Wednesday, December 27, 2006
PRESIDENT FORD'S LIFE MAY BE REVIEWED ON THIS LINK TO FORD MEMORIAL (THIS WAS MY FIRST MEMORY OF POLITICS AFTER GRADUATING FROM H.S. IN 1973)
Mrs. Betty Ford issued the following statement from her home in Rancho Mirage, California:"My family joins me in informing you that Gerald R. Ford - our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather - has passed away at 93 years of age. His was a life full of love for God, family, and country."Funeral details for the 38th President of the United States will be provided by the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capitol Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington Public Affairs Office to both the public and the media as they become available. Any media requests are to be directed to the U.S. Army Military District Public Affairs Office at (202) 685-4644. For information and press releases, visit the Gerald R. Ford Memorial site at www.GeraldFordMemorial.comPresident Ford's family requests that contributions be made to the Gerald R. Ford Foundation Memorial Fund. This request includes donations in lieu of flowers. Information about the memorial contributions and the way you can send a message of condolence to the Ford family can be found at www.GeraldFordMemorial.comThe Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum are offering extended hours for those who wish to express their sympathy to the Ford family, including signing a condolence book.In Ann Arbor, the Library lobby will be open 9:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 1:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, for approximately 7 days beginning December 28, 2006. The Library’s research room will be closed during this period.In Grand Rapids, the Museum lobby will be open 24 hours/day until further notice beginning December 27, 2006. The Museum’s other areas, including all exhibit galleries and the gift store, will be closed during this period.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
SENATOR HOLLINGS SPEAKS OUT IN US SENATE ABOUT THE INFLUENCE OF THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND WHY WE WENT TO WAR IN IRAQ FROM IHR MARK WEBER
When a prominent American political figure speaks boldly about Jewish-Zionist power, that's news. So the recent remarks by South Carolina's senior Senator that Iraq was invaded "to secure Israel," and that "everybody" in Washington knows it, are indeed remarkable.
Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, a Democrat who has represented his state in the US Senate since 1966, is now serving his final term in Washington. That fact may also help explain why he's now willing to defy the pro-Israel lobby and speak candidly about its power.
It began with an essay about the Iraq war that appeared in the May 6 issue of the daily Post and Courier of Charleston.
"With Iraq no threat, why invade a sovereign country?," he wrote. "The answer: President Bush's policy to secure Israel. Led by [Paul] Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Charles Krauthammer, for years there had been a domino school of thought that the way to guarantee Israel's security is to spread democracy in the area."
Several Zionist organizations, as well as some prominent Jewish political figures, quickly chastised Hollings, and his remarks were denounced as anti-Semitic.
But he didn't back down. Instead, he rose in the Senate on May 20 to defend and explain his essay.
"I don't apologize for this column," he said. "I want them to apologize to me for talking about anti-Semitism." President Bush went to war in Iraq "to secure our friend, Israel" and "everybody knows it," Hollings declared.
Referring to the cowardly reluctance of his Congressional colleagues openly to acknowledge this reality, he said that "nobody is willing to stand up and say what is going on." With few exceptions, members of Congress uncritically support Israel and its policies due to "the pressures that we get politically," he said. The pro-Israel lobby knows "how to make you tuck tail and run." But "not the Senator from South Carolina," he added, referring to himself. To emphasize the seriousness of his remarks, Hollings said: "I have thought this out as thoroughly as I know how, and it worries me that here we are..."
Bush's motive in going to war for Israeli interests, Hollings charged, was to get Jewish support in election campaigns. "President Bush came to office imbued with one thought: reelection. I say that advisedly. I have been up here with eight Presidents. We have had support of all eight Presidents. Yes, I supported the President on this Iraq resolution, but I was misled. There weren't any weapons, or any terrorism, or al-Qaida. This is the reason we went to war. He had one thought in mind, and that was reelection...
"That is not a conspiracy. That is the policy. I didn't like to keep it a secret, maybe; but I can tell you now, I will challenge any one of the other 99 Senators to tell us why we are in Iraq, other than what this policy is here. It is an adopted policy, a domino theory of The [Zionist] Project For The New American Century. Everybody knows it [is] because we want to secure our friend, Israel...
"Let's realize we are in real trouble. Saudi Arabia is in trouble. Israel is in trouble. The United States is in trouble. I am going to state what I believe to be the fact. In fact, I believe it very strongly. They just are whistling by on account of the pressures that we get politically. Nobody is willing to stand up and say what is going on."
Hollings cited the role of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most important pro-Israel lobby group in Washington, in determining US policy in the Middle East. "You can't have an Israel policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here. I have followed them mostly in the main, but I have also resisted signing certain letters from time to time, to give the poor President a chance.
"I can tell you no President takes office -- I don't care whether it is a Republican or a Democrat — that all of a sudden AIPAC will tell him exactly what the policy is, and Senators and members of Congress ought to sign letters. I read those carefully and I have joined in most of them. On some I have held back. I have my own idea and my own policy..."
The Iraq war has been "a bad mistake," said Hollings. "Getting rid of Saddam was not worth almost 800 dead GIs and over 3,500 maimed for life..." This war is "a mistake like Vietnam," he added. "We got misled with the  Gulf of Tonkin [incident]. We got misled here, and we are in that quagmire...
"The entire thing is a mess. Don't give me 'support the troops, support the troops.' I have been with troops, about three years in combat, so don't tell me about troops. I have always supported the troops."
Source: Remarks by Ernest F. Hollings, May 20, 2004. Congressional Record - Senate, May 20, 2004, pages S5921-S5925.
See also: A Look at the 'Powerful Jewish Lobby'.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee;Little Lamb,
EVEN THOUGH WE DON'T HAVE NUCLEAR WEAPONS TO GET US AID, WE REALLY DO HAVE THEM BUT WE CAN SAY WE DON'T IF WE WANT TO-LOL
The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert. Photograph: EPA
Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was today trying to fend off accusations of ineptitude and calls for his resignation after he accidentally acknowledged for the first time that Israel had nuclear weapons.
After decades in which Israel has stuck to a doctrine of nuclear ambiguity, Mr Olmert let slip during an interview in Germany that Israel did indeed have weapons of mass destruction. He told Germany's Sat.1 channel last night: "Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly, threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel and Russia?"
Mr Olmert's admission comes less than a week after the incoming US secretary of defence, Robert Gates, speculating at a Senate confirmation hearing on Iran's possible motives for trying to build nuclear arms, suggested that Israel had the bomb.
Speaking in Berlin after a meeting today with Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, Mr Olmert attempted to backtrack. He insisted that Israel's doggedly held position of nuclear weapons ambiguity had not changed.
"Israel has said many times - and I also said this to German television in an interview - that we will not be the first country that introduces nuclear weapons to the Middle East," Mr Olmert said. "That was our position, that is our position - nothing has changed."
But his remarks did nothing to assuage criticism in Israel. Opposition leaders accused him of "irresponsible" bungling and said he should resign.
"This causes great harm to Israel. We are in the midst of a huge [diplomatic] onslaught against Iran's attempts to make a nuclear bomb," former foreign minister Silvan Shalom, a member of the rightwing Likud party, said on Army Radio. "We always face the same question which our enemies ask: 'Why is Israel allowed to [have a bomb] and not Iran?'"
Yossi Beilin, of the leftwing Meretz party, which is also in opposition, questioned Mr Olmert's fitness to lead. "The prime minister's amazing statement regarding nuclear capability indicates a lack of caution bordering on irresponsibility," the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper quoted him as saying.
Mr Olmert's domestic approval ratings have plummeted since this summer's war against Lebanon's Hizbullah guerrillas.
Aides to the prime minister tried frantically to limit the damage. His spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, who is accompanying Mr Olmert on his visit to Germany and Italy, said it did not mean Israel possessed or wanted to acquire nuclear weapons. "No, he wasn't saying anything like that."
Israel has long declined to confirm or deny having the bomb as part of a "strategic ambiguity" policy that it says fends off numerically superior Arab enemies. But Arabs and Iran see a double standard in US policy in the region.
By not declaring itself to be nuclear-armed, Israel gets round a US ban on funding countries that proliferate weapons of mass destruction. It can thus enjoy more than $2bn (£1.02bn) a year in military and other aid from Washington.
Israel's main atomic reactor, officially for civilian use, became operational in the early 1960s. The CIA first concluded that Israel had begun to produce nuclear weapons in 1968, but few details emerged until 1986 when Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at the nuclear facility, gave the Sunday Times detailed descriptions that led defence analysts to rank the country as the sixth largest nuclear power.
Mr Vanunu, who was released in 2004 after spending 18 years in prison, welcomed the prime minister's admission. "Obviously, I don't welcome the atomic bomb but this openness could lead at last to some realpolitik - and maybe to some real peace."
Mr Vanunu said he believed the admission was not accidental. "My idea is that it was said intentionally. For 20 years they tried to deny me and my story but the policy of cheating and lying didn't succeed. There is now a new defence secretary in the United States and there are also changes taking place in the Arab world, so I think that may have led to the change." Special reportIsrael and the Middle EastWorld news guideIsrael and the Palestinian territoriesMiddle EastGlossaryCommonly used terms in the Middle East conflictInteractive guideHow the Israelis and Palestinians came to warIsrael enters GazaGovernment sitesIsraeli Knesset (parliament)Israeli ministry of foreign affairsIsraeli government siteOffice of the Israeli prime ministerPalestinian Ministry of InformationMediaHa'aretz (Israel)Israel Insider (Israel)Jerusalem Post (Israel)Maariv (Israel)Arabic Media Internet Network (Palestinian)Palestine Chronicle (Palestinian)Electronic Intifada (Palestinian)Bitter Lemons (Israeli-Palestinian)
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Robert Gates, the incoming U.S. secretary of defense, won plaudits in Washington this week for his candor on the
Iraq' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Iraq war.
Some Israelis were less pleased, however, to hear Gates mention with equal frankness what U.S. administrations have long avoided uttering in public -- that the Jewish state has the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal.
To be fair, it was pretty oblique.
During his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Gates speculated on why
Iran' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Iran might be seeking the means to build an atomic bomb. "They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons: Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us in the Persian Gulf," he said.
The statement led Israeli news bulletins, with some pundits suggesting that former
CIA' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> CIA chief Gates may have breached a U.S. "don't ask, don't tell" policy dating back to the late 1960s.
"I haven't a clue why Gates made those remarks," Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a member of
Israel' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Israel's security cabinet, said in a radio interview.
A retired Israeli diplomat, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, called the testimony "quite unprecedented" and added: "I can only assume he (Gates) has yet to get to grips with the understandings that exist between us and the Americans."
According to recently declassified documents cited by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists magazine, under President
Richard Nixon' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> Richard Nixon the United States knew Israel had developed nuclear weapons but opted against insisting that its ally come clean on the capability and accept international regulation.
Israel neither confirms nor denies having the bomb, as part of a "strategic ambiguity" policy that it says fends off numerically superior enemies while avoiding an arms race.
By not declaring itself to be nuclear armed, Israel also skirts a U.S. ban on funding countries that proliferate weapons of mass destruction. It can thus enjoy more than $2 billion in annual military and other aid from Washington.
This sanctioned reticence is a major irritant for Arabs and Iran, which see a double-standard in U.S. policy in the region.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld was careful not to discuss the Israeli nuclear option explicitly. Pressed on it during a 2004 briefing, he said only that Israel had "arranged itself so it hasn't been put in the sea" by its foes.
Though Gates replaces Rumsfeld as part of a move by
President Bush' name=c1> SEARCHNews News Photos Images Web' name=c3> President Bush to revitalize prospects for Iraq and a wider peace in the Middle East, no one has yet gone as far as to propose openly that Washington review Israel's open secret.
"I am not aware of any change in U.S. policy on discussing Israel and its nuclear capability," said Stewart Tuttle, spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv.
Shimon Peres, who helped found Israel's main atomic reactor in the 1950s -- officially for civilian use -- and is now deputy to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, sounded similarly unperturbed.
"This announcement makes no fundamental difference," he told Israel Radio.
"Whether or not Israel has nuclear weapons, the fact is that Israel is the only country threatened with destruction ... Israel is not threatening any country. Weapons do not fire themselves, people fire them."
He was apparently referring to arch-foe Iran, whose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the elimination of the "Zionist regime" but denied his country seeks nuclear arms.
I WONDER IF THE MEDIA WILL DEMAND THAT THE ADMINISTRATION FOLLOW THIS DEMAND FROM THE BAKER REPORT ON IRAQ?
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Baker Report Demands Israel Give Away Golan Heights Thursday, December 7, 2006 / 16 Kislev 5767Only a number of days after the UN passed a resolution calling Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem illegal, former US secretary of state James Baker demands Israel leave the Golan Heights.The comprehensive report, which primarily addresses the situation in Iraq, was prepared by Baker and a former Democratic congressman, Lee Hamilton. It states that if the United States does not take a more leading role in the Mideast Israel-Arab conflict, there is no hope of America achieving its goals in the region.According to former Israeli UN Ambassador Dr. Dore Gold, the report indicates the American involvement in Iraq is going to diminish in the coming two years. He called the American demand that Israel retreat from the Golan Heights worrisome.The Golan Heights was liberated by Israel in the June 1967 Six Day War and has since become an integral part of the State of Israel. It serves a strategic value, permitting Israel the upper hand regarding a possible Syrian invasion, as was the case in 1967. The Baker-Hamilton report calls for a peace conference mimicking the Madrid model, a regional summit that would be aimed at solving the conflict between Israel, the PA (Palestinian Authority), Syria and Lebanon. In addition to an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan, the report calls upon Israel to recognize the establishment of a Palestinian state. America demands Syria halt its interference in Lebanon’s affairs, as well as ceasing its pro-terrorist policies, working to assist ongoing Hizbullah anti-Israel operations in southern Lebanon. The Baker-Hamilton report calls on Israel to withdraw from the Golan in exchange for a comprehensive peace treaty with Damascus, a treaty that would enjoy American backing in addition to White House security guarantees intended to compensate for the loss of the strategically vital Golan.The issue of ongoing Iranian efforts to build a nuclear weapon was not by any means the focus of attention in the report, calling on Tehran to comply with the demands of the international community and cease nuclear enrichment efforts.Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is opting to avoid commenting in depth on the report, stating he does not view the report signaling a change in American policy in the region.Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk a-Shara expressed his country’s willingness to enter into peace negotiations with Israel, stating such a move is welcome. A-Shara stated Damascus is willing to reach an agreement with Israel with the understanding the Golan Heights must be returned to Syria as part of such an agreement.Former National Security Advisor Giora Eiland stated US President George W. Bush is caught between a rock and a hard place, explaining that while the US government is anxious to bring an end to the Israel-PA conflict, Mr. Bush is not seeking to make any major changes in Washington’s relationship with Israel.Uzi Dayan, another former national security advisor, stated that the report will have a direct bearing on American strategy but there is no need for concern in Israel. He added that what should concern Israelis is the “lack of vision and leadership”.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
SONG FOR GRAND FUNK RAILROAD WHERE I ATTENDED THEIR CONCERT FOR TOYS FOR TOTS, WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL. ENJOY, "I'M YOUR CAPTAIN," FROM SHEA STADIUM IN 1971.
My husband and I went shopping at WalMart to purchase gifts for the Toys for Tots, and delivered them to WMGT on Poplar Street. We purchased items for toddlers on up to teenagers. There are 5,000 toys requested in Middle Georgia, and probably two or three times as many needed because many people will not turn in a request.
The lady at the television station said Merry Christmas to me and my husband, and I said you too. I have been calling everyone under the sun to complain about them saying Happy Holidays on television. My husband told me that I did not tell this lady Merry Christmas, so I went back inside to tell her I was sorry for not saying Merry Christmas. I told her that I sure appreciate the fact that their television station is not politically correct. This is Christmas! Jesus us the reason for the season. If you can help out this Christmas, please remember the Toys for Tots program, and let the Marines know that we support their efforts. My first encounter with the program was in the seventies when I went to a Toys for Tots Concert in Louisville. It was great because for a toy, we got treated to Grand Funk Railroad. Hey don't laugh that was a good band "Riders on the Storm." No correction: That was the Doors; Grand Funk Railroad had a song "I'm Your Captain."
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
December 01, 2006
Is President Bush Sane?
By Paul Craig Roberts
Tens of millions of Americans want President George W. Bush to be impeached for the lies and deceit he used to launch an illegal war and for violating his oath of office to uphold the US Constitution. Millions of other Americans want Bush turned over to the war crimes tribunal at the Hague. The true fate that awaits Bush is psychiatric incarceration.
The president of the United States is so deep into denial that he is no longer among the sane.
Delusion still rules Bush three weeks after the American people repudiated him and his catastrophic war in elections that delivered both House and Senate to the Democrats in the hope that control over Congress would give the opposition party the strength to oppose the mad occupant of the White House.
On November 28 Bush insisted that US troops would not be withdrawn from Iraq until he had completed his mission of building a stable Iraqi democracy capable of spreading democratic change in the Middle East.
Bush made this astonishing statement the day after NBC News, a major television network, declared Iraq to be in the midst of a civil war, a judgment with which former Secretary of State Colin Powell concurs.
The same day that Bush reaffirmed his commitment to building a stable Iraqi democracy, a secret US Marine Corps intelligence report was leaked. According to the Washington Post, the report concludes: “the social and political situation has deteriorated to a point that US and Iraqi troops are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar province.” [Anbar Picture Grows Clearer, and Bleaker By Dafna Linzer and Thomas E. Ricks]
The Marine Corps intelligence report says that Al Qaeda is the “dominant organization of influence” in Anbar province, and is more important than local authorities, the Iraqi government and US troops “in its ability to control the day-to-day life of the average Sunni.”
Bush’s astonishing determination to deny Iraq reality was made the same day that the US-installed Iraqi prime minister al-Maliki and US puppet King Abdullah II of Jordan abruptly cancelled a meeting with Bush after Bush was already in route to Jordan on Air Force One.
Bush could not meet with Maliki in Iraq, because violence in Baghdad is out of control. For security reasons, the US Secret Service would not allow President Bush to go to Iraq, where he is “building a stable democracy.”
Bush made his astonishing statement in the face of news leaks of the Iraq Study Group’s call for a withdrawal of all US combat forces from Iraq. The Iraq Study Group is led by Bush family operative James A. Baker, a former White House chief of staff, former Secretary of the Treasury, and former Secretary of State. Baker was tasked by father Bush to save the son. Apparently, son Bush hasn’t enough sanity to allow himself to be saved.
Bush’s denial of Iraqi reality was made even as one of the most influential Iraqi Shiite leaders, Moqtada al-Sadr, is building an anti-US parliamentary alliance to demand the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
Maliki himself appears on the verge of desertion by his American sponsors. The White House has reportedly “lost confidence” in Maliki’s “ability to control violence.” Fox “News” disinformation agency immediately began blaming Maliki for the defeat the US has suffered in Iraq. NY governor Pataki told Fox “News” [Video] that “Maliki is not doing his job.” Pataki claimed that US troops were doing “a great job.”
A number of other politicians and talking heads joined in the scapegoating of Maliki. No one explained how Maliki can be expected to save Iraq when US troops cannot provide enough security for the Iraqi government to go outside the heavily fortified “green zone” that occupies a small area of Baghdad.
If the US Marines cannot control Anbar province, what chance is there for Maliki? What can Maliki do if the security provided by US troops is so bad that the President of the US cannot even visit the country?
The only people in Iraq who are safe belong to Al Qaeda and the Sunni insurgents or are Shiite militia leaders such as al-Sadr.
An American group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, has filed war crimes charges in Germany against former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. A number of former US attorneys believe President Bush and Vice President Cheney deserve the same.
Bush has destroyed the entire social, political, and economic fabric of Iraq. Saddam Hussein sat on the lid of Pandora’s Box of sectarian antagonisms, but Bush has opened the lid. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed as “collateral damage” in Bush’s war to bring “stable democracy” to Iraq. Tens of thousands of Iraqi children have been orphaned and maimed. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled their country. The Middle East is aflame with hatred of America, and the ground is shaking under the feet of American puppet governments in the Middle East. US casualties (killed and wounded) number 25,000.
And Bush has not had enough!
What better proof of Bush’s insanity could there be?
COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Paul Craig Roberts [email him] was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.
Friday, December 01, 2006
1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Posted: December 1, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern
By Patrick J. Buchanan
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com-->© 2006
A few days back, the "Today" show, speaking for NBC News, declared Iraq a "civil war," and said the network and CNBC and MSNBC would henceforth use that term to describe it.
President Bush and White House press secretary Tony Snow angrily objected. A civil war, said Snow, is when two identifiable armed forces war with each other for control of a government and nation. And Iraq is not that.
Contradicting Snow and the president are most journalists and Colin Powell. Speaking in Dubai, Powell declared, "I would call it a civil war ... because I like to face reality," a smart slap across the face of the president who made him secretary of state by a soldier who feels badly used by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neoconservatives.
Is this a matter of politics and semantics?
Yes, but it is also far more than that. Those who insist on calling Iraq a civil war are consciously undercutting Bush's case that Iraq is "the central front in the war on terror," that we fight them over there so that we will not have to fight them over here.
Believing him, half the country is convinced we cannot retreat, cut-and-run, for that would mean the terrorists win in Iraq and bring the terror war to the United States. But if Iraq is but a "civil war," most American would say that it's not America's war – let's go home.
This battle over definitions recalls Vietnam. Those who wanted to stay the course in Vietnam argued that it was the central front in the Cold War against communism, which threatened Southeast Asia today but America tomorrow. Those who had supported the war, but concluded it was no longer worth it, suddenly changed their story to declare it was now a civil war and none of America's business.
What is happening today is that those who once cheered Tommy Frank's march to Baghdad to liberate Iraq from Saddam are trying to rationalize their throwing Iraq to the wolves that the invasion unleashed. America's elite does not wish to admit the truth: that it has no stomach for fighting this ugly and unpopular war into which it foolishly marched the United States.
The baby boomer elite arrogantly and ignorantly led us into a quagmire, as their fathers did in Vietnam – and now, just like their fathers, they lack the stamina, courage and perseverance to see it through. As they don't want to be held accountable for losing the war, they have seized upon the rationale that it was never our war to fight.
Calling it "a civil war" is a cover for people who wish to cut and run.
What is the truth? Is it a civil war, like the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, when Franco led his armies out of North Africa into Spain to overthrow a regime and end an anarchic situation where priests and nuns were being murdered and Bolsheviks seemed about to ascend to power? No, it is not.
The war in Iraq consists rather of many small wars. The Kurds in the north are seizing and ethnically cleansing Kirkut in anticipation of a day of secession that will give them a nation. Al-Qaida and the Baathists in Anbar are fighting U.S. Marines to expel them from Iraq.
Al-Qaida attacked the Golden Mosque and perpetrated atrocities against Shia civilians to incite the Shia to reprisals and ignite a Sunni-Shia sectarian war. Zarqawi, before we got him, succeeded. He set off the chain reaction that has now a momentum of its own.
The Shia initially backed the Americans and Brits against the Sunni insurgents. Having won power, however, they now are fighting each other over how orthodox the regime should be, and whether the Shia should, like the Kurds, break away and set up an independent state.
The twin pillars of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government are the U.S. military and Moqtada al Sadr, mortal enemies who have fought bloodily before and may well be preparing for a decisive Battle of Baghdad.
Iraq seems to this writer less a classic civil war, like the Spanish and the Russian civil war between "Reds" and "Whites" from 1919 to 1921, than a version of bellum omnium contra omnes, the war of all against all. That is the Latin phrase Thomas Hobbes gave to human existence in the state-of-nature thought experiment he conducted in "Leviathan."
Even our War Between the States was not truly a civil war. For the South did not seek to overturn Lincoln's election, capture the capital or rule the country. The South wanted only to secede from the Union of Abraham Lincoln as their fathers had seceded from the England of George III.
Yet, this argument about whether Iraq is or is not a civil war is deeply consequential for what it exposes. Our elite senses this war is lost, and they are preparing alibis for their roles in what may yet prove the greatest strategic blunder in American history.
November 30, 2006
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
O, Almighty God, bestow upon humanity the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers.
Were we not faced with the activities of the US administration in this part of the world and the negative ramifications of those activities on the daily lives of our peoples, coupled with the many wars and calamities caused by the US administration as well as the tragic consequences of US interference in other countries;
Were the American people not God-fearing, truth-loving, and justice-seeking, while the US administration actively conceals the truth and impedes any objective portrayal of current realities;
And if we did not share a common responsibility to promote and protect freedom and human dignity and integrity;
Then, there would have been little urgency to have a dialogue with you.
While Divine providence has placed Iran and the United States geographically far apart, we should be cognizant that human values and our common human spirit, which proclaim the dignity and exalted worth of all human beings, have brought our two great nations of Iran and the United States closer together.
Both our nations are God-fearing, truth-loving and justice-seeking, and both seek dignity, respect and perfection.
Both greatly value and readily embrace the promotion of human ideals such as compassion, empathy, respect for the rights of human beings, securing justice and equity, and defending the innocent and the weak against oppressors and bullies.
We are all inclined towards the good, and towards extending a helping hand to one another, particularly to those in need.
We all deplore injustice, the trampling of peoples’ rights and the intimidation and humiliation of human beings.
We all detest darkness, deceit, lies and distortion, and seek and admire salvation, enlightenment, sincerity and honesty.
The pure human essence of the two great nations of Iran and the United States testify to the veracity of these statements.
Our nation has always extended its hand of friendship to all other nations of the world.
Hundreds of thousands of my Iranian compatriots are living amongst you in friendship and peace, and are contributing positively to your society. Our people have been in contact with you over the past many years and have maintained these contacts despite the unnecessary restrictions of US authorities.
As mentioned, we have common concerns, face similar challenges, and are pained by the sufferings and afflictions in the world.
We, like you, are aggrieved by the ever-worsening pain and misery of the Palestinian people. Persistent aggressions by the Zionists are making life more and more difficult for the rightful owners of the land of Palestine. In broad day-light, in front of cameras and before the eyes of the world, they are bombarding innocent defenseless civilians, bulldozing houses, firing machine guns at students in the streets and alleys, and subjecting their families to endless grief.
No day goes by without a new crime.
Palestinian mothers, just like Iranian and American mothers, love their children, and are painfully bereaved by the imprisonment, wounding and murder of their children. What mother wouldn’t?
For 60 years, the Zionist regime has driven millions of the inhabitants of Palestine out of their homes. Many of these refugees have died in the Diaspora and in refugee camps. Their children have spent their youth in these camps and are aging while still in the hope of returning to homeland.
You know well that the US administration has persistently provided blind and blanket support to the Zionist regime, has emboldened it to continue its crimes, and has prevented the UN Security Council from condemning it.
Who can deny such broken promises and grave injustices towards humanity by the US administration?
Governments are there to serve their own people. No people wants to side with or support any oppressors. But regrettably, the US administration disregards even its own public opinion and remains in the forefront of supporting the trampling of the rights of the Palestinian people.
Let’s take a look at Iraq. Since the commencement of the US military presence in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, maimed or displaced. Terrorism in Iraq has grown exponentially. With the presence of the US military in Iraq, nothing has been done to rebuild the ruins, to restore the infrastructure or to alleviate poverty. The US Government used the pretext of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but later it became clear that that was just a lie and a deception.
Although Saddam was overthrown and people are happy about his departure, the pain and suffering of the Iraqi people has persisted and has even been aggravated.
In Iraq, about one hundred and fifty thousand American soldiers, separated from their families and loved ones, are operating under the command of the current US administration. A substantial number of them have been killed or wounded and their presence in Iraq has tarnished the image of the American people and government.
Their mothers and relatives have, on numerous occasions, displayed their discontent with the presence of their sons and daughters in a land thousands of miles away from US shores. American soldiers often wonder why they have been sent to Iraq.
I consider it extremely unlikely that you, the American people, consent to the billions of dollars of annual expenditure from your treasury for this military misadventure.
You have heard that the US administration is kidnapping its presumed opponents from across the globe and arbitrarily holding them without trial or any international supervision in horrendous prisons that it has established in various parts of the world. God knows who these detainees actually are, and what terrible fate awaits them.
You have certainly heard the sad stories of the Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib prisons. The US administration attempts to justify them through its proclaimed “war on terror.” But every one knows that such behavior, in fact, offends global public opinion, exacerbates resentment and thereby spreads terrorism, and tarnishes the US image and its credibility among nations.
The US administration’s illegal and immoral behavior is not even confined to outside its borders. You are witnessing daily that under the pretext of “the war on terror,” civil liberties in the United States are being increasingly curtailed. Even the privacy of individuals is fast losing its meaning. Judicial due process and fundamental rights are trampled upon. Private phones are tapped, suspects are arbitrarily arrested, sometimes beaten in the streets, or even shot to death.
I have no doubt that the American people do not approve of this behavior and indeed deplore it.
The US administration does not accept accountability before any organization, institution or council. The US administration has undermined the credibility of international organizations, particularly the United Nations and its Security Council. But, I do not intend to address all the challenges and calamities in this message.
The legitimacy, power and influence of a government do not emanate from its arsenals of tanks, fighter aircrafts, missiles or nuclear weapons. Legitimacy and influence reside in sound logic, quest for justice and compassion and empathy for all humanity. The global position of the United States is in all probability weakened because the administration has continued to resort to force, to conceal the truth, and to mislead the American people about its policies and practices.
Undoubtedly, the American people are not satisfied with this behavior and they showed their discontent in the recent elections. I hope that in the wake of the mid-term elections, the administration of President Bush will have heard and will heed the message of the American people.
My questions are the following:
Is there not a better approach to governance?
Is it not possible to put wealth and power in the service of peace, stability, prosperity and the happiness of all peoples through a commitment to justice and respect for the rights of all nations, instead of aggression and war?
We all condemn terrorism, because its victims are the innocent.
But, can terrorism be contained and eradicated through war, destruction and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocents?
If that were possible, then why has the problem not been resolved?
The sad experience of invading Iraq is before us all.
What has blind support for the Zionists by the US administration brought for the American people? It is regrettable that for the US administration, the interests of these occupiers supersedes the interests of the American people and of the other nations of the world.
What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors? Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?
I recommend that in a demonstration of respect for the American people and for humanity, the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland should be recognized so that millions of Palestinian refugees can return to their homes and the future of all of Palestine and its form of government be determined in a referendum. This will benefit everyone.
Now that Iraq has a Constitution and an independent Assembly and Government, would it not be more beneficial to bring the US officers and soldiers home, and to spend the astronomical US military expenditures in Iraq for the welfare and prosperity of the American people? As you know very well, many victims of Katrina continue to suffer, and countless Americans continue to live in poverty and homelessness.
I’d also like to say a word to the winners of the recent elections in the US:
The United States has had many administrations; some who have left a positive legacy, and others that are neither remembered fondly by the American people nor by other nations.
Now that you control an important branch of the US Government, you will also be held to account by the people and by history.
If the US Government meets the current domestic and external challenges with an approach based on truth and Justice, it can remedy some of the past afflictions and alleviate some of the global resentment and hatred of America. But if the approach remains the same, it would not be unexpected that the American people would similarly reject the new electoral winners, although the recent elections, rather than reflecting a victory, in reality point to the failure of the current administration’s policies. These issues had been extensively dealt with in my letter to President Bush earlier this year.
To sum up:
It is possible to govern based on an approach that is distinctly different from one of coercion, force and injustice.
It is possible to sincerely serve and promote common human values, and honesty and compassion.
It is possible to provide welfare and prosperity without tension, threats, imposition or war.
It is possible to lead the world towards the aspired perfection by adhering to unity, monotheism, morality and spirituality and drawing upon the teachings of the Divine Prophets.
Then, the American people, who are God-fearing and followers of Divine religions, will overcome every difficulty.
What I stated represents some of my anxieties and concerns.
I am confident that you, the American people, will play an instrumental role in the establishment of justice and spirituality throughout the world. The promises of the Almighty and His prophets will certainly be realized, Justice and Truth will prevail and all nations will live a true life in a climate replete with love, compassion and fraternity.
The US governing establishment, the authorities and the powerful should not choose irreversible paths. As all prophets have taught us, injustice and transgression will eventually bring about decline and demise. Today, the path of return to faith and spirituality is open and unimpeded.
We should all heed the Divine Word of the Holy Qur’an:
“But those who repent, have faith and do good may receive Salvation. Your Lord, alone, creates and chooses as He will, and others have no part in His choice; Glorified is God and Exalted above any partners they ascribe to Him.” (28:67-68)
I pray to the Almighty to bless the Iranian and American nations and indeed all nations of the world with dignity and success.
Mahmoud AhmadinejadPresident of the Islamic Republic of Iran29 November 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
FALLING DOLLAR, RISING INTEREST RATES, RISING INFLATION RATES AND LOW SAVING RATES IN THE U.S. AND WHAT IT MEANS
The Daily Reckoning PRESENTS: Despite the cheery economic outlooks, the dollar is continuing to disappoint. Dr. Kurt Richebächer takes a look at the factors that have put the brakes on U.S. economic growth. Read on…
A NEW ILLUSION: THE FALLING DOLLAR
In his recent speech in Berlin, Greenspan was amazingly frank about the "increasingly less tenable U.S. current account deficit," suggesting that foreign investors would eventually reach a limit in their desire to finance the deficit and diversify into other currencies or demand higher U.S. interest rates.
In essence, he expressed the new consensus view in America that the dollar has to bear the brunt of reducing the U.S. current account deficit. Clearly, American policymakers want a lower dollar, apparently entertaining strong hopes that this will take care of the U.S. trade deficit, and we suspect that they regard it as an easy solution for this problem.
We doubt first of all that it is a solution at all. Such expectations essentially presuppose that an overvalued dollar is the main cause of the U.S. trade deficit. This is bogus. By the measure of purchasing power, the dollar was hardly out of line with the currencies of other industrialized countries.
The favorite American explanation for the huge and growing trade deficit is the U.S. economy's superior growth performance and lacking foreign demand. But the Chinese economy is growing much faster than the U.S. economy yet has a big trade surplus. So had Japan in the late 1980s, and so had Germany in the decades to the late 1970s.
This explanation of the trade deficit with superior U.S. GDP growth is another illusion among many others. What crucially matters for a country's trade balance is not its economy's growth rate, but its internal resource allocation between consumption and investment. High rates of saving and investment make for a strong trade balance, while high rates of consumption make for a weak trade balance. America's unusually poor trade performance reflects extremely poor rates of saving and investment. Overconsuming and undersaving America lacks the necessary capital stock to increase its exports.
These observations essentially raise the question of whether or not the falling dollar is prone to rebalance the U.S. economy's foreign trade. It is argued that the dollar's slide did a great job slashing the U.S. trade deficit from 1989-1993. This is true, but was it really the falling dollar that did it? It actually happened against the backdrop of a sharp slowdown in credit growth and a recession in 1991.
During the four years 1989-93, total credit in the United States - financial and nonfinancial - grew by a cumulative $3,255 billion, or $819 billion per year. In flagrant contrast, during the four years to mid-2004, overall credit grew virtually three times as fast, by $2.4 trillion per year, and there is no letup in sight. Drawing on past experience, a fall of the dollar, however steep, will hardly make a dent in the trade deficit by itself.
Lowering the trade deficit first requires a lowering of domestic demand growth, and a drastic shift in resource allocation away from consumption and toward investment in the longer run. A mere fall of the dollar is definitely no solution. Yet we very much doubt that policymakers in Washington have the slightest intention to implement or foster the necessary changes in demand and resource allocation with policy measures.
What about the risks for the dollar and the markets? In short, they are frightening. The most frightening risk is that the dollar's fall gets out of control. Superficially, the dollar's steep fall in the 1980s and '90s may seem encouraging in this respect.
However, there is something that makes all the difference between then and now. When the dollar's decline started in 1985, dollar assets held by foreigners were close to zero. This time, they are close to $9,000 billion, one-third of which is held by central banks.
The dollar's further behavior will largely depend on the flow of news about the U.S. economy. Bad economic news is bad for the dollar. For the reasons explained earlier, we expect very bad news that will shatter the hollow optimism about the economy and the stock market. While economic growth is sharply decelerating, inflation is accelerating, a main reason for this being an accelerating rise in import prices.
In such circumstances, the Fed will face a Catch-22. With CPI inflation above 3% at annual rate and a falling dollar, a new easing of monetary policy is absolutely impossible. Rather, the market will expect the Fed to continue its rate hikes. But doing so, it would prick the carry trade bubble in bonds with disastrous effects, first on the bond market and then on the economy.
A steeper fall of the dollar, just by itself, might please U.S. policymakers. Unfortunately, it is bound to have a variety of harmful effects - in particular on psychology, inflation rates and interest rates. It may finally dawn on people that due to the horrendous magnitude of the existing imbalances, the development in the economy and the markets is out of control.
After many months of stability during 2004, the dollar has turned south all of a sudden. Observing the U.S. economy's deteriorating performance since early this year, its protracted stability surprised us. Now its sudden slide perfectly concurs with our dismal expectations for the U.S. economy in 2005. Yet the abrupt general bearishness of dollar forecasts strikes us as ominous in comparison with the highly bullish consensus growth forecasts for the economy (those for Europe are distinctly bearish).
Let us try to make sense of these contradictions. Over time, we have learned the hard way that two different things govern the behavior of markets: first, the objective facts; and second, the general perception of the facts. They can differ like black and white.
Our opinion about the economic situation in the United States has been and remains diametrically at variance with the optimistic consensus view that discarded the economy's slowdown as a "soft patch" due to the rising oil price. In our view, the economy is rapidly losing steam because prior aggressive monetary and fiscal stimulation has largely spent itself, while having failed to initiate the desired self-sustaining investment recovery. Moreover, we hold a strong opinion that the existing outrageous imbalances and structural dislocations in the economy make a normal, sustainable economic recovery flatly impossible.
Pondering the causes and implications of the dollar's sudden plunge, it ought to be recalled that global currency experts were overwhelmingly forecasting a strong dollar and a weak euro, commensurate with expected strong economic growth in the United States and sluggish economic growth in Europe.
There rules a perception in the markets that the U.S. economy is fundamentally strong and, in addition, vastly superior to that of Europe in resilience and flexibility. All that is sheer nonsense. Due to years of unimaginable credit excesses and resulting monumental imbalances, the U.S. economy is highly vulnerable to a sudden downturn. It is, in fact, in worse shape than in 2000.
U.S. policymakers and economists are hailing the dollar's fall as a boom for exports, employment and profits. They fail to realize that the consumer borrowing and spending excesses of the past few years have grossly depleted the economy of available resources for sharply higher exports. A plummeting dollar does nothing at all to offset the profound structural shortfall of savings and capital formation. Rather, it fuels inflation.
Remarkably, the dollar has plummeted despite highly optimistic expectations about the economy's outlook as reflected in stellar growth forecasts. It is our assumption that increasingly bad economic news will shake this overconfidence and speed up the dollar's decline.
For reasons already explained, we expect that sharply weaker consumer spending will soon distinctly slow the U.S. economy. Two events in particular are putting the brakes on economic growth: first, the full stop of the income creation through tax cuts; and second, the waning of the housing and mortgage refinancing booms.
The risks are frightening.
Kurt Richebächerfor The Daily Reckoning
Editor's note: Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker once said: "Sometimes I think that the job of central bankers is to prove Kurt Richebächer wrong." A regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Strategic Investment and several other respected financial publications, Dr. Richebächer's insightful analysis stems from the Austrian School of economics. France's Le Figaro magazine has done a feature story on him as "the man who predicted the Asian crisis."
This essay was adapted from an article from the December edition of:
The Richebächer Letterwww.agora-inc.com/reports/RCH/trap700/
Sunday, November 26, 2006
National Prayer Network
TV that’s All Gay, All Day
By Harmony Grant
Viacom Int., proud purveyor of the bump-and-grind trash pouring from MTV and VH1, has a new offering for the uplift of America: Logo, “the channel for gay America.”
While an ABC news poll shows that 58 percent of Americans believe gay marriage should be illegal, Jewish leftists (like Sumner Redstone, head of Viacom), are pushing against the grain for the gay agenda. 1
At NPN we have been criticized for generalizing about the anti-Christ activism of organized Jewry. But when it comes to pushing for the normalization of homosexuality, progressive Jewry is proud to take credit.
The World Congress of GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) Jews boasts 50 member organizations. In New York alone, gay Jewish organizations include Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, OrthoDykes, and OrthoGays.
Although some Orthodox rabbis stand fast on Leviticus 18:22 and its prohibition of sodomy, Reform Judaism has been ordaining gays and lesbians since 1990. According to the Jewish daily Forward, conservative rabbis will soon join them, consecrating same-sex marriage and ordaining homosexual rabbis. 2
Last November, Abe Foxman (national director of the Anti-Defamation League) and Rabbi Eric Yoffie (president of the enormous Union for Reform Judaism) gave back-to-back speeches attacking the Christian right. Yoffie’s union is the largest Jewish organization in the United States and includes over 900 congregations.
What did this supposed man of God have to tell his flock? At the Union's biannual convention, Yoffie sermonized to around 5,000 attendees about the “appalling” idea that one group of people might have found the absolute truth about God.
“What could be more bigoted than to claim that you have a monopoly on God,” he huffed. You’d hope a man who thought he was wrong about God wouldn’t be delivering a sermon. But that irony was apparently lost on Yoffie.
He went on to denounce the “homophobia” of the religious right, comparing it to Nazism. “There is no excuse,” he said, “for hateful rhetoric that fuels the hellfires of anti-gay bigotry.” Like Foxman, who also compared Bible-believing Christians to Nazis, Yoffie obviously thinks it’s just fine to fuel the hellfires of anti-Christianity.
Forward magazine praised Yoffie’s and Foxman’s blisteringly anti-Christian screeds for giving “voice to something their constituents have been thinking and feeling for a long time.”
One thing Jewish America is clearly thinking and feeling is that homosexuality deserves public acceptance. In a 2004 Forward article, Jay Michaelson explained the liberalizing of Jewish attitudes toward sodomy. He quoted Jeremy Gordon, a student leader at the Jewish Theological Seminary: “[Homosexuality] has become one of the most important issues for the movement and the seminary and something leadership from across the movement feel needs to be readdressed.”
Michaelson, who directs Nehirim: A Spiritual Initiative for GLBT Jews and edits Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture, comments that even conservative Jews are considering new ways to read Jewish laws against sodomy. But he says media shapes the sensibilities of American Jews more than sacred texts ever will. “The rapid change in the status of gay people within the Jewish community owes as much to [TV show] Queer Eye as it does to novel interpretations of Leviticus.”
Will evangelicals also be more influenced by media’s gay agenda than by their own sacred text, the Bible? Jewish activists hope so. With TV shows like Will and Grace (which ran for 8 years and won truckloads of awards and award nominations), films like Brokeback Mountain, and now an all-gay channel, Jewish media moguls’ motives are clear: Bring gays out of the closet and kick Christian morals to the curb.
1 ABC, Gary Langer, June 5, 2006 2 Forward, “Key Rabbis Say Conservative Judaism Will Lift Gay Ban,” Jennifer Siegel, Aug 25, 2006
Harmony Grant, the niece of Rev. Ted Pike, is a staff writer and researcher for the National Prayer Network. For more of her articles go to http://www.hisnamesake.blogspot.com/..
Learn much more about the threat of liberal Jewish activism at http://www.video.google.com/. Google's video site shows Rev. Pike's videos, The Other Israel, Hate Laws: Making Criminals of Christians, and Why the Mid-East Bleeds, in their entirety, free of charge. Just search for "Ted Pike".
Please visit http://www.truthtellers.org/
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