Web www.theriverman.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Links to two stories that piss me off too much to comment upon

American MPs charged with beating prisoners of war



Monday, November 24, 2003

Continuing a previous writing

On September 11th, 2001 two tall buildings were struck down in New York. You may, in fact, remember this. It was in most of the papers. I am tempted, now, to delve into the many questions and conspiracy theories regarding this event. However, I’m afraid it would give the affect of demeaning my credibility and, as well, it is not necessary to make my points.

As far as anyone can say, airplanes were used by Middle Eastern men in their 20’s and 30’s to bring down the Twin Towers. The Medelin Cartel was not involved. The IRA was not involved. It would seem to me that there is one type of terrorist we are looking at here. That, of course, is the Islamist animal. I call members of this type animals, for they are not men.

Today in northern Iraq two of our men from the 101st Airborne were gunned down as they drove through town in their vehicle. The details are sketchy, but whether alive or dead after the bullets, people came and slit their throats. Their bodies were dragged out of the humvee. They lay on the ground, dead and bleeding. This, of course, is not enough for the “terrorists.” The bodies of these two soldiers were beaten with concrete blocks. Their faces crushed beyond recognition. One man had a foot severed. The truck and the bodies were looted. Shoes, guns, clothes, a couple of CD’s. Whatever these creatures could grab, they did.

The Nazis were not nice people. They pillaged and tortured and murdered. But we can at least see that they had an agenda. They used these tactics to gain material and slaves to bring more power to their empire and to help them defeat there enemies. Their acts can not be excused, but they can be understood.

The actions of the creatures we are fighting can not be so understood. From the instant murder of thousands in New York, to the slow killing of those two men in Mosul, these “terrorists” seem to kill for no reason other than their own bloodlust. Such a creature can no longer be called a terrorist now, now that there is no goal that is attempting to be reached here, other than simply killing. Murder. Destruction. No, we are not at war against terrorists. We are at war against every Allah praising animal in this world of ours. But this is of course not PC-enough for our handlers to admit. It must remain “The Terrorists.”

The words Islam, Muslim, even Arab, never show up in the vapid indictments our president makes against our enemies. Yet the truth screams to be heard. Our troops are not being dismembered by atheists or ultra-fundamentalist Christians such as the Nazis were. Our friends and sons and daughters are not dying at the hands of the communists as we were once afraid they might. Our people are being killed by ignorant animalistic third-world coyotes.

Before I go any further, let me state that this is not a full condemnation of Islam. I am not a Muslim. I have, unlike most Americans I would wager, actually read most of the Koran. I studied Islam shortly from a scholarly and historical light, as I also studied many other religions. (And just for the record, the common notion that “Islam” means peace is at best a half-truth, the better translation is “complete submission to the will of Allah”. The assumption being that peace is acquired only after this.) Is this a religion of only bloodthirsty dogs? No, of course not. Neither is every republican a slave to the corporate empire. But the fact remains that our enemies here ARE driven by a very widespread interpretation of the Koran and its appendictic literature. Why is it impossible for this to be addressed by our leaders? I honestly don’t know. I assume that they are trying to look tolerant and world-wise, but at what price?

Achtung, Miami

This is from the Miami Herald. It's a lovely story about a 71 year old man being harrassed and threatened by "police" in Miami as he and other people, young and old, were there in protestation of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas. This is a story 50+ year old women shot with rubber bullets. This is a story of college kids holding signs and being sprayed with pepper spray and CS. Read the wonderful stories below and respect authority as you desire.


He respected the badge, but `not in Miami'

E arly on Thursday morning, Bentley Killmon boarded a chartered bus to take him from Fort Myers to Miami so he could protest the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas. The 71-year-old, retired airline pilot said he was amazed by the heavy police presence in downtown Miami when he arrived.

Throughout the day, he said he watched police overreact to incidents. He saw a 53-year-old woman get shot in the chest with rubber bullets. He saw other peaceful protesters being gassed with pepper spray. He saw young people, who weren't doing anything illegal or improper, being pushed and harassed by cops.

''My father was in the Norfolk City Police Department for many years,'' he said. ``Until Thursday, I respected the badge. I respected the job the police had to do. But I no longer respect the badge. Not in Miami. Not after what I saw. Not after what happened to me and others.''

As the day ended, Killmon, along with others from the Alliance for Retired Americans, were trying to find their way back to their buses.

''We ran into a line of brown shirts,'' he said, referring to the uniforms worn by the Miami-Dade Police Department. ``They were very rude. They would not let us pass, and they sent us down the railroad tracks.

''That's when we saw the black shirts coming at us,'' he said. Miami police wore black uniforms.

''They were pointing their guns at us,'' he continued. ``I guess they had those rubber pellets in them, but I didn't know, I was just incredibly frightened. Some of the people with us got down on their knees, and as I got down on my knees, I was briskly pushed to the ground. It felt like I had a foot to my back knocking me down. Everyone in our group was knocked to the ground and handcuffed. I had my hands cuffed behind my back for 7 ½ hours.''

Killmon said he was charged with disorderly conduct.

''I still don't know what it was I did,'' he said Saturday.

After spending the night in jail, he said a judge dismissed the charges against him.

''Miami was a police state,'' he said.

While city and county leaders pat themselves on the back and Miami Police Chief John Timoney talks about the ''remarkable restraint'' shown by officers, one of them may want to contact Killmon and tell this man what a great job the police did.

Miami's Angel Calzadilla, Timoney's executive assistant, said he couldn't comment on Killmon's arrest until he was certain which police agency arrested him.

''As the story comes out, over the next few hours and days and weeks, the public is going to learn what we saw on the street, that the police provoked these exchanges and went way out of their way to increase the magnitude of their response,'' said Ron Judd, a regional director for the AFL-CIO. ``There was nothing measured in their response. We had retired steel workers, retired firefighters, retired teamsters harassed and arrested Thursday.

''When you start shooting seniors with rubber bullets and using pepper spray on them and arresting them, it's just outrageous,'' Judd said. ``And if their stories don't get people's dander up and the public isn't outraged by this, then folks in South Florida have no heart.''

As far as the national leadership of the AFL-CIO is concerned, what happened in Miami was an insult to every member of the organization.

''You are going to hear from us loud and clear over the next few weeks and months,'' he said. ``All of the options are open -- asking the Justice Department to investigate civil rights abuses, filing our own lawsuits against the city and the county and whatever we can think of. That is how outraged we are by this.''

Fred Frost, president of the South Florida AFL-CIO and its 150,000 members, agreed.

''Am I happy with the way the police treated regular working people and the respect that I think we are due?'' he asked. ``The answer is no. I think they treated us like we were the enemy. The police just seemed to be so hyped up. I felt like I was in a war zone. This wasn't my city. This wasn't the city I know.''


Sunday, November 23, 2003

Patriot Act Expansion Moves Through Congress

Please read the below article

Patriot Act Expansion Moves Through Congress

Jim Lobe

OneWorld US
21 November 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov 21 (OneWorld) -- Congress is poised to approve new legislation that amounts to the first substantive expansion of the controversial USA Patriot Act since it was approved just after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

Acting at the Bush administration's behest, a joint House-Senate conference committee has approved a provision in the 2004 Intelligence Authorization bill that will permit the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to demand records from a number of businesses--without the approval of a judge or grand jury--if it deems them relevant to a counter-terrorism investigation.

The measure would extend the FBI's power to seize records from banks and credit unions to securities dealers, currency exchanges, travel agencies, car dealers, post offices, casinos, pawnbrokers and any other business that, according to the government, has a "high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax or regulatory matters." Such seizures could be carried out with the approval of the judicial branch of government.

Until now only banks, credit unions, and similar financial institutions were obliged to turn over such records on the FBI's demand.

Shortly after the conference agreement was reached, the House of Representatives approved the underlying authorization bill by a margin of 263 to 163. The measure is expected to pass the Senate shortly.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said it was "disappointed" with the House's approval, but also expressed satisfaction that a number of lawmakers on both left and right decided to oppose the bill because they oppose the records provision, whose inclusion in the bill was discovered by staff aides only last week.

Particularly notable in Thursday's House vote was the defection by several conservative Republicans from the administration's fold.

"This PATRIOT Act expansion was the only controversial part of this legislation, and it prompted more than a third of the House, including 15 conservative Republicans, to change what is normally a cakewalk vote into something truly contested," said Timothy Edgar, ACLU Legislative Counsel.

"One need look no further than this vote to get an effective gauge of the PATRIOT Act's lack of popularity on Capitol Hill and among the American people," he said.

The USA PATRIOT Act--which gives unprecedented powers to the FBI and the federal government as a whole and was rammed through Congress at the administration's behest just six weeks after the 9/11 attacks--has evoked great controversy.

An unusual coalition of liberal, left, and right-wing groups is convinced that the law's expansion of the government's surveillance and investigatory powers threatens individual freedoms and privacy rights.

More than 200 local governments, including some of the country's largest cities, have approved resolutions upholding the full enjoyment of the rights guaranteed in the Constitution and urging a narrowing of the USA PATRIOT Act, while the Senate Judiciary Committee has been holding a series of critical hearings over the past month about the Act's impact.

Members of the Judiciary Committee, including Republican Larry Craig of Idaho and five Democratic senators, sent a letter to the conference committee earlier this week urging it strip the new provision from the intelligence bill so that it could be taken up by their Committee in public hearings. The provision has never been publicly debated.

"I'm concerned about this," Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin, who tried unsuccessfully to limit the life of the new provision, told the New York Times. "The idea of expanding the powers of government gives everyone pause except the Republican leadership."

The government wants these powers in order to more effectively prosecute the "war on terrorism," although critics warn that, once given these powers, the FBI may use them in cases that are not relevant to terrorism in order to gather evidence against other targets of investigation.

Indeed, recent Senate hearings have covered incidents in which information about individuals was obtained by the FBI through the use of its counter-terrorism powers even though the such investigations were directed against what the ACLU called "garden-variety criminals."

The provision not only permits the FBI to seize records from more kinds of businesses; it also forbids businesses from informing their clients about the seizures.

In that respect, it is comparable to a particularly controversial section of the PATRIOT Act permitting the FBI to seek an order for library records for an "investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities" and imposing a gag order on librarians, who are prohibited from telling anyone that the FBI demanded the records. Librarians and civil-liberties groups have sued the government to have that section declared unconstitutional.

"The more checks and balances against government abuse are eroded, the greater that abuse," said the ACLU's Edgar. "We're going to regret these initiatives down the road."


The following quote:

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form
of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that
they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From
that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising
the most from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy
always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a
The average age of the world's great civilizations
has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through
the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual
faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to
abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency
from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency
back to bondage.” -Alexander Tyler

Had been at the top of my blog because I read it and thought it was a great quote. I still think it is, but as with most things, too good to be true. After attempting to verify even the EXISTANCE of this supposed Scottish History Professor who lived about the time of our revolution, I was unable to do so. As far as I can tell, some clever fellow recently came up with this and attributed it to some non-existant old chap to make it sound real. Not a bad deal. At any rate, I'm not going to be one of the many in cyberspace perpetuating this falsity. Just wanted you guys to know how the truth runs.

F.B.I. Investigates Antiwar Rallies

Oh yeah, this sounds like a great idea. Let's look into anyone who disagrees!! Better yet, let's surveil and harass them as well!!



Thursday, November 20, 2003

Lawmakers Approve Expansion of F.B.I.'s Antiterrorism Powers


Published: November 20, 2003

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 — Congressional negotiators approved a measure on Wednesday to expand the F.B.I.'s counterterrorism powers, despite concerns from some lawmakers who said that the measure gave the government too much authority and that the public had been shut out of the debate.

Full Story


Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Police search Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch

Heh, maybe they'll get him this time.


Sunday, November 16, 2003

Cheney Ignored War Chaos Alert; British wanted to delay invasion

Kamal Ahmed
The London Observer

British warnings that America was failing before the war to prepare properly for a crumbling security situation in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was ousted were ignored by Vice President Dick Cheney and the Pentagon.
In some of the first direct evidence of serious divisions between the key allies in the run-up to the conflict, the former British Ambassador to Washington, Sir Christopher Meyer, said the US had failed to focus on what might happen after Saddam had been overthrown.
His admission raises serious questions that a lack of planning by US forces is at least partly to blame for Iraq's present security problems.
Last week 17 Italians and eight Iraqis were killed by a suicide bomber in the southern Iraqi town of Nasiriyah. It was the worst atrocity in the country for three months.
In an interview with The Observer, Meyer, who was ambassador just before the war began, said there were a series of meetings between British and American officials between the signing of the United Nations Resolution 1441 last November and the start of the war in March.
The British regularly raised their concerns about how much planning was going on to secure the country after Saddam, but the issue was largely ignored.
'One of the things that did not work out between us was a properly agreed strategy,' Meyer said.
'I suspect that a lot of things that we were saying to the Americans when we had a number of meetings towards the end of last year on post-Saddam strategy, a lot of those things have now been shown to be right.'
Meyer was referring to the security situation in Iraq, which critics say has been blighted by a lack of co-ordination between American forces and a lack of understanding about what the response of sections of the Iraqi population would be to the occupation.
Asked if the Government had warned the US about the need for planning the post-Saddam era, he said: 'Absolutely, absolutely.
He added: 'The problem was that bureaucratically there is a tendency in Washington to be able to focus on only one big issue at a time.
'I think they were consumed in the contingency planning for war.
'We were saying that's fine but we must be clear in our own mind what is happening afterwards. That was absolutely indispensable.
'The message was well taken in the State Depart ment but it could not agree an approach with the Defence Department and the Vice President.'
Meyer revealed that Tony Blair had made a personal appeal to Bush in the new year to delay the war.
At their Washington summit in January, Bush had made it clear that America was ready to attack the following month, well before all the diplomatic avenues had been exhausted and before Britain felt that its military capability was ready.
'Two issues had to be thrashed out,' Meyer said. 'Would the Americans support us going for a second resolution. The other was [that] we needed some delay - less to work through the diplomacy, more to get the British deployment there.
'I remember sending something to London on the eve of that meeting saying: "Neither argument had been won in Washington. Tony Blair is going to have to come to Washington and argue for support of the second resolution and argue for some delay which is desirable".'


Friday, November 14, 2003

W: Oh yeppers, we got that there Iraky sitchiasion all set

CIA brief says 'We Could Lose This Situation'

By Julian Borger and Rory McCarthy
The Guardian

Thursday 13 November 2003

· CIA says insurgents now 50,000 strong
· Crisis talks over transfer of power

The White House yesterday drew up emergency plans to accelerate the transfer of power in Iraq after being shown a devastating CIA report warning that the guerrilla war was in danger of escalating out of US control.

The report, an "appraisal of situation" commissioned by the CIA director, George Tenet, and written by the CIA station chief in Baghdad, said that the insurgency was gaining ground among the population, and already numbers in the tens of thousands.

One military intelligence assessment now estimates the insurgents' strength at 50,000. Analysts cautioned that such a figure was speculative, but it does indicate a deep-rooted revolt on a far greater scale than the Pentagon had led the administration to believe.

An intelligence source in Washington familiar with the CIA report described it as a "bleak assessment that the resistance is broad, strong and getting stronger".

"It says we are going to lose the situation unless there is a rapid and dramatic change of course," the source said...

Full Story


Thursday, November 13, 2003

Let me try to put this to rest too

I know all you Conservatives AND Lefties want Hillary to run this year. The right, because they want to see her crushed by Bush. ANd the left, because they know none of the 9 useless-eaters vying for the spot have a chance. Well, it's not gonna happen.

Of course she's going to Iowa. She's there to remind everyone who's really in charge, but she knows better than to run this year. She's smart enought to know that Bush is not beatable in '04. She's building political capital for '08 where (most likely) she'll be facing Jeb Bush for the White House. Trust me, she'll get the nomination in '08. So guys, right and left, you'll just have to wait.

As for '04, I reiterrate my previous statements from April 29. Dean gets the nod. We'll probably see a Wesley Clark veep run, but it doesn't matter. They'll lose fairly handily.

But watch closely for the next few years. '08 is gonna be a blast.

Just a quote I found

This is from Fareed Zakaria, one of my favorite journalists. As far as I know, he writes only for Newsweek, so pick up a copy and read him sometime. Here's the quote from Newsweek Nov. 17 2003 p 41:

Sometimes I think that President Bush's critics need to put up a sign somewhere in their rooms that reads: "Some things are true even if George W. Bush believes them.” A visceral dislike for the president is boxing many otherwise sensible people into a corner because they cannot bring themselves to agree with anything he says.

Zakaria is dead on. He goes on to write at length about specifics concerning a speech Bush gave about the Middle East last week (you can read it here). I’m not going to get into those specific instances now, this is to be more of a broad stroke.

I didn’t vote for Bush, I voted Libertarian. I’ve never really had a strong feeling about the president one way or the other. The primal hatred that Zakaria speaks of MUST stop before it gets more people killed. Until we can get some sensible dialog, we can get nothing solved.

However, distrust and dislike and general politicking must not be mistaken for this deep hatred Zakaria writes about. Shaun Hannity would have you believe that anyone who speaks of the president’s…ahem… mistakes in speaking concerning the Iraq war is some mindless Liberal who HATES Bush and cannot have rational thought. This is not the case. Tom Daschle can come out and quote the president and cite his “misstatements” (read: lies) without becoming a babbling broken record. Unfortunately, this is not often the case.

There seems to be a slippery slope here. When one (usually congressional Democrats) begin to speak of the president it such ways, it almost always comes out as hate speech. Whether this is real or perceived is almost irrelevant, because as soon as it gets said, the pundits and polis on the other side start whining and screaming about “treason”. (This MUST also be stopped) We shouldn’t censor people, and there are a lot fewer of these “I hate Bush, no matter the cost” people out there than Mr. Hannity would have you believe. But you folks in power, left and right, can we please act like adults for a few minutes. Ok, well…a man can dream

Government Outgrows Cap Set by President

So, seems he's neither "compassionate" nor "conservative." We can thank W for the biggest government to date. Thank you DC!

Soldier Might Face Court Martial For Radio Comments

Story Here

I agree with what she had to say, but she IS in the military, and there ARE regulations you must go by being military personell. Remember, there is no Freedom of Speech if you're in the military.


Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Oh yeah, this whole Iraq thing is going GREAT.

Iraq Governor Bremer Heads to U.S. at Short Notice

US infighting blamed for Iraq failures


And security here in the states is great too

Nuclear weapons lab's keys are lost


Monday, November 10, 2003

Yeah so it wasn't PC, but at least they would tell us who the enemy was back then.

Now, our leaders can hide behind the word "terrorist". That's who we're at war with. Of course, this is beside the point, but we’re not even really at war. Congress has made no such declaration, as only they have the constitutional right to do. This “war” that is spoken of is ethereal, no more real than the “War on Drugs” or the “War on Poverty. Domestically, this might as well be the “War on Liberty”. That’s easy enough to see. But internationally, there’s a problem. Since we ARE in conflict abroad, it’s obvious to the ignorant masses that we must be at war.

But who is the enemy? Our great leaders bellow back, “The evil-doers! The Terrorists!” Hmm…there’s that word again. But what does it truly mean? Terrorism is usually defined like this: Anyone who uses terror to reach a social, political, or material end. I’m paraphrasing Webster here, but that’s a close facsimile. If you feel I may be incorrect, feel free of course to check the dictionary yourself. Quite a broad swath of people to be at war with, no? That puts us at war, then, with every criminal in the U.S. For after all, what is a hold up man doing if not using fear (terror) to get money/goods/etc (material ends)? To that we must add all the rival paramilitary groups and pseudo-governments in Central and South America. Do they not inflict terror in horrible ways to gain power? Murdering parents in front of their children, video taping these acts, and then using them to demonstrate their power/skill/insanity/whatever. Is that not terrorism? Perhaps we can add the Chinese government to this list as well. There are many well-documented cases of the Chinese leaders using deadly force and illegal incarceration to squelch dissent. Is this not terrorism?

To this, the administration has nothing to say. But their silence fills books. The fact alone that we are not in any way going after the above mentioned terrorists shows us that our leaders are not interested in a war against all terrorists. And of course they aren’t. Such a notion would be bizarre and impossible. But why use such broad jargon to explain why our men and women must fight and die? Why is the truth not brought into the light?

Continued in the next installment.


Friday, November 07, 2003

Open Note to the Media



The Riverman


Thursday, November 06, 2003

From our esteemed Senior Senator

"Pork is anything north of Memphis"- Then Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) in response to questions about his support for massive government spending.

Tell him what you think

From Drudge

"Nine Mexican immigrants who worked as janitors at Wal-Marts in New Jersey are ready to sue the company, accusing Wal-Mart and its cleaning contractors of failing to pay overtime, withhold taxes and make required workers' compensation contributions!"

OK. Could someone please explain to me why ILLEGAL ALIENS have any legal standing in civil matters? Granted, I'm not paralegal or legal scholar or anything, but this is beyond the pale. If they come and work, fine, I understand that. If we (USA) allow them to work illegally, I understand that too. Everyone loves cheap labor. But how in the world would ANY illegal immigrant have ANY legal standing whatsoever?? Please help me out here.

FBI has new 9/11 hijacking suspect

Alright! The FBI THINKS it MAY have the name of a guy who TRIED to be involved with the September 11 attacks...you know..THE ONE'S THAT ALREADY FREAKING HAPPENED!! Boy, I sure feel safer now. Don't you?...

Full Story

Barbour Wins the Governor's Mansion

Yay. Maybe governing here he can send even MORE jobs to Mexico. Or maybe even make the ENTIRE state a subsidiary of one of the many corporations he's lobbied for. What a great term we have to look forward to!


Wednesday, November 05, 2003

A MUST read

Clear Channel Rewrites Rules of Radio Broadcasting

By Dante Toza
Special to CorpWatch
October 8, 2003

Against a backdrop of red, white and blue curtains, emblazoned with the words of the constitution of the United States, the heads of some of the world's biggest radio companies gathered for
the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) annual meeting last week in Philadelphia, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Please Read the Full Story Here


Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Assassin's History

(Ed: Liberal "coulda been..." tripe. Just wanted to throw it into the mix lest you think I bow to the trouthout.org pulpit)

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Tuesday 4 November 2003

"Robert Kennedy died last night. Martin Luther King was shot a month ago. And every day my Government gives me a count of corpses created by military science in Vietnam. So it goes."

- Kurt Vonnegut

Benjamin Disraeli, in a speech before the British Parliament, once said, "Assassination has never changed the history of the world." Some terrible decades later, the sentiment was repeated by Robert Kennedy, who commented upon the death of his brother with the Disraelian observation, "Assassins have never changed history." Benjamin and Robert were both wise men. Both were completely wrong in ways difficult to measure. Robert, specifically, was not just wrong, but dead wrong.

Very soon now, newspapers and magazines and television screens will become filled with images of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The 40th anniversary of that deadly day in Dallas approaches, and so we will see the Zapruder film again and again, see his head blasted open, see Connolly bellow from the front seat, see Jackie crawl desperately across the trunk of the car to retrieve pieces of her husband's skull....

Full Editorial

Aid For Wounded Troops

Congress can move fast when it wants. Only one day after a
federal judge voided the Federal Trade Commission's "do-not-call"
list designed to stop telemarketing calls from interrupting your
dinner, the U.S. House passed legislation to keep the "do-not-call"

Appearing on C-SPAN, Joseph Anselmo a reporter for Congressional
Quarterly said, "It's the fastest I've ever seen the House act."
According to the Associated Press, Representative Ed Markey said,
"This legislation got to the House floor faster than a consumer
can hang up on a telemarketer at dinnertime."

But while members of the U.S. House were ranting on the House
floor about the need to keep telemarketers from interrupting
everyone's dinner, wounded U.S. troops recovering in hospitals
were being forced to pay for their dinners.

Congressman Bill Young (R-Florida) in a September 4th letter to
his House colleagues wrote, "Upon being discharged from the
hospital, our enlisted personnel and officers are served with a
bill to pay for their 'subsistence' while in the hospital. The
current daily rate for these charges is $8.10.

"We learned about this from our visits with Staff Sargeant William
L. Murwin, who spent 26 days in the hospital recovering from
injuries incurred in Iraq. Sergeant Murwin is a reservist in the
Marine Corps who was injured when a 10-year-old Iraqi dropped a
grenade in the HUMVEE he was driving. As a result of the
explosion, Sergeant Murwin is a partial amputee, having lost a
large part of his foot.

"Upon his discharge July 18th to return home to Nevada and his
job as a sheriff's deputy, Sergeant Murwin was handed a bill
from the hospital for $210.60 to pay for his food and subsistence.
Beverely [Congressman Young's wife] and I paid this bill for
Sergeant Murwin because we consider it an injustice to ask those
who have served us so courageously in Afghanistan and Iraq to
pay for their food while hospitalized because of their service."

To correct this injustice, Congressman Young introduced H.R. 2998
that would permanently stop charging troops injured in combat for
food while hospitalized.

Congress is now considering President Bush's request to spend
billions of dollars to reconstruct Iraq. We think Congress should
first feed America's wounded troops.

Congress can move quickly when it wants. It rushed overnight new
legislation to keep telemarketers from interrupting dinnertime.
Congress should act with the same speed to provide injured troops
recovering in hospitals with dinner.

Urge your U.S. representative to support H.R. 2998 and to work
for its immediate passage. To take action, go to


Kent Snyder
The Liberty Committee

So...it's apparently NOT just a bunch of guys with AK-47's and rocks

Something’ felled an M1A1 Abrams tank in Iraq – but what?
Mystery behind Aug. 28 incident puzzles Army officials

By John Roos
Special to the Times

Shortly before dawn on Aug. 28, an M1A1 Abrams tank on routine patrol in Baghdad “was hit by something” that crippled the 69-ton behemoth.
Army officials still are puzzling over what that “something” was.

According to an unclassified Army report, the mystery projectile punched through the vehicle’s skirt and drilled a pencil-sized hole through the hull. The hole was so small that “my little finger will not go into it,” the report’s author noted.

The “something” continued into the crew compartment, where it passed through the gunner’s seatback, grazed the kidney area of the gunner’s flak jacket and finally came to rest after boring a hole 1½ to 2 inches deep in the hull on the far side of the tank.

As it passed through the interior, it hit enough critical components to knock the tank out of action. That made the tank one of only two Abrams disabled by enemy fire during the Iraq war and one of only a handful of “mobility kills” since they first rumbled onto the scene 20 years ago. The other Abrams knocked out this year in Iraq was hit by an RPG-7, a rocket-propelled grenade.

Experts believe whatever it is that knocked out the tank in August was not an RPG-7 but most likely something new — and that worries tank drivers.

Full Story


Monday, November 03, 2003

Rebel war spirals out of control as US intelligence loses the plot

The ghosts of Vietnam are returning as Baathists, zealots, criminals, tribal leaders and al Qaeda unite in a deadly alliance of hatred.

Special report by Peter Beaumont in London and Patrick Graham in Baghdad

Sunday November 2, 2003
The Observer

Sharp disagreements are emerging between the US and the UK over the exact nature of the Iraqi resistance, amid warnings that the US is losing the intelligence war against the rebels.

After eight days in which Iraqi fighters have scored a series of major blows to the coalition and its Iraqi allies, intelligence and military officials in Iraq and on both sides of the Atlantic are at odds over whether they are fighting a Saddam-led movement or a series of disparate partisan groups. They are just as divided on finding a way to halt the escalating violence.

The latest violence comes amid increasingly bleak assessments from Washington, where the latest attacks have been compared in the media to Vietnam's 1968 Tet Offensive against US forces and described by Sandy Berger, a former National Security Adviser to President Bill Clinton, as a 'classic guerrilla war'...

Full Story


Five Israelis were seen filming as jet liners ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 ...

I don't really know what to make of this story, but it's interesting and worth reading I think.

The People's Business

by Jeff Baxter

How many times have we heard someone say There ought to be a Law! about something they dislike? I cringe every time I hear it. Haven't we more than enough laws already? I don't have any exact figures as to the number of laws presently in existence, but one theological wit put it best when he said, "There are a million laws that have been created to say what the Ten Commandments put most succinctly of all."

Even if one is inclined to ignore the first three Commandments, the last seven exemplify the heart of liberty--do no harm to your neighbor....

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As Casualties Mount, Doubts Grow

By Yvonne Abraham
The Boston Globe

Sunday 02 November 2003

Deadly Iraqi aftermath tests families, a nation.

COLORADO SPRINGS - One man came from a tidy new subdivision by his Army base, the blue Rockies close and clear, as if painted on the sky. He was 29 and big, a cowboy who rode bulls before he became a father of three, though he lied about it to keep his wife from worrying. Military for life, he arrived in Iraq armed with certainties: He was meant for this war. The other man came from a railroad town on the Ohio River, a place where the grit from decades of hauling steel and freight coats the streets and lines the faces of men who fill windowless bars with smoke and worry. He was 21, tall and thin, always pulling things apart: remote controls, engines, his experiences. In Iraq, he counted the days, eager to shuck his uniform...

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The Great WMD Hunt
The media knew they were there--but where are they?

By Seth Ackerman

By the time the war against Iraq began, much of the media had been conditioned to believe, almost as an article of faith, that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was bulging with chemical and biological weapons, despite years of United Nations inspections. Reporters dispensed with the formality of applying modifiers like "alleged" or "suspected" to Iraq's supposed unconventional weapon stocks. Instead, they asked "what precise threat Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction pose to America" (NBC Nightly News, 1/27/03). They wrote matter-of-factly of Washington's plans for a confrontation "over Iraq's banned weapons programs" (Washington Post, 1/27/03). And they referred to debates over whether Saddam Hussein was "making a good-faith effort to disarm Iraq's weapons of mass destruction" (Time, 2/3/03)...

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Media Silent on Clark's 9/11 Comments:
Gen. says White House pushed Saddam link without evidence

June 20, 2003

Sunday morning talk shows like ABC's This Week or Fox News Sunday often make news for days afterward. Since prominent government officials dominate the guest lists of the programs, it is not unusual for the Monday editions of major newspapers to report on interviews done by the Sunday chat shows.

But the June 15 edition of NBC's Meet the Press was unusual for the buzz that it didn't generate. Former General Wesley Clark told anchor Tim Russert that Bush administration officials had engaged in a campaign to implicate Saddam Hussein in the September 11 attacks-- starting that very day. Clark said that he'd been called on September 11 and urged to link Baghdad to the terror attacks, but declined to do so because of a lack of evidence.

Here is a transcript of the exchange...

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Another Falsehood on Iraq Goes Unchallenged

September 29, 2003

(NOTE: Please see the update to the alert).

On a weekend when the Bush administration's pre-war intelligence on Iraq was a major topic on the Sunday talkshows, Secretary of State Colin Powell re-circulated a false story about United Nations weapons inspectors being kicked out of Iraq in 1998. Some major media outlets let Powell's comments pass without comment or correction.

On ABC's This Week (9/28/03), Powell explained that the Clinton administration "conducted a four-day bombing campaign in late 1998 based on the intelligence that he had. That resulted in the weapons inspectors being thrown out."

The actual history is much different. On December 15, 1998, the head of the U.N. weapons inspection team in Iraq, Richard Butler, released a report accusing Iraq of not fully cooperating with inspections. The next day, Butler withdrew his inspectors from Iraq, in anticipation of a U.S.-British bombing campaign that began that evening. Neither George Stephanopoulos nor George Will, who conducted ABC's interview, corrected Powell's false assertion...

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Unmasking the Ugly "Anti-American"

By Norman Solomon

Strong critics of U.S. foreign policy often encounter charges of “anti-Americanism.” Even though vast numbers of people in the United States disagree with Washington’s assumptions and military actions, some pundits can’t resist grabbing onto a timeworn handle of pseudo-patriotic demagoguery.

In a typical outburst before the war on Iraq last spring, Rush Limbaugh told his radio audience: “I want to say something about these anti-war demonstrators. No, let’s not mince words, let’s call them what they are -- anti-American demonstrators."...

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Amplifying Officials, Squelching Dissent
FAIR study finds democracy poorly served by war coverage

By Steve Rendall & Tara Broughel

Since the invasion of Iraq began in March, official voices have dominated U.S. network newscasts, while opponents of the war have been notably underrepresented, according to a study by FAIR.

Starting the day after the bombing of Iraq began on March 19, the three-week study (3/20/03-4/9/03) looked at 1,617 on-camera sources appearing in stories about Iraq on the evening newscasts of six television networks and news channels. The news programs studied were ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Reports, Fox’s Special Report with Brit Hume, and PBS’s NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.*

Sources were coded by name, occupation, nationality, position on the war and the network on which they appeared. Sources were categorized as having a position on the war if they expressed a policy opinion on the news shows studied, were currently affiliated with governments or institutions that took a position on the war, or otherwise took a prominent stance. For instance, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, a hired military analyst for CNN, was not categorized as pro-war; we could find no evidence he endorsed the invasion or was affiliated with a group supporting the war. However, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, an NBC analyst, was classified as pro-war as a board member of the Committee for a Free Iraq, a pro-war group....

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Brand Loyalty and the Absence of Remorse

By Norman Solomon

Midway through this month, a Wall Street Journal headline captured the flimflam spirit that infuses so much of what passes for mass communications these days: “Despite Slump, Students Flock to Ad Schools.” Many young people can recognize a growth industry, and the business of large-scale deception is booming.

But if Madison Avenue makes us think of subliminal twists and brazen lies, then Pennsylvania Avenue should bring to mind a similar process of creating and perpetuating brand loyalty.

“The Defense Department” is far from truth in labeling. But no player in Washington would suggest renaming it “the War Department,” any more than execs in charge of marketing Camels, Salems and Marlboros would advocate re-branding them with names like Cancer Sticks, Coffin Nails and Killer Leaf.

For wars, brand loyalty is crucial. By the time most people think critically, tragedies are history. And unlike a defective product (or a California governor), wars are not subject to recall.

A successful branding operation preceded the launch of war on Iraq seven months ago. Despite what we might call extensive consumer resistance in the United States, the Bush administration pulled out all the stops to persuade the U.S. public. The war sold politically because enough people failed to see through the mendacity. They bought a bogus story line as truth.

Now, long after the Bush team’s pre-war lies served their purposes, the dead are dead. While no recall can retroactively cancel the war, no remorse can be heard from the perpetrators of the lies and the carnage. And vehicles for war keep gunning their engines without a single repentant glance into rearview mirrors from those in the driver seats...

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Dissent, Disloyalty & Double Standards
Kosovo doves denounced Iraq War protest as "anti-American"

In the following quotes, well-known cable news hosts express anti-war feelings to hawkish guests. Can you guess which quote is “anti-American”?

* "Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?”

* "We're sending 250,000 of our young men and women to die so that somebody in Washington can prove they're tough. It's not us. We're not the ones that are going to die, they are.”

For many right-leaning pundits, these seemingly similar expressions of dissent are worlds apart. To them, the first quote--Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity (Hannity & Colmes, 4/6/99) expressing opposition to the Clinton administration’s 1999 Kosovo actions--is responsible criticism of the government. The second remark, said by then-MSNBC host Phil Donahue (Donahue, 2/13/03) in opposition to the war in Iraq, is disloyal, anti- American--possibly even treasonous.

Donahue’s kind of anti-war observation angers conservative pundits like Hannity and fellow talkshow host Rush Limbaugh. In a recent radio broadcast (quoted in the Baltimore Sun, 3/9/03), Limbaugh could hardly contain his contempt for opponents of the current war: "I want to say something about these anti-war demonstrators. No, let's not mince words, let's call them what they are: anti-American demonstrators." ...

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Sunday, November 02, 2003

Savage Anti-Semitism
Radio host takes ethnic aim at Jewish enemies
: PS, I still hate Michael Savage

By Steve Rendall

Though racism, sexism and immigrant bashing have long thrived on American radio, one had to go back to the days of Father Coughlin and Gerald L.K. Smith in the 1930s to find mainstream broadcasters railing against the Jewishness of their political enemies.

But no longer. Welcome to The Savage Nation, the radio show hosted by Michael Savage. Well-known for his bigotry against non-whites, immigrants, women, gay men and lesbians (see Extra!, 3-4/03), Savage is virtually the only national talk jock targeting progressive Jews with ugly ethnic slurs and stereotypes.

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Bush Uranium Lie Is Tip of the Iceberg
Press should expand focus beyond "16 words"

Months later, the truthfulness of one claim in George W. Bush's State of the Union address has become the focus of growing media scrutiny. The attention media are paying to this single assertion should be part of a larger journalistic inquiry into other misstatements and exaggerations that have been made by the Bush administration about Iraq.

In the January 28 speech, Bush claimed that "the British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." That assertion was similar to claims made previously by administration officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell (CBS Evening News, 12/19/02), that Iraq had sought to import yellowcake uranium from Niger, a strong indication that Saddam Hussein's regime was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program....

This article goes on to specify other, um, "misstatements" by the administration concerning WMDs, etc.

Bush Declares Major Fighting

Oh wait...That was BEFORE 90 + Americans were killed. Sorry, my mistake.

Eighteen Die in Second Deadliest Day for U.S. in Iraq

By Michael Georgy
BAISA, Iraq (Reuters) - Eighteen Americans died in guerrilla attacks in Iraq on Sunday, including 15 soldiers killed when a helicopter was downed in the deadliest single strike on U.S. forces since they invaded to oust Saddam Hussein.

It was the second deadliest day overall for Americans in Iraq since the invasion on March 20, after 28 soldiers were killed in various attacks on March 23.

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AP: U.S.-Mexico Border Patrol Failing

Nov 2, 3:42 PM (ET)


SASABE, Mexico (AP) - A crackdown along the U.S.-Mexico border designed to prevent terrorists from entering the United States hasn't stopped even one known militant from slipping into America since Sept. 11, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Instead, the tightening net of Border Patrol and Immigration agents has slowed trade, snarled traffic and cost American taxpayers millions, perhaps billions, of dollars, while hundreds of migrants have died trying to evade the growing army of border authorities....

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