Friday, December 8

Disturbed - Land of Confusion

Land of Confusion - Cover version by Disturbed, Originally written and recorded by Genesis during the midst of the Reagon era. The more things change...

Thursday, December 7

The CYA, er - ISG Report

From the Washington Post

Panel To Urge Pressure On Iraq
Study Group to Present Its Report to Bush Today

The bipartisan Iraq Study Group plans to recommend to President Bush that he threaten to reduce economic and military support for Iraq's government if it fails to meet specific benchmarks intended to improve security in the country, a source familiar with the report said yesterday.

The 120 page report providing 79 specific suggestions, but is this the formation of a new plan - or simply a laundry list of things the Bush Administration has already failed, and will simply never do?

The congressionally chartered panel, which is due to deliver its much-anticipated report to Bush at the White House this morning and then unveil it to the public, outlined diplomatic and military ideas intended to change the course of the 44-month-old war. Among other things, the source said, the report urges Bush to aggressively tackle the Israeli-Palestinian dispute to reduce the broader regional tensions fueling the Iraq conflict.

Oh yeah, like that's gonna happen. Just where was Bush during the Lebanon/Israeli War of 2006, clearing brush in Crawford while hiding out from Cindy Sheehan again?

The latest details to emerge from the commission's report help flesh out a plan that also calls for the United States to withdraw nearly all combat units by early 2008 while leaving behind tens of thousands of troops to advise, train and embed with Iraqi forces. The report suggests that the Bush administration open talks with Iran and Syria about ways to end the violence in Iraq and proposes holding a regional conference to bring together all of Iraq's neighbors.

This in contrast to "We Win unless we Leave?" and the view that talking with Terrorist States is Appeasment - not gonna fly in BushWorld.

Even the Wapo knows this is a non-starter with Bush.

Some proposals in the report track measures that the administration is already carrying out or is considering, but several directly challenge Bush in areas in which he has refused to compromise. The president has rejected talking with Iran and Syria and has resisted linking the Iraq war to the Palestinian issue. He has dismissed timetables for troop withdrawals, although the panel cites 2008 as a goal rather than a firm deadline. He has also declined to punish Iraqis for not making progress in establishing security

What we are going to see here is a repeat of what we saw following the 9/11 Commission Report. Bush will thank the panel members for their kind suggestions, then pat them on the head and send them away.

Congress has to pick up this ball and ram it down Bush's throat one hearing at a time. And signs are that they're planning to do exactly that, and then some.

Pelosi :

"The bipartisan Iraq Study Group has concluded that the President's Iraq policy has failed and must be changed. As the November elections clearly demonstrated, that is an assessment shared by the American people.

"If the President is serious about the need for change in Iraq, he will find Democrats ready to work with him in a bipartisan fashion to find a way to end the war as quickly as possible. We are committed to ensuring that the ideas of the Iraq Study Group, as well as the ideas of other thoughtful people inside and outside of government, are given full consideration in that process."

And if the President isn't serious, what then?

From Thinkprogress.

President Bush "may not be in much of a hurry to accept [ISG co-chairman Jim] Baker’s ideas about [Iraq] — or much else. Asked if Baker would help implement the report, a spokesman for Mr. Bush said, ‘Jim Baker can go back to his day job.‘"

Reactions from the Troops (Via Boston Globe)

Spc. Eisenhower Atuatasi, 26, of Westminster, Calif.: "There's no way we're leaving in two years no matter what any recommendation says."

Staff Sgt. Rony Theodore, 33, of Brooklyn, N.Y.: "All of us want to change what we're doing because we're not doing very much."

Sgt. Christopher Wiacik, 28, of Livonia, Michigan: "It's just a study group. It's not really going to affect the president. I don't see any major changes happening until presidential elections start. I think both sides will promise to get troops out and give timelines then, but not before. We're just sitting around not making any progress. It's annoying. You're not motivated to help anybody. I don't want to live my life like this."

Spc. Richard Johnson, 20, of Bridgeport, Conn.: "It's like holding a child's hand. How long can you hold onto his hand before he does something on his own? How much longer do we have to get shot at or blown up?"

First Lieutenant Gerard Dow, 32, of Chicago, Ill.: "In Iraq, we try to win the hearts and minds of population. They want Americans out of here. They blame us for all their problems. They look at us as the terrorists and then they turn around and help the terrorists who are trying to kill us.... U.S. soldiers are dying trying to help people who don't want their help."

In the end I believe these troops are absolutely correct. This report changes nothing, except for this -- the Debate About Iraq is Over - The Murtha/Kerry Wing have won it, hands down. Murtha's Redeployment strategy and Kerry's Regional Talks approach from two years ago have been completely vindicated.

As I told Randi Rhodes yesterday when I called in to her show, just like the Dumpsfeld Memo, the ISG report itself is one big CYA document that provides the GOP cover as well as a roadbloak to further progress on Iraq. The recommendations provided are essentially a line in the sand between Democrats and the White House - This far and no farther.

Thus we get Redeployment with no Date Certain. We get a discussion of training the Iraqi Forces, with little discussion of how to give them something to actually fight for, rather than against themselves.

If Democrats attempt to seriously address the 3 critical issues of Iraq...

  • How did we get into this War in the First Place when there were no WMD's, No Nuclear program and no ties to Al-Qaeda
  • How and why has it been persecuted so badly - Whack-a-mole style.
  • How do we get out without it all going up in smoke!

but do so by "crossing the line of consensus" created by the ISG, they are certain to be accused of vindictive partisianship.

    They're on a Witch-hunt. They just want to Embarriss the President

I'm sure that Russ Feingold's statements from Countdown last night are likely to generate exactly that kind of response from the Right.

Feingold: But the fact is, this commission was composed apparently entirely of people who did not have the judgment to oppose this Iraq war in the first place, and who did not have the judgment to realize it was not a wise move in the fight against terrorism.

So that‘s who‘s doing this report. And then I looked at the list of who testified before them. There‘s virtually no one who opposed the war in the first place, virtually no one who‘s been really calling for a different strategy that goes for a global approach to the war on terrorism.

So this is really a Washington inside job, and it shows not in the description of what‘s happened, that‘s fairly accurate, but it shows in the recommendations. It‘s been called a classic Washington compromise that does not do the job of extricating us from Iraq in a way that we can deal with the issues in Southeast Asia, in Afghanistan, and in Somalia, which are every bit as important as what is happening in Iraq.

So this report does not do the job, and it‘s because it was not composed of a real representative group of Americans, who believe what the American people showed in the election, which is that it is time for us to have a timetable to bring the troops out of Iraq.


But the problem is, the bottom line here is, what are we going to so we can allocate our resources around the world to the battle against terrorism? This report keeps us in Iraq. This report keeps our resources there. One of the things I really noticed is they said we should put our very best people embedded in the Iraqi army. Well, that‘s nice, but that means they won‘t be in Afghanistan. And we are losing ground to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which, as I remember, is where the attacks came from on 9/11.

    See, he just can't help himself from Criticizing Bush, h e's got Bush on the Brain!"

Oh yeah, and just how is ole Osama doing anyway?

Clearly, the ISG Report is not the end of the battle to end the Iraq War - nor will it help us continue the global fight against terror - the ISG is only the beginning, now the real work begins.

Isn't it interesting that the ISG calls for the troops to be redeployed right in the middle of the 2008 primary season?

In many ways this report has just fired the starting gun on the 2008 Presidential Race, where the best positioned candidate will probably be the one who comes up with the best solution to Iraq. Just as when Senator George Mitchell years ago took it largely upon himself to go to Northern Ireland and attempt to find compromise between the Protestants, IRA and England in order to help end that situation, what this situation may call for is an intrepid Senator to Run past the Whitehouse go the middle-east and begin working on negotiations in the region and between the Shiia and Sunni leadership by him or herself.

Oh and isn't it also interesting that before the ISG has completely cooled down from the printing press Senator John Kerry has already supported Prime Minister al-Maliki's call for a regional summit and is already on his way to Syria to begin diplomatic talks that the White House will probably never have?

Although he's been counted out since Pronoun-Gate, I don't think we've seen the last Presidential Race by Kerry.

The next two years stand to become very interesting times, indeed.


Wednesday, December 6

People Get Ready - Jeff Beck, Rod Stewart

T2P Music Club presents:

Poignant Mid-80's cover of the Curtis Mayfield Classic, bringing together the long estranged Jeff Beck and his Rod Stewart. Originally featured on Jeff Beck's "Flash" album, produced by Nile Rodgers (Chic, Madonna, Duran Duran, Power Station)

Tuesday, December 5

The Trail of Premeditated War

The Iraq War - Music by Edwin Starr

Many of us already know this story and know it well. But a new article on by Dr. Richard Behan amazingly pulls together all the strands which succinctly explain the behavior of the Bush Administration and it's deliberate, headlong, relenteless march into war with Afghanistan and Iraq.

The wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq were not simply justified and honorable retaliations to the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. They couldn’t possibly have been that, because both of them were premeditated—conceived, planned, and prepared long before September 11, 2001.

A bold claim, but not one made without ample evidence...

Behan notes correctly that Iraq and Afghanistan are far from the first premeditated war engaged by the United States. There have been many others, from Panama, Granada to Kosovo, but rarely have the true rationale and justifications for a War been to heavily cloaked, and the public so deliberately and viciously misled into War.

To best tell this story, let begin - at the beginning.

The opening chapter of the story reveals a photograph dating to the Reagan years of Donald Rumsfeld cordially shaking hands with Saddam Hussein. We supported Saddam in his war with Iran. But history convulses: on January 26, 1998, Mr. Rumsfeld and 17 others, members of the Project for a New American Century, wrote a letter to President Clinton, urging the military overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime. If we fail to do so, they were candid in asserting, “a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will be put at hazard.

(In addition to Mr. Rumsfeld, 10 others of the [PNAC] signatories would serve in the Bush Administration: Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, William Schneider, Jr., Robert Zoellick, and Paul Wolfowitz.)

This desire to set our national and foreign policy based on access and control of larger and larger portions of the worlds oil supply became a defining mantra of the Bush Administration, brought about in no small part by the top heavy representation of U.S. Oil executives among high ranking positions within the Bush Administration.

When George W. Bush took office, a concern for the “significant portion of the world’s oil supply” was never far from view, because the Administration’s personal linkages to the oil industry were intimate, historic, and numerous. The president and vice president were just the first examples: eight cabinet secretaries and the national security advisor were recruited directly from the oil industry, and so were 32 others in the secretariats of Defense, State, Energy, Agriculture, Interior, and the Office of Management and Budget.

From his very second week in office, Bush's focus on Energy Policy was evident as Dick Cheney chaired his secret "Energy Task Force" (the full meeting minutes and attendee list is still clouded in secrecy, but we do know that the late Enron Felon Kenneth Lay was in attendence).

One this is known at this point, the task force focused heavily on Oil reserves available in Iraq and proceeded to carve up it's oil fields like a Thanksgiving Turkey, and examine all "foreign suitors" for harvesting that oil.

Not a single U.S. oil company, however, was among the “suitors,” and that was intolerable. Mr. Cheney’s task force concluded, “By any estimation, Middle East oil producers will remain central to world security. The Gulf will be a primary focus of U.S. international energy policy.

Condoleezza Rice’s National Security Council, meanwhile, was directed by a top secret memo to “cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered melding two seemingly unrelated areas of policy.” The NSC was ordered to support “the review of operational policies towards rogue states such as Iraq and actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.”

As 2001 rolled forward and the California rolling blackouts - engineered by Bush's Top Fundraiser Ken Lay on Enron while the Bush Administration itself sat on it's hands - would throw that state into a $Billion debt which would sweep their Democratic Governor Gray Davis from office mid-term to be replace by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Energy Policy devised by Lay and Cheney would dovetail directly into National Security under former Oil executive Condoleeza Rice.

Condoleezza Rice’s National Security Council, meanwhile, was directed by a top secret memo to “cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered melding two seemingly unrelated areas of policy.” The NSC was ordered to support “the review of operational policies towards rogue states such as Iraq and actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.

But then there was one little roadblock to this plan to "capture Iraqi Oil Fiends", international Law regarding the declarations of War. How would Bush navigate this -- let us again return to the writings of the PNAC as they described in 1997 the process by which our Military Infrastructure could be rebuilt and transformed (PDF)...

Indeed, Any serious effort at transformation must occur within the larger framework of U.S. national security strategy, military missions and defense budgets. The United States cannot simply declare a “strategic pause” while experimenting with new technologies and operational concepts. Nor can it choose to pursue a transformation strategy that would decouple American and allied interests. A transformation strategy that solely pursued capabilities for projecting force from the United States, for example, and sacrificed forward basing and presence, would be at odds with larger American policy goals and would trouble American allies.

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.

Simultaneous to Bush's aims for Iraq Oil, was a parrallel track happening regarding Afghanistan dating back to a little known pipeline contract between the Taliban and an Argentinian Oil company named Bridas.

The strategic location of Afghanistan can scarcely be overstated. The Caspian Basin contains some $16 trillion worth of oil and gas resources, and the most direct pipeline route to the richest markets is through Afghanistan.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the first western oil company to express interest and take action in the Basin was the Bridas Corporation of Argentina. It acquired production leases and exploration contracts in the region, and by November of 1997 had signed an agreement with General Dostum of the Northern Alliance and with the Taliban to build a pipeline across Afghanistan.

Not to be outdone, the American company Unocal fought Bridas at every turn, even spurning an invitation from Bridas to join an international consortium in the Basin. Unocal wanted exclusive control of the trans-Afghan pipeline, and hired a number of consultants in its conflict with Bridas: Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage (now Deputy Secretary of State in the Bush Administration), Zalmay Khalilzad (a signer of the PNAC letter to President Clinton) and Hamid Karzai. (Eventually Bridas sued Unocal in the U.S. courts, and won.)

The goal was to break the Bridas contract with the Taliban and ensure Unocal's exclusive control of the pipeline. Many meetings between Taliban leaders were held at Unocal headquarters in Texas.

Unocal and the Clinton Administration hoped to have the Taliban cancel the Bridas contract, but were getting nowhere. Mr. John J. Maresca, a Unocal Vice President, testified to a House Committee of International Relations on February 12, 1998, asking politely to have the Taliban removed and a stable government inserted.

The East Africa Bombings attributed to Osama Bin Laden in 1998 led to the Clinton Administrations retaliatory cruise missle attack on Afghanistan, but also to an executive order freezing all trade with the Taliban and effectively putting a hold on Unocal's attempt to cancel the Bridas contract. This changed as soon as Bush came into office in 2001.

Immediately on taking office, the new Bush Administration actively took up negotiating with the Taliban once more, seeking still to have the Bridas contract vacated in favor of Unocal. The parties met three times, in Washington, Berlin, and Islamablad, but the Taliban wouldn’t budge.

Behind the negotiations, however, planning was underway to take military action against the Taliban. The State Department sought and gained concurrence from both India and Pakistan to do so, and in July of 2001 three American officials met with Pakistani and Russian intelligence people to inform them of planned military strikes against Afghanistan the following October.

State Department official Christina Rocca told the Taliban, at their last pipeline negotiation in August of 2001, just five weeks before 9/11, “Accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.

In this context, Condolezza Rice's blowing off George Tenet in mid 2001 as he urgently attempted to indicate grave warnings concerning al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Ladin begin not to look like simple ignorance, but instead deliberate negligence as part of larger National Security Strategy to foster a "New Pearl Harbor" as an excuse to roll out the "Carpet of Bombs".

When President Bush assumed office three other members of the Project for a New American Century joined his administration: Richard Cheney, Douglas Feith, and Lewis Libby. Pre-emptive, premeditated war was formally adopted when the President signed the National Security Strategy early in his tenure.

Yes, it was in all likelyhood, Premediated War.

Look at the facts:

George Bush's responding to the August 6th PDB with "Now you've covered your ass" begin to ring more ominously. His sitting and staring at "My pet goat" when he was told, "The Nation is under attack" - seems far more disturbing.

The Bush Administartion did not even try to stop 9-11, yet less than one week after it finally occured... they were looking at taking control of Iraq's Oil fields.

In the first hours of frenetic response, fully aware of al Qaeda’s culpability, both President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld seek frantically to link Saddam Hussein to the attacks, we know from on site-witnesses. They are anxious to proceed with their planned invasion. And less than a week later, at a meeting of the National Security Council, President Bush ordered the Defense Department to be ready to handle Iraq, “possibly occupying Iraqi oil fields.

We now have the Senate Intelligence Committee report which has clearly revealed that Bush Manipulated the Facts surrounding our involvement in the Iraq war. We also have Col Lawrence Wilkerson who saw the efforts to maniplate reasons to invade Iraq as a "Cabal" (between PNAC Signatory) Cheney and Rumsfeld. Fixing the Facts to Fit the Policy is never just a misnomer over the British definition fo "Fixed".

The march to war was clearly inevitable, not as noble cause to spread peace and democracy or to combat global terrorism, but as a cover to gain control of Iraqi Oil and access to the Caspian Sea energy reserves via Afghanistan - it's also clear just how much the Bush Family and many of his cronies now in our Government have to gain from such a plan.

Also common to both lines of dots [linking Iraq, Afghanistan and U.S. Foreign Policy], and integral to the overall story, is the historic, intimate, and profitable relationship across several generations between the Bush family and the royal family of Saudi Arabia. It can be seen today in the Carlyle Group, a Washington-based investment company focused primarily in the arms, security, and energy industries. Both George H.W. and George W. Bush have been deeply involved in Carlyle, and so have a number of the Saudi royalty. (And so, incidentally, has the family of Osama Bin Laden.)

Talk about playing both sides against the middle.

Carlyle has profited immensely from the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars. Its legal matters are handled by Baker, Botts—James Baker’s law firm in Texas. Mr. Baker also has a personal interest in Carlyle, amounting to some $180 million. (Baker, Botts defended Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia, who was sued by the families of Trade Tower victims for alleged complicity in the attacks.) Another client of Baker, Botts is Exxon-Mobil.

So let me get this straight, the guy who is currently co-chairing the Iraq Survey Group - whose recommendations on Iraq are due tommorrow - has direct financial ties to an oil, energy and weapons investment group which has raked in $Billions as a result of this War? Conflict of Interest much?

But Baker certainly isn't the only one who stands to gain enormous riches as the spoils of war.

the two “seemingly unrelated areas of policy” had been “melded,” so here was an epic opportunity to bait-and-switch--and the opportunity was not missed for a moment. Conjoining the terrorist and the state that harbored him made a “war” plausible: it would be necessary to overthrow the Taliban as well as to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. (As it turned out, of course, the Taliban was overthrown instead of bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, but the energy policy goal was achieved, at least. And years later President Bush was astonishing in his candor, when he admitted “Osama bin Laden isn’t important.”)

Of course he isn't, bin laden and ending terrorism has never been the goal - they have only been an excuse. If bin Laden actually were caught or killed, as he should have been at Tora Bora, and al-Qaeda truly dismantled the excuse for all Bush done to amass power onto himself and riches onto the Oil Industry, would soon fade.

The first monstrous and intentional deception—the declaration of a “war on terror”—took place. There was no talk of contracts, pipelines, or Argentinian oil companies. Osama bin Laden and the Taliban were cleverly, ingeniously conflated, and there was only talk of war.

On October 7, 2001 the carpet of bombs is unleashed over Afghanistan. Hamid Karzai, the former Unocal consultant, is installed as head of an interim government. Subsequently he is elected President of Afghanistan, and welcomes the first U.S. envoy—Mr. John J. Maresca, Vice President for International Relations of the Unocal Corporation, who had implored Congress three years previously to have the Taliban overthrown. Mr. Maresca was succeeded by Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad—also a former Unocal consultant. (Mr. Khalilzad has since become Ambassador to Iraq.)

The Afghanistan President, and both the Afghan and Iraqi Ambassadors - all former Unocal Consultants. Coincidince? I think not.

With the Taliban banished and the Bridas contract moot, Presidents Karzai of Afghanistan and Musharraf of Pakistan meet on February 8, 2002, sign an agreement for a new pipeline, and the way forward is open for Unocal once more.

Mission Accomplished!

Now is all of this nothing more than speculation, a mere connecting of truly unrelated dots which have led us to the near genocide we are currently experiencing in Iraq, while the Taliban resurface in Afghanstan?

Time will tell.

The story told here has to be considered “circumstantial.” None of it results from testimony under oath, none of it has been admitted as legal evidence in a jurisprudential undertaking, and the presumption of innocence until guilt is proven remains axiomatic. And we might well reiterate the humane and civil plea, heard frequently after 9/11: what we need is justice, not vengeance.

We should not proceed directly to impeachment. At the very least, however, the story of George Bush’s premeditated wars raises questions of presidential dereliction as grave as any in our history.

We need to know the truth and all the truth. The time has come, as well as the opportunity, for formal, Congressional investigations, based on subpoenas, sworn testimony, and direct evidence about 9/11 and about the created reality of the “war on terror.”

Indeed, this story needs to unravelled fully and told succinctly to the American People. They need to understand exactly what has taken place and why. And in this case, as in so many others - much can be learned by simply following the money.


Monday, December 4

The Corporate Christian Cult of Pre-Life

Please enjoy this post while listening to the sweet sounds of Selling Jesus by Skunk Anansie....
tis fitting accompanyment

"They want your soul and your money, blood and your bones..."

Yet again we've entered the silly season - and the Global War on Christmas and Common Sense™ has yet again treared it's very ugly head, so I decided to do a bit of opposition research and find out exactly what's on the agenda of Wingnut Christians?

What I found seemed fairly innocuous on the surface - but once you began scratching things started to turn ugly quite quickly.

I spent part of Sunday afternoon listening to KKLA Radio (The Voice of Faith and Reason) in Los Angeles, and a show called "Life on the Line" which discussed the issue of abortion. Mostly what I found though wasn't that they were making any specific arguements against abortion - although they did do some bragging about shutting down a number of abortion clinics - it was mostly about recruitment and organization for their "Army of Life".

The host of this show is someone many of us have grown familiar with, it was Father Frank Pavone.

At first I couldn't place him, the name didn't register with me immediately until I finally recalled Terri Schiavo. Father Frank was the pastor who had sat with Hannity outside Terri's Hospice, where he was joined by Operation Rescue's Randal Terry.

During the show none of this was discussed, certainly not Mr. Terry's connection to the bombings of abortion clinics and the murder of doctors, the programs goal instead was to help foster chapters of like-minded "Pro-Life" Christians across the nation - and they repeatedly pointed to a series of anti-abortion talking points located on their website.

- Father Frank first argues that Abortion is not a Human Right.

For example, who would not acknowledge the right people have to be free of the type of coercion we hear about in the "one-child policy" of China? The freedom to seek to raise a family, with the number of children one desires, within the framework of moral law, is a right that needs to be defended from efforts to coerce one either to have or not to have children.

But there is a big difference between the choice to have a child and the choice to kill a child. Because abortion kills a child who already exists, it is in no way a "right."

One wonders conversly, is there a right to kill a mother? Pro-Life advocates often seem to completely ignore the health issues and dangers which a problem pregnancy can place a mother. There are many conditions where a mother can be harmed by a pregnancy, particular if the pregancy is echtopic (where the fetus has lodged itself in one of felopian tubes, instead of the womb). An abortion in this case may be the only method to save the mother's life.

Pro-Life advocates have also strongly argued against all forms of late-term abortions, even when the fetus can not be saved - (or else we'd be discussing a pre-mature birth) and the health and life of the mother remain at serious risk. How is their position "Pro-Life" at all, since their insistence that the procedure not be performed would leave all parties dead on severaly injured?

The language of the supporters of legal abortion in our country includes many references to "rights." This is true also on an international level. At the present time, moreover, abortion supporters are seeking to declare abortion to be an international right and even a "human right."

What is the purpose of an attempt like that, and how is it being made?

The purpose is to circumvent whatever progress may be made on national levels to maintain or restore legal protection to the pre-born. Many countries still have such protection on some level. But many more are drawn into the fierce battle over whether that should remain the case. Each side, moreover, sees the right they are defending as an absolute.

Hold your horses there. I do not believe that the pro-choice position is so irresponsible as to claim they abortion is an absolute right. Pro-Lifers often make the claim that Pro-Choices want "abortion on demand for any reason and at any time" and that simply isn't supportable.

Pro-Choicers support contraception, which would make an abortion completely unneccesary, especially use of emergency contraception which - much like the Catholic approved "Rhythm Method" - seeks both to avoid fertilization and and to prevent any potentially fertilized eggs from attaching to the uterin wall - yet Pro-Lifers oppose contraception. Odd, no?

No matter what the majority may say to the contrary, we will always maintain that the right to life must be protected. Abortion supporters have also admitted that whatever the majority may say to the contrary, the "right" to abortion must be protected. With a world made ever smaller by modern communication, the battle is more and more about the international right to life.

As it turns out 53% of the public tends to define itself as Pro-Choice (including 69% of Democrats and 57% of Independants) compared to 39% who define themselvse as Pro-Life (which includes 62% of Republicans).

The effort to make abortion an international "right" is being advanced by means of United Nations Conferences, and by a particular combination of phrases and declarations. "Women's rights are human rights" is one of the code phrases now used in such circles.

And the converse would be "Women aren't Human?"

When this is combined with the assertion, "Women have reproductive rights" and the further assertion that "the human rights of women are universal," then despite the truths that can be found in each of these statements, the door is also opened to the conclusion that the right to obtain an abortion is a reproductive right which is universal and, in fact, a human right. A country, then, which protects its unborn children by law, would be seen as offending human rights which should be enforced internationally.

So from here you can see the push to circumvent international law, and international human rights as being anti-Life, or rather anti-pre-Life. Hence we see the strong right-wing support for anti-Internationalist such as former recess UN Ambassdor John Bolton.

To Pavone, American Law is higher than International Law - and oh-by-the-by God's Law is higher still.

The Human Rights angle is an attempt to oversimplify this argument, the truth is that the problem here is one of comparitive rights -- if both Mother and Child have a right to live, and most would agree that the do, the question truly is whose rights are dominant?

Pro-Lifers are failing to address that question, because it undermines so much of their point, thus you can see their attempt here to undermine the very existence of Women's Rights and Mother's Rights. To them Women have to rights over controlling their own reproductive processes and abilities other than that of being a benign vessel, mere chattle to serve the devine purpose of procreation.

They fear choice, because choice means freedom as well as responsibiity.

- Secondly: Abortion is None of Your Business (But apparently it is God's Business)

Most people admit that abortion is wrong; surveys show, in fact, that half of all Americans are willing to call it "murder." (See, for example, the January 1998 New York Times/CBS News Poll).

Yet a disturbing number of these same people will not do anything to stop it. They say, "I believe abortion is wrong, but I do not want to impose my morality on others." In other words, it's wrong, but it's a private wrong. If I think it's wrong, I won't do it. If someone else does it, that's none of my business.

Call me a nitpicker - but 1998 was almost a decade ago. What do people think now?

Here's a Web poll from asks: If abortion really is murder, should there be exceptions for the life and health of the mother?

No, the exceptions are hypocritical. No mother would kill her child to save herself.
(93) 26%

Yes for the life of the mother, no for her health.
(28) 7%

Yes for the health of the mother, no for her life.
(3) 0%

Yes for both the life and health of the mother.
(118) 33%

I don't know.
(8) 2%

I don't care.
(104) 29%

In this case - the "Yes, even if abortion is Murder, there should be legal exceptions to protect the health and life of the mother" - Wins.

Here's another web poll (again not scientific) that currently shows that 43% consider Abortion a Choice, while 38% consider it Murder, while 18% say it's "Not That Simple".

Opinions vary, but I would tend to opt for Door Number #3 myself.

Back to Father Frank.

This attitude has been expressed in a bumper sticker that says, "Against Abortion? Don't have one!" and in the assertion that the opposing sides in this controversy should simply "Agree to disagree."

Yet we simply don't look at most moral problems this way. We do not hear people say, "I would never abuse my child, but if the other person wants to do so, that’s her choice." Nor do they say, "I would never commit a violent crime, but if someone else chooses to do so, that's none of my business."

Thusly, one womans reproductive choices become an issue for the community and society to address - because you see - it's child abuse. Or rather Pre-Child Abuse.

The fact is that some choices have victims, and when somebody’s choice destroys somebody else’s life, that’s everybody's business. It is, after all, the business of love to intervene to save our brothers and sisters in need.

Call me a cynic, but listening to a Catholic Priest prattle on about how people should intervene to prevent harm to "our brothers and sisters" when the Catholic Church refused to do exactly that when their own Priests were abusing our "our brothers and sisters" -- ok, mostly brothers - leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But maybe, that's just me. Certainly the sentiment is laudable, at least in theory.

People need to know that abortion is their business. They need to de-isolate the issue. People understand that we have to intervene to help the poor, the AIDS victim, the drug addict, the victim of crime and war. Even if we do not know their names, or have never seen the faces of these victims, we know it is our business to help them. There is no reason to isolate abortion in a category of its own, where all the rules of human decency suddenly change. Who is the child scheduled to be aborted today? That child is your sister, your brother.

Again more unintended irony/comedy. A post on a site entirely dedicated to the issue of abortion which is in support of a radio show entirely dedicated to the issue of abortion is claiming that "There is no reason to isolate abortion in a category of it's own".

That's a good one. Henny Youngman needs material like this.

The truly funny part is that he's correct, Abortion shoudln't be isolated and divorced from other life issues such as War and -gasp - Healthcare. How can you argue that everyone has a right to live, but they don't have a right to have access to the tools, facilities and personel who can save their lives?

- Thirdly : Abortion is Child Abuse.

The first thing that has to be noted when examining the relationship between abortion and child abuse is that abortion is child abuse.

So things have relationships with themselves now? Is that like Auto-erotica?

Dismembering a born child would certainly be considered among the worst possible forms of abuse. Medical textbooks and court testimonies use the very same word, "dismemberment," to describe what is done to an unborn child by abortion. How, then, is this not child abuse?

Technically, no argument. And what kind of abuse is allowing a mother to die from an echtopic pregnancy because there are no qualified clinics or doctors available to deal with reproductive health issues and preform a neccesary D&C procedure to protect that woman's future ability to have children? (A procedure my own wife received after both an echtopic pregnancy and a miscarriage a decade ago.)

Oh, wait that's right - Women aren't human - and stuff.

Follow me now as we take a trip into the Crusian elements of Father Frank's argument.

Allowing the abuse of an unborn child, then, creates an atmosphere in which -- more quietly and secretly -- we justify the abuse of born children. The child becomes the scapegoat for our unresolved conflicts. As the Israelites in the Old Testament placed their sins upon the goat, who was then led out into the desert, we allow the child, particularly when still in the womb, to suffer for our sins.

The two forms of child abuse -- on the unborn (abortion) and on the born -- reinforce each other by a mutual causality. Abortion results in more post-partum depression, which inhibits bonding with subsequent children. Conversely, the wounds of abuse are echoed in the essentially self-destructive act of abortion later in life.

Vicious Cycle that - abuse, abort, abuse, abort - is this like a bad romance novel or what? He goes on about the Child Abuse angle for a while, both here and here. But I think we already have the gist. Abortion is bad. Mm 'kay?

- Lastly, Father Frank has a bit to say about Stem Cell Research.

This is not a debate about whether or not we should do research to assist the perennial fight against disease. The Church does not oppose research. But the task of research, the efforts to cure disease, and the ability to manipulate nature has certain moral parameters. Consider some history.

The prosecution in the World War II War Crimes Trials pointed to a key source of the deterioration of ethics which resulted in the Nazi killing program. That book was "The Release of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value," by Karl Binding and Alfred Hoche. Hoche was a doctor of medicine. He writes,

"A child was sick with a rare and scientifically interesting brain disease and was almost certain to die within 24 hours. If that child would die in the hospital, I would have the opportunity by autopsy to find out the reason for the sickness...It would have been easy to give the child an injection of morphine to hurry his death by a few hours. I did not because my personal desire for scientific research was not an important enough good to overcome the obligation of medical ethics. It would have been a different question, however, if to decide as mentioned in the present case would have resulted in the saving of many lives. The question would have had to be answered yes because of the higher good."

Ok, so first off - he's using Nazi doctors to make his point. Always a wise choice to tug the heart hate strings.

Second off, he didn't need to play the Nazi-card because his arguement is pretty much Star Trekian.

    "The Needs of the Many, Outweight the needs of the Few - or the One!"

The main problem with this argument is that the blastocysts which would be used for this experimentation - are going to be disgarded anyway.

In his scenario, the child is going to die within 24 hours anyway -- so why exactly does he need to "Hurry his death" in order to perform the autopsy, did the kid have a hot date in 12 hours?. I don't mean to be crass, but what was the rush? It seems it would be perfectly ethical to let him die naturally, and request permission from (him if possible and) his parents for a autopsy to help others.

Most of the thousands upon thousands of fertilzed embryos which are currently being held in storage as a result of invitro fertilization will eventually - die. They can not be kept viable forever. Now, I think most of us all three sides (our side, their side and the truth) of this argument support the idea of having these embryos adopted and implanted into willing surrogate mothers - and I find it quite interesting that Father Pavone never even attempts to find recruits for such adoptions in his entire argument, although as I mentioned above he's doing plenty of recruiting - that option simply isn't possible for the vast majority of them.

Wouldn't it be insteresting if just half the people who Father Pavone would have standing out in front of Abortion Clinics were instead - out adopting unwanted children?

Why is it the Pro-Life crowds seems to stop caring about the young once they're no longer Pre-Children. Why don't they care about pre-natal healthcare? Why did their Lord and savior George W. Bush sign the Texas Futile Care Law which allowed a Hospital to decide to shutoff life-support to a 6-month old baby against the wishes of her mother, simply because of her inability to pay for the care?

Why doesn't the "Culture of Life" spend any of their energy - on the Living?

The truth is that their goal here isn't to protect and defend the innocent - it's to grow their own ranks, it's to increase their own power in influence in the nation and the world. It was clear from listening to that station the Christianity is Big F-ing Bu$iness..

They're Selling Jesus to the masses like Big Macs and Quarter-Pounders.

The most chilling section of Pavone's radio show was the end - whereas we all know that Jesus never addressed the subject of abortion - Pavone claims that he did address this when he said during the last supper to "Remember him".

Pavone deconstructed this statement to - "Re-member" - meaning to keep and bring the members of his church together and to avoid letting them be "Dis-Membered" as they would be in - wait for it - an abortion!

Oh, the humanity.


Sunday, December 3

Time has come to Rage!

It's been a while since RATM broke up and gave birth to Audioslave. This little blast from the past is truly shocking in it's intensity when contrasted to the backlash recieved by the Dixie Chicks for their comments, in it RATM is shown actually shuting down the New York Stock Exchange in order to perform their concert on Wall Street and Michael Moore is shown being arrested. At the end of the clip a detractor of the band is heard claiming they are an "Anti-Family and Pro-Terrorist" Group.

Yeah, right!

Just consider the reports that have come out in just the last 24 hours.

The FBi is now able to listen to us using our Cell Phone Mics even when they're turned off. Anyone wonder if they're getting warrants for that?

- Probably not since BushGov has vilified the Federal Judge who order that their warrantless taps be stopped and completely ignored the Congressional Research Service which has repudiated all their excuses for the program.

- Newsweek has reported that BushGov is attempting to surpress evidence that an American Citizen was held without a hearing or bail and tortured for three years.

- Another report has been received that indicates that another American Citizen has just received a $2 Million Settlement for his being mistakenly connected to the Madrid Train Bombing by the FBI.

And yet those such as RATM who spoke out loudly about the failings of our Government - and remember, they were mostly talking about the Clinton Era Government since they broke up in October of 2000 - shouldn't speak out?

Just listen to what Evangelical Christian Crooner Pat Boone has to say about those musicians and artists who Dare to dissent with the Government.

The right-wing Heritage Foundation held an event this week with “soul singer turned conservative evangelist” Pat Boone. Boone warned of the “new order of Armageddon,” and spoke of the “malaise and apathy of today’s youth. Tears began to fall as Boone lamented: ‘It grieves me the way young entertainers are deriding our leaders.’” He also announced he has written an anthem for the National Guard since “Nelly, Eminem and Diddy and Piddy and Poopy and whoever the other rappers are” had not.

Ironic that I can't recall Nelly, Eminem or Piddy-diddy (whose "Vote or Die" campaign was particular non-partisan) saying anything about "our leaders". I somehow doubt he was talking about Tupac Shakur's Masterful "Letter to the President" which was released posthumasly in 1999.

(Wrong President Again or was he simply being prophetic?).

Then again, there was Kanye West - the author of the Grammy Winning Christian Rap Song "Jesus Walks" did once say...

"George Bush doesn't care about Black People"

Too bad Kanye was wrong. George Bush dispenses his dispassion with equal oppurtunity - even with Evangelicals - and everyone else except the powerful "captains of industry" - y'know - "His Base".

That very same "Base" happens to be the same people who write checks to the Dixie Chicks (while people who listen to Evangelicals like Boone are sending them Death Threats), let alone any other would-be RATM's who might seek to speak out. And syncophants like Boone - whose done his own share of screwing over Black people like Little Richard - continues suck up to his Christo-Facist Corporation masters.

If anything we should expect - no Demand - more artists to do their civic duty and speak out - not less.


Quick Truths

CNET has revealed that the FBI has begun to use cellphone mics to create "roving taps". Apparently by sending a maintenance code to the phone, it's mic can be used to capture and transmit sounds within the entire room. The mic can be activated even while the phone is turned off, and can only be reset by removing the battery. In addition software can be remotely sent to the phone which will case it to activative the active mic and/or notify the FBI when the phone is used to make a call. Nextel and Samsung handsets and the Motorola Razr phones are especially vulnerable to this type of software manipulation.

Newsweek has reported that prosecutors for the DOJ are attempting to suppress evidence that American Terrorist Suspect Jose Padilla was tortured.

The matter could prove even more awkward because, according to a source close to Padilla’s defense team—who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters—any hearing could end up requiring the Pentagon to turn over highly classified video and audiotapes allegedly made of Padilla’s interrogation sessions at the U.S. military brig in Charleston, S.C. The content of the tapes has been the subject of recent discussion among lawyers in the case, the source said.

Padilla was kept in a state of "complete sensory deprivation," confined for months at a time in a "tiny cell" where the temperatures were manipulated to "extremely cold" levels and "noxious fumes" were introduced, causing his eyes and nose to run. Loud clanging noises were repeatedly heard making it impossible for him to sleep, the motion stated. Padilla himself was hooded, forced to stand in uncomfortable stress positions and kept "shackled and manacled with a belly chain," the motion further states. He was also threatened with being forcibly removed from the United States to another country....

"Additionally, Mr. Padilla was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylmamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PACP) to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations."

The government is concerned that if a jury became aware of the conditions in which Mr.Padilla was held, it would "shock the consience" and tend to inspire jury nullification. This of course would be in addition to the general ban on the use of coerced testimony and self-incrimination under the 5th and 8th Amendments.

This week Oregon Attorney Brandon Mayfield was awarded $2 million in damages for being mistakenly linked to the Madrid Train Bombing, kept under surveillance, arrested and then....

...held without contact, and visited with all the "non-torture" the CIA could deliver including "strip searches, sleep deprivation, unsanitary living conditions, shackles and chains, threats, physical pain and humiliation." All this despite the fact that the Spanish government told the CIA Mayfield was not involved weeks before he was arrested.
Mayfield was linked by the FBI to the bombing through a partial fingerprint match - but apparently this "match" was mistaken.
The Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University Law School has demonstrated time and again that even death penalty cases -- which pro-death advocates are quick to point out are subject to far more review than other crimes -- are often decided on poor evidence or no real evidence at all. In a surprising number of cases, the CWC has found false evidence, created to fit a scenario favored by law enforcement, or suppression of evidence that would have exonerated the accused.