Wednesday, December 27, 2006

We've seen this movie before

Throughout my life, until recently, I learned about the phenomenon of fascism and the world war that it caused, and thought to myself “that could never happen again”. After all, it was so very long ago, and fascism was an anomaly caused by the leadership of a madman. As far as fascism in the U.S. was concerned, the thought never occured to me. I wrongly thought America was immune to this because of strong democratic principles in our Constitution, upheld by the great moral principles of her citizens.

Lately, more and more historians of are saying that America is in danger of sliding into fascism, bit by bit. History is repeating itself. For example, Hitler introduced the Enabling Act, (similar to the Patriot Act), and it passed the German legislature democratically. Hitler took over that country in gradually and legally.

Observing the similarities begs the question, how does a nation slide from being a democratic republic, and egalitarian society, where free speech is not only valued, but enshrined in your founding documents and enforced by the law of the land? How do you slide from that, to being a state where people are simply vanished; whether they are undocumented workers, whether they are “terror suspects” like Jose Padilla, who is no longer charged with any terror crimes? I would submit that a good chunk of what makes that transition is people in the media URGING IT.

The racism against Muslims seems to be getting worse and worse. The Reich Wing Media is attacking with the organized murderous rage of the German SS, vital sources of information, such as the brave hosts of Air America Radio who would dare to speak truth to power. I have never heard such vitriol.

BILL O’REILLY: “So, all those clowns at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains?”

Ha, ha. Very funny, Bill.

The so-called “liberal media” (which does not exist, outside the Air America syndication and a single TV show “Countdown” with Keith Olberman on MSNBC), is one of their favorite targets. Another are the so-called “Hollywood liberals”. In other words, talented, creative, artists, actors, and musicians with a conscience, who use their celebrity to speak truth to power.

Mike Galleger was invited to sit with George W. Bush, one of the Reich Wing talk show hosts to broadcast from the White House talking about Jill Behar, on The View, who made a comparison between Donald Rumsfeld and Adolph Hitler – that they are both war criminals. I’ll go on record saying they are both war criminals, although I don’t think there’s a good clean comparison between Rumsfeld and Hitler. Hitler was a maniacal madman, the consequence of whose actions caused the deaths of 10s of millions of people. Don Rumsfeld, he’s a small time mass murderer. Just a few hundred thousand people who have died as a result of his actions. But they are both war criminals. So, she points this out and Mike Galleger goes NUTS.

MIKE GALLEGER: “This is for Joy Behar – I think we ought to round up all these folks, round up Joy Behar, round up Matt Damon, who last night on MSNBC attacked George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney… round up Olberman, take the whole bunch of them, and put them in a detention camp until this war is over, because they are a bunch of traitors.”
What did Matt Damon say that he should be put into a concentration camp for? This is Mike Galleger, the Reich Wing talk show host, friend of George W. Bush, saying that Matt Damon should be put in a concentration camp. What did he say that was worthy of that?

MATT DAMON: “The sacrifice of the war should be shared by everybody, and if the President has daughters that are of age, then maybe they should go too.”

THAT’S worth putting somebody in a concentration camp?!?

Mike Galleger is representative of the same kind of media that expedited the rise of the Third Reich. (see Wake up and smell the fascism)

This phenomenon is tearing America apart from the seams. For example in the music field, once upon a time, the Dixie Chicks and Ricky Skaggs worked together, but because Natalie Maines made an innocuous spontaneous comment about the President in the lead-up to the war in Iraq, (“I’m ashamed that the President is from Texas”), Ricky decided that she had committed an act of treason. Many like-minded Republican country fans agreed, “How could she say that about our Dear Leader? So they formed mobs that smashed their CD’s in a similar fashion to the book burnings of Nazi Germany. Treason is punishable by death in this country. Does Natalie Maines deserve to die for that off the cuff comment?

It’s looking more and more like the German Fatherland in this country. Anyone can be named an enemy combatant without trail, and rendered to a secret prison and tortured for the rest of his or her life. If you would have told me 6 years ago that Habeus Corpus would be suspended, that the 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 9th amendment of the Constitution would be broken, the Bill of Rights would be shredded, so that our houses could be searched without our knowing it, our phone conversations and online activity could be monitored, that we would attack a sovereign nation that didn’t attack us, and as a result 3000 Americans and 600,000 innocent people from that country would die, I would have said you were crazy. But everyday I wake up to this horrible reality, and I wonder where my country went.

Historians say this kind of thing happens almost in perceptively. It didn’t happen overnight. Most Americans didn’t even notice it, but now many are drawing eerie parallels to 1930’s Germany.

Milton Mayer was a Jewish American reporter from Chicago. He spent a year or two in Germany after the war, and interviewed ten average Germans. He really got inside their heads and wrote the book “They thought they were free” based on their stories. It chronicles in a very personal way, Germany’s slide toward fascism. Here are some excerpts. You can draw your own parallels to current day events in this country.

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security.”

"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.”

"To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it - please try to believe me - unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted', that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures' that no 'patriotic German' could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.”

“Pastor Niemoller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something - but then it was too late."

“‘Yes,’ I said.’”

“‘You see,’ my colleague went on, "one doesn't see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' Why not? - Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.”

"Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, 'everyone is happy.' One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, 'It's not so bad' or 'You're seeing things' or 'You're an alarmist.'”

"And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can't prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don't know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have.”

"But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked – if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in '43 had come immediately after the 'German Firm' stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in '33. But of course this isn't the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.”

"And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying 'Jew swine,' collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God.”

“How is this to be avoided among ordinary men, even among educated ordinary men?” Mayer’s friend asked rhetorically.

He said, “Frankly, I don’t know.”

Here’s how. The Germans in the thirties did not have the benefit of looking back to previous Nazi-like regimes and saying, “Ah, oh! We’ve seen this movie before”.

We have that benefit. So when we see stories like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying, “Well, we have nuclear power now.” And Bush saying, “Well, we’re sending another fleet of aircraft carriers to park up alongside Iran” - at the same time Iran is talking about switching oil dollars into euros. Well, we’ve seen this movie before.

Last week, George Bush signed a bill allowing us to sell nuclear technology to India. Sending this fuel in the first place is like pouring gasoline on the fire of war that could spread worldwide. But Bush went a step further. He didn’t like the restrictions that Congress tried to place on India’s use of the stuff, so he attached a signing statement to the bill. Bush has now attached over 1000 signing statements to laws passed by congress. Most of our laws are meaningless now, because of these signing statements. Executive power increases out of control whenever a country is at war. We’ve seen this movie before.

When will we ever learn? We have the precedent of history, so we have no excuse. We also have a new Democratic congress with subpoena power to investigate how this happened, and who is responsible. Perhaps the new legislative branch can reign in the arrogant overreaching executive branch, which continues to threaten the world with more pre-emptive wars. Perhaps the 110th congress can also gradually undo the tremendous damage this administration has inflicted upon this country, but it will take generations to dig us out of the economic hole we find ourselves in. Facing a recession, George Bush’s solution is to encourage Americans to shop. He suggested that after 9/11, when we could have united the world behind us. Shopping didn’t work then, and it won’t work now, because Americans have a negative savings on the average, and spending beyond our means will simply put another nail in the coffin of the middle class, which has been attacked by every administration since Reagan.

Obviously, we cannot leave the politics up to the politicians, be they Democrats or Republicans. The power still belongs to the people somewhat, so we must start the parade, and the politicians will naturally jump in front of it and carry the baton. The ISG is correct. The situation is dire. Our President is ignoring the intervention. The dry drunk is threatening Iran. We are teetering on the brink of World War III. We must act, before it’s too late. Otherwise, like Pastor Niemoller, if we survive the “long war”, we will have to humbly tell the saga of the downfall of American Democracy and economy to our children, and how we stood still and did nothing to stop it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Nukes for mangoes

America’s nuclear leadership - trading nuclear technology for tropical fruit.

Last Monday, December 18th, George W. Bush signed into law a bill that would allow the U.S. to trade nuclear, or as the shrub would say “Nucular” technology to India.

I believe there should be certain minimum qualifications for a President - he should at least be able to pronounce the type of weapon he's launching when he presses the button.

By signing this bill, Bush scrapped the U.S. Atomic Energy Act. And by doing that he scrapped the idea of us being a force for less nukes in the world. It will also fan an arms race with India's nuclear rivals Pakistan and China. Now that we can ship nukes to India, can we also now ship nukes to Pakistan? How can you ship nukes to India and not to Pakistan? Pakistan has fought three wars with India, and rising power China will expand their arsenal against New Delhi. Beijing will also offer Islamabad nuclear assistance that Washington has refused to provide.

Last summer India test-fired the Agni-III surface-to-surface nuclear capable missile off the coast of Orissa state. It crashed into the Bay of Bengal without reaching its target. The listed range of the Agni III, is 1,865 miles, hundreds of miles longer than that of other missiles India has tested, would put more of China's major cities within striking distance.

The despotic murderer Idi Amin once said that the way to make peace in the world is to arm every country with nuclear weapons. He also admitted to eating human flesh, and thought his face was the most beautiful face in the world.

Another despotic murderer, George W. Bush, after signing the bill, said, “After 30 years outside the system, India will operate it’s civilian nuclear energy program under internationally accepted guidelines, and the world is going to be safer as a result.” Looks like the two despots use the same philosophy and Orwellian doublespeak. Up is down - right is wrong - war is peace. Bush is living in the alternate universe called upsidedown world.

The deal reverses 30 years of U.S. policy that, until July 2005, opposed nuclear cooperation with India because it developed nuclear weapons in contravention of international standards and never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT.

The new law “may well become the death warrant to the international nuclear nonproliferation regime,” said Democratic Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts.

What this says to the rest of the world is that if you develop your nukes outside the system, then you get rewarded for it by the United States.

In this deal, India gets nuclear technology and fuel, in exchange for opening some of it’s civilian sites for inspection. The eight of it’s military nuclear sites will closed. The question as to whether or not India was trading nuclear technology with Iran was closed off for comment by the Bush administration. Congress asked about that when they were voting on this. The Bush administration said “You don’t have any right to know about that.”

Bush sold the Indian government technology which was really everything that India dreamed of having, because India is not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, so India gets to import nuclear fuel and technology to produce nuclear energy, and also got permission from Bush to continue to build as many nuclear weapons as it desires. They can build bombs in their secret sites, and no one can inspect them. Bush just went over there gave them Carte Blanche, and in so doing completely obliterated the very serious non-proliferation treaty, because other countries who see this deal will think they can do the same thing. It’s a good deal for India. What did we get?

“The United States is looking forward to eating Indian mangoes.” – George W. Bush, March 2nd, 2006

We got mangoes.

They did that deal in under two hours, because Bush really didn’t feel like negotiating that day, and he didn’t want to change his schedule, so he just said, “whatever you want”, and walked away.

India and Pakistan are natural rivals because of disputed territory in Kashmir.

Thirty years ago, an Indian holy man, Swami Prabhupada, predicted that World War III would start between India and Pakistan.

From a morning walk conversation, April 4, 1975, in Mayapur, India:

Prabhupada: Yes. All Western adventure to keep people in darkness. And that is going on. Now it will be smashed by the next war. Next war will come very soon.
Tamala Krsna: (Surprised) Oh!
Prabhupada: Yes.
Tamala Krsna: Next war...?
Prabhupada: Your country, America, is very much eager to kill these Communists. And the Communists are also very eager. So very soon there will be war. And perhaps India will be the greatest sufferer… Because America is aiming to start the war from India.
Devotee: Oh!
Prabhupada: Yes. Because India and Russia, they are...
Brahmananda: They are... Friendship.
Prabhupada: No. Side by side. If the war is started from India...
Rupanuga: So India will become...
Prabhupada: And the Russians are ready here already, I have heard, with soldiers and... Not soldiers. I mean to say...
Hamsaduta: Missiles.
Prabhupada: Yes. They are also vigilant… Pakistan will start the war with India. And then everything will be...
Tamala Krsna: Will this war spread to many different countries and continents?
Prabhupada: Yes.

The swami predicted WWIII would come “soon”. How soon is soon? Well, back in 1956, Prabhupada wrote an article in Back To Godhead called "Blind Materialism” in which he gave a very chilling estimate:

“By the grace of the illusory energy of Godhead we are now engaged more and more in the dangerous type of work in this machine-age. The machine-age is the result of dangerous type of work. When we leave aside the culture of spiritualism, we are entangled in the dangerous type of work. Nobody can live for a moment without work and therefore when finer elements are made to stop working, gross materialism occupies the devil's brain. The result is that we have now come to the age of nuclear weapons for the destruction of material civilization. By the law of nature, the nuclear weapons have been produced for crushing the result of blind-materialism.
The peace move of different powers of the world, by the false gesture of suspending the experiments of dangerous weapons--may be very much pleasing to the comparatively weak nations--but these temporary peace-moves will prove useless by the law of material nature. When the dangerous weapons are produced, they must be utilised for annihilation of blind materialism by the plan of the Daivi Maya or the external energy of Godhead. The problem can be solved when they are taught about their spiritual identity. The soul-killing civilization is progressively taking to the dangerous type of work by invention of huge mechanical means. The illusory energy is creating this atmosphere for blind materialism and on the other hand she is arranging for their destruction also. Such opposite methods are called illusory energy. The human energy is thus misused for breaking the same thing which is produced by the same energy. It is something like blazing the fire and extinguish it by pouring water simultaneously--a sign of insanity or spoiling the valuable human energy meant for spiritual culture. History has been repeated so many times and many many leaders of materialism like Napoleon, Hitler and others now remain in name only without any sign of the material progress planned by them. De-Stalinisation has already begun in Russia. Nobody is enjoying the result of civilization created by atheists like Ravana, Kamsa, Aurangzeb, Napoleon or Hitler. Everything is in oblivion and this teaches us the lesson that the materialistic plans of the present age will also meet with the same fate after a lapse of 50 years. Therefore blind materialism does not bring in any permanent relief in the world.”

Do the math. 1956 + 50 years = 2006

It just looks like, to me the whole world is preparing so that Dick Cheney can have the war he wants. People were really disappointed that we didn’t really get to use nukes on Russia - people like Cheney, who I believe has an “innie”, and he want to use nuclear weapons so he can feel like a man. They never got their war because Russia went broke fighting Afghanistan. If that is what everybody is posturing for, and people are literally choosing up sides right now by launching their missiles and showing where they are right now in WWIII, it’s probably going to be us, Israel, and India, against Pakistan, China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

Although the situation in the Middle East is currently spiraling out of control, I don't think even that is going to be enough for Bush and the chicken-hawks in his administration. It looks like they will never settle down until they get WWIII, the war they really wanted. That's the gift the President wants to give you this holiday - perpetual war for perpetual profit.

And a basket of tropical fruit from Haridas Patel's Orchard.

Merry Christmas, America!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A call for a day of prayer and fasting

On October 5th, people protested in over a hundred cities nationwide. The message was “World Can’t Wait – drive out the Bush regime.”

It was an angry protest, and people used the opportunity to vent their frustrations with this administration.

I would like to suggest that this type of angry demonstration needs some balance. We need to look within ourselves. Progressive religious leaders should organize a day of prayer and fasting.

Bill O’Reilly and the religious right try to prefix the word Progressive with the adjective “secular”. This is an unfair characterization of the Progressive movement, because a majority of them have faith in God, and refuse to let the right frame them as “Godless.”

In his book, "Tempting Faith", David Kuo describes how Karl Rove cynically used the religious right for political purposes, and now, the faithful are waking up to this fact. Now they know that Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rove, and their sycophants in Congress do not have a monopoly on moral values, especially when they vote for pre-emptive war, tax breaks for the rich, and at the same time, cut programs that help the poor. They can make a show of religion, but action speaks louder than words.

In four days, the Eisenhower Strike Group of Navy will position itself off the coast of Iran, and could start firing it’s cruise missiles into that nation within weeks, which would cause a worldwide catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions. What is the reason for this illegal pre-emptive strike? They simply want to remain in power.

The neo-cons want to start another war, just like they did in 2004, so that they can keep us in total fear, and claim to be the ones to keep us safe from terror. They will tell us not to “change horses in mid-stream.” But if your horse is an ass… then you must change horses.

All spiritualists, whether Democrat or Republican, must look within him or herself, and carefully ask the question, “Who would Jesus bomb? Who would Jesus torture?” If we take a day out to pray and fast, I think many people will come to the realization that the current path we are on is not the one Jesus would lead us down.

Anyone can go out in the street and vent their anger, but it takes real introspection to examine policy and judge it on the basis of scripture and the examples of the lives of the saints, who lived their lives by that scripture, which is a literal incarnation of the will of God. George W. Bush said that Jesus told him to invade Iraq. Although he might believe it, from my own scriptural studies and my limited perception of what I see as God’s will, I don’t think so. Jesus said, “Blessed be the Peacemakers, for they will inherit the earth.” George W. Bush said, “War is peace” so his interpretation of Jesus’ words on the sermon of the mount is “Blessed are the warmongers, for they will inherit the oil.”

In this upcoming election, we must choose the men who will lead this country's legislative branch. We must put our anger aside, and look within our souls to find the answer. Spiritual answers do not come from our external sense perception. Conclusive Truth always comes from within.

No one explains the difference of the value of introspective soul-searching as opposed to external sense perception more eloquently than the great American Scholar Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“The great distinction between teachers sacred or literary, — between poets like Herbert, and poets like Pope, — between philosophers like Spinoza, Kant, and Coleridge, and philosophers like Locke, Paley, Mackintosh, and Stewart, — between men of the world, who are reckoned accomplished talkers, and here and there a fervent mystic, prophesying, half insane under the infinitude of his thought, — is, that one class speak from within, or from experience, as parties and possessors of the fact; and the other class, from without, as spectators merely, or perhaps as acquainted with the fact on the evidence of third persons. It is of no use to preach to me from without. I can do that too easily myself. Jesus speaks always from within, and in a degree that transcends all others.” - R.W. Emerson, from “The Over-Soul” Essays: First Series (1841)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Para-Sukhe Duùkhé

Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a great saint from Bengal, India 1838-1914.

He was very humble, but thought himself the greatest of sinners. In one of the verses from Saranagati, he describes himself as the lowest of mankind, who derives pleasure in seeing the distress of others. The words para-sukhe duùkhé are very significant in the following verse. Sukhe means happiness and duùkhé means distress.

From Saranagati – by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Song 4, Verse 2

nija sukha lägi’, päpe nähi òori,
doyä-héna swärtha-paro
para-sukhe duùkhé, sadä mithya-bhäñé,
para-duùkha sukha-karo

“For the sake of my own enjoyment I have never hesitated to perform sinful acts. Devoid of all compassion, I am concerned only with my selfish interests. Perpetually speaking lies, I become dejected upon seeing others happy, whereas the misery of others is a source of great delight for me.”

In the past, America has been a beacon of the moral high ground, setting the standard for other nations by practicing the golden rule of treating others like we would like to be treated. Through both of the World Wars, and the Cold War, America has never tortured it’s enemies, because we knew that if we did, our own soldiers would be tortured by our enemies. We faced Hitler, the suicide bombing Kamikaze pilots from Japan, and thousands of nuclear weapons were pointed at us from Russia during the cold war, but we still did not lower our standards.

On September the 11th 2001, 19 men used box cutters to commandeer 3 planes in order to fly them into buildings, and now our government is waging a “war on terror”. They say we must use torture to acquire information on the terrorists, before they can strike us again. The CIA, however, does not want to participate in this technique, because they know that torture does not work. It yields faulty information, because the tortured detainees will often give wrong information just to stop the pain.

Why, then, has the Bush administration adopted this policy of torture? Why has it pushed a bill (S.3930) through congress that shreds the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and gives the President the prerogative to say what the Geneva Convention defines as torture?

The New York Times said, “the definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.”

The bill also gives the President the power to detain and torture anyone he wants forever without legal recourse.

The Times says this is a "dangerously broad definition of 'illegal enemy combatant' in the bill (which) could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted."

Germany’s congress gave Hitler the same power with the Enabling Act. This legislation paved the way to fascism and the ultimate destruction of Nazi Germany. Is America going down the same road? Why are Bush and Cheney following in Hitler and Himmler’s footsteps, when they know that torture does not work?

Perhaps because they just get off seeing other people suffer.

What are the psychological reasons some people derive pleasure in seeing others suffer?

Harvard trained D.C. psychoanalyst and George Washington Medical Center Professor Justin A. Frank has a new book out called “Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President” in which he discusses the President’s behavior of torturing others for torture’s sake. Last week he talked to Randi Rhodes on Air America Radio, Sept. 29th.

RHODES: The things we are about to ask you and hear the answers to are going to shock an appall some people who think that Bush is doing the right thing by suspending Habeas Corpus, by asking for permission to declare anyone, including a citizen of the United States, an enemy combatant, imprison them for life without justice, and torture them? What kind of person does that, in freest country in the world? What is his psychology about torture and doing away with free speech?

DR. FRANK: As a psychoanalyst, it’s very important to look at his entire life. It’s been full of examples of torture, from his childhood - where he used to torture small animals - blowing up frogs with firecrackers, from his youth – when he would brand people on the buttocks naked with a hot coat-hanger, and then say it is nothing more than a cigarette burn. This is a man with a long history of sadistic, cruel behavior. He gets pleasure from torturing people, and he always has. He has always enjoyed heroes who are soldiers, sailors, war veterans, but not just those kind, who are in the army, but people who are killers, cowboys – he talks about it on a regular basis. He has always worshipped the tough guy, and violence. He is very much like a 7-year-old boy, stuck at the age of 7, who lives for vengeance, power, beating up on the weaker people, and avoiding the stronger people, and now he is the President.

It’s a shocking story. He was the oldest of his siblings. He had a terrible tragedy when he was 7, when his sister died. He was the first born, and when he was 3 and a half, his sister was born. When he was the second grade, his sister contracted leukemia, and she died. There was no funeral. There was no talking about her being sick, and the day after she died, the parents, handling grief in their own way – played golf. George was not told about her death until a couple of days later. There was never any talk about it. One of the things that is very important in a child, when there’s a death like that is that they have sibling rivalry and murderous wishes towards their sibling, if they are the first born, and the next one comes along, and knocks them out of the “Garden of Eden.”

He was also close to Robin, because she was a playmate till she got sick. She was very vivacious, and I think that he really loved her. He couldn’t talk about that side of things. He couldn’t talk to his mother about what a great person she was, and how he’s missing her, so there was not way to talk about either his guilt about feeling murderous, or his sense of loss, because he felt he might hurt his mother and make her feel even more depressed.

(Ed. Note: His mother has also always been a very sick individual. After Katrina, when she visited the Superdome, she looked at all the black victims and said, “These people were poor anyway, so this is working out quite well for them.”)

There was no place for him, so he retreats into cruel behavior, and disconnection. It’s calling “splitting”, or schizoid behavior, where you disconnect yourself from the effects you have on other people. After that, he was “on the road,” he became cruel, sadistic, funny - a bully at the schoolyard - a verbal bully all the time. This was his way of managing things that were unmanageable, and I would say, he became as close to psychopathic as you can be.

RHODES: Wow. So now, he’s in charge of the entire apparatus of military justice. Does he understand the concept of justice?

DR. FRANK: No. He does not. The issue for him is being right, and certain, and never ever admitting a mistake, or defeat of any kind. In the Woodward book that came out today, State of Denial, one of the quotes was so interesting. It said, there were some Republicans at the White House, and he said to them, ‘I will not withdraw, even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me.’ Now, a couple of things: he said during the campaign of 2004, he called her “Laura the lump”. So, he is “lumping” his wife and his dog as non-people who have to support him. He does not care about what anybody thinks. He is so hell-bent on being right that it does not matter. That kind of statement is not the statement of the President of the United States. It’s a statement of someone he does not care about the people of the United States.

RHODES: What’s interesting are the people he surrounds himself. They are also damaged. I started writing a book a long time ago, and I never finished it, because it made me sick. I looked at their background: Karl Rove – his father was not really his father. He didn’t meet his real father till he was forty. His mother committed suicide in a Reno hotel. Newt Gingrich – is not really Newt Gingrich, he is McPherson – his father beat him too - two alcoholic parents raised him. Cheney was also alcoholic – he had two DUIs. Bush, also DUI. Laura apparently killed her boyfriend in an accident in the middle of nowhere in Midland, TX, sold pot at SMU. What is with these people that they all found each other?

DR. FRANK: It’s hard to know how they all found each other, but it’s all probably a marriage made in… I don’t know where, but not in heaven. It’s really perfect for them. They really feed off of each other, and they have kind of a gang mentality, which is a way to stay safe, and Bush has surrounded himself, and brilliantly so, with people who agree with him – who support him. The thing that disturbs me… and I also was starting another book called Enabling Cain – and I got sick also, like you have been. It’s about how we always support killers, so often, and how come these three senators Warner, and Rockefeller, recently backed down immediately after two days of protest.

RHODES: And Spector, who put the Habeas amendment on the floor, votes against his own bill! It’s just stunning the bullying that must go on!

DR. FRANK: The bullying really works. I think that Rove is much more effective than J. Edgar Hoover was in the 50’s in terms of God knows what he has on these people to get them to shut-up.

RHODES: One of the most offensive things Bush said recently was that, “when the final history was written about Iraq, it will look like just a comma.”

You have a hundred people showing up dead and tortured every single day in a country that never say one single suicide bomber before we invaded and occupied them, and now people are asking him how horrible this is. If you want to talk punctuation, I want to say this man has his head up his colon, but I want to get your psychoanalysis on how he puts things.

DR. FRANK: Why didn’t Wolf Blitzer say something after that statement? There was no follow up. That is one of the issues that also concerned me. The complicity of the media, who may sometimes ask good questions, but does not follow them up. And the question then is, why doesn’t he follow it up? I think he doesn’t want to know what he would find out, and that is the main point I wanted to make - that President Bush is indifferent to the loss of life. He really does not care. He wants to invade Iraq. He wants… for whatever reason, I don’t know – I can’t read his mind, but I do know that he is indifferent, and the indifference has to do with a phenomenon called “splitting”, which has to do with disconnecting the effect of his actions and dehumanizing other people. This is a way of diminishing his destructiveness. He has always done that all of his life from when he was a child, and from when he was in college, when he was branding people - and when he was interviewed in the New York Times, he said, “It’s nothing worse than a cigarette burn.” Who goes burning people with cigarettes? But separately, it’s a way of dismissing his actions.

RHODES: It almost kind of feels like Osama bin Laden might be Bush’s imaginary friend. That would be wrong, right? That would be impossibly wrong for me to say or think wouldn’t it?

DR. FRANK: I don’t think it’s that impossible.

RHODES: O.K. All right… Oh! YOU DON’T???

DR. FRANK: I’m sorry to say that there is a central thing they have in common which is fundamentalism, and hatred of and disrespect for the life of others, and the willingness to kill in order to prove their point.

RHODES: That is creepy. Sometimes, when I listen to what Osama bin Laden says, and then the President quotes him, I can’t tell if he’s quoting him, or the President is saying this. It’s almost identical, you’re right, with the fundamentalism, and the love of death - the bring on the rapture thing, where Bush’s religion thinks that dying is a good thing, and that if you go up in the rapture, you will go up into paradise, and Osama bin Laden says the same thing. They are both equally in awe of death. They have this special place in their hearts and minds about death – they don’t want to live life. They just want to sort of kill time to get to the next place. It’s creepy. Here's another thing I would like you to comment on. Bush compares himself to two great American Democrats:

BUSH: The Democrats offer nothing but criticism and obstruction, and endless second-guessing. The party of FDR, and the party of Harry Truman, has become the party of cut and run.

DR. FRANK: This is a man who is now demonizing anyone who disagrees with him. He has taken disagreement, and turned it into “cut and run”. Any kind of thought, or thoughtfulness, is an anathema to this man, because his world, for all his life has been split up into good and bad and Cowboys and Indians. There is no such thing as thought. There is no such thing as dialogue and interaction, because that is dangerous, and it makes him anxious. He has a long history of avoiding it, or of mocking people, or of saying, “I don’t do nuance”, or of putting people down as a way of thought. It makes him crazy. In the Goldwater movie, when he decides to run for President, and he talks to JFK about how he wants to go across the country with it, like the Lincoln/Douglass debate, and present it in front of the people – that could no more happen today, than anything, and that’s because we have a very divisive situation with a President who cannot tolerate any kind of debate or discussion. It’s very frightening.

RHODES: When I seen him do his Rose Garden press conferences, even though he knows the questions – they’ve all been screened – no one gets a follow up, he makes fun of every reporter by giving them some goofy name – he mocked a blind man for wearing sunglasses… Is that because he might be anxious that somebody might be smarter than him in the room, and mark him for being a phony? Why is he so nasty?

DR. FRANK: If you can scratch a bully hard enough, if you can get close to him, you will find that they are very frightened people, and if you ever stand up to a bully, they will cave. This is a man who is now 60, has honed to a fine-tuning, the ability to push people around, give nicknames, and make fun of people. It is because he’s anxious, but he covers it over very well with his own joking around, and dismissing (the comma is a dismissal). He is what I would call a “triumphalist”. He believes in triumph, and that’s the most important thing.

RHODES: And for him is not the means to be respected, it’s the end. It’s exactly the opposite of what we teach our kids. We say the end does not justify the means, you have to be fair, you have to be clean - we have to respect the law, we have to work within the rules…

DR. FRANK: Why do we teach our kids that? Because naturally, they are actually like Bush - they are untaught. That’s who they would be. This is a man who has been unsocialized, except for learning how to be polite sometimes and put on a suit. But basically he is like a 7 year old inside of a man’s body.

RHODES: Oh my God! And he’s got his finger on the nuclear football – and he controls our economy. He controls our foreign policy. He refuses to engage in diplomacy. When all the people who were here at the UN in New York and could solve the problems of the world were asking for a debate, and Bush was freaked out by it so he wouldn’t be in the building at the same time.

DR. FRANK: He can’t even look them in the eye. He has to run and hide. He had all kinds of contingency plans in case he ran into the President of Iran in the hallway… that they would have separate exits. That’s been written up in some of the papers I’ve read. It’s really disturbing that he had the entire secret service to make sure he didn’t run into anybody. When you are saying when you’re talking about Habeas Corpus, and what we are on to – this is a dangerous President – this is a serious problem, and when we are joking about his misspeaking and all of that stuff – we are missing the point. This is a very dangerous situation.

(Ed. Note) The proper human attitude is humility. This is the way the saint Bhaktivinoda actually looks upon himself. Here is Song 4 of the Saranagati in its entirety:

First Principle of Surrender: Dainya


Song 4

1) My life is ever given to sin; in it there is not a particle of good. I have caused others great anxiety, and have troubled all souls.*

2) For the sake of my own enjoyment I have never hesitated to perform sinful acts. Devoid of all compassion, I am concerned only with my selfish interests. Perpetually speaking lies, I become dejected upon seeing others happy, whereas the misery of others is a source of great delight for me.

3) There are limitless material desires within the core of my heart. I am wrathful, fond of exhibiting arrogance, intoxicated by vanity, and bewildered by worldly affairs. I wear the cherished ornaments of envy and egotism.

4) Ruined by laziness and sleep, I resist all pious deeds, yet am very enthusiastic to perform wicked acts. For the sake of worldly fame and reputation I engage in the practice of deceitfulness. I am victimized by my own greed, being always lustful.

5) A vile, wicked man such as this, rejected by godly people, is a constant offender. Devoid of all good works, forever inclined toward evil, he is worn out and wasted by various miseries.

6) Now in old age, deprived of all means of relief, thus humbled and poor, Bhaktivinoda submits his tale of grief at the feet of the Supreme Lord.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Calling the kettle black

Last week, Rumsfeld rose from his lead lined coffin to tell the majority of Americans (and the rest of the world) that they are "Nazi appeasers".

He compared his critics to those who believed “in the decades before World War II” that Hitler “could be appeased” and “argued that the fascist threat was exaggerated — or that it was someone else’s problem.” People critical of his current efforts, according to Rumsfeld, “have still not learned history’s lessons.” Rumsfeld added, “any moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere.”

In December of 1983, Reagan White House Middle East Special Envoy Donald Rumsfeld shook hands with Saddam Hussein after selling him weapons of mass destruction. On March 24th, the day the UN released the report that those weapons had been used against Iranian troops, Rumsfeld visited again. The New York Times reported from Bagdad, on March 29th, “American diplomats pronounced themselves satisfied with relations between Iraq and the United States and suggest that normal diplomatic ties have been restored all but in name.”

It is plain to see that for decades, the appeaser of the enemy has been Donald Rumsfeld, not the American people. (See "The True Iraq Appeasers" by Peter W. Galbraith, Boston Globe, Aug. 31st). Rumsfeld is the one who is morally and intellectually confused about who and what is right or wrong. First Saddam is a good guy, now, he’s a bad guy. To make the moral judgement that we are good and Iraq is evil is not just confused, it’s bad theology. Donald Rumsfeld is also mentally confused. He thinks if we don’t stay in Iraq, Al-Quiada will invade Spain. He is mentally deranged old koot. He is Coo-Coo for Cocoa-Puffs. Nine gererals, and the majority of the American people want him placed the in looney bin, or at least into retirement.

Donald Rumsfeld is very afraid that the Democrats will regain control of the congress, so he, and George W. Bush are campaigning again, along with the “religious right”.
James Dobson will be here in my home town of Pittsbugh next month to tell his flock to vote for the party with moral clarity – the Republicans??!? I didn’t hear Jesus say anything on the sermon on the mount about pre-emptive war! He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the chilren of God.” I never heard him say we should give tax-breaks for the rich! Jesus was all about peace, and helping the poor. In other words, he’s an appeaser of the fascists.

George W. Bush is equating Bin Laden with Lenin and Hitler, saying that if we don’t pay attention to Bin Laden, there will be an even bigger price to pay. He is talking about World War III, a war that he may start out of political desparation. He doesn’t care about Bin Laden. He said, “I don’t know where he is. I really don’t spend that much time on him.” Bush and Rumsfeld are like cornered theives. Facing the prospect of answering to the American people, they will accuse us of more and more outlandish crimes. They will not let that happen. They would rather start World War III, let millions die, declare martial law, and cancel the election.

Sean Hannity is peeing his pants, saying “This is the moment to say that there are things in life worth fighting and dying for and one of 'em is making sure Nancy Pelosi doesn't become the speaker.” What is he talking about? A Jihad? An assassination? Who knows? This is someone who lies for a living, so we can’t really take his statement literally. We do know at this point, however, how scared they are. Nothing scares them more than answering to the American people.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cheney plays the terror card

Just before the 2004 elections, Vice President Cheney warned that if Kerry was elected, "the danger is that we'll get hit again" by terrorists.

Recently, Cheney said that voters who supported Lamont's antiwar campaign in the Democratic primary were giving "the Al Qaeda types" exactly what they wanted, and that the Democratic Party now stands for a wholesale retreat in the broader campaign against terror.

Déjà vu! Cheney is playing the terror card again, this time just before the mid-term elections. He’s betting Americans won’t call his scary bluff that Democrats are weak on terror.

Americans, however, have a better hand – polls show most trust Congressional Democrats more than Bush when it comes to protecting our national security.

Cheney’s got nothing, because the occupation in Iraq has diverted attention from protecting America from terrorism, inflamed the whole Middle East, and is helping Al Qaeda attract new recruits. Bin Laden is still on the loose, and President Bush said he “really doesn’t spend much time on him.”

The Vice President has played this outrageous hand too many times, and we won't get fooled again. Americans are going to call his bluff in November.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The “Gitmoization” of America

On August 2nd, 1934 Paul Von Hindenburg died and chancellor Adolf Hitler became the absolute dictator of Germany, under the title of “Furor,” or “leader.” He assured his people that the Third Reich would last for a thousand years. It was going to be the beginning of a thousand years of peace. This is the same kind of “peace” that George W. Bush is promoting – if there is a war in the Middle East – war will bring about peace.

“Mankind has grown strong in external struggles and it will only perish through eternal peace.” – Adolf Hitler

Of course Hitler’s Reich only lasted eleven years. The reason I think that that anniversary is of particular consequence is that the main way that Hitler achieved power, held power, and made his country insane, was by essentially setting aside the rule of law. People were driven insane, because they were followers of the insane personality cult of Hitler. The passage of the Enabling Laws (see: “Wake Up and Smell The Fascism", July 2nd) shortly after the Parliament building was burned by a 28 year old Dutch communist.

There is still debate about whether or not this man had help from Hitler’s guys – the brown shirts. He probably did. He had tried to set several buildings on fire prior to the successful attempt to burn the Parliament.

After this event, Hitler said, “There are enemies among us, and we have to change the law.” It was a tool that Hitler used brilliantly. He passed the Enabling Laws through parliament that said that the rule of law of democracy in Germany that had been set up after WWI would be modified. The government could now tap telephones without going through a court, if they thought it had to do with terrorism. You don’t have a right to a trial. You don’t have a right to face your accuser. The government could use hearsay against you. They could open your mail without a court order, and you could be held without charges without bail if you were suspected of terrorism.

These laws so concerned the German Parliament, that they put a four year sunset provision on them. In other words if the state of emergency passed, (i.e. the terrorist attack on the Parliament building) then the laws would expire. The parallels between the Enabling Act in Germany and the Patriot Act are absolutely spooky to anyone who has actually read and studied both of them.

Now the Bush administration wants to take it to the next step. This was in the Washington post on August 2nd, the anniversary of Hitler’s rise to power. I am amazed that this wasn’t a screaming headline on every newspaper and every network. It should have been everywhere, but I didn’t see it in any other newspapers that day.

In the Washington Post, buried on page 4, was an article by R. Jeffrey Smith, entitled
"White House Proposal Would Expand Authority of Military Courts." It reads, “A draft Bush administration plan for special military courts seeks to expand the reach and authority of such "commissions…" (First of all, they are renaming these things. They are no longer courts. They are commissions.) “…to include trials, for the first time, of people who are not members of al-Qaeda or the Taliban and are not directly involved in acts of international terrorism, according to officials familiar with the proposal.”

Do you get this? This is a draft plan of circulating around congress right now, around Republicans, saying, “We’re going to change the rules of the game. Yes, we’ve had this thing called the Constitution for 230 years, but time to throw that out the window. After all, it’s a post 9/11 world, and so we don’t need this ‘you have the right to face your accuser’ stuff. We don’t need this ‘you have the right to make bail.’ We don’t need this ‘you have a right to a speedy trial.’ We don’t need this ‘you have the right to know what you’re charged with.’ We don’t need this stuff.”

They want to apply the rules of Guantanamo to you and me!

“The plan, which would replace a military trial system ruled illegal by the Supreme Court in June, would also allow the secretary of defense to add crimes at will…”

In other words, Donald Rumsfeld can simply make up a law. For example, he can say, “It’s now illegal to call George W. Bush a “dufus,” and if you break this particular law, you will be held before one of these “commissions.”

“The two provisions would be likely to put more individuals than previously expected before military juries, officials and independent experts said. The draft proposed legislation, set to be discussed at two Senate hearings today, is controversial inside and outside the administration because defendants would be denied many protections guaranteed by the civilian and traditional military criminal justice systems.

Under the proposed procedures, defendants would lack rights to confront accusers, exclude hearsay accusations, or bar evidence obtained through rough or coercive interrogations. They would not be guaranteed a public or speedy trial and would lack the right to choose their military counsel, who in turn would not be guaranteed equal access to evidence held by prosecutors.

Detainees would also not be guaranteed the right to be present at their own trials, if their absence is deemed necessary to protect national security or individuals.

John D. Hutson, the Navy's top uniformed lawyer from 1997 to 2000, said the rules would evidently allow the government to tell a prisoner: ‘We know you're guilty. We can't tell you why, but there's a guy, we can't tell you who, who told us something. We can't tell you what, but you're guilty.’”

(This is the Navy’s top lawyer for the last three years of the Clinton administration.)

“Bruce Fein, an associate deputy attorney general during the Reagan administration, said after reviewing the leaked draft that "the theme of the government seems to be 'They are guilty anyway, and therefore due process can be slighted.' " With these procedures, Fein said, "there is a real danger of getting a wrong verdict" that would let a lower-echelon detainee "rot for 30 years" at Guantanamo Bay because of evidence contrived by personal enemies.”
“…Administration officials have said that the exceptional trial procedures are warranted because the fight against terrorism requires heavy reliance on classified information…”

They can even prosecute you for hearsay obtained under torture.

Is this the end of democracy in the United States?

If you’re a peace activist, this story must give you pause, because permanent brand new prisons are already opening Guantanamo Bay, just for people like you.

From the UK Independent, July 30th:
“Camp 6, a state-of-the-art maximum-security jail built by a Halliburton subsidiary, will be able to hold 200 prisoners. Commander Robert Durand, a spokesman for Joint Task Force Guantanamo, said the $30m, two-story block was due to open at the end of September. He added: ‘Camp 6 is designed to improve the quality of life for the detainees and provide greater protection for the people working in the facility.’”

Welcome to Gitmo, Americans!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

“Kill! Kill! Kill!” (the civilians)

According to the mainstream news, the timeline for the current mid-east crisis began with Hezbolla kidnapping two Israeli soldiers on June 12th. What they fail to mention is that a few days earlier, on June 9th, an Israeli artillery shell slammed into a crowded beach in the northern Gaza Strip, killing seven members of a Palestinian family, including a baby boy who relatives said was ripped from his mother's arms by the blast. You may remember the video of the nine-year-old girl screaming hysterically on the beach where her whole family had been killed. Video (not for the faint of heart)

The Israeli military apologized for the civilian deaths. The killings prompted some Hamas leaders to call for the renewal of all-out attacks on Israel and an end to a yearlong truce. This was the event that lead to the kidnappings, although no one reports it.

On Wednesday, the 26th of July, Israel started bombing in the area of a UN post in Lebanon. Peacekeepers frantically called the Israeli military, pleading with them that there were no Hezbolla there, and to stop the bombing in the area, otherwise they would be killed. After repeated pleas, 6 hours later, 4 UN peacekeepers were killed.

On Sunday, July 30th, Israel bombed the villiage of Qana in Southern Lebanon, where innocent civilians were taking shelter from the bombings. After 60 civilian deaths, (including 37 children - This photo was seen in "Arab World") Israel was forced to admit that there were no there, and no rockets were being launched from the villiage.

Dozens of members of the Hashem and Chalhoub families had sought refuge in an unfinished house about 10 days ago, thinking it was safe.

Masen Hashem, a 30-year-old construction worker from Qana who lost several family members in the air strike on the shelter said, "When Hezbollah fires their rockets, everyone runs away because they know an Israeli bombardment will come soon… That is why everyone stayed in the shelter and nearby homes, because we all thought we'd be all right since there were no Hezbollah fighters in Qana."

The San Fransico Chronicle reported the deaths of the children: “The tiny, lifeless bodies were laid out in a row on a black straw sheet in the concrete courtyard of the Tyre Government Hospital. Twenty-one of them, all still in the pajamas they were wearing before two Israeli bombs tore through Ali Hashem's home in this southern Lebanese village early Sunday. Dozens of members of the Hashem and Chalhoub families had sought refuge in the unfinished house about 10 days ago, thinking it was safe. Only eight survived.

The Lebanese Red Cross in Tyre was called from Qana pleading for rescue assistance at 5 am on the morning of the Israeli strike. Kassem Shaulan, a 28-year-old medic who responded to the call, said, "Immediately after we got the call we took three ambulances and headed to Qana," he said. "But three bombs nearly hit our first ambulance, so we turned back."

They attempted to head out to Qana a second time, but again their ambulances were attacked, and they returned to base.

If this war wasn’t disgusting enough – attacking Red Cross workers, and UN peacekeepers, the freaks in the right wing media are now either denying, or cheerleading the killing of civilians.

On Monday, July 31st, on The O’Reilly Factor, Michelle Malkin said anger in the Arab world about the tragedy at Qana — where at least 56 innocent civilians, including 37 children, were killed — was “manufactured.” Malkin called it “the jihad du jour” that “members of the religion of perpetual outrage are always ginning up.” She added, “If it’s not Qana, it’s something else. … It’s Gitmo, Abu Ghraib. It’s beauty pageants.”

O’REILLY: Then why — why doesn’t the rest of the world accept your analysis?
MALKIN: Because they are intoxicated. They are clouded by this moral equivalence that has set in over the world for the past several decades. And I think it behooves us to fight against that, to claw against that.
Because the manufactured outrage that Qana is not really about the deaths at Qana; it is something about much larger. It is about the jihad du jour that these — that members of the religion of perpetual outrage are always ginning up. I mean, if it’s not Qana, it’s something else.
O’REILLY: No, I got it. I got it. I got it.
MALKIN: It’s Gitmo, Abu Ghraib. It’s beauty pageants.

While Malkin was busy denying Qana ever happened, conservative talk show host Michael Savage was taunting Israel like a petulant child. “You’re gonna lose! You’re gonna lose!”

MICHAEL SAVAGE: “They’re (the Israeli’s) going to lose. It’s a simple as that – the same way we are losing in Iraq – They’re going to lose in Lebanon in the big picture now. I don’t mean in the short term. In the long term, the only thing that can make a difference is a devastating catastrophic overwhelming victory for the Israelis – where nothing is left living in Southern Lebanon south of the Litani River.”

This “kill them all” idea appealed to Rush Limbaugh, so he started saying the same thing, “the civilians must pay.”

RUSH: "Until civilians — frankly, I’m not sure how many of them are actually just innocent little civilians running around versus active Hezbo types, particularly the men — but until those civilians start paying a price for propping up these kinds of regimes, it’s not going to end, folks. What do you mean, civilians start paying a price? I just ask you to consult history for the answer to that.

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann awarded Rush with his "worst person" award (video) because his statements eerily echo another commentator’s sentiments about civilian deaths, as well.

“The American people are not exonerated from responsibility, because they chose this government and voted for it, despite their knowledge of it’s crimes.” - Osama bin Laden

Rush Limbaugh. Following the logic and ethics of Osama bin Laden

Meanwhile, the other terrorist, George W. Bush, despite unanimous international pressure to call for a cease fire, refused to do so, set conditions and refused to negotiate unless they were met.

This is all about George Bush wanting to attack Iran. He’s wanted to do that since last March. That’s what the wanting to set off a couple of kilotons of explosives in Nevada was about - the “Divine Strake” test. But he just doesn’t have the political capitol to do that. He has to come up with a way. His way is to keep up the bombing going as long as possible, hoping that Iran or Syria will break their restraint and attack Israel. He wants to attack Iran, and be able to do it with nukes, so he’s using Israel as his cat’s paw, and this was all set up from the beginning. He wants to push Israel to really screw up with things like this killing of the children in Qana, in order to hype up the leadership in Iran and Damascus, so that they will attack Israel, and he can back up Israel, with some kind of attack in Iran.

When that happens, everyone’s going to forget all about this lead-up, this precursor, because America has a very short attention span. Once this war happens they’ll forget that this all started when they killed a family in Gaza, and then everything started spinning out of control, and Bush is helping the spin. He said this in the Port of Miami:

"Iran must end its financial support and supply of weapons to terrorist groups like Hezbollah. Syria must end its support for terror and respect the sovereignty of Lebanon."

What Bush fails to mention is that the US is funding the Israeli military 100%, and conspiring with them to widen the war.

"As we work with friends and allies, it's important to remember this crisis began with Hezbollah's unprovoked attacks against Israel. Israel is exercising its right to defend itself," he lied, because he doesn't have any friends or allies.

"We mourn the loss of innocent life, both in Lebanon and Israel," he lied again.

Bush doesn’t mourn any death, because he is a sick, twisted killer. He won’t be happy until he is raptured up after the Armageddon he is hoping will happen.

Iran and Syria have shown great restraint so far, but if they don’t join in, the Bush administration might have a their own little plan for a 9/11 in Israel with, say, a very small tactical Soviet made nuke that they might have gotten from one of their former Soviet bloc friends around Afghanistan.

I know it's horrible to think about, but think of a small Soviet nuke going off in Israel. That’s going to set Russia back on its heels, saying “We had NOTHING to do with this.” It’ll make China stop and say, “What the HECK is going on?” Because that’s what they always do when something like this happens. It’ll give him 36 hours, then

Tehran glows in the dark.

I hope I’m wrong, but unless someone can tell me I’m absolutely wrong, I’m going to have trouble sleeping at night.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

We Are Family

I used to be an angry young man, but our American and world family is falling apart - becoming dysfunctional. When I see the urgency of the crisis, I grow up quick and learn the necessity of doing something to hold it together. I learn that I have to talk to and negotiate with my brother or sister - even if they don't want to talk to me. I will love and stick by them unconditionally. I will forgive them, even if they make a mistake and do something that harms themselves and others in the family, like picking a fight, or voting against their own best interest, even if it takes years to clean up the mess.

Our father that doesn't want us to fight, and we have to recognize that he loves all his children equally. The same goes for our Father in heaven. "Jesus loves all his children." It isn't that "Jesus loves me, but he can't stand you," or "Jesus loves all his children, but he'll annihilate some." I love everyone in my family, because I am a liberal. Jesus was a liberal.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Ethics of Stem Cell Research

President Bush issued the first veto of his presidency on Wednesday, rejecting a bill that would have supported embryonic stem cell research. The bill passed the senate by an overwhelming margin, but just a few votes short of overriding the veto. No matter how you feel about the issue, you have to give the Bush team credit for arranging an amazing photo-op for the announcement.
President Bush surrounded by a gaggle of “snowflake babies.” (in-vitro babies developed from frozen embryos) Bush said, “Each of the children was adopted while still an embryo, and has been blessed with a chance to grow up in a loving family. These boys and girls are not spare parts.”

The scientists of the world who understand embryonic stem cell research, regardless of their religious point of view, understand that this avenue of research is holds enormous potential to treat and cure some of the most brutal diseases and injuries that have afflicted mankind - Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, strokes, spinal cord injuries, and millions more.

Because of in-vitro fertilization clinics, we have hundreds and thousands of surplus embryos, most of which will be autoclaved (incinerated). The ethical question is: is the potential to prevent human suffering and death from these embryos worth the fact that they are destroyed in the process of harvesting the stem cells from them. These are blastocysts, embryos that have only been able to develop for a few days, not larger than the period on the end of this sentence.

The bottom line is that physicians, with regard to the spiritual position of the fertilized egg, are religious decisions, and they belong in the religious domain, and the President and the Congress ought to be about allowing individuals to make those decisions for themselves, and not imposing their religious views, or the religious views of some narrow part of their constituency on the nation as a whole. Accepting this narrow belief based on the premise that life begins at conception would make God Himself the greatest abortionist of all, since 80% of fertilized eggs fail to implant in the mother's uterus and are flushed out during the menstrual cycle.

There was a very strong vote in the Senate and the House supporting stem cell research, and the tide is running very strongly in it’s favor. What is most critical is that some members of congress who have records that are 100% anti-abortion, chose to break away from the line which the anti-abortion groups wanted them to do, and decided that they could not make the ethical decision not to use this research to cure terrible diseases. I am sure that in the next administration, this issue will certainly come up, and I think it is very probable that whoever the next president is, would in fact sign, and not veto this kind of legislation for mere political reasons.

Reporters asked Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, about the president’s veto:

QUESTION: Can you remind us why the president believes that it is not appropriate to use — that it would be more appropriate for stem cells to be thrown away than to be used in this case for medical research?
SNOW: I don’t think that’s the choice that the president is presented. What the president has said is that he doesn’t want human life destroyed. Now, you may consider that insignificant. But the president has said. And you have had in a number of cases the snowflake babies where some of those fetuses have in fact been brought to term and have become human beings. The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it’s inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder. He’s one of them. Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that this government did make available already existing lines — to get back to your question — there were existing lines. The most recent figures we have are 2004. But 85 percent of all the embryonic stem cell research on Earth was conducted using those lines. There is nothing that makes embryonic stem cell research illegal. It simply says that the federal government will not finance it. As you know, there are ongoing efforts in some states, including, I think, California and Massachusetts, to use state money for it. And I dare say if people think that there’s a market for it, they’re going to support it handsomely. The simple answer is he thinks murder’s wrong. And he has said.

Basically, what ex-Fox news anchor Tony Snow “White” is saying, is that the federal government will not finance stem cell research, because the President says its murder. But the President doesn’t have a problem with the corporations committing it. The result is that corporate CEO’s get richer, at the expense of the poor, who will no longer be able to afford this kind of treatment. Why doesn’t he arrest all the CEO’s of those companies for murder? The answer is that he doesn’t care about the ethics of this issue.

Under the Bush administration, government and corporate interests have merged. Snow talks about the states possibly funding the research, but we are no longer the United States of America. We are the United Corporations of America, which is one of the prominent characteristics of fascism. In fact, the original name for the fascism as defined by Mussolini was “corporatism.”

According to Dr. Lawrence Britt, of Princeton University, one of the 14 characteristics of fascism is:

9. Corporate Power is Protected
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

This explains the quid pro quo lobbying (bribery), corruption, and cronyism that so out of control in this current administration. In addition to cutting governmental funding for everything by turning all agencies over to private corporations (which has resulted in the outsourcing of all our good jobs to other countries), now scientists will be leaving the United States in droves to continue this research overseas.

The President talks a good game about ethics and morality, but not at the expense of his corporate buddies. He’ll veto the first bill of his entire presidency. (The reason he hasn’t vetoed anything, is because he has put “signing statements” into the hundreds of bills that he has signed, saying that he doesn’t have to obey that law if he doesn’t want to. That is called a fascist dictatorship) He’ll get up in the middle of the night on a Saturday when he’s on vacation to sign a bill to prevent the legal guardian from fulfilling the wishes of his brain dead spouse to die in peace, but he’ll stay on vacation for three days before flying over and waving to the Katrina victims, dying by the thousands. He vetoed a bill that would help prevent disease and death, because he wants to appeal to the most extreme of his right wing base, so that his party can stay in power. He says stem cell research is murder, but he doesn’t mind if the corporations do it. And when the children are all grown up, at 18 he doesn’t mind shipping them off to war to become victims of the military-industrial-complex. War and death is good business, and good politics. How is that “pro-life”?

Here is a good analogy that can help you decide on this moral issue. Put yourself in this man's shoes. This is from a father of a child who had a genetic disease that could be passed on to his child. He knew he couldn’t be helped by this kind of research, but he had hope that his two-year-old daughter (who could potentially develop the same disease) could be helped in the future.

He said, “Say a house is on fire. There are two things in the house. There is a frozen blastocyst that is going to be destroyed anyway, and a two-year-old girl. Which one would you save?”

Friday, July 21, 2006

My fellow Americans: Don’t let them frighten you into submission

FDR once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Three months ago, I wrote (“My fellow Americans: We cannot bomb Iran to peace,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, April 17) because KQV did a poll in which 57% of Pittsburghers said they would approve using nuclear weapons against Iran.

We were afraid then. We are even more afraid now, because the right wing media machine is in overdrive. Their motto is “The only thing we have to sell is fear itself.” For example, Rush Limbaugh recently called the Israeli/Lebanese conflict, a “gift to the world.” This is "finally" our chance to go after Iran. As he puts it, there will be no peace until one side finally defeats the other completely. In his evil mind, peace means bombing and mass murder. Peace indeed… of the graveyard.

The right wing media hacks are not the only ones serving up the death. Republicans have decided what's on their mid-term menu. Start with an appitizer of anti-pasta: Anti flag-burning/gay/brown people/stem cell research for the next couple months, then on to the main course of WWIII rhetoric, with an unhealthy side of fear. On July 15th, the head chef, Newt Gingrich announced the Republican entrée that is guarananteed to make you a a repeat customer. He said that public opinion can change "the minute you use the language" of World War III. The message then, he said, is, "OK, if we're in the third world war, which side do you think should win?"

The rapture right is salivating right now. If you think that is disgusting, the dessert is a decadent “Using war to stay in power” sundae.

Americans: We cannot let these war pigs force fear mongering down our throats.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The shit heard 'round the world

I was watching Headline News this morning to see what was going on in the Middle East, and I was embarrassed to hear an uncensored clip of a conversation between George W. Bush and Prime Minister Blair at the G-8 summit.

Bush said, “see the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over”

First of all, who is "they"? The leaders of the free world? Uh, that would be you, Mr. President.

The other day, he was up there with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a G-8 press conference and all he could do was keep talking about how he was looking forward to dinner, and "slicing up the pig". A reporter asked him a very serious question about violence in the Middle East, and the standoff in Iran, and Bush said, "I thought you were going to ask about the pig!" Ha ha ha! He's up there doing schtick. What a hayseed.

But wait. The embarrassment didn't end there. At the dinner event, Bush felt compelled to sneak up behind Chancellor Merkel and give her a quick massage. Merkel is a woman of power and Bush finds that kind of exciting. So he makes his move, but he does it in a kind of distracted way, because if he's shot down, he can pretend it never really happened. And boy, did he get SHOT down. She threw up her arms like a move that she learned in a date rape class. Like, "Get your hands OFF me, you filthy manimal!" I have never seen such a look of contempt and disgust on a woman's face. But the real beauty of it was the Forrest Gump look on Bush's face right afterward. "Stupid is as stupid does." It's a new low for him. I think you could find a more intelligent, mature person at a junior high kegger. This is our President, people, and the whole world is laughing at us.

Here's the thing, there is so much shit happening in the world, but Bush passed decency legislation to increase the fines to $325,000 per person, per incident, even if a listener says a "bad word" that slips by the dump button by mistake. No one can afford that. That’s almost a year’s salary for the President of the United States! During the short 90 days congress is in session, they are busy with the decency bill, and anti-gay marriage amendment, anti-brown people bills, and anti-flag burning amendments. The whole world is burning, and this idiot wants a flag burning amendment. It's O.K. when he says shit, but when anyone else does it, they get a fine. Meanwhile the whole world is in the toilet.

You know the legend of King Midas? Everything he touched turned to gold? Bush is the anti-Midas. Everything he touches turns to shit - health care, the environment, the economy, the military, the gulf coast. He has even turned religion into shit by hijacking Jesus into the Republican Party. Now Jesus is pro-war, pro-rich, and pro-Republican!

Here's what I think the punishment should be: every time the President swears, he should put a hundred billion dollars in the swear jar - that way we could pay for the war he started. MSNBC should pay more too, because the hate that comes out of Headline News’ Glenn Beck’s mouth is way more obscene than “shit”.

Maybe if we complain enough, we can get the FCC to do something about this.

You can contact the FCC at the their website,, and fill out the FCC Form 475B, the Obscene, Profane, and/or Indecent Material Complaint Form. Tell them when, (aprox. 9:00am et) where (HNN), and what the President said, (see transcript above) how it wasn’t bleeped, and how the transcript was right on the screen spelled out so you could read it. Then you say something like “My nine year old is now running around saying ‘shit, shit, shit’, and when I tell him to stop, he says, ‘If the President can say shit, then so can I.’”

The definition of insanity

Benjamin Franklin said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." For decades, the Israelis have been applying the tactic of 10,000 eyes for an eye – a massively disproportionate retaliation to every provocative act of resistance attempted by the Palestinians, expecting every time that this would bring peace and security to all the people of the Holy Land. Every single time they have done this, it has backfired. Every single time. It does not intimidate or deter the Palestinians, and it never will. It hardens their determination to resist and to defy.

The United States, being a closely allied to Israel, has a similarly insane policy. Birds of feather, flock together. “Stay the course” – doing the same thing over and over and over again. In Iraq, our soldiers are sent into a village they think the insurgents are, and destroy it. The people who remain alive in the village are very bitter about the loss of their homes and loved ones. They, in turn, become insurgents, and other outside insurgents come back to the same village to join them, and then they have to do the same thing all over again. This process of repetition simply creates more, and more, and more terrorists. There were no terrorists in Iraq before we got there.

In 2002, Dick Cheney predicted, “Regime change in Iraq would bring about a number of benefits to the region. Extremists in the region would have to rethink their strategy of Jihad. Moderates in the region could take heart, and our ability to advance the Palestinian/Israeli peace process would be enhanced.”

So, how’s that working out for you, Dick?

If you are an intelligent and sensitive human being, you learn from your past mistakes and you make a rational decision to try something different. The Israeli leadership for all these many generations and the Bush administration since 9/11 have been incapable of performing that really rather simple mental and moral exercise.

It's astonishingly painful and upsetting to see this go on again and again and again and again and again. The situation between the Israelis and Palestinians has been going on my entire conscious life, and has been one of absolute pain, suffering, terror, death, destruction, and an ultimate flash point for God knows what kind of confrontation, among what nations, and what regions of the world that would begin right there. During the Cold War, or course, the United States and the Soviet Union played Arab against Jew and Jew against Arab over and over and over again. So here we are.

The US has not joined with other countries call on the Israelis for a ceasefire, because it doesn’t believe in negations. The way all wars have been settled in the past has been through negotiations, and the process may be messy, but the crisis is even messier. The man Bush choose to represent the United States at the UN, says Israel “has a right to defend itself”, and condemns Syria and Lebanon. Unfortunately, John Bolton’s philosophy is “do what’s in the interest of the US, and screw everybody else.” What he doesn’t realize in his mustachioed Cro-Magnon skull, is that it is not in our best interest to wage war, and divide other countries against each other with machiavellian politics.

Yesterday, eight Canadians died in Lebanon, a Lebanese-Canadian couple, their four children, his mother and an uncle, said relatives in Montreal. Asked to comment on the deaths in an Israeli air strike of eight Canadian citizens in southern Lebanon Sunday, here is what our "diplomat" said: "it is a matter of great concern to us ...that these civilian deaths are occurring. It's a tragedy."

"I think it would be a mistake to ascribe moral equivalence to civilians who die as the direct result of malicious terrorist acts," he added, while defending as "self-defense" Israel's military action, which has had "the tragic and unfortunate consequence of civilian deaths".

In other words, Lebanon civilian deaths are morally not same as terror victims. That's good diplomacy - to tell Lebanese civilians (who want nothing to do with any of this, they are simply caught in the middle) that their deaths do not count as much as Israeli deaths.

John Bolton and the chicken hawks WANT WWIII. That's why they’re talking like this. Every one of them is saying we are already in WWIII. It’s like a freak show, - Newt Gingrich, Neil Cavuto, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh. What’s so freaky about it? They all talk out of the same mouth. Wow! Hey mom, give me a dollar! I want to go to the carnival freak show! Rush says that getting rid of the Mulahs in Iran is a great opportunity. Bombing and killing is a great opportunity.

They all talk like this because it’s good for the Republicans in November. If they can make the WWIII the national issue, then it won't matter how much the Republicans screwed up this country, Americans will be scared to death, and they vote for them in again because of the “security issue”. They will destroy the whole world as long as they can use the war to stay in power, and at the same time make money through the military industrial complex. Here is the Republican motto in the midterms: "The only thing we have to USE is fear itself," which is of course, exactly the opposite of FDR's famous saying. Bolton is worried, because after the midterms, his recess job appointment comes up for assessment again, and if the Democrats take the Senate he will be handed a pink slip. Even if Democrats don't take the senate, he could be gone, because he's such an asshole, even the current senate rejected him, that why Bush put him in on recess. You can always count on Bush to get the best man for the job. "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie!"

Encouraging and supporting Israel in a bloody confrontation with Hezbollah in Lebanon may seem to be a justified and reasonable action in the shortest of terms and from the narrowest of perspectives, but the United States of America is not Israel, and we have regional and global interests and responsibilities that far surpass those of this one small ally. This reactionary small mindedness will not serve America, or the world in the long run.

It doesn’t matter “who started it”. If you take land and houses and personal freedoms away from individuals, and if you systematically deprive a whole people of dignity and national identity, they do not forgive or forget their deep sense of injury, deprivation and injustice. Giving them a thorough beating at regular intervals, or endlessly frustrating their hopes of enjoying the benefits of political self-determination and economic prosperity, does not diminish their personal bitterness of alleviate their collective hunger for revenge and restitution. That point should be beyond debate, in my opinion.

Open confrontation of Hezbollah by the United States, allied with Israel, will have a powerful impact on the Iranian people, as well. Argue, if you will, that Iran is a known supporter of Hezbollah and Hamas, and thus of international terrorism. That is a reality that none can deny. But let's look beyond Bolton's bully national self interest and look at long term, not just for the United States, but for the world. prioritize. It is the people of Iraq and Iran on whom we depend not just for "regime change" in the short term, but for peace and stability (and resistance to terrorism) throughout the region in the decades ahead. It is the people of those countries whose trust and respect we must win. We don't do that by threatening to nuke them, forcing our brand of democracy on them, putting them out of work, insulting their leaders, refusing to negotiate, etc., etc.. It is the trust and respect of those people that we have lost --- to a significant extent because we are identified in their minds with the narrow interests of Israel. Why is that so difficult for Americans to understand?

The national philosophy of Israel and the United States (it is really deeper and more significant that just a military tactic) that underlies this devotion to pre-emptive war, massive over-reaction, and particularly its corollary, collective punishment, is obviously and demonstrably foolish and futile. It doesn’t deter enemies, and it never will. It simply creates more enemies.

The philosophy is complicated by the misinterpretation of religion, claiming that this or that tract of land was given by God to a certain group of people. That conclusion is false. We don’t have any rights to God’s property. If we claim any rights, then we are thieves – even if we do so in the name of our religion.

As Prabhupada said in “The Peace Formula”: “The great mistake of modern civilization is to encroach upon other’s property as though it were one’s own and to thereby create an unnecessary disturbance of the laws of nature…This earth is, therefore, the property of God, but we, the living entities, especially the so-called civilized human beings, are claiming God’s property as our own, under both and individual and collective false conception. If you want peace, you have to remove this false conception from your mind and from the world. This false claim of proprietorship by the human race on earth is partly or wholly the cause of all disturbances of foolish and so-called civilized men who are claiming proprietary rights on the property of God because they have now become godless… In the Bhagavad-gita, the holy book of India, Lord Krishna delineates the peace formula. He says that He is the factual enjoyer of all activities of the living entities, that He is the Supreme Lord of all universes, and that He is the well-wishing friend of all beings. When the people of the world know this as the formula for peace, it is then and there that peace will prevail.”