Friday, August 1, 2008

Preserving the Planet

More than four months have passed since I last posted to this blog. I have not been idle however. What I have been doing is re-evaluating my goals in life. While good and honest politics is a worthwhile pursuit, what good will it do if our planet can no longer support life? A strong economy will also be worthless. Nothing much will matter if we are all crispy critters or frozen in an ice berg. It is with that in mind that I have decided to make the earth my passion. I feel strongly that we have little time to turn around the direction in which we have chosen to take our environment. Henceforth I will be discussing this issue in this forum. I am hoping to hear from others about what they are doing to help.

The other thing I have become rather focused on is inner peace. Sounds silly doesn't it but image a world where everyone is at peace with themselves and others. We could live in harmony with nature. Perhaps we might even stop killing each other.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mankind Loosed, author Unknown

I have died in Viet Nam but I have walked the face of the moon.
I have befouled the waters and tainted the air of a magnificent land but I have made it safe from disease.
I have flown through the sky faster than the sun but I have idled in streets made ugly with traffic.
I have littered the land with garbage but I have built upon it 100 million homes.
I have divided schools with my prejudice but I have sent armies to unite them.
I have beat down my enemies with clubs but I have built courtrooms to keep them free.
I have built a bomb to destroy the world but I have used it to light a light.
I have outraged my brothers in the alleys of the ghettos but I have transplanted a human heart.
I have scribbled out filth and pornography but I have elevated the philosophy of man.
I have watched children starve from my golden towers but I have fed half the earth.
I was raised in a grotesque slum but I am surfeited by the silver spoon of opulence.
I live in the greatest country in the world in the greatest time in history but I scorn the ground I stand upon.
I am ashamed but I am proud. I am an American.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Jackel, The Hyenia, or The Devil

Jackels are known scavengers. They prefer not to hunt but will steal a kill from a predator at any chance. They are opportunitistic and will kill if they are forced to. Mostly they like to come upon remains left by others. Jackels usually operate in packs and have been known to eat their own.

The Hyenia, though thought of as a scavenger is truly a capable hunter. They have the strongest jaws in the angimal kingdom and can crush a bone effortlessly. They too like to steal someone elses kill but will hunt efficiently. The Hyenia is truly formidable. Like the Jackel, they will eat their own.

The Devil needs no description. The Devil is capable of any evil and is quite creative at causing pain and destruction. The Devil will devour your very soul or take charge of it, which ever happens to suit him. Of course the Devil is only symbolic of the evil of which man is capable.

We come now to Hillary, Obama, McCain. McCain as we all know, is openly and clearly a war mongering, dottering old man who never quite made it to his goal in life. That goal is not quite clear to me but I am sure it goes along with misery and strife. McCain wants to bomb Iran and keep our combat troops in Iraq for hmmm maybe 100 years. He is very open about that. Hillary and Obama on the other hand
want to take combat troops out of Iraq. The operative word here is *combat*. This does not mean we will re-deploy all of our troops. Just our combat troops, leaving behind, Blackwater and other contractors as well as troops to guard our precious installations in Iraq. Obama is also in favor of this plan. He is also in favor of sending troops to Pakistan to continue the war on terror.

The Iraqis do not want us there. They do not want Blackwater, Dyncorp, CACI or any of the rest. They do not want US troops in their country. Geeze, who would? Do Obama and Hillary think for one moment that there will not be aggression under those circumstances? Do they really believe that the Iraqis will not continue to kill and be killed? Give me a break.

McCain is clearly insane so I can sort of overlook his ideas and hope that enough American voters are not in favor of them to keep him out of the White House.

Hillary and Obama on the other hand manage to sound reasonable. Scary! Obama has scooped up the remains of the progressive movement and with his pretty words, has managed to pick up a great deal of momentum. Hillary got the left overs but believe this, Hillary is a formidable enemy. She has shown herself for what she is. The hunter with powerful jaws.

It is a sad day indeed when good men like Dennis Kucinich, Chris Dodd, John Edwards have fallen away leaving us a Jackel, a Hyenia and a Devil.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Breaking the Bars

The word is out, 1 in 100 Americans is in jail or prison. If you think that does not sound so bad, consider this; 1 in 15 African American males is among them. Think about the implications here. Is it because they have a criminal nature? Of course not. I suspect they have less opportunities is this great country of ours and there comes a time when ya gotta do what ya gotta do to survive. Just one more reason for us to speak out against racism and promote a good system of education.

Education, the magic word. I was entertained when a friend of mine e-mailed me a Citizen Quiz. I scored well and had fun with it. However, I was surprised and appalled at the averge score. The other thing of notice was that younger people had the worst scores and they went up with the ages of the participants. Does this mean our schools are failing? Why yes, of course. Thank You Ronald Reagan.

Thanks to the years of GOP rule, we now have lousey schools. Our schools don't even teach civics classes anymore. Remember civics classes? I hated them but now I am so glad we had them. We had to bring in a newpaper article of interest to read and share with the class, then we would discuss it. I learned a lot from those classes. I often wonder if todays adults could do that.

Not that the newspapers tell us much anymore, but kids need to learn to explore for facts and reading the newspaper is a good start, especially if the article is discussed with others.

I encourage parents of school age children to push for more current events and civics classes so our next generation can be more knowlegable then the present one. We need to raise a generation of world citizens. Today is a good day to start.

Friday, February 22, 2008

An Open Letter to Bush

George, Sorry I cannot call you Mr. President for you are not now nor were you ever my president. I cannot call you Mr. Bush since that implies respect. George, the point is I have no repect for you. I certainly cannot say *dear* George. Eeeewww. There is nothing dear about you.

Here is the way I see you. I see you as selfish, spoiled, inarticulate, uncaring and actually evil, pompus ass. Yep, you might be the spawn of satan for all I know. I read once that L Ron Hubbard and Alister Crowley tried to create a "Moon Child", a wicked female, the embodiment of evil. Then I read somewhere else that your gradmother may have had an affair with Crowley. Maybe they get everything right and it is your momma. I am not making any of this up. I really did read it. Wow what would that make you? Gotta think on that one.

The point is that in 7 years, you, with the help of other evil men like you, have managed to undo so much good. You have taken us back in time to a place that many have worked hard to make right. We have moved back to racism, genocide, poverty, male chavanism, disease and strife the likes of which I never dreamed we would see again. Not only that, you have taken the hope of the world away. In addition, you are a never ending embarrassment to the American people. You sure inherited the blunder gene from your momma.

People struggle to keep the wolf from the door, George. Do you even notice? I suppose not. It does not effect you. It does effect the whole world though. What must it be like to be you? I cannot imagine it. Yes, you could be the spawn of satan all right.

You and your buddy Rumsfeld, the other sadist (yes, you are a sadist, always have been) have turned our country into a country of aggressors who are not happy with killing and ravaging others but now it is your pleasure to torture them too. George, do you believe in Karma at all? I know you think you are going to heaven but I have news for you. There is no such place and if there was, you would not be welcomed there. Make no mistake, you may have made yourself above man's laws but you can never be above the laws of the universe. Karma gonna git ya georgie. I hope I live to see it.

So George, you have everything you want now. Americans are losing rights on a daily basis. We are being spied on in our own homes, we fear our government. We are suspicious of each other. We are becoming more impoverished by the day. You have your gulags built and ready for us, fancy schmancy weaponry designed to control us, FBI data bases to find us and a plan. When will you make your move? Are you going to keep us in suspense much longer. I know you have something on the back burner there. When do you get to say, "Mission Accomplished"?

I have met the enemy and it is the FBI

Safe Citizens
By Jennifer Cecere

We’ve a new microchip Citizen
Just a little stick right here and it’s in.
Now we can track you were you go,
Because we really need to know,
What you are up to every day Citizen.

Got a new ID card too Citizen.
It protects from ID theft Citizen.
And you can board a plane or bus,
Without avoiding us
We’ll all be safer this way Citizen.

We can scan your iris too Citizen
If your eyes are brown or blue Citizen
Learn your allergies, blood type,
With a simple little swipe.
We need to know these things Citizen.

If a hurricane should strike you Citizen,
We’ll be there to check your ID Citizen.
In the case that you should drown,
We’ll be there to track you down,
And identify your body Citizen

Yes, we always need to know Citizen,
Where you are and what you do Citizen.
If you’re a liability,
Singing people should be free.
We will find you anywhere Citizen.

There are places for your ilk, Citizen,
Recently constructed, please don’t grin.
This is a very serious matter,
You must comply without this chatter.
Don’t forget we’re watching you Citizen!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Are We All Demented?

Americans seem to forget very quickly. Is it something in the water? Is it dietary? What is wrong with the American memory?

Say out there, remember when we voted on paper ballots that were counted by real people?

Remember what happened in Florida in 2000? Ohio in 2004?

Remember the surplus of money in the government coffers in 2000? Geeze Dubya could not spend that fast enough. Remember that?

I seem to recall complaining about gas being $1.50 a gallon back then. Do you? Strange how Exxon has record profits quarter after quarter and now we pay twice as much for a gallon of gas. Hello!

Remember having a job? Insurance? I remember paying $10 a month for my insurance plan. I pay more than that for medicare now.

Remember that fateful day when Dubya invaded a soverign nation that was no threat to anyone anywhere without a declaration of war? Geeze Saddam had been pretty much been rendered impotent in 1990. His army was wrecked, his airforce non-existant, yet Bush felt the need for shock and awe. His wreckless disregard for innocent lives is so difficult for me to wrap my mind around.

Remember Afghanistan?

Remember the 4,000 dead Americans? The hundreds of thousands with missing limbs, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Yes, Americans are demented, they can't remember shit.

I remember when I could put my money in the bank and not worry about it being frozen because my government did not approve of what I said.

I remember when I could go to a demonstration and not worry about being beaten up or attacked with noxious chemicals.

I remember being certain that a warrant was required before the police could enter my home. Now they can enter it at will even if I am not there. They can burst into my home in full riot gear and kill me with impunity.

I recall when I could borrow a book from the library without anyone caring about it.

I remember Enron, Kenny Boy Lay, Bushes buddy. Remember him? Yeah, good old Kenny Boy. They say he died. I say he is in a warm sunny clime drinking something tall and cool. He had to be dead so wifey could keep all that money. I am sure she provides his every whim with it.

I even remember when I was not spied on. I could talk on the phone without concern about being overheard. Americans have not been spied on since Nixon. Nixon, you will recall was impeached. So, what happened? Why are the criminals in charge not being impeached?

Do you remember the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the signing statements?

Remember this folks, when you go to the polls to vote, assuming you will not forget, that there is not a Republican alive who will not carry on the BushCo tradition.

And by the way, bet you remember Monica Lewinsky just fine.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who Is Thom Hartmann?

Thom Hartmann, radio talk show host, author, counselor, whore.

I have been listening to Mr. Hartmann and reading his books for several years. He has been informative, tolerant and pleasant.

Thom was a big fan of John Edwards. I never understood why he, who states he is progressive, never supported Kucinich. Instead he supported Edwards. Now, Edwards is a good man, no doubt about it but come on, he was not the MOST progressive of the candidates. But, I digress. Thom pushed Edwards down our progressive throats ad nauseum. Now that Edwards has withdrawn his bid for the presidency, I expected some sense of sorrow from Thom. Instead, he has immediately and without missing a beat become the fan of Obama. He is a whore, he goes the way the wind blows and I have lost a good deal of respect for the guy as of today.

I am looking for an honest man. Can't find one anywhere. How depressing.

Meanwhile, GW Bush is setting things up nicely for the next despot. He has even taken the power of congress to impeach away. That is another story.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Mighty Little Man

Dennis Kucinich ... In his own words

This campaign began more than a year ago when I saw that leaders in
Washington, many in my own party, were intent on continuing a war, a
war that has cost the lives of more than 4,000 of our brave young men
and women and 1 million innocent Iraqis. A war that will cost this
nation 2 trillion dollars and a war that has already cost our
Cleveland community over a billion dollars.

At the same time, I saw that the American economy was headed for
serious trouble. People were losing their jobs, their health care,
their homes, their retirement security. Not just here in Cleveland,
but all across the country. And the solutions to those problems don't
reside here in Cleveland. They were created and facilitated by people
and policies in Washington D.C. – in the White House, in the U.S.
Congress – and on Wall Street.

That's why I ran for President in the first place: to give those
issues the national attention they deserved and to do my best to win
the nomination and bring a totally new perspective and a totally new
direction to the Office of President of the United States of America.

I deeply and sincerely believe that we fought the good fight – in
large part because of the support from all of you here and from
hundreds of thousands of people just like you all across this country.
I stood strong because you gave me strength. I spoke out because your
voices needed and deserved to be heard. And I told the truth, no
matter how unpopular or inconvenient, because, no matter how long it
takes, the truth really will set us free.

I won't be President, but I can continue to fight for these important
issues as a Congressman, representing the community that is first in
my heart, Cleveland, Ohio: issues like the economic rights of people,
jobs for all, health care for all, retirement security for all, and
social justice for all.

I have put proposals before the Congress to create jobs. I have put
proposals before the Congress to create health care for all. I have
put proposals before the Congress to create universal pre-kindergarten
-- all things which my district, and many districts like it across
this country, need so desperately.

Instead, we asked for jobs, we get war. We asked for health care, we
get war. We asked for funds for education, we get war. We ask for a
clean environment, we get war. It is time to end this war. It is
time to end war as an instrument of policy and have the government
start taking care of things here at home. In Cleveland. And in
places everywhere just like Cleveland.

The physical health of our nation is declining. Here in Cleveland you
can see people suffering everywhere because they have no health care.
Across Ohio there are 1 million people who have no health insurance.
Either because they can't afford it or because they lost their job,
or because they have a pre-existing condition. It is time to have a
single payer, not for profit health care system. I am the co-author
of the bill, HR 676, and this single idea of a single-payer system
would be the key economic stimulus that could both save and create
millions of jobs while restoring the health of our nation.

We are losing our nation to a war based on lies, to destruction of our
civil liberties and to massive debt. I tried to get these themes into
the debates. But I was locked out of six debates. In each and every
early primary state, in Iowa, in New Hampshire, Nevada, South
Carolina and California, the American people were denied an
opportunity to know that there is a way our of Iraq, there are plans
to restore our economy, there is a practical health care plan which
means the end of premiums, co-pays and deductibles. But there was no
way to get the message out. Workers here know about lockouts. They
stop you from being heard.

But workers also know that the fight for economic rights is not about
a single day, or a single year, or a single campaign, or a single
candidate. It is a lifelong endeavor.

So today, we are re-committing our energies to a government that
works for all of us and is open to all of us. A government that stands
for economic strength through peace. A government that stands for
jobs, for health care, for education. A government that stands for
truth, for civil liberties, and for our Constitution. And it starts
again today in Cleveland, Ohio in the heart of America.

From our efforts in Cleveland and around this great country, we're
creating a new force to be reckoned with, a force that will be made up
of people, ideas, new technologies and the kind of patriotic verve
that has no place for cowardice or compromise. I have been called the
Conscience of the Democratic Party. Our efforts will involve a call
to conscience. A call to integrity.

To those who supported this campaign with their energies and with
their hearts, I want you to know that we are transitioning the
Presidential campaign into a national movement based on integrity and
based on practical ways in which we can affect policies at local and
national levels. I am no longer running for President, but I am
intent on saving our nation from the destruction of our economic hopes
and from the destruction of our Constitution.

And all of the energies of all of the people who have been involved in
this campaign will be transitioned into a new, national effort to
regain control of our government, which seems more and more
inaccessible. We are calling that effort "Integrity Now", and there is
a website – -- where we can begin to
channel all of that enthusiasm and that commitment from people just
like you, and just like me, so we can take positive steps to do what
we know is right and in the best interests of this nation.

So let us begin again, here, today, in Cleveland, Ohio, with a renewed
effort to be of service to our community and to our nation. Let us
re-focus on what we can do and what we must do, here at home, in
Washington, and all across this country to end the war, rebuild this
nation, restore truth and justice and integrity to our government.
Let's make the American dream more than a dream. Let's make it a reality.

Thank you.

Dennis Kucinich

You can join this effort on Yahoo groups now at:

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The World of WE

I begin with a deep heavy sigh having just viewed Sicko for the second time. It made me cry. I asked out loud, "Why are they doing this to us?". What must we do to change this system? I am at a loss. Everyone I know is at a loss. I am sad and think I would like to move to Cuba. There in lies the world of WE.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Now I get it! Duh!

No wonder I am tearing my hair out. GHW Bush was their advisor? If there is a god, give me strength.

This explains it:
Selling Out Grandma
By Emily Udell
In These Times

Monday 21 January 2008

In late 2007, the investment firm The Carlyle Group purchased one of the country's largest nursing home chains despite the concerns of regulators, lawmakers and workers' groups that the acquisition would lead to staffing cuts and cause a decline in quality of care for residents. The $6.3 million purchase of Toledo, Ohio-based Manor Care Inc. closed after a Michigan judge lifted a restraining order that temporarily halted the sale.

"The problem is, in the nursing home industry, making money means cutting care," says Julie Eisenhardt, a spokeswoman for Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which represents employees at about 15 Manor Care homes and which spearheaded a campaign to raise awareness about the buyout.

In 2006, Manor Care, which operates more than 500 nursing, rehabilitation and assisted living facilities in 32 states, posted $167 million in profits and $3.6 billion in revenues. Manor Care shareholders were slated to get $67 for each share as part of the deal.

The Carlyle Group has holdings in several industries, including healthcare, defense and energy. Former President George H.W. Bush was one of its advisers until 2003.

Officials from both firms have denied plans to reduce staffing or slash services following the takeover, and have said Manor Care will continue to be run as it was before the buyout. "There's not going to be a cut in staff and there's no reason for quality to go down," says Rick Rump, a spokesman for Manor Care. "Carlyle is going to realize a return in investment by our company growing and becoming a better provider of healthcare."

The deal's critics also say investment companies create Byzantine ownership structures that impede regulation and shield the firms from accountability for negligent care or wrongful death accusations.

Rump says that Carlyle would not separate its assets from its operations as some private equity firms have done and that the Manor Care management team would remain the same.

Carlyle officials did not return calls by deadline, but Karen Bechtel, the company's managing director and global head of healthcare, said in a statement: "We are pleased to back a high-quality company and management team. We support [Manor Care CEO] Paul Ormond's strategic vision and support his commitment to quality patient care."

But a preliminary study of a large nursing home chain owned by a private investment firm found that staffing of registered nursing homes dropped by 8 percent and deficiencies that harmed residents doubled.

"They're not there to invest in the care for the residents, they're there to make money," says Charlene Harrington, a professor of nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of the 18-month study. "The way these chains have made money is by cutting the staff to the bare bones and pocketing the profits."

Harrington, who is part of a team that has researched nursing homes for 25 years, says the privatization of chains allows companies to shirk regulatory scrutiny because they are not required to file financial documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or state regulatory agencies.

"These chains have had so many quality problems that they have wanted to go private in order to keep from having the litigation they have," she said.

A recent New York Times analysis of government data from 2000 to 2006 found that the quality of care declined at nursing homes that were taken over by investment firms such as Warburg Pincus and Carlyle because of cost-cutting and staff reduction.

David Adams, 40, entered one of Manor Care's homes in Pittsburgh, Pa., after he ruptured his Achilles tendon playing basketball. He says the care at the Shadyside Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was substandard before the takeover, and he's concerned it will only get worse.

"They're coming up short - they do the minimum they can get away with and no more," says Adams, a former construction worker and cook, who testified during state hearings in Pennsylvania on the buyout. Adams says he contracted infections because his bandages weren't changed regularly, received the wrong medication and was stranded for 45 minutes after falling in his bathroom.

"One day I will leave," he says, "but there are people that are going to die here."

The Carlyle Group's buyout was announced last summer and given the green light by the SEC. Shareholders approved the deal in a December 2007 meeting. After the sale, several state health departments, including those in Illinois and Michigan, still had to approve the transfer of licenses from Manor Care to Carlyle, but Manor Care's Rump says he expected the transfers to be granted.

In November, legislators in Washington, D.C., held hearings on the issue of care at facilities owned by private investment firms, and hearings took place in several states.

In West Virginia, regulators reconsidered their initial approval of a deal just days before the completion of the sale. But after a Dec. 14 hearing, the state Health Care Authority lifted a stay on the approval, which would affect seven West Virginia nursing facilities. Manor Care had protested the stay, saying the delay was costing investors $1 million per day.

In Illinois, legislators and union leaders voiced concern about the deal.

"I think the size of the transaction, the nature of the business of the proposed buyer and the effects that could be felt by our most frail and vulnerable populations require us to give the proposal extra scrutiny," said State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) at a December hearing before the Illinois Department of Public Health, which regulates the state's nursing facilities.

In December, financial news service Bloomberg reported that the Manor Care purchase was the eighteenth sale of a nursing home operator in the United States in four years. Experts say investment firms' interest in nursing facilities is partially an effort to cash in on the aging of baby boomers into the system.

"As boomers get older, taking care of them is going to be big business," says Eisenhardt of SEIU. "The question is: Do we as a society think it's right that people are trying to make money off taking care of our most vulnerable population?"


Emily Udell is co-anchor and co-producer of In These Times' monthly radio show Fire on the Prairie. She joined the staff of In These Times in 2002 and co-founded Fire on the Prairie in

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Death Penalty

Let's abolish it. It cannot bring back the victims, it only makes more victims. Nuf said.

Corporate Eyes Have Selective Sight

Last Friday I walked into my place of work and was surprised to see two tall men in dark suits, wearing corporate ID tags, walking the halls. They rarely reveal themselves to us. They are the unseen forces that shape our world. As we approached each other, it became clear, they did not see me nor did they want to. In my whole life I have never felt so inconsequential. They could see only each other. I suppose that is because no one else matters to them.

That experience, as minor as it may seem, made me angry to my core. Not for being ignored but for what it means. They saw no one. The were people with a purpose, one that did not acknowledge the staff that keeps the money rolling in for them so they can rake in their six figure wages year after year. We do not matter, we are expendable, we are not their problem.

Now I understand why it is so easy to send young people off to die and be maimed in a for profit war. They too are invisible, non-existent, expendable. What matters is that GE and the rest of the weapons builders make money along with Halliburton, KBR, etc. Let us not forget Blackwater, CACI and the other mercenaries. Mercenaries gotta live too, no?

For many years I have resented working for corporations. I am a nurse. I believe that for profit health care is neither workable or sustainable. I feel like a sell out enabling *them*. That day I vowed to find another job in a facility that is privately owned. (I pray such a place still exists.)

Over the last 35 years I have watched nursing change from a highly enjoyable and rewarding career to a miserable existence for both patients and staff. Everyday more work is added until it is no longer possible to do everything and still care for patients. In the end result the patients suffer. There is barely time to even speak to them.

I wondered about those men I saw. I wondered if they ever see other people at all? Do they only recognize the ones who offer them something they cannot refuse? Do they ever experience joy? What must it be like to be them? Do they require sleep aids at night? Do they tell their families they love them or do they neglect them all year and try to make it up to them with things offered at holidays? Are they depressed? Do they understand the meaning of life at all or is it just the ability to buy things that drives them? How much money do they need to have to feel it is enough? These people, if my suspicions are correct are victims of themselves. I pity them but I grow weary of being victimized by them.

Today I must make some choices and I shall. I can no longer justify my complicity. I want once again to feel good about what I do. I want my personal power back. I have given away to the corporation. I will not work for the corporation and will try very hard to limit my spending to those places that are not corporate owned. It won't be easy but nothing that is worth it is.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

From an Original Liberal

Love the earth and sun and animals.
Despise riches.
Give alms to everyone that asks.
Stand up for the stupid and crazy.
Devote your income and labor to others.
Hate tyrants.
Argue not concerning God.
Have patience and indulgence toward people.
Take your hat off to nothing known or unknown to any man or number of men.
Go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young mothers of families.
Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or any book.
Dismiss whatever insults your own soul and your very flesh shall be a great poem.

Walt Whitman

Sunday, January 13, 2008

When is a Person a Person?

So let me get this straight. If you are a detainee ie prisoner OUTSIDE of the US but held in US custody, you are no longer a person. If you are an *enemy combatant* inside the US are you still a person? Hmmmm????? I am confused but I really do think I am still a person.


Reading this article was torture enough for me. What would you like to know? I will tell you anything if you promise not to make me read this again.

McConnell Weighs In on Waterboarding
By Pamela Hess
The Associated Press

Sunday 13 January 2008

Washington - The nation's intelligence chief says waterboarding "would be torture" if used against him or if someone under interrogation actually was taking water into his lungs.

But Mike McConnell, in a magazine interview, declined for legal reasons to say whether the technique categorically should be considered torture.

"If it ever is determined to be torture, there will be a huge penalty to be paid for anyone engaging in it," McConnell told The New Yorker, which published a 16,000-word article Sunday on the director of national intelligence.

The comments come as the House Intelligence Committee investigates the CIA's destruction of videotaped interrogations of two al-Qaida suspects. The tapes were made in 2002 and destroyed three years later, over fears they would leak. They depicted the use of "enhanced" interrogation techniques against two of the three men known to have been waterboarded by the CIA.

As McConnell describes it, a prisoner is strapped down with a wash cloth over his face and water is dripped into his nose.

"If I had water draining into my nose, oh God, I just can't imagine how painful! Whether it's torture by anybody else's definition, for me it would be torture," McConnell told the magazine.

A spokesman for McConnell said he does not dispute the quotes attributed to him in the story by Lawrence Wright, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for "The Looming Towers", a book on al-Qaida and the Sept. 11 attacks.

McConnell said the legal test for torture should be "pretty simple."

"Is it excruciatingly painful to the point of forcing someone to say something because of the pain?" he said.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto refused comment Saturday on waterboarding.

"We don't talk about interrogation techniques. And we are not going to respond to every little thing that shows up in the press," he told The Associated Press. "We think McConnell is doing an incredible job heading up the intelligence community, reforming it and making it incredibly effective in being able to provide the president the best intelligence on threats to the nation. We think it's vitally important he and the intelligence community have all the tools they need."

Attorney General Michael Mukasey has declined to rule on whether waterboarding is torture. An affirmative finding by Muksasey could put at risk the CIA interrogators who were given permission by the White House in 2002 to waterboard three prisoners deemed resistant to conventional techniques. The CIA has not used the technique since 2003; CIA Director Michael Hayden prohibited in 2006.

The House and Senate intelligence committees want to prohibit the CIA from using any interrogation techniques not allowed by the military. That list includes waterboarding. If their bill authorizing intelligence activities for 2008 is approved by Congress, it almost certainly will face a veto from President Bush.

Last summer he issued an executive order allowing the CIA to use "enhanced interrogation techniques" that go beyond what is allowed in the 2006 Army Field Manual.

The House has approved the bill. The Senate has not yet voted on it because of objections to that restriction.

Wright disclosed in his article that the government has eavesdropped on his own telephone conversations with sources at least twice.

One was with a relative of Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's No. 2 leader, who wanted to know if all of Zawahiri's children were dead. Wright was told by an intelligence source that a summary of that phone call was contained in an intelligence database. Under the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act, if the government did not have a court order to monitor Wright, his name should have been concealed in the database.

Wright also was approached by FBI officials about calls he made to the lawyer of several men he had interviewed for his book on al-Qaida. Wright says the FBI erroneously believed his daughter, who had just graduated from college and was in Paris, had placed the calls. That landed her in FBI files as an al-Qaida connection.

McConnell told Wright he did not know how his daughter's name would have become known to the agency.

It is unclear under what authorities those intercepts were conducted.

"It may be troublesome, it may not be," McConnell said. "You don't know."

Wright told the AP the conversation with McConnell disturbed him because he realized his calls - and therefore his sources - could be exposed to government eavesdropping.

The Senate returns to work this month on a domestic surveillance law to replace the one Congress hastily passed in August. That law, which expanded the government's authority to listen in on American communications without court permission, expires Feb. 1. There are deep political divisions over whether telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on U.S. citizens' calls should be protected from lawsuits.

In discussing Osama bin Laden, McConnell said if the U.S. got a read on the al-Qaida's leader's precise location, it would not hesitate to cross the Pakistan border to capture or kill him. "You cannot indiscriminately attack a sovereign nation," McConnell said, but said "we'll bring it to closure." He says bin Laden is in the lawless region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.


A Battle is Not the War

Washington - "President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan warned in an interview published Friday that any unilateral attacks by the United States against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in his country's tribal areas would be treated as an invasion."

Does it seem to anyone else that Bush wants a nuclear war so bad he can taste it? I was fearful then he was appointed to the Presidency in 2000. Little did I know at the time how much there was to fear.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Forever Bombing People to Save Them

I could not let this one go by. I am beyond words.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Need a Good Laugh?

FBI Wiretaps Dropped Due to Unpaid Bills
Lara Jakes Jordan reports for The Associated Press, "Telephone
companies have cut off FBI wiretaps used to eavesdrop on suspected criminals
because of the bureau's repeated failures to pay phone bills on time."

These clowns are killing me.

The Word is Out

It is official. The US ranks dead last in healthcare in the developed world. Way to go Bush.

You Need to Know

Your e-mail is being censured.

Forgive Me For Laughing

Does anyone really believe that the Iranian Navy would be stupid enough to approach American war ships with the intention of attacking them in speed boats. OMDog, that is actually funny. Yet Dubya was audacious enough to stand up on National television yesterday and suggest just that. This guy, like most crazy people is often a hoot in a twisted sort of way.

If you would like to see what really happened? Look here:

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The New Year Finally Arrives

Somehow the arrival of a new year, an election year, gives me a sense of hope. Call me crazy. You won't be alone. I feel a sense of change in the air even with all that is happening on the campaign trail.

Kucinich has filed a law suit in Texas due to the fact that he is not being allowed to have his name on the ballot! WTF? Gravel, Hunter and Kucinich are being blocked from debates in New Hampshire. Obama takes the lead in the Iowa Caucus (most likely because he was given the votes that would have been for Kucinich at the bidding of Dennis himself). My head is spinning. Huckabee, that scary little worm, wins in Iowa with Mitt taking second place. Geeze, what is wrong with Iowa? Of course the ReThugs really did not have much to choose from. Yet, I feel hopeful. Okay, I admit it, I am crazy.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Dubya continues to tout his tax cuts for the rich. Banks are being bailed out by the government, the dollar is little more than worthless and the stock market would have crashed long ago had it not been for being artificially inflated.

The occupation in Iraq rages on. Our fearless leader continues to lie to us via HIS media by saying things are getting better. While it is true things are going his way, I would not call that *better*. Millions of lives have been ruined forever while Americans continue to drive their SUVs. Oh boy, Americans love those SUVs. McCain, the twisted old man, says it would be fine to leave troops there for 100 years. Good Grief. Still I am hopeful. Call me a doctor. No, I mean call a doctor for me.

Speaking of doctors, Glenn Beck, whose recent surgery went wrong, now sees how bad health care in America is and believe it or not, now says he understands compassion. Being a nurse and having been a patient, I can tell you all about our health care system but that would be a book. It is bad and has been for a very long time now.
I suppose I feel hopeful because I think things cannot possible get worse so surely they will get better.

Poverty and joblessness are up while we have more billionaires then ever before. Can you say banana republic? Prices are out of sight. Green peppers $1.50 each? Bread almost $4 a loaf? Imported food from China tainted with heaven knows what? Where will it end? Sometimes I think *they* are trying to kill us all by starvation.

Oil companies are doing well. Gas is now $3.21 a gallon here in my area. Still we drive our SUVs. Crude now $100 a barrel. Think of this, we could have been getting that same barrel of crude for $50 if King George the Myopic could play nice with Chavez.

Every day we hear of another cover up, another dirty deal. Think of the millions we don't hear of. Stop the world, I wanna get off.

But, crazy me, I feel hopeful. I will tell you why. I think the day is close where Americans will understand that it is up to us to change things. Damnit people, lock that SUV in the garage and take to the streets. Only YOU have the power to make change happen.

Rise Up!

Are you angry? Rise up!
They are stealing your freedom away.
If you’re angry, rise up.
We have a chance if you do it today!
They have stolen elections,
Lowered your wage, inflation is on the rise.
Rise up! Rise up!
Or the fat cats will be our demise.

Had enough yet? Rise up!
Honor the ones who have died
They gave their lies free,
For you and for me.
Rise up!

Are you angry? Rise up!
Our children are dying for oil.
If you’re angry, rise up!
Don’t let your freedom be spoiled.
They have lied for their ends,
And the truth is they spend
what we need for the hungry on war.
Rise up! Rise up!
Our nation will soon be no more.

Had enough yet? Rise up!
Does the patriot act make your blood boil?
They seize liberties,
We are no longer free.
Rise up!

Pay attention! Rise up!
We’re destroying the air that we breathe.
You should be angry. Rise up!
Our planet may soon cease to be.
For we are fouling the land,
As we drive our SUV’s
making oil companies richer than ever before.
Come on now, Rise up!
Our ruin is down to the core.

Does it irk you? Rise up!
The Bill of Rights is being ignored.
The law does not apply,
To those that will lie.
Rise Up!

Don’t accept it. Rise up!
Torturing prisoners is not our way.
You should be angry. Rise up!
As you read this it’s happening today.
For years without benefit of counsel
Hundreds being held in a tiny, dirty cell,
and no charges are brought
So rise up!
This is not a democratic line of thought.

General Hayden, Can you hear me?
Are you upset with my point of view?
Will you lock me in a cell,
Leave me there for years to dwell?
I can’t let you. I must rise up!

I am angry, I rise up!
I will block you at every given chance.
I will shout and I will sing.
I will chant and I will bring
a message from the people as I dance.
You will see me on the street, marching to a simple beat
And you will always know I’m there.
I rise up!
For the people have the power when they dare!