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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

My reading habits for the most part are restricted towards a 'liberal' point of view. I recently came to the conclusion though that I was not getting the full picture and that I should really read some of what the other side has to say, like getting a fair and balanced point of view. So, taking the plunge, I Googled for some right-wing conservative newspapers and blogs. Believe me when I tell you that there are lots of them out there.

So off I go, in search of the other point of view. What I found though was was nothing more than vile language and violence. The other point of view hates my (and yours) guts. They hope I die of some nasty affliction and go straight to hell. Don't believe me? Well, check this out but be warned, this is not for the faint of heart or anybody who will be offended by foul language. One of the worst sites visited in my quest to get the other point of view.

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This from Kevin Drum:
BLOGGERS AS FUNDRAISERS....Fundraising isn't my thing — and I'm not allowed to do it here anyway since the Washington Monthly is incorporated as a nonprofit — but the fact that Atrios has raised $228,000 (so far) for John Kerry is genuinely astonishing. I'm not sure what the future of the blogosphere is, but anyone who can bundle up that kind of dough is a pretty serious player.

I don't really have a point to make about this. I'm just admiring from afar.


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Did he or did he not serve in the Texas Air National Guard?

Make up your own mind!

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Sunday, June 27, 2004

On Meet the Press this morning, all the talking heads, except former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright, stated that WE are safer now that Saddam is out of power in Iraq. Who is WE? Does the WE include the innocent Iraqis being killed in daily roadside car bombings or the countless thousands killed by American bombs and gun fire? I think not. Saddam may have been a despot but is what is going on there now worse or better for the Iraqis?

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Monday, June 21, 2004

Bush slips in ABC/WaPost poll.

6/17-20. MoE 3%. (5/20-23 results)

ABC poll:

Kerry 48 (46)
Bush 44 (46)
Nader 6 (4)

WaPost poll:

Kerry 53 (49)
Bush 45 (47)

Bush's approval ratings

Approve 47 (47)
Disapprove 51 (50)


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This from dailykos.com

AZ Nader ballot update:

They're still counting in Arizona, and it looks like the Democrats have anough invalid signatures to knock Nader off the ballot.

You can read the full article by clicking on the link above.

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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Conservative for Kerry
(You might be interested in the following just written by Charley Reese
of the Orlando Sentinel. If you know the writer and his strongly
conservative reputation, you should find it eye opening.)

Vote For A Man, Not A Puppet

Americans should realize that if they vote for President Bush's
re-election, they are really voting for the architects of war Dick
Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and the rest of that cabal of
neoconservative ideologues and their corporate backers. I have
sadly come to the conclusion that President Bush is merely a front man,
an empty suit, who is manipulated by the people in his administration.
Bush has the most dangerously simplistic view of the world of any
president in my memory.

It's no wonder the president avoids press conferences like the
plague. Take away his cue cards and he can barely talk. Americans
should
be embarrassed that an Arab king (Abdullah of Jordan) spoke more
fluently and articulately in English than our own president at their
joint press conference recently. John Kerry is at least an educated
man,
well-read, who knows how to think and who knows that the world is a
great deal more complex than Bush's comic-book world of American heroes
and foreign evildoers. It's unfortunate that in our poorly educated
country, Kerry's very intelligence and refusal to adopt simplistic
slogans might doom his presidential election efforts. But Thomas
Jefferson said it well, as he did so often, when he observed that
people
who expect to be ignorant and free xpect what never was and never will
be.

People who think of themselves as conservatives will really
display their stupidity, as I did in the last election, by voting for
Bush. Bush is as far from being a conservative as you can get. Well, he
fooled me once, but he won't fool me twice. It is not at all
conservative to balloon government spending, to vastly increase the
power of government, to show contempt for the Constitution and the rule
of law, or to tell people that foreign outsourcing of American jobs is
good for them, that giant fiscal and trade deficits don't matter, and
that people should not know what their government is doing.

Bush is the most prone-to-classify, the most secretive president in the
20th century. His administration leans dangerously toward the
authoritarian. It's no wonder that the Justice Department has convicted
a few Arab-Americans of
supporting terrorism. What would you do if you found yourself arrested
and a federal prosecutor whispers in your ear that either you can
plea-bargain this or the president will designate you an enemy
combatant and you'll be held incommunicado for the duration?

This election really is important, not only for domestic
reasons, but because Bush's foreign policy has been a dangerous
disaster. He's almost restarted the Cold War with Russia and the
nuclear
arms race. America is not only hated in the Middle East, but it has few
friends anywhere in the world thanks to the arrogance and ineptness of
the Bush administration.

Don't forget, a scientific poll of Europeans found us, Israel,
North Korea and Iran as the greatest threats to world peace.

I will swallow a lot of petty policy differences with Kerry
to get a man in the White House with brains enough not to blow up the
world and us with it. Go to Kerry's Web site (www.johnkerry.com
) and read
some of the magazine profiles on him. You'll find that there is a great
deal more to Kerry than the GOP attack dogs would have you believe.

Besides, it would be fun to have a president who plays
hockey, windsurfs, ride motorcycles, plays the guitar, writes poetry
and
speaks French. It would be good to have a man in the White House who
has
killed people face to face. Killing people has a sobering effect on a
man and dispels all illusions about war.
---- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
From June Wortman 520-648-5877
With thanks to my Cleveland friend, Peg.



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The Sorrows of Empire

Militarism, Secrecy, and the

End of the Republic

By

Chalmers Johnson

Reviewed by Rick Ernst, June 17, 2004



Chalmers Johnson writes about American militarism, it’s physical presence, growth of Special Forces as private armies of the president and secrecy that allows them to thrive. Johnson fears we are loosing our country because of the arrogance of power and the euphemisms required to justify imperialism. The danger is that the US has embarked on a path not unlike the former Soviet Union during the 1980’s. The USSR collapsed for three basic reasons: internal economic contradictions driven by ideological rigidity, imperial overstretch and inability to reform. It may take longer for the US but the similarities are obvious. Nowhere is it written the US will dominate the world forever.



The US dominates the world with its military power. We deploy over 500,000 soldiers, spies, technicians, teachers, dependents and civilian contractors in other nations. Our secret bases monitor what people are saying, faxing, or emailing to one another. Civilian industries support this effort to keep soldiers housed in comfortable quarters, well fed, amused and supplied with enjoyable vacation facilities. Even after the Cold War there are still at least 725 military bases (that the Department of Defense has acknowledged) located in 38 countries. Many of these bases like Okinawa, have been in operation for over 50 years.



9/11 changed the thinking of some of our leaders who saw the US as a genuine empire no longer bound by international law, or the concerns of allies or any restraint in the use of military force. Is the US intent on world domination through military force?



We are still building bases overseas to house our military. Most recent additions include air bases in Qatar, Kosovo and Uzbekistan. The Department of Defense operates 234 golf courses, 71 Lear Jets, 13 Gulfstream III’s and 17 Cessna Citation luxury jets used to fly generals and their dogs to military spots across the globe.



The US nuclear arsenal is immense. It is composed of 5,400 multiple-megaton warheads atop intercontinental ballistic missiles based on land and seas; an additional 1,750 nuclear bombs and cruise missiles ready to be launched from B-2 and B-52 bombers and a further 1,670 nuclear weapons classified as “tactical”. Not fully deployed but available are an additional 10,000 or so nuclear warheads stored in bunkers in the US. One would think this might be more than enough preparedness to deter three puny nations that the president identified as the country’s major potential adversaries. This staggering over-kill potential is further proof of the power of the military mindset.



IMET, International Military Education and Training Program, offers military instruction to 96 countries in 1990 and has increased to 133 countries in 2002. This single program “instructs” militaries in 70% of the world’s nations. In a recent year, 100,000 foreign soldiers have been trained. The military claims that it trains foreign armies as a way of teaching them American values and models of civil-military relations but there is very little evidence of this in the training. The US is also the largest single seller of munitions on earth – from 1997 to 2002 it exported $44.82 billion in arms. “Train and sell” is a closely meshed system to enlist allies and make money from less developed countries.



There are many private companies doing military work. The biggest, Dyn-Corp employs 23,000. The 1990 estimate of revenues to these companies was $55.6 billion and is expected to rise to $202 billion by 2010. These civilian companies even employ their own industry trade group to lobby Congress. This private mercenaries’ lobbying group calls themselves the International Peace Operations Association---a name George Orwell would have cherished!



Kellogg, Brown and Root built Camp Bondsteel on 1,000 acres of confiscated land southeast of Kosovo for $36 million in 1999. They also operate the base for $180 million per year. The Army purchased so much furniture that they did not know where to put it. Offices were cleaned four times a day and latrines three times. The base is so massive it can be seen from space. The soldiers joke the only patch missing on their uniform says “Sponsored by Brown and Root”. So why was this military installation built? Supposedly for peace keeping in southern Serbia, but its now looking like it will secure Middle Eastern and Central Asian oil supplies and control where that oil is going. Camp Bondsteel is part of the military-petroleum-complex.



Wars are dangerous even though four out of five young people who enlist in the armed forces choose non-combat positions. To entice young people the Army gives out free video games, sponsors 6,000 horsepower dragsters called the “The Sarge”. The military does not tell our young people that they stand a good chance of injury or death because they have enlisted. For instance, our soldiers are being exposed to depleted uranium that was used in the bombing of Iraq and Kuwait. Just how dangerous is DU to our soldiers and civilians? That is highly contested today because many returning soldiers complain about illnesses caused by combat in 1991. In the first Gulf war the Pentagon estimates that there are at least 320 metric tons of DU on the battlefield. Who will clean up that environmental mess?



Special Access Programs (SAP) are classified as top secret. No one knows how much is spent on these program and what exactly they are doing. The Secretary of Defense may or may not tell eight members of Congress what is going on in these secret programs. There are at least 185 of these programs going on currently. The GAO estimates that $30-35 Billion is being spent each year on these secret programs. Congress can be kept in the dark because to the militaries fetish for secrecy and disinformation. With all this activity who knows what is going on and where these programs will lead.



According to Seymour Hersh in the 5/24/04 issue of the New Yorker magazine, Rumsfeld was frustrated with the war on terror and authorized the establishment of a highly secretive program that has given blanket approval to kill or capture and if possible interrogate “high value” targets in the war on terror. SAP Special Access Program is composed of Navy Seals, Army’s Delta Force and CIA paramilitary experts. No tracability, no budget and never briefed before Congress, this SAP is very secretive with fewer than 200 in the program including Rumsfeld and Myers. Rules: Grab who you must. Do what you want. That is what these SAP’s are doing. Where is the accountability? Who is running these programs?



If present trends continue, there will be four sorrows that will result from the US quest for empire. First, there will be a state of perpetual war leading to more terrorism against Americans and a growing reliance on weapons of mass destruction among smaller nations. Second, there will be a loss of democracy and constitutional rights as presidential power dominates. Third, truth will be replaced by propaganda, disinformation, glorification of war and power. Last, all of this will bankrupt our system as more and more military spending short changes the education, health and safety of our citizens. Not a pretty picture.

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Friday, June 18, 2004

I am p****'d off and here's why!


Cheney blasts media on al Qaeda-Iraq link

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday the evidence is "overwhelming" that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, and he said media reports suggesting that the 9/11 commission has reached a contradictory conclusion were "irresponsible."

"There clearly was a relationship. It's been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming," Cheney said in an interview with CNBC's "Capitol Report."

Members of 9/11 commission found "no credible evidence" that Iraq was involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks carried out by al Qaeda hijackers, and they concluded that there was "no collaborative relationship" between Iraq and Osama bin Laden, the network's leader, according to details of its findings disclosed Wednesday at a public hearing.

Both Cheney and President Bush are strongly disputing suggestions that the commission's conclusion that there were no Iraqi fingerprints on the 9/11 attacks contradicts statements they made in the run-up to the Iraq war about links between Iraq and al Qaeda.

Bush, who has said himself that there is no evidence Iraq was involved in 9/11, sought to explain the distinction Thursday, saying that while the administration never "said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated" with Iraqi help, "we did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda."

"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda [is] because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda," the president said.

Okay, the above is what Bush/Cheney are saying as reported on CNN's web site. Is the flimsy relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda the latest excuse for going to war with Iraq? If so, I'm madder than hell and here's why.

Saudi Arabia had/has much strong ties to Al Qaeda than Saddam ever had. OBL is/was a Saudi citizen. The Saudi's have provided direct financial support to Al Qaeda and may still be doing so. Let's not forget that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis. The 9/11 commission reports there is no credible evidence linking Saddam/Iraq to Al Qaeda on that fateful day so why didn't we invade Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq?

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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Abu Ghraib Prisoner torture.

ABC's Nightline, Channel 9, 10:35 pm tonight, 17th. June, 2004 will discuss the recently leaked documents from the Justice Department/The Department of Defense on how to circumvent the law with respect to the treatment of prisoners. Be sure to watch, if you can stay up that late!

Thanks to Joe Moody for the heads-up.

And this from June Wortman on the same subject:

Beginning tonight, Thursday, June 17 on the Nightline Program, on ABC,
whatever your local time (in AZ it is 10:35 pm a Channel 9)) Ted
Koppel will host a very important and controversial discussion of the
"Torture is OK" leaked presidential legalbriefs. This is a daring
discussion we all need to hear.

June Wortman

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Monday, June 14, 2004

From Alternet
A conversationtion with the Director of the Center for Constitutional
Rights

Guantanamo: What the World Should Know


Why Guantanamo represents everything that is wrong with the U.S. war on terrorism. A conversation with the Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Thanks to June Wortman for this input.

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Sunday, June 13, 2004

Just want to mention a magazine which I find interesting: The Nation.

Another is The New Republic, but I prefer The Nation. There are certainly others but these are my favorites.

Would like to hear about someone else's choices.

Alf

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Friday, June 11, 2004

Other reasons not to shop at Wal-Mart!

We stopped shopping at Wal-Mart a couple of years ago after discovering how they treat their employees. I DO understand why people shop there (low prices) and I believe that the new "SupeStore" will be welcomed by most of Green Valley and surrounding area but I DO wonder if people understand the consequences of their actions.

This article from alternet.org re-enforces my decision.

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Stolen from Atrios

God, Does it Ever End?

Russert last night on Larry King:


RUSSERT: One other political point: The Republicans achieved control of the United States Congress for the first time in 70 years, of both houses, under Ronald Reagan.



Look, I'm fine with the Peggy Noonan footworshipping. I'm fine with all the "Reagan destroyed the Soviet Union singlehandedly" nonsense. I'm fine with all of these types of things because they're opinions. Some are silly opinions, and there should be some balance to them, but they are still opinions.

What I'm not fine with is all the factual errors that creep into the coverage by supposedly "unbiased" reporters.

The House and Senate did not both come under Republican rule during Reagan's time.
The Berlin Wall did not come down when Reagan was in office.
Reagan is not the president who left office with the highest approval rating in modern times.
Reagan was not "the most popular president ever."
Reagan did not preside over the longest economic expansion in history.
Reagan did not shrink the size of government.
Reagan did preside over what was at the time the "biggest tax cut in history" but it was almost instantly followed up by the "biggest tax increase in history."
Reagan was not "beloved by all." He was loved by some, liked by some, and hated by some with good reason.


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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Read this to find out.

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Why did the chicken cross the road?

Read this to find out.

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Monday, June 07, 2004

What's it all about (life that is)?

This may give you a clue!

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Why we should be affraid of Republicans and why I'm glad I don't live in Texas.

This from Kevin Drum: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

"This is what we're fighting. Republicans may be smart enough to make soothing noises and put friendly faces like George Bush's in front of their agenda, but behind the facade this is what they want and they won't rest until they get it. It's our job to make sure everyone knows this".


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Thursday, June 03, 2004

Bush Knew About Leak of CIA Operative's Name
President seeks legal advise. Read the full story here.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

Hear and see what Joe Hoeffel has to say. Here's Joe

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