Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator    

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Iraqi women's rights champion murdered (Kirkuk)

KIRKUK, Iraq (AFP) - Gunmen broke into the house of an Iraqi women's rights campaigner and shot her dead in front of her three children, police have said.

Human rights activists say the lives of women in Iraqi society have worsened dramatically since the US-led invasion of March 2003, amid a general break down in law and order and the rise of conservative Islamist militias.

Captain Imad Khudhir of the Kirkuk police said Saturday 38-year-old Halima Ahmed Hussein al-Juburi was killed late on Friday by 10 unidentified attackers who broke into her home in the northern town of Hawijah.

"We do not know the motive behind the crime," he said.

Juburi was the head of the Human Rights organisation of Maternity and Childhood in Hawijah, a lawless town in an area plagued by violent Sunni insurgent groups.

Her husband was not at home at the time of the attack.

solitarioh 2005 posted.

The financial costs of the war might be huge but money is not everything. Human lives do count either and US presence in Iraq has saved many lives.

--Posted by solitarioh2005 to ReBelle Nation

I wonder if this Womens Rights Campaigners Husband and children think that the US presence has saved many lives? Kangaroo

Booming Porn Faces Backlash (Porn Biz Explodes During Bush II Admin)

The Sunday (London) Times October 29, 2006

As its earnings pass $12 billion, the American industry is attracting
the attention of legislators.

The American pornography business is growing so fast that for
the first time in a decade it is attracting the unwelcome attention
of the White House and federal prosecutors.

When George Bush entered the Oval Office in 2001 he accused
his predecessor Bill Clinton of being "soft on porn" and vowed to
crack down on an industry that was generating $9.8 billion a
year. But anti-porn campaigners in Bush's own party say that
since then the president has been distracted by the war on terror
and has done little.

With an average 40% profit margin on DVD sales, explicit porn
is twice as profitable as the music business. Porn revenues in the
US are higher than all money generated by the combined
professional American football, baseball and basketball

Production is booming, too. According to Adult Video News,
13,500 titles were released last year, compared with 8,000 in
1998 and 1,250 in 1988. >>>cont


Third Soldier Charged With Rape, Murder (14yr old Iraqi girl)

(AP) The Army arraigned a 101st Airborne Division soldier Friday who was charged with raping and killing a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing three others in her family.

Pfc. Bryan L. Howard is accused of plotting in March to rape and kill the teenager in Mahmoudiya, a village about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Three other soldiers and a former Army private from the division's 502nd Infantry Regiment also face charges related to the attack.

Howard deferred entering a plea or scheduling a court-martial during the proceedings at Fort Campbell. Both his attorney, Cpt. Ryan Rosauer, and his father Lynn Howard in the audience, declined to speak to reporters.


Taliban plan to fight through winter to throttle Kabul

Militia fighters are operating just an hour's drive from the capital's suburbs, confident of undermining Western support for the war

Jason Burke
Sunday October 29, 2006
The Observer

The Taliban are planning a major winter offensive combining their diverse factions in a push on the Afghan capital, Kabul, intelligence analysts and sources among the militia have revealed.

The thrust will involve a concerted attempt to take control of surrounding provinces, a bid to cut the key commercial highway linking the capital with the eastern city of Jalalabad, and operations designed to tie down British and other Nato troops in the south.

Last week Nato, with a force of 40,000 in the country including around 5,000 from Britain, said it had killed 48 more Taliban in areas thought to have been 'cleared'. 'They have major attacks planned all the way through to the spring and are quite happy for their enemy to know it,' a Pakistan-based source close to the militia told The Observer. 'There will be no winter pause.' The Taliban's fugitive leader, Mullah Omar, yesterday rejected overtures for peace talks from President Hamid Karzai and said it intended to try him in an Islamic court for the 'massacre' of Afghan civilians.

Since their resurgence earlier this year the Taliban have made steady progress towards Kabul from their heartland in the south-east around Kandahar, establishing a presence in Ghazni province an hour's drive from the suburbs. They do not expect to capture the capital but aim to continue destabilising the increasingly fragile Karzai government and influence Western public opinion to force a withdrawal of troops. 'The aim is clear,' said the source. 'Force the international representatives of the crusader Zionist alliance out, and finish with their puppet government.'


NYT Endorses Ned Lamont for Senate !

The Senate Race in Connecticut

The Congressional elections are very much about America’s problems in Iraq. But the campaigns have shed little light on exactly what should happen next. Nowhere is that more true than in Connecticut. The two leading candidates, Ned Lamont and Joseph Lieberman, have clear disagreements over whether invading Iraq was a good idea in the first place, but grow much fuzzier when the question of future strategy comes up.

Mr. Lieberman, a three-term Democratic senator now running as an independent, talks about the threat of Islamic terrorism. Mr. Lamont, who beat Mr. Lieberman in the Democratic primary, reminds voters what a mess the invasion created. When it comes to the next step, Mr. Lieberman seems to mimic the Bush administration’s proposal to stay the course (while no longer mentioning that toxic phrase) with new tactics. Mr. Lamont is close to the Senate Democrats (minus Mr. Lieberman) who demanded a timetable for withdrawal without being too firm on what that ought to entail.

No one expects legislators to dictate military tactics. But what we need from the next crop of elected officials in Washington is a willingness to face reality, to choose from among difficult options and have the courage to be honest with the public about the consequences. On those points, Mr. Lamont is by far the better candidate.


Hell Awaits, America: Mass Manipulation, Blissful Psychosis, and 7 Easy Ways to Achieve Damnation

Jason Miller

...While the corporate media entities manipulate consumers, exercise a virtual monopoly on the flow of information, rewrite history to suit political agendas, unduly influence the outcome of elections, and perform a myriad of other tasks to advance the interests of those in power, the holographic image of the United States as a benevolent beacon of democracy they work so tirelessly to etch into people’s minds is beginning to fade. However, that represents no crisis to them. They simply flood our minds with more of the narcotic-like ideas and images they dispense to mask the pain from the festering wounds on our agonized souls. Undaunted, they continue to merrily guide us down the well-trodden path to the Inferno...

continua / continued

Iraqi PM Challenges US Handling Of War…

The Los Angeles Times Borzou Daragahi October 28, 2006 10:05 AM

Embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told the U.S. ambassador that he was Washington's friend but ''not America's man in Iraq,'' ratcheting up his increasingly bitter dispute with the Bush administration, an aide said Saturday.

The U.S. military, meanwhile, announced the death of a Marine in the restive Anbar province west of Baghdad on Friday, raising to 98 the number of American forces killed in Iraq in October, already the fourth deadliest month since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

Reports Shed Light on Ties Between Weldon, Businesses

Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon, under investigation for allegedly trading his influence to get lobbying business for one of his daughters, also has helped corporations that have hired another daughter, a friend and some of his former aides


Rumsfeld tells Iraq critics 'just back off'

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Thursday that anyone demanding deadlines for progress in Iraq should "just back off," because it is too difficult to predict when Iraqis will resume control of their country. >>>cont


Part I: The Original October Surprise

Bush 1 Bush 2, they have always been liars and thugs, even if it meant keeping their own Nationals prisoners for longer, so that they could be elected. DEJA VU? American Hostages, Iran 1980

USA never retaliated this action of terror.

In fact the hostage taking helped Ronald Reagan administration to take advantage of situation. The hostages released only when Republican win the election and 52 American hostages were released simultaneously when Jimmy Carter is welcoming hostages in Germany and Reagan is entering White House!

By Robert ParryOctober 25, 2006

Editor’s Note: As the United States heads toward a pivotal election on Nov. 7, both Republicans and Democrats are worried about the prospect of an “October Surprise” that could alter the political dynamic in the next two weeks.

Though last-minute campaign surprises are probably as old as democracy itself, the phrase in its modern usage dates back just over a quarter century to 1980 when President Jimmy Carter was seeking the freedom of 52 American hostages in Iran. Then-vice presidential candidate George H.W. Bush fretted publicly that a hostage release might be an “October Surprise” that would catapult Carter to reelection.

Ironically, however, the 1980 “October Surprise” controversy came to refer to an alleged dirty trick by Bush and other Republicans that thwarted Carter from gaining the hostages’ freedom. Carter’s failure propelled Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. to a landslide victory.

Arguably, the “October Surprise” of 1980 ushered in the modern era of GOP dominance, with the 12 years of the Reagan-Bush administrations. Arguably, too, the Democrats’ failure in December 1992 to get the truth out about the Republican chicanery set the stage for the Right’s congressional resurgence in 1994 and for today’s George W. Bush Era.

So, given the importance of the 1980 election in shaping today’s political terrain – and given the current interest in what might happen in the days ahead – we are publishing a series about the original October Surprise adapted from Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq:

History turned in December 1992 when the truth about what happened in the pivotal 1980 presidential election might finally have been revealed to the American people. Just a month after Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush, the dam that had held back the 12-year-old secrets finally gave way.

An investigative House Task Force was putting the finishing touches on a report intended to debunk the longstanding October Surprise allegations of Republican interference with the Iranian hostage crisis in 1980. The bipartisan Task Force planned to treat the story as a conspiracy theory run wild.

But suddenly the Task Force found itself inundated by a flood of new evidence going the other way, indicating that the long-whispered suspicions of a grotesque Republican dirty trick a dozen years earlier were true. >>>CONT


Robert Parry Part II: The Original October Surprise

By Robert ParryOctober 27, 2006

Editor’s Note: Part 2 of our series about the "Original October Surprise" of 1980 focuses on the role of banker David Rockefeller and his collaboration with Republicans during the Iranian hostage crisis, which doomed Jimmy Carter's presidency and helped open the door to the modern era of GOP dominance.

To read the first part of the series, dealing with the inept investigative work of Indiana Democrat Lee Hamilton, click here.

The series is adapted from Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq:

On March 23, 1979, late on a Friday afternoon, Chase Manhattan Bank Chairman David Rockefeller and his longtime aide Joseph Verner Reed arrived at a town house in the exclusive Beekham Place neighborhood on New York’s East Side. They were met inside by a small, intense and deeply worried woman who had seen her life turned upside down in the last two months.

Iran’s Princess Ashraf, the strong-willed twin sister of the Iran’s long-time ruler, had gone from wielding immense behind-the-scenes clout in the ancient nation of Persia to living in exile – albeit a luxurious one. With hostile Islamic fundamentalists running her homeland, Ashraf also was troubled by the plight of her ailing brother, the ousted Shah of Iran, who had fled into exile, first to Egypt and then Morocco.

Now, she was turning for help to the man who ran one of the leading U.S. banks, one which had made a fortune serving as the Shah’s banker for a quarter century and handling billions of dollars in Iran’s assets. Ashraf’s message was straightforward. She wanted Rockefeller to intercede with Jimmy Carter and ask the President to relent on his decision against granting the Shah refuge in the United States.

A distressed Ashraf said her brother had been given a one-week deadline to leave his current place of refuge, Morocco. “My brother has nowhere to go,” Ashraf pleaded, “and no one else to turn to.” [See David Rockefeller, Memoirs]

Spurned Appeals

Carter had been resisting appeals to let the Shah enter the United States, fearing that admitting him would endanger the personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Teheran and other U.S. interests. In mid-February 1979, Iranian radicals had overrun the embassy and briefly held the staff hostage before the Iranian government intervened to secure release of the Americans.

Carter feared a repeat of the crisis. Already the United States was deeply unpopular with the Islamic revolution because of the CIA’s history of meddling in Iranian affairs. The U.S. spy agency had helped organize the overthrow of an elected nationalist government in 1953 and arranged the restoration of the Shah and the Pahlavi family to the Peacock Throne.

In the quarter century that followed, the Shah kept his opponents at bay through the coercive powers of his secret police, known as the SAVAK. >>>cont


The Bushes & the Truth About Iran -->

Leaving the scene of the crime?

William Bowles

The Independent’s front page head for Wednesday 25 October proclaimed loudly "We’re out of here" purportedly the words of General George Casey, the US’s head military honcho in Iraq. Of course the devil lives in the small print as any reading 'between the lines’ reveals. And in any case, Casey’s comments are designed precisely to give the impression that a pullout is imminent when in reality, there is no way the US can leave voluntarily, there is simply too much at stake...

continua / continued



With the prospect of Palestinians having one of the most successful olive harvests in recent years, the Israelis had to think quickly how to prevent this. A good crop equals good money in the pockets of the Palestinian farmers that grow the olives and good money to the merchants that process and sell them. An occupied nation with food on its tables is not what the occupier wants. Starvation and want are two key ingredients for a successful occupation. Lieberman's entrance into the government is a guarantee that this will happen. As the Jews in the European ghettos starved under the nazi rule... so will the Palestinians under Herr Lieberman's rule...

continua / continued

GOP turns its aim on Kucinich to rally faithful

riday, October 27, 2006
Sabrina Eaton -Plain Dealer Bureau

Washington- For months, the Republican National Committee has sent supporters daily missives that predict dire consequences if Democrats triumph in next month's elections and liberals like California's Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Nevada's Sen. Harry Reid assume control of Congress.

On Thursday, Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich's possible ascent to chairmanship of a national security sub committee top ped their list of horrors, even though Kucinich has repeatedly said he doesn't know whether he would get the post. "Dems' Choice to Lead Key National Security Subcommittee Would Use 'Warm Glow of Peace' Against Terrorists," began the e-mail from the Republican National Committee's research arm.

Kucinich spokesman Doug Gordon said his boss "does not need a lecture on protecting America from the group that led us into and keeps us in Iraq." "I never knew what an elephant sounded like when it was drowning, until now," he said.


Laura Bush lends support to GOP leader in Foley scandal

Rollin out the Stepford WifeHey Stepford Wife...it's not YOUR Congress. It's OUR Congress. fooj

GREECE, N.Y. -- For a second time this month, first lady Laura Bush traveled Saturday to upstate New York to drum up support for House GOP campaign chief Tom Reynolds, whose once-safe district looks vulnerable in the upcoming election. "Go to the phone banks, knock on those doors and talk to your friends and neighbors ... about all of New York's great Republicans," Mrs. Bush, flanked by Reynolds and fellow U.S. Rep. Randy Kuhl, told several hundred Republican faithful in suburban Rochester. ...(S)tate Republican chairman Steve Minarik issued a "don't let them steal our Congress" rallying cry. But Bliss acknowledged that Reynolds' fate is uncertain. "It seems like it's 50-50," he said. ...Reynolds and Kuhl "appreciate our troops' sacrifice" in Iraq, (Mrs. Bush) said. "They understand that this election is critical to the future of our country."


FOCUS | Report Says Iraq Contractor Is Hiding Data From US

A Halliburton subsidiary that has been subjected to numerous investigations for billions of dollars of contracts it has received for work in Iraq has systematically misused federal rules to withhold basic information on its practices from American officials, a federal oversight agency said yesterday. Although KBR has been subjected to a growing number of specific investigations and paid substantial fines, this marks the first time the federal government has weighed in and accused it of systematically engaging in a practice aimed at veiling its business practices in Iraq.


The Horrors of Extraordinary Rendition

By Maher Arar

We now know that my story is not a unique one. Over the past two years we have heard from many other people who were, who have been kidnapped, unlawfully detained, tortured and eventually released without being charged with any crime in any country.


Fiasco Then, Fiasco Now: Why Baghdad Will Keep Burning

By Tom Engelhardt

The neocons and other top Bush officials were dazzled by American military power. They believed that, as the leaders of the planet's only "hyperpower," its last imperial superpower, its New Rome, they could do just about anything. Now, having attacked two weak countries, one among the poorest on the planet, and finding that they can achieve nothing they want, they -- and others in Washington -- are sitting around desperately dreaming up further hopeless solutions to the Iraqi catastrophe.

Link Here

The Lesson of Germany to be Learned Again

Confessions of a Malamute

Americans always claimed it couldn’t happen to them. That they had checks and balances that didn’t permit dictatorship. They spoke arrogantly, using this as a way to feel superior to everyone else. Imagining themselves to be above all others because of their constitution. Yet, now, they find themselves in a de facto dictatorship. Shrub has some amazing new powers unheard of in civilized societies. Overturning laws 791 years old that grant people the right from arbitrary arrests. Using torture and hearsay as "evidence". And the American people sleep on. There is no mass demonstrations, there nor are there any complaints that have any meaning. The so called leaders of the free world are nothing more than a sham. Shrub was right in one thing. There is no going back. He has utterly destroyed any and all vestiges of morality that US once claimed. Even when he and his ilk are gone the US is finished as a world power. The entire world has seen the US for what it is – even if the American people refuse to see what is right in front of their eyes. I used to wonder about Nazi Germany and how that was permitted to happen. Now I don’t wonder. We have all seen it right before our eyes...

continua / continued

US deaths in Iraq hit new high

Deadly ... October became the worst month for US soldier casualties in Iraq in nearly two years today with the announcement of the death of a Marine in Anbar province.


Members of Bush Gang Swore Under Oath Saddam Was Behind 9/11

Evelyn Pringle

Much to the dismay of the Bush administration, Americans can remember all on their own, without any help from Democrats, that in the run up to the war in Iraq, it was top White House officials who were making the claim that Saddam was in cahoots with bin Laden and secretly involved to 9/11. The fact that the administration's disinformation campaign was overwhelmingly successful was evidenced by an October 2004, Harris Poll, taken three weeks before the last presidential election, that found 62% of all voters, and 84% of those planning to vote for Bush, still believed that Saddam had "strong links" to Al Qaeda, and that 41% of all voters, and 52% of Bush backers, believed that Saddam had "helped plan and support the hijackers" who had attacked the country on 9/11. As we now know, the basis for these allegations was false, but the saddest part of the sordid tale is that many Americans are just now beginning to realize that Bush knew the stories were false for more than a year when he cited them as justification for taking the country to war...

continua / continued

As violence grows, oil-rich Kirkuk could hold key to Iraq's future

Michael Howard, The Guardian

The tribal chiefs, in traditional robes and chequered headdresses, emerged from the dust stirred up by their convoy of pick-up trucks and walked towards the big white tent, gesturing welcomes to each other as they sat. Accompanied by about 500 clansmen and a gaggle of local journalists, the 35 Sunni sheikhs - from Mosul, Tikrit, Samarra and Hawija - converged last week on Hindiya, on the scrappy western edges of Kirkuk, to swear their undying opposition to "conspiracies" to partition Iraq and to pledge allegiance to their president, Saddam Hussein (...) "If the Iraqi government wants national reconciliation to succeed and for the violence to end, they have to quickly release the president and end the occupation," said Sheikh Abdul Rahman Munshid, of the Obeidi tribe. "But most important of all," he added, "Kirkuk must never become part of Kurdistan. It is an Iraqi city, and we will take all routes to prevent the divisions of Iraq."...

continua / continued

A Few More ' Bad Apples'

Felicity Arbuthnot.

... But the most appalling atrocity to come to light (so far) in Afghanistan is meticulously reconstructed in Jamie Doran's film: ' Massacre at Mazar '. In November 2001, just weeks after the invasion, up to three thousand, men were loaded into twenty five metal containers. The containers were shot at killing many inside, others suffocated over four or five days. That it happened on US watch in the occupied country cannot be disputed. Repeated witness allegations of actual US involvement have never been investigated. One witness saw six containers with blood pouring from them. In the desert at Dasht Leili, a fifty metre mound of sand may be America's very own mass grave (...) Occasionally another atrocity leaks out of Afghanistan, the shooting up of a village, wedding party, or funeral, the small and larger massacres of people going about their business, or a small but huge personal tragedy as a farmer told the BBC's correspondent about the British, who he said with immense sadness, had destroyed his citrus groves, olives, livestock, even the walls of his smallholding, he had nothing left (...) Now, it transpires, a different kind of atrocity caught on, with German soldiers in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF.) On October 25th., the German Daily, Der Bilt, printed pictures of German troops playing and posing with a skull...

continua / continued

What checks and balances?

From Where I Stand by Joan Chittister, OSB
Posted on Oct 27, 2006 21:38pm CST.

I remember where I was the day Congress approved the decision of the president to invade Iraq. In fact, I wrote about it in this column. I was in Ireland where I had been watching the British Parliament debate the issue on public television for days.

Members of Parliament riddled Tony Blair with questions.

Some cabinet members, absolutely appalled by the level of “proof” offered to support the contention that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, resigned.

Here, in the United States, on the other hand, after almost no debate whatsoever -- certainly none the public could see -- our Congress marched down the steps of the Capitol, looked into the lens of television cameras and said to the American public, “We have to get behind the President.” With very few exceptions. Almost to a person. A unanimous vote -- minus one.

What’s more, anyone who didn’t “get behind the President,” anyone who even so much as questioned the invasion, got labeled “unpatriotic.”

That was, of course, before it was clear there were no weapons of mass destruction after all.

That was before the dead and wounded of both stripes -- U.S. and Iraqi -- began to be paraded across the screens of the country in lieu of those applauding members of Congress.

That was before it began to dawn on the U.S. public that not only was there no justifiable reason for going into Iraq, there was, apparently, no way of getting out. Honorably. Without leaving in our wake the destruction, genocide, and civil war which we had unleashed there.

As a result, it seems, the mild, docile, mute, nonconstitutional approach of the U.S. Congress in the face of an imperial presidency has come home to roost.

This year’s mid-term election is not simply a commentary on the presidency. It is a commentary on a say-nothing, do-nothing Congress, as well. The degree of public dissatisfaction with Congress as an institution shines bright and clear in every single poll on the subject. But is that fair?

Doesn’t the responsibility for successful governance lie squarely with the presidency in a democracy? Well, maybe. But not always, And, actually, only partially at any time.

In a democracy, interestingly enough -- at least in this one -- it is not always when the presidency and the Congress are in agreement that the country is necessarily getting the best possible government. In fact, people are beginning to say out loud in this country that this government, though apparently totally integrated, is “broken,” defective -- in other words, dysfunctional.

Broken? Impossible. Everything the present Administration has proposed is now a law.

Only the middle class face rising taxes. The Administration tells us that not taxing those who are best able to pay will boost the economy by boosting corporate profits, yet the minimum wage stays exactly the same.

We can now invade any country we want to whether we can prove cause or not and that will surely “improve our economy” by keeping the military-industrial complex working.

Now we have the legislative right to redefine torture and the Geneva Conventions. That means that what we say is not torture isn’t, and any foreign suspect is, therefore, at the mercy of our techniques, international law or no international al. No one tells us, of course, when that new technique won’t also be extended to our own prisoners and suspects.

Best of all, when we put someone in jail, thanks to the loss of the principle of habeas corpus, they will not be allowed to appeal to the courts to determine if their incarceration is really legal, really based on fact. Now we can lock up people we don’t like and just throw away the key.

And while all of this was going on we heard hardly a sound out of Congress about any of it. Legislation is swift and easy in a veritable one-party system.

But how can that be? I mean, if the likes of you and me frown when we hear those things, don’t you think we ought to be able to find that same uncertainty on Capitol Hill?

Well, the Democrats say they’re at the mercy of a Republican majority and so they’re powerless to do anything about anything. But they also say very little anywhere else that indicates to the U.S. public why they opposed such programs -- if they did.

The Republicans say they’re protecting the country and so anything goes. Including our integrity, apparently. Their role, they say, is to see that the laws this president wants passed get passed. So much for the rest of us.

Clearly, party politics has taken over the whole notion of personal responsibility, or public service, or high ideals.

“GOP Candidates Running Away from their Party,” the CNN headline reads as the election draws near -- which is very strange given the fact that all of them stayed with that party, with those programs, with this philosophy of slash and burn almost entirely.

No doubt about it, these years have reshaped the very nature of a checks and balances system.

One thing this recent history has made clear: members of Congress can’t possibly be voting their conscience. The vast majority are all clearly voting the party line. The numbers are always the same. And those who don’t -- like John Murtha for instance -- find themselves alone or isolated. And that despite the failure of present policies.

The question upon which the credibility of the U.S. now depends is whether or not, having destabilized Iraq, having created the vacuum that is creating a civil war, it is better for that country for us to leave now or to stay and clean up the mess we’ve made -- if such a thing is possible. All we have is the word of a president who says we won’t leave till “the job is over.” Whatever that means.

Despite the centrality of the Iraq question in all U.S. endeavors, we haven’t seen a single congressional debate on the subject -- let alone weeks of it.

Surely that is a sign that something in our system of checks and balances isn’t working. What can possibly be done to fix it?

Well, maybe we need some citizen committees to lead the country in a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of proportional voting. Giving political parties the percentage of seats equal to the percentage of votes they garner in elections rather than the winner-take-all system we have now might at least broaden the voice of the public in Congress.

Or maybe we need to consider dividing the government so that whichever party wins the presidency, the other party, by default, gets the Congress in order to require the kind of compromise we are now not getting.

Or maybe the only thing we can possibly do as individuals is to refuse to register as anything but Independent, however many parties are running. That way none of them would be able to take a single vote for granted.

From where I stand, that means that there would then be only one political party to placate again: us. It’s a thought.


NY Times: Lieberman's 'secret weapon' is NYC mayor Bloomberg

RAW STORYPublished: Friday October 27, 2006

New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg has been coming to the aid of "exiled" Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, the New York Times will report on the front page of its Saturday edition.

"In his battle for re-election to the U.S. Senate without the backing of the Democratic Party," writes Diane Cardwell, "Joseph I. Lieberman is deploying a secret weapon in the race's closing days: a sophisticated operation to identify and turn out voters, courtesy of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg." The mayor is a former Democrat who switched to the GOP before he first ran for mayor of New York in 2001.

Lieberman lost the Democratic primary to upstart challenger and progressive darling Ned Lamont, but leads him as an independent in recent polls for the general election on November 7. The Connecticut senator has gained remarkable support from Republicans, to the point that GOP candidate Alan Schlesinger has been polling in single digits. >>>cont


Investigators Say Speaker’s Aide Hindered Inquiry of Hill Security Contracts

By Steven T. Dennis, CQ Staff

Two former House committee investigators who were examining Capitol Hill security upgrades said a senior aide to Speaker J. Dennis Hastert hindered their efforts before they were abruptly ordered to stop their probe last year.

The former Appropriations Committee investigators said Ted Van Der Meid, Hastert’s chief counsel, resisted from the start the inquiry, which began with concerns about mismanagement of a secret security office and later probed allegations of bid-rigging and kickbacks from contractors to a Defense Department employee.

Ronald Garant and a second Appropriations Committee investigator who asked not to be identified said Van Der Meid engaged in “screaming matches” with investigators and told at least one aide not to talk to them. Van Der Meid also prohibited investigators from visiting certain sites to check up on the effectiveness of the work, the investigators said.

Van Der Meid oversaw Capitol security upgrades for Hastert, R-Ill., and worked closely with the office that was charged with implementing them, the investigators said.

K. Lee Blalack, a lawyer for Van Der Meid, said Friday that neither he nor Van Der Meid would comment on the matter.

John Scofield, a spokesman for the Appropriations Committee, said the former investigators were taken off of the investigation, but denied that it was terminated.

“Nothing has been closed down on this study,” Scofield said. “It is a pending study.”>>>cont


Indy journalist shot dead in Mexico

Filmmaker, journo Brad Will killed by paramilitaries in troubled Oaxaca region.


Blackwater Hires Ken Starr to Defend Against Charges made in "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers

READ MORE: Iraq, Supreme Court, Investigations, George W. Bush

As stated in the terrific blog post and Nation article by Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater Security Consulting, a company hardly on the lips of the American public, hired Ken Starr to try to use the Supreme Court as a blunt instrument to dismiss murder charges against it. As evocatively depicted in the film Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, Blackwater sent four men to their deaths in Fallujah in March, 2004.

While few know Blackwater, we all remember the horrific picture of the charred hulks that were once people left dangling from a bridge. Blackwater sent these men into the most dangerous city on the planet (quite literally, although thanks to the Bush Administration's excellent work, several other cities in Iraq now compete for that title), without proper protection, support or even maps. The result was predictable, but no less horrifying. Not only were these fine men killed by a mob outraged at the US Government, but Marines had to enter the city to retrieve the bodies, thus beginning the spiral toward outright war against American troops that has become Iraq since then.

The families of some of those men sued Blackwater for as close a charge to murder as they could get, demanding recompense for the deaths at something greater than the standard $4,200 a month or so that the military pays out as survivor benefits. Since Blackwater is a private company, and since it acted recklessly at best, the families reason that they should be entitled to some reasonable monetary damages for the outrage. Blackwater's Eric Prince, one of the largest donors to the Republican Party and to right wing causes generally, has fought the families' rights to sue. As told clearly by the Nation, his lawyers have argued consistently that Blackwater is covered by the Military Base Act and is therefore in essence a part of the US Government, so it should not stand trial for the negligent and outrageous deaths.

Knowing that the last resort before having to stand trial is the Supreme Court, Mr. Prince used his millions and clout to hire Ken Starr, who so willingly squandered tens of millions of dollars to attack President Clinton, only to discover that no wrong had been done by him. The Nation quotes an expert who speculates that Mr. Starr's Republican credentials and close personal relationships to justices of the Supreme Court will not help him with this case, but rather his one intellect will. Who knows? My guess is that Mr. Prince hired Mr. Starr for another reason: to fend off the Congressional investigations and inevitable charges by a US Government not completely bought and sold by Mr. Prince. (Iraq for Sale and the web site show how his easy money bought insider lobbyists to keep his contracts after Fallujah.) Those charges eventually will likely be against Blackwater for conspiracy to defraud the taxpayers of the United States of America. Since Mr. Starr has considerable experience with wasting taxpayers' money, he'll know just what to do when defending Mr. Prince against the most serious charge of all: war profiteering, in his case literally over the dead bodies of his employees.


Corporate America Increasing Its Last-Minute Donations To Dems...

The New York Times JEFF ZELENY and ARON PILHOFER October 27, 2006 10:21 PM

Corporate America is already thinking beyond Election Day, increasing its share of last-minute donations to Democratic candidates and quietly devising strategies for how to work with Democrats if they win control of Congress.

The shift in political giving, for the first 18 days of October, has not been this pronounced in the final stages of a campaign since 1994, when Republicans swept control of the House for the first time in four decades.


Friday, October 27, 2006

CBS: 'Suspicious powder' at Bill Clinton office

Former President At Home In Chappaqua At The Time

Ti-Hua ChangReporting

(CBS) NEW YORK CBS 2 has learned that a suspicious white powder was delivered to President Bill Clinton's office in Harlem on Friday afternoon.


Huffington Post October 27, 2006 02:12 PM

GOP Senate candidate Mike DeWine voted in 1986 to prevent important sanctions against the white apartheid regime in South Africa.

Dewine, along with then Congressman Dick Cheney, voted in the minority against removing the sanctions. DeWine lost in the successful 313-83 veto override, a veto sponsored by President Reagan that was labeled weak and in favor of the South Africa's disgraced President [Roll Call vote 390, HR 4868, September 28th, 1986, Passed 313-83, DeWine Voted Nay].

Even republicans Sen. McCain, Rep. Sensenbrenner, and Newt Gingrich voted to keep sanctions in place. DeWine was ridiculed in his party for his position. Reaction in South Africa was even harsher, sparking Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu to tell the Christian Science Monitor, "President Reagan will be judged harshly by history." (9/29/86)



Republicans Party, The party of FAMILY VALUES
Below is a portion from the entire interview transcript:

BLITZER: I want you to -- this was in the news today and your name
has come up, so that's why we're talking about it, but listen to this.


CHENEY: Jim Webb is full of baloney. I have never written anything

sexually explicit. His novels are full of sexual explicit references to

incest, sexually explicit references -- well, you know, I just don't

want my grandchildren to turn on the television set. This morning, Imus

was reading from the novels, and it -- it's triple-X rated.

BLITZER: Here's what the Democratic Party put out today, the

Democratic Congressional -- Senatorial Campaign Committee: "Lynne

Cheney's book featured brothels and attempted rape. In 1981, Vice

President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne, wrote a book called "Sisters",

which featured a lesbian love affair, brothels and attempted rapes."


BLITZER: "In 1988, Lynn Cheney wrote about a Republican vice

president who dies of a heart attack while having sex with his

mistress." Is that true?

CHENEY: Nothing explicit. And actually, that was full of lies.

It's not -- it's just -- it's absolutely not a...

BLITZER: Did you write a book entitled "Sisters"?

CHENEY: I did write a book entitled "Sisters".

BLITZER: It did have lesbian characters.

CHENEY: This -- no, not necessarily. This description is a lie.

I'll stand on that.

BLITZER: There's nothing in there about rape and brothels?

CHENEY: Well, Wolf, could we talk about a children's book for a minute?

BLITZER: We can talk about the children's book. I just wanted to...

CHENEY: I think my segment is, like, 15 minutes long and we've had

about 10 minutes of...

BLITZER: I just wanted to -- I just wanted to clarify what's in the

news today, given -- this is...

CHENEY: That's lies and distortion. That's what it is.

BLITZER: This is an opportunity for you to explain on these

sensitive issues.

CHENEY: Wolf, I have nothing to explain. Jim Webb has a lot to


BLITZER: Well, he says he's only -- as a serious writer, novelist,

a fiction writer, he was doing basically what you were doing.

CHENEY: Jim Webb is full of baloney.

BLITZER: We'll leave it at that. Let's talk a little bit about

your book, "Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America".


Sometimes Evildoers Just Self-Destruct...

Bizness As Usual..?


I Am Just Warming Up...
"With withering and methodical dispatch, White House nemesis and prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald yesterday sliced up the first person called to the stand on behalf of the vice president's former chief of staff.
If I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was not afraid of the special counsel before, the former Cheney aide, who will face Fitzgerald in a trial beginning Jan. 11, had ample reason to start quaking after yesterday's Ginsu-like legal performance. "<more>
I wonder, why AP and the Wa. Post recycled the old "bomb scare" photo of me with only a fresh caption? How about some relevant photos of me and while you are at it...fetch me some hot coffee and a Krispy Kreme? ;)

"But Fitzgerald pointed out in his cross-examination that the study itself may have been skewed. Loftus admitted on the stand, after being picked apart by details from her own works, that the answers to some of the questions posed to jurors in the study actually prove exactly the opposite - that jurors can in fact use common sense to ascertain the effects of memory on witness testimony."
I hope Dr. Loftus got her fee up front and in cash! ;)

Hello Everyone!!!

This is Christy, and no I was not hit by a bus or trapped in a coal mine. I have missed all of you.

I am returning today to tell you about my aunt Faye Aline Self. ------->

In 1983 she vanished into thin air. No trace of her has ever surfaced in all these 23 years, and to be honest there is a serious problem with the police investigation and always has been.

To make a very long story short, two serial killers have individually claimed her as their victim. The first was Henry Lee Lucas, and now Robert Charles Brown, incarcerated in Colorado,has claimed to have killed her. Along with many, many others.

Unlike Lucas, Brown did actually live within feet of her when she disappeared, and it has become a complicated situation all around as Brown was also the son of a sheriffs deputy in the same police department whose case on Faye Aline is compromised, to say the least.

And through all of this Faye Aline is still waiting for us to find her, in an unknown and unacceptable grave. Even with the multiple confessions of two seperate serial killers, her body has never been recovered.

She was 26 years old and never lived to see 27. In all this time her 3 children have had no grave to mourn.

Our family is no longer willing to wait.

There is a team of people who search for 'The Missing' even in the face of incredible odds, they are willing to try.

The name of this group is Texas Equusearch and they are a mounted recovery team. They work only on donations, and as long as they have the funds they can continue to look for The Lost. They do not turn down any search as long as the costs can be met.

They are willing to come here and help our family at least try.

My family, led by my cousin, Faye Alines oldest child, is now hosting a fundraiser, selling candles with 100% of the profits going Texas Equusearch to fund a search for Faye Aline Self.

We are hoping to bring their team here as soon as the weather warms early next year. Our goal at this time is $ 3,500.00 to fund this search, yet if we do more, it to will also go to Texas Equusearch to keep them going.

If you can, please buy a Candle For Aline.

And maybe, just maybe, with all of them burning together, it will light her way home.

Please, help us find her.

Thank You,

Buses torched on riot anniversary

Anniversary ... In one of a series of attacks to commemorate the riots of 2005, armed men boarded this bus in a Paris suburb overnight and ordered passengers to get off before setting it alight. More

Ex-Bush aide Safavian apologizes at sentencing

Ex-Bush aide Safavian apologizes at sentencing
By Richard Cowan

Oct 27, 2006 — WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Bush administration official David Safavian tearfully apologized at a sentencing hearing on Friday for his role in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal that has ensnared Republicans.

"I stand here contrite and ashamed," Safavian, convicted on charges of lying and obstruction of justice, said at the hearing less than two weeks before elections that will determine whether Republicans keep control of the U.S. Congress.

Safavian, 39, a former chief of staff of the General Services Administration and ex-White House budget office appointee, faces up to 20 years in prison after the jury convicted him on four counts. He was expected to be sentenced later in the day.

Besides the Iraq war, ethics breaches have dominated many U.S. Senate and House of Representatives campaigns nationwide, allowing Democrats to accuse Republicans of fostering a "culture of corruption" in Washington.


When It Comes to Press Freedom, We're Number 53!

Reporters Sans Frontières recently released its annual ranking of press freedom around the world, and it's not good news for the United States. Our ranking's been steadily dropping since the survey started in 2002, when we were in the index's top 20. Now we're at a dismal 53rd place, down from an undistinguished 44th last year. That puts us in the same league as tiny democracies like Botswana, Croatia, and Tonga. To be sure, we're a long way from the atrocious rankings of Iran, China, Burma, Cuba, and North Korea. But it's nothing to write home about.

The United States' poor showing is largely to blame on the excesses of the war on terror. As RSF explains, "Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of 'national security' to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his 'war on terrorism.'" And then there's the journalists we've got locked up, such as a Sudanese Al-Jazeera cameraman being held in Guantanamo, and Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who's been in U.S. custody in Iraq for 6 months without charge.

That's just the official hostility to the press. During the past year, right-wing commentators debated whether the editor of the New York Times should be sent to the gas chamber or the firing squad for revealing a program to track terrorist funds. It's not clear whether this episode figured into RSF's rankings, but it was another sign of why, when it comes to freedom of expression, we've got a long way to Number One.

[Ed. Note: This week's Sports Illustrated carries an excellent column on Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, the San Francisco Chronicle reporters who used leaked grand jury testimony to blow the lid off the steriod scandal. They'll be heading to jail soon for failing to reveal their sources, and may still be in the big house when Barry Bonds, documented to have commited several crimes in Fainaru-Wada and Williams' reporting, breaks baseball's all-time home run record.

A detail from the column, which unfortunately is subscription-only: The Chronicle has received 80 subpoenas of reporters over the last 18 months, compared with five over the previous 18. That's the world's strongest democracy, leading by example.]

Posted by Dave Gilson on 10/27/06 at 11:15 AM

Looks like Skilling went down with the ship, only Kenny Boy got away

Jeff Skilling and Enron's Glory Days, Captured in Email

As former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling heads off to the pokey, you can relive the good ol' days at the Death Star with the Enron Explorer, a searchable database of company emails sent by Skilling, Ken Lay, and their underlings. Read as they joke about shredding documents, plan meetings between Lay and Cheney, flirt with co-workers, and beg not to be fired as things go south. And see Skilling in R-rated action as he tells a fellow exec, "I can't wait to see you go down with the ship like all the other vermin." Good times.

Posted by Dave Gilson on 10/24/06 at 11:48 AM

While the Administration Struggles with Spin, USIP Forecasts Iraq's Potential "Descent into Hell"

Folks in the Bush administration just can't seem to get their stories straight. Bush says "we are winning" but has recently abandoned his tagline "stay the course" although he does say his administration will "complete the mission." Rumsfeld, on the other hand, claims the administration is "not backing away from staying the course." And, almost simultaneously, White House press secretary, Tony Snow, jumped on the "abandon the phrase 'stay the course' bandwagon" claiming Bush has only uttered the words 8 times.

But while Bush and company struggle with how to talk about the war in Iraq, the United States Institute of Peace, a nonpartisan think tank, has been doing research on how to actually handle it. Their new report documents the research they have been doing over the past six months which forecasts outcomes for the insurgency in Iraq. And, it doesn’t look good. (See this excerpt from the recommendations and conclusions section.)

The administration's ambitious goals ("an Iraq that is peaceful, united, stable, democratic, and secure, where Iraqis have the institutions and resources they need to govern themselves justly and provide security for their country"), if possible at all, are attainable only in the very long term. Instead, avoidance of disaster and maintenance of some modicum of political stability in Iraq are more realistic goals—but even these will be hard to achieve without new strategies and actions and the cooperation of Iraq's neighbors.

Yikes. In fact, US News and World Report calls the USIP report "unremittingly grim." It does, I am afraid, appear to live up to this description. There is even a section called "Descent into Hell." Read the full report here.

Posted by Leigh Ferrara on 10/26/06 at 11:55 AM

Who wants Georgie stomping for them?

In Exclusive Interview, Fox Talks To Katie Couric About His Parkinson's Disease Advocacy

Michael J. Fox sat down with Katie Couric yesterday. It was honest, powerful, heart wrenching, and a true profile in courage. Randi has the clips.

"Honestly, I mean, I really feel this: That you get in your life very few chances to make a difference. And I really feel privileged to do this that I get a chance to do this."

The impact of the Michael J. Fox’s stem cell ad is intense and immediate.

Link Here

A peek behind the walls of 'Fortress US'

First Kuwaiti is the exception. Brutal and inhumane, he said. "I've never seen a project more f---ed up. Every US labor law was broken."

And it was all happening smack in the middle of the US-controlled Green Zone, he said - right under the nose of the State Department that had quietly awarded the controversial embassy contract.

Owen also complained of poor sanitation, squalid living conditions and medical malpractice in the labor camps where several thousand low-paid migrant workers lived. Those workers, recruited on the global labor market from the Philippines, India, Pakistan and other poor South Asian countries, earned as little as $10-$30 a day. As with many US-funded contractors, First Kuwaiti prefers importing labor because it views Iraqi workers as a security headache not worth the trouble.

Some contractors, many working as subcontractors to Halliburton in Iraq, were found to be using deceptive, bait-and-switch hiring practices and charging recruiting fees that indebted low-paid migrant workers for many months or even years to their employers. Contractors were also accused of providing substandard, crowded sleeping quarters, serving poor food and circumventing Iraqi immigration procedures.

All the workers had their passports taken away by First Kuwaiti," Mayberry claimed, and while he knew the plane was bound for Baghdad, he's not so sure the others were aware of their destination. The Asian laborers began asking questions about why they were flying north and the jet wasn't flying east over the ocean, he said. "I think they thought they were going to work in Dubai."

Owen had already been working at the embassy site since late November when Mayberry arrived. The two never crossed paths, but both share similar complaints about management of the project and poor treatment of the laborers that, at times, numbered as many as 2,500. Most are from the Philippines, India and Pakistan. Others are from Egypt and Turkey.

But scratching the surface is the only view yet available of what may be the most lasting monument to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. As of now, only a handful of authorized State Department managers and contractors, along with First Kuwaiti workers and contractors, are officially allowed inside the project's walls. No journalist has ever been allowed access to the sprawling 42-hectare site with towering construction cranes raising their necks along the skyline.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060703/howlBush's Baghdad Palace

http://p216.ezboard.com/frigorousintuitionfrm10.showMessage?topicID=6723.topicMassive US Embassy Baghdad: Slave Labor, Secrecy


Warships deploy around Arab oil facilities

MSNBC News Services
Updated: 1 hour, 1 minute ago

LONDON - Coalition naval forces in the Persian Gulf have been deployed to counter possible seaborne threats to an oil refinery in Bahrain and to Saudi Arabia’s Ras Tanura terminal, which is the world’s biggest offshore oil facility, Britain's Royal Navy said on Friday.

A British navy official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said a threat from al-Qaida last month to target Gulf oil terminals had resulted in the stepped-up security and vigilance.

Crude oil exports were continuing as normal, industry sources said, describing the deployment as routine.

The Royal Navy issued the warning in a statement to merchant shipping, calling it a precautionary measure after receiving intelligence of a possible threat.

But a Saudi security adviser said any operations in the Gulf were entirely routine and there was no renewed threat to oil facilities in the world’s biggest exporter. “This is part of the ongoing exercises between the U.S., British, Bahraini and Kuwaiti forces,” said Nawaf Obaid. “It has nothing to do with protecting Saudi oil installations.”


Bush's Shiite relationship on the rocks; Who will be his next partner?


There's broad agreement Bush is threatening to topple the government he himself created in Baghdad, but the unanswered question is: What will his next creation look like? One immediate reaction to the recent threat is to welcome the boost this gives the opponents of the occupation generally. An editorial in the Egyptian opposition daily Al-Gomhuria says the latest developments are evidence not only of the failures on the military and security levels, but more importantly the failure of the effort in Baghdad to stigmatize all opponents of the occupation as terrorists. This is a great victory for the national resistance, the editorialist says it is also an incentive for the Iraqi population to continue "with all strength and defiance" on the road of resistance, taking care to prioritize national unity at the same time, "lest the occupation be forced out the door of nationalism, only to return by the window of factionalism." But from the other side, the follow-up question has to be: Bush will replace Maliki with what?...

continua / continued

A Superpower In Decline:

America's Middle Class Has Become Globalization's Loser:

Globalization is striking back. The United States has promoted the worldwide exchange of commodities like no other nation, and the result is that their local industry has begun to be eroded.


Number of Uninsured Still Climbing Despite ‘Healthy’ Economy:

In 2005 another 1.3 million Americans joined the ranks of the uninsured, bringing the total uninsured non-elderly population to just over 46 million. Not counting seniors eligible for Medicare, the uninsured rate reached about 18 percent.


Bolton: sanctions ‘help regime change’:

How about sanctions on America, maybe that will help with regime change, of a corrupt administration.

Imposing economic and political sanctions against Iran and North Korea will help democratic forces in those countries as Washington pursues its "ultimate objective" of regime change, John Bolton, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said on Tuesday.


Australian PM: Troops stay in Iraq for sake of US relations:

Australian troops must stay in Iraq to maintain the country's friendship with the United States, Prime Minister John Howard says.


Blair urged to use extradition scheme over shot journalist :

Tony Blair was challenged by Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, to use new "fast track" extradition procedures with the United States to ensure that American soldiers involved in the death of the ITN journalist Terry Lloyd faced trial in Britain.


Travelling with the Taleban :

British soldiers landed in helicopters, arrested a suspect and flew away. But they left six dead in one family, including three young girls, and partially demolished the mosque.


The Real Axis of Evil: A State without Mercy

By William A. Cook

By yoking itself to the Zionist cause, the eradication of the Palestinians and the theft of their land, the U.S. President and the Congress have ensured a continuing supply of "terrorists" for years to come.


The Power of Israel in the United States
By Stephen Lendman

The Lobby's influence is broad and deep enough to include officials at the highest levels of government, the business community, academia, the clergy (especially the dominant Christian fundamentalists/Christian Zionists) and the mass media.


In Syria, Iraq's Fate Silences Rights Activists

Horror at the bloodshed accompanying the US effort to bring democracy to Iraq has accomplished what human rights activists, analysts and others say Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had been unable to do by himself: silence public demands for democratic reforms here.


Halliburton Billed Gov't $163 Million for Administrative Costs in Iraq

A report released yesterday by the Inspector General's office overseeing Iraq spending found that at least 55 percent, or $163 million, of $296 million in total costs rung up by Halliburton unit KBR went to expenses such as back-office support, transportation and security. That percentage was significantly higher than it was on work by other firms in Iraq, and experts said it is far above what is typically found on a government contract.

Halliburton, Kuwait Operation Violate US Labor Laws

Contracting companies the for the new 592-million-dollar US embassy in Baghdad, equal in size to Vatican City, have broken every US labor Law. Workers, recruited on the global labor market from the Philippines, India, Pakistan and other poor South Asian countries, earn as little as 10 to 30 dollars a day and are physically assaulted and beaten, while suffering squalid living conditions and medical malpractice. Construction companies hold onto employee passports to stop workers from leaving Iraq or taking better jobs with other contractors.


Report: Halliburton unit exploited rules

My Flag

By Amy Branham
t r u t h o u t Perspective

Friday 27 October 2006

We all know the history of the American flag. We know its symbology. White signifies purity and innocence; red signifies valor and bravery; and blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice. Each star represents one of the states in the Union .

Driving through my typical American neighborhood, I see that many of my neighbors fly American flags in their front yards. They fly their flags to show their support and love of their country. To them, displaying the flag in their yards is a sign of patriotism.

I do not ever fly or display my flag. My flag is encased in a triangular shaped wooden box on the top of a bookcase in my living room. It is easily visible to all who enter my home. Also encased in this wooden box are the medals my son earned during his service in the Army and the bullet casings from a salute done at his funeral. Each of those casings represents a different element taught in the United States Army - Duty, Honor, Country.

The American flag means many things to many people. Some wrap themselves in the security of the flag and call themselves "patriotic." Some people burn the flag in an effort to show their displeasure with the American government.

These days, the flag carries and entirely different meaning for me. My flag was my son's last blanket. It covered his wooden coffin, to signify that he died in the service of his country. My flag carries on it tears of sorrow and mourning for the loss of the son that I will never see again. I followed the colors of my flag in the funeral procession to my son's last resting place.

There have been too many of these flags covering the coffins of our war dead from the Iraq war. There have been too many families that have been presented with these flags that covered these coffins.

Please, help those of us who are trying to end this illegal, immoral war. Help us by getting out and voting this election season for the candidate who will do what is right by ending the Iraq war. Honor America's fallen sons and daughters and their sacrifices by voting.

If you do not vote, you have failed them. If you do not vote, their sacrifice will have been for nothing.

free hit counter