fire MY POV fire

IF YOU'RE NOT OUTRAGED, YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION!

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Benjamin Franklin



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"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
34th President of the USA
a Republican, in a letter written to his brother on November 8, 1954

"...The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone...."

Benito Mussolini

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country... Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."

Abraham Lincoln
November 12, 1864

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided man."

Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

"CORPORATION, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility."

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."

James Madison
(1751-1836)
4th President of the United States

"Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings."

Heinrich Heine
Almansor, 1823

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."

Sir Winston Churchill
(1874-1965)




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"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who etermine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Hermann Goering, Nazi Reichsmarschall



"Authoritarian societies inevitably crumble because they silence the critics who could save them from errors of blind hubris. Dissent is not a luxury to be indulged in the best of times, but rather an obligation of free people, particularly when the very notion of dissent is unpopular."

Robert Scheer



"FASCISM: a system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership together with belligerent nationalism."

American Heritage Dictionary

Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is
neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it
because it is right.

Dr. Martin Luther King


"My life is my message."

Gandhi


firePosted: 25 Nov. 2007

I had heard this story before, but the full implications are appalling. It is yet another hidden cost in an unjustified war.

So CBS News did an investigation - asking all 50 states for their suicide data, based on death records, for veterans and non-veterans, dating back to 1995. Forty-five states sent what turned out to be a mountain of information.

And what it revealed was stunning.

In 2005, for example, in just those 45 states, there were at least 6,256 suicides among those who served in the armed forces. Thatís 120 each and every week, in just one year.

Dr. Steve Rathbun is the acting head of the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Department at the University of Georgia. CBS News asked him to run a detailed analysis of the raw numbers that we obtained from state authorities for 2004 and 2005.

It found that veterans were more than twice as likely to commit suicide in 2005 than non-vets. (Veterans committed suicide at the rate of between 18.7 to 20.8 per 100,000, compared to other Americans, who did so at the rate of 8.9 per 100,000.)

One age group stood out. Veterans aged 20 through 24, those who have served during the war on terror. They had the highest suicide rate among all veterans, estimated between two and four times higher than civilians the same age. (The suicide rate for non-veterans is 8.3 per 100,000, while the rate for veterans was found to be between 22.9 and 31.9 per 100,000.)

READ THE REST.


firePosted: 3 Nov. 2007

The more I hear about Monsanto, the more they define the corporate outlaw.

MONSANTO TRIES ONCE AGAIN TO FORCE-FEED CONSUMERS rBGH

The good news is that a critical mass of dairies and supermarket chains are banning Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone, bowing to to consumer pressure. The genetically engineered cow hormone is banned in most industrialized nations, due to its negative health impacts on cows and cancer risks to humans, but Monsanto Corporation, the manufacturer of the drug, is apparently still determined to force-feed rBGH to U.S. consumers. Under pressure from Monsanto, the notoriously pro-agribusiness Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has recently announced new regulations outlawing the labeling of dairy products as rBGH-free. The twisted rationale for the ruling is that truthfully labeling dairy products as rBGH-free is "making it hard for consumers to make informed decisions." In other words allowing consumers freedom of choice is bad for Monsanto's profits, and the profits of Pennsylvania's factory style dairy feedlots who continue to inject their animals with the drug. PDA listed 16 companies that will be required to remove rBGH-free labels by December 31, 2007. In the meantime, Monsanto is working to pass similar anti-consumer laws in other states. The OCA plans to join our allies and stop this latest episode of biotech bullying.

Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_7941.cfm


HOW DID WE GET HERE:

A BRIEF HISTORY OF MONSANTO AND THE U.S. GOVERNMENT

1991: Margaret Miller was appointed Deputy Director of FDA by George Bush Sr. She oversaw the approval of the genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH. Prior to the appointment, she was one of Monsanto's top scientists developing rBGH. At the FDA, she approved the same rBGH studies she previously led at Monsanto.

1991: A right-wing extremist, Clarence Thomas, was appointed to the Supreme Court, despite nationwide opposition. Prior to his appointment, Thomas was a lawyer for Monsanto, a notorious chemical polluter and ag biotech promoter. Thomas would later cast the decisive vote in 2000 on the Supreme Court, ratifying the stolen election that put George Bush Jr. into office.

1992: Michael Taylor was appointed FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Policy, a role created to expedite the approval process of genetically engineered foods. Prior to his appointment, Taylor was an attorney for Monsanto. Taylor went on to become Monsanto's Vice-President.

1993: Rufus Yerxa was nominated as U.S. deputy to the World Trade Organization. Prior to his apointment as one of the most powerful bureaucrats in the world regarding international trade policies, Rufus was Monsanto's Chief Counsel.

1996: Michael Kantor was appointed U.S. Secretary of Commerce. At that time, Kantor was also on the Board of Directors of Monsanto.

2000: The White House appoints Carol Tucker Foreman as the sole "consumer advocate" on an international committee assessing genetically modified foods. Prior to her appointment, Foreman was a lobbyist for Monsanto.

2001: Anne Veneman was appointed head of the USDA, in charge of regulating, among other things, genetically engineered crops. Veneman previously served on the Board of Directors of Calgene, a Monsanto biotech subsidiary.

2001: Donald Rumsfeld was sworn in as Secretary or Defense. Rumsfeld was previously the CEO of the Searle pharmaceutical corporation, acquired by Monsanto.

2001: Linda Fisher was appointed Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Her regulatory chores included "enforcing" pesticide regulations, such as Monsanto's herbicide, Roundup, commonly sprayed on GE crops. Fisher was previously Monsanto's Vice-President of Government Affairs. Previously Fisher served as a high-level staffer for another biotech cheerleader, President Bill Clinton.

2002: George Poste was appointed head the bioterrorism division of Homeland Security. Previously, Poste was a Monsanto animal specialist.

Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm


firePosted: 28 Oct. 2007

Can one person change the world? In 1983, one man saved the world. Would one of us, in an atmosphere of warmongering, have had the wisdom to make the same choice? This applies to the world today where Mad Dog Bush and Rabid Cheney spout more warmongering rhetoric.

Apparently in 1983, a computer glitch in the Soviet early-warning system very nearly started WWIII, and would have, if the officer authorized to launch nuclear counterattack hadn't insisted that the apparent American missiles heading into the USSR were really a computer malfunction.

READ THE REST.


firePosted: 14 Oct. 2007

AMERICAN TEARS
by Naomi Wolf


I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me these days.

I am traveling across the country at the moment -- Colorado to California -- speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life about the assault on liberty and the 10 steps now underway in America to a violently closed society.

The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering darkness -- but I am finding crowds of people who don't need me to tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look like. To my great relief, Americans are smart and brave and they are unflinching in their readiness to hear the worst and take action. And they love their country.

But I can't stand the stories I am hearing. I can't stand to open my email these days. And wherever I go, it seems, at least once a day, someone very strong starts to cry while they are speaking.

In Boulder, two days ago, a rosy-cheeked thirtysomething mother of two small children, in soft yoga velours, started to tear up when she said to me: "I want to take action but I am so scared. I look at my kids and I am scared. How do you deal with fear? Is it safer for them if I act or stay quiet? I don't want to get on a list." In D.C., before that, a beefy, handsome civil servant, a government department head -- probably a Republican -- confides in a lowered voice that he is scared to sign the new ID requirement for all government employees, that exposes all his most personal information to the State -- but he is scared not to sign it: "If I don't, I lose my job, my house. It's like the German National ID card," he said quietly. This morning in Denver I talked for almost an hour to a brave, much-decorated high-level military man who is not only on the watch list for his criticism of the administration -- his family is now on the list. His elderly mother is on the list. His teenage son is on the list. He has flown many dangerous combat missions over the course of his military career, but his voice cracks when he talks about the possibility that he is exposing his children to harassment.

Jim Spencer, a former columnist for the Denver Post who has been critical of the Bush administration, told me today that I could use his name: he is on the watch list. An attorney contacts me to say that she told her colleagues at the Justice Department not to torture a detainee; she says she then faced a criminal investigation, a professional referral, saw her emails deleted -- and now she is on the watch list. I was told last night that a leader of Code Pink, the anti-war women's action group, was refused entry to Canada. I hear from a tech guy who works for the airlines -- again, probably a Republican -- that once you are on the list you never get off. Someone else says that his friend opened his luggage to find a letter from the TSA saying that they did not appreciate his reading material. Before I go into the security lines, I find myself editing my possessions. In New York's LaGuardia, I reluctantly found myself putting a hardcover copy of Tara McKelvey's excellent Monstering, an expose of CIA interrogation practices, in a garbage can before I get in the security line; it is based on classified information. This morning at my hotel, before going to the sirport, I threw away a very nice black T-shirt that said "We Will Not be Silenced" -- with an Arabic translation -- that someone had given me, along with a copy of poems written by detainees at Guantanamo.

In my America we are not scared to get in line at the airport. In my America, we will not be silenced.

More times than I can count, courageous and confident men who are telling me about speaking up, but who are risking what they see as the possible loss of job, home or the ability to pay for grown kids' schooling, start to choke up. Yesterday a woman in one gathering started to cry simply while talking about the degradation of her beloved country.

And always the questions: what do we do?

It is clear from this inundation of personal stories of abuse and retribution against ordinary Americans that a network of criminal behavior and intention is catching up more and more mainstream citizens in its grasp. It is clear that this is not democracy as usual -- or even the corruption of democracy as usual. It is clear that we will need more drastic action than emails to Congress.

The people I am hearing from are conservatives and independents as well as progressives. The cardinal rule of a closing or closed society is that your alignment with the regime offers no protection; in a true police state no one is safe.

I read the news in a state of something like walking shock: seven soldiers wrote op-eds critical of the war -- in The New York Times; three are dead, one shot in the head. A female soldier who was about to become a whistleblower, possibly about abuses involving taxpayers' money: shot in the head. Pat Tillman, who was contemplating coming forward in a critique of the war: shot in the head. Donald Vance, a contractor himself, who blew the whistle on irregularities involving arms sales in Iraq -- taken hostage FROM the U.S. Embassy BY U.S. soldiers and kept without recourse to a lawyer in a U.S. held-prison, abused and terrified for weeks -- and scared to talk once he got home. Another whistleblower in Iraq, as reported in Vanity Fair: held in a trailer all night by armed contractors before being ejected from the country.

Last week contractors, immune from the rule of law, butchered 17 Iraqi civilians in cold blood. Congress mildly objected -- and contractors today butcher two more innocent civilian Iraqi ladies -- in cold blood.

It is clear yet that violent retribution, torture or maybe worse, seems to go right up this chain of command? Is it clear yet that these people are capable of anything? Is it obvious yet that criminals are at the helm of the nation and need to be not only ousted but held accountable for their crimes?

Is it treason yet?

This is an open invitation to honorable patriots on the Right and in the center to join this movement to restore the rule of law and confront this horror: this is not conservatism, it is a series of crimes against the nation and against the very essence of America. Join us, we need you.

READ THE REST.


firePosted: 23 Sept. 2007

I doubt he has a chance, but I sure would like to see Rather win this lawsuit.

Rather: I was forced to step down

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather says the $70 million lawsuit he filed Wednesday against his former employer is an effort to strike a blow against political and corporate influence that he believes threatens the independence of American journalism. art.rather.gi.jpg

Dan Rather, here in July 2006, said that corporate and political influence may cause a chilling effect on journalism.

"This is the right stand, at the right time, about the right issue," Rather told CNN's Larry King Thursday night, in his first TV interview since filing the suit. "We have to, somehow, get back to integrity in the news and somehow at least alleviate, if not eliminate, these big corporate and big government pressures."

"You can't have freedom of the press if you're going to have large, big corporations and big government intruding and intimidating in newsrooms. The chilling effect on investigative reporting is going to be something we don't want to see," he said.

Rather's breach of contract suit charges that CBS made him the scapegoat when the network came under intense criticism over a September 2004 "60 Minutes II" story challenging President Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War.

Immediately after the story aired, critics began questioning the authenticity of documents used to buttress allegations that Bush did not fulfill his military commitments. Rather, who narrated the disputed piece, became the target of fierce criticism from conservative partisans who believed the story was an attempt to influence the 2004 presidential race.

Six months later, he stepped down from the anchor chair he had occupied for nearly a quarter century -- a departure he says was not voluntary.

In his interview with King, Rather again defended the accuracy of the story and said "I think there's a lot more in the president's military record that we don't know about."

"Nobody to this day has proved these documents were fraudulent," Rather said. "The story was true."

READ THE REST.


firePosted: 2 Sept. 2007

Smile Ö Or Else ĎBehavior Detection Officersí are now watching passengersí facial expressions for signs of danger. Itís a new level of absurdity for America.
By Patti Davis
Special to Newsweek


Aug. 16, 2007 - It was bound to happen. Now even a frown or grimace can get you into trouble with The Man.

"Specially trained security personnel" will be watching passengers for "micro-expressions" that will reveal treacherous agendas and insidious intentions at airports around the country. These agents, who may literally hold your fate in their hands have been given a lofty, Orwellian name: "Behavior Detection Officers."

In the study of "micro-expressions"óyes, it is actually a field of study and there are some who are arrogant enough to call it a scienceóit has been decided that when people wish to conceal emotions, the truth of their feelings is revealed in facial flashes. These experts have determined that fear and disgust are the key things to look for because they can hint of deception.

Letís see, fear and disgust in an airport? Iím frightened and disgusted weeks before I have to show up at an airport. In fact, Iíve pretty much sworn off the whole idea of going anywhere by airplane. Itís bad enough that I might be trapped in a crowded plane with no food or water and nonworking toilets for hours; now there are security agents interpreting our facial expressions. The face police, in place at more than a dozen U.S. airports already, arenít identified as such. But the watcher could be at curbside baggage, the ticket counter or near the metal detectors and X-ray machines. The Transportation Security Administration hopes to have as many as 500 Behavior Detection Officers on the job by the end of 2008.

READ THE REST.

From Daily Kos. UPDATE 3 Sept: this article suddenly vanished and is nowhere to be found on Daily Kos. I don't know why it was removed. Was it a hoax? Or did someone arrange to have it removed? It would be nice to know.

"We Are Going To Hit Iran. Bigtime"
by Maccabee
Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 03:50:24 PM PDT


I have a friend who is an LSO on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment into the Gulf of Hormuz. (LSO: Landing Signal Officer- she directs carrier aircraft while landing) She told me we are going to attack Iran. She said that all the Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.

I asked her why she is telling me this.

Her answer was really amazing.

* Maccabee's diary :: ::

She started in the Marines and after 8 years her term was up. She had served on a smaller Marine carrier, and found out through a friend knew there was an opening for a junior grade LSO in a training position on a supercarrier. She used the reference and the information and applied for a transfer to the United States Navy. Since she had experience landing F-18Cs and Cobra Gunships, and an unblemished combat record, she was ratcheted into the job, successfully changing from the Marines to the Navy. Her role is still aligned with the Marines since she generally is assigned to liason with the Marine units deploying off her carrier group.

Like most Marines and former Marines, she is largely apolitical. The fact is, most Marines are trigger pullers and most trigger pullers could care less who the President is. They simply want to be the tip of the sword when it comes to defending the country. She voted once in her life and otherwise was always in some forward post on the water during election season.

Something is wrong with the Navy and the Marines in her view. Always ready to go in harms way, Marines rarely ever question unless itís a matter of tactics or honor. But something seems awry. Junior and senior officers are starting to grumble, roll their eyes in the hallways. The strain of deployments is beginning to hit every jot and tittle of the Marines and itís beginning to seep into the daily conversation of Marines and Naval officers in command decision.

"I know this will sound crazy coming from a Naval officer", she said. "But weíre all just waiting for this administration to end. Things that happen at the senior officer level seem more and more to happen outside of the purview of XOs and other officers who typically have a say-so in daily combat and flight operations. Today, orders just come down from the mountaintop and thereís no questioning. In fact, there is no discussing it. I have seen more than one senior commander disappear and then three weeks later we find out that he has been replaced. Thatís really weird. Itís also really weird because everyone who has disappeared has questioned whether or not we should be staging a massive attack on Iran."

READ THE REST.


firePosted: 20 Aug. 2007

From the soldiers on the ground who know what they're talking about, some harsh truth.

The War as We Saw It
By BUDDHIKA JAYAMAHA, WESLEY D. SMITH, JEREMY ROEBUCK, OMAR MORA, EDWARD SANDMEIER, YANCE T. GRAY and JEREMY A. MURPHY


VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the "battle space" remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayersí expense.

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

READ THE REST.


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