Meditation Focus #159

Ensuring the Survival of Democracy in the US


Hello!

What follows is the 159th Meditation Focus suggested for the next 3 (three) weeks beginning Sunday, October 22, 2006.

ENSURING THE SURVIVAL OF DEMOCRACY IN THE US

1. Summary
2. Meditation times
3. More information related to this Meditation Focus

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE IN PASSING THIS ON TO OTHERS

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Please note that the Daylight Saving Time transition, for most countries on Earth, will take place next Sunday, October 29. It will end in the Northern hemisphere, which means the local times given below for the beginning of the 30 minute meditation will be one hour earlier, and it will start for the Southern hemisphere (except in Brazil where this transition will take place on November 5), which means the local times given below for the beginning of the 30 minute meditation will be one hour later. To make sure you meditate at the same time as everyone else, go at http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst2006b.html to review the exact date of this transition for your location, as it has already taken place for several Central and South American countries, as well as for New Zealand and various other countries.

Also recommended to your attention...

The Writing on the Wall Series #51: Situation Critical on All Fronts (October 20, 2006)
http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2006/WritingWall51.htm

George The Menace #3: Psychotic Fruitcakes Armed With Nuclear Weapons Seeking Urgent Therapy (October 13, 2006)
http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2006/GeorgeTheMenace3.htm



1) SUMMARY

Midterm elections are scheduled in the United States this next November 7th. On this occasion, based on current polls and following the recent sex scandal that has tainted the reputation of the Republican Party, based also on the growing dissatisfaction with the way the Bush Administration is handling the U.S. foreign policy and because of the near complete loss of support for the continuation of the war in Iraq, it is very likely the US voters will send a clear signal and give the majority to the Democrats in the Congress and possibly even in the Senate, thus hopefully bringing back some balance in how power is used in this country. But even that is not a certainty as so many Democrats have sided in past years with Republicans on matters of national security for fear of not looking as patriotic as their counterparts in the eyes of the voters, and so a new breed of uncorrupted elected representatives with strong progressive principles would also be necessary. However, there are many hurdles that could make any such sweeping change scenario nearly impossible to achieve.

It has now been well documented that the electronic voting system to be used in 32 states can be easily tampered with to rig the results in favor of one side, as it has most certainly been the case in recent elections. Moreover, all kinds of electoral shenanigans designed to prevent voters who are likely to vote for a Democrat candidate to actually cast their vote have been used in the past and will certainly be used again. The blitz of aggressive and fear-mongering advertisements that is being done with the enormous financial resources offered to Republican candidates by corporate donors who have greatly benefited from their near complete control of the US political agenda in the past 6 years could also tilt the balance in their favor. Finally, a so-called false flag fake terrorist operation designed to heighten the sense of insecurity and create fear in the minds of voters on the eve of the vote is another trump card that could be played by those who have the most to lose if the voting public massively turns against them, because they believe people would then vote again for those who portray themselves as the sole people with the right credential to defend the homeland. Incidentally, past similar strategies designed to maintain a stalwart ally in power, such a in Spain, have been executed but led to the exact opposite as people massively refused to be influenced by such a blatant attempt at manipulating the democratic process.

Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming three weeks, and especially in synchronous attunement at the usual time this Sunday and the following two Sundays to contribute in ensuring that all precautions are taken to guarantee that not only the true will of the people will be expressed without any illegal obstruction and faithfully reflected in the electoral results, but also that no attempt will be made to prevent these elections from occurring so that a truly fair and credible democratic process and outcome is achieved. May the Forces of Light protect and support all those who can become instrumental in shifting the direction of all US policies towards peace, universal benevolence and harmony with all other nations on Earth and with this living planet and all her life forms, for the Highest Good of All.

This whole Meditation Focus has been archived for your convenience at
http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus159.htm



2. MEDITATION TIMES

i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes. Please dedicate the last few minutes of your Sunday meditation to the healing of the Earth as a whole. See the Earth as healthy and vibrant with life, and experience the healing of all relations as we awaken globally to the sacredness of all Life and to our underlying unity with All That Is.

ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

These times below correspond (for most countries) to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:

Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto & Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz & Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * & Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik & Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki & Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM

PLEASE MAKE SURE TO REVIEW THE IMPORTANT NOTICE AT THE TOP OF THIS EMAIL CONCERNING THE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME TRANSITION.

You may also check at http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?day=22&month=10&year=2006&hour=16&min=0&sec=0&p1=0 to find your corresponding local time if a nearby city is not listed above.

To review again your corresponding local time next Sunday, October 29, go at
http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?day=29&month=10&year=2006&hour=16&min=0&sec=0&p1=0



3. MORE INFORMATION RELATED TO THIS MEDITATION FOCUS

This complement of information may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to the summary description of the subject of this Meditation Focus. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mind-set, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of peace and healing. This complementary information is provided so that a greater knowledge of what needs healing and peace-nurturing vibrations may assist us to have an in-depth understanding of what is at stake and thus achieve a greater collective effectiveness.


CONTENTS

1. Seven in Ten Americans Favor Congressional Candidates Who Will Pursue a Major Change in Foreign Policy
2. Brad Blanton explains why he is quitting the race for Congress
3. "Hacking Democracy" Debuts on HBO November 2nd
4. Jose Padilla and the Military Commissions Act
5. Something To Lift Hearts In Tough Times - In The Land Of Pumpkins And Smoke


See also:


Dems holding leads in many pivotal races (Oct 21)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061021/ap_on_el_ge/election_stakes_1;_ylt=AkjxO8ZHvIrhKDXTFc17IybJ76Mv;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl
WASHINGTON - Democrats hold solid leads for four of the six Republican seats they need to capture the Senate and about 10 of 15 required to win the House, according to officials in both parties. Numerous additional races remain highly competitive. After two weeks of adverse publicity linked to the Mark Foley scandal, public and private polling suggested partial recovery for some endangered Republican incumbents, and senior party officials made a concerted effort to project confidence.

Sex scandals dominate midterm elections (Oct 21)
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061021/ap_on_el_ge/campaign_sex_scandals_1
WASHINGTON - Cover your eyes, kids, it's time to round up a few of this week's headlines from the midterm elections. (...) There's plenty of evidence, if any is needed, that people are turned off by the taint on politics. Scandal and corruption rank among the top concerns for likely voters, with three-fourths saying those issues are very important to them personally and almost half saying they will be very important in their vote, according to Associated Press-Ipsos polling. Democratic pollster Peter Hart said the Foley scandal "cut right to the quick" with voters because it had to do with protecting children and with politicians who put their own interests ahead of the minors. And that scandal has made voters more sensitive about alleged dalliances involving other candidates in both parties, he said. CLIP

Absentees may exceed voters at polls this year (10/21/2006)
http://www.insidebayarea.com/trivalleyherald/ci_4529115
SACRAMENTO — Surging demand to vote by mail could mean that for the first time more Californians will cast absentee ballots this November than will actually vote at the polls on Election Day.Once the domain of overseas travelers and homebound seniors, absentee voting has been made easier by changes in state laws, and busy voters have jumped at the chance to save time and still have their voices heard.As we all get more and more hectic lives, absentee is a very attractive way to vote, said Tim Hodson, executive director of the Center for California Studies at California State University, Sacramento. Two decades ago, only 9 percent of general election voting was by absentee. By last years special election, absentee voting was up to 40 percent, and in the June primary to nearly 47 percent. We can expect the November general election will have even higher numbers requesting and subsequently casting absentee ballots throughout the state, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson wrote last week.But experts warn the trend hasmade campaigns longer and more expensive and raised new concerns about privacy and security.(...) Voting by mail also depends on the postal service, and McPherson recently expressed concerns about such costs this year. In at least 15 counties, McPherson said, the ballot is so big that it will cost 63 cents to mail rather than the standard 39 cents. That has McPherson concerned voters will use insufficient postage and their ballots will be returned to them. McPherson has asked the U.S. Postal Service to work with local county election officials to ensure heavier ballots with insufficient postage are delivered on time. CLIP

It’s Voter-Fooling Time in America (October 20, 2006)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/20/opinion/20fri2.html
The homestretch of the campaign season historically puts treacherous distortions of the truth before the voters, none more so this year than a mysterious California letter informing thousands of Latino-Americans that immigrants have no right to vote. “You are advised,” begins the Spanish-language letter, dripping with authority, that if “you’re an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that can result in incarceration.” It now appears that someone in a Republican Congressional campaign conjured a contemporary spin on a classic scare tactic from torchlight politics.Comparable outrages surface daily now, with an ad for black voters in six states misrepresenting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s politics in a staged chat between two black women: “Dr. King was a real man,” says one actress. “You know he was a Republican,” the other chimes in. CLIP

Republican Edge on Security Wanes as Elections Near
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102106X.shtml
Republicans skillfully parlayed the threat of terrorism into victories in back-to-back elections. However, political analysts say the public's overall dissatisfaction with the Republican-controlled Congress and the Bush administration is diluting the once potent argument. The continuing carnage in Iraq and criticism from some Republican lawmakers about the conflict undercut the party's strong-on-security message.

To the Voters: Do not give into fear; listen to the whisperings of our Founding Fathers (Oct 19)
http://www.bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=13854
(...) Do not give into Bush, Mehlman and the GOP’s use of fear tactics, just sit quietly and let the founding fathers speak to you. They will tell you that this country needs a change in direction and it will not come from the GOP. They will also tell you that should both houses remain in GOP control; we will fall even more down the darkened abyss.The destiny and fate of what is left of this country now is within your hands and with that said, all I will say is that the GOP must be stopped if we are truly to remain a safe country.

Part II: Our Rigged Elections (Oct 15)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/101906O.shtml
The GOP Playbook: How to steal the vote. (...) "Counting" the Vote - However they may seek to validate the electoral fraud, the Bush bunch are now in a superb position to effect it. First of all, computerized voting and vote-counting are today far more extensive than they were two years ago, thanks to the relentless efforts of the GOP, the e-voting manufacturers and not a few compliant Democrats. (...) Eleventh-Hour Plan - Such journalistic silence makes it all the likelier that the Republicans will get away with it again - although it's also possible, of course, that they will somehow fail to steal it on Election Day. Chance, accident, imperial over-reaching and/or popular resistance can thwart the best-laid plans. If that should happen, though, the party has a plan to fix the problem; and the press's eerie silence on the danger of election fraud could help that strategy succeed. If the GOP should lose the House or Senate, its troops will mount a noisy propaganda drive accusing their opponents of election fraud. This is no mere speculation, according to a well-placed party operative who lately told talk radio host Thom Hartmann, off the record, that the game will be to shriek indignantly that those dark-hearted Democrats have fixed the race. We will hear endlessly of Democratic "voter fraud" through phantom ballots, rigged machines, intimidation tactics, and all the other tricks whereby the Bush regime has come to power. The regime will, in short, deploy the ultimate Swift Boat maneuver to turn around as many races as they need so as to nullify the will of the electorate. CLIP Part I: The Elephant in the Polling Booth is also available at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/101906O.shtml

Gasoline Price Manipulation Before the Elections
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/stojan1.html
Is Goldman Sachs manipulating the gasoline futures market to push prices down before the November elections? It sure looks that way. - An article appeared this Saturday in the New York Times pointing to some unusual trading by Goldman Sachs in the gasoline futures market. As Raymond Keller, who spotted the article, points out http://www.kellerkomments.com/2006/10/gasoline-price-manipulation.html , "They always hide the good stuff in the low circulation Saturday edition." (...) Unleaded gasoline made up 8.72 percent of Goldman’s commodity index as of June 30, but it is just 2.3 percent now, representing a sell-off of more than $6 billion in futures contract weighting. A sell-off of more than $6 billion in gasoline futures contracts? Let’s put it this way, a $6 billion trade is not decided on at the lower levels of the firm. Keller provides some insight into the curious timing of this trade: President George W. Bush nominated Henry M. Paulson, Jr. to be the 74th Secretary of the Treasury on June 19, 2006. The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Paulson to the position on June 28, 2006 and he was sworn into office on July 10, 2006. Before coming to Treasury, Paulson was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs. So what does Goldman do just weeks after Paulson is sworn in as Treasury Secretary? It announces a subtle move that drives down gasoline prices, short-term. Nice move, coming just months before the election. Now it may be hard to swallow for some that market manipulations go on, but they do at all levels. CLIP

"Official" 9/11 story On Life support; The Truth is Taking Over (October 16, 2006) http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_john_per_061016_the_truth_is_taking_.htm
The gutless purveyors of fraud trying to shout down the 9/11 Truth movement are not going to like this news. The "official" story is on life support, and the prognosis is not good.A new New York Times/CBS poll reveals that only 16 percent of Americans think they're being told the whole truth about 9/11, down from 21 percent in May of 2002. Over this same period, the number who believe the administration is "hiding something" has actually decreased from 65 to 53 percent, which might seem odd, but only until you take into account that the ranks of those who think the Bush crime family is "mostly lying" has skyrocketed from 8 to 28 percent. Feelings are getting stronger. Skepticism is giving way to certainty. The 9/11 Truth Movement is growing exponentially. (...) It might also interest you to know that the executive director of the supposedly independent 9/11 Commission was a man named Philip Zelikow, who also happens to have served on the Bush transition team, penned Bush's preemptive war strategy, and co-written a book with his close friend Condoleezza Rice. The 9/11 Commission is a complete farce. Three thousand people died on 9/11 and nobody in government got so much as a slap on the wrist. Anybody who refers to this group's "investigation" as confirmation of the "official story" of 9/11 is either under-informed or lying. There is much more on this aspect of the 9/11 cover up in the must-see new film "9/11 Press for Truth", which you can watch for free, in its entirety, right here. - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5589099104255077250

‘US might consider Iran strike’ (10/20/2006)
http://www.asianage.com/main.asp?layout=2&cat1=3&cat2=245&newsid=253307&RF=DefaultMain
Berkeley, Oct. 20: With North Korea threatening more nuclear weapons tests, officials in Washington have placed the option of a military attack back on the table as they consider ways to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons, experts say. Until recently, analysts agreed it was very unlikely that the United States — which is spending over $4.5 billion a month on the conflict in Iraq — would take unilateral action to strike nuclear facilities in Iran, opening another front in West Asia. But some influential circles in Washington are now reconsidering the military option, according to Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian-American Council and among the foremost US-based scholars on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. "Since it cannot punish North Korea, the Bush administration will intensify efforts to prevent the Iranians from developing atomic weapons," Mr Parsi, a former US government adviser, said. "Iran is in a fairly strong position but if the current situation continues, I can see a military attack happening within months, possibly at the beginning of 2007," he said. CLIP

US Plan for New Nuclear Weapons Advances
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102106C.shtml
The United States took another step yesterday toward building a new stockpile of up to 2,200 deployed nuclear weapons that would last well into the 21st century, announcing the start of a multi-year process to repair and replace facilities where they would be developed and assembled and where older warheads could be more rapidly dismantled.

Medics beg for help as Iraqis die needlessly
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15368.htm
Half of all deaths preventable, say country's medics Reconstruction seen as disaster More than 2,000 doctors and nurses are killed 18,000 more leave the nation - Even the most basic treatments are lacking.

Iraq 'hiding true casualty figures'
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15361.htm
THE Iraqi Government has told medical authorities not to reveal to the UN the true extent of civilian casualties in the country's conflict, French newspaper Le Monde said today.

Hospitals now a battleground in the bloody civil war
http://comment.independent.co.uk/commentators/article1904932.ece
Iraqi hospitals are dangerous places. Policemen and soldiers carry their wounded comrades into operating theatres and demand immediate treatment, forcing doctors at gunpoint to abandon operations on civilians before they are completed.

White House Resists Major Course Change in Iraq
http://tinyurl.com/y639nm
President Bush will resist election-year pressure for a major shift in strategy in Iraq, the White House said on Friday, despite growing doubts among Americans and anxiety over the war among Republican lawmakers.

Iraq Mayhem Triggers Hunt for Exit Strategy
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102106A.shtml
Frantic efforts are under way in Washington and London to find an exit strategy for Iraq as a renewed surge in violence led Bush to admit yesterday that tactics there might need to change. Diplomats and politicians in both capitals are desperately reviewing and debating options that were once regarded as unthinkable.

No, Iraq Is Not Vietnam
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102106G.shtml
"The Tet Offensive analogy is misleading. Iraq is more complex, and may prove to be far more damaging, than America's most traumatic foreign misadventure," according to Tony Karon.

"Recently a number of active duty Sailors and Marines started a project to give current service members a voice in the call to bring our troops home from Iraq. They initiated an APPEAL FOR REDRESS to be delivered to Congress. According to their website http://www.appealforredress.org "Many active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation." The text of the APPEAL FOR REDRESS is short, simple, patriotic and respectful in tone: As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home. This appeal gives current service members a concrete, legal way to let their voices be heard. See http://www.appealforredress.org/php/legal.php for more information about the legal basis for this APPEAL FOR REDRESS. CLIP - Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson for Military Families Speak Out: http://www.mfso.org - http://www.bringthemhomenow.org

If it comes to a shooting war ... (April 20, 2006)
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/HD20Ad03.html
One could call this article a worst-case scenario for the new American century. (...) In less than an hour after launching the saturation barrage of missiles on the US and UK naval armada, all the aircraft carriers and their escorts of cruisers, battleships and several of the accompanying submarines are in flames, sinking or sunk, turning the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea into a modern-day "Battle of Cannae".(...) The US may possess the most powerful war machine in the world, but it can be defeated by an inferior force by avoiding the superpower's strength and exploiting its weaknesses. (...) The sad part for the American people, particularly the innocent sailors who will be manning the battle groups, is that even if US planners come to realize that the aircraft carrier battle groups (which are the mainstay of the US Navy and the main instrument of US power projection worldwide), have been rendered vulnerable or obsolete by China's assassin's mace. (...) In just a few hours (or days) after the outbreak of general hostilities, America, the world's lone superpower, finds itself badly crippled militarily in three major regions of the world: East Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Impossible? Unfortunately, the answer is no. China now has the know-how and the financial resources to mass-produce hundreds, if not thousands, of Moskit, Yakhont and Granit-type supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles and "squall"-type rocket torpedoes against which US and UK aircraft carriers and submarines have no known defense. (...) The alternate road, on the other hand, leads to world leadership. The US can choose to use its power, wealth and influence to sincerely do good for the people on this planet. It can lead in easing or obliterating the debt burden of poor nations, or in promoting the spread of quality education through distance learning in remote villages of developing countries. It can focus in the fight against poverty, or the fight against drugs, or the effort to save the deteriorating environment of planet earth. It can lead the fight against HIV/AIDS, or malaria and other deadly diseases. The whole world is waiting for the US to lead in these important battles. If the US chooses to focus its huge resources on the latter, I am confident that it will gain the hearts and minds of people all over the world. Then it can be a true world leader. CLIP Recommended by EdElkin@aol.com who wrote: "A detailed and chilling perspective on what could happen if the US government "stays the course" that the current administration is pursuing. It is time for "regime change" in America."

FULL Coverage by Yahoo on the Midterm Elections 2006
http://news.yahoo.com/fc/US/Midterm_Elections_2006;_ylt=AkDoDq9VzOHUTrg3SRl_38qs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2ZGZwam4yBHNlYwNmYw--

The Longhouse Coalition - Site worth reviewing - The Longhouse coalition is acting to give a true choice to the people, a chance to end "Corporate or Corporate-lite" politics.
http://www.LonghouseCoalition.org
Check the Longhouse Coalition website to get the latest developments - many new candidates have joined this coalition as you can see through http://www.longhousecoalition.org/WhoWeAre.pdf
America's home-grown version of Poland's Solidarity, a grassroots movement to free America and the world of the despotic Bush regime, and their corporatista cronies. We're united by a platform that heals many wrongs, that wasn't crafted to meet with the approval of corporatistas and political bosses, just the best interests of the common people, animals, and Mother Earth. Check also this Longhouse Coalition Call (October 12, 2006)
http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2006/LongHouseCoalition.htm




1.

From: http://65.109.167.118/pipa/articles/home_page/262.php?nid=&id=&pnt=262&lb=hmpg1

Seven in Ten Americans Favor Congressional Candidates Who Will Pursue a Major Change in Foreign Policy

U.S. Public Wants Less Emphasis on Military Force, More on Working Through U.N.

A Majority Supports Direct Talks with North Korea and Iran

October 19, 2006

Full Report at http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/oct06/SecurityFP_Oct06_rpt.pdf

Going into the November midterm elections, seven in ten Americans say they prefer Congressional candidates who will pursue a new approach to U.S. foreign policy. A new nationwide survey finds a large and growing majority of Americans is dissatisfied with the position of the United States in the world. Most Americans believe that U.S. policies are increasing the threat of terrorist attack and decreasing goodwill toward the United States.

The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA)/Knowledge Networks poll also finds that large majorities of Americans feel that the United States puts too much emphasis on military force and unilateral action. Most say they want their member of Congress to work to shift the emphasis of U.S. foreign policy in favor of diplomacy, multilateral cooperation, and homeland security.

They also stress the need for programs to reduce the United States’ dependence on oil. When given the opportunity to reshape the foreign policy budget, respondents redistribute spending from military programs to other methods of pursuing security.

“It is a rare year that foreign policy takes center stage in Congressional elections. Voters are calling for a sea change in U.S. foreign policy. They want less emphasis on military force, and more on soft power,” said Steven Kull, director of PIPA and editor of WorldPublicOpinion.org.

On the question of how to deal with the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, a majority of respondents disagrees with the Bush administration’s refusal to seek direct talks. Fifty-five percent say the United States should enter into talks without preconditions.

The poll was fielded by Knowledge Networks, which surveyed 1,058 people from Oct. 6-15. It finds a sharp increase in the proportion of Americans who express concern about their country’s standing in the world. Two out of three Americans (68%) say they are “dissatisfied with the position of the United States in the world today,” up 17 points from a February Gallup poll. The Bush administration’s handling of foreign affairs gets poor marks with majorities saying that it has increased the likelihood of terrorist attacks against the United States (60%) and has decreased goodwill (78%).

Many see the United States’ current foreign policy as out of balance. Sixty-five percent say that the Bush administration is “too quick to get military forces involved” and 67 percent say that it should “put more emphasis on diplomatic and economic methods.” Large majorities favor putting greater emphasis on non-military forms of pursuing security such as working to reduce U.S. dependence on oil (84%), coordinating intelligence and law enforcement efforts with other countries (83%), working through the United Nations to strengthen international anti-terrorism law and enforcement (71%), and building goodwill toward the United States by providing food and medical assistance to people in poor countries (57%).

Far less popular are approaches such as building new nuclear weapons (25%) or helping dissidents try to overthrow the government of Iran (28%).

Americans show a strong preference for Congressional candidates who would seek to increase multilateral cooperation. Seventy-two percent say they would prefer candidates who believe that “the U.S. should do its share in efforts to solve international problems together with other countries.” Much less popular are candidates who want the United States to “continue to be the preeminent world leader” (9% support) or to “withdraw from most efforts to solve international problems” (16%).

Using an innovative survey technique, respondents were allowed to redistribute spending within the existing foreign policy budget. The poll shows that Americans would make sharp changes.

• On average they favor cutting spending on military items by $198 billion, or 36 percent, from 2006 levels, and reducing spending for military operations in Iraq by $18 billion.

• Americans favor increasing spending on preparation for disasters by an average of $40 billion. They also support more funding for energy conservation and renewables ($39 billion), humanitarian and disaster assistance ($19 billion), initiatives to control the global spread of HIV/AIDS ($25 billion), helping poor countries develop their economies ($17 billion), and programs to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons by helping countries secure nuclear materials ($16 billion).

Americans of both parties are critical of partisanship in the U.S. Congress, according to the survey. Majorities want a Congress that seeks common ground and does more to oversee foreign policy.

• A large majority (90%) rejects the view that the best way to arrive at foreign policy is for each party to fight for what they think is best, favoring instead Democrats and Republicans trying to find common ground.

• Seven in ten (71%) prefer that the views of the American people as a whole influence U.S. foreign policy more than the views of the majority of their own party.

• Republicans (52%), Democrats (85%) and Independents (76%) all disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job.

• Majorities also say that “the way the Bush Administration has been conducting foreign policy” has decreased good will toward the U.S.: This sentiment is shared by Republicans (64%), Democrats (89%) and Independents (76%).

• Fifty-three percent overall feel that Congress is not doing enough to oversee U.S foreign policy, while 21 percent say it is doing too much, and 17 percent say it is doing the right amount of oversight.

• Two-thirds (65%) say that the U.S. government plays on people’s fears too much when it justifies its foreign policies to the American people.

The poll was fielded by Knowledge Networks, using its nationwide panels, which are randomly selected from the entire adult population and subsequently provided internet access. For more information about this methodology, go to http://www.knowledgenetworks.com/ganp




2.

From: "Brad" brad@radicalhonesty.com>
Subject: NEWS
Date: 21 Oct 2006

Dear Friends,

Please read the attached notice of my withdrawal from the race in Virginia as a candidate for Congress.

Thanks, 

Brad Blanton

---

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I have news. I am quitting the race for Congress and lending my support to my former Democrat opponent Jim Nachman. I hope all of the work we have put in over the last two years can still be focused on defeating Eric Cantor, George Allen and the other Bushite idiots. I am withdrawing from the race and will continue campaigning and working for Jim Nachman until Nov. 7.

Don’t vote for me. I withdraw. I quit. My name is on the ballot, but I am asking you to ignore it and Vote for Democrat Jim Nachman and help him defeat Eric Cantor.

Without full public financing of campaigns we will never have fair elections. Cantor has bribed everyone who has local community influence very well. Most, if not all, of the sheriffs of the 12 counties in District 7 are bought and many local small time politicos have been paid off as well. Without ten times the amount of money I was able to raise I didn’t have a chance in hell of winning—because the system is set up to guarantee that the amount of money it takes to win a campaign preserves the tradition of moneyed interests controlling government. The amount needed to win is great enough that any candidate who could win is already so much a part of the system in the first place in order to run; they are not likely to significantly change the system. People with great ideas that solve problems and help millions of people cannot get their ideas across without money. People with money with dumb ideas can. Take a look at the imbeciles we have. Without full public financing we will never have fair elections and never elect anyone who hasn’t already bought into the system, except for occasional accidents.

Jim Nachman has hardly any chance of winning, even adding together my Independent supporters and the support of the Democratic Party, because he doesn’t have enough money either. Clearly, he is not corrupt enough. Cantor is as corrupt as they come—Abramoff, Delay, Foley corrupt—and he will probably win because he is corrupt. He has a million dollars cash on hand spreading his lies. Don’t vote for Eric Cantor. Don’t vote for Brad Blanton. Vote for Jim Nachman. I support Jim Nachman for Congress. I am giving him some money and telling all my friends. Give him some money and tell your friends. Maybe an accident will happen. Thanks. Dr. Brad Blanton, former Candidate for Congress.

P.S. Jim Nachman is opposing Eric Cantor for his support for the Iraq war - while cutting veterans benefits, giving billions of dollars in tax cuts to big oil and the super rich, slashing funds for education, and running up the biggest deficit in American history - making it clear that Cantor is not working for us, he’s working for the corporations that keep him in power.

I have walked the entire length of the district from Stanley to Richmond just before I quit for lack of money. There are a lot of good hearted but ignorant people in our district. We need to bring out the truth about Cantor’s record. People care about the issues but have no idea what has been happening to the country while these liars are in control. Jim is running to change the way things are done in Washington, and to get our government working for us. He will work for universal health care, invest in alternative energy, end our dependency on foreign oil, and find solutions to bring our troops out of Iraq. With less than a month until the election on Nov. 7, we need to raise a ton of money to pay for TV and radio ads to get our message out.

We need an independent, progressive voice in Congress, working to level the playing field after six years of increasing corporate control of our government. Working families, the individual, the consumer and the environment have been swept aside, as corporations making record profits nuzzle up to the trough with lobbyists in tow. Jim Nachman will work to bring about campaign finance reform and end the control of government by lobbyists.

Big corporations are out of control, in large part because they control government and have undermined its responsibility to defend the people. The corporations are counting on our patriotism to distract you from their plunder. They’re counting on you to stand at attention with your hand over your heart, pledging allegiance to the flag, while they pick your pocket. Terrorists can’t destroy our democracy, but we can, simply be surrendering it, by keeping our mouths shut while Bush-Cheney-Gonzales-Cantor take away our rights “for our own good”.

If you're as sick of this state of affairs as I am, please join our campaign by contributing as generously as you can by going to www.jimnachmanforcongress.com/

Thanks for all your help and support for my campaign up until now, and thanks in advance for your support of Jim Nachman from here on in. We’ve got three weeks to make a difference in American history. 

Brad Blanton’s website is at http://www.blantonforcongress.com/
Check also http://www.radicalhonesty.com/ for the various books written by Brad Blanton




3.

From: http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_press_re_061017__22hacking_democracy_22_.htm

October 17, 2006 at 17:03:04

"Hacking Democracy" Debuts on HBO November 2nd

"HACKING DEMOCRACY" DEBUTS ON HBO NOV. 2nd

Executive Producer Earl Katz and Public Interest Pictures' are proud to announce that HACKING DEMOCRACY, a documentary that exposes gaping holes in the security of America's electronic voting system, will debut on HBO THURSDAY, NOV. 2 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT) – less than a week before the midterm elections.

From a current congressional hearing to persistent media reports that suggest misuse of data and even outright fraud, concerns over the integrity of electronic voting continue to grow daily. And if our voting process is not secure, neither is America's democracy.

In 2002, Seattle grandmother and writer Bev Harris asked officials in her county why they had acquired electronic touch screen systems for their elections. Unsatisfied with their explanation, she set out to learn about electronic voting machines on her own. In the course of her research, she unearthed hundreds of reported incidents of mishandled voting information. Harris also discovered a treasure trove of information about the inner-workings of Diebold Corporation's voting system.

Diebold software, or other software like it, is installed in thousands of counties across 32 states. In Florida, Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho presided over a trial "mini-election" to see if the Diebold system could be hacked without being detected. Computer analyst Harri Hursti "stuffed the ballot box" by entering votes on the computer's memory card and proved that by accessing a memory card before an election, someone could change the results – a claim Diebold had denied was possible.

HACKING DEMOCRACY features interviews with other computer-science experts, politicians and activists, among them: Andy Stephenson, candidate for secretary of state in Washington state; Susan Bernecker, Republican candidate in New Orleans; Kathleen Wynne, an activist from Cleveland; and Hugh Thompson, director, Security Innovations, Inc. Academics, public officials and others seen in interview footage include: Deanie Low, supervisor of elections, Volusia County, Fla.; Mark Radke, marketing director of Diebold; David Cobb, presidential candidate, Green Party; Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Ohio; and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California.

Ultimately, HACKING DEMOCRACY proves that the top-secret computerized systems counting the votes in America's public elections are not only fallible, but also vulnerable to undetectable hacking, from local school board contests to the presidential race. With the electronic voting machines of three companies – Diebold, ESS and Sequoia – collectively responsible for around 80 percent of America's votes today, the stakes for democracy are high.

Earl Katz first became involved with electronic voting in 2003 when Thom Hartmann turned him onto the issue. Since then, Earl has e-mailed and discussed the issue with all the opinion makers he knew until they recognized and understood the dangers of e-voting.

CLIP - Read the rest at http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_press_re_061017__22hacking_democracy_22_.htm

---

See also:

200 Reasons to Worry
http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/link.html?id=24548
Machines, Palast says, are part of a larger picture. "The liberal blogeratti are all aflutter about the dangers of touch-screen voting. That's the least of the problems, a distraction, a fake-out. In the two years leading to the 2004 pres. race, PA rejected 661,937 registration applications, one out of three, one of the highest rejection rates in the nation. So they've got you distracted while they're bleaching the voter rolls white."

The Saddam verdict -- A November surprise? (October 20, 2006)
http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/diarypage.php?did=2034
An article from The Nation tells us that "[t]he US-backed special tribunal in Baghdad signalled Monday that it will likely delay a verdict in the first trial of Saddam Hussein to November 5." How convenient. The article goes on to ask, "Why hasn't the mainstream media connected the dots between the Saddam's judgment day and the midterm elections?" Indeed.Saddam will surely be found guilty, and will likely get the death penalty. Will that influence the American voters when they head to the polls two days later? And is the average American voter stupid enough to be swayed by something like this? (The latter, of course, is a rhetorical question.) Karl Rove couldn't have done better himself.

Why the tide is turning on the voting machine issue (October 21, 2006)
http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/diarypage.php?did=2038
After the 2004 elections, when pundits questioned the integrity of the electronic voting machines, the Republicans responded by saying that the machines are accurate and everyone should just get over it. They were content because the results were in their favor.But now they're changing their tune. Republicans appeared on cable news talk shows en masse yesterday to declare their discomfort with the voting machines, and to tell us that we need a paper trail. Why? Probably because of an article in yesterday's Washington Post, which reported that "[d]isks containing what appears to be software code used in Maryland's touchscreen voting machines in 2004 were delivered anonymously to a former state legislator." That former state legislator just happens to be a Democrat. Funny how things change when the shoe is on the other foot.

Giving Osama What He Really Wants (October 21, 2006)
http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_robert_p_061021_giving_osama_what_he.htm
The Republican National Committee has released a new campaign ad to rally the GOP base and other voters by showing threatening quotes from al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden followed by the pitch: "These are the stakes. Vote Nov. 7."President George W. Bush has flogged the same theme in lashing Democrats who favor a military withdrawal from Iraq. CLIP

MANY MORE entries on the 2006 Elections at
http://www.opednews.com/maxwrite/showsubjects.php?tid=/2006+Elections




4.

From: http://www.fff.org/comment/com0610f.asp

Jose Padilla and the Military Commissions Act

by Jacob G. Hornberger, October 18, 2006

Anyone who hoped that U.S. military detention of Americans accused of terrorism expired with the transfer of American citizen Jose Padilla from military custody to Justice Department custody have seen their hopes dashed by the Military Commissions Act that the president signed into law yesterday. Although the act limits to foreign citizens the use of military tribunals and the denial of habeas corpus, any person, including American citizens, can still be labeled and treated as an “unlawful enemy combatant” in the war on terrorism.


What does that mean for the American people? It means the same thing it did for Jose Padilla. You’ll recall that Padilla was arrested in Chicago for terrorism and transferred to military custody, where, according to Padilla, he was tortured and involuntarily injected with drugs.

The government’s position is that since the entire world is a battlefield in which the war on terrorism is being waged, U.S. officials now have the power to arrest any American suspected of terrorism, place him in military custody, and subject him to the same “unlawful enemy combatant” treatment that Padilla received, until the war on terrorism has finally been won, no matter how long that takes.

You’ll recall that the government’s position was that Padilla, as an “unlawful enemy combatant” suspected of having committed terrorist acts, was not entitled to the procedural rights guaranteed to criminal defendants in the Bill of Rights, including the rights to counsel, due process, and trial by jury.

The district court ruled in favor of Padilla at his habeas corpus hearing, but the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision, upholding the government’s “unlawful enemy combatant” argument for Padilla and, by implication, all other Americans.

Before the Supreme Court could rule on Padilla’s appeal from the Second Circuit’s decision, the government announced that it wished to transfer him from military control to federal-court control on the basis of a grand jury indictment charging him with terrorism. The Supreme Court permitted the transfer and declined to hear Padilla’s appeal because the case was now “moot,” given that Padilla was no longer being held by the military but instead was being held by the Justice Department as a criminal defendant. That left the Second Circuit decision upholding the “unlawful enemy combatant” designation intact.

Even if Padilla is acquitted in the federal-court action, there is little doubt that the Pentagon will immediately take him back into military custody as an “unlawful enemy combatant” in the war on terrorism, requiring Padilla to once again embark, in a habeas corpus proceeding, on a long legal journey to the Supreme Court.

Currently, under the Second Circuit’s decision in Padilla, and now also under the Military Commissions Act, the president has the power to order the military arrest and incarcerate any number of Americans suspected of terrorism. Americans would still have the right to file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in federal court because the Military Commissions Act cancelled that right only for foreigners, not Americans. Keep in mind, however, that a habeas corpus hearing is not a full-blown trial to determine guilt or innocence but is simply designed to determine whether the government has legal justification for holding a prisoner. All the government would have to do at the habeas corpus hearings is provide some evidence that the Americans it is holding in military custody have engaged in some act of terrorism and then cite the Second Circuit opinion and the Military Commissions Act in support of its power to continue detaining them.

Of course, the cases would ultimately go to the Supreme Court, but that would inevitably entail a lengthy delay, a period of time during which lots of Americans could be tortured, abused, and even “accidentally” killed, just as foreign “unlawful enemy combatants” in U.S. military custody have been. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will rule against the government.

How does an American who is labeled an enemy combatant ultimately get tried? Answer: he doesn’t. Under the Military Commissions Act, trial by military tribunal is limited to foreigners. So, even though Americans still have the use of habeas corpus (so far) to test whether their detention is lawful, if the Supreme Court ultimately upholds the “unlawful enemy combatant” designation for people accused of terrorism, Americans will be returned to indefinite military custody as “unlawful enemy combatants” if the government has provided some evidence of terrorism at the habeas corpus hearing.

The irony is that while foreigners will be accorded the kangaroo tribunal treatment, Americans accused of terrorism will continue to languish in military prison indefinitely without the benefit of a trial. Of course, given that the tribunals will have the power to impose the death penalty, Americans might do well not to complain about their indefinite detention.

---

Mr. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He will be among the 22 speakers at FFF’s upcoming conference on June 1-4 in Reston, Virginia: “Restoring the Constitution: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties” (http://www.fff.org/whatsNew/conference.htm)

---

See also:

Padilla Was Drugged, Threatened by Authorities, His Lawyers Say
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aLBHCJFR1BmI&refer=home
Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Lawyers for accused terrorism supporter Jose Padilla say U.S. authorities drugged him with LSD or PCP, filled his cell with ''noxious fumes'' and threatened to slash him with a knife while he was being held without charges.In court papers seeking dismissal of charges against Padilla, his lawyers said the abuse occurred after President George W. Bush declared him an ''enemy combatant'' following his arrest in 2002. The designation allowed Padilla, a U.S. citizen, to be held without being charged with a crime for three years and five months. ''The torture took myriad forms, each designed to cause pain, anguish, depression and, ultimately, the loss of will to live,'' according to the court document filed Oct. 4 in federal court in Miami. CLIP

ICRC "concerned" over US anti-terrorism law (October 19, 2006)
http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/front/detail/ICRC_concerned_over_US_anti_terrorism_law.html?siteSect=105&sid=7179717&cKey=1161330394000
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) expressed concern on Thursday at the United States' tough new anti-terrorism law.The president of Swiss-run humanitarian body, Jakob Kellenberger, said that there were questions over its compliance with the Geneva Conventions on the conduct of war. The Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed by President Bush on Tuesday, allows for tough CIA interrogation techniques and military trials for terrorism suspects. But in an interview posted on the ICRC website, Kellenberger said the law was too vague about which detainees could be covered and did not explicitly exclude the use of evidence extracted by force in trials.He warned that the legislation could also weaken basic guarantees given under the Geneva Conventions which are supposed to protect everybody from humiliating and degrading treatment. CLIP NOTE: Apparently, the International Committee of the Red Cross is issuing here only its second ever in history “concern” regarding the actions of a warring Nation - the first “concern” issued by the ICRC was in 1944 over the Nazi German treatment of concentration camp detainees...

U.S. Army North up and running (October 17, 2006)
http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2274936.php
Staff report U.S. Army North, the Army’s newest service component command reached full operational capability Monday, which means that it is fully manned, equipped and ready to assume its mission. As part of Army transformation, USARNORTH was formed to become the dedicated Army service component command to Northern Command, the unified command responsible for defending the homeland and coordinating defense support of civil authorities. Located at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, USARNORTH achieved initial operating capability in September 2005, and is responsible for specific missions, including:• Execute homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities missions.• Provide training and readiness oversight of certified weapons of mass destruction—civil support teams.• Conduct the Army-to-Army portion of the theater cooperation mission with Canada and Mexico.• Coordinate the activities of defense coordinating officers and their elements assigned in each Federal Emergency Management Agency region.• Organize up to two task forces that, with augmentation, can become joint task forces and deploy within the operational area to command and control Department of Defense forces responding to homeland defense or civil support operations. For the past 12 months, USARNORTH has been building its organization, readiness and mission capability. USARNORTH officially assumed the Army component command duties from Forces Command on Oct. 1. NOTE: What this ominous news means is that is martial law is declared, the US Army is now ready to implement it. The US would then be under a military dictatorship.

The military commissions act is a powerful bill?
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061010191436AAbAyyj
So if as a member of the military, I come to your house, arrest you and your family, without reason, bail or trial. Then incarcerate you for 2 or 3 years and tell you that it is for reasons of national security you wont mind at all because it is necessary. TRUE OR FALSE. -- Best Answer - Chosen By Voters: yup, that's false. In plain language, since the bills are deliberately obfuscatory in language. It does away with constitutional rights if the executive office decides that you are supporting terrorism in any way. That can include disagreeing with what the executive says. It suspends the right to a speedy trial, the right to trial by a jury of your peers, and if they say they think you may have had some involvement with torture, it legalizes torture and overrides the torture bill of 2005. Habeas Corpus is suspended, you do not have the right to face your accusers or to see the evidence against you, and in fact there need be no evidence. All this can be used against U.S. citizens if martial law is declared or in the absence of martial law. if you have been classed as aiding terrorism in any way. And that is the biggest danger in the bill, it gives the Executive Branch the apparent power to make you a "terrorist" with the wave of a hand and in the best tradition of totalitarianism, you just disappear. The Geneva Convention, which applies to captured enemy military is overridden ex post facto to cover war crimes already committed and any that may be. Though verbiage in the bills purports to demonstrate constitutionality, the bill is anti-constitutional and a good prelude to dictatorship. To top it all off, the bill has language in it that supposedly excludes it from being reviewed bay any court. To my mind that makes the bill a de facto amendment to the Constitution, and hence void.

Olbermann, The Day Habeas Corpus Died (2006.10.17)
http://www.crooksandliars.com/2006/10/17/olbermann-the-day-habeas-corpus-died/
(...) Turley: "People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system.—The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It's otherworldly. People clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I'm not too sure we're gonna change back anytime soon."

On the short list (10/20/2006)
http://www.timesonline.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17354728&BRD=2305&PAG=461&dept_id=478566&rfi=6
The United States was founded during a war of rebellion; it was a revolutionary war. The dangers our founding fathers faced were very real, including hanging. Did they run from this danger? No. They stood firm and created our Constitution, the envy of the people of the world. Today, most elected federal-officials think "we the people" do not need the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Why? We have a president who, with a signing statement, declares the laws of the land do not apply to him. How can this happen?Where are U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter and U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart? They are standing beside him and saying, "Yes, Mr. President, you are above the law." The fear-mongers are running rampant, saying we do not need the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Ask the Japanese-Americans who were interned. This is a nice word for being put in a concentration camp during World War II. Their crime was being Americans of Japanese decent. Could this happen today? Yes. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 did away with the writ of habeas corpus, which has varied uses in criminal and civil contexts. It is a procedure for obtaining a judicial determination of the legality of an individual's custody. What Santorum, Specter and Hart did was give the government the right to detain anyone as an "unlawful enemy combatant." Yes, you and I, and we have no rights under this law. So to those of you who do not vote, sit and watch TV, the government does not care about you. You're pacified. To those who claim the title "citizen" and question the president's leadership on the war and prisoner policy, we are on the short list. - Stephen F. Kislock III - Beaver Falls




5.

Date: 21 Oct 2006
From: Daniel Stafford aqmstaffo@mailbag.com>
Subject: Something To Lift Hearts In Tough Times - In The Land Of Pumpkins And Smoke

Dear Jean,

I hope you take this in the spirit it is meant. I know you feel poetry is frivolous to some degree, but I really think people need to hear and understand this message if the tone of your compilations is to escalate into joy and hope rather than continue reporting the deeds of darkness any time soon. I do not wish to burden your e-mail inbox, I wish to begin down a much-needed path.

They are exposed, the agents of fear. They can hide nothing from the growing light. There is an army working to be certain of this. While they continue, now is the critical time to bring into the brightest light "what could be."

I am going to shift my focus from exposure of the darkness's plans and plots to the exposure of a brighter future that is within reach, and the stories of those working to bring that into being. In that effort, here is where I will begin...

---

Subject: Something To Lift Hearts In Tough Times - In The Land Of Pumpkins And Smoke...
Date: 21 Oct 2006
From: Daniel Stafford aqmstaffo@mailbag.com>

Some of you might think this is off-topic. I do not. I think that if we fail to make a heart connection, all the logic we can muster will never be enough. We must not just "right the wrongs," we must also "heal the breach" - the divisions that have been crafted to defeat us all in spirit and in heart. There is a message here that we need to hear. "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." These are not idle words - they are at the core of what it will take to save this nation in an hour of peril far greater than it has faced in two centuries and more.

Read, and consider, and dream and believe - it takes all of us, ALL of us, to craft a healed nation better even that what was.

Many of you look for a brighter future shining dimly in some corner of all these shadows that seem to blanket everything seen on the surface of these times and events. It is there staring us in the face. With great difficulty is also found great opportunity. Heal the artificial divisions of color and culture that divide us in these camps hiding in fear. Unite with your fellow citizens of good heart, and there in the depths of that simple thing, seeing beyond epithets and fear and mistrust to what could be - all of us making a greater choice, a choice to embrace the best in all of us and meld those things into an un-stoppable tide of change where only fear can lose.

Continuing as we have is not an option that can save any of us. We must come through the fires greater, stronger, with more heart than ever before. All we have to do is see it so and hold that faith like a guiding light, and the things that are about making life better for everyone will surely follow.

In solidarity and hope,

Dan Stafford

---

In The Land Of Pumpkins And Smoke...

It is the Fall, awash in fire and dreams of flames,
A warm thing that dances 'neath the crisp stars,
Strewn in graceful dreams upon the night,
When we look up in the glare of the flames,
Seeing spirits all about the edges of vision,
Right where the golden glow fades to the shadows.

In the daylight golden sheaves of the harvest stand,
'Rounded bout by the bright orange of pumpkins,
Seeming to have each their own personality,
Even before we carve them faces soon to light,
The year is closing and draws us into reverie,
All things past and passed come 'round here haunting,
Whispering like ghosts and setting prayers into flight.

The connection with bygone days is tangible, colorful,
A slow season of traditions' dances across our hearts,
Our eyes and lives - the simple joy of a cigar by the fire,
Smoke-ghosts carry those prayers away to our spirits on high,
The missed ones and the unfathomable one.

The history of this land is in our bones,
In our teeth and eyes and blood and breath,
We've drunk the waters of its rivers and lakes and rains,
Eaten the fruit of its Earth all our days,
Breathed in the millions of scents that wisp about the place,
Soaked in its spirit since before we were even babes,
And so its visions come easily to us - its poets and people.

The people of this land by birth are my people,
None of us knows any other home,
I care not the least for colors and creed,
Simply know that tears and smiles are common things,
Miracles shared by us all,
Their ghosts haunt me as do my own,
I see them in these cocooned nights,
Dancing at the edges of fires, embers, and candle flames,
Laughing from the faces of gourds and pumpkins,
Spinning 'round puffs of sacred smoke that billow to the stars,
In faerie rings around a gibbous harvest moon.

Certainly they remind us of bats and spiders and ghouls,
Coffins and open Earth and cold stones,
Grey cold mists and all the accouterments of the unknown,
They remind of us of what we face in Winter,
Yet it is their season,
One other thing they whisper in the cooling nights,
"Harvest ye well all knowledge of Spring and Summer's growth."

AquarianM

By: Daniel A. Stafford
(C)10/14/2006

Archived at http://p198.ezboard.com/fthegoldenquillfrm120.showMessage?topicID=2028.topic

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Love is the heart's bridge - it's connection to all other souls.
Loving words can work miracles.



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