Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stopping Telephone Solicitors

About five and a half years ago, Steven Rubenstein wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle that he had a sure fire way to stop telephone solicitors, and it takes three little words. "Hold on, please." When you find yourself bothered by one of these annoying callers (despite being on the National No Call Registry), just ask them to hold on for a few moments and then set the phone down and walk away. The reason it works is because when you hang up immediately, they can move on to the next call on their list. This is how they can reach hundreds of homes instead of just a few dozen. But if everybody told them to hold on, it would waste several minutes and seriously reduce the number of other people they could bother.

Visit the National No Call Registry and sign up to reduce the number of telephone solicitations you receive. Already did it before? Well, you might have to do it again. Your name only stays on the list for five years. Then you have to register again.

Death to Capital Punishment?

The Supreme Court has taken the surprising step of agreeing to determine if lethal injection, the most common method of execution used in the United States today, violates the Eight Amendment ban on Cruel and Unusual Punishment. (The question is about the chemical formula used for the injections.) They agreed to stay the execution of a Texas inmate, Carlton Turner, while they take up the case in their next term which starts Monday, Oct 1. But you know Texas, Death Penalty Capital of the USA. They have decided that they may not wait for the Supreme Court to rule on this particular case while they proceed with other executions, including one scheduled for next week. (Last week, Alabama stayed an execution for 45 days while they try to come up with a new lethal injection formula. I have to say, that's just the kind of "Can Do Spirit" that made America great.) But what impact will this have on the rest of the nation's scheduled executions?

At most, it's likely only to delay the inevitable for death row inmates. The Court is not expected to rule that the death penalty is unconstitutional, but rather that the method used may be cruel and unusual. There was some confusion when the Court failed to stop another "Texa-cution" just days before they issued this stay. Their denial of the appeal was based on technical grounds. Owing to a computer crash, the inmate's appeal failed to reach the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in time by twenty minutes. The Texas court refused to stay open the extra few minutes, and Michael Richard was put to death anyway. (Maybe his lawyers made the mistake of appealing to the court's humanity.) Ohio State University Professor Douglas A. Berman says in his blog that there may be few, if any, executions over the next 9-18 months while the Court deliberates. Lower courts may start staying executions while they wait for the Court's decision on how it would impact them.

For the record, I oppose the use of capital punishment in all cases (even the "worst of the worst"), because of the danger of executing an innocent person and because I do not believe it to be an effective deterrent to crime. Texas is one of those states that really does carry out its executions, rather than let death row inmates die in prison from other causes. (Natural causes, inmate murder, etc.) And I think it can be argued that this is pretty well known in Texas. Yet this does not seem to stop them from killing each other in Texas.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Joke Time: Future Handicapping

George W. was out jogging one morning along the parkway when he tripped, fell over the bridge railing and landed in the creek below.

Before the Secret Service guys could get to him, three kids, who were fishing, pulled him out of the water. He was so grateful he offered the kids whatever they wanted.

The first kid said, "I want to go to Disneyland."

George said, "No problem. I'll take you there on Air Force One".

The second kid said, "I want a new pair of Nike Air Jordan's."

George said, "I'll get them for you and even have Michael sign them!"

The third kid said, "I want a motorized wheelchair with a built-in TV and stereo headset!!"

Bush is a little perplexed by this and says, "But you don't look like you are handicapped."

The kid says, "I will be after my dad finds out I saved your ass from drowning!"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bill Displays His Political Ignorance

In a recent column by Bill O'Reilly, the Master of Misspeak demonstrates, once again, why the simple-minded should not be given a public forum as vast as the one he's been given to disseminate what passes for "ideas" in his head. Bill is worried that Sen Hillary Clinton will be elected president in 2008. And one reason that he's worried reveals his ignorance of the political process:

Certainly, even far-left Democrats, who generally dislike Mrs. Clinton, would pull the lever in her direction the next time around. To elect another Republican would be unthinkable.

Republicans, however, are not so united. Many on the right are caught up in selective issues like abortion and gay marriage. If a candidate doesn't see things their way, they won't support that candidate, even if it's Hillary staring at them from across the divide.

You see, Bill believes that every voter in this country thinks that he or she has a choice on Election Day between two, and only two, choices for president - the Democratic Party candidate or the Republican Party candidate. He cannot imagine that someone might decide, for reasons forever lost on Bill, to cast his vote for a third party candidate. He is one of the people dangerous to democracy - the kind who doesn't want you to know that you can vote for whomever you wish. They want you to think that the two major political parties are all you need to solve our nation's problems. And they want you to think that way because the two major political parties have figured out how to control this country, and they don't want to give that up. They like things the way they are. If people from other parties started getting elected to Congress, they mioght not end up with a clear majority, and thus lose control. And they can't have that now, can they?

But that is not the only example in just this column of Bill's split with the reality-based community. He also lives in a world where Democrats are openly rooting for our troops to "lose" in Iraq. (Someone is going to have to explain to what what "winning" in Iraq is supposed to look like before I can understand what "losing" is, but that's another subject.) He goes on to speculate, possbily under the influence of mind-altering substances:

There are two wild cards right now. If Iraq improves, the Democrats lose momentum on their big issue. So some Democrats are actually rooting against their own country in Iraq. That is dangerous territory, as the blunder over Gen. Petraeus demonstrated.

Also, the far left is totally out of control in this country, and a smart Republican candidate will tie those loons around the necks of Hillary or Barack Obama.
Few Americans want to see Rosie O'Donnell and George Soros spending the night in the Lincoln bedroom. Separately, of course.

What the fuck? What evidence does he have to support any of those claims? Can he name a single Democrat who is "actually rooting against their own country in Iraq"? Just one. That's all I want to hear. I hear Republicans talking all the time about how a terrorist attack between now and the election would help them more than it would the Democrats. They somehow think that Americans will turn to the Republicans because "they could protect us better." Now tell me, if we're attacked, doesn't it just prove that the Republicans failed to protect us? Why would Americans think they could do it better than the Democrats? That is moronic thinking. Do they think people are going to come through an attack and say, "Well, thank God the Democrats weren't supposed to be protecting us." Yeah, good thing, or else they might have been successful, like they were on 9/11.

And where is he evidence that "the far left is totally out of control in this country"? To whom is he referring here, again? Media Matters? Daily kos? Huffington Post? Keith Olbermann? C'mon, Bill, tell us who you mean by "the far left"? Is Cindy Sheehan running around pretending she scored the winning goal in the Olympics? Is Michael Moore inviting Fidel Castro to his backyard barbecues in Flint, MI, again? Care to back up that outlandish statement with something along the lines of facts?

The Rosie O'Donnell/George Soros smear is not even worthy of acknowledgement, other than to point out that he says a lot of such things unworthy of acknowledgement. But it's hard to say that without citing an example or two. Bill loves to throw out inflammatory comments borne of a fertile (and, as we know, salacious) imagination just to "prove a point", although what that point could possibly be is often lost on people with IQs in the three-digit range. I would prefer to believe that most of this audience tunes in to hear what ridiculous things he says, not because they agree with him. If only he would introduce facts to his statements. Who knows, they might even get to be friends.

What Do the Candidates Know About ETs?

A group called the Paradigm Research Group has announced that it is demanding that presidential candidates support, what they call, a "truth amnesty" in order to free people who wish to speak from the "government-imposed truth embargo on the facts confirming an extraterrestrial presence." Dana Milbank has more. The group says that the government has its hands on energy technology that would revolutionize our way of life and make great strides in protecting the biosphere. They believe that there are people in government who would like to speak out about what they know of the existence of extraterrestrials, but are prevented from doing so under threat of imprisonment.

Opponents of this measure, who don't immediately criticize it as being just plain out-and-out silly, may believe that this represents an attempt to pander to the illegal alien vote, and that it should be denounced. Extraterrestrials have no constitutional rights, on that I think everyone can agree. But the constitution does not grant the government the authority to keep the existence of extraterrestrial life a secret from the public, regardless of their interpretation. If they exist, and if they are hostile, and the government wishes to keep the details of its military movements against them a secret, then that would apply just as it does in any other conflict. But at least in every other conflict, we have acknowledged the existence of the enemy.

Regardless of the exact number, there are millions of people who do believe that intelligent life exists on other planets, and a good number of them believe that we have been visited by some of them. One of my favorite TV shows is "Stargate SG-1". It's intelligent, at times very funny (once you get to know the characters), and its plotline derives from a very imaginative interpretation of agent Egyptian and Norse Mythology. SG-1 is the designation of the US Air Force team that conducts off-world expeditions and missions. Like just about every other vet, I can tell when a show or movie was done with the cooperation of the USAF. One clue is the uniforms. There are specific differences that one who has lived among them can easily spot (so we know when we're confronting the real thing). If the USAF (or any DoD entity) does not like the way it is portrayed, it will not allow them to use authentic-looking uniforms and military equipment, including air and naval craft. But if it supports them entirely, they have anything they want (except actually classified equipent). Hell, they even had the Air Force Chief of Staff appear in an episode as himself! And one hilarious episode, called "Wormhole X-treme!", was about a ficticious TV show whose plot clearly matched that of the supposedly highly top secret Stargate Command. The question was raised as to why the Air Force would let them take it that far, given that what it portrays is real. The answer was "plausible deniability". If rumors ever leaked about the program, they could point to that television show and say people got it from that.

So I asked myself, "Is that why they have cooperated as fully as they have with the making of "Stargate SG-1" and its spinoff, "Stargate Atlantis"? Because they really are real?" Although the USAF is always portrayed in generally the most positive of lights, why would they dedicate themselves so much to such accurate detail of even the most minor of things? Why go to such great lengths for a show about something that doesn't exist? What is to be gained from it? Sure it could theoretically be serving as a recruitment tool, but for who? Nerds like me who like sci-fi? Other TV shows have garnered DoD "support" because they dealt with real subjects or organizations (such as the JAG, or commando units). But it makes sense to try to appeal to youngsters interested in those things. They could actually get to do them in the military. But off-world missions to engage extraterrestrial enemies? Would it make sense that the United States Air Force would spend the time and money it has to give such authenticity to a TV program from which it could otherwise gain nothing? Just saying is all.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Blame Checkers

George W. Bush would not be president if it weren't for Dick Cheney. Cheney would not be co-president if it weren't for Richard Nixon, and his attempt to enact the Unitary Executive Theory, which Cheney loves and fully supports. Nixon would not have been president if it weren't for his "Law & Order" campaign, made popular because of the civil turmoil caused by a war in which our involvement was escalated by John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Kennedy and Johnson would not have made it to the White House if they hadn;t defeated then-Vice President Richard Nixon. Nixon would not have been vice president if it hadn't been for a speech he gave, on Sept 23, 1952, about 55 years ago, in which he uttered the famous words, "And our little girl Tricia, the six year old, named it 'Checkers.' And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it." And now, George W. Bush is president. I blame Checkers.

In 1952, charges of corruption were being levied against Nixon. The Republican Party was in a pickle. Do they dump Nixon, or try to beat Adlai Stevenson with him? Eisenhower told Nixon that if he couldn't prove he was "clean as a hound's tooth", he was off the ticket. Nixon decided to take his case to the people. He arranged air time following the immensely popular Milton Berle Show. He hadn't even told his staff whether he was going to defend himself or resign from the ticket. He surprised everyone by giving a detailed financial account of himself, including how much his house cost. And then he brought up the dog.

One other thing I probably should tell you, because if I don't they'll probably be saying this about me, too. We did get something, a gift, after the election. A man down in Texas heard Pat on the radio mention the fact that our two youngsters would like to have a dog. And believe it or not, the day before we left on this campaign trip we got a message from Union Station in Baltimore, saying they had a package for us. We went down to get it. You know what it was? It was a little cocker spaniel dog in a crate that he'd sent all the way from Texas, black and white, spotted. And our little girl Tricia, the six year old, named it "Checkers." And you know, the kids, like all kids, love the dog, and I just want to say this, right now, that regardless of what they say about it, we're gonna keep it.

Nixon ended his speech with a direct appeal to the voters:

And now, finally, I know that you wonder whether or not I am going to stay on the Republican ticket or resign. Let me say this: I don't believe that I ought to quit, because I am not a quitter. And, incidentally, Pat's not a quitter. After all, her name was Patricia Ryan and she was born on St. Patrick's day, and you know the Irish never quit.

But the decision, my friends, is not mine. I would do nothing that would harm the possibilities of Dwight Eisenhower to become President of the United States. And for that reason I am submitting to the Republican National Committee tonight through this television broadcast the decision which it is theirs to make. Let them decide whether my position on the ticket will help or hurt. And I am going to ask you to help them decide. Wire and write the Republican National Committee whether you think I should stay on or whether I should get off. And whatever their decision is, I will abide by it.

After the speech, Nixon thought he had totally blown it and would soon be off the ticket. But when he got back to the hotel, the phones were going crazy with pro-Nixon calls. He had saved his candidacy, and went on to become vice president. Then he lost to Kennedy and Johnson. Then he got elected in 1968 and influenced Dick Cheney. Then Cheney convinced Bush to select him as his running mate after Bush asked Cheney to help him find one. Then Cheney helped George W. Bush get into the White House, where even today, he is widely seen as being the President of the United States. I blame Checkers.

You can see the entire text of the speech that Nixon gave (also known as the "Cloth Coat Speech", because of a reference to the "respectable cloth coat" his wife, Pat, wore, instead of a mink coat), including the video of it, here.

No Jail For Foley

Looks like Mark Foley will get away with it, from a legal standpoint. Florida has a three-year statute of limitations, and since the alleged incident with the minor took place in 2003, and the investigation didn't start until 2006, he likely won't be prosecuted. And guess who's being blamed? The media, of course, for sitting on the story too long, despite the fact that several Republican Congressman knew (or suspected) about Foley even before ABC News got their hands on the e-mails. Raw Story has more.

Congratulations David Sirota

David Sirota has just has his first blog as a member of Creators Syndicate. Long time posters at ThinkProgress remember David from the early days at The Center for American Progress. He has been a very important voice in the Progressive movement. Call or write your local paper and insist that they carry David's column.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tell Me Again Why We Are About To Attack Iran?

Here's a story we should be hearing about in the Corporate-Controlled Media, but aren't:

The mainstream media has failed to report the agreement reached between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Iranian government in regards to the Iranian nuclear energy program. An understanding has been reached between the two. The IAEA has given Iran's nuclear program a clean bill of health.

Why is the U.S. media not reporting on this matter? Why do the U.S. and its Western allies continue to threaten Iran with punitive bombings for its alleged non-compliance, when everything indicates that Iran has a bona fide nuclear energy program and does not have the capabilities of developing nuclear weapons

You can read more here, including a link to the full report.

The Good Old Days

Have you ever wondered where the word "Testify" comes from? You might be surprised, or terrified. In Ancient Rome, to "testify" meant that the man in the Roman court was swearing to a statement made, by swearing on his testicles. Imagine if every male from this administration, including Karen Hughes, or from the military chain of command, who has ever had to testify to Congress, had to do so under this definition, do you honestly think their "testimonies" would have been the same? I don't.

A Downright Moron

“... all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”—H.L. Mencken, journalist and satirist (1880 - 1956) from the Baltimore Evening Sun, July 26, 1920

You tell me, America. Are we there yet? Because it sure looks to me like we are. When you fail to see the plain evidence that what you believe to be the case isn't really so, just because you are convinced that eventually, at some distant time down the future, at who knows what cost in blood and treasure, you might possibly be proved right, could it be because you are too stupid to see that you've been wrong all along? I ask you, America, "Is the White House adorned by a downright moron?”

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You Inhuman Bastard

Bill O'Reilly has certainly been known to say some stupid and even false things, and sometimes at the same time. Remember how he twice claimed that at Malmedy in WWII, it was Americans soldiers who gunned down unarmed Nazi SS officers. It was, of course, the other way around. But what Bill O'Reilly said in response to the testimony of General Petraeus was inhuman. Horribly, despicably, vilely inhuman.

"My feeling is that we should allow General Petraeus the resources he needs within a year's time. After that, the Iraqi army must step up and provide their own security with a few American battalions in support. For the future of both the USA and Iraq, that is probably the best course of action in a truly painful situation."

Okay, Bill, I have only one request of you. I want you to go to Iraq, anywhere you think you need to, and walk up and put your hand on the shoulder of the first one of those soldiers that you thought should die before this is over, and tell him to his face that you okayed his death. You inhuman bastard.

They Go To 11

Just as Billy Wagner fielded a ground ball to first and swung around both ways before tagging the runner to save a 4-3 New York Mets win over the third place (hee-hee) Atlanta Braves, the final score in Philadelphia was posted as they lost 12-0 to the Colorado Rockies to bring the Mets' Magic Number down by two in one day. They go to 11.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sunny Day

I live in Pawling, NY, a small town about an hour and a half north of New York City. I work in Brewster, NY, the town I grew up in, and that's only about an hour away from The City. I have been to The City many times in my life, but one of the saddest had to be at the second game the Mets played after Sept 11, 2001. I still remember standing at the railing, looking south toward Manhattan and seeing the smoke still rising from what would come to be known as Ground Zero. I will never forget what happened there. I only wish I knew the truth.

I was at work on September 11, 2001, when people started saying they heard on the radio that a plane hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. Not a small, private plane or a military aircraft, but a big, huge jetliner. I was stunned. I didn’t think it possible. I mean, those things have sophisticated guidance systems in them, and they could practically fly themselves. (I have since learned there is no “practically” about it, they can fly themselves.) So how could they miss what was literally one of the tallest buildings in the country? It didn’t make any sense but, I figured, tragic as they are, accidents do happen.

But when a second plane hit the other tower, it was instantly obvious that it was no accident. Now we were desperate for information. We tried to turn on the TV at the office to see what (if anything) was on the news, but that summer, a roofing crew had re-tarred the roof of our office, and in the process they knocked the satellite dish out of alignment. We had to wait for the owner (the only one with the technical know-how to fix it) to come in, and he had just happened to have decided to come in late that day. He did eventually arrive and, having not heard about the plane crashes, agreed that we ought to get the TV going, so he set about fixing it.

In the meantime, the news reports kept coming both from the radio playing in the warehouse, and from the brother of one of our co-workers. The Pentagon had been hit. The Pentagon? You mean, one of the most heavily fortified and defended buildings in the entire country was also hit by a plane? Don’t they have a whole bunch of anti-aircraft guns on their roof for just such an emergency? Isn’t it a standing order that if a plane is about to crash into it, that it must be shot down? (That may sound horrible, but if the plane is going to be flown into a building, the people in it are going to die anyway; shooting the plane down may save the lives of the people in the intended target.) This was becoming more and more surreal as the day wore on. I mean, planes manage to crash into both World Trade Center towers, and now the Pentagon was hit, too? I just kept asking myself, “How the fuck was this possible?”

Before our boss was done fixing the satellite dish, our co-worker (whose brother was watching it on TV), came in and said that one of the towers had fallen down. We were stunned. My first thought was that it had toppled over and came crashing down on the other buildings of Lower Manhattan. I asked him if this is what happened, and he said, “No, it just came straight down into one big pile.” I said, “You mean right down on its own footprint?” And he said, “Yeah.” Well that didn’t sound right, either. I didn’t know it then, but that little detail would keep gnawing at me. “Was anybody still in it at the time?” “Yeah, I’m sure.”

My father has been a volunteer firefighter in Brewster, NY, for more than fifty years. I'm very proud of him, and so there’s a special place in my heart for those who risk their lives to save others. I wept inside at the thought that who knows how many people were killed in that collapse not because they worked there and couldn’t get out in time, but because they went into the building to save lives. I was reminded of those sick people who plant two bombs at a location, with the second one timed to go off after first responders and rescuers had a chance to arrive to help the survivors of the first bomb. Then word came that the second tower collapsed. I died inside. All I could think about at that moment were the firefighters who were inside that building for the sole purpose of trying to save lives. I couldn’t believe what was happening. This kind of shit just isn’t supposed to happen! Who did this? What did they want from us? Why were they doing it? How many more would die that day? And would it continue tomorrow? It started out as a beautiful sunny day, and it turned into one of the blackest days of our nation’s history. Little did I realize then how black it truly was.

I did not know anyone personally who was killed or injured. I have a friend who worked in Manhattan, and he sent an e-mail a couple of weeks later to all of his friends to let them know he was okay. He had incredible stories about the generosity of New Yorkers that I’m sure some of you will still not believe. He said that people started walking north, away from the towers to get away. Everywhere, cars, even taxis, were stopping and picking up as many people as they could carry to get them away. Strangers helped other strangers, and nobody was thinking about anything other than getting out of there alive. Other than the two horrendous acts of mass murder committed that morning, that day would be one of the most crime-free in New York’s history. One of my co-workers lost a cousin in one of the towers when it collapsed. She also lost a friend who worked in the Pentagon. And when her mother learned a day or two later about the cousin, she suffered a heart attack and died. To my knowledge, those were the only ones that died to which I had any kind of connection, and I never met any of them before.

Eventually the boss got the satellite dish fixed, and we watched in horror the endless replays of the planes colliding into the buildings and of the towers collapsing. It was nothing like I imagined. They shouldn’t have come straight down like that, not out of blind chance, and not both of them. By all right and reason, those buildings should have toppled to the side at least a little bit and come crashing down on the buildings next to them, at least. How could they possibly have just weakened at some point and come straight down, right onto their own footprints? Both of them? It was too coincidental, too strange to be true. Then I started hearing reporters on the scene use the exact words I was looking for: “It was like a controlled demolition.” And not just one of them, several of them said the same thing, almost verbatim. A “controlled demolition.” But that couldn’t possibly be true, could it? For that to be true, someone had to plan this well in advance. Could this have been deliberate?

Six years have passed since that terrible sunny day. And in that time, I have come to believe that our government, specifically the Bush administration, does not want the truth of what happened to come out. I wish I could believe that this is because they acted so incompetently and failed so miserably to protect us, that they just didn’t want to be reminded all the time. Remember, too, that this was early on in their first term. They were still busy trying to prove that they were vastly superior to the Clinton administration, that they could do everything better. So it wouldn’t have surprised me that they simply didn’t want people to have some kind of evidence that, despite what conservatives say about government, they still can’t effectively run one. Like I said, I wish I could believe that. But I don’t.

My suspicions began to ignite again when I started hearing that Bush didn’t want an independent investigation into what happened. Now what the fuck was going on? The worst attack on our nation’s soil since Pearl Harbor, and Bush didn’t want to investigate to find out what happened? If not for the families of the victims, there would never have been a 9/11 Commission Report. Not that this report explained what happened that day. About the only thing you could say for certain of the 9/11 Commission Report, is that it is not a report and review on what really happened that day. Not an accurate one, anyway. It couldn’t be. It had too many internal contradictions to be an accurate report. And it left too many questions unanswered, or poorly and inadequately answered, if at all.

Those of us who question the “official account” have been called all kinds of names by our government, including “Conspiracy Theorists”. That one I find particularly ironic because the official 9/11 Report is itself a “Conspiracy Theory.” It’s a theory that says 19 highjackers conspired to fly four planes into various targets. It’s just that this is the only “Conspiracy Theory” the government will allow to be said. They don’t want to hear anything else, for to ask questions and to doubt the official version of events is to “embolden the enemy”. That might be true if the official version of events was the truth. But it clearly is not.

Now why would I say that with such certitude? Before listing just some of the reasons why I doubt the official account, let me say that sharper-eyed observers than I have found hundreds of contradictions. Here are just a few. For one thing, several of the 19 highjackers turned up alive and well and complaining about why they were accused of being among the highjackers. That is a documented fact. It’s not just that a name matched, which would be understandable, but the pictures matched their faces. I bet you didn’t hear a lot about that in the Corporate-Controlled Media, or CCM (former known as the MSM (Mainstream Media) or the SCLM (So-Called Liberal Media), neither of which conveys the truth that a majority of the media is controlled by a small number of corporations). And there are other facts the CCM doesn’t seem to want you to know. (Contrast what you’ve heard about all of this with how much you’ve heard in the media about Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan. I’m certain you’ve heard and know more about these three women than you have about the truth behind the 9/11 attacks.)

Around the same time that I heard about some of the highjackers being alive and well, I also heard an interesting fact. In the entire history of steel-framed constructed buildings, only three have been brought down by fire, and all three fell on the same day – Sept 11, 2001. There have been other steel-framed buildings that burned for far longer and yet showed no signs whatsoever of even coming close to collapsing. This made me start thinking again about the way those three buildings (WTC-1, WTC-2, and WTC-7) came down – as if they were brought down by a controlled demolition. Maybe you heard some of the news anchors reporting live describe it that way. You probably never heard about the many eye-, ear-, and nose-witness accounts who said they saw suspicious activity in the buildings in the days and weeks leading up to 9/11, or heard a rapid series of explosions (pow-pow-pow-pow) right before the buildings came down, or smelled cordite (a material used in explosives, primarily, and not something you would smell in any old fire.)

I wish I could say I was making this up. I wish I could say that this is only something I’ve heard about, and not actually seen, but I've seen the videos of people being interviewed that very day! I’ve heard them describe, in their own words, and in words that almost matched exactly what other witnesses have said. One site that might tell you more is that of an eyewitness to that day’s events. His name is William Rodriguez, and his website is william911. He worked in the towers and he was responsible for saving hundreds of lives that day for a simple reason. He had the key. The Master Key. The key that opened the doors in the stairwells of the North Tower, which were locked (for reasons not clear to me.) Read his story. He, too, heard explosions below him in the basements before the planes hit. He has also been determined to be the last person to get out of the North Tower alive, running out as it collapsed and being saved by ducking under a fire truck. His story of hope and courage is remarkable.

I could go on and on about the discrepancies between the official report and the actual, verifiable facts, but that wouldn’t do any good. I encourage each and every one of you to begin your own investigations. Since you’re reading this, you have access to the internet. Start with 911Truth, and begin looking at what they have to say. These are not crazy people who dream up wild possibilities of what might have happened. These are people, many of them relatives of the victims, many scientists, who question the official report. They want to know what really happened that day. They want to know why the president and vice president have refused to testify separately and under oath, about what they knew of that day and when did they know it. They want the truth because we obviously have not been told the truth, and we have a right to it.

As you investigate, you will learn other things you probably haven’t heard before. Did you know that the coroner who was at the scene in Shanksville, PA, where flight 93 is said to have gone down, said that after about twenty minutes, he "ceased being the coroner"? There were no bodies in the wreckage. He said that it looked more like someone dug a hole in the ground and just threw a bunch of metal and airplane parts in it.

Then there’s the Pentagon. This one is really strange. If you look carefully at pictures of where the Pentagon was hit, you will see a big hole (as you would expect). What you don’t see, and what you would also expect, is any evidence of a plane! The hole itself is barely big enough for the fuselage to fit through, yet there is no evidence that the areas to the side of the hole were struck by the wings of the aircraft, nor can you see any sign of the huge, multi-ton engines attached to them. If they didn’t go inside the building, they should be on the lawn, but you cannot see any of them in any of the photographs. The official explanation is that the plane “vaporized” in the explosion. This, my friends, is simply an insult to your intelligence. Because not only do they say that the plane vaporized, they say that they were able to recover the bodies of the passengers and identify them. How could that be? How could something vaporize a metal aircraft like that and leave human bodies intact? Why were the tapes from every security camera in the vicinity (including the VA Highway Dept’s and those of local hotels looking in that direction) confiscated by the FBI within minutes of the impact? Why have they never been released to the public? If a plane really did hit the Pentagon, then why don’t they let us see the evidence? You can see the basis for these questions at Pentagon Strike.

Friends, your government has lied to you about the events of Sept 11, 2001. That much is obvious. I urge each and every one of out there to start asking your own questions about the discrepancies. If you’re an American, contact your Senators and Representatives and demand that they re-open the investigation. And this time, NOBODY should be permitted to testify without being under oath, and NOBODY should be allowed to not testify if asked. This is especially true of the president and vice president. They know more than they are saying, and not simply because “it’s classified.” (It is illegal to classify something just to keep it out of the public domain. All classified material and documents must pertain to national security. The president’s reputation is NOT a matter of national security.) Many people who could have given testimony that contradicted the official report were not called to do so. And this time, let a reputable person lead the investigation and not a hand-picked crony of the president.

Remember the Fallen. Demand the Truth. Peace on Earth.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

What Are We Waiting For?

President George W. Bush has committed Treason by giving aid and comfort to the enemy during a time of war. He is giving your tax dollars to insurgents who once fought against, and likely killed, American forces. His act of Treason cannot be defended, nor the charge denied. We have what we need, so why isn't President Bush being impeached as we speak?

In what other way can he disrespect the very men and women whose deaths he has ordered? At one time we declared the people we are fighting alongside to be our enemy. But now we are not only giving them training to help them fight their enemy, al Qaida, we are also giving them money. Your money. To people who once put our troops under fire. People who once stood at the other end of our guns, are now standing behind us with theirs. How much longer can we allow President Bush to do this?

Anyone who has studied history knows that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" can never be a long term solution. Once your common enemy has been vanquished, the mutal goal has been attained. There is always the very real danger he will go back to being your enemy again. The fighting and dying will not cease. Why do we continue to utilize this oft-maligned, oft-failed policy?

Art III, Sec 3, Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Every citizen must call his or her Congressman and demand the immediate impeachment of George W. Bush, before another US Soldier dies and we pay off his killer.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day

This year will mark 125 years since the first Labor Day parade was held. In New York City, on September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers marched from City Hall to Union Station. It was no paid holiday, but they did it to honor their fellow workers and to air some grievances with employers. Though more states held these parades over the coming years, it wasn't until 1894 that Congress established Labor Day as a federal holiday. Unfortuantely, it took blood being spilled to get them to do this.

Pullman, Illinois, was founded by railroad sleeping car manufacturer George Pullman as a city for his railroad workers. Built in 1880, the town was conceived as a kind of haven from the political and moral influence of Chicago, Illinois. All its residents worked for the Pullman company, drew paychecks drawn on Pullman's bank, and even had their rent autopmatically deducted from their paychecks. Things were fine for a while until an economic depression hit the country in the early 1890's. In 1893, to keep his business going, Pullman laid off hundreds of workers and cut the pay of those who remained. His mistake was that he also didn't cut their rents, and workers were still getting the same amount deducted from their much smaller paychecks. Workers walked out demanding more pay and lower rents.

Along came Eugene V. Debs, head of the American Railway Union, and he helped them out by getting all railway workers across the nation to boycott trains pulling Pullman cars. This sent the entire nation into turmoil as riots broke out all over the country and delivery of mail was interrupted.

President Grover Cleveland acquiesed to the railroad execs. He declared the strike a federal crime and sent 12,000 troops to break it up. Before it was over, two people were killed by federal marshals. The strike was officially called to an end on August 3, 1894. Eugene Debs went to jail, and the ARU was disbanded. It was pretty much the end of unions until the Great Depression. The public, however, was unhappy with Cleveland's handling of the strike, and to make good with the nation's workers, and just six days after the strike ended, Congress rushed through a bill establishing Labor Day as a holiday and Cleveland signed it into law. But it was not enough to help him win re-election in 1894.

After the Korean War, nearly half of the nation's workers were unionized, but today that number is down to about 15%. More about the history of unions can be found here. We all owe a debt of gratitude to unions and the workers willing to risk all by striking for better conditions. If you have Monday off as a holiday, you can thank the unions. If you have to work (I know what that's like) and you get paid extra for doing so on a holiday, you can thank unions. If you have a forty-hour work week and have the opportunity to get overtime, you can thank unions. If you and your children went to school to learn, instead of a factory to work, you can thank unions.

Enjoy your holiday, and have a safe one while you're at it.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

You Are Less Safe Under Bush

In a cramped room of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), behind a door, is a small area of space. This space is the only place where toys are drop-tested to see if they break into pieces that could become choking hazards. The only space. To test all the toys. And only one full-time worker to do it.

When the CPSC was urged by many groups to ban sales of adult-size All Terrain Vehicles to children under sixteen (they were too big and fast for the children to control), the effort was thwarted by CPSC's director of compliance, John Gibson Mullan. Mr. Mullan used to be a lawyer for the ATV industry. And he's certainly not the only person in the Bush Administration whose job it is to oversee the products made by former employers. Some how, some way, this administration does not see this as a conflict of interest.

A report in The New York Times tells the story of how the CPSC is failing to keep Americans safe from poorly-made products and poisoned foods. One problem is budget cuts, usually resulting in fewer inspectors and fewer inspections. But the main culprit for your decrease in safety is that the Bush administration feels that businesses should not be burdoned with having to comply with safety regulations. They prefer that the standards remain voluntary. Yes, you read that right. Safety standards should be voluntary, not mandatory.

Friends, we have a serious problem in this country, and this story just points to the tip of it. There is a constant battle between those who want to see our nation's products and foods be made as safe as possible, and those who feel that this causes too much financial hardship on businesses and should not be pursued. (The man Bush brought in to head the CPSC, Harold Stratton, personally stopped a recall of ill-made Daisy air-powered BB guns because the manufacturer was in financial trouble. In the choice between your safety and some corporation's well-being, Bush's people chose the corporation over you.) The idea that any manufacturing industry would feel compelled to adhere to voluntary standards when there is no penalty for non-compliance is ludicrous. You can even ask the manufacturers in China (who make about 20% of the consumer products sold in the US) what they think of voluntary standards. They'll tell you, "As far as we are concerned, voluntary means we don’t have to."

And no one in the Bush administration is going to make them do it, either.