Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Marble Game

Once there was a fat little boy who loved pigs and thought they were the coolest things ever. Whenever he’d see one he would gleefully follow it around.

One day he fell in behind a pack of Texas swine. One of the hogs looked particularly fine to the little boy and he followed closely right behind that hog. That hog rooted and snorted, stopping here and there along the way and generally making a noisy nuisance of himself. But the little boy didn’t care because he had become totally infatuated with that Texas hog.

That Texas hog loved to wallow around the crude oil tank farms and oily residues got all over him and everything he ate. It was so bad that even that hog’s little pig poops were covered with oil which made them all shiny - and fascinating to the little fat boy. He picked up some nearly round ones, all covered with oil and said to himself,

“Wow! These look just like bright shiny marbles! Maybe that’s what they are!”

And, he gathered up the round ones and put them in a bag that he began carrying for the purpose. Before long he convinced himself the greasy little pig poops really were marbles and began looking to get in a game with the other boys.

There were two groups of boys, some with real marbles and others like the little fat boy who had become infatuated with shiny pig poops. The pig poop boys demanded to get in the game with the boys with the real marbles.

“No damned way!” shouted the boys of that group. “All them things are, are just stinking, nasty, greasy little pig poops!

“That’s where you’re wrong” retorted the pig poop group. “These here things are the real things. As a matter of fact, they are realer that those shiny round hard thingies you fellers are playing with!”

And the pig poop group shouted so loud and so long that the boys in the other group felt obliged to let them into their marble games in all fairness.

At first, the greasy little pig poop marbles did OK. They certainly LOOKED the part. The greasy little pig poop boys bullied their way in and began dominating the game, and anyone who complained about having to play with pig poop was hooted down and called names, and disparaged in all sorts of clever, artfully devious ways.

Before long, the greasy little pig poop marbles began to show signs of being what they really were - obviously fraudulent as marbles. They stank to high heaven for one thing. They began coming apart at the seams and some disintegrated altogether. The folks with the real marbles pointed out the problems with the pig poop marbles, but the pig poop boys refused to acknowledge anything showing their little pig poops weren’t real marbles. They even deceitfully called the real marbles ‘fakes’ and ‘un-marbles’ and such.

As time went on, the defects in the greasy little pig poops became too much to ignore, and even some of the pig poop group began to see the truth of the matter. But, there remained a diehard bunch who could never admit the greasy little pig poops were not the real thing. They convinced themselves to the point that reality could not and would not be allowed to intrude.

The little fat boy was one of those. When others kept pointing out the all-too-obvious fraudulent nature of his greasy little pig poop marbles, he got all pissy and mad and wouldn’t play anymore. He stomped off home with his greasy little pig poop marbles disintegrating and rotting in his pocket and stinking to high heavens.

No one knows what will become of him and the others like him.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Pace of Dying

The Iraq War is remote and dimly perceived by most Americans, presented as it is by 'embedded correspondents' and controlled media. Propagandized as necessary for "National Security" it is seen as desirable and supported by most Neo-Cons. It was and is neither necessary nor desirable, and in fact now contributes greatly to future instability in our world. It is also a terrible blot on the reputation of our country. These facts are now being noted by the majority of people in our country today.

The Iraq War dominates the thoughts and lives of the families and friends of those who are being sacrificed there and the consequences will last for the rest of their lives. This gruesomely and chillingly clever site puts the pace of dying in the Bush II Iraq war into a more understandable perspective for the rest of us.

The animation runs at ten frames per second - one frame for each day - and a single black dot indicates the geographic location that a coalition military fatality ocurred. Each dot starts as a white flash and a larger red dot which fades to black over the span of 30 frames/days, and then slowly fades to grey over the span of the entire war.

Accompanying the visual representation is a soft 'tic' sound for each fatality, the volume of which increases relative to the number of fatalities that occurred simultaneously that day. More deaths in a smaller area produces visually deeper reds and audibly more pronounced 'tic's.

Americans owe it to our country to pay attention to what is being done in our names - so suck in your gut a little and watch this if you dare:

(Turn up the volume on your computer a little)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Endemic Sleeze & Deceit

Is sleeze and deceit endemic to certain political doctrines? Does history tend to repeat itself? Will it repeat again? You be the judge (but, please try to be careful what you wish for!): Before the Iraq invasion, administration officials -- including Vice President Cheney, cited intelligence 'information' that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction to make their case for war (amongst many other lies).

Yesterday, Vice President Dick Cheney accused Democratic senators who allege the Bush administration distorted intelligence to justify the war in Iraq of making "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."

This "Vice" President strongly reminds me of another VP who once famously referred to war critics as 'an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as 'intellectuals' " and who complained about the press as 'nattering nabobs of negativism'. Yes, I am talking about good ol' Spiro Agnew, and both these guys sure smell the same to me:

But at least Spiro Agnew chose to resign as Vice President to avoid a White House scandal. He was under IRS criminal investigation for tax evasion associated with his taking kickbacks from contractors while governor of Maryland.

After his resignation, he pleaded 'no contest' and was given a token fine of $10,000. Spiro was subsequently fined $248,000.00 by the state of Maryland. And, Spiro Agnew remains the only VP in history to have resigned under criminal investigation. Ah yes, who can forget good ol' Spiro? Well, the State of Maryland would like to for one example. Today the Maryland Governor's Reception Room is lined with pictures of former governors, but ol' Spiro's likeness just ain't there.

And remember, that Spiro's President, the one and only Richard Milhous Nixon, ALSO resigned the Presidency during his second term to avoid impeachment for his Watergate illegalities.

Now, how's that for a record for an administration! But, it looks like Cheney may try to tough it out in the hope the Fitzpatrick investigation fizzles and Cheney remains unindicted. Time will tell on that. Will history repeat? Well, one can certainly hope. But wait just a darned minute! Dennis Hastert as President? Come on! Lord help us all!

But, even that would certainly be better than having Cheney in the top spot . . . .

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Liars, all

Do you ever feel as though you are paying some kind of hidden tax or ransom each time you buy fuel of any kind? Maybe you've wondered why gasoline prices have doubled in the past year and a half?

Have you wondered if there was any hanky-panky going on between energy companies, this administration & VP Cheney - especially since Cheney has steadfastly refused to release any documents concerning their 'secret' meetings? Cheney & his staff adamantly maintain that the President & Vice President have the "constitutional right to obtain information in confidentiality", (and apparently from anyone they wish to listen to, especially if they can somehow collude together).

Well, wonder no more:

These were meetings which oil company executives have denied to a man that ever took place. Nonetheless, according to the *Washington Post article:

"According to the White House document, Rouse met with task force staff members on Feb. 14, 2001. On March 21, they met with Archie Dunham, who was chairman of Conoco. On April 12, according to the document, task force staff members met with Conoco official Huffman and two officials from the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, Wayne Gibbens and Alby Modiano.

On April 17, task force staff members met with Royal Dutch/Shell Group's chairman, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Shell Oil chairman Steven Miller and two others. On March 22, staff members met with BP regional president Bob Malone, chief economist Peter Davies and company employees Graham Barr and Deb Beaubien.

Toward the end of the hearing, Lautenberg (D-NJ) asked the five executives: "Did your company or any representatives of your companies participate in Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001?" When there was no response, Lautenberg added: "The meeting . . . "

"No," said Raymond.

"No," said Chevron Chairman David J. O'Reilly.

"We did not, no," Mulva said.

"To be honest, I don't know," said BP America chief executive Ross Pillari, who came to the job in August 2001. "I wasn't here then."

"But your company was here," Lautenberg replied.

"Yes," Pillari said.

Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, who has held his job since earlier this year, answered last. "Not to my knowledge," he said."

(Oil industry executives testifying before the US Senate last week, left to right are Lee R. Raymond of Exxon Mobil, David J. O'Reilly of Chevron, James J. Mulva of ConocoPhillips, Ross Pillari of BP American and John Hofmeister of Shell Oil.)

So, to a man they all LIED. But, why should this be surprising since lying is the very defining hallmark of the current US administration many of whom spring exactly from these same precise roots?

So, how did they get away with lying to senators? Well, the answer will not be at all surprising to any Alaskan. *From the Washington Post article:

"The executives were not under oath when they testified, so they are not vulnerable to charges of perjury; committee Democrats had protested the decision by Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) not to swear in the executives."


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005


Just a reminder:



The "BUY BLUE" outfit has the mission of tracking corporate political donations of major US Corporations, and publishes other 'people' information about them as it comes available. I personally screen their info from time to time, and if the opportunity arises, I definitely try to spend my money biased in the direction of 'progressive' companies, of which there are many.

The "BUY BLUE" folks keep improving this site, and now show 'alternatives' for many regressive national corporations. Let your dollars vote for you WHERE IT COUNTS, and for progressive causes - why shouldn't you? Why reward folks who are so narrowly focused on the bottom line they will support ANY administration, no matter how anti-people or regressive?

And, if you have the time and energy, you should definitely let those regressive companies know what you are doing!

Check it out:

"Conservatives" vs "Tax & Spenders"

I did a little research following recent news reports of the largest monthly US budget deficit in history and stumbled across some statistics of note. It may interest you to know that official figures from the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) show the following:

Ranking the past 9 US Presidents (Kennedy thru Bush II), by percentage of US budget deficit increase during their terms, gives these results, from least increase (best) to the most increase (worst):


1 Clinton: 1.7% increase per year
2 Kennedy: 1.9% increase per year
3 Johnson: 2.8% increase per year
4 Nixon: 3.5% increase per year
5 Bush II: 6.5% increase per year
6 Ford: 10.0% increase per year
7 Bush I: 11.6% increase per year
8 Carter: 12.3 % increase per year
9 Reagan: 36% increase per year !!! (I believe they used the term "ballooned" for this phenomenon)

In other words, those darned 'liberal, tax & spend" Democrats outperformed those pious, self-righteous 'conservative' Republicans across the board, and by several orders of magnitude. The only 'tax & spender", who was anywhere near as bad as the "conservatives' was Carter and he was pretty bad. And, that 'Great Communicator" and arch conservative, moralistic Ronald Reagan's record was TWENTY-ONE TIMES worse that that nasty, libidinous liberal Bill Clinton's. (I do seem to recall Clinton using the recurring phrase, "It's the economy, stupid!")

I was pretty impressed by Bush II's ranking until I remembered 'well, he ain't done yet!"

And remember, these stats aren't based on dollars, but on percentage of increase in the deficit during their respective terms.

You can check these stats for yourself - I found this most illuminating!:

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bellwether of the Pendulum's Swing

As a political moderate and a non-partisan independent, I have always believed in a political balance between so-called liberals and conservatives. Nonetheless since 2000, simply because I have spoken out against the present smarmy and deceitfully lying administration - as is my right - I have been called "Commie", "Treasonous", "Unpatriotic" and many other disparagingly uncomplimentary names.

I find that most deceitfully cynical. In my time I spent some pretty arduous years as a US Marine in defense of my country. And almost all of the current Neo-Con leadership and the vast majority of their vociferous supporters found ways to avoid all military service or personal sacrifice - yet they shout the loudest today, strenuously beating the war drums, piously and sanctimoniously proclaiming their patriotism. You know who they are. Some patriots!

So, I am really quite gratified by yesterday's elections across the US, in spite of my non-partisan predisposition. Let's see now:

In New Jersey the Democratic gubernatorial candidate won by 10 percentage points - and will now appoint his Democratic successor in the US Senate;

In Republican Virginia the Democratic candidate won by over 5 percentage points (maybe partly because voters there decided the Republican candidate was pretty darned obtuse for allowing his campaign to be supported by a discredited President with the lowest approval ratings in history);

In California voters defeated all of the Republican governor's ballot initiatives;

Democratic mayors were elected over Republicans in Detroit, Houston, Atlanta & Boston;

Is this a bellwether of things to come and a repudiation of the current Neo-Con Republican administration?

"Nah, no way" say higher ups in the present Republican leadership who have proved to be unbelievably adept at ignoring realities and keeping their heads well buried in the sand.

But me, why I can see the beginning of the pendulum's swing.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Letter to Congressman Don Young

(Below is my letter to Alaska's Congressman Don Young, in answer to his smarmy response to my letter regarding the Iraq War. Congressman Young's letter is quoted below in it's entirety.)

Congressman Young:

I'm convinced that you and "295 of your fellow House Members from both sides of the aisle" have allowed yourselves to be taken in by a deceitful administration which rushed our country into a "Catch 22" type war which is proving more each day to be a horrible, bloody mistake for our country. Many of you seemed even eager for this war and many still have your heads stuck in the sand in denial - and the rest of the world is passing you by.

Few of you "House Members from both sides of the aisle" troubled yourselves to take the time to 'look under the rock' to check out the facts to determine if going to war was really the right thing to do. In my opinion, pardon me, but this is exactly what I believe your job is supposed to be, and what you are paid to do. Consequently, I believe you have failed abysmally in your job, and your duty to your country and to your constituents, not to mention the causes of peace in our world. Were I able, I would fire the lot of you in a heartbeat. Perhaps I can help with that next election.

Political motivations, political dogma and lord knows what all else motivated you collectively to jump on the bandwagon and beat the drums for war - fraudulently and illegally, against a nation which had zero responsibility for the 9/11 attacks and which offered no creditable threat to our nation. This is the bald and undeniable truth and must be said. To pretend otherwise is to demonstrate a profound and unbelievable detachment from reality and the facts, and exactly where you seem to be.

You have collectively authored a war which is disastrous for our nation, and for the world at large. This war has already cost over 2000 young American lives, and 200 billions of dollars, with no end in sight. This war has besmirched the honor and integrity of MY NATION which I proudly bore arms to defend. For that alone I can not forgive you nor the others who supported this illegal invasion of another nation for fraudulent reasons.

Saying something is so does not make it so. The whole world sees the rising tide of Islamic theocracy now occurring in Iraq, and the fertile breeding ground which the entire country is becoming for Islamic terrorists. Only a few heavily fortified and defended enclaves exist over the country to which our troops must retreat at night while the rest of the countryside must endure lawless anarchy . Your claims that Iraq 'has been returned to Democracy' is specious on it's very face as Iraq has never been a 'democratic' nation in it's history and most certainly is not now. What is occurring there today does not resemble democracy in the slightest. To pretend that it does is disingenuous at best, and seems much closer to just more smarmy deceit to me.

Perhaps you are easily fooled Mr. Young, but much of the rest of the world - including nearly 60% in our own nation today, are not.

Support bringing our troops home now!

On Nov 8, 2005, at 11:55 AM, wrote:

November 8, 2005

Dear (Constituent):

Thank you for writing me regarding the situation in Iraq. This is a very important issue and I appreciate you taking the time to share your views.

I joined 295 of my fellow House Members from both sides of the aisle to authorize the President to use force against Iraq to protect the U.S. and enforce U.N. resolutions. We were joined by over two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. I made this difficult decision because I believed it was critical to the security of the United States that an aggressive and belligerent Iraq be defanged.

I am confident that the President's rationale for beginning military action in Iraq was justified. No one knowledgeable on Middle Eastern affairs seriously believed that Hussein was not trying his hardest to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and that with them he would have
threatened the United States. The UN diplomatic disagreements were over how long Iraq should be allowed to flaunt UN resolutions, not over whether Iraq is a threat or in defiance of international efforts to disarm it.

Now we must honor our commitment to the Iraqi people to restore order to their country. Abandoning Iraq before the job is done will leave a breeding ground of terror and Islamic militancy. Both the Baathist elements that remain, and the Islamic-militancy that we have uncovered, must be defeated. We have already come a long way; Iraq has been returned
to democracy and the constitution is on track. I remain committed to completing what we have begun.

I hope you find this information useful and please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of further assistance.


Congressman for All Alaska

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Death of our Culture

The “Central Intelligence Agency”, which claims it exists to protect and secure the US against external threats may itself be our country’s biggest long term threat. This secretive, autonomous agency is the author of countless crimes, misdeeds and scandals which do egregious harm to our country. The CIA is in fact a terrible cancer on our country which will inevitably lead to the death of our culture.

When “The Company” began during W.W.II, perhaps it’s motives were relatively pure, although that too is questionable. But, any clandestine agency with a open-ended budget and no oversight or outside control can never resist an inevitable slide to the dark side, and sooner rather than later.

There is abundant proof that the CIA is guilty of and has engaged in the following:

Assassinations of leaders of other nations, democratically elected or otherwise;

The planning and execution of coups against other, sovereign nations;

Assassinations of anyone self-defined by the CIA as a ‘threat’;

Clandestine warfare and invasions against and within other nations;

Manufacturing false ‘evidence’ on a wholesale & sophisticated basis;

Wholesale lying to Congress and the public at large;

Engaging in illegal activities on a vast scale, including the drug trade and slavery;

Illegally furnishing high tech weaponry and munitions to clandestine & terrorist groups;

Payments to and training of domestic and foreign mercenary armies and terrorist groups;

Drug and other illegal trades money laundering;

The wholesale breaking of US and international laws, from breaking and entering through murder and genocide;

Espionage against domestic political groups and other US government agencies;

Disinformation campaigns against perceived domestic ‘threats’ - as defined by the CIA;

Disinformation & smear campaigns against US politicians, directed by the CIA and often the party in power;

Disinformation and false information campaigns in the US to influence the public support of foreign policies with hidden agendas;

The establishment of 'front companies' to engage in normal business while pursuing illegal activities on a vast scale;

The hiring of Mafia groups on contract, for up to and including murder and beyond;

Countless millions of dollars paid in bribes and direct payments to despots and terrorists overseas;

Draconian punishments of ‘whistle blowers’ who attempt to expose the truth, including 'disappearing' them;

Illegal and secret imprisonment of individuals, including US citizens, without trial and for indefinite periods;

Sponsoring physical torture of individuals for indefinite periods of time, secretly and otherwise,

with totally no accountability;

Causing individuals to ‘disappear’ indefinitely and witout trace, with no legal justification, and against all international laws, treaties and standards;

The establishment of secret prisons in our own country and overseas - the “gulags of our time”;

These are just a few of the things this ‘agency’ is doing in the name of “National Security”, at US taxpayer expense and with zero accountability. This what all US citizens are paying for with tax dollars, without choice and with no oversight.

You can not help but notice that every national scandal in the US has some kind of CIA connection.

Purported to be one of the CIA's secret prisons . . . . . used illegally for indefinite incarceration and inevitably for torture of individuals.

This what you are paying for. Are you proud?

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Richest Nation on Earth Today

What’s it like to live in the richest nation on earth, the United States of America? If you are a foreigner the answers may surprise you. If you are an American, you already have a pretty good idea:

Employment: NINE million Americans are out of work;

Wages: US wages & salaries are down, universally across the board;

Energy costs: Up over 75% in the past year, and crude oil prices are above $60 per barrel, with the highest profits in history for energy companies, who are also receiving a huge tax break from this administration;

Inflation: Since this administration took office in 2000, US inflation has been approx. 18% - and that’s in the face of 9/11 & aftermath. In practical terms this means a dollar today buys only 82 cents worth in 2000 values.

Poverty: In 2004, another 1.7 million Americans dropped below the income poverty line. More than TWELVE million American children live in poverty (the worst rate by far of any industrialized country!);

Healthcare: Costs are inflating at double digit rates, and roughly 40% of the citizens of the richest nation on Earth are completely without health insurance coverage;

Retirement: Pensions of many millions of Americans have disappeared wholly or in part, i.e., the funds having been raped and/or confiscated by big business;

Investments: The largest corporate bankruptcies in history by far, wiping out many billions in personal wealth have been authored by supporters of this President, on this President's "watch". The stock market is below the level it was when this administration took office over five years ago. On 1/21/2000: DJIA = 11,253; At close on 11/4/05: DJIA = 10,530) = 7% DECLINE;

Food & nutrition: THIRTY-THREE million Americans are now ‘food insecure’ - literally not knowing where their next meal is coming from (that's roughly 110% of our population!);

Nature & the environment: The environment is under attack across a broad front in favor of huge international resource extraction corporations, by an administration which values it only for it's potential for exploitation;

Personal Freedoms: Americans have lost fundamental personal freedoms across the board under the excuse of "national security". Individuals and individual rights are under attack across a broad front in favor of ‘business’ and we citizens are actually more insecure than almost ever in history;

Religious Freedom: Fundamentalist Christian legislators believe they have the right and duty to define and dictate all values and standards for everyone else, and unfortunately are in a good position to do so. This is in a nation that which was originally founded in part on the principles of freedom of religion;

Ethics in government: There appears to be none in a secretive administration now being rocked by one smarmy scandal after another scandal;

BUT, the good news is . . . oops, sorry. THERE IS NO GOOD NEWS!

In Afghanistan:
Terrorists attacks are increasing and compounding daily; with ever higher levels of death and destruction;

Control of the government is largely in the hands of mujahedeen warlords, whom this administration prefers to define as ‘governors,” “ministers” or “presidential candidates” in keeping with their policies of lying and distortion;

BUT, the good news is that the opium poppy fields are now multiplied many times over and have delivered a bumper crop in 2005 which should really help the CIA!

In Iraq:
Terrorist attacks are increasing and compounding daily with ever higher levels of death and destruction;

American military deaths headed for the 'thousands' - casualties are increasing daily. Over 15,000 American military personnel have been wounded;

Iraqi casualties are largely uncounted with estimates as high as 100,000 dead or more and 350,000 or more wounded;

Nearly $200 billion American taxpayer dollars are acknowledged to have been spent on the war so far, with another almost $200 billion earmarked a the war with no end in sight;

Bechtel Corporation has an $1.8 billion contract to rebuild Iraq’s water sewage and electrical systems. Locals say next to nothing has been done and some of Baghdad’s streets are often flooded for blocks with ankle-deep green algae sewage;

Dick Cheney's Halliburton Corporation is the recipient of many billions of dollars in no-bid US federal contracts, and has eagerly managed to overcharge the American government on many fronts, from furnishing soldiers' meals to fuel;

Several international human rights organizations condemn the US for blatant abuses and say that our country is now running the “gulags of our time”;

This administration has redefined - literally - what is and is not ‘torture’ to justify their abuse of basic humanity and unconscionable treatment of helpless prisoners held for years without trial under harsh and inhumane conditions where torture is common. No comprehensive investigation has been made nor has any high level person been called to account;

Consequently, the reputation of the US is at it’s lowest point in history;

The entire nation of Iraq is now in grave danger of slipping into a civil war between Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds - which has the potential to spread wholesale across the entire region;

The stability of the entire Middle East is at one of the lowest and most precarious points in history;

BUT, the good news is . . . oops, sorry. THERE IS NO GOOD NEWS!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Greatly Ashamed

I have always been suspicious of national politicians of whatever party, and their pious claims to have the public's best interests at heart, and to be working for "freedom and democracy for all".

But today, I am exceedingly jaded, revolted and disgusted by the things being done in my country's name under this present, unbelievable administration. I keep hoping it is all just a nightmare from which we will all awake. I take solace that I did not vote for the Fascists now in charge- if I had there's no way I could apologize enough for what they are doing in the names of "Freedom", "Democracy" and "National Security" today. The hypocrisy of this bunch would be laughably ridiculous were it not so serious and affecting so many people's lives - and being responsible for the deaths of so many thousands.

The saddest part is that our country's shameful acts actually make matters far worse.
Our country's good name is daily being besmirched and smeared by one shameful scandal after another by this group of thugs - there is no other name for them. It is becoming quite clear that the US, under this administration, is now egregiously guilty of what we used to term 'disappearing people' when done by other countries. The names of "Nazi Germany", "Russia", "Argentina", and yes, even "Iraq" under Saddam Hussein come quickly to mind.

And, I am ashamed for the sake of my country. There can be no justification for the shameful acts now being perpetrated by our US government. The ends can NEVER justify the means.