MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH
December 12, 2003
The Hybrid Series #15: Grasping the Big Picture
And this folks concludes our broadcast for this week. Make sure to watch for the next Meditation Focus this weekend.
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator
Free subscription to such compilations through this website above or by sending a blank email to email@example.com
This compilation is archived at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/Hybrid15.htm
P.S. Please note that the Estonian translation for "CHANGE THE WORLD! "DECIDE WHETHER WE SHOULD SHOW UP!" is now available at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/MuutkeMaailma.htm
This is the 12th language! The English version is still at http://www.EarthRainbowNetwork.com/Archives2003/LightSeries53.htm
And a "Change the world now" Discussion Group has just been formed
This free multilingual discussion group is dedicated to the diffusion of the extraterrestrial world referendum expressed by the Change the world by lever effect message.
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT A BOUNCING EMAIL PROBLEM WITH AOL
I noticed yesterday that my emails to the 370+ ERN subscribers (out of 2600+) who are with AOL were bouncing back. As I discovered, someone had entered into their anti-spam system a complaint about the EarthRainbowNetwork.com URL. Then I realized, from one of the numerous feedbacks to my request for assistance to all ERN subscribers with AOL, that this was due to an individual mistake - see below. The problem seems to have been corrected now thanks to several letters of protests sent to AOL. Well, if you are with AOL and you received this, then it obviously is. Anyway here are some quotes from the emails AOL subscribers sent me as a result of this.
"Your emails shed so much light on what is going on in this world, I can't believe someone would complain."
"Mr. Hudon's newsletters are for me a lifeline to the data I need to understand our world."
"I wish to continue my account with AOL, but the information I receive from the above website is so important to me that I would choose to cancel my AOL account rather than not be able to receive the emails."
"This was UNDOUBTEDLY my error; I surely erroneously selected one of your emails when I was selecting spam to report. Mea culpa."
"Meanwhile, the Washington Post (Nov. 23) is predicting that a major new terrorist attack within the United States could/will disrupt the 2004 elections, resulting in martial law and suspension of the Constitution. Author David Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, recently co-chaired a meeting hosted by CNBC of more than 200 senior business and government executives - many of them specialists in security and terrorism. "Almost three-quarters of them said it was likely the United States would see a major terrorist strike before the end of 2004. A similar number predicted that the assault would be greater than those of 9/11 and might well involve weapons of mass destruction. It was the sense of the group that such an attack was likely to generate additional support for President Bush." Rothkopf describes this elite audience a "serious people, not prone to hysteria or panic, military officers, policymakers, scientists, researchers and others who have studied such issues for a long time." The vast majority of them, he says, believe that a terrorist attack worse than September 11- killing thousands or even tens of thousands of Americans - will take place in the course of the 2004 election campaign, and that this attack will benefit the political fortunes of George W. Bush." Watch for it."
- William Thomas - Taken from "MORE 911 SMOKING GUN" below
"For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It's just unacceptable. And we're going to do something about it."
- George W. Bush
"I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves."
- George W. Bush
"He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality...how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
"- - hell yeah, that was awesome. Lets do it again!"
- A U.S. soldier in Baghdad after U.S. Marines executed a wounded Iraqi to the cheers of fellow marines - see the video at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5365.htm or http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/video1/iraqiwar.rm (Real video player)
Recommended by "Boudewijn Wegerif" firstname.lastname@example.org> who wrote: "What you will see when you click on the URL is being screened all around the world. Over and over again. We are at the end of the road. All in this together. Silent prayer is my response. And sharing this, from a review by poet and writer Leigh Wilkerson of 'The Culture of Make Believe' by Derrick Jensen (Context Books, 2001): "We find ourselves the unquestioning foot soldiers in a dirty war called 'progress', 'civilisation', 'development' - everything except what it is: warfare against life itself. 'The Culture of Make Believe' reveals that our economic and social systems carry hate at their very core -- and require hate in order to function."
1. ABC Narrows the Field: Did Kucinich's criticism of Koppel influence decision?
2. Divide and Cooperate : The Geneva Initiative for the States of Israel and Palestine
3. Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq
4. Corporate Media Ignores US Hypocrisy on War Crimes
5. Go-Along Media Ignoring Kucinich
6. MORE 911 SMOKING GUN - from William Thomas
7. EATING FOSSIL FUELS
8. Melting Ice 'Will Swamp Capitals'
9. Turkeys on the Moon... from Michael Moore
10. The privatisation of war - $30bn goes to private military
11. Needed: Iraqi boss with mo'
12. Young David's classroom share
Worthy of your attention
Amazing pictures of a Light Beam and an ethereal being
(...) "Saturday Nov. 8th (2003) at about 10:40 PM (MST) a friend of mine was riding a church bus from California to New Mexico. This was the night of the eclipse and the Harmonic Concordance. When the bus was somewhere between Holbrook, AZ and the NM state line, a huge flash of light lit up the sky. It appeared to be an incredibly intense beam that came from the sky to the earth. It was bright enough that the Air Force scrambled its fighters thinking there had been an explosion of some kind. The light lasted about ten minutes. My friend's bus stopped as the light was "hitting" the freeway and the driver did not want to drive through it. Everyone got off of the bus and she took two pictures of the light. Other than it being a very strange beam of light she did not notice anything unusual about it until she got the developed pics back on Monday. We later learned that many people in Albuquerque phoned in to talk radio to report seeing it."
Recommended by "Jean-Pierre Caron" email@example.com>
Check out the Gateway to Conscious Evolution course offered by Barbara Marx Hubbard
Raves reviews! "I find now since starting the gateway that I do actually know with absolute certainty (and I never used expressions like absolute certainty before either) that the human species is evolving in consciousness. That a fundamental and radical change in consciousness is possible FOR ME and we are, right now, in the process of creating the map of this inevitable awakening for humanity as a whole."
If you want to have a good laugh go at http://web.icq.com/shockwave/0,,4845,00.swf
Recommended by "Eve Howard" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gore to Endorse Dean, Remaking Democratic Race
WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 Al Gore has decided to endorse Howard Dean for president, aides to the men said Monday, a move that rocked the Democratic presidential field and hastened Dr. Dean's evolution from a long-shot maverick to a leading candidate of the Democratic establishment.
Why Gore's Endorsement Is No Surprise (Dec 10)
The former Veep has been simpatico with Howard Dean for months.
JUDICIAL WATCH CALLS ON HOWARD DEAN TO RELEASE SEALED GUBERNATORIAL PAPERS
Deans Future Political Considerations Do Not Trump Accountability and Transparency in Government - Unusual 10-Year Seal on Deans Papers Reminiscent of Cheney Energy Task Force Secrecy. (...) On September 15, 2003, Dean called on Vice President Cheney to level with the American public and release the Cheney Energy Task Force records. While we appreciate Deans implicit support of our ongoing litigation on behalf of the American peoples interests in accountable and transparent government, we believe he should follow his own advice. Deans acting like he has something to hide. Its time for Dr. Dean to come clean and release his papers, stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. More details at http://www.judicialwatch.org/3536.shtml and allegations of police shooting cover up against Dean at http://www.justiceforwoody.org/ - Check also http://www.kucinichdeancompare.com/ (Excellent comprehensive site with lots of revealing material of the real face of Dean, admittedly from a pro-Kucinich slant), and don't miss to review his flip-flopping pronouncements at http://www.wafflepoweredhoward.com/
Howard Dean: Hawk in Doves Clothing? (Feb 26, 2003)
(...) In his major foreign policy address to date, a February 17 speech at Drake University in Iowa, Dean blasted the Bush administrations foreign policy regarding Iraq and several other areas, but when it came to Israel and Palestine the former Vermont governor declared that, while the United States should become more engaged, he did not have any fundamental objections with President George W. Bushs policies. Dean called for an end to Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians, but he did not call for a cessation of Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians. Similarly, there was no call for an end of the Israeli occupation, for Israeli compliance with UN Security Council resolutions, or a withdrawal from Israels illegal settlements in the occupied territories or even a freeze on the construction of new settlements. CLIP
THE DEAN DECEPTION: The lying S.O.B. (August 27, 2003)
(...) "'I don't even consider myself a dove,' he told me and my colleague Ruth Marcus during a conversation before the rally
. It's true that he opposed the war in Iraq, he says, but he supported the 1991 Gulf War and the Bush campaign against the Taliban in Afghanistan. More interesting, at a time when many politicians are shuddering at President Bush's ambitions to remake the Middle East conservatives, because they are skeptical of such grand reshaping ambitions; liberals, because they see resources being diverted from social causes at home Dean sounds if anything more committed than Condoleezza Rice to bringing democracy to Iraq. CLIP
Mistaken U.S. Attack Upsets Afghans (Dec 8)
Afghan Officials, U.N. Worry About Consequences of U.S. Raid That Mistakenly Killed Nine Kids - Afghan officials warned Monday that an American military attack that mistakenly killed nine children playing in a remote village could make it harder to persuade ordinary people to support Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government. (...) Seven boys and two girls, the oldest aged 12, died when the A-10 warplane sprayed a dusty field with 30mm high-explosive rounds in Hutala village, 150 miles southwest of Kabul, the Afghan capital. The attack also killed a man that U.S. officials say was Mullah Wazir, a former district Taliban commander suspected of attacking aid groups and workers on the Kabul-Kandahar road a top U.S.-funded reconstruction project. But villagers say the dead man was Abdul Hamid, a laborer in his twenties who had returned from Iran just days before his death, and that Mullah Wazir cleared out days before. Residents and local officials suggested the Americans were fed bogus intelligence a suspected cause of earlier deadly bombings of civilians and criticized what they called a careless use of military might. CLIP
UN appeals for international wartime eco-protection law (Nov 6)
The UN environmental agency Thursday called for international legislation that would protect the environment in times of war and conflict. "The environment has, since the dawn of time, been one of the casualties of war," said Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). "If there must be war, there must be environmental law," Toepfer said on the second International Day for Preventing Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. Toepfer cited examples dating all the way back to fifth century BC when retreating Scythians scorched the earth and polluted drinking water to slow advancing Persians, up to the Gulf War of the early 1990s during which retreating Iraqi troops set more than 700 oil fires. "While humankind's ability to wage war continues apace with new and even more potentially devastating weapons, international rules and laws designed to minimize the impact on the Earth's life support systems have lagged far behind," Toepfer said. Despite treaties designed to protect certain resources, such as crops and dams, legal experts have concluded that environmental protection efforts during times of conflict "fall far short of what is ideal," Toepfer of the Nairobi-based UNEP said.
The four degrees: How Europe's hottest summer shows global warming is transforming our world (Dec 8)
It was the summer, scientists now realise, when global warming at last made itself unmistakably felt. We knew that summer 2003 was remarkable: Britain experienced its record high temperature and continental Europe saw forest fires raging out of control, great rivers drying to a trickle and thousands of heat-related deaths. But just how remarkable is only now becoming clear. The three months of June, July and August were the warmest ever recorded in western and central Europe, with record national highs in Portugal, Germany and Switzerland as well as in Britain. And they were the warmest by a very long way.
Natural disasters cost 60 billion dollars in 2003: study MILAN (Dec 10, 2003)
Natural disasters, most of them caused by extreme weather, cost the world more than 60 billion dollars in 2003, up from 55 billion dollars in 2002, according to details from an insurance industry study released at a UN climate conference here. "The high economic losses ... are part of a worrying trend that is being linked with climate change," the United Nations Environment Programme said, releasing excerpts from a study conducted by Munich Re, one of the world's biggest reinsurance companies. The biggest single event was Europe's extreme summer heat wave, which cost more than 10 billion dollars in agricultural losses alone and killed some 20,000 people. The second costliest event was the flooding along the Huai and Yangtze rivers in China between July and September. Some 650,000 apartments were damaged, with overall losses at nearly eight billion dollars. In terms of insured losses, however, the biggest hit was in the United States, where tornado damage in the Midwest in April and May cost insurers more than three billion dollars. The figures are preliminary "snapshot" findings from Munich Re, which will be published in full at the end of the year. It has been tracking the economic and insured losses from natural and weather-related catastrophes since the 1950s. UNEP released the data on the sidelines of a meeting of signatories of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the parent treaty of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Scientists say that the billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other carbon gases emitted each year by the burning of fossil fuels are trapping the sun's heat rather than letting it radiate safely into space. CLIP
Larry Everest: Oil, Power and Empire (Dec 6)
Listen also to an excellent interview with Larry Everest at
Scroll to about one-fourth of this radio MP3 to find the beginning. International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Activist Targeted for House Arrest in Tel Aviv after filing lawsuit. The Real Agenda Behind the US Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, by author Larry Everest. Recommended by "Mark Graffis" email@example.com>
Why is Bush Desperately Covering up the 8-6-01 Briefing on Al Qaeda
BushDraft.com Prepares for Draft Resumption - in 2005, Of Course
BushDraft.com was started to link all the news stories on Bush's plans for a draft, and provide a place where people can find non-biased reports and articles about the draft... Many people have said that they don't believe a draft will ever happen again. Believe me! There will be a draft in 2005 if Bush is not stopped. Click the proof button above and read some of those links. Only 44% of troops in Iraq have said they are going to re-enlist. War is dirty, demoralizing and its hard on the troops. And now Bush has cut veterans benefits! When you get injured you have to pay for your meals in hospital, some of our brave soldiers are living in such bad conditions, with such minimal supplies that many men are writing home to their families to get them to buy anti-biotics, boots, body armor and many other basic things. This is not a fun war, the men in Iraq are not having fun, they are demoralized, and the current suicide rate among our troops in Iraq is higher than it was during Vietnam.
To Find Out Why Bush Will Lose in 2004, Visit a VA Hospital
I'll clean up the language, but not long into Shrub's obvious photo op there were so many men and a few women veterans either yelling at each other or at the TV that staff members came in thinking someone had a serious health issue, or that perhaps an unstable patient had gone into a rage. Uniformly and, as best as I could decipher, almost all the men in that room were either angry, disgusted, frustrated or simply insulted.
Bush's Mercury Proposal: More Toxic Pollution for a Longer Time
Bush wants to"downgrade mercury from being regulated as a 'hazardous' pollutant to one that requires less stringent pollution controls. By doing so, EPA's 'cap' would allow nearly seven times more annual mercury emissions for five times longer than current law. Moreover, an emissions trading program would allow 'hot spots' of mercury contamination in the lakes and rivers neighboring the plants that buy pollution credits instead of reducing their mercury emissions. The proposal, an early Christmas gift to the Bush administration's friends in the energy industry, speaks volumes about the administration's unspoken policy toward America's children. Toxic mercury emissions from power plants put 300,000 newborns each year at risk for neurological impairment... Adults also are threatened. Mercury exposure can damage adult cardiovascular and immune systems, and 8% of American women of childbearing age have mercury in their blood above EPA's 'safe' level. That's nearly 5 million women."
Robert Redford: 'I've Never Known an Administration More Narrow, More Limited and More Mean'
Actor and longtime conservationist Robert Redford criticized the Bush administration's energy legislation, calling it one of the worst bills he's seen in his lifetime. '[The Bush-Cheney Energy Bill is] one of the greatest disgraces in my time... It's a bad bill, it's a horrible bill. I believe that now, for my lifetime, I've never known a time more threatening and dangerous to the American people at large or the country at large' on a wide range of issues, he added... He accused the administration of misleading the public by calling its air quality legislation the Healthy Skies Initiative.
USA urged to back 'spam' war (Dec 9)
Europe outlaws spam this week. Should America do the same? As European laws to combat spam (unsolicited e-mail messages) take effect in the UK this week, a leading expert has urged the USA and other countries to introduce similar legislation. Dr Lindsay Marshall, of Newcastle University, England, warns that people will stop using e-mail unless tougher measures are taken to curb the spiralling amount of spam worldwide. The new European law, making 'spamming' a criminal offence, takes effect on Thursday 11 December. Dr Marshall says it is a step in the right direction but that it will have virtually no effect of the amount of spam e-mail users receive. 'The problem is that almost all spam originates from outside Europe, particularly the USA, but this law applies only to the European Union. This law is the right idea in principle but to be honest, it will have no noticeable effect,' he said. 'If spam continues to increase, we will stop using e-mail in the same way that we would stop answering a phone that rang continuously,' said Dr Marshall, who recently found 3,000 e-mail messages in his mailbox when he returned from a two-week holiday. 'Even if the Americans introduced a similar law, the spamming industry there would simply move to another country, so the law alone is not a solution.' CLIP
Forwarded by "Jean-Pierre Caron" firstname.lastname@example.org> on Dec 12
FAIR: Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
112 W. 27th Street New York, NY 10001
ABC Narrows the Field: Did Kucinich's criticism of Koppel influence decision?
December 11, 2003
A day after ABC's Ted Koppel moderated a debate between the Democratic presidential contenders, the network decided to withdraw three off-air producers from the campaigns of Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley Braun and Rev. Al Sharpton.
ABC's decision was attributed to the fact that these candidates are perceived to have a slim chance of winning the Democratic nomination. An ABC spokesperson explained (Boston Globe, 12/11/03) that "as we prepare for Iowa and New Hampshire, we are putting more resources toward covering those events." Appearing on CNBC with Kucinich (12/10/03), Time reporter Jay Carney suggested that the decision could be due to the fact that "all of the media organizations have limited resources. It's actually, I think, pretty impressive that they had somebody on your campaign day by day by day."
Somehow it's hard to believe that the "limited resources" of the Disney corporation (2003 revenues: $27 billion) explains ABC's call. ABC's decision does seem to mirror the opinions of Koppel, who seemed frustrated that these candidates were included in the debate at all. According to the New York Times (12/7/03), Koppel "said he would have preferred a slugfest among the six leading candidates." Koppel was quoted: "You can't have a debate among nine people.... There is no such thing. It's called a food fight."
"How did Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun get into this thing?" Koppel was quoted in the Washington Post (12/10/03). "Nobody seems to know. Some candidates who are perceived as serious are gasping for air, and what little oxygen there is on the stage will be taken up by one-third of the people who do not have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the nomination."
Koppel's dismissive attitude towards those three candidates carried over into the debate itself, as evidenced by this question:
"This is question to Ambassador Braun, Rev. Sharpton, Congressman Kucinich. You don't have any money, at least not much. Rev. Sharpton has almost none. You don't have very much, Ambassador Braun. The question is, will there come a point when polls, money and then ultimately the actual votes that will take place here, in places like New Hampshire, the caucuses in Iowa, will there come a point when we can expect one or more of the three of you to drop out? Or are you in this as sort of a vanity candidacy?"
Kucinich's response to that question generated perhaps the most media coverage his campaign has received so far:
"Ted, you know, we started at the beginning of this evening talking about an endorsement. Well, I want the American people to see where the media takes politics in this country. To start with endorsements, to start talking about endorsements. Now we're talking about polls. And then we're talking about money. Well, you know, when you do that, you don't have to talk about what's important to the American people. "Ted, I'm the only one up here that actually, on the stage, that actually voted against the Patriot Act. And voted against the war. The only one on this stage. I'm also one of the few candidates up here who's talking about taking our healthcare system from this for-profit system to a not-for-profit, single-payer, universal health care for all. I'm also the only one who has talked about getting out of NAFTA and the WTO and going back to bilateral trade conditioned on workers rights, human rights and the environment. Now, I may be inconvenient for some of those in the media, but I'm, you know, sorry about that."
One has to wonder whether Kucinich's rebuke of Koppel, and his criticism of the priorities of the media, had something to do with ABC's decision to limit coverage of these candidates. No matter what the rationale, this does raise a concern that ABC is making an early call on the election of 2004-- weeks before any votes have been cast.
For the record, before ABC's decision to cut back coverage, Kucinich, Sharpton and Moseley Braun had been mentioned a combined total of 10 times this year on ABC's World News Tonight, according to a search of the Nexis database. Only one of those mentions referred to the candidate's position on a policy.
ACTION: Contact ABC and ask them why they have decided to limit their coverage of Kucinich, Sharpton and Moseley Braun. Encourage ABC to let voters, not pundits, decide who they want to select as a presidential nominee.
World News Tonight
ABC News Pulls Reporter off Kucinich Campaign (Dec 10)
The day after Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich took ABC debate moderator Ted Koppel to task for avoiding questions that would be useful to voters in favor of questions about endorsements, money, and polls, ABC pulled its fulltime "embedded" reporter from the Kucinich campaign, a reporter who had been given no warning that such a move was coming and who had discussed at length yesterday with the Kucinich campaign staff her plans and her needs for the coming months. ABC has reportedly also pulled its reporters from covering the presidential campaigns of Rev. Al Sharpton and Ambassador Carol Mosley-Braun. This appears to be another instance of what Kucinich criticized at the debate, namely the media trying to pick candidates, rather than letting the voters do so. In a democracy, it should be voters and not pundits or TV networks who narrow the field of candidates. This move, before any state's caucus or primary, appears based on a belief that viable candidates can be predicted 11 months prior to an election, a belief that flies in the face of the historical record. Time and again candidates dismissed as "fringe" have wound up either with the nomination or with a significant impact on the convention and in the primaries. This action by ABC, as well as Koppel's comments during the debate, can only serve to disempower Americans, communicating to them that someone other than they is deciding elections and that their votes don't mean much. This action also seems to conflict with the network's interest in boosting ratings and Koppel's expressed interest in making the debate exciting, given that Kucinich received the loudest applause of the evening. ABC presumably has no vested interest in discouraging voting or in lowering its ratings. It may, however, have an interest in whether Koppel's prediction of the viability of various candidacies proves true.
About 4,300 out of 6,000 polled prefer Kucinich for President (Dec 10)
In a poll of 6,000 Ohio citizens, approximately 4,300 prefer Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. About 1,500 people prefer President George W. Bush to be President and the remaining 200 people were undecided.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT "COVERUP" BY THE US MEDIA. THEY ARE PREVENTING THE PUBLIC FROM KNOWING ABOUT THE ONE CANDIDATE WHO WOULD REALLY CHANGE THE STATUS QUO THAT SO BENEFITS THEIR CORPORATE BOSSES
Date: 11 Dec 2003
Subject: MEDIA BLACKOUT ON KUCINICH
Published on Tuesday, December 9, 2003 by the Madison Capital Times (Wisconsin)
Go-Along Media Ignoring Kucinich
by John Nichols
Dennis Kucinich cannot get a break from big media.
The co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus is running a vigorous, intellectually adventurous, policy-based campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. He is leaping on issues before the other candidates recognize them, bringing broader perspectives to the debates and building a base of supporters nationwide that could play a significant role in debates about the direction of the Democratic Party. Yet, the political punditocracy steadfastly refuses to treat his candidacy with even a measure of the seriousness that is accorded the other members of the House and Senate who are seeking the party's nod.
But isn't Kucinich, who trails in the polls, simply getting the coverage he deserves? While it is fair to say that Kucinich falls short of front-runner status, the griping by his supporters about media bias against his candidacy has a ring of legitimacy, says John Green, director of the University of Akron's Ray C. Bliss Institute.
"It's a legitimate complaint," Green, a veteran observer of the media's impact on political races, told the Akron Beacon-Journal recently. "The media, particularly television, cover elections like horse races," he added, noting that in this horse race television reporters frequently dismiss Kucinich as the "fringe candidate" or the "long-shot candidate."
The absurdity, and the irresponsibility, of most media's approach to Kucinich's candidacy has been particularly evident in recent weeks.
Typically, Kucinich was ahead of the curve on an important issue. In November, he seized on concerns about the reliability of electronic voting machines produced by Diebold Inc., one of the nation's largest voting equipment manufacturers. Those concerns were stirred by the revelation that Diebold employees had expressed concerns in e-mails about the security of machines produced by the company.
Diebold sought to shut down any debate about its machines by threatening legal actions against operators of Web sites that were publishing or linking to corporate documents that detailed flaws in Diebold equipment and irregularities in the certifying of the company's systems for elections.
When he learned of the legal threats, Kucinich took on the politically potent corporation. The Ohio congressman asked House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, and the ranking Democrat on that committee, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, to investigate whether the company's actions were potential abuses of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. He also posted the controversial documents on his congressional Web site.
Diebold quickly backed down. And Kucinich used the development to declare, "In a democracy where half the people don't vote and where the last presidential election was decided by the Supreme Court, we cannot tolerate flawed voting equipment or intimidation of those who point out the flaws. Diebold backing down from its intimidation campaign is a positive step. An open and honest examination of the flaws in electronic voting will lead us to only one possible conclusion: electronic voting machines are dangerous to democracy because there is no way of ensuring their accuracy. We have to have a voter-verified paper trail for every election so that any errors and irregularities caused by the voting machines can be recovered."
All in all, this makes for a meaty story. A presidential candidate takes on a major corporation and wins in a fight over an issue that is fundamental to the functioning of our democracy.
So were there headlines about Kucinich's fight with Diebold? No. Television news reports? No. Lengthy discussions on public radio or commercial talk radio? No.
Indeed, the only story on Kucinich that got extensive coverage last week dealt with the fact that, after Kucinich mentioned in an early November forum that he was a bachelor, more than 80 women contacted a New Hampshire Web site indicating that they wanted to date him.
Kucinich has been a good sport about the whole dating story. And, certainly, there is nothing wrong with major media doing a feature story on this quirky twist of the campaign trail. But there is something very wrong with a scenario in which this is the big story about Kucinich, while the story of his fight against Diebold barely gets notice.
John Nichols is associate editor of The Capital Times. E-mail: email@example.com
Date: 11 Dec 2003
Subject: Divide and Cooperate : The Geneva Initiative for the States of Israel and Palestine
The Geneva Initiative for the States of Israel and Palestine is an outstanding example of " Track Two " diplomacy - an unofficial text drafted by people who know the possibilities and limits of holding office.
The Geneva Initiative can be the start of a creative process leading to two-State structures - a partition followed by close economic, social, and cultural cooperation. The Geneva Initiative merits wide public support, as such two-State structures can only be built "from below" with many diverse confidence-building measures.
At a time when the strategic pattern of the Middle East is being re-drawn, clear and creative voices must be active in the process. I am pleased to send to you a brief article "Divide and Cooperate: The Geneva Initiative for the States of Israel and Palestine."
With all best wishes in your efforts, I would be please if you would share this text with friends as a special push at this time on the Middle East may be helpful.
Divide and Cooperate : The Geneva Initiative for the States of Israel and Palestine
It has been said that Not the new is proclaimed but what is needed for the hour. This aphorism fits well with the current Geneva peace initiative for the Middle East. Since 1947, there have been a host of peace-through-partition proposals for the Israeli-Palestinian lands none of which has yet produced a real two-State structure in which Israelis and Palestinians could live in peace. The new plan, the Geneva Initiative, drafted by an Israeli and Palestinian team headed by Yossi Beilin, Minister of Justice in the last Labour- led government and Yasser Abed Rabbo, formerly the Palestinian Authoritys Minister of Information, is an outstanding example of Track Two diplomacy unofficial but done by people who know the possibilities and limits of holding office.
The Geneva Initiative can be the start of a creative process toward two-State structures a partition followed by close economic, social and cultural cooperation. The Geneva Initiative merits wide public support, for a two-State compromise can only be built from below.
Although the Road Map had American, Russian, European Union and UN fairy godmothers, the map had not been drawn directly by the people involved. The Geneva Initiative a reflection of the spirit of Genevas sense of compromise and good sense has come out of the discussions and negotiations of Israelis and Palestinians active in public life. Thus, the Geneva Initiative represents a wide segment of public opinion as reflected in a recently published statement of principles including two-State structures drafted by Ami Ayalon and Sari Nusseibeh, and signed by some 170,000 Israelis and Palestinians. The Geneva Initiative states Recognizing that after years of living in mutual fear and insecurity, both peoples need to enter an era of peace, security and stability, entailing all necessary actions by the parties to guarantee the realization of this era.
Because of the current violence and tensions in the Middle East, the Geneva Initiative had to be drafted in closed sessions so that there could not be public debate during the drafting period. Now that the plan has been officially presented, analysis of the Initiative can be made both by Israelis and Palestinians and also by all who have worked for peace and justice in the Middle East. We can hope that the Geneva Initiative will provoke an enlightened debate. It is unfortunate that a few have made condescending remarks without weighing the whole plan. Whenever a compromise agreement is reached, some writers bring out of old boxes the images of Munich and Chamberlains umbrella, not to mention a knife in the back, but all serious political agreements are based on compromise.
Since most of the Israelis who participated in the drafting of the Geneva Initiative come from the Israeli Left either the Labour Party or the more left, secular Meretz, some have tried to paint the Initiative as only a political move of the Israeli Left. Such criticisms overlook the dangers of the current situation with its increasing violence and fast destruction of economic and social conditions. The Geneva Initiative is a sign of hope at a time when the realists see only continuing violence, destruction and death, thinking unrealistically that one side or the other will just give up or be driven away
Unlike the Road Map which hoped to reach agreements on some issues before going on to more difficult-to-resolve questions, such as refugees and the status of Jerusalem, the Geneva Initiative has set out in detail what would be the final two-State structures. Thus, the Geneva Initiative is an historic turning point because it sets out clearly what each side is ready to give up in order to bring an end to the conflict. The Geneva Initiative is a real possibility of moving beyond the current deadlock symbolized by the tired leadership of Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat. The Initiative holds out the possibility for new and younger leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian society to come to the fore. Such new leadership needs to be given international support so as to end the cycles of violence and counter-violence and begin an era of creative cooperation.
*René Wadlow is editor of http://www.transnational-perspectives.org, an Internet journal of world politics and social policies. Formerly, he was professor and Director of Research of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies, University of Geneva. Since 1974, he has been an NGO representative to the United Nations, Geneva, specializing in conflict resolution, arms control, and human rights.
Editor : René V. L. Wadlow
Le Passé Fr - 07140 Gravières, France
E- mail :firstname.lastname@example.org
Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq
Julian Borger in Washington
December 9, 2003
Israeli advisers are helping train US special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, US intelligence and military sources said yesterday.
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has sent urban warfare specialists to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the home of US special forces, and according to two sources, Israeli military "consultants" have also visited Iraq.
US forces in Iraq's Sunni triangle have already begun to use tactics that echo Israeli operations in the occupied territories, sealing off centres of resistance with razor wire and razing buildings from where attacks have been launched against US troops.
But the secret war in Iraq is about to get much tougher, in the hope of suppressing the Ba'athist-led insurgency ahead of next November's presidential elections.
US special forces teams are already behind the lines inside Syria attempting to kill foreign jihadists before they cross the border, and a group focused on the "neutralisation" of guerrilla leaders is being set up, according to sources familiar with the operations.
"This is basically an assassination programme. That is what is being conceptualised here. This is a hunter-killer team," said a former senior US intelligence official, who added that he feared the new tactics and enhanced cooperation with Israel would only inflame a volatile situation in the Middle East.
"It is bonkers, insane. Here we are - we're already being compared to Sharon in the Arab world, and we've just confirmed it by bringing in the Israelis and setting up assassination teams."
"They are being trained by Israelis in Fort Bragg," a well-informed intelligence source in Washington said.
"Some Israelis went to Iraq as well, not to do training, but for providing consultations."
The consultants' visit to Iraq was confirmed by another US source who was in contact with American officials there.
The new counter-insurgency unit made up of elite troops being put together in the Pentagon is called Task Force 121, New Yorker magazine reported in yesterday's edition.
One of the planners behind the offensive is a highly controversial figure, whose role is likely to inflame Muslim opinion: Lieutenant General William "Jerry" Boykin.
In October, there were calls for his resignation after he told a church congregation in Oregon that the US was at war with Satan, who "wants to destroy us as a Christian army".
"He's been promoted a rank above his abilities," he said. "Some generals are pretty good on battlefield but are disastrous nearer the source of power."
US, Israel prepare mass killings in Iraq (Dec 10)
The Bush administration is about to launch a campaign of wholesale killings in Iraq with the assistance of the Israeli military, according to both US and Israeli sources quoted in several recent news reports. Frustrated over the growing popular resistance to the US military occupation and determined to reduce US casualties in Iraq before next Novembers election, the administration has authorized a policy that could well resemble the infamous Operation Phoenix assassination program run by the CIA during the Vietnam War. That operation claimed the lives of as many as 41,000 Vietnamese over a four-year period beginning in 1968. (...) There is no reason to believe that the deployment of Israeli-trained US military death squads in Iraq combined with the other illegal means of repression already in use by the occupation authorities will not generate a similar increase in support for the resistance among broad layers of the Iraqi population. Far from extricating American troops from the quagmire created by Bushs policy, the resort to these murderous tactics will only deepen the conflict in Iraq. Many of the leading figures in the Bush administration, who planned the Iraq war and continue to direct the occupation, have the closest political connections to the right-wing Likud government in Israel and are politically blind to the bankruptcy of Sharons strategy of repression. Meanwhile, playing the central role in organizing the new counterinsurgency campaign is Lt. Gen. William Jerry Boykin. The general, a Special Forces veteran, became embroiled in controversy earlier this year for publicly portraying the war in Iraq as a struggle between Christianity and Islam. He also proclaimed that he answered only to God for his actions as a commander of a Christian army. In remarks to Christian evangelical audiences, Boykin expressed the view that God had placed Bush in the White House, despite the fact that the majority of the American people did not vote for him. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brushed aside the widespread demands for Boykins dismissal when reports of the inflammatory remarks were published in October. It is now clear that Rumsfeld insisted that the general remain at his post because of his key involvement in planning the escalation of repression in Iraq. Hersh points out an additional motive behind the turn to greater reliance on Special Forces troops in Iraq. Under the Pentagons rules of engagement, the operations of Special Forces units remain secret, including their deployment overseas. Therefore, the addition of such troops to the US occupation force in Iraq will not be publicly disclosed. Under conditions in which, for political reasons, the administration has vowed to reduce the number of US troops deployed in Iraq, it can covertly add substantial forces, while hiding the buildup from the American people. The Special Forces have undergone an immense expansion under the Bush administration. Hersh notes that the Pentagons budget provides $6.5 billion for their operations and that the total number of such troops, both active and reserve, has risen to 47,000.
Massacre in Samarra: US lies and self-delusion [3 December 2003]
US military adopts no-holds barred tactics against Iraqi resistance [1 December 2003]
US media sanctions campaign of atrocities in Iraq [17 November 2003]
AN EXCELLENT AND POINTEDLY REVEALING ARTICLE BY ANOTHER LONG-TIME ERN SUBSCRIBER
Date: 08 Dec 2003
From: Peter Phillips peter.phillips@SONOMA.EDU>
Subject: Corporate Media Ignores US Hypocrisy on War Crimes
Corporate Media Ignores US Hypocrisy on War Crimes
By Peter Phillips
During the first week of December 03, US corporate media reported that American forensic teams are working to document some 41 mass graves in Iraq to support future war crime tribunals in that country. Broadly covered in the media, as well, was the conviction of General Stanislav Galic by a UN tribunal for war crimes committed by Bosnian Serb troops under his command during the siege of Sarajevo in 1992-94.
These stories show how corporate media likes to give the impression that the US government is working diligently to root out evil doers around the world and to build democracy and freedom. This theme is part of a core ideological message in support of our recent wars on Panama, Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Governmental spin transmitted by a willing US media establishes simplistic mythologies of good vs. evil often leaving out historical context, special transnational corporate interests, and prior strategic relationships with the dreaded evil ones.
The hypocrisy of US policy and corporate media complicity is evident in the coverage of Donald Rumsfeld's stop over in Mazar-e Sharif Afghanistan December 4 to meet with regional warlord and mass killer General Abdul Rashid Dostum and his rival General Ustad Atta Mohammed. Rumsfeld was there to finalize a deal with the warlords to begin the decommissioning of their military forces in exchange for millions of dollars in international aid and increased power in the central Afghan government.
Few people in the US know that General Abdul Rashid Dostum fought alongside the Russians in the 1980s, commanding a 20,000-man army. He switched sides in 1992 and joined the Mujahidin when they took power in Kabul. For over a decade, Dostum was a regional warlord in charge of six northern provinces, which he ran like a private fiefdom, making millions, by collecting taxes on regional trade and international drug sales. Forced into exile in Turkey by the Taliban in 1998, he came back into power as a military proxy of the US during the invasion of Afghanistan.
Charged with mass murder of prisoners of war in the mid-90s by the UN, Dostum is known to use torture and assassinations to retain power. Described by the Chicago Sun Times (10/21/01) as a "cruel and cunning warlord," he is reported to use tanks to rip apart political opponents or crush them to death. Dostum, a seventh grade dropout, likes to put up huge pictures of himself in the regions he controls, drinks Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and rides in an armor-plated black Cadillac.
A documentary entitled Massacre at Mazar released in 2002 by Scottish film producer, Jamie Doran, exposes how Dostum, in cooperation with U.S. special forces, was responsible for the torturing and deaths of approximately 3,000 Taliban prisoners-of-war in November of 2001. In Doran's documentary, two witnesses report on camera how they were forced to drive into the desert with hundreds of Taliban prisoners held in sealed cargo containers. Most of the prisoners suffocated to death in the vans and Dostum's soldiers shot the few prisoners left alive. One witness told the London Guardian that a US Special Forces vehicle was parked at the scene as bulldozers buried the dead. A soldier told Doran that U.S. troops masterminded a cover-up. He said the Americans ordered Dostum's people to get rid of the bodies before satellite pictures could be taken.
Dostum admits that a few hundred prisoners died, but asserts that it was a mistake or that they died from previous wounds. He has kept thousands of Taliban as prisoners-of-war since 2001 and continues to ransom them to their families for ten to twenty thousand dollars each.
Doran's documentary was shown widely in Europe, prompting an attempt by the UN to investigate, but Dostum has prevented any inspection by saying that he could not guarantee safety for forensic teams in the area.
During the recent meeting with Dostum, Donald Rumsfeld is quote as saying, "I spent many weeks in the Pentagon following closely your activities, I should say your successful activities." (Washington Post 12/5/03) The Post wrote how General Dostum was instrumental in routing Taliban forces from Northern Afghanistan in the early weeks of the war two years ago, but said nothing about General Dostum's brutal past. Nor has US broadcast media aired Doran's documentary.
It seems that the US government's interest in addressing mass graves and war crimes extends only to our opponents and that we tolerate such inhuman behavior among those who support our political agendas. The corporate media's complicity in this hypocrisy is a glaring example of the need for widespread media reform in the US.
Peter Phillips is Department Chair and Professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and director of Project Censored a media research organization.
Peter Phillips Ph.D.
Sociology Department/Project Censored
Sonoma State University
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
From: "Will Thomas" email@example.com>
Subject: MORE 911 SMOKING GUN - from William Thomas
Date: 11 Dec 2003
Dear friends and others,
This just in!
Many thanks to Judy, Paul, Erskine, Karen and so many others who help keep me informed with stories like these. The expanded version of my "STAND DOWN" story - soon to be released in print and audio versions - deals extensively with Operaton Vigilant Guardian, which saw all NORAD command posts fully battle-staffed on the morning of Sept. 11 - with all officers needed to make crucial decisions in touch with each other from their battle stations.
Go figure ...
Meanwhile, the Washington Post (Nov. 23) is predicting that a major new terrorist attack within the United States could/will disrupt the 2004 elections, resulting in martial law and suspension of the Constitution. Author David Rothkopf, a former Clinton administration official now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, recently co-chaired a meeting hosted by CNBC of more than 200 senior business and government executives - many of them specialists in security and terrorism. "Almost three-quarters of them said it was likely the United States would see a major terrorist strike before the end of 2004. A similar number predicted that the assault would be greater than those of 9/11 and might well involve weapons of mass destruction. It was the sense of the group that such an attack was likely to generate additional support for President Bush."
Rothkopf describes this elite audience a "serious people, not prone to hysteria or panic, military officers, policymakers, scientists, researchers and others who have studied such issues for a long time." The vast majority of them, he says, believe that a terrorist attack worse than September 11- killing thousands or even tens of thousands of Americans - will take place in the course of the 2004 election campaign, and that this attack will benefit the political fortunes of George W. Bush."
Watch for it.
And remember that the Pentagon's Northern Command - which controls all US armed forces within CANADA, the USA, and Alaska - is good ol' Air Force General Ralph E. Eberhart. As head of NORAD on Sept. 11, 2001, Gen, Eberhart was out over the Atlantic en route to Europe when that deal went down. So he's off the inquiry hook. His deputy in charge of American air defenses that morning continued his meeting with a Senator after hearing that the first tower had been struck - and didn't come out of his office until after the Pentagon was hit. At which point, someone remembered to tell Gen. Myers that America had been under attack for more than an hour.
Anyone who does not believe that the United States is not under the rule of military junta has less than a year to wait for proof positive - either another ludicrously rigged election. Or full military government. If you're an American thinking of relocating to Canada, there may be lots of room if enough Canadians emigrate elsewhere. Under our newly unelected Prime Minister, full compliance by Ottawa with the US police state is widely expected here, even as the full extent of Canadian complicity in the terror-bombing of Afghanistan and Iraq continue to be revealed.
Atlantic City F-16 Fighters Were Eight Minutes Away From 9/11 Hijacked Planes
by North Jersey Media Group
As two hijacked jetliners bore down on New York City's World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, two Air Force F-16 jet fighters were practicing bombing runs over an empty stretch of the Pine Barrens near Atlantic City.
The F-16 pilots had no idea of the impending tragedy in Manhattan, just eight minutes away in their supersonic jets.
Why? Why weren't they alerted? And even if they had been told about the hijackings, what could they have done?
The jets weren't armed to shoot down another plane. Their mission was bombing drills. Why?
Those questions and others loom at the heart of an even larger mystery: How could America's elaborate air defense system of satellites, radar, and supersonic fighters be caught so off-guard on Sept. 11? The mystery is now at the center of one of the most secret - and politically explosive - investigations being conducted by the bipartisan Sept. 11 commission.
Led by former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States is analyzing almost every corner of the Sept. 11 tragedy, from skyscraper escape procedures to what the White House knew about terrorist threats and how well the FBI and CIA cooperated. On Monday, the commission plans to hold another public hearing in Washington, this one focusing on homeland security and personal liberty.
But one investigation that has not drawn much attention involves air defenses. This is especially important to New Jersey.
For almost a half-century, the state Air National Guard's 177th Fighter Wing, based at Atlantic City International Airport in Pomona, had been a key part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. The command runs radar sites and monitors fighter squadrons assigned to protect the United States and Canada from attack, and from unauthorized flights by drug smugglers and undocumented immigrants. Under NORAD procedures that date to the Cold War, two F-16 fighters from the 177th were parked around the clock on the Atlantic City runway. Pilots waited in a nearby building, ready to scramble.
But the 177th's jets were not on alert Sept. 11. A series of Pentagon cutbacks, beginning in 1998, changed the wing's mission from scramble-ready status to dropping bombs on enemy positions. In 2000, after two years of training, the 177th was even sent to Saudi Arabia to fly patrols over southern Iraq as part of Operation Southern Watch.
By Sept. 11, the unit was back in New Jersey - but still training to bomb enemy targets overseas.
A spokeswoman for the 177th confirmed that two of its F-16s were flying unarmed bombing runs that morning over a section of the Pine Barrens designated for military drills. But the F-16 pilots, she said, were unaware that America's air defense system needed them desperately.
"Isn't that something?" asked Lt. Luz Aponte, the 177th's public affairs officer, pointing out the irony of having jet fighters so near to the tragedy but with a mission so far afield.
Soon after two hijacked commercial jetliners slammed into the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan, Aponte said, the two F-16s landed and were refitted with air-to-air missiles, then sent aloft. But that happened more than an hour after the trade center attacks.
Such irony - and tragedy - is not lost on the commission.
"We want to know why the jets at Pomona were decommissioned," said John Farmer, a former New Jersey attorney general now on the commission's Manhattan staff.
An even larger concern is why fighters at other Air Force bases were not scrambled fast enough to protect New York City after the Federal Aviation Administration learned about the hijackings.
"That's a big question," Kean said in a recent interview.
Overshadowed in recent weeks by the much publicized - and also highly political - battle between the commission and the White House over access to intelligence data, the investigation of air-defense flaws could nonetheless become stormy next year, with accusations that the Clinton administration cut too deeply into Pentagon budgets during the 1990s or that the Bush administration reacted too slowly to the looming threat of terrorism.
The commission has rescheduled a hearing to delve into air defense questions, from mid-January to early March, so investigators can have more time to go through records and other information recently received from NORAD and the Federal Aviation Administration in special subpoenas.
NORAD has turned over more than 1,000 documents, some of which contain more than 150 pages, said Lt. Col. Rob Garza, a spokesman.
Garza said the information comes from "bases around the nation" and includes transcripts of radio transmissions between pilots. He would not confirm what information - if any - NORAD provided from the New Jersey's 177th Fighter Wing.
Commission spokesman Al Felzenberg also declined to comment on what - if any - conclusions might be drawn from the information pouring into commission offices in Washington and New York. He said commission staffers were still assessing what they had received from NORAD - and what its effect might be on the overall investigation of air defenses.
But interviews with commission staffers, NORAD officials, and others, as well as checks of some records made public, already point to some intriguing revelations.
NORAD confirmed it had only eight fighters on the East Coast for emergency scrambles on Sept. 11. Throughout Canada and the United States, including Alaska, NORAD had 20 fighters on alert - armed, fueled up, and ready to fly in minutes. Four years earlier, NORAD could count on having 175 jets ready to scramble, including two on the tarmac at Atlantic City's airport.
With the New Jersey Air National Guard's 17 F-16s out of the picture on Sept. 11, the commission is trying to assess why the Pentagon left what seems to be a yawning gap in the midsection of its air defenses on the East Coast - a gap with New York City at the center. Since Sept. 11, the 177th has been back on alert status, with its pilots logging hundreds of hours of patrols above New York City and along the East Coast.
NORAD also has confirmed it was running two mock drills on Sept. 11 at various radar sites and command centers in the United States and Canada, including Air Force bases in upstate New York, Florida, Washington, and Alaska. One drill, Operation Vigilant Guardian, began a week before Sept. 11 and reflected a Cold War mind-set: Participants practiced for an attack across the North Pole by Russian forces.
A NORAD spokesman noted, however, that the drills might have helped the command gear up quickly to respond to the Sept. 11 attacks because its command posts were already staffed.
"It was quite fortuitous," said Maj. Douglas Martin of the Canadian Army and spokesman at NORAD headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"The toughest thing for anyone is that we're using Sept. 12 eyes to dissect Sept. 11," he added. "No one is using Sept. 11 eyes."
Investigators at the Sept. 11 commission confirm they are investigating whether NORAD's attention was drawn in one direction - toward the North Pole - while the hijackings came from an entirely different direction.
"We are pursing this area very, very diligently," said Richard Ben-Veniste, a former Watergate prosecutor who is one of 10 members of Kean's bipartisan commission.
NORAD is not the only target, however.
The commission is also looking into why it took about 20 minutes for civilian air traffic controllers to notify NORAD of the hijackings.
"We are in the process of interviewing pilots," a commission staffer said.
Even after learning of the hijackings, it took six minutes for NORAD to order F-15 fighters into the sky from Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod - the "alert" base nearest to New York. After that, it took another six minutes for the jets to roar down the runway.
Then it took the jets 19 minutes to reach New York, raising this question: Did they fly at full throttle? At a top speed of almost 1,200 mph, an F-15 can reach Manhattan from Cape Cod in less than 12 minutes, NORAD says. Why did it take 19 minutes? By then, it was too late.
THIS BELOW SHOWS JUST HOW UNSUSTAINABLE INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE IS AND HOW URGENT IT IS TO TOTALLY SHIFT TO ORGANIC AGRICULTURE WORLDWIDE
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org> on Oct 4
EATING FOSSIL FUELS
by Dale Allen Pfeiffer
October 3 , 2003, 1200 PDT, (FTW) -- Some months ago, concerned by a Paris statement made by Professor Kenneth Deffeyes of Princeton regarding his concern about the impact of Peak Oil and Gas on fertilizer production, I tasked FTW's Contributing Editor for Energy, Dale Allen Pfeiffer to start looking into what natural gas shortages would do to fertilizer production costs. His investigation led him to look at the totality of food production in the US. Because the US and Canada feed much of the world the answers have global implications.
What follows is most certainly the single most frightening article I have ever read and certainly the most alarming piece that FTW has ever published. Even as we have seen CNN, Britain's Independent and Jane's Defence Weekly acknowledge the reality of Peak Oil and Gas within the last week, acknowledging that world oil and gas reserves are as much as 80% less than predicted, we are also seeing how little real thinking has been devoted to the host of crises certain to follow; at least in terms of publicly accessible thinking.
This article is so serious in its implications that I have taken the unusual step of underlining 26 of its key findings. I did that with the intent that the reader treat each underlined passage as a separate and incredibly important fact. Each one of these facts should be read and digested separately to assimilate its importance. I found myself reading one fact and then getting up and walking away until I could come back and (un)comfortably read to the next.
All told, Dale Allen Pfeiffer's research and reporting confirms the worst of FTW's suspicions about the consequences of Peak Oil and it poses serious questions about what to do next. Not the least of these is why, in a presidential election year, none of the candidates has even acknowledged the problem. Thus far, it is clear that solutions for these questions, perhaps the most important ones facing mankind, will by necessity be found by private individuals and communities, independently of outside or governmental help. Whether the real search for answers comes now, or as the crisis becomes unavoidable, depends solely on us. It is also abundantly clear that fresh water, its acquisition and delivery, is a crisis that is upon us now as certainly as is Peak Oil and Gas.
Here are just of few of the report's key findings:
1. In the United States, 400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended annually to feed each American (as of data provided in 1994).7 Agricultural energy consumption is broken down as follows:
· 31% for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer (excluding feedstock)
· 19% for the operation of field machinery
· 16% for transportation
· 13% for irrigation
· 08% for raising livestock (not including livestock feed)
· 05% for crop drying
· 05% for pesticide production
· 08% miscellaneous.8
2. To give the reader an idea of the energy intensiveness of modern agriculture, production of one kilogram of nitrogen for fertilizer requires the energy equivalent of from 1.4 to 1.8 liters of diesel fuel. This is not considering the natural gas feedstock.9 According to The Fertilizer Institute (http://www.tfi.org), in the year from June 30 2001 until June 30 2002 the United States used 12,009,300 short tons of nitrogen fertilizer.10 Using the low figure of 1.4 liters diesel equivalent per kilogram of nitrogen, this equates to the energy content of 15.3 billion liters of diesel fuel, or 96.2 million barrels.
3. Between 1945 and 1994, energy input to agriculture increased 4-fold while crop yields only increased 3-fold.11 Since then, energy input has continued to increase without a corresponding increase in crop yield. We have reached the point of marginal returns. Yet, due to soil degradation, increased demands of pest management and increasing energy costs for irrigation (all of which is examined below), modern agriculture must continue increasing its energy expenditures simply to maintain current crop yields.
4. The U.S. food system consumes ten times more energy than it produces in food energy. This disparity is made possible by nonrenewable fossil fuel stocks.
5. Unfortunately, if you remove fossil fuels from the equation, the daily diet will require 111 hours of endosomatic labor per capita; that is, the current U.S. daily diet would require nearly three weeks of labor per capita to produce.
Michael C. Ruppert
October 3, 2003
Melting Ice 'Will Swamp Capitals'
By Geoffrey Lean Independent UK
07 December 2003
Measures to fight global warming will have to be at least four times stronger than the Kyoto Protocol if they are to avoid the melting of the polar ice caps, inundating central London and many of the world's biggest cities, concludes a new official report.
The report, by a German government body, says that even if it is fully implemented, the protocol will only have a "marginal attenuating effect" on the climate change. But last week even this was thrown into doubt amid contradictory signals from the Russian government as to whether it will allow the treaty to come into effect.
Global warming already kills 150,000 people a year worldwide and the rate of climate change is soon likely to exceed anything the planet has seen "in the last million years" says the report, produced by the German Advisory Council on Global Change for a meeting of the world's environment ministers to consider the future of the treaty in Milan this week.
It concludes that the protocol must urgently be brought into force, but only as a first step, insisting that "catastrophic" climate change "can now only be prevented if climate protection targets are set at substantially higher levels than those agreed internationally until now".
The report, written by eight leading German professors, says that "dangerous climatic changes" will become "highly probable" if the world's average temperature is allowed to increase to more than 2 degrees centigrade above what it was before the start of the Industrial Revolution.
Beyond that level the West Antarctic ice sheet and the Greenland ice cap would begin gradually to melt away, eventually raising sea levels world wide by up to 30 feet, submerging vast areas of land and key cities worldwide. London, New York, Miami, Bombay, Calcutta, Sydney, Shanghai, Lagos and Tokyo would be among those largely submerged by such a rise.
Above this mark too, other "devastating" and "irreversible" changes would be likely to take place. These include a cessation of the Indian monsoon and the ending of the Gulf Stream, which would dramatically worsen the climate in Britain and western Europe, even as the world warms. Another risk is the so-called "runaway greenhouse" where rising temperatures lead to the release of huge reservoirs methane stored in permafrost and the oceans, adding to global warming and starting a self-reinforcing cycle that would eventually make the earth uninhabitable.
To avoid such catastrophe, the report says that industrialised countries will have to cut emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide by at least 20 per cent by 2020, and by up to 60 per cent by 2050. The Kyoto Protocol would at best cut them by 5 per cent by 2012, and probably less, even if it were brought into force and fully implemented.
In the meantime the world looks as if it will greatly exceed the targets. Writing in The Independent on Sunday today, Michael Meacher, the former environment minister, calculates that global emissions of greenhouse gases could increase by 75 per cent by 2020, "putting the world well on the way to doomsday".
Date: 09 Dec 2003
From: "ECOTERRA Intl." email@example.com>
Subject: Message from Michael Moore
Turkeys on the Moon... from Michael Moore
December 8, 2003
Dear Mr. Bush,
Well, it's going on two weeks now since your surprise visit to one of the two countries you now run and, I have to say, I'm still warmed by the gesture. Man, take me along next time! I understand only 13 members of the media went with you -- and it turns out only ONE of them was an actual reporter for a newspaper. But you did take along FIVE photographers (hey, Iget it, screw the words, it's all about the pictures!), a couple wire service guys, and a crew from the Fox News Channel (fair and balanced!).
Then, I read in the paper this weekend that that big turkey you were holding in Baghdad (you know, the picture that's supposed to replace the now-embarrassing footage of you on that aircraft carrier with the sign "Mission Accomplished") -- well, it turns out that big, beautiful turkey of yours was never eaten by the troops! It wasn't eaten by anyone! That's because it wasn't real! It was a STUNT turkey, brought in to look like a real edible turkey for all those great camera angles.
Now I know some people will say you are into props (like the one in the lower extremities of your flyboy suit), but hey, I get it, this is theater! So what if it was a bogus turkey? The whole trip was bogus, all staged to look like "news." The fake honey glaze on that bird wasn't much different from the fake honey glaze that covers this war. And the fake stuffing in the fake bird was just the right symbol for our country during these times. America loves fake honey glaze, it loves to be stuffed, and, dammit, YOU knew that -- that's what makes you so in touch with the people you lead!
It was also a good idea that you made the "press" on that trip to Baghdad pull the shades down on the plane. No one in the media entourage complained. They like the shades pulled and they like to be kept in the dark. It's more fun that way. And, when you made them take the batteries out of their cell phones so they wouldn't be able to call anyone, and they dutifully complied -- that was genius! I think if you had told them to put their hands on their heads and touch their noses with their tongues, they would have done that, too! That's how much they like you. You could have played "Simon Says" the whole way over there. It wouldn't have been that much different from "Karl Says," a game they LOVE to play every day with Mr. Rove.
Well, if you're planning any surprises for Christmas, don't forget to include me. When I heard last week that you wanted to send a man back to the moon, I thought, get the fake goose ready -- that's where ol' George is going for the holidays! I don't blame you, what with nearly 3 million jobs disappeared, and a $281 billion surplus disappeared, and the USA stuck in a war that will never end -- who wouldn't want to go to the moon! This time, take ALL the media with you! Embed them on the moon! They'll love it there! It looks just like Crawford! You can golf on the moon, too. You'll have so much fun up there, you might not want to come back. Better take Cheney with you, too. Pretend it's a medical experiment or something. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for every American who's sick and tired of all this crap."
THE RISE OF CORPORATE PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATIONS - HIRED GUNS - OPERATING OUTSIDE THE INTERNATIONAL LAWS GOVERNING WARFARE IS A DANGEROUS TREND THAT SHOULD BE VIGOROUSLY DENOUNCED JUST AS THE CURRENT ARMIES, ESPECIALLY THE U.S. MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, THAT POSE A CONTINUOUS AND GROWING LETHAL THREAT TO ALL LIFE ON EARTH FOR THE SOLE BENEFIT OF A TINY ELITE
Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" firstname.lastname@example.org>
The privatisation of war - $30bn goes to private military
December 10, 2003
Private corporations have penetrated western warfare so deeply that they are now the second biggest contributor to coalition forces in Iraq after the Pentagon, a Guardian investigation has established.
While the official coalition figures list the British as the second largest contingent with around 9,900 troops, they are narrowly outnumbered by the 10,000 private military contractors now on the ground.
The investigation has also discovered that the proportion of contracted security personnel in the firing line is 10 times greater than during the first Gulf war. In 1991, for every private contractor, there were about 100 servicemen and women; now there are 10.
The private sector is so firmly embedded in combat, occupation and peacekeeping duties that the phenomenon may have reached the point of no return: the US military would struggle to wage war without it.
While reliable figures are difficult to come by and governmental accounting and monitoring of the contracts are notoriously shoddy, the US army estimates that of the $87bn (£50.2bn) earmarked this year for the broader Iraqi campaign, including central Asia and Afghanistan, one third of that, nearly $30bn, will be spent on contracts to private companies.
The myriad military and security companies thriving on this largesse are at the sharp end of a revolution in military affairs that is taking us into unknown territory - the partial privatisation of war.
"This is a trend that is growing and Iraq is the high point of the trend," said Peter Singer, a security analyst at Washington's Brookings Institution. "This is a sea change in the way we prosecute warfare. There are historical parallels, but we haven't seen them for 250 years."
When America launched its invasion in March, the battleships in the Gulf were manned by US navy personnel. But alongside them sat civilians from four companies operating some of the world's most sophisticated weapons systems.
When the unmanned Predator drones, the Global Hawks, and the B-2 stealth bombers went into action, their weapons systems, too, were operated and maintained by non-military personnel working for private companies.
The private sector is even more deeply involved in the war's aftermath. A US company has the lucrative contracts to train the new Iraqi army, another to recruit and train an Iraqi police force.
But this is a field in which British companies dominate, with nearly half of the dozen or so private firms in Iraq coming from the UK.
The big British player in Iraq is Global Risk International, based in Hampton, Middlesex. It is supplying hired Gurkhas, Fijian paramilitaries and, it is believed, ex-SAS veterans, to guard the Baghdad headquarters of Paul Bremer, the US overlord, according to analysts.
It is a trend that has been growing worldwide since the end of the cold war, a booming business which entails replacing soldiers wherever possible with highly paid civilians and hired guns not subject to standard military disciplinary procedures.
The biggest US military base built since Vietnam, Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, was constructed and continues to be serviced by private contractors. At Tuzla in northern Bosnia, headquarters for US peacekeepers, everything that can be farmed out to private businesses has been. The bill so far runs to more than $5bn. The contracts include those to the US company ITT, which supplies the armed guards, overwhelmingly US private citizens, at US installations.
In Israel, a US company supplies the security for American diplomats, a very risky business. In Colombia, a US company flies the planes destroying the coca plantations and the helicopter gunships protecting them, in what some would characterise as a small undeclared war.
In Kabul, a US company provides the bodyguards to try to save President Hamid Karzai from assassination, raising questions over whether they are combatants in a deepening conflict with emboldened Taliban insurgents.
And in the small town of Hadzici west of Sarajevo, a military compound houses the latest computer technology, the war games simulations challenging the Bosnian army's brightest young officers.
Crucial to transforming what was an improvised militia desperately fighting for survival into a modern army fit eventually to join Nato, the army computer centre was established by US officers who structured, trained, and armed the Bosnian military. The Americans accomplished a similar mission in Croatia and are carrying out the same job in Macedonia.
The input from the US military has been so important that the US experts can credibly claim to have tipped the military balance in a region ravaged by four wars in a decade. But the American officers, including several four-star generals, are retired, not serving. They work, at least directly, not for the US government, but for a private company, Military Professional Resources Inc.
"In the Balkans MPRI are playing an incredibly critical role. The balance of power in the region was altered by a private company. That's one measure of the sea change," said Mr Singer, the author of a recent book on the subject, Corporate Warriors.
The surge in the use of private companies should not be confused with the traditional use of mercenaries in armed conflicts. The use of mercenaries is outlawed by the Geneva conventions, but no one is accusing the Pentagon, while awarding more than 3,000 contracts to private companies over the past decade, of violating the laws of war.
The Pentagon will "pursue additional opportunities to outsource and privatise", the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, pledged last year and military analysts expect him to try to cut a further 200,000 jobs in the armed forces.
It is this kind of "downsizing" that has fed the growth of the military private sector.
Since the end of the cold war it is reckoned that six million servicemen have been thrown on to the employment market with little to peddle but their fighting and military skills. The US military is 60% the size of a decade ago, the Soviet collapse wrecked the colossal Red Army, the East German military melted away, the end of apartheid destroyed the white officer class in South Africa. The British armed forces, notes Mr Singer, are at their smallest since the Napoleonic wars.
The booming private sector has soaked up much of this manpower and expertise.
It also enables the Americans, in particular, to wage wars by proxy and without the kind of congressional and media oversight to which conventional deployments are subject.
From the level of the street or the trenches to the rarefied corridors of strategic analysis and policy-making, however, the problems surfacing are immense and complex.
One senior British officer complains that his driver was recently approached and offered a fortune to move to a "rather dodgy outfit". Ex-SAS veterans in Iraq can charge up to $1,000 a day.
"There's an explosion of these companies attracting our servicemen financially," said Rear Admiral Hugh Edleston, a Royal Navy officer who is just completing three years as chief military adviser to the international administration running Bosnia.
He said that outside agencies were sometimes better placed to provide training and resources. "But you should never mix serving military with security operations. You need to be absolutely clear on the division between the military and the paramilitary."
"If these things weren't privatised, uniformed men would have to do it and that draws down your strength," said another senior retired officer engaged in the private sector. But he warned: "There is a slight risk that things can get out of hand and these companies become small armies themselves."
And in Baghdad or Bogota, Kabul or Tuzla, there are armed company employees effectively licensed to kill. On the job, say guarding a peacekeepers' compound in Tuzla, the civilian employees are subject to the same rules of engagement as foreign troops.
But if an American GI draws and uses his weapon in an off-duty bar brawl, he will be subject to the US judicial military code. If an American guard employed by the US company ITT in Tuzla does the same, he answers to Bosnian law. By definition these companies are frequently operating in "failed states" where national law is notional. The risk is the employees can literally get away with murder.
Or lesser, but appalling crimes. Dyncorp, for example, a Pentagon favourite, has the contract worth tens of millions of dollars to train an Iraqi police force. It also won the contracts to train the Bosnian police and was implicated in a grim sex slavery scandal, with its employees accused of rape and the buying and selling of girls as young as 12. A number of employees were fired, but never prosecuted. The only court cases to result involved the two whistleblowers who exposed the episode and were sacked.
"Dyncorp should never have been awarded the Iraqi police contract," said Madeleine Rees, the chief UN human rights officer in Sarajevo.
Of the two court cases, one US police officer working for Dyncorp in Bosnia, Kathryn Bolkovac, won her suit for wrongful dismissal. The other involving a mechanic, Ben Johnston, was settled out of court. Mr Johnston's suit against Dyncorp charged that he "witnessed co-workers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased".
There are other formidable problems surfacing in what is uncharted territory - issues of loyalty, accountability, ideology, and national interest. By definition, a private military company is in Iraq or Bosnia not to pursue US, UN, or EU policy, but to make money.
The growing clout of the military services corporations raises questions about an insidious, longer-term impact on governments' planning, strategy and decision-taking.
Mr Singer argues that for the first time in the history of the modern nation state, governments are surrendering one of the essential and defining attributes of statehood, the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of force.
But for those on the receiving end, there seems scant alternative.
"I had some problems with some of the American generals," said Enes Becirbasic, a Bosnian military official who managed the Bosnian side of the MPRI projects to build and arm a Bosnian army. "It's a conflict of interest. I represent our national interest, but they're businessmen. I would have preferred direct cooperation with state organisations like Nato or the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. But we had no choice. We had to use MPRI."
THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME IN IRAQ
Needed: Iraqi boss with mo'
By Simon Jenkins,
December 8, 2003
Those who try to do the undoable must also think the unthinkable. US strategists in Iraq are contemplating what they have always denied, the search for a "strong man with a moustache" to stop the present rot. If the result is not democracy, so be it.
If the result is the dismemberment of Iraq, so be it. Iraq has become a mess. There is only one priority: to "get out with dignity". This strategy is now being rammed down the throat of the US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, by George W. Bush's new "realist", Deputy National Security Adviser Bob Blackwill. He answers to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, not US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and is the new boss of Iraq.
The Pentagon, Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, architects of the old "idealist" strategy, are in retreat. The Iraqi Governing Council, which Bremer reluctantly created, will be disbanded. Washington must find someone with whom it can do business, someone who can deliver order in return for power. That search is Blackwill's job.
In a nutshell, Washington has bought the old British Middle East strategy, that you deal with local leaders and leave them to it. The fantasies of Rumsfeld and of Bush's recent "world democracy" speech are at an end. There must be no second Vietnam in Iraq. Necessity has become the mother of humiliating invention.
We shall never know if Rumsfeld's adventure could have turned out otherwise. As his weapons of mass destruction vanished in the desert air, so has his belief in a "new democratic beacon in the Middle East". That collapsed from the minute he peremptorily tore up the State Department's Future of Iraq Project shortly before the invasion and ostracised its staff.
His faith in corrupt expatriates was crazy. His post-invasion demolition of Saddam Hussein's state apparatus removed the institutions and disciplines on which any government depends. The May 16 order disbanding the Iraqi army created 400,000 enemies overnight and gave the Saddamists what they most needed, a sea of Sunni resentment in which to swim. The wild shooting habits and hearts-and-minds ineptitude of the US 82nd Airborne and 4th Infantry did the rest. They supplied a stream of blood-feud assassins.
What is amazing is the speed with which Washington recognises its mistakes. The dubiousness of "victory in Iraq" was vividly illustrated 11 days ago when Bush had to visit the country in secret and dared not leave his airbase. Hussein loyalists are operating virtually at will, now even in the south.
The White House got the message. Washington sacked its first governor, Jay Garner, within a month of the invasion. It is now effectively abandoning its second within six months. Baghdad has seen three regime changes within a year.
The plan Washington forced on Bremer last month abandoned the Pentagon's policy of steady progress towards democracy through an elected assembly. The new plan was more urgent, a "transfer of power" to a provisional government next July, with the hope of elections thereafter. This government would be selected from the three provinces on a local "show of hands". It would run the new Iraqi army and police force and enjoy some patronage over oil revenue and $US19 billion ($25.8 billion) of aid.
Now this plan appears also to be in disarray. After witnessing the present governing council, the White House has understandably lost faith in Iraqi assemblies, however chosen. Evidence of economic recovery means nothing when Iraqis associate US occupation with fear and lawlessness.
Iraq has only ever been held together by brute force. Washington is grudgingly accepting the view that this is unlikely to change. A new leader is needed to prevent the place becoming a global magnet for what the Arabist historian Bernard Lewis calls "new causes for anger, new dreams of fulfilment, new tools of attack".
This was, after all, the view that Washington took in the 1980s when it decided to support a certain Saddam Hussein.
The Shia majority, long oppressed by Hussein and his Sunnis, see its hour as come. Its primary allegiance is to ayatollahs who, however moderate, require government to be based on Islamic law. Like all Iraqi politicians, these men are playing slow at present and biding their time.
These men include Aziz al-Hakim, chairman of the Sciri group on the governing council; Muqtadah al-Sadr, heir to the heroic Ayatollah al-Sadr whose face has replaced Hussein's in a million picture frames; and the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
They are not so close to their one-time Iranian hosts as to scare their fellow Iraqis. They eschew the word fundamentalist and have for the moment (mostly) stood down their militias.
Blackwill's game plan must be to find his strong man from this group. He must let the Shias decide which of them should be boss and hand Iraq over to that person. Such a regime would at first embrace the minority Sunnis and the oil-rich Kurds.
However, it is idle to pretend that this embrace would be stable. Bremer has turned the Sunnis into a mass resistance movement, armed and desperate. They have no jobs or oil and increasingly see Hussein as their champion against Shia domination. Their underground Baath party is a lethal saboteur of any new regime. Baghdad could become another divided city, a place of nightly horror.
As for the Kurds in the north, they will allow no loss of the sovereignty enjoyed under the "no-fly zone". Their leader, Jalal Talabani, would support a Shia regime for a while. But any Shia decision, say on oil, with which the Kurds disagreed would be opposed. Many Kurds have dreamt of an independence which has never seemed closer than now. Sceptics are already talking of "Kurdistan" becoming the US's "second Israel".
For the US to try policing such a confederation is politically inconceivable.
To hold the Sunnis in subjugation to the Shias, to deter the Turks from oppressing the Kurds, to reassure the Saudis over an Iranian-backed Baghdad, would all require hundreds of thousands of troops in perpetual battle mode. It is not on.
The yearning for national unity and dignity may be palpable in Baghdad. It was hoped that, after Hussein, the US might deliver it.
Such unity is not in sight. Possibly if the US had purged and redeployed the Baath party it might have stood a chance. They did not. Instead they are turning to the ayatollahs.
But they, or their civilian frontmen, would face intense Sunni resistance. The odds would be on the Sunnis eventually demanding similar autonomy to that enjoyed by the Kurds, perhaps with help from their co-religionists, the Syrians.
Small wonder Iraq's six adjacent states are in a state of suspended horror. They see Rumsfeld's "cradle of stability" turning into anything but.
The strongman solution cannot hold. Iraq seems ever more likely to split three ways. Fragmentation has become the default mode of Western intervention. It was so in Yugoslavia. It is so in Afghanistan.
The US and Britain apparently cannot tolerate the power centres needed to keep disparate nations in order. We may no longer divide and rule, but we happily divide and debilitate.
If this was the Pentagon's strategy all along, it has been implemented in a funny way. But since realpolitik has overtaken idealism as Washington's ruling ethos, at least an orderly break-up of Iraq should be planned, not denied.
In 20 years of meddling, the US and Britain have made a mess of this nation. They owe it the least blood-spattered path they can fashion to whatever the future has in store.
Forwarded by Ed Elkin EdElkin@aol.com>
Young David's classroom share...
In David's 3rd-grade class, the teacher one day asked the students what their fathers did for a living.
All the typical answers came up -- fireman, policeman, salesman, doctor, lawyer, etc. David, however, was being uncharacteristically quiet and so the teacher asked him about his father. "My father's an exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off all his clothes in front of other men. Sometimes, if the offer's really good, he'll go out to the alley with some guy and have sex with him for money."
A bit shaken by this statement, the teacher set the other students to work on an assignment, and then took little David aside to ask him, "David, is that really true about your father?"
"No," admitted David. "He works for the Bush administration, but I was too ashamed to say that in front of the class."
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