30 October 2004

Kerry Claims the Native Vote

Kerry, his Family and the Democrats have paid their collective respects to the Oyate, the People of the First Nations. . . the Oyate will do their part come November 2. . .


DAN K. THOMASSON: Why American Indians are supporting Kerry

Scripps Howard News Service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (SH) - What do most American Indians have in common with a silver-spoon, prep-school Yale graduate from Massachusetts whose wife has a billion dollars? The answer is obvious - nothing.

But that's not going to stop most of them in this battleground state from voting for John Kerry to replace another silver-spoon, prep-school Yale graduate, George W. Bush, whom they contend has let them down despite a Texas upbringing that should have made him more understanding of their problems. Navajo leaders officially have endorsed Kerry, as has the All-Indian Pueblo Council, consisting of governors of the 19 New Mexico Pueblos. Members of other tribes have indicated they also support him. Bush has very shallow support.

So what's new for the American Indians when it comes to presidential elections? Once again, they are betting on the outcome (with a nod to the gaming industry that has helped some of the tribes overcome traditional economic deprivation) in a major crapshoot that has gone on nearly every four years since the founding of the country. For the nation's indigenous population, pinning hopes on the promises of one pale-faced administration after another has been a way of life.

That, of course, is what Kerry has given the current generation - a promise to listen more closely to their needs, including a renewed effort to straighten out the Bureau of Indian Affairs book-keeping scandal, which by many accounts has cheated the tribes out of billions of dollars in trust funds. Well, good luck in that, Sen. Kerry. Federal courts have been trying to resolve the accounting failures through the last three administrations to no avail and despite holding the last two Interior secretaries in contempt.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Kerry has also promised to re-establish an Office of Indian Affairs that the Bush administration abolished after Bill Clinton left office and to restore some $52 million in BIA funds the White House has proposed eliminating in the 2005 budget. Although American Indian leaders give Bush credit for improving the schools, they say his budget cuts include $6 million in school operation funds.

For whatever reason, the president, unlike Kerry, has not met with Indian leaders on several visits here. Instead, Bush has depended on a longtime Republican senator, Pete Domenici, a member of the Senate Indian affairs subcommittee, to press his case for American Indian support. If the local press is correct, it hasn't been enough despite Domenici's high standing in the Indian community. Tribal leaders have politely countered that while Bush has helped with some issues, his overall attention to their problems has been lacking.

The Journal quoted Sandia Pueblo Gov. Stuwart (cq) Paisano as saying Kerry understands that "we've been neglected. I think the current administration has had four years to really address Native American issues across the board - housing, health care, education, trust responsibility, law enforcement. From an on-ground perspective, a lot of these issues are getting worse. All you have to do is go to a reservation"

The presidential campaign, as in a number of other battleground states, is a dead heat here, giving the Indians some leverage that they might not otherwise have. Registration among all voters in the state's most populous country, Bernalillo, has set a record, with 356, 172 signed up to vote on Nov. 2, compared to 289,000 registered in the 2002 general election, according to The Albuquerque Tribune. TheTribune said the County Clerk's Office had mailed out 63,310 absentee ballots as of last Monday, as compared to 55,000 in 2002.

Whether Indians here and elsewhere will once again be disappointed should Kerry win is anyone's guess. In fairness, the Bush White House has helped with some major Native American problems, including a push to help control rampant diabetes. While supporting his opponent, the Navajo leaders have given him credit for improving the school situation.

There is a tendency among all American minorities to align themselves with the political party that promises them the most, only to find out too often that they suddenly are taken for granted or, when the other party wins, that they have little or no leverage. African-Americans have been so afflicted for most of the last century, with 90 percent of these voters supporting Democratic candidates for president even when that party supported a segregated South as part of its base.

American Indians deserve better than to be cheated once again. Hopefully, both candidates will keep their promises. But don't bet on it.

Dan K. Thomasson is former editor of the Scripps Howard News Service.

Posted on 10/28/04 11:54:00

Tour de France 2005

Only 245 shoppimg days left! I cannot wait...

Tour de France 2005: Course Presentation


What's worse than a War Crime? A premeditated one.


Bush Wanted To Invade Iraq If Elected in 2000
Wed, 27 Oct 2004 15:59:47 -0700

 War on my mind 

By Russ Baker

Two years before 9/11, candidate Bush was already talking privately about attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer.

Houston: Two years before the September 11 attacks, presidential candidate George W. Bush was already talking privately about the political benefits of attacking Iraq, according to his former ghost writer, who held many conversations with then-Texas Governor Bush in preparation for a planned autobiography.

“He was thinking about invading Iraq in 1999,” said author and journalist Mickey Herskowitz. “It was on his mind. He said to me: ‘One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.’ And he said, ‘My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.’ He said, ‘If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.”

Herskowitz said that Bush expressed frustration at a lifetime as an underachiever in the shadow of an accomplished father. In aggressive military action, he saw the opportunity to emerge from his father’s shadow. The moment, Herskowitz said, came in the wake of the September 11 attacks. “Suddenly, he’s at 91 percent in the polls, and he’d barely crawled out of the bunker.”

That President Bush and his advisers had Iraq on their minds long before weapons inspectors had finished their work – and long before alleged Iraqi ties with terrorists became a central rationale for war – has been raised elsewhere, including in a book based on recollections of former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill. However, Herskowitz was in a unique position to hear Bush’s unguarded and unfiltered views on Iraq, war and other matters – well before he became president.

In 1999, Herskowitz struck a deal with the campaign of George W. Bush about a ghost-written autobiography, which was ultimately titled A Charge to Keep : My Journey to the White House, and he and Bush signed a contract in which the two would split the proceeds. The publisher was William Morrow. Herskowitz was given unimpeded access to Bush, and the two met approximately 20 times so Bush could share his thoughts. Herskowitz began working on the book in May, 1999, and says that within two months he had completed and submitted some 10 chapters, with a remaining 4-6 chapters still on his computer. Herskowitz was replaced as Bush’s ghostwriter after Bush’s handlers concluded that the candidate’s views and life experiences were not being cast in a sufficiently positive light.

According to Herskowitz, who has authored more than 30 books, many of them jointly written autobiographies of famous Americans in politics, sports and media (including that of Reagan adviser Michael Deaver), Bush and his advisers were sold on the idea that it was difficult for a president to accomplish an electoral agenda without the record-high approval numbers that accompany successful if modest wars.

The revelations on Bush’s attitude toward Iraq emerged recently during two taped interviews of Herskowitz, which included a discussion of a variety of matters, including his continued closeness with the Bush family, indicated by his subsequent selection to pen an authorized biography of Bush’s grandfather, written and published last year with the assistance and blessing of the Bush family.

Herskowitz also revealed the following:

-In 2003, Bush’s father indicated to him that he disagreed with his son’s invasion of Iraq.

-Bush admitted that he failed to fulfill his Vietnam-era domestic National Guard service obligation, but claimed that he had been “excused.”

-Bush revealed that after he left his Texas National Guard unit in 1972 under murky circumstances, he never piloted a plane again. That casts doubt on the carefully-choreographed moment of Bush emerging in pilot’s garb from a jet on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 to celebrate “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. The image, instantly telegraphed around the globe, and subsequent hazy White House statements about his capacity in the cockpit, created the impression that a heroic Bush had played a role in landing the craft.

-Bush described his own business ventures as “floundering” before campaign officials insisted on recasting them in a positive light.

Throughout the interviews for this article and in subsequent conversations, Herskowitz indicated he was conflicted over revealing information provided by a family with which he has longtime connections, and by how his candor could comport with the undefined operating principles of the as-told-to genre. Well after the interviews—in which he expressed consternation that Bush’s true views, experience and basic essence had eluded the American people —Herskowitz communicated growing concern about the consequences for himself of the publication of his remarks, and said that he had been under the impression he would not be quoted by name. However, when conversations began, it was made clear to him that the material was intended for publication and attribution. A tape recorder was present and visible at all times.

Several people who know Herskowitz well addressed his character and the veracity of his recollections. “I don’t know anybody that’s ever said a bad word about Mickey,” said Barry Silverman, a well-known Houston executive and civic figure who worked with him on another book project. An informal survey of Texas journalists turned up uniform confidence that Herskowitz’s account as contained in this article could be considered accurate.

One noted Texas journalist who spoke with Herskowitz about the book in 1999 recalls how the author mentioned to him at the time that Bush had revealed things the campaign found embarrassing and did not want in print. He requested anonymity because of the political climate in the state. “I can’t go near this,” he said.

According to Herskowitz, George W. Bush’s beliefs on Iraq were based in part on a notion dating back to the Reagan White House – ascribed in part to now-vice president Dick Cheney, Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee under Reagan. “Start a small war. Pick a country where there is justification you can jump on, go ahead and invade.”

Bush’s circle of pre-election advisers had a fixation on the political capital that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher collected from the Falklands War. Said Herskowitz: “They were just absolutely blown away, just enthralled by the scenes of the troops coming back, of the boats, people throwing flowers at [Thatcher] and her getting these standing ovations in Parliament and making these magnificent speeches.”

Republicans, Herskowitz said, felt that Jimmy Carter’s political downfall could be attributed largely to his failure to wage a war. He noted that President Reagan and President Bush’s father himself had (besides the narrowly-focused Gulf War I) successfully waged limited wars against tiny opponents – Grenada and Panama – and gained politically. But there were successful small wars, and then there were quagmires, and apparently George H.W. Bush and his son did not see eye to eye.

“I know [Bush senior] would not admit this now, but he was opposed to it. I asked him if he had talked to W about invading Iraq. “He said, ‘No I haven’t, and I won’t, but Brent [Scowcroft] has.’ Brent would not have talked to him without the old man’s okaying it.” Scowcroft, national security adviser in the elder Bush’s administration, penned a highly publicized warning to George W. Bush about the perils of an invasion.

Herskowitz’s revelations are not the sole indicator of Bush’s pre-election thinking on Iraq. In December 1999, some six months after his talks with Herskowitz, Bush surprised veteran political chroniclers, including the Boston Globe’s David Nyhan, with his blunt pronouncements about Saddam at a six-way New Hampshire primary event that got little notice: “It was a gaffe-free evening for the rookie front-runner, till he was asked about Saddam’s weapons stash,” wrote Nyhan. ‘I’d take ‘em out,’ [Bush] grinned cavalierly, ‘take out the weapons of mass destruction…I’m surprised he’s still there,” said Bush of the despot who remains in power after losing the Gulf War to Bush Jr.’s father…It remains to be seen if that offhand declaration of war was just Texas talk, a sort of locker room braggadocio, or whether it was Bush’s first big clinker. ”

The notion that President Bush held unrealistic or naïve views about the consequences of war was further advanced recently by a Bush supporter, the evangelist Pat Robertson, who revealed that Bush had told him the Iraq invasion would yield no casualties. In addition, in recent days, high-ranking US military officials have complained that the White House did not provide them with adequate resources for the task at hand.

Herskowitz considers himself a friend of the Bush family, and has been a guest at the family vacation home in Kennebunkport. In the late 1960s, Herskowitz, a longtime Houston Chronicle sports columnist designated President Bush’s father, then-Congressman George HW Bush, to replace him as a guest columnist, and the two have remained close since then. (Herskowitz was suspended briefly in April without pay for reusing material from one of his own columns, about legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.)

In 1999, when Herskowitz turned in his chapters for Charge to Keep, Bush’s staff expressed displeasure —often over Herskowitz’s use of language provided by Bush himself. In a chapter on the oil business, Herskowitz included Bush’s own words to describe the Texan’s unprofitable business ventures, writing: “the companies were floundering”. “I got a call from one of the campaign lawyers, he was kind of angry, and he said, ‘You’ve got some wrong information.’ I didn’t bother to say, ‘Well you know where it came from.’ [The lawyer] said, ‘We do not consider that the governor struggled or floundered in the oil business. We consider him a successful oilman who started up at least two new businesses.’ ”

In the end, campaign officials decided not to go with Herskowitz’s account, and, moreover, demanded everything back. “The lawyer called me and said, ‘Delete it. Shred it. Just do it.’ ”

“They took it and [communications director] Karen [Hughes] rewrote it,” he said. A campaign official arrived at his home at seven a.m. on a Monday morning and took his notes and computer files. However, Herskowitz, who is known for his memory of anecdotes from his long history in journalism and book publishing, says he is confident about his recollections.

According to Herskowitz, Bush was reluctant to discuss his time in the Texas Air National Guard – and inconsistent when he did so. Bush, he said, provided conflicting explanations of how he came to bypass a waiting list and obtain a coveted Guard slot as a domestic alternative to being sent to Vietnam. Herskowitz also said that Bush told him that after transferring from his Texas Guard unit two-thirds through his six-year military obligation to work on an Alabama political campaign, he did not attend any Alabama National Guard drills at all, because he was “excused.” This directly contradicts his public statements that he participated in obligatory training with the Alabama National Guard. Bush’s claim to have fulfilled his military duty has been subject to intense scrutiny; he has insisted in the past that he did show up for monthly drills in Alabama – though commanding officers say they never saw him, and no Guardsmen have come forward to accept substantial “rewards” for anyone who can claim to have seen Bush on base.

Herskowitz said he asked Bush if he ever flew a plane again after leaving the Texas Air National Guard in 1972 – which was two years prior to his contractual obligation to fly jets was due to expire. He said Bush told him he never flew any plane – military or civilian – again. That would contradict published accounts in which Bush talks about his days in 1973 working with inner-city children, when he claimed to have taken some of the children up in a plane.

In 2002, three years after he had been pulled off the George W. Bush biography, Herskowitz was asked by Bush’s father to write a book about the current president’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, after getting a message that the senior Bush wanted to see him. “Former President Bush just handed it to me. We were sitting there one day, and I was visiting him there in his office…He said, ‘I wish somebody would do a book about my dad.’ ”

“He said to me, ‘I know this has been a disappointing time for you, but it’s amazing how many times something good will come out of it.’ I passed it on to my agent, he jumped all over it. I asked [Bush senior], ‘Would you support it and would you give me access to the rest of family?’ He said yes.”

That book, Duty, Honor, Country: The Life and Legacy of Prescott Bush, was published in 2003 by Routledge. If anything, the book has been criticized for its over-reliance on the Bush family’s perspective and rosy interpretation of events. Herskowitz himself is considered the ultimate “as-told-to” author, lending credibility to his account of what George W. Bush told him. Herskowitz’s other books run the gamut of public figures, and include the memoirs of Reagan aide Deaver, former Texas Governor and Nixon Treasury Secretary John Connally, newsman Dan Rather, astronaut Walter Cunningham, and baseball greats Mickey Mantle and Nolan Ryan.

After Herskowitz was pulled from the Bush book project, the biographer learned that a scenario was being prepared to explain his departure. “I got a phone call from someone in the Bush campaign, confidentially, saying ‘Watch your back.’ ”

Reporters covering Bush say that when they inquired as to why Herskowitz was no longer on the project, Hughes intimated that Herskowitz had personal habits that interfered with his writing – a claim Herskowitz said is unfounded. Later, the campaign put out the word that Herskowitz had been removed for missing a deadline. Hughes subsequently finished the book herself – it received largely critical reviews for its self-serving qualities and lack of spontaneity or introspection.

So, said Herskowitz, the best material was left on the cutting room floor, including Bush’s true feelings.

“He told me that as a leader, you can never admit to a mistake,” Herskowitz said. “That was one of the keys to being a leader.”

Research support for this article was provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute.

Russ Baker is an award-winning independent journalist who has been published in The New York Times, The Nation, Washington Post, The Telegraph (UK), Sydney Morning-Herald, and Der Spiegel, among many others.

No More 'Free Lunch' for GOP Candidates

Well, the FCC waited until the eagle screamed on that one!


FCC Orders End to Free Ads for GOP

By TOM CHORNEAU, Associated Press Writer

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A California broadcaster cannot give Republican
candidates free air time unless the same offer is extended to other
candidates, the Federal Communications Commission ruled Friday.

Pappas Telecasting Cos., which donated $325,000 in air time on its
radio and TV stations to 13 GOP county committees last week, had
insisted the gifts were legal and did not trigger federal equal time

In briefs Friday, attorneys for Pappas argued that company president
Harry J. Pappas purchased time at his own stations and donated it to
Republican committees to be used any way they wanted.

"The FCC has no jurisdiction over an individual ... in this regard,"
attorney Kathleen Victory wrote.

But William Johnson, deputy chief of the FCC's Media Bureau, said in
his order that the facts were clear — the broadcaster had given free
time to a candidate.

"When a candidate is furnished time at no cost, competing candidates
are entitled to receive the same amount of free time in comparable
time periods," he said.

It was not clear whether the company would appeal the staff ruling to
the full commission. Calls to the Visalia company's spokesman were
not immediately returned.

"I would have been amazed if the commission had done anything else," said Tracy Westen, chief executive officer of the Center for
Governmental Studies, a nonpartisan research organization in Los

Westen said Pappas could appeal the ruling to the FCC, but the
broadcaster would have to decide whether to continue airing
exclusively Republican ads in the meantime.

If Pappas decides to appeal the issue and continues to run Republican
ads without offering time to Democrats, the company could face
substantial fines, Westen said.

Democratic Assemblywoman Nicole Parra filed a complaint with the FCC
on Thursday after a Pappas television station in Fresno began running
free ads given to her opponent, businessman Dean Gardner.

Parra praised the FCC ruling, which she said "recognized that the
playing field should be even for all candidates, not just the one
that the broadcaster favors."

The company said only $3,600 of the $70,000 in donated time it had
booked for Gardner had been used through Thursday. Parra said Pappas must now make $3,600 in free air time available to her.

Bin Laden's 'Letter to America'

Well Georgie Junior, YOU dropped the ball...


The Observer | Special reports | Full text: bin Laden's 'letter to America'

Full text: bin Laden's 'letter to America'

Online document: the full text of Osama bin Laden's "letter to the American people", reported in today's Observer. The letter first appeared on the internet in Arabic and has since been translated and circulated by Islamists in Britain.
Observer Worldview

Sunday November 24, 2002

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,

"Permission to fight (against disbelievers) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged and surely, Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory" [Quran 22:39]

"Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (anything worshipped other than Allah e.g. Satan). So fight you against the friends of Satan; ever feeble is indeed the plot of Satan."[Quran 4:76]

Some American writers have published articles under the title 'On what basis are we fighting?' These articles have generated a number of responses, some of which adhered to the truth and were based on Islamic Law, and others which have not. Here we wanted to outline the truth - as an explanation and warning - hoping for Allah's reward, seeking success and support from Him.

While seeking Allah's help, we form our reply based on two questions directed at the Americans:

(Q1) Why are we fighting and opposing you?
Q2)What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?

As for the first question: Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple:

(1) Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.

a) You attacked us in Palestine:

(i) Palestine, which has sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years. The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation. The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And of course there is no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel. The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased. Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its*price, and pay for it heavily.

(ii) It brings us both laughter and tears to see that you have not yet tired of repeating your fabricated lies that the Jews have a historical right to Palestine, as it was promised to them in the Torah. Anyone who disputes with them on this alleged fact is accused of anti-semitism. This is one of the most fallacious, widely-circulated fabrications in history. The people of Palestine are pure Arabs and original Semites. It is the Muslims who are the inheritors of Moses (peace be upon him) and the inheritors of the real Torah that has not been changed. Muslims believe in all of the Prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all. If the followers of Moses have been promised a right to Palestine in the Torah, then the Muslims are the most worthy nation of this.

When the Muslims conquered Palestine and drove out the Romans, Palestine and Jerusalem returned to Islaam, the religion of all the Prophets peace be upon them. Therefore, the call to a historical right to Palestine cannot be raised against the Islamic Ummah that believes in all the Prophets of Allah (peace and blessings be upon them) - and we make no distinction between them.

(iii) The blood pouring out of Palestine must be equally revenged. You must know that the Palestinians do not cry alone; their women are not widowed alone; their sons are not orphaned alone.

(b) You attacked us in Somalia; you supported the Russian atrocities against us in Chechnya, the Indian oppression against us in Kashmir, and the Jewish aggression against us in Lebanon.

(c) Under your supervision, consent and orders, the governments of our countries which act as your agents, attack us on a daily basis;

(i) These governments prevent our people from establishing the Islamic Shariah, using violence and lies to do so.

(ii) These governments give us a taste of humiliation, and places us in a large prison of fear and subdual.

(iii) These governments steal our Ummah's wealth and sell them to you at a paltry price.

(iv) These governments have surrendered to the Jews, and handed them most of Palestine, acknowledging the existence of their state over the dismembered limbs of their own people.

(v) The removal of these governments is an obligation upon us, and a necessary step to free the Ummah, to make the Shariah the supreme law and to regain Palestine. And our fight against these governments is not separate from out fight against you.

(d) You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of you international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world.

(e) Your forces occupy our countries; you spread your military bases throughout them; you corrupt our lands, and you besiege our sanctities, to protect the security of the Jews and to ensure the continuity of your pillage of our treasures.

(f) You have starved the Muslims of Iraq, where children die every day. It is a wonder that more than 1.5 million Iraqi children have died as a result of your sanctions, and you did not show concern. Yet when 3000 of your people died, the entire world rises and has not yet sat down.

(g) You have supported the Jews in their idea that Jerusalem is their eternal capital, and agreed to move your embassy there. With your help and under your protection, the Israelis are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. Under the protection of your weapons, Sharon entered the Al-Aqsa mosque, to pollute it as a preparation to capture and destroy it.

(2) These tragedies and calamities are only a few examples of your oppression and aggression against us. It is commanded by our religion and intellect that the oppressed have a right to return the aggression. Do not await anything from us but Jihad, resistance and revenge. Is it in any way rational to expect that after America has attacked us for more than half a century, that we will then leave her to live in security and peace?!!

(3) You may then dispute that all the above does not justify aggression against civilians, for crimes they did not commit and offenses in which they did not partake:

(a) This argument contradicts your continuous repetition that America is the land of freedom, and its leaders in this world. Therefore, the American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. Thus the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment and expulsion of the Palestinians. The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want.

(b) The American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us in Afghanistan, the tanks that strike and destroy our homes in Palestine, the armies which occupy our lands in the Arabian Gulf, and the fleets which ensure the blockade of Iraq. These tax dollars are given to Israel for it to continue to attack us and penetrate our lands. So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates.

(c) Also the American army is part of the American people. It is this very same people who are shamelessly helping the Jews fight against us.

(d) The American people are the ones who employ both their men and their women in the American Forces which attack us.

(e) This is why the American people cannot be not innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and Jews against us.

(f) Allah, the Almighty, legislated the permission and the option to take revenge. Thus, if we are attacked, then we have the right to attack back. Whoever has destroyed our villages and towns, then we have the right to destroy their villages and towns. Whoever has stolen our wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy. And whoever has killed our civilians, then we have the right to kill theirs.

The American Government and press still refuses to answer the question:

Why did they attack us in New York and Washington?

If Sharon is a man of peace in the eyes of Bush, then we are also men of peace!!! America does not understand the language of manners and principles, so we are addressing it using the language it understands.

(Q2) As for the second question that we want to answer: What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?

(1) The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.

(a) The religion of the Unification of God; of freedom from associating partners with Him, and rejection of this; of complete love of Him, the Exalted; of complete submission to His Laws; and of the discarding of all the opinions, orders, theories and religions which contradict with the religion He sent down to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam is the religion of all the prophets, and makes no distinction between them - peace be upon them all.

It is to this religion that we call you; the seal of all the previous religions. It is the religion of Unification of God, sincerity, the best of manners, righteousness, mercy, honour, purity, and piety. It is the religion of showing kindness to others, establishing justice between them, granting them their rights, and defending the oppressed and the persecuted. It is the religion of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with the hand, tongue and heart. It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah's Word and religion reign Supreme. And it is the religion of unity and agreement on the obedience to Allah, and total equality between all people, without regarding their colour, sex, or language.

(b) It is the religion whose book - the Quran - will remained preserved and unchanged, after the other Divine books and messages have been changed. The Quran is the miracle until the Day of Judgment. Allah has challenged anyone to bring a book like the Quran or even ten verses like it.

(2) The second thing we call you to, is to stop your oppression, lies, immorality and debauchery that has spread among you.

(a) We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling's, and trading with interest.

We call you to all of this that you may be freed from that which you have become caught up in; that you may be freed from the deceptive lies that you are a great nation, that your leaders spread amongst you to conceal from you the despicable state to which you have reached.

(b) It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind:

(i) You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator. You flee from the embarrassing question posed to you: How is it possible for Allah the Almighty to create His creation, grant them power over all the creatures and land, grant them all the amenities of life, and then deny them that which they are most in need of: knowledge of the laws which govern their lives?

(ii) You are the nation that permits Usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions. Yet you build your economy and investments on Usury. As a result of this, in all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy, through which they have then taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense; precisely what Benjamin Franklin warned you against.

(iii) You are a nation that permits the production, trading and usage of intoxicants. You also permit drugs, and only forbid the trade of them, even though your nation is the largest consumer of them.

(iv) You are a nation that permits acts of immorality, and you consider them to be pillars of personal freedom. You have continued to sink down this abyss from level to level until incest has spread amongst you, in the face of which neither your sense of honour nor your laws object.

Who can forget your President Clinton's immoral acts committed in the official Oval office? After that you did not even bring him to account, other than that he 'made a mistake', after which everything passed with no punishment. Is there a worse kind of event for which your name will go down in history and remembered by nations?

(v) You are a nation that permits gambling in its all forms. The companies practice this as well, resulting in the investments becoming active and the criminals becoming rich.

(vi) You are a nation that exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools calling upon customers to purchase them. You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins. You then rant that you support the liberation of women.

(vii) You are a nation that practices the trade of sex in all its forms, directly and indirectly. Giant corporations and establishments are established on this, under the name of art, entertainment, tourism and freedom, and other deceptive names you attribute to it.

(viii) And because of all this, you have been described in history as a nation that spreads diseases that were unknown to man in the past. Go ahead and boast to the nations of man, that you brought them AIDS as a Satanic American Invention.

(xi) You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and*industries.

(x) Your law is the law of the rich and wealthy people, who hold sway in their political parties, and fund their election campaigns with their gifts. Behind them stand the Jews, who control your policies, media and economy.

(xi) That which you are singled out for in the history of mankind, is that you have used your force to destroy mankind more than any other nation in history; not to defend principles and values, but to hasten to secure your interests and profits. You who dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan, even though Japan was ready to negotiate an end to the war. How many acts of oppression, tyranny and injustice have you carried out, O callers to freedom?

(xii) Let us not forget one of your major characteristics: your duality in both manners and values; your hypocrisy in manners and principles. All*manners, principles and values have two scales: one for you and one for the others.

(a)The freedom and democracy that you call to is for yourselves and for white race only; as for the rest of the world, you impose upon them your monstrous, destructive policies and Governments, which you call the 'American friends'. Yet you prevent them from establishing democracies. When the Islamic party in Algeria wanted to practice democracy and they won the election, you unleashed your agents in the Algerian army onto them, and to attack them with tanks and guns, to imprison them and torture them - a new lesson from the 'American book of democracy'!!!

(b)Your policy on prohibiting and forcibly removing weapons of mass destruction to ensure world peace: it only applies to those countries which you do not permit to possess such weapons. As for the countries you consent to, such as Israel, then they are allowed to keep and use such weapons to defend their security. Anyone else who you suspect might be manufacturing or keeping these kinds of weapons, you call them criminals and you take military action against them.

(c)You are the last ones to respect the resolutions and policies of International Law, yet you claim to want to selectively punish anyone else who does the same. Israel has for more than 50 years been pushing UN resolutions and rules against the wall with the full support of America.

(d)As for the war criminals which you censure and form criminal courts for - you shamelessly ask that your own are granted immunity!! However, history will not forget the war crimes that you committed against the Muslims and the rest of the world; those you have killed in Japan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon and Iraq will remain a shame that you will never be able to escape. It will suffice to remind you of your latest war crimes in Afghanistan, in which densely populated innocent civilian villages were destroyed, bombs were dropped on mosques causing the roof of the mosque to come crashing down on the heads of the Muslims praying inside. You are the ones who broke the agreement with the Mujahideen when they left Qunduz, bombing them in Jangi fort, and killing more than 1,000 of your prisoners through suffocation and thirst. Allah alone knows how many people have died by torture at the hands of you and your agents. Your planes remain in the Afghan skies, looking for anyone remotely suspicious.

(e)You have claimed to be the vanguards of Human Rights, and your Ministry of Foreign affairs issues annual reports containing statistics of those countries that violate any Human Rights. However, all these things vanished when the Mujahideen hit you, and you then implemented the methods of the same documented governments that you used to curse. In America, you captured thousands the Muslims and Arabs, took them into custody with neither reason, court trial, nor even disclosing their names. You issued newer, harsher laws.

What happens in Guatanamo is a historical embarrassment to America and its values, and it screams into your faces - you hypocrites, "What is the value of your signature on any agreement or treaty?"

(3) What we call you to thirdly is to take an honest stance with yourselves - and I doubt you will do so - to discover that you are a nation without principles or manners, and that the values and principles to you are something which you merely demand from others, not that which you yourself must adhere to.

(4) We also advise you to stop supporting Israel, and to end your support of the Indians in Kashmir, the Russians against the Chechens and to also cease supporting the Manila Government against the Muslims in Southern Philippines.

(5) We also advise you to pack your luggage and get out of our lands. We desire for your goodness, guidance, and righteousness, so do not force us to send you back as cargo in coffins.

(6) Sixthly, we call upon you to end your support of the corrupt leaders in our countries. Do not interfere in our politics and method of education. Leave us alone, or else expect us in New York and Washington.

(7) We also call you to deal with us and interact with us on the basis of mutual interests and benefits, rather than the policies of sub dual, theft and occupation, and not to continue your policy of supporting the Jews because this will result in more disasters for you.

If you fail to respond to all these conditions, then prepare for fight with the Islamic Nation. The Nation of Monotheism, that puts complete trust on Allah and fears none other than Him. The Nation which is addressed by its Quran with the words: "Do you fear them? Allah has more right that you should fear Him if you are believers. Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of believing people. And remove the anger of their (believers') hearts. Allah accepts the repentance of whom He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise." [Quran9:13-1]

The Nation of honour and respect:

"But honour, power and glory belong to Allah, and to His Messenger (Muhammad- peace be upon him) and to the believers." [Quran 63:8]

"So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be*superior ( in victory )if you are indeed (true) believers" [Quran 3:139]

The Nation of Martyrdom; the Nation that desires death more than you desire life:

"Think not of those who are killed in the way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive with their Lord, and they are being provided for. They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them from His bounty and rejoice for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind (not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve. They rejoice in a grace and a bounty from Allah, and that Allah will not waste the reward of the believers." [Quran 3:169-171]

The Nation of victory and success that Allah has promised:

"It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it victorious over all other religions even though the Polytheists hate it." [Quran 61:9]

"Allah has decreed that 'Verily it is I and My Messengers who shall be victorious.' Verily Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty." [Quran 58:21]

The Islamic Nation that was able to dismiss and destroy the previous evil Empires like yourself; the Nation that rejects your attacks, wishes to remove your evils, and is prepared to fight you. You are well aware that the Islamic Nation, from the very core of its soul, despises your haughtiness and arrogance.

If the Americans refuse to listen to our advice and the goodness, guidance and righteousness that we call them to, then be aware that you will lose this Crusade Bush began, just like the other previous Crusades in which you were humiliated by the hands of the Mujahideen, fleeing to your home in great silence and disgrace. If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy.

This is our message to the Americans, as an answer to theirs. Do they now know why we fight them and over which form of ignorance, by the permission of Allah, we shall be victorious?

A Political Hand Grenade?

Well, hopefully this means the Bush Administration doesn't have Bin Laden in cold storage somewhere, just waiting to hit the "Defrost" button at midnight on Nov 1...


Analysis: A political hand grenade

By Adam Brookes
BBC Washington correspondent

The first video message from Osama Bin Laden in two years is couched as a message to the American people.

The timing, four days before the US election, must be intentional.

The first message that it sends is that Bin Laden is alive, free, and apparently healthy.

He gestured easily, appeared composed, and spoke in level tones. He looked neat and well dressed. His appearance was not that of a man on the run.

The making of tape and its subsequent distribution suggest that, to some extent, Bin Laden is still surrounded by an organisational structure.

He is saying that he is alive, still very much a factor in the world, and still very much a threat.

Election impact

For the American voter, this tape - rolled like a political hand grenade into the closing moments of the election campaign - might have two opposite meanings.

It might mean that the "war on terror" has failed: the leadership of al-Qaeda appears is free to operate and articulate its message three years after the "war" was declared.

In turn, that might bolster a support for change, and a Democratic president - John Kerry.

But it could, however, have the opposite effect.

Voters might perceive it as affirmation of President George W Bush's stance that the terrorist threat is very much alive.

And that could cause undecided voters to break towards Mr Bush in affirmation of his war on terror, and the policies he espouses to pursue it.

Spin strategy

Of crucial importance now is the way that both campaigns handle the tape, the way they describe it, draw conclusions from it, and spin it to the voters.

The Republicans probably have the easier job here.

Nothing Bin Laden says on the tape fundamentally challenges or changes the administration's assumptions about the war on terror.

Everything he says seems to bolster the importance and significance of the war on terror.

It brings to life to the idea that terrorism is still a threat to the US, and that Mr Bush is correct to frame his presidency in terms of America's security.

For the Democrats, the job is much more difficult.

Many of the criticisms and observations made by Bin Laden in this tape - that President Bush is untruthful, that he has mismanaged the war on terror - are themes that appear in the Democratic campaign.

Mr Kerry cannot afford to even remotely appear to be capitalising on this tape, or echoing sentiments in it.

His most likely response is to repeat his assertion that the war in Iraq has been a diversion; that the real threat is Bin Laden; and after three years he is still making threats while American forces are overstretched in Iraq.

We know that voters, when questioned about national security, place greater faith in Mr Bush than in Mr Kerry.

The impact of the tape on the closing moments of the campaign will only become clear in the next day or two.

But it would be wrong to assume that it is all bad news for Mr Bush's re-election chances.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/10/30 00:01:27 GMT


29 October 2004

A Lost Tribe's Origin

Wired News: Legends of a Lost Tribe's Origin

02:00 AM Jun. 19, 2002 PT

Ask 10 Melungeons about their ethnic identity and you'll likely get 10 different answers.

Even though historians have concluded that Melungeons, a sub-population of southern Appalachia, are a "tri-racial isolate" made up of whites, local tribes like the Cherokee, and escaped slaves, nobody knows for sure.

"Anybody who tries to claim there's one ethnic background for the Melungeons is like the story of the blind men and the elephant," said Libby Killebrew, a Melungeon historian and genealogist with a background in sociology. "It's not that everyone's wrong, it's that everyone's right and they need to get together."

Over the centuries, so much ethnic mixing has occurred that all of the theories are at least somewhat true.

A researcher at the University of Virginia's College at Wise could offer tantalizing evidence at a gathering of the Melungeon Heritage Association on Thursday.

Kevin Jones, a molecular biologist, has analyzed the DNA of about 120 Melungeon women and 30 men, and has hinted that his results will reveal a very mixed background.

One thing that's certain is Melungeons were a disenfranchised group in southern Appalachia, most of whom had darker skin and were marginalized by the wealthier whites around them. They settled in isolated communities such as Newman's Ridge in Hancock County, Tennessee, or Stone Mountain in Wise County, Virginia.
They hid their backgrounds by saying they were Indian, orphans, or adopted. They changed either the spelling of their surnames or took on new ones. They called themselves black Dutch or black Irish -- anything but Melungeon.

In fact, Melungeon was considered a derogatory label until just a few decades ago.

In the mid-1960s, Hancock County was one of the poorest counties in the country, and its leaders were looking for a way to attract people and money.

"The only thing that Hancock County had going for it was this story of the Melungeons," said Wayne Winkler, president of the Melungeon Heritage Association.

Kermit Hunter had seen success with a previous outdoor production in Cherokee, North Carolina, called Unto these Hills, so officials formed the Hancock County Drama Association and commissioned Hunter to write a play about Melungeons.

The show, called Walk Towards the Sunset, was staged in Sneedville, Tennessee, in 1969. Even though the town had no hotels, few restaurants and was well off the beaten path, the drama ran for six years (they had to skip 1973 because of the gas crisis).
Winkler believes it was only after Walk Towards the Sunset that families begin to take pride in calling themselves Melungeon.
"It would be like saying: 'Our family is a low-class and trashy, disreputable people,'" Winkler said. "It's not the kind of thing you passed onto your children."

Even today, there are Melungeons who don't want to admit or discuss their heritage. But those who do talk do so openly and often loudly.
In 1943, Walter Plecker, the director of Virginia's Department of Vital Statistics, declared Melungeons "free persons of color," causing people to deny they were Melungeon altogether.

But stories that deflected the possibility of African ancestry temporarily helped them preserve their right to vote, send their children to school, or marry whom they wanted. Later, it helped some Melungeons escape discrimination.

One such yarn is that Portuguese sailors brought Turkish slaves to America who joined with local American Indians. Some believe they are Portuguese who fled Spain to escape the Spanish Inquisition.
Some scholars say that while these stories serve a convenient purpose, history bears no proof for them.

"They're saying our ancestors were lying and that is what drove me on to say, 'Look, maybe they weren't lying, maybe it's who they thought they were,'" said Brent Kennedy, author of The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People: An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America.

Even now, some Melungeons feel an aversion to the possibility of having African heritage.

"The controversy (when the DNA results are announced) will be that not everyone, even today in our more enlightened times, is willing to accept the possibility of African ancestry," Winkler said.

One is the Angolan theory, which suggests that all Melungeons are descendants of the original Angolan servants, who were brought to Virginia in 1619 and are widely regarded as the first African slaves.
They were not technically slaves. Early Africans in America were actually indentured servants and were able to buy their own freedom, become landowners, and sometimes married white women, Killebrew said.

"I like that theory because it gets rid of a lot of myths, and the idea that 'I'm more American that you, or more white than you,'" she said.
The list of hypotheses goes on and on, and it's unlikely one will come out the winner, at least not as a result of the DNA study.

Perhaps it doesn't matter which is the true tale, because the basis of racism against Melungeons was not necessarily the color of their skin, but their socio-economic position, Killebrew said.

"In my experience you got called Melungeon only if you were poor enough and low-class enough that people didn't respect you," she said. "There are plenty of people who haven't been discriminated against who have the same ethnic background as me. Race is a matter of perception -- there's no genetic basis to race."

Monster Slash!

Watch DefenderBear keep his forest safe...
Be sure to sign the petition and pass it on!


Monster Slash | The New Monster Mash

The Missing Explosives in Iraq?

Here is proof that Bush is lying about the Ammo Bunkers in Iraq. . . and so he failed to secure possibly the only WMDs ever to be found in that country...


5 EYEWITNESS NEWS video may be linked to missing explosives in Iraq

28 October 2004

A Soldier Speaks: Robert J. Acosta

Listen up and read the Truth...

Honour the Warrior, not the War


AlterNet: War on Iraq: A Soldier Speaks: Robert J. Acosta

By Lakshmi Chaudhry, AlterNet
Posted on October 26, 2004, Printed on October 28, 2004

Robert Acosta was glad when he joined the army straight out of high school. “If it weren’t for the army, I’d probably be locked up right now,” says the Santa Ana, Calif., native. He was stationed in Germany when his unit, the 1st Battalion 501st Regiment, 1st Armored Division, was called up for duty in Iraq.

Robert was 19 years old.

On July 13, 2003, his life changed forever. Robert and a buddy were driving down the road – a quick trip off the military base at the Baghdad International Airport to pick up a couple of cans of soda – when a grenade came flying through the window of his Humvee. When he grabbed it to throw it out the window, it slipped from his fingers. He picked it up again – and the grenade exploded.

He now wears a prosthesis on his right arm, which ends in a two-pronged claw, and his left leg is completely shattered.

The gentle, soft-spoken 21-year old is slowly trying to build a new life as a civilian in New York. But he hasn't forgotten the friends that he left behind, still fighting for their lives in Iraq. Robert is one of the Iraqi veterans featured in the latest Operation Truth ad, calling the Bush administration to account for making a spurious case for war.

He spoke to AlterNet about the war, his hopes and fears, and the hard road ahead.

Is there one memory from the war that still stays with you?

When I was injured, someone threw a hand grenade, and it blew up in my hand. And I was conscious from that moment on. I didn't lose consciousness at all so I remember seeing my hand just gone and my foot was turned completely backwards. I remember seeing all that blood.

And I see it now when I go to bed at night. It's one of those things that will stick with me forever.

When you look back, how has this war changed you?

Mentally, it's made me a lot stronger. I've learned to appreciate life and everything that goes with it a lot more. Physically, of course, I've lost my right hand and my leg is heavily damaged.

But I think it's been a learning experience. Even the four months that I was in Iraq, I've learned so much about myself and about life. I've learned to cherish what I have – like my parents. I almost never saw them again. You don't know what you got until it's almost gone.

What are your hopes and fears now that you look at the future?

I hope that I'll find better ways to deal with this [my injuries] because it's really, really hard.

I hope that one day all these soldiers will come home. These guys are getting so messed up over there and it's just not cool at all.

I hope one day I can be a teacher, because that's what I want to do.

And when it comes to fears, yeah, I really, really, fear being alone. I so don't want to be by myself. I need to have people surrounding me, have this big family. I have a girlfriend now and she helps me out so much. She's stuck by my side throughout this whole experience. I can't imagine being without her, or being alone.

If you had five minutes with the president – whomever it may be on Nov. 3, George Bush or John Kerry – what would you say to him?

Wow, that's a powerful question. I'd say, "Look, I was 19 years old when I went over there, and now my life has changed forever. And there are guys younger than me that are getting hurt – and in ways that is going to stick with them for the rest of their lives.

"Just think about what's going on. Think about the parents and what they have to go through when they get that phone call. Or the soldier who is injured so badly, and his entire life is completely changed – it's so stressful, it's so hard."

They don't understand because they're not out there. So I'd try and get the point across: the numbers have faces behind them.

© 2004 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/20293/

Things (are) Fall(ing) Apart

Quick! Who remembers the Tet Offensive?


Provincial Capital Near Falluja Is Rapidly Slipping Into Chaos

Published: October 28, 2004

AMADI, Iraq, Oct. 21 - The American military and the interim Iraqi government are quickly losing control of this provincial capital, which is larger and strategically more important than its sister city of Falluja, say local officials, clerics, tribal sheiks and officers with the United States Marines.

"The city is chaotic," said Sheik Ali al-Dulaimi, a leader of the region's largest tribe. "There's no presence of the Allawi government," he added, speaking of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

While Ramadi is not exactly a "no go" zone for the marines, like the insurgent stronghold of Falluja 30 miles to the east, officers say it is fast slipping in that direction. In the last six weeks, guerrillas have stepped up the pace of assassinations of Iraqis working with the Americans, and marine officials say they suspect Iraqi security officers have been helping insurgents to attack their troops. Reconstruction efforts have ground to a halt because no local contractors are willing to work.

Most of the military's resources are channeled into controlling a bomb-infested, four-and-a-half-mile stretch of road that runs through downtown and connects two bases. Insurgents pop out of alleyways, mosques and a crowded market and fire at marines at will, then disappear when the Americans give chase.

Ramadi lies at the heart of rebellious Anbar Province and astride the major western supply route to Baghdad. The city, whose 400,000 residents have at best merely tolerated the foreign military presence, is seen as a crucial part of American efforts to plant a secular democracy in Iraq. But the disintegration of authority puts in jeopardy both the Bush administration's plan to stage nationwide elections by Jan. 31 and any sense of legitimacy such elections might have. It also complicates the American military's plans to invade Falluja, because of the close coordination between insurgents in the two cities.

With a powerful mix of propaganda and intimidation, well-financed guerrillas have turned the people of Ramadi against the American occupiers and their allies, Iraqis and marines here say.

"The provincial government is on the verge of collapse," said Second Lt. Ryan Schranel, whose platoon does 24-hour guard duty at the besieged government center opposite the main bazaar. "Just about everybody has resigned or is on the verge of resigning."

The provincial governor, Muhammad Awad, who doubles as the city's mayor, took office after the previous governor resigned in early August following the kidnapping of his three sons, and after a deputy governor was kidnapped and killed. Mr. Awad is juggling two jobs because no one has come forward to be mayor.

Compounding the problems, guerrillas have been streaming in since the marines stepped up airstrikes against the mujahedeen in Falluja, Marine officials say.

"We hit the deck one and a half months ago, and the area has changed for the downhill very quickly," said Staff Sgt. James Keefer, one of six civil affairs officers attached to the Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, which arrived here in early September. "We used to go to civilian areas in one or two Humvees to look at hospitals and other places. Now it's too dangerous, and we need four Humvees for a convoy, and we don't have the resources."

The power vacuum here also muddies plans for an invasion of Falluja, which has about 300,000 people, because Ramadi could well become a haven for retreating guerrillas. Marines here say they have found it impossible to seal off either the highway or the desert smuggling routes between the two cities. Indeed, Marine officials say there is a high level of coordination between insurgent groups in the two cities, with the suspected guerrilla leader in Ramadi, Muhammad Daham, working closely with counterparts in Falluja.

When the marines made their ill-fated push into Falluja last April, they had to battle a ferocious uprising in Ramadi, where 12 marines were killed in a single ambush.

Though members of the former ruling Baath Party are believed to be financing the insurgency here, where loyalty to Saddam Hussein ran high, there is a growing Islamist face to the rebellion, similar to Falluja, local officials and Marine officers say. Calls for resistance emanate from mosque loudspeakers when Marine convoys roll past. In a coordinated raid on seven mosques on Oct. 12, marines said, they found large weapons caches, taped anti-American sermons and DVD's showing beheadings.

Top Marine commanders say they may open an offensive in Ramadi together with one in Falluja. But such an assault would probably have only a limited effect, because insurgents here do not hold well-defined territory, as they do in Falluja. They have instead blended into the population and conduct hit-and-run strikes on Marine patrols and outposts along the main downtown strip.

"It's difficult to describe 'sense of control' in terms of insurgent activity," said Capt. Eric Dougherty, the commander of Company E, which lost four men in the first six weeks here. "The insurgent activity is everywhere. It's at our firm bases here. It's among women and children, those cowards."

Dozens of government employees still come to work every day at the provincial center, a three-story building pockmarked by bullets and shrapnel. Marines sitting watch behind sandbags on the roof get shot at regularly with AK-47's, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

"We're one of the only units that's got bases inside the city," said Lt. Col. Randall P. Newman, the battalion commander. "This is not Falluja. We want to keep this place from becoming a Falluja."

In an interview in his office, Governor Awad attributed the anarchy to the ineffectiveness of the Iraqi security forces and the limited presence of the marines, whom he said had wasted time earlier on reconstruction projects.

"The performance of the police and national guard is very weak in all of central Iraq," Mr. Awad said as he sat behind his desk, two Iraqi guards in civilian clothes hovering near him. "The marines are not protecting us. It's true that they've helped us with some projects such as improving the water supply and sewage disposal and rebuilding schools. But people think all that is worthless. They need security."

None of the dozens of marines interviewed in Ramadi disagreed with Mr. Awad's assessment of the Iraqi police and National Guard.

Even worse, they say, the local forces sometimes aid the insurgency. Marines arrested the police chief of Anbar Province in August on charges of corruption, and Lieutenant Schranel said Iraqi National Guardsmen were suspected of helping insurgents blow up a veterans' building that marines were using as an observation post.

Colonel Newman said the only effective Iraqi troops in Ramadi are 80 or so Iraqi Special Forces soldiers from elsewhere in the country. They live at battalion headquarters and are used for specific operations like mosque raids, not day-to-day security.

On a recent afternoon, two Iraqi National Guardsmen at a checkpoint at the government center watched as a group of marines walked up. "Here come the sons of dogs," one guardsman said to an Iraqi reporter.

Next door, in police headquarters, Iraqi officers tossed around conspiracy theories.

"The Americans gave us nothing more than AK-47's so they could stay in Iraq for a long time," Lt. Abdul-Latif Salim said. "The resistance has the right to fight the occupation. It's an obligation for every Muslim. The Allawi government has no power."

Insurgents have tried discrediting the marines and the local government through widespread propaganda. Clerics regularly preach against the occupation, while guerrillas post the names of Iraqi security officers outside mosques. A marine showed a flier seized from a mosque that depicted a woman in a black robe being raped by men in sunglasses, presumably Americans.

In late September, insurgents began blowing up whole buildings downtown, videotaping the demolitions and giving the tapes to Arab television networks to attribute blame to American airstrikes, Marine officers said. The explosions have destroyed an agricultural center, a veterans' building and the Red Crescent headquarters. Their wrecked facades still scar the city.

As in other parts of Iraq, guerrillas are killing locals working with Americans. An interpreter at a base called Combat Outpost, east of downtown, was found beheaded recently. Insurgents even killed the man who cleaned the portable toilets at the base.

Sergeant Keefer said the marines tried calling a list of 100 potential local contractors when they first arrived. Many of the phone numbers had been disconnected, and people who did answer said the contractors had left town. Reconstruction "is pretty much at a standstill right now," said Capt. Sean Kuehl, an intelligence officer. "An insurgency cannot be defeated solely by an occupying power. We need the support of the local population."

Abdul Razzaq al-Saeidy contributed reporting for this article.

27 October 2004

911 Truth Statement

"911 Truth Statement

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Respected Leaders and Families Launch 9/11 Truth Statement Demanding Deeper Investigation into the Events of 9/11

NEW YORK CITY, NY (Oct. 26, 2004) - An alliance of 100 prominent Americans and 40 family members of those killed on 9/11 today announced the release of the 911 Truth Statement, a call for immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur. The Statement supports an August 31st Zogby poll that found nearly 50% of New Yorkers believe the government had foreknowledge and "consciously failed to act," with 66% wanting a new 9/11 investigation.

Focusing on twelve questions, the Statement highlights areas of incriminating evidence that were either inadequately explored or ignored by the Kean Commission, ranging from insider trading and hijacker funding to foreign government forewarnings and inactive defenses around the Pentagon. The Statement asks for four actions: an immediate investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Congressional hearings, media analysis, and the formation of a truly independent citizens-based inquiry.

The Statement's list of signatories includes notables spanning the political spectrum, from Presidential candidates Ralph Nader, Michael Badnarik, and David Cobb to Catherine Austin Fitts, a member of the first Bush administration, as well as Washington veterans like Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern. Other signers range from peace activists like Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans and Global Exchange's Kevin Danaher to former US Ambassador and Chief of Mission to Iraq, Edward L. Peck; from environmentalists like Randy Hayes and John Robbins to business leaders such as Paul Hawken and Karl Schwartz, CEO of Patmos Nanotechnologies; from populist journalist Ronnie Dugger to renowned investigative reporter Kelly Patricia O'Meara.
The Statement also includes 43 noted authors, including New York Times #1 bestseller John Gray, as well as 18 eminent professors, historians, and theologians. Other notables include five-term Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, singers Michelle Shocked and Michael Franti, and actors Ed Asner and Mimi Kennedy.

The Statement was facilitated by 911truth.org, a leading coalition. The organization has also announced a press conference outside of Eliot Spitzer's Manhattan office (corner of Cedar and Nassau) at 2:00PM on Thursday, Oct. 28th where 9/11 family members and victim group representatives will file a formal complaint demanding the first criminal investigation of 9/11 events by the New York Attorney General. . . "

Read the Truth Statement HERE

Terrorist Thwarted!


Latest Terrorist Activity Thwarted

NEW YORK CITY(AP) At New York's Kennedy airport today, an individual later discovered to be a public school teacher was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule, and a calculator.

At a press conference this morning, Attorney General John Ashcroft
said he believes the man is a member of the notorious al-gebra
movement. He is being charged by the FBI under the Patriot Act with
carrying weapons of math instruction.

"Al-gebra is a fearsome cult," Ashcroft said. "They desire average
solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names
like 'x'and 'y' and refer to themselves as 'unknowns', but we have
determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of
medieval with coordinates in every country," Ashcroft told reporters,
adding, "As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'there are
three sides to every triangle'."

When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes."

Greetings from the People of the Longhouse...

The Iroquois Thanksgiving Address

26 October 2004

John Dean Speaks...

Yes, this is THAT John Dean!


FindLaw's Writ - Dean: The Coming Post-Election Chaos

The Coming Post-Election Chaos:
A Storm Warning of Things to Come If the Vote Is as Close as Expected
Friday, Oct. 22, 2004

This next presidential election, on November 2, may be followed by post-election chaos unlike any we've ever known

Look at the swirling, ugly currents currently at work in this conspicuously close race. There is Republicans' history of going negative to win elections. There is Karl Rove's disposition to challenge close elections in post-election brawls. And there is Democrats' (and others) new unwillingness to roll over, as was done in 2000. Finally, look at the fact that a half-dozen lawsuits are in the works in the key states and more are being developed.

This is a climate for trouble. A storm warning is appropriate. In the end, attorneys and legal strategy could prove as important, if not more so, to the outcome of this election as the traditional political strategists and strategy.

Let's go over each factor that spells trouble - and see how they may combine.

A GOP Disposition For Nasty Campaigns

Before this year's race, the 1988 presidential race between George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis was well-known as the most foul of modern campaigns. The Bush campaign used Willie Horton to smear their way to the White House - with Lee Atwater playing the hardest of hardball.

Horton was a convicted murderer. Massachusetts Governor Dukakis gave him a prison furlough. Once furloughed, Horton held a white Maryland couple hostage for twelve hours, raping the woman and stabbing the man. By using these facts - and Horton's mug shot - in a heavy-handed negative advertisement, Atwater turned the election for Bush. As a Southerner, especially, he must have understood how the ad catered to racial prejudice.

In the 2000 Republican primary race, George W. Bush used similar tactics against Senator John McCain. That's no surprise: Bush's political strategist Karl Rove, and Bush himself, were protégées' and admirers of Lee Atwater. To my knowledge, all of Rove's campaigns have accentuated the negative - often dwelling exclusively on nasty attacks. This one is no exception.

Thus, if Bush narrowly prevails on Election Day, the Democrats are likely to be in a less than congenial mood - and especially likely to go to court. And there will doubtless be fodder for litigation, given the GOP's propensity to try to disqualify votes and voters.

The GOP's Campaign Tactic Of Attempting to Disqualify Votes And Voters

In 1986, former Assistant United States Attorney James Brosnahan (today a noted San Francisco trial attorney) testified - based on an investigation the Justice Department had dispatched him to conduct - that as a young Phoenix attorney, Justice William Rehnquist had been part of conservative Republicans' 1962 efforts to disqualify black and Hispanic voters who showed up to vote. Brosnahan's testimony was supported by no less than fourteen additional witnesses. Rehnquist nevertheless became Chief Justice - thanks to the continued support of conservative Republicans.

During the 1964 Goldwater versus Johnson race, when I first heard of such tactics, I was appalled to hear friends bragging about excluding Johnson supporters from voting. Later, when I found myself working at the Department of Justice for Richard Kleindienst, we discussed such tactics.

Kleindienst served as director of field operations for Goldwater in 1964, and for Nixon in 1968. Remarkably, Kleindienst confided that he had engaged in fewer dubious tactics in 1968 than in 1964. If such efforts were mounted by the Nixon campaign in 1972, when I had a good overview of what was going on, I am not aware of it.

Even Nixon had his limits, and he was more interested in wooing white Southerners into the Republican ranks. He did so, successfully, when such Southern Democratic stalwarts and pillars of bigotry and racism as Senators Strom Thrumond and Jesse Helms joined the GOP. They renewed the party's effort to disqualify voters who, and votes that, did not see the world as Republicans did. The racism became less blatant. After all, it had become a crime -- which called for new tactics. Yet the revised stratagems were (and remain) anything but subtle.

The 2000 presidential race in Florida is an excellent example. Reportedly, Bush's Florida victory came courtesy of 537 votes out of some six million. It's plain from this slim margin that the GOP's voter and vote disqualifying tactics cost Vice President Al Gore the presidency. (In the October 2004 issue of Vanity Fair, an excellent article entitled "The Path To Florida" explains how the Republicans nullified and disqualified literally hundreds of thousands of Florida votes.)

This lesson has not been lost on the Democrats - who are likely to refrain from conceding if they are losing in 2004 until all of the dubious disqualifications in closely-won swing states are sorted out.

Rove's Refusal To Accept Defeat: The Knee-jerk Response of Suing

And it won't only be the Democrats heading to court. Indeed, in Florida in 2000, it was Bush who sued first -- while later falsely accusing Gore of starting the litigation.

Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't merely the closeness of the tallying in what appeared to be unique circumstances in Florida that spawned litigation. To the contrary, suing is a standard operating procedure for Karl Rove when he is losing (or has lost) a race.

A recent profile of Karl Rove in the November 2004 Atlantic Monthly, entitled "Karl Rove In A Corner," examines how Rove operates in a close race. While Rove has had only a few, his tactics are never pretty.

The article describes "Rove's power, when challenged, to draw on an animal ferocity that far exceeds the chest-thumping bravado common to professional political operatives" - and notes that "Rove's fiercest tendencies have been elided in national media coverage."

Consider Rove's role in a 1994 judicial campaign for the Alabama Supreme Court. Election returns showed his candidate had lost by 304 votes. But Rove went to court - not only suing to overturn the election, but at the same time, further campaigning to garner support for these efforts.

These maneuvers went on and on and on. Rove's candidate and his opponent both appeared for Inauguration Day ceremonies, although neither was seated. Rove moved the matter from state to federal courts. And he appealed whenever he could - all the way up to the U. S. Supreme Court, which stayed the case almost a year after the election. In the end, Rove's man won -- purportedly by 262 votes.

Doubtless, Rove was similarly prepared to take Bush's 2000 lawsuits as far as necessary. Had the U.S. Supreme Court bumped the case back to the Florida Supreme Court, and allowed the recount to conclude, doubtless Rove would have again challenged the recount - all the way back up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

Make no mistake: If Bush loses, and it is very close, Rove will want to litigate as long as possible, going to the U.S. Supreme Court (again) if possible.

Still Too Close To Call: The Conspicuous Closeness Of The 2004 Race

So far, no incumbent modern president has won or lost in a squeaker. Even races that looked close in the polls were subject to a last-minute surge in one direction. But we are now ten days away from the 2004 election, with no surge yet in evidence.

A late "October Surprise" might change that. Osama's arrest would likely cause a surge for Bush. New and unequivocally damning evidence about the justification for the Iraq war could create a surge for Kerry. (Suppose, for instance, it became incontrovertible that Bush and Cheney knew that Saddam not only did not have WMD but also had terminal cancer.)

Still, without such a surprise, this race may be an historical photo finish. The electorate is deeply divided. Most of the undecided are now decided. So a true surge for either candidate is unlikely.

There is one wild card: Both sides - as well as many independent groups -- have recently registered hundreds of thousands of new voters. Historically, newly registered voters have often not voted in the first election for which they were eligible. But that could change; it's impossible to know.

Exactly how close will the race be? Of course, polls are an imperfect measure, and they tend to be less reliable the closer it is to Election Day. Still, as I write, and based on the consensus of polls I believe (historically) to be the most reliable, the situation appears to be this:

There are a total of 538 electoral votes. A simple majority of 270 wins. (If the candidates tie at 269, the tie is broken by the House of Representatives.)

President Bush seems to have a lock on 176 electoral votes from twenty states: AL-9, AK-3, AZ-10, GA-15, ID-4, IN-10, KS-6, KY-8, LA-9, MS-6, MT-3, NE-5, ND-3, OK-7, SC-3, TN-11, TX-34, UT-5, VA-13 and WY-3. Senator Kerry seems to have a lock on 153 electoral votes in ten states and the District of Columbia: CA-55, CT-7, DE-3, HI-4, IL-21, MD-10, MA-12, NY-31, RI-4, VT-3 and DC-3.

Six states with 51 electoral votes tilt toward Bush: AR-6, CO-9, MO-11, NV-5, NC-15 and WV-5. But six states with 63 electoral votes lean toward Kerry: ME-3 (note that Maine apportions its four electoral votes, and one vote still appears to be up for grabs), MI-17, MN-10, NJ-15, OR-7 and WA-11.

Suppose all the tilting states indeed go in the direction in which they are tilting. That gives Bush/Cheney 227 electoral votes, and Kerry/Edwards 216 votes.

There are still eight true swing states. In total, they have 95 electoral votes: IA-7, FL-27, ME-1, NH-4, NM-5, OH-20, PA-21, and WI-10.

It is in these states that election 2004 will ultimately be resolved - either in the voting booths, or in the courts. And note that none of these states, alone - even Florida, with its 27 votes - will give either candidate a win.

That means we could see simultaneous litigation in a number of states - chosen either because the polling was especially close, or because there are significant numbers of vulnerable votes to try to disqualify. It will be recalled that the possibility for multi-state litigation arose in 2000, before Florida became the focus; it could easily become a reality in 2004.

An Election For Attorneys: Neither Side Will Budge If Litigation Begins

When I discussed this situation with several attorneys on both sides, I realized none are likely to back down. The Democrats intend to play hardball to win this time; the Republicans feel that Democrats aren't adhering to the letter of the law in registration efforts - and want to hold them to it.

It is impossible to get a complete count, but it appears that at least 10,000 - and possibly as many as 150,000 -- attorneys, paralegals and law students will be working as observers, or handling election problems, on November 2-- just in the swing states. They have been trained in the relevant state's election laws, and they will focus on the casting and counting of votes.

With so many legal minds looking for problems and such combative attitudes on both sides, litigation seems inevitable - especially if the November 2 tally is close. And if litigation starts, it won't stop soon: A game of litigation chicken -- testing who will fold first - seems likely, with each party bent on holding out.

The Nightmare Scenario: An Election Up in the Air For Months

It may be days or weeks, if not months, before we know the final results of this presidential election. And given the Republican control of the government, if Karl Rove is on the losing side, it could be years: He will take every issue (if he is losing) to its ultimate appeal in every state he can.

The cost of such litigation will be great - with the capital of citizens' trust in their government, and its election processes, sinking along with the nation's (if not the world's) financial markets, which loathe uncertainty. After Bush v. Gore, is there any doubt how the high Court would resolve another round? This time, though, the Court, too, will pay more dearly. With persuasive power as its only source of authority, the Court's power will diminish as the American people's cynicism skyrockets.

It does not seem to trouble either Rove or Bush that they are moving us toward a Twenty-first Century civil war -- and that, once again, Southern conservatism is at its core. Only a miracle, it strikes me, can prevent this election from descending into post-election chaos. But given the alternatives, a miracle is what I am hoping for.

John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the president.

Let the Records Speak...

Read them and weep (if you're a Republican!)


Service Records of John F. Kerry and George W Bush - Links to all public documents - AWOLBush.com


Methinks the bishop speaks the Truth, ugly as it may be...


Understanding the Christian Roots of My Political Depression

The Republican mix of piety, patriotism and fear works, but is lethal
for America and Christianity.

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by John Shelby Spong

THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION in New York City forced me to face the fact that my feelings about the Bush Administration have reached a visceral negativity, the intensity of which surprises even me. So I decided to search introspectively to identify its source. Is it simply runaway partisanship? That is certainly how it sounds to many who make that charge publicly, but that has not been my history. I did not react
this way to other Republican presidents like Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford or
Reagan. My feelings are quite specifically Bush related.

I first became aware of them in 1988 when George H. W. Bush's campaign employed the Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis. This dirty trick was successful and the insinuation entered the body politic that to be the governor of a multi-racial state where all were treated fairly meant that you favored freeing black criminals to commit murder. Lee Atwater, mentor of Karl Rove, devised that campaign. The Willie Horton episode said to me that these people believed that no dishonest tactic was to be avoided if it helped your candidate to victory.

The next manifestation of this mentality came in the South Carolina
primary in George W. Bush's campaign in 2000, when the patriotism of
John McCain was viciously attacked. It appeared those five years, as a
prisoner of war in North Vietnam was not sufficient to prove one's
loyalty to America . The third episode came when the operatives of
this administration destroyed Georgia 's Senator Max Cleland in 2002, by accusing him of being soft on national security, despite the fact that
this veteran had lost three of his limbs in the service of his country.

Each of these attacks brought defeat to its victims but they also
brought defeat to truth and integrity.

In 2004 we have seen the pattern repeated. John Kerry, a veteran who served with honor and distinction in Vietnam was told in countless
surrogate ads that his service was not worthy and that his three
purple hearts and his Silver Star for heroism were cheaply won. For a
candidate who ducked military service by securing a preferential appointment to the Texas National Guard, part of which was served in Alabama , this takes gall indeed.

Then Senator Zell Miller, his face contorted with anger, recited a
litany of weapons systems that he said Senator Kerry had opposed. What he failed to say was that most of these military cuts were recommended by a Secretary of Defense named Richard Cheney in the first Bush Administration! The last time I looked, the Ten Commandments still included an injunction against bearing false witness. Yes, other campaigns bend the truth but these tactics go beyond just bending, they assassinate character and suggest traitorous behavior. When that is combined with the fact that this party does this while proclaiming itself the party of religion, cultural values and faith-based initiatives is the final straw for me. I experience the religious right as a deeply racist enterprise that seeks to hide its
intolerance under the rhetoric of super patriotism and "family

For those who think that this is too strong a charge or too out of
bounds politically, I invite you to look at the record.

It was George H. W. Bush who gave us Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, calling him "the most qualified person in America ." Thomas replaced Thurgood Marshall, who had been the legal hero to black Americans during the struggle over segregation. Clarence Thomas, the opponent of every governmental program that made his own life possible, is today an embarrassment to blacks in America . To appoint a black man to do the racist work against black people is demonic. Consistent with that pattern, this administration entered an amicus brief against the University of Michigan 's Law School because in the quest for a representative student body that Law School used race as one factor in determining admissions. The strange 'Orwellian' rhetoric again was deceiving.

"We want America to be a nation where race is not counted for anything and all are to be judged on merit alone."

Those are fair sounding words until one factors in centuries of slavery and segregation, or the quality of public education in urban America which just happens to be predominantly black. Next one cannot help noticing the concerted Republican effort to limit black suffrage in many states like Florida where it has been most overt, and to deny the power of the ballot to all the citizens of Washington , D.C.

Does anyone doubt that the people of Washington have no vote for any other reason than that they are overwhelmingly black?

Only when I touched these wells of resentment, did I discover how
deeply personal my feelings are about the Bushes.

I grew up in the southern, religious world they seek to exploit. I went to a church that combined piety with segregation, quoted the Bible to keep women in secondary positions, and encouraged me to hate both my enemies and other religions, especially Jews. It taught me that homosexual people choose their lifestyle because they are either mentally sick or morally depraved. I hear these same definitions echoed in the pious phrases of those who want to "defend marriage against the gay onslaught." Are the leaders of this party the only educated people who seem not to know that their attitudes about homosexuality are uninformed? People no more choose their sexual orientation than they choose to be left-handed! To play on both ignorance and fear for political gain is a page lifted right out of the racial struggle that shaped my region. Racism simply hides today under new pseudonyms.

I lived in Lynchburg , Virginia , before Jerry Falwell rose to national prominence. He was a race baiting segregationist to his core. Liberty Baptist College began as a segregation academy. Super patriot Falwell condemned Nelson Mandela as a 'communist' and praised the apartheid regime in South Africa as a 'bulwark for Christian civilization.' I have heard Pat Robertson attack the movement to give equality to women by referring to feminists as Lesbians who want to destroy the family, while quoting the Bible to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment. The homophobic rhetoric that spews so frequently out of the mouths of these "Jesus preaching" right-wingers has been mentioned time and again as factors that encourage hate crimes.

I am aware that the former Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama, famous for his attempt to place a three-ton monument of the Ten Commandments in his Montgomery courthouse to the delight of southern preachers, is on record as saying that "homosexuality is inherently evil."

I lived through the brutality that greeted the civil rights movement
in the South during its early days. Congressman John Lewis of Atlanta can tell you what it means to be beaten into unconsciousness on a "freedom ride."

I remember the names of Southerners who covered their hate-filled racism with the blanket of religion to enable them to win the
governors' mansions in the deep South: John Patterson and George Wallace in Alabama, Ross Barnett in Mississippi , Orville Faubus in Arkansas , Mills Godwin in Virginia and Strom Thurmond in South Carolina.

I know the religious dimensions of North Carolina that kept Jesse Helms in the Senate for five terms. Now we have learned that Strom Thurmond, who protected segregation in the Senate when he could not impose it by winning the presidency in 1948, also fathered a daughter by an underage black girl. I know that Congressman Robert Barr of Georgia, who introduced the Defense of Marriage Act in 1988, has been married three times.

I know that Pat Robertson's Congressman in Norfolk , Ed Schrock,
courted religious votes while condemning homosexual people until he
was outed as a gay man and was forced to resign his seat. I know that the bulk of the voters from the Religious Right today are the George Wallace voters of yesterday, who simply transformed their
racial prejudices and called them "family values."

That mentality is now present in this administration. It starts with the President, embraces the Attorney General John Ashcroft and spreads out in every direction.

I have known Southern mobs that have acted in violence against black
people while couching that violence in the sweetness of Evangelical
Christianity. I abhor that kind of religion. I resent more than I can
express the fact that my Christ has been employed in the service of
this mentality. My Christ, who refused to condemn the woman taken in the act of adultery; my Christ who embraced the lepers, the most feared social outcasts of his day; my Christ who implored us to see the face of God in the faces of "the least of these our brothers and sisters;" my Christ who opposed the prejudice being expressed against the racially impure Samaritans, is today being used politically to dehumanize others by those who play on base instincts.

David Halberstam, in his book on the Civil Rights movement entitled
"The Children", quotes Lyndon Johnson talking with Bill Moyers right after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had passed by large margins in the Congress of the United States . This positive vote followed the arousing of the public's consciousness by the Abu Ghraib-like use of dogs and fire hoses on black citizens in Alabama . Klan groups, under the direct protection of Southern State Troopers and local police, had also attacked blacks with baseball bats and lead pipes in public places, which had been seen on national television. Moyers expected to find President Johnson jubilant over this legislative victory. Instead he found the President strangely silent. When Moyers enquired as to the reason, Johnson said rather prophetically, "Bill, I've just handed the South to the Republicans for fifty years, certainly for the rest of our life
times." That is surely correct. Bush's polls popped after his convention. It is now his election to lose. The combination of super patriotism with
piety, used in the service of fear to elicit votes while suppressing
equality works, but it is lethal for America and lethal for
Christianity. It may be a winning formula but it has no integrity and
it feels dreadful to this particular Christian.

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About the writer

John Shelby Spong was the Episcopal Bishop of Newark, NJ, for more
than twenty years and is one of the leading spokespersons in the world for progressive Christianity. He is the author of 15 books including the bestselling "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism", "Living in Sin, Liberating the Gospels", and "Why Christianity Must Change or Die."