Sunday, November 30, 2003

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Hail Britannia

Power and its trappings bring temptation. Wouldn't it be tempting to go to Buckingham Palace and receive the Order of the British Empire from the Queen? Well at least one person is able to say thanks but no thanks. In the British newspaper the Guardian, writer Benjamin Zephaniah says hell no I won't go.
Bush in Iraq

I had a great Thanksgiving with my family. After dinner, dessert and football I turned on the news. If I had known Bush pulled off another propaganda stunt I would have eaten more pie and skipped the news. Here is the real story.

Thursday, November 27, 2003


Double your pleasure this Thanksgiving, read the Freedom Rider in Black Commentator. I hope you also take the opportunity to read all of Black Commentator. I don't know of any other website that has been villified by right wing Senator Orrin Hatch. As far as I am concerned that is the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

Paris Hilton Sex Tape!

Spam in much discussed but merely an annoyance. Our cowardly Congress can't stop war or the privatization of Medicare but by golly they will stamp out spam if it is the last thing they do!

Frankly, if they can keep Paris Hilton Sex Tape ads out of my email box I will applaud their efforts. Recently I have received a minimum of 10 spam messages every day exhorting me to see the Paris Hilton Sex Tape. I fear for a society that exalts Paris Hilton. In listing signs of the end time the bible should have added pointless celebrity to plagues, pestilence, famine and rumors of war. (Matthew 24:6-7) Apparently even the apostles could not foresee Paris Hilton and her ilk.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Klan vs. Klan

Bodies with gaping wounds, some bayoneted through the eyes, some with skulls beaten through, others with hideous wounds as if their bowels had been ripped open with bowie-knives, plainly told that but little quarter was shown to our troops. Strewn from the fort to the river bank, in the ravines and hollows, behind logs and under the brush where they had crept for protection from the assassins who pursued them, we found bodies bayoneted, beaten, and shot to death, showing how cold-blooded and persistent was the slaughter of our unfortunate troops.
Witness to Fort Pillow Massacre

How should one react upon learning that one Klansman accidentally shot another during a bizarre initiation ritual complete with nooses, paint ball and real bullets? I for one just laughed out loud.

The Klan was founded in Pulaski, Tennessee by Nathan Bedford Forest. Forest made a fortune selling slaves and became a general for the Confederacy. He massacred white and black Union soldiers after they surrendered at Fort Pillow, which was located near Jackson, Tennessee. White soldiers were murdered, but black soldiers, particularly those with the rank of sergeant, were singled out for butchery. They were nailed to logs and burned alive. It is indeed ironic that this Klan shooting incident also occurred in Tennessee.

The Confederacy considered captured black soldiers to be fugitive slaves who had no rights traditionally accorded to prisoners. Union leaders such as Secretary of War Stanton and Secretary of State Seward wanted to execute an equal number of Confederate POWs but Lincoln denied the request. The Confederate refusal to treat black and white POWs alike resulted in the end of prisoner exchanges, which resulted in conditions at prisons such as Andersonville.

I never wanted to belong to any group that required initiation. I shake my head when I read that someone forced to chug too much beer died in an attempt to join omega kappa phoolish. Who wants to belong to the Klan, an organization filled with racist losers. A racist and loser of course.

We do need to be reminded that everyone did not accept the changes brought about by the civil rights movement. There are many racist losers in our society. Most of them are harmless, but lest we forget, Timothy McVeigh also joined the Klan. In 1995 168 Americans found out the hard way that this man may have been a loser, but he was far from harmless.

Read more about Fort Pillow here.
Good Riddance

Bush doesn't know or doesn't care that the British hate him, so it won't bother him that his visit wrecked the Queen's garden.

All the News Fit to Print

The U.S. Army has backtracked on its original assertion that 2 soldiers were mutilated after being shot in Iraq. Those of us silly enough to quote the Army must retract our statements (November 23rd post). Of course, we are now left to wonder which version of the story is true.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Whither Iraq

We will lose in Iraq. We have begun the destruction of a nation that was not a danger to us, all so that we can get their oil, let Israel have its way in that region and have a base for American troops. By the way, if you were in any way hopeful about the supposed turning over of Iraq to the Iraqis by June, you have been snookered. We will have at least 100,000 troops there until 2006 at least, even if they have their throats slit.
More Freedom Rider

How could I forget to give myself a plug? You get more where this came from right here.

Mujahadeen are the Good Guys

I am old enough to remember when the Mujahadeen were the good guys. They fought the evil Soviets in Afghanistan. You don't have to tell your age, but perhaps this will jog your memory.

Asia Times Online Cartoon - By Gavin Coates.gif

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Tony Blair is a Liar

Perhaps it is true that all politicians are ethically challenged or maybe my mom was right about the negative effects of hanging out with the wrong crowd. Either way it is clear that Tony Blair has as big a problem telling the truth as his pal George W. Bush. Blair was briefly hospitalized in October with an irregular heart beat and denied that he had any such condition in the past. When Bill Clinton mentioned that Blair had in fact discussed it previously, Downing Street called Clinton a liar.

Among the other embarassments that took place during the recent Bush visit to England was the revelation that a reporter had gotten a job as a servant in Buckingham Palace. Among other things, he reported that Blair has suffered from this condition in the past. Birds of a feather do flock together.

If Laura Bush Doesn't See You, Are You Still There

Asked whether she had been put off by large-scale protests against the visit and anti-American sentiment in Britain, Mrs Bush said she had seen many more pro-US demonstrators.

"I don't actually think the protests are near as large as everyone was predicting before we got here," she said, as a crowd estimated by police to be between 100,000 and 110,000 strong marched in protest.

"We've seen plenty of American flags. We've seen plenty of people who were waving to us, many, many more people, in fact than we've seen protestors."

War on Terror

The killing and capturing of Al Qaeda leaders is failing, they said, to keep pace with the number of angry young Muslim men and women willing to participate in suicide attacks.

One is tempted to reply "Duh" to remarks such as that gem from today's New York Times. It seems the world has an over supply of angry Muslims. Who would have thunk it?

The administration's Orwellian double speak has gone into over drive. Again they are claiming that terror attacks are proof of success. It is difficult to fight such brilliant cynicism. No matter what happens we are winning the war on terror, even if one previously peaceful city has suffered four car bombings in a little over a week.

The latest Goebbels special involves demonizing anyone who criticizes Bush as being insufficiently committed to fighting terrorism. How will the Democrats respond? If past efforts are any indication, the answer is that their response will be so lame as to be non-existent.

JFK Assassination

On Thursday night I watched a History Channel documentary about the assassination. Their story was that Oswald did it because he was lonely and crazy and Ruby killed Oswald because he was lonely and crazy. We should stop worrying our pretty little heads about assassination theories.

Spare me the soothing lies and the effort to deify Kennedy. Kennedy was crooked. His father used mob connections to get him elected and then his brother turned on gangsters and sent them to jail. Why was Kennedy using his girlfriend to communicate with mafioso Sam Giancana? The President of the U.S. should not have anything to say to a mobster. Well, if you are trying to kill Castro I guess you do need to keep in touch. JFK lived by the sword and then he died by it. You can't bite the hand that feeds you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

AARP Sells Out to the Republicans

As I said in my previous post, watch the Medicare Prescription Bill and not news of an arrest warrant for Michael Jackson or the upcoming marriage of Bennifer or the upcoming divorce of Halle Berry or the latest photos of Brad and Jen or the latest from the Kobe Bryant trial or the latest from the Laci Peterson killer husband trial.

The current CEO of the AARP, William Novelli, is a big fan of Newt Gingrich. Yes, that Newt Gingrich. He loves Newt so much that he wrote the preface of a Gingrich tome on health care. Don't fall for the AARP seal of approval on the Medicare bill. Here is a good rule of thumb, you should run very far and very fast from anything or anyone the Republicans like.

And don't forget, celeb news is the tool of the right wing. It is the bread and circuses of the modern era.
Bush Blackmail of Tony Blair?

I always liked Tony Blair so I was at first confused and later disgusted by his sucking up to George W. Bush. Why does he do it? Thank goodness we have Greg Palast to explain it all for us. Here is a quote from a February 2003 Buzzflash interview with Palast.

The answer is Irwin Stelzer. He is the guy who is a good friend of George Bush from the Hudson Institute, and the most powerful lobbyist in Britain representing British-American interests and, by the way, chief lobbyist for Rupert Murdoch. As soon as Bush seized the White House, Stelzer walked into Blair's office and said ‘we noticed that you were supporting Mr. Gore during the Presidential election' - even though clearly that didn't carry many states. Blair's effective endorsement of Al Gore did not go unnoticed. And there was a price to be paid. Blair was given a list of the things that would befall Britain from military subsidies and equipment, to a reduction of value in the dollar versus the pound, which would destroy England's exportability.

The interview was conducted before the Iraq War began but I think it still holds up. It also explains why Blair is giving Bush the red carpet treatment and why Blair orchestrated an interview for Bush in one of Murdoch's tabloids, The Sun. The Sun is known for topless photos of nubile young women, not hard hitting news. But if Murdoch calls the tune everyone dances.

Michael Jackson, Propaganda Tool

Like recordings from Osama and Saddam, Michael Jackson has a knack for being thrown into the fray when more important things are going on in the world. Earlier this year Jackson was in the news for baby dangling, denying more than one surgery on his nose, and giving ill-advised interviews. Well he's baaack.

Yesterday Jackson was served with a search warrant of his Neverland Ranch. Voila! Everything else disappeared from the news as if by magic. Against my better judgment I turned on the Today Show this morning and was confronted by the usual suspects of non-news stories. The Jackson saga was numero uno, complete with the "Jackson family attorney" and the ever present Gloria Allred.

The media and others among the powers that be love to keep us distracted. I think a little paranoia is always helpful when someone unimportant (Jackson, Laci Peterson's husband, J. Lo) is in the news. What are they trying to keep from us when these silly stories are always reported first? Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they are not out to get you.

I think the Medicare Prescription Coverage bill bears watching. Don't be fooled by the AARP seal of approval. This bill would give Republicans something they have dreamed about for years, the privatization of an entitlement program. So give more attention to your boring Congressman than to Wacko Jacko.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Support the Troops

I always felt that the call to "support the troops" was bogus. Last week the organizers of a Veterans Day parade in Tallahassee, Florida proved me right. Vietnam Veterans opposed to the Iraq War were thrown off of the parade route. The right don't care about the troops. They care about control and conformity. They want everyone to either march in lock step, in this case literally, or shut up.

A Trip to the Boondocks

When we last we visited our young friends in the Boondocks they were attempting to assist Condi Rice with her love life (October 15th post). This week they may have found a suitor.
Praise the Lord

The religious left, it does exist, may finally be getting its act together. A new organization, the Clergy Leadership Network, will officially announce its formation on Friday. I hope they are ready to take it to the religious right who have announced an effort to protect public displays of the Ten Commandments. The public needs to hear from Christians opposed to these acts that infringe on religious freedoms. Will this group point out that displaying the Ten Commandments in a court room actually trivializes religious faith? The right wing have a running start. It is time to catch up.

No, You Can't Kill People During Your Visit

Today President Bush visits London. Hardly newsworthy but he will be the first U.S. president to make a state visit to the the U.K. That is correct, he will be the very first. Of all our presidents, how does he get to be the first accorded a state visit? I'll let the increasingly foolish Tony Blair explain that one.

The highlight of the trip appears to be the demands the Secret Service is making on British security agencies. One request was turned down however. It seems our guys wanted permission: A. to shoot people and B. to have immunity from prosecution for said shootings. Perhaps it is best not to visit a country if you think you will have to shoot people upon arriving.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Murder Inc.

What happens to people who are taught to kill? Once the switch is flipped, can it be turned off? Timothy McVeigh and John Muhammad had a hard time turning themselves off after they had been taugh to kill. So have many others.

The latest tragedy occured in Georgia, when soldiers recently returned from Iraq got into an argument after being ejected from a strip club. One was killed and his body burned by his "friends" in an effort to conceal it.

I came across this site today. I am glad that someone is thinking about this issue. Is Rumsfeld thinking about it? I doubt it. Conservatives are peddling anew the Saddam equals Osama line and the administration now says we will turn Iraq over to the Iraqis by June. A few weeks ago anyone who advocated turning over power so quickly was called a treasonous Dixie Chick.

Of course, we won't really be leaving. Lest we forget, this war was fought to give America a military presence in the region. We don't plan to go anywhere. The Iraqis will still be mad and will continue to shoot down American helicopters. By the way, more Americans have been killed in seven months in Iraq than were killed in the first two years of the Vietnam War.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Bush is the Front Runner

Read it and weep. Zev Chafets is a New York Daily News columnist whose opinions are rarely in sync with my own. But his column this week was sadly right on point.

"It's the electoral college stupid." That must become the mantra of the democratic party in 2004. Unfortunately the electoral map doesn't look good for us. The red states have gained electoral votes, and the blue states have lost. The exception is California and the republicans made a move with Schwarzenegger that helps Bush's chances there.

I sometimes wonder if I am the only one who remembers the debacle of November 2000. That was a civics lesson we should never forget. Democratic commentators either have amnesia or a bad case of denial. No one emphasizes the electoral college edge that Bush has. Polls showing Bush vulnerability don't mean much. Lest we forget, the popular vote doesn't count.

Bush can be defeated but the democratic nominee will be the underdog and we must never lose sight of that fact.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

"The Americans Have to Die"

For months we were told that hatred of Saddam would equal love for the U.S. As the commercial says, "Not exactly."

Many Iraqis hate us. They hate us because we have humiliated them or because they are pious Muslims and don't want to be ruled by infidels.
More Freedom Rider

You Read It Here First

Regular readers of Freedom Riders know that in a November 2nd post I declared that John Kerry's presidential bid is toast. His bread is burned because he voted in favor of the war in Iraq.

Well, well, well. Bigger names than mine have jumped onto the Freedom Rider's bandwagon. The Boston Globe and syndicated columnist Cynthia Tucker have proven that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. They have figured out what the Freedom Rider has been saying for a long time.

Voting against war in Iraq was not a liability. It was imperative for anyone who wanted to reach democrat voters sick of their leaders complacency and acquiescence to the Bush regime. Poor Kerry has now put on casual work day clothes and ridden a motorcycle onto the set of the Jay Leno Show. I think he was better off shooting pheasants in Iowa.
Truth at Last

I could not believe my eyes. A major American newspaper, the Washington Post, actually published an op-ed about the one-sided pro-Israeli bias in American politics.

The authors, Cornel West and Michael Lerner, dispassionately make the case that the democratic party in particular, is too beholden financially to pro-Israeli interests. The smack down of Howard Dean, who merely said we should be "even handed" in the Middle East was apparently the last straw for the authors as it was for many others. Let's hope this is the beginning of a real debate about American policy regarding Israel.


Despite Rumsfeld's recent denial (see yesterday's post) I recall being told that the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms. It was never true and the situation will only get worse when Arabs see photos of U.S. soldiers tying up Iraqi women and children.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

They ARE on Drugs

More than once I have asked myself if the Bushies are on drugs. It all began when they said that an Arab Muslim nation would want to be controlled by infidels. They certainly got that wrong.

They they tell me that Saddam and Osama are practically the same guy. They they denied saying it. Then they tell me that Iraqis will greet us with open arms. Then they deny saying it. They they said Saddam had WMDs. Then they denied that too. I began to wonder if they were on drugs or if they thought the rest of us were.

Well the mystery is solved. Colin Powell has opened up like an addict at an NA meeting. In an interview with a Saudi newspaper he admits to taking the sleep aide Ambien, which can be addictive. In the name of journalistic integrity I have to point out that several years ago I took Ambien. My doctor told me about the drug's habit forming potential when he prescribed it but would not give me a refill. I resolved whatever was bugging me at the time and got my z's without the help of any more pills, but back to Powell. I wonder if his doctor is as cautious as mine.

Powell does say he only uses them if he is changing time zones. That doesn't explain why he lied at the United Nations back in February. There is no time zone change between Washington and New York. So unfortunately he is claiming to have been clean and sober when he gave that speech that will live in infamy (October 15th posts).

Powell also said that "everyone" uses Ambien. Who is everyone? Is it Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice or all of the above? Frankly I hope they are all on drugs. It makes everything more logical and explains that pretzel incident too.

Jessica Lynch Topless

It seems that Jessica Lynch was incredibly friendly with her fellow soldiers. So friendly in fact that she felt comfortable being topless and posing for photos while in that state. Who else but Larry Flynt would have the pics.

I really am tired of ordinary people being turned into heroes because they accidentally find themselves in trouble. Enough already. By the way, this story first popped up several months ago in British newspapers. I wonder if it was mentioned in the televised biopic the other night? I wonder if it was mentioned in the current Time cover story? I haven't checked but my guess is that it doesn't come up at all.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Lori Piestewa, Shoshana Johnson and Jessica Lynch

Is it worse to sensationalize a soldier who is famous for being in a car accident in Iraq or a child kidnapped by a perverted religious fanatic? Tonight anyone who really cares about the answer will have to watch one and channel surf to the other. You can watch the Jessica Lynch story or the Elizabeth Smart story. At least Lynch chose to exploit her own story. Elizabeth Smart was done in by her own parents.

Let's rehash the history of Jessica Lynch. At first we were told that she had been shot and stabbed in a ferocious gun battle with Iraqi troops. Then we were told she was injured when her vehicle crashed and never fired her weapon. Shoshana Johnson and Lori Piestewa did in fact engage in battle. Both were shot. Piestewa, the mother of two preschool children, was killed. Johnson was captured by the Iraqis. Johnson was discharged from the army with a disability payment of $500 per month. Lynch is gettting $1,500.

Then we were told that commandos stormed the hospital where she was being held. Then we were told that no storming was necessary. The Iraqis just let them inside.

Last week we were told that a medical examination of Lynch showed evidence of anal rape. Now we are told by Iraqi doctors who cared for her that the rape story isn't true. What does Lynch say? Only that she has no memory of being raped. I wonder why someone who has no memory of her ordeal is getting a $1 million book deal.

When the rape story first surfaced I was skeptical. Not necessarily because I believed that the incident hadn't taken place but that the timing of the story was suspicious. You have to give it to the Bushies. They have a knack for propaganda. As soon as things go badly in Iraq they produce torture tapes, news of mass graves or rapes of blonde damsels in distress.

Jessica Lynch notwithstanding, it must be pointed out that the situation in Iraq grows worse by the day. Another helicopter was shot down and six were killed. The army retaliated by dropping 500-pound bombs in Tikrit. I wonder how many civilians were hit by them.

But don't worry your pretty little heads about it. The U.S. military says it has the upper hand. I don't know about anyone else but I don't feel any better when I hear rosy scenarios from this government. Do you remember words like "cake walk?" The cons, neo and otherwise, told us we would drop a few bombs and waltz into Baghdad with cheering throngs in our wake.

But I digress with war news. Let's get back to Jessica Lynch. It is true that if she were a man her story would not be in the news at all. If she weren't white she wouldn't be in the news. But white and blonde and cute was too much to be ignored. Did I mention that Elizabeth Smart is also white and blonde? So watch Jessica or Elizabeth and let me know your verdict. I will not be watching either one.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Haiti and the Louisiana Purchase

Today the U.S. Mint announced the creation of a new nickel to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase. The announcement made me wonder if Americans are aware of the role that the Haitian revolution played in the transaction that doubled the size of the United States. This site is for kids, but it works for adults just as well. The loss of Haiti deprived Napoleon of the port of entry he planned to use for his American empire. It also deprived him of cash and forced him to take the money and run.

It is important to remember that the Louisiana Purchase encompassed not just Louisiana, but parts or all of present day Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, an area of more than 800,000 square miles. Of course, if the land hadn't been purchased we would have found a way to go to war and take it from France, but it wasn't theirs to claim either. They stole it from the Indians before we had the chance to do it.

It is ironic that the Louisiana Purchase came about because of a slave revolt. In the end it hastened American expansionism which always meant the conquest of Indian lands and the further spread of slavery. Haiti's role in the history of the United States is one of many things I was never taught in school or college either for that matter.

It is too bad that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and company weren't taught the history of Iraq. They would have known that it was created by Winston Churchill and others who redrew the map of the Middle East after World War I. Can you imagine?

"Um Winston, do you think it's a problem putting the Sunnis in power when most of the people are Shiites?"

"No, don't worry about it. Put the lines there anyway."

I don't know if the conversation went like that but you get the idea. Ignorance of history has caused and will continue to cause great damage to our country.

Then again, they probably do know the history of Iraq. It just didn't matter to them.

Thou Shalt Think for Thyself, Part II

In an October 13th post I noted an increase in the levels of ignorance, intolerance and just plain stupidity among the faithful. Well, the situation appears to be getting worse. Christians are helping atheists make their case that religion is the opiate of the masses. In Passaic, New Jersey crowds are visiting a vacant lot because they claim to see the Virgin Mary in a tree stump. (You may have to register, but you can read the story for free.) I recently joked that I could start my own religion and have members within one week. If people think they see the Virgin on a piece of wood I am probably right. If I weren't afraid to mock the Lord I would do it just to prove a point.

As a Protestant I don't fully understand the veneration of the Virgin, but I do know that the way to go about is to attend mass, not hang around a tree stump in a parking lot. The Catholic church is apparently no longer in the business of declaring that the Virgin was seen as in Lourdes and Fatima. Americans declare for themselves that they saw the Virgin only to be told by a Diocese that it isn't true. Protestants can't laugh too much. We recently experienced worship of a piece of stone in Alabama because the Ten Commandments were written on it. I guess the worshippers forgot that idolatry is seriously frowned upon in the bible.

As I said before, I don't know why people think they have to suspend common sense and the thought processes they use every day when religion enters the picture. Unfortunately, religious belief is still inspired by fear at this late date in history. We hedge our bets when it comes to religion. We don't really see the Virgin in a tree stump but what the heck. If we say we do we are covered. We know that forwarding an email promising blessings is really cheapening religious belief, but suppose it works. Better not chance it. Send it anyway.

If we call ourselves believers we should remember that God knows all about us and is still merciful. We don't have to be perfect. He loves us in spite of our foibles. If you don't go to heaven it won't be because you deleted a chain email or admitted you didn't see the Virgin in Passaic. Jesus brought us Good News, not delusion in vacant lots.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Talk to CBS

Do you want to register your disgust with CBS? I don't know how much good it will do, but sign the online petition here. It might make you feel better.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

CBS Pulls the Plug

Why did CBS pull the plug on the Reagan bio-pic? Because they don't want to antagonize Republican politicians. Federal Communication Commision rules regulating the networks are about to change. If the Republicans smile on CBS and their cohorts they will be able to own more stations in one market than they are currently permitted. By the way, if the networks get their way more and more of the media will be in fewer and fewer hands. Wonderful.

Linda Tripp

Why did John Ashcroft's Justice Department settle Linda Tripp's lawsuit and give her nearly $600K? To make Clinton look bad my dears. Tripp lied on a Defense Department security clearance form and didn't report being arrested for theft. She claims the Clinton administration gave this information to the media. Actually it was her own stepmother who told a reporter. Read the real story here. Read lazy reporting from CNN here. They didn't even bother to fact check.

Both stories prove that the media is anything but liberal.
Klansman with a Conscience

"The Klan is needed today as never before."
Senator Robert Byrd in 1946

"I should rather die a thousand times and see old glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again than see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen of the wilds."
Senator Robert Byrd, late 1940s, on the impendind desegregation of the U.S. military

"There are white niggers. I've seen a lot of white niggers in my time. I'm going to use that word."
Senator Robert Byrd in 2001

"Indeed, we may have sparked a new international arms race as countries move ahead to develop WMD as a last ditch attempt to ward off a possible preemptive strike from a newly belligerent U.S. which claims the right to hit where it wants. In fact, there is little to constrain this President. Congress, in what will go down in history as its most unfortunate act, handed away its power to declare war for the foreseeable future and empowered this President to wage war at will."
Senator Robert Byrd in 2003

Yesterday the Senate voted to approve President Bush's request for $87 billion in aid for the Iraq war effort. In true cowardly fashion only six Senators were present and the vote was by voice only. There will be no record of how Senators voted.

Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia has been the most eloquent voice in American politics against the war in Iraq. His voice was the only one to shout "Nay" when the vote was taken. He is also the only member of the Senate, as far as we know, who once belonged to the KKK. He calls his Klan membership a "youthful mistake" although he was a less than youthful 29 when he uttered the 1946 quote. Byrd filibustered against the 1964 Civil Rights Act for 14 hours straight. He voted against the confirmation of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court.

Where were the liberals on the Iraq debate? My Senators, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, are allegedly liberal. Both voted in favor of the war with Iraq. The most they can do now is talk about the President's bad planning and say that we must support the troops and we can't cut and run and we must stand firm and the terrorists can't win and blah, blah, and blah.

Robert Byrd is no smarter than Clinton or Schumer. They knew what he knew, that this war was a sham perpetrated on the American people. But they supported it anyway because they were afraid. They were afraid to be called soft on terror. They and other democrats were afraid to face the public after an American military victory. They were afraid to to say that the President and his staff were all liars.

They knew that Iraq would erupt in righteous anger over American occupation. They knew that jihadists from around the world would converge on Iraq to kill American soldiers. They knew that the embargo of the last ten years had rendered Saddam Hussein's weapons capability useless and that he was no danger to us. But they still voted yes.

The democratic party is a sham. The most outspoken voice against the madness of militarism is an 86 year-old Dixiecrat racist. Ivy League educated liberals stick their fingers into the wind to decide how to cast their votes. Their cynicism is going to destroy our nation. I have always felt that war in Iraq would damage our country terribly. It may spark a wider war, or terror attacks beyond the scale of 9/11. Byrd said the following in a speech on May 21st.

Truth has a way of asserting itself despite all attempts to obscure it. Distortion only serves to derail it for a time. No matter to what lengths we humans may go to obfuscate facts or delude our fellows, truth has a way of squeezing out through the cracks, eventually.

But the danger is that at some point it may no longer matter. The danger is that damage is done before the truth is widely realized.

If the democrats continue to cower in fear when they should stand in fight then Byrd will be proven correct. The damage to our nation will be dreadful before anything is done to stop the mad men and women who have put us in this awful situation.

Debtors Prison

The term debtors prison conjures up images of Charles Dickens' novels set in Victorian England. Apparently debtors prison is alive and well in America for those uninsured who can't pay their hospital bills. The Wall Street Journal, a notoriously left wing publication, tells the story of hospitals, including Yale University, that have debtors arrested if they don't show up for court hearings. The process is known as "Body Attachment." The term sounds like either a medical procedure or the title of a bad horror movie.

It is appalling to me that hospitals of all places can be so callous. If they are concerned about the uninsured why don't they lobby for change in our health care system instead of rounding up people who are sick and poor. Unfortunately, the failure of health care reform in the Clinton administration has frightened every other presidential hopeful from taking on the issue.

The lack of compassion in American society is growing and becoming uglier by the day. I would hope that legislators in the states where this practice takes place would pass regulations making body attachment illegal. But I won't hold my breath. The hospitals lobbyists will appear at state capitals as if by magic, and not to discuss reform. Those of us who have health insurance can only pray we don't lose it and those without can only pray they don't get sick. We certainly can't depend on our political leaders for help.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Israeli Knowledge of Terror Attacks before 9/11?

Did the Israeli government have advance knowledge of the terror attacks that took place on September 11, 2001? I first became aware of the story of Israelis posing as art students at U.S. government facilities. If I were selling art it wouldn't be at a DEA office. Even FOX news reported this story, but later backed down.

This story from a Scottish newspaper asks this question. Did Israel know about the terror attacks and do nothing to stop them? Were they so eager to have the U.S. do their bidding in the Middle East that they allowed 3,000 Americans to die? What does our government know about this? Was the Bush administration really surprised on 9/11?

None of these articles conclusively provide answers, but they provide us with a lot of important questions. September 11th will unfortunately be like the assassination of JFK. We will never know the truth. We have a craven press and Congress who will never ask how Israeli "students" who followed Mohammed Atta later ended up in New Jersey filming the burning towers. They will never ask why Bin Laden's relatives were escorted out of the country without being interrogated. Before we call Bush the villain we should ask why Tom Daschle caved on the President's request not to investigate 9/11.

It is a shame that Imiri Baraka didn't write a poem about this but instead wrote about an internet based urban legend that Israelis and other Jews were warned not to go to the World Trade Center. If he was going to be villified it should have been over a legitimate news story.

The kid glove treatment of the Israeli government by American politicians and media spells doom for both countries. Israel is poised to build a wall separating Palestinians from Israel, from their families, from their lands and from employment. There are also plans to make Palestinians carry ID a la passes in South Africa under apartheid. Unfortunately no one dares speak. The lack of criticism of Israel only emboldens American hawks who have a kindred spirit in Ariel Sharon, who continues to stick his fingers in America's eye without so much as a peep out of the Congress or the media.

Both the U.S. and Israeli are now ruled by their worst elements and supported by fundamentalists. Is it any wonder that Tom DeLay and other right wing Christians are strong supporters of the Israeli government? Both believe in control and aggression masked as righteousness. The truly righteous in both nations must speak out against them.

Both Israel and the U.S. endanger the entire world with their arrogance and aggression. Senator Trent Lott said of Iraq, "Honestly, it's a little bit tougher than I thought it was going to be. If we have to we should just mow the whole place down, see what happens." How telling. We stupidly think that we can invade and occupy a country under the guise of liberating it from a tyrant (although when Saddam Hussein was our tyrant we didn't care), insult the people who live there because we know jack about their culture, and then express surprise when some of them want to kill us because they don't like being occupied.

The attack on the Army helicopter that killed 16 Americans will not be the last. We can't open Baghdad's airport because there are thousands of missing shoulder fired missiles. Lovely. Yesterday's New York Times asked the question, "Who Botched the Occupation?" The author makes good points but never acknowledges that the effort was doomed from the start.

It is truly terrifying that we are ruled by a clique so drunk with power that they thought this ill fated venture was going to work. Did they really believe that Shiites oppressed by Saddam Hussein would gain freedom but want to be ruled by infidels? Did they know that the holy places of the Shiite faith are in Iraq? If they knew did they understand the significance of that fact? Probably not. You can't be empathetic and imperialistic. The two just don't go together.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Note to the AP


To: Associated Press
From: Freedom Rider
Subject: Bush Delusions of Grandeur

I know that George W. Bush thinks he is called directly by the Almighty. However, the rest of us don't have to agree with him. It is especially important that a news organization not agree with him. It was bad enough when you portrayed him as an angel, but now you have portrayed him as God. Please cease and desist from portraying him as an angel, God, or as anything else which gives the impression that he is a sacred being.

Thank you.

Frequent readers will remember my October 13th post regarding an AP photo showing Bush as an angel. So much for the liberal media.

John Kerry Implodes

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry should put himself out of his misery and end his campaign for president. In yesterday's New York Times we see Kerry manage to both contradict himself and look foolish in an ill advised photo-op, all in a losing effort to sink Howard Dean, the Democratic front runner.

It wasn't too long ago that Kerry was the front runner, at least the right wing thought he was. Rush Limbaugh took to making fun of his looks and calling him "Lurch." One Republican said that he looked, "French." Mon Dieu! But Kerry snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by voting in favor of the resolution allowing Bush to go to war against Iraq. He has tried to get out of it by saying he only wanted to threaten Saddam Hussein but it just doesn't wash. The resolution gave the President the authority to strike Iraq militarily and not tell Congress so much as the time of the day for an additional 48 hours. Kerry knows this of course, but he blew his chances for the nomination with that one vote.

Kerry is Exhibit A in demonstrating the political dangers of listening to the conventional wisdom. In the case of Iraq the conventional wisdom said that Bush was popular, so popular that anyone who confronted him was dead meat before he even got started. It said that we were going to beat Saddam Hussein and that any politician with common sense didn't want to explain a vote against the war after American troops marched triumphantly into Baghdad. The candidates who voted in support of the war, Kerry, Gephardt, Edwards, and Lieberman can only sit back and watch Howard Dean run away with the nomination because they voted to back the President on Iraq. Despite his supposed anti-war credentials Wesley Clark initially supported the Bush effort as well.

Actually the collective bad decision making goes back to November 2000. After Bush was selected the victor by the Supreme Court we were told by the press and punditry that most people didn't care and had in fact "gotten over it." I never got over the theft of democracy and I knew I was not alone. Millions of Americans are still angry about the selection of George W. Bush and more than anything else want a democratic candidate who is unafraid to take Bush on.

Unfortunately none of the remaining anti-war candidates, Kucinich, Sharpton, and Moseley-Braun has a serious chance of getting the nomination. Although I have to point out that Moseley-Braun has replaced her previous lame debate statement, "I come from a law enforcement background," with " We can't just cut and run," in discussing the ludicrous and grotesque request for $87 billion in tax payer money to bail out the Bush failure.

Kerry has now resorted to shooting pheasants in Iowa. His point, if indeed he has one, is to prove that he is not anti-gun owner. At the same time he chides for Dean for seeming to side with the NRA on the issue of regulation of hand guns. How important is the issue of gun control in determining the nominee and winner next November? It isn't important at all, so Kerry's emphasis only emphasizes his desperation.

John Kerry doesn't look quite as silly as Dukakis in a tank, but he comes close. The issue for Democrats desperate to defeat is Bush is very simple. The nominee has to be someone who was willing to speak out against the Iraq war, the act which most embodied all that is wrong with the Bush administration. It saddens me that Kerry and most of other democratic candidates were so craven, cynical or both that they missed an opportunity to lead the nation away from the lure of militarism.