of this land. Make sure that they understand that YOU understand that the Constitution does not allow the government to lie to the people.
Calling themselves the government does not make it so if they act unconstitutionally and illegally. The Constitution is the original "Contract with America" and a government that lies stands in clear breach of that contract.
more media contacts
more congressional contacts
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
-- "The Declaration of Independence"
By Justin Ramos
RAW STORY COLUMNIST
Two offices located in Noida and Gurgaon, India, under the direction of HCL BPO Services in Delhi, handled solicitation of campaign contributions for President Bush from May 16, 2002 until July 22, 2003. Seven teams, totaling roughly 125 employees, worked for $9.75/hour calling individuals in America from a voters' database provided by the RNC, and secured an estimated $10 million dollars in contributions, close to 6 percent of the total amount Bush has collected thus far. They did not directly handle any money; their task was to obtain pledges to donate this money, and the RNC followed-through with them and received their contribution.
With the abundance of RNC-volunteers in America, coupled with the $9.75/hour pay rate, I find it hard to believe that a task such as this couldn't have been handled by Americans. True, it is an almost insignificant number of jobs created compared to the total job losses seen in the US every week, but I fail to see how the responsibility of raising support for an American president can be in any way outsourced.
What this says to me is that it is not a strong-base of Americans working towards a common goal of seeing their candidate in office that wins an election, but the amount of money their parties can accumulate that will propel them to the top, regardless of how that money is collected. Providing 125 Americans a job for 14 weeks is a more worthy goal, in my mind, than cutting costs and shipping those jobs overseas, and would instill a notion of being politically involved I feel is lacking from most in America today.
Call me a purist, but I find it ridiculous that 125 unemployed, qualified Republicans couldn't be found in the U.S. and given $9.75/hour to help elect their candidate. Something as intrinsically "American" as working to elect an official in the U.S., getting involved in the political process in your own town, state, and country, and helping to raise support and awareness for a candidate which best represents your ideals and vision should be left to Americans, and those without jobs in the U.S. should be provided the opportunity to do just that.
George Bush himself has stated that "a job is more than a source of income — it is also a source of dignity." It would have been a bold statement for the RNC to have taken 125 unemployed Americans and provided them with income, with the dignity the President has declared comes along with it, in order to show that their party has a direct interest in any and all Americans without jobs who have the desire to work, and gotten more Americans involved in the political process along the way.
Instead, they choose to hand out contracts that were outsourced, leaving 125 Americans still without jobs, without dignity, and themselves disconnected as ever from the actual needs and suffering of the American people.
Read the whole article.
"On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon, and the city of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country, I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So yes, God does speak to you, and what he's saying is, 'Take a hint'."
More (and video) ...
Thanks to Mick Gallagher.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Are any of us in a position to write to the INS in an effort to assist this AIDs patient and mother of two? A template letter is included. This was sent from a friend in New York who is also a friend of the attorney representing Ms. Mortlock.
We are writing to ask for your support and immediate action in the case of Andrea Mortlock, a 41-year-old woman from Jamaica who is living with full-blown AIDS and has been detained at the Passaic County Jail in Paterson, New Jersey for the past three weeks. Ms. Mortlock suffers from extreme wasting, neuropathy and other AIDS-related conditions that have been exacerbated by her continued detention at Passaic County Jail, a facility which has a longstanding reputation as one of the worst detention facilities in the nation and which has recently come under scrutiny specifically for its substandard HIV/AIDS care ("2 Men Say Passaic Denied Them AIDS Drugs," New Jersey Herald, August 24, 2005).
During the first three days of her detention, Ms. Mortlock reports that she did not receive any AIDS medications whatsoever.
Read and take action here.
This article is adapted from Bill Moyer's address this week at Union Theological Seminary in New York, where Judith and Bill Moyers received the seminary's highest award, the Union Medal, for their contributions to faith and reason in America.
True, people of faith have always tried to bring their interpretation of the Bible to bear on American laws and morals - this very seminary is part of that tradition; it's the American way, encouraged and protected by the First Amendment. But what is unique today is that the radical religious right has succeeded in taking over one of America's great political parties - the country is not yet a theocracy but the Republican Party is - and they are driving American politics, using God as a a battering ram on almost every issue: crime and punishment, foreign policy, health care, taxation, energy, regulation, social services and so on.
What's also unique is the intensity, organization, and anger they have brought to the public square. Listen to their preachers, evangelists, and homegrown ayatollahs: Their viral intolerance - their loathing of other people's beliefs, of America's secular and liberal values, of an independent press, of the courts, of reason, science and the search for objective knowledge - has become an unprecedented sectarian crusade for state power. They use the language of faith to demonize political opponents, mislead and misinform voters, censor writers and artists, ostracize dissenters, and marginalize the poor. These are the foot soldiers in a political holy war financed by wealthy economic interests and guided by savvy partisan operatives who know that couching political ambition in religious rhetoric can ignite the passion of followers as ferociously as when Constantine painted the Sign of Christ (the "Christograph") on the shields of his soldiers and on the banners of his legions and routed his rivals in Rome. Never mind that the Emperor himself was never baptized into the faith; it served him well enough to make the God worshipped by Christians his most important ally and turn the Sign of Christ into the one imperial symbol most widely recognized and feared from east to west.
Thanks to Terry Smith.
1) "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." –President Bush, on "Good Morning America," Sept. 1, 2005, six days after repeated warnings from experts about the scope of damage expected from Hurricane Katrina
2) "What I'm hearing which is sort of scary is that they all want to stay in Texas. Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this (chuckle) – this is working very well for them." –Former First Lady Barbara Bush, on the hurricane evacuees at the Astrodome in Houston, Sept. 5, 2005
Thanks to Chris Finer.
9/11 and Manipulation of the USA by Norman Solomon
At once, the proclaimed war on terrorism was to be unending, and impervious to information or analysis that might encourage critical scrutiny. As soon as the basic premises of the ongoing war were accepted, the irrelevance of any inconvenient part of the historical record was a given.
Thanks to Yit.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
"White House officials do not deny that they craft elaborate events to showcase Bush, but they maintain that these events are designed to accurately dramatize his policies and to convey qualities about him that are real."[Washington Post]
Bush Visit Halts Food Delivery
Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon [September 2] as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans, officials said. [NOLA]
As specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas. [Salt Lake Tribune]
There was a striking discrepancy between the CNN International report on the Bush visit to the New Orleans disaster zone, yesterday, and reports of the same event by German TV. ZDF News reported that the president's visit was a completely staged event. Their crew witnessed how the open air food distribution point Bush visited in front of the cameras was torn down immediately after the president and the herd of 'news people' had left and that others which were allegedly being set up were abandoned at the same time. The people in the area were once again left to fend for themselves, said ZDF. [War And Piece]
A live report from Biloxi: "On the last state of things here's Christine Adelhardt live from Biloxi" "2 minutes ago the President drove past in his convoy. But what has happened in Biloxi all day long is truly unbelievable. Suddenly recovery units appeared, suddenly bulldozers were there, those hadn't been seen here all the days before, and this in an area, in which it really wouldn't be necessary to do a big clean up, because far and wide nobody lives here anymore, the people are more inland in the city. The President travels with a press baggage [big crew]. This press baggage got very beautiful pictures which are supposed to say, that the president was here and help is on the way, too. The extent of the natural disaster shocked me, but the extent of the staging is shocking me at least the same way. With that back to Hamburg." [Daily Kos - in original as well]
“But perhaps the greatest disappointment stands at the breached 17th Street levee. Touring this critical site yesterday with the President, I saw what I believed to be a real and significant effort to get a handle on a major cause of this catastrophe. Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment. The good and decent people of southeast Louisiana and the Gulf Coast -- black and white, rich and poor, young and old -- deserve far better from their national government" - LA Senator Mary Landrieu
(All of the above, thanks to Mick Gallagher)
George Bush investigates!
Dubya vows to get to the bottom of of what went wrong on Katrina
George W. Bush has come up with his worst idea since he decided to have the military investigate torture by the military at Abu Ghraib prison. He, George W. personally, plans to investigate to "find out what went right and what went wrong" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.(Thanks to Mick Gallagher)
Darth Vader Nominated For Supreme Court Vacancy
With an additional vacancy available on the Supreme Court, the President has picked Darth Vader to be the next Supreme Court justice after interviewing other finalists such as Lex Luthor, the Green Goblin and Count Dracula.(Thanks to Heidi Nordberg)
Friday, September 09, 2005
We did not "create" George Bush consciously or personally. He is created by the great collective, which creates both good and "evil" to test us, to see how strongly committed to the good that we actually are. It is easy to mouth the correct words, to talk of Love, compassion, sisterhood, and other high ideals. But the virtual reality of the cosmos forces us to "put our time where our mouth is," to invest timenergy in actually doing good works.
Those "good works" include opposition to evil in all its many forms. For the idea that we "create our own realities as reflections of our selves" is fine, metaphysically. But socially, it is dangerous, for it can lead to apathy, complacence, and final inactivity. If it leads to petrification and paralysis, it is perilous, and freezes us up spiritually. It makes of us social and spiritual "dead zones." Oddly, people who experience such petrification are full of selfpride, for they feel that they have "seen the truth," and so, are "superior." Actually, they are as deluded, lost in illusion, as any hedonists.
For although they are realizing a great truth about the nature of this world as Mind-creation, they have not heard the more important message of real spirituality, which is Love. For Love does not encourage us to sit and study the world, but actively to reach out, actively to serve Love. Those who shrug, and give knowing looks, filled with pride because they "know what is going on," are agapocidal, or Love-killing. In their so-called "wisdom," which is actually the path of fools, they become antispiritual. This path can lead to only spiritual catastrophe!
You are right, of course: the world is Mind-created. But you are wrong if you think that we are not to act, with every nanopsychon of our energies, against evil. If you saw a little dog, or child, suffering, you would obey Love and give her assistance. You would not just tell yourself that her suffering was "really" about you, and then, go within and try to heal yourself. You would reach out the hand of compassion.
This also applies to social evils. We dare not selfrighteously say that the "world is all about me," and then, become totally selfinvolved, dominated by ego, and work on improving the self only. For the self is aided best by aiding others, as the self is loved best by loving others.
The arrogance and egotism of the selfish path exposes it as unspiritual, indeed, antispiritual. Of course, we want to continue to work on the self-- not on improvement, but on erasure. Of course, that is primary. But we never improve by dismissing the need for practical action. Apathy is not growth, but its opposite-- death.
Evil, of course, has no "absolute" reality. But our world is created, dreamed up, by the Mind in the form of a complex illusion called "dualism." This means that, for all practical purposes, we must choose between good and apparent "evil." This is, in fact, how we define, and stay on, the path of goodness. A necesary --
absolutely indispensable-- aspect of this life is the rejection of evil and the embrace of the good. So, Love calls us all, in this illusion-world, to speak against, work against, and act against "evil" wherever we find it.
Jesus said, "Resist not evil." That is because, by "resisting" it, we give it power. So, we do not feed it energy, as if it were real. We do not resist it, but we must oppose it. "Oppose" comes from the same root as "opposite." So, it is not enough mechanically to "resist" evil, but we must undergo interior transformation so that our energy is fed into evil's opposite, nd that is Love. Love is Reality, and that is the opposite of illusion. Even criminals are changed, ultimately, only by Love.
But when you love a child, for example, you must often correct her course. Without such corrections, she cannot learn reading, writing, math, social skills, communication-skills, or many other necessary techniques to be independent.
Society also requires periodic corrections. That is why, historically, the women and men of Love have always spoken out when they felt that Love was being neglected, abused, or violated. They were responding to the demands and commands of Love. We today have a similar calling: Love calls upon us to oppose, often loudly, Its absence. But we are not so much "anti-evil" as "pro-Love," although the average person cannot see the difference.
So, Love does not call upon us to live like zombies, or dead people. It triggers the fires of enthusiasm, and awakens us, actively and practically to love others. It pushes us to express that Love; and a teacher also has the added responsibility of explaining (often defending) that same Love. Love does not "kill" people, but "resurrects" and awakens them to new, enthusiastic activity. (The word "enthusiasm" originally meant, "God within.")
The wise and enlightened sages and masters-- Jesus, Solomon, the Buddha, al Hallaj, and so many others, were activists-- not because they did not trust God, but because they knew that God, as Love, acts through human beings. We cannot be lazy, selfrighteous, apathetic, or complacent and still claim to be following the active Way of real Love.
Many others besides yourself see all the complex principles involved in a massive and gigantic disaster such as Katrina.
I never blamed the pres for the hurrican. Not once. I never blamed him for all poverty. I never blamed him for the greedy, selfish people who did the looting. There are, in fact, an entire spectrum of evils in the world for which he is not responsible. He is a bad man; he is not "satan"!
His responsibility was to respond to genuine human need in a timely fashion, with the great power of the whole United States! I pointed out his sole responsibility: He scattered and wasted the material abundance of the U.S. in killing over one hundred thousand people in a campaign which he called "shock and awe." Iraqis love their children too. They are not to be dismissed as "foreigners," less than we; they are people like ourselves, and deserve the full spectrum of human rights. They
deserve life, and happiness.
By definition, it is impossible to "disagree" with something that was not said. Of course, you are free to set up a statement, and then, disagree with that, but that is not at all the same. This is what, in professional debating, is called "setting up a straw man."
You are, of course, free to believe anything that you wish. I am not here to control, or even to influence, your decisions. But I must, and can, also demand the freedom to express my own opinions. My opinion seems, in this case, to be supported by an entire galaxy of facts. But no claim to infallibility is made, implicit or explicit.
My opinion rests upon the rock-solid fact that the pres gathered and spent over two hundred thousand million dollars to murder people half a world away, in Iraq. This left the economy of the U.S., or at least, its emergency-funds, dry as a bone. Let's be even more specific: The man cut the funds actually requested by the Army Corps of Engineers to repair and strengthen the levies. This was nearly equivalent to attacking those poor, vulnerable people.
I accuse the administration of a lack of compassion and an absence of sincerity. Unless he is in a "photo op," the pres does not really seem to care for the average person. By all appearances, he truly cares for nly the rich and the powerful, walking the direct opposite of Jesus. Had the ones threatened been his rich pals, supplies would have been forthcoming immediately, within hours. This irresponsible president allowed American citizens to die the most horrible and excruciating, slow deaths-- from disease, starvation, and thirst-- that is, from neglect. His utter selfcenteredness, on vacation, cost innocent people, and perhaps thousands, their lives.
For this, the man is fully responsible. He is fully responsible for the deaths of 112,000 mostly innocent women and children in Iraq. He is responsible for the deaths of nearly two thousand girls and boys in uniform. And now, add to that bloody and dark sum the thousands of human beings and other creatures who needlessly suffered and perished in the floods of highly toxic water.
No, the "poor" are not all sweet, kind, good, innocent people. I know of no thinking person who is so naive and ignorant to suggest that they are. And all rich persons are not "evil." But wake up and smell the coffee! This fascist ruler has so much blood on his hands. And general agreement is beginning to be more consensual that he is incompetent, inept, and inexperienced. It is fairly obvious, to anyone with a particle of a brain or heart, that he has very little heart. He knows much about dollars, which always grab and dominate his attention. But when it comes to people-- especially those who are useless to his ever-increasing power and fortune-- he has a rock-hard spot in his heart.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
A Charlotte, North Carolina lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars; and then, he insured them against fire.
Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars, and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed claim against the insurance company.
In his claim, the lawyer stated that the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires." The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion.
The lawyer sued and WON!
In delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable, and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be "unacceptable" fire," and was obligated to pay the claim.
Rather than endure the lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to the lawyer for his loss of the cigars in the "fires".
NOW FOR THE BEST PART:
After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property; and he was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.
This is a true story; and it was the First Place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Award Contest.
ONLY IN AMERICA! No wonder that some people from other countries think we're nuts!
Thanks to Patty Goodman.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Notes From Inside New Orleans
by Jordan Flaherty
from Left Turn
I just left New Orleans a couple hours ago. I traveled from the apartment I was staying in by boat to a helicopter to a refugee camp. If anyone wants to examine the attitude of federal and state officials towards the victims of hurricane Katrina, I advise you to visit one of the refugee camps.
In the refugee camp I just left, on the I-10 freeway near Causeway, thousands of people (at least 90% black and poor) stood and squatted in mud and trash behind metal barricades, under an unforgiving sun, with heavily armed soldiers standing guard over them. When a bus would come through, it would stop at a random spot, state police would open a gap in one of the barricades, and people would rush for the bus, with no information given about where the bus was going. Once inside (we were told) evacuees would be told where the bus was taking them - Baton Rouge, Houston, Arkansas, Dallas, or other locations. I was told that if you boarded a bus bound for Arkansas (for example), even people with family and a place to stay in Baton Rouge would not be allowed to get out of the bus as it passed through Baton Rouge.
A must-read - continue
See also his piece on Leaving New Orleans
THE LIES TO HIKE THE OIL PRICE - A MUST READ
I received this from a researcher-- Denny Meredith Louisville, Ky. USA A more appropriate title for this piece would have been "Orchestrating Financial Collapse".
I'd like to throw some things out that the public at large doesn't know and never would know. What I am about to tell is common knowledge in oil circles; but the worker ants at the bottom of the pyramid never question what they see. I was an eye witness to what I am going to relate; and there are a good many others who could come forward-- if only they would.
In 2000 I worked in the Gulf of Mexico for two different companies that provided support services to the "oil patch". The two companies did very different work for the oil companies; so I got an eye full. The first thing that I'd like to expose is the fact that nearly all of the new wells in the gulf are immediately capped off and forgotten about. I saw well after well brought in only to see them capped off and
left. Oil or natural gas-- it didn't matter. I asked a couple of petroleum engineers what exactly was going on; and I was told by both (they worked for different companies) that there was no intention of bringing that oil to market until the "price was right". That wasn't the only bogus thing that was happening. Seismic technology had developed to the point that they could not only tell the companies where the oil was, but how much oil was there. All they had to do was go out and stick a straw in and suck it out. They didn't. Once again, the oil prices weren't right. When they are ready and want it, they know right where to go get it.
Another lie I'd like to lay to rest is the one about all of the "terrible damage" done to the oil platforms and rigs in the gulf during hurricanes. This is how they justify the price spikes that occur because of lost production. If anyone cared to see this for herself, she could travel the entire Gulf of Mexico in search of destroyed oil rigs and she won't find any-- not one. There is a damned good reason that this is so; and that reason is that they are built so well that a hurricane can't touch them. Think about it. If you're going to build something in an area where you are guaranteed to see 150-180 mph winds, storm swells up to 60-80 feet and it will happen year after year, how would you build them? Out of chicken wire and duct tape? Hell, no! And they don't! The platforms are designed to offer almost no wind resistance; and the majority of platforms are at least 120 feet above the water level. They are built so well that several of them have suffered direct hits by watercraft of all sizes with little harm. They were damaged, but they were far from destroyed.
The reason that I know how well they are constructed is because, for awhile, I worked with a company that salvaged derelict oil rigs. When the wells ran dry, the oil companies didn't need them any more. Then, the company that I worked for would buy them, take them apart, haul them back to land, refurbish, and resell them. It is an incredible process to take these things apart because they are constructed so well. I've worked on the boats that hauled explosives to the job sites to speed the disassembly process.
Another lie regards the "burp" in the supply line. Oil companies are as stingy as any on earth; and one of the ways that they cut costs is to eliminate the number of people that they need on a rig to keep it running. Most active wells are totally automated and require almost no human intervention. The oil companies have guys that travel from rig to rig via helicopter to check on things periodically; but most never see a human on them unless something goes wrong or some maintenance is needed.
During a hurricane, about the only rigs that need to be evacuated are the drill rigs that have workers on them. The active wells and pumping stations are controlled by remote control from the shore; and if it weren't for the evacuation of land based personnel from areas where there is danger, these things could continue to pump right through the worst hurricane. So, regarding a burp in the supply chain, there shouldn't be one; and that is because most of the oil from the Gulf of Mexico goes to the refineries at Port Arthur or other points in Texas. And the tankers from the middle east go to Galveston to off-load.
When oil moves across the Atlantic during hurricane season, the tanker traffic might have to kill some time to let a storm get ahead of them; but once it does, they haul ass right behind it. Anyone who has seen how fast an oil tanker can move in open water will tell you that they don't dawdle around. Most of them can move around 30-40 knots; and for a ship that size, that baby is moving on! The only reason they would have to kill any more time would be if a hurricane suddenly changed course and was headed for Galveston. So far this year, that hasn't happened. So why the "break" in supply?
Everything that we hear about oil from the oil companies is a big fat lie. Have we hit "peak oil," as many insist that we have? I'll make a wager with anyone who would care to take the bet. I bet that when oil hits $100 a barrel (I have a hunch that's the target price) there will be no shortage. Any takers?
So for all of the young women and men who are waiting for their draft notices, I would say don't bother, I don't think that there will be a draft. They won't need one. Since the all volunteer military came into being recruitment has always had an inverse relationship to the economy. The better the economy, the harder it is to get recruits. We're facing a winter season in North America that might see heating costs equal to a family's house payment. If our weather is being controlled, expect it to be a bad winter. With $100 a barrel oil on the horizon, and the ensuing loss of jobs because of energy costs, the military will be one of the only places a young man or woman will be able to eat on a regular basis, and keep a roof over their heads.
The beltway fascists have said all along that there would be no draft because they wouldn't need one. Don't you have to wonder how they knew this? God does work in mysterious ways. [Every day, Love is making progress in exposing corruption.] The neocons need cannon fodder for their war machine; and, lo and behold! mysterious market forces drop it on their doorstep.
For another coincidence take a look at Social Security here in the US. Amazing how the price of oil began a sudden rise when it became apparent that the American people weren't going to allow their retirement money to be "privatized". When the carrot didn't work, the stick wasn't far behind.
Thanks to Barbara Siler.
(Note from blog manager H: A link to verify the author or this article could not be found)
Today's Pneumarium discussions included: death, and its goodness, hurricane Katrina, Ifree, soulplans, "take up your cross," vegetarianism, leather, life's sacredness, spiritual growth ongoing process, the government's shameful response to its poor, the will of God, active and permissive, Christian mystic Thomas a Kempis, ego, society, insulation, and related items. We also took up a collection for the Red Cross.
If you did not come, we missed you Sunday at our Love-feast, and hope truly that you can make it here on September 18.
Letter to the Editor - sent to local papers.
MONEY FOR MURDER, SHARKS IN THE STREETS
Good American government has an obligation to use money to serve the people, especially when Americans need help. Due to Katrina, Americans are slowly starving, dying of neglect, and homeless, because money has been illegitimately diverted to buy expensive weapons used to murder people half a world away. Money used to slaughter Iraqis cannot be used to help Ammericans. So, emergency-supply-systems have been, for years, underfunded by billions.
In New Orleans, there are reported sharks in the streets, feeding on decaying bodies of poor Americans, for New Orleans is now a part of the Gulf.
The utterly nightmarish spectacle of Americans slowly dying of thirst, disease, starvation, and neglect, in the richest country on the planet, is being watched by the world; but it could easily have been prevented. As far back as 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was a clear and present danger. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by forty-four percent-- a multi-billion-dollar cut, made to divert funds to Iraq!
In 2004, the Bush administration again cut funding, by over eighty percent, requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain. So, a natural horror was amplified into a holocaust, killing thousands, by a combination of ineptitude, incompetence, arrogance, and myopia.
Sincerely, with Compassion,
Halliburton Subsidiary Taps Contract For Repairs
By Lolita C. Baldor
Monday, September 5, 2005; Page A20
An Arlington-based Halliburton Co. subsidiary that has been criticized for its reconstruction work in Iraq has begun tapping a $500 million Navy contract to do emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and Marine facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
The subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown & Root Services Inc., won the competitive bid contract last July to provide debris removal and other emergency work associated with natural disasters.
Jan Davis, a spokeswoman for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, said yesterday that KBR would receive $12 million for work at the Naval Air Station at Pascagoula, Miss., the Naval Station at Gulfport, Miss., and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. KBR will receive $4.6 million for work at two smaller Navy facilities in New Orleans and others in the South.
The company has provided similar work after major disasters in the United States and abroad for more than 15 years, including in Florida after Hurricane Andrew.
KBR has been at the center of scrutiny for receiving a five-year, no-bid contract to restore Iraqi oil fields shortly before the war began in 2003. Halliburton has reported being paid $10.7 billion for Iraq-related government work during 2003 and 2004. The company reported its pretax profits from that work as $163 million. Pentagon auditors have questioned tens of millions of dollars of Halliburton charges for its operations there.
Last month three congressional Democrats asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to investigate the demotion of a senior civilian Army official, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, who publicly criticized the awarding of that contract.
Vice President Cheney headed Halliburton from 1995 to 2000, and Democrats have questioned whether the firm received favorable treatment because of his connection.
Thanks to Mick Gallagher.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Here is a recent editorial letter sent to some local papers.
MONEY FOR MURDER, SHARKS IN THE STREETS
Good American government has an obligation to use money to serve the
people, especially when Americans need help. Due to Katrina, Americans
are slowly starving, dying of neglect, and homeless, because money has
been illegitimately diverted to buy expensive weapons used to murder
people half a world away. Money used to slaughter Iraqis cannot be used
to help Ammericans. So, emergency-supply-systems have been, for years,
underfunded by billions.
In New Orleans, there are reported sharks in the streets, feeding on
decaying bodies of poor Americans, for New Orleans is now a part of the
The utterly nightmarish spectacle of Americans slowly dying of
thirst, disease, starvation, and neglect, in the richest country on the
planet, is being watched by the world; but it could easily have been
prevented. As far back as 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking
New Orleans was a clear and present danger. But the Bush administration
New Orleans flood control funding by forty-four percent-- a
multi-billion-dollar cut, made to divert funds to Iraq!
In 2004, the Bush administration again cut funding, by over eighty
percent, requested by the New
Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the
waters of Lake Pontchartrain. So, a natural horror was amplified into a
holocaust, killing thousands, by a combination of ineptitude,
incompetence, arrogance, and myopia.
Sincerely, with Compassion,
5100 Liberty-Fairfield Rd.,
Hamilton, OH 45011
Monday, September 05, 2005
Friday, September 02, 2005
By Danica Kirka, Associated Press Writer
VIENNA, Austria - As the enormity of what happened in America sinks in, Europeans have been increasingly moved to help in ways great and small: from an Austrian university considering taking in 500 students from New Orleans to nations offering to tap into strategic oil reserves.
Amid the compassion, there is also surprise that America was so vulnerable and unprepared, and dismay that the Bush administration downplays the global warming threat that so many Europeans tend to link to the force and frequency of such storms.
Across the continent, the media and governments focused on the enormity of the disaster with newspapers running huge pictures of victims wading chest-deep in water and television screens filled with fires leaping from the still waters of flooded avenues.
The French daily Liberation described the scenes of devastation as a cruel spectacle for U.S. President George W. Bush, "the champion of security." Criticizing the "disorder" in the evacuation of hospitals, the editorial described Hurricane Katrina as s "natural disaster with political implications'
Terror mastermind and avowed enemy of the U.S. Osama "Bin Laden must be dying of laughter," Liberation wrote, adding that, "It will take a long time to erase the cracks now appearing on the face of America."
In Italy, several newspapers said mounting criticism of the president's handling of the relief effort was damaging his credibility.
Germany's Die Tageszeitung said the world was "seeing scenes otherwise only known in African capitals. The forces of order are absent. Anarchy and chaos reign. Supermarkets are plundered, helicopters shot at."
Some said perceived U.S. indifference to global warming was coming home to roost. "What's absent is a debate over the climate, over Kyoto, over the human-caused warming of the earth," wrote Stefan Kornelius in an editorial in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a Munich-based daily. "But the oil shortage caused by the disaster will hurt Bush more than gaps in climate policy will."
Concrete offers of help, though, were louder than the criticism. Spurred by images of people huddled on curbs begging for clean water and chaotic rescue efforts from rooftops, Europe offered brainpower -- specialists in coordinating disasters, experts in rebuilding devastated communities and rescue workers familiar with risky maneuvers.
The U.N. created a special task force to dispatch disaster experts; the European Union volunteered to send water supply specialists.
Italy offered two military transport planes loaded with pumps, generators, amphibious crafts and tents. Germany pledged medical supplies. France dispatched rescue workers to determine what it could offer. NATO pledged its help, too.
In the Balkans, where the U.S. military has been deployed to keep the peace following a decade of conflict, there were offers steeped in gratitude. A Bosnian television station offered to raise money. In Kosovo, a civil emergency unit made up of former ethnic Albanian rebels offered to send a team to help rebuild.
Elswhere, Asia-Pacific nations -- including tsunami-battered Sri Lanka pledged money and disaster relief experts.
"There should not be an assumption that because America is the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, this isn't a major challenge and a major crisis," Australian Prime Minister John Howard told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
El Salvador, the only Latin American country with troops still in Iraq, offered Thursday to send soldiers to the United States to help police zones flooded by Hurricane Katrina.
The proposal to take in 500 students from New Orleans at the University of Innsbruck for the winter semester was more personal. The two universities, both in cities that boast rich cultural histories, have spent decades building bonds of friendship and community.
"We don't think of the (victims) as Americans -- we think of them as our friends who live in America," said Mathias Schennach, who heads the Austrian university's international relations office. "People here have an open heart for Americans, especially for the people of New Orleans."
The two universities have exchanged students in summer programs for three decades, placing hundreds of students per year, largely in business studies. Many of the program's alumni have offered to assist, Schennach said.
The offer came only days after the western province of Tyrol suffered severe flooding of its own.
"People here have cold winters and avalanches -- so we are familiar with the dangers of nature," Schennach said. "There is an understanding that if someone is need, you help."
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Can we truly claim to be caring, loving people--the people of Love and compassion-- if we play "ostrich," and bury our collective head in the sand?
No way! It is our responsibility to discuss events and situations wherever and whenever people are being hurt, neglected, or murdered. But what if these actions are "political"? That changes absolutely nothing. Let us not be frightened by words.
Any issue that affects people, and other living things, is an issue of spirituality (Love). Love is interwoven with, and inextricable from, many "political" issues that are moral or ethical. It would be unloving, and thus, antispiritual, to say that an important event or issue is "political," and hence, to imply that it is somehow "outside" of spirituality. For spirituality is life, and everything in life, that has to do with justice, fairness, the poor, society, the nation, and the
So, when a compassionate person sees the betrayal of people, the abandonment of Love, she is called by Love to expose that ignorance. Loving and conscientious people all throughout history have spoken against tyrants, warmongers, greedmongers, and other corrupt types, especially those in power.
Jesus said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, but give God's things to God." One thing that we correctly owe to the gov is our voice, our opinion. Another is a repeated demand for justice, fairness, and "morality"-- a word that means "goodness."
So, in these pages, we have dissolved the artificial line between life and spirituality, between the government and everyday life of the people. Why? Because Love has demanded that we do so. Love has forced social, and political, commentary. To ignore the call of Love is unthinkable, and to respond inevitable. So, in issues of the uld to come, we will follow the Way of Love into social or political commentary when necessary, or wherever else it leads.
We will also be using pieces written by people more expert than ourselves. The following, for example, is a small article by Chris Floyd, forwarded by our hyperactive friend Mick Gallagher:
The problem we face is bigger than this maladministration. It is the war by the wealthy elite [against] the entire concept of the "common good" and public institutions.
But as culpable, criminal, and loathsome as the Bush Administration is, it is only the apotheosis of an overarching trend in American society. It has been gathering force for decades: the destruction of the idea of a common good, a public sector whose benefits and responsibilities are shared by all, and directed by the consent of the governed. For more than 30 years, the corporate Right has waged a relentless and highly focused campaign against the common good. It has sought to atomize individuals into isolated "consumer units." Their political energies have been kept deliberately underinformed by the ubiquitous corporate media. This is so that these energies can be diverted into emotionalized "hot button" issues (gay marriage, school prayer, intelligent design, flag burning, welfare queens, drugs, porn, abortion, teen sex, commie subversion, terrorist threats, etc.). These never threaten Big Money's bottom line.
Again deliberately, with smear, spin and sham, they have sought to poison the well of the democratic process. And they have succeeded. They have turned it into a tabloid melee where only "character counts." The rapacious policies of Big Money's bought-and-sold candidates are completely ignored. As Big Money solidified its ascendancy over government, pouring billions - over and under the table - into campaign coffers, politicians could ignore larger and larger swathes of the people. If you can't hook yourself up to a well-funded, coffer-filling interest group, if you can't hire a big-time Beltway player to lobby your cause and get you "a seat at the table," then your voice goes unheard. Your concerns are shunted aside. (This excludes a few cynical gestures around election-time, of course.) The poor, the sick, the weak, the vulnerable, have become invisible in the media. They are also invisible in the corporate boardroom, "at the table" of the power players in national, state and local governments. The increasingly marginalized and unstable middle class is also fading from the consciousness of the rulers, whose servicing of the elite gets more brazen and frantic all the time.
"Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act."
Vacation is Over... an open letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush
Fri, Sep 2, 2005, 9:16 AM
Dear Mr. Bush:
Any idea where all our helicopters are? It's Day 5 of Hurricane Katrina and thousands remain stranded in New Orleans and need to be airlifted. Where on earth could you have misplaced all our military choppers? Do you need help finding them? I once lost my car in a Sears parking lot. Man, was that a drag.
Also, any idea where all our national guard soldiers are? We could really use them right now for the type of thing they signed up to do, like helping with national disasters. How come they weren't there to begin with?
Last Thursday, I... sat outside while the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed over my head. It was only a Category 1 then, but it was [still] pretty nasty. Eleven people died,... That night the weatherman said this storm was on its way to New Orleans. That was Thursday! Did anybody tell you? I know [that] you didn't want to interrupt your vacation, and I know how you don't like to get bad news. Plus, you had fundraisers to go to and mothers of dead soldiers to ignore and smear. You sure showed her!
I especially like how, the day after the hurricane, instead of flying to Louisiana, you flew to San Diego to party with your business peeps. Don't let people criticize you for this; after all, the hurricane was over, and what the heck could you do-- put your finger in the dike?
And don't listen to those who, in the coming days, will reveal how you specifically reduced the Army Corps of Engineers' budget for New Orleans this summer for the third year in a row. [It was cut by seventy-two billion dollars, and plans to repair and strengthen the levies scrapped.] You just tell them that even if you hadn't cut the money to fix those levees, there weren't going to be any Army engineers to fix them anyway, because you had a much more important construction job for them -- DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ!
On Day 3, when you finally left your vacation home, I have to say I was moved by how you had your Air Force One pilot descend from the clouds, as you flew over New Orleans, so you could catch a quick look [at] the disaster. Hey, I know you couldn't stop and grab a bullhorn, and stand on some rubble, and act like a commander in chief. Been there done that.
There will be those who will try to politicize this tragedy, and try to use it against you. Just have your people keep pointing that out. Respond to nothing. Even those pesky scientists who predicted this would happen because the water in the Gulf of Mexico is getting hotter and hotter, making a storm like this inevitable. Ignore them and all their global warming Chicken Littles. There is nothing unusual about a hurricane that was so wide it would be like having one F-4 tornado that stretched from New York to Cleveland.
No, Mr. Bush, you just stay the course. It's not your fault that 30 percent of New Orleans lives in poverty, or that tens of thousands had no transportation to get out of town. C'mon, they're black! I mean, it's not like this happened to Kennebunkport. Can you imagine leaving [middle-class] white people on their roofs for five days? Don't make me laugh! Race [and poverty] have nothing -- NOTHING -- to do with this!
You hang in there, Mr. Bush. Just try to find a few of our Army helicopters and send them there. Pretend the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are near Tikrit.
It appears, from a cursory scan of the country, that the voice of the people is in real danger of dying out. But if we work to make the voice of the people the voice of Love (God), then, it cannot be affected or influenced by violence, wealth, arrogance, or corruption.
How can we do this? By filling our thoughts and words with the ideas of Love, compassion, generosity, support, kindness, goodness, and justice. And there is another way: We can speak out against corruption, hypocrisy, and bigotry whenever and wherever we see it. We can expose unkindness, cruelty, foolishness, ineptitude, and incompetence, especially in leaders.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil," wrote Edmund Burke, "is that good people do nothing." As good people, we dare not "do nothing" in the face of greedmongers who are trying to "take over the world." For you cannot "take over the world" as long as you cannot rule heartminds. You can kill people, but you cannot kill great ideas.
Personal freedom and equality stands at the top of the list of the great all-time ideas. If we work to make the voice of the people (our voice) the voice of Love, we then have the infinite, illimitable, immeasurable Power that lights the bright galaxies supporting us. That is why every tyrant, in the entire history of the world, who has resisted this idea is now nothing but dust.
Greedy and materialistic people have an entire worldview in common with the looters and hoods on the street. Why? Because both value material things over personal integrity. Both are the humiliated minions of greed. Neither can see the real value of the intangibles. Neither group-- greedy business-people or looters-- can grasp the noble and elevated "platinum" of Love, wisdom, beauty, intelligence, goodness, or kindness. These have the value and consistency of mere fog to the materialist. That is why she is so horrifically empty inside.
Yes, the very same value-system underlies the greedy business-person and the looter. So, when we ask how human beings could ever dip to the lowest levels of depravity, looting in the midst of terrible crises, as in the shame and horror of New Orleans, the responsibility must be laid at the feet of materialism. The looter wears different clothes than the greedy business-person, but deep inside, they can be identical. (NOTE: Avoiding "black and white" thinking, it must be noted fairly that ALL business-people are not greedy, or full materialists; but the underlying philosophy beneath both groups is often greed: Price-gouging is just "respectable looting.)
The only antidote to heal society is the regular, consistent practice of compassion.
By Sidney Blumenthal
In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.
....Hurricane Katrina has left millions of Americans to scavenge for food and shelter, and hundreds to thousands reportedly dead. With its main levee broken, the evacuated city of New Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico. But the damage wrought by the hurricane may not entirely be the result of an act of nature.
A year ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to study how New Orleans could be protected from a catastrophic hurricane, but the Bush administration ordered that the research not be undertaken. After a flood killed six people in 1995, Congress created the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, in which the Corps of Engineers strengthened and renovated levees and pumping stations. In early 2001, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a report stating that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S., including a terrorist attack on New York City. But by 2003, the federal funding for the flood control project essentially dried up, as it was drained into the Iraq war. In 2004, the Bush administration cut funding requested by the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for holding back the waters of Lake Pontchartrain by more than eighty percent! Additional cuts at the beginning of this year (for a total reduction in funding of 44.2 percent since 2001) forced the New Orleans district of the Corps to impose a hiring freeze. The Senate had debated adding funds for fixing New Orleans'levees, but it was too late.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune, which before the hurricane published a series on the federal funding problem, and whose presses are now underwater, reported online: "No one can say they didn't see it coming .... Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."
During hurricanes,... those who have the least to lose are often those who lose the most. Why? First, the dwellings in which poor people live are not as sturdy...as others. "Shotgun" shacks, mobile homes,... don't do well in hurricane-force winds...
Second,... The rich often live at the tops of hills, the poor in the valleys and plains that are the first to flood. The living conditions in these neighborhoods are also usually the most dense and overcrowded.
Third, it is much harder for the poor to evacuate. They don't own cars,... and often can't even afford a tank of gas-- especially at today's prices. They can't afford an airplane, train, or even bus ticket.... People in poverty can't afford motel or hotel rooms, and often don't have friends or family in other places with space to spare....
Fourth, low-income people are the least likely to have insurance... and... health-insurance. If jobs are lost because of natural disasters, theirs are the first to go.... [leaving] no reserve for emergencies.
New Orleans has a poverty rate of 28%... Yet even in normal times, poverty is hidden and not reported by the media. In times of disaster, there continues to be little coverage of the excessive impact on the poor. Devastated luxury homes and hotels, drifting yachts and battered casinos, make far more compelling photographs.
The final irony of New Orleans is that the people who normally fill the Louisiana Superdome are those who can afford the high cost of tickets, parking, and concessions. Now its inhabitants are the poor, especially children, the elderly and the sick-- those with nowhere else to go. Those with money are nowhere to be seen.
As the Gulf Coast now faces the long and difficult task of recovery, what can we do?
Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco declared Wednesday [August 31 a day of prayer: "As we face the devastation wrought by Katrina, as we search for those in need, as we comfort those in pain, and as we begin the long task of rebuilding, we turn to God for strength, hope and comfort." [Let us make every day a "day of prayer"!] She urged residents in her state to ask "that God give us all the physical and spiritual strength to work through this crisis and rebuild." [Only God or Love can help!]
Encourage friends and family to support the victims of Hurricane Katrina with their prayers and donations.
The government of our country has a serious obligation to use the money of the people to serve and aid people. People in our country are starving and homeless because money has been illegitimately diverted to buy expensive bombs, used to murder the innocent women and children half a world away. The recent Hurricane Katrina proved that emergency-supply-systems had been underfunded by billions. Why? Because a dollar can be spent only once, and once you have spent it, burned it up, in the flames of nightmarish war and murder, it cannot be used to support people. Money used to slaughter Iraqis cannot help Americans.
As a supporter of Save the Children and a constituent concerned with the well-being of children and their families throughout the world, I write also to call your attention to the growing hunger crisis around the world. To demonstrate the United States' resolve to support international hunger relief efforts, I ask that you support a senate resolution in support of food aid (S. Res. 227) introduced by Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Herb Kohl (D-WI).
Globally, people suffer from chronic poverty, political strife, disease, flooding and droughts that make food distribution and crop growth difficult and unpredictable. As a result, more than 800 million people go to bed hungry every night, and one child dies every five seconds from hunger and related ailments. Thirty thousand kids will drop dead today from starvation! This is due partly to misappropriation of funds. These kids, and people suffering from Katrina, could be saved and aided, if the Godless war-machine were not consuming every penny!
Recent reports on the food crisis in Niger have brought the scope of the emergency into focus. Without urgent assistance, a quarter of the country's 12 million people will go hungry, and, as always, children are especially vulnerable. Yet, Niger is not the only country suffering. Food shortages are taking their toll in Ethiopia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Burundi, Mauritania, Mali, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
It is estimated that the US Government share of the funding needed to feed the world is $2 billion. Congress' current allocation for food aid is approximately $600 million dollars short of that request. So much has been spent on ghastly weapons that burn people alive! As a result of this shortfall, there will be no money for new multi-year food aid programs, nor will there be enough to maintain the current level of existing programs. Sustainable solutions to hunger must go beyond the provision of food, and address the underlying causes of chronic malnutrition. Programs designed to improve household nutritional behavior, diversify livelihood options, boost crop yields, and increase farmers' access to markets help communities meet their own needs in the long-term.