Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Millions face risk from drug-coated stents

This is just too important to ignore!!! All of us depend on our doctors to do the right thing. And we depend on the FDA to make sure that drugs and devices are properly tested prior to being introduced for use in the general public. Apparently, the FDA is not doing there job!!

This is from MSN, quoted verbatim:

Potentially lethal heart devices a frightening problem for patients, doctors

Millions of Americans could be walking around with tiny time bombs in their hearts.

The concern centers on devices called drug-eluting stents. Doctors implant them in the hearts of about a million Americans a year to treat coronary artery disease. They generate some $5 billion a year in sales for the two companies that make them. But they may be doing more harm than good.

Next month a panel of experts will try to advise the Food and Drug Administration on what to do about it. But many top doctors and scientists admit they are in uncharted waters with a frightening problem that was largely unanticipated. By one estimate the devices already kill 2,000 Americans a year — and no one knows what the long-term danger will be.

To understand the potential hazard, it helps to look at the history of efforts to open the arteries to the heart when they get clogged with cholesterol-containing plaque. That blockage leads to shortness of breath and the chest pains called angina. If the artery closes completely the result is a heart attack with destruction of heart muscle and often death.

Beginning around 1980, doctors started using tiny balloons inserted on wires through the veins and guided by X-rays to push open the clogged arteries. This procedure, called angioplasty, often worked — but with a problem. In about half the cases the artery would close up again within a few weeks or months, an outcome called restenosis. The re-shutting of the arteries occurs because the blood vessels respond to the treatment as if they suffered a slight wound. They try to heal by growing more cells which can clog the artery again.

Thwarting the body's own healing process
To solve the problem, starting in 1994, cardiologists put tiny pieces of wire mesh called stents around the balloons. These stay in place as a piece of scaffolding to try to keep the arteries open.

These helped, but not enough.

Cells still grew over the wire, and in 20 percent to 30 percent of the cases, the vessel clogged again.

Drug-eluting stents (DES) appeared as the next solution. These give off a drug that prevents cell growth, and for that, they work well. The restenosis rate fell to about 5 percent. In 2003, soon after the FDA approved them, drug-eluting stents captured most of the market, even though they cost about $2,000 compared to $800 for the bare metal version.

Then a new hazard started to appear.

Doctors began seeing patients suffer from heart attacks that seemed to be triggered by the new stents. Because the drug-eluting stents are so effective at stopping the cell proliferation inside the arteries, the DES's end up as a piece of metal sticking out in the artery. That creates a perfect place for a blood clot to form and instantly block the artery. The result? A potentially fatal heart attack.

Dr. Jeffrey Moses of Columbia University, who conducted some of the original studies of the DES's, estimates the danger of a blood clot at 1 in 500 patients a year. For every million of the devices implanted, that would add up to 2,000 clots a year — although not all of them would be fatal.

But an estimate from Drs. Sanjay Kaul and George Diamond from Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, published on the Web site of the American College of Cardiology, estimates that deaths from the new devices exceed 2,000 a year. Studies from Europe regard the danger to be many times higher. Because the devices are so new no one knows how long the hazard persists.

Already, many cardiologists are cutting back from using the devices. Sales are dropping dramatically. The FDA panel may well recommend they not be used at all.

Companies are searching for alternatives, including balloons that give off the drugs and would be removed at the time of the procedure, as well as stents that dissolve a few weeks after they are implanted.

What's next?
The big question now facing the FDA is: What should the estimated 4 million patients who already have a DES do?

The devices cannot be removed safely or easily. One preventive measure is to keep the patient on the blood-clotting medication Plavix for months or even indefinitely. But that medicine can cause severe bleeding, including a type of deadly stroke, and it costs more than $1,200 a year.

DES manufacturers Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson could end up rivaling Vioxx maker Merck as targets of lawsuits from people who suffer heart attacks.

The origin of this terrifying problem is that medical devices, like drugs, get tested for a few months in a few hundred or at most a few thousand of people before the FDA approves them.

Many experts are clamoring for better methods of assuring safety before devices like these go into millions of people for a lifetime.


Please note the lines about the Europe saying failure rates are much higher than US estimates!!!

Also, note that these "complication" didn't show up until after approval? Why is that? Is it because the manufacturer gave incomplete or incorrect data to the FDA? It certainly wouldn't be the first time!!!

What ever happened to "First, do no harm"? I guess that should be removed from they Hippocratic oath?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's been a very good day!!!


The Dems have won the House, and just a little while ago, it was reported that they also won the Senate!!!

The system of checks and balances has finally been restored!!!

For all that voted yesterday, thank you very much!

For all that voted for the Democrats....You're awesome!!!!

We did it!!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I am praying that by the end of the say this Tuesday, November 7 we will see a glimmer of hope. I am praying that people smarten up and stop voting the party and start voting with a bit of thought behind their vote. I am praying that people get out and vote!!!

We must get out and vote!!! It is our civic duty. It is the only way to make ourselves heard. It is the only way to guarantee the will of the people....the majority of the people. If the majority votes, then the majority will be heard. If the majority doesn't vote, well, then only the minority is heard!!!

Get out and vote!!!

If you live in NC, here is a link to the state Board of Elections.

Here are the requirements to vote in NC:

Qualifications to register to vote in North Carolina

To register to vote in this State, a person must sign a voter declaration attesting that:

  • I am a U.S. citizen.

  • I will have been a resident of North Carolina and this county for 30 days before the election.

  • I will be at least 18 years old by the next general election.

  • I am not registered nor will I vote in any other county or state.

  • If I have been convicted of a felony, my rights of citizenship have been restored.

If you've not registered yet, it's too late. But if you're not registered, please get registered as soon as possible so you'll be ready the next election!!

If you are unable to get yourself to your polling place, you can contact your local Democratic or Republican Part Headquarters.

Here are the numbers for Durham County:
Democrat: 919-544-1994
Republican: 919-403-7183

Bush owes troops an apology, not Kerry

By Keith Olbermann
Anchor, 'Countdown'
Updated: 4:55 p.m. ET Nov 2, 2006

On the 22nd of May, 1856, as the deteriorating American political system veered toward the edge of the cliff, U.S. Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina shuffled into the Senate of this nation, his leg stiff from an old dueling injury, supported by a cane. And he looked for the familiar figure of the prominent senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner.

Brooks found Sumner at his desk, mailing out copies of a speech he had delivered three days earlier — a speech against slavery.

The congressman matter-of-factly raised his walking stick in midair and smashed its metal point across the senator’s head.

Congressman Brooks hit his victim repeatedly. Sen. Sumner somehow got to his feet and tried to flee. Brooks chased him and delivered untold blows to Sumner’s head. Even though Sumner lay unconscious and bleeding on the Senate floor, Brooks finally stopped beating him only because his cane finally broke.

Others will cite John Brown’s attack on the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry as the exact point after which the Civil War became inevitable.

n point of fact, it might have been the moment, not when Brooks broke his cane over the prostrate body of Sen. Sumner — but when voters in Brooks’ district started sending him new canes.

Tonight, we almost wonder to whom President Bush will send the next new cane.

There is tonight no political division in this country that he and his party will not exploit, nor have not exploited; no anxiety that he and his party will not inflame.

There is no line this president has not crossed — nor will not cross — to keep one political party in power.

He has spread any and every fear among us in a desperate effort to avoid that which he most fears — some check, some balance against what has become not an imperial, but a unilateral presidency.

And now it is evident that it no longer matters to him whether that effort to avoid the judgment of the people is subtle and nuanced or laughably transparent.

Sen. John Kerry called him out Monday.

He did it two years too late.

He had been too cordial — just as Vice President Gore had been too cordial in 2000, just as millions of us have been too cordial ever since.

Sen. Kerry, as you well know, spoke at a college in Southern California. With bitter humor he told the students that he had been in Texas the day before, that President Bush used to live in that state, but that now he lives in the state of denial.

He said the trip had reminded him about the value of education — that “if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

The senator, in essence, called Mr. Bush stupid.

The context was unmistakable: Texas; the state of denial; stuck in Iraq. No interpretation required.

And Mr. Bush and his minions responded by appearing to be too stupid to realize that they had been called stupid.

They demanded Kerry apologize to the troops in Iraq.

And so he now has.

That phrase — “appearing to be too stupid” — is used deliberately, Mr. Bush.

Because there are only three possibilities here.

One, sir, is that you are far more stupid than the worst of your critics have suggested; that you could not follow the construction of a simple sentence; that you could not recognize your own life story when it was deftly summarized; that you could not perceive it was the sad ledger of your presidency that was being recounted.

This, of course, compliments you, Mr. Bush, because even those who do not “make the most of it,” who do not “study hard,” who do not “do their homework,” and who do not “make an effort to be smart” might still just be stupid, but honest.

No, the first option, sir, is, at best, improbable. You are not honest.

The second option is that you and those who work for you deliberately twisted what Sen. Kerry said to fit your political template; that you decided to take advantage of it, to once again pretend that the attacks, solely about your own incompetence, were in fact attacks on the troops or even on the nation itself.

The third possibility is, obviously, the nightmare scenario: that the first two options are in some way conflated.

That it is both politically convenient for you and personally satisfying to you, to confuse yourself with the country for which, sir, you work.

A brief reminder, Mr. Bush: You are not the United States of America.

You are merely a politician whose entire legacy will have been a willingness to make anything political; to have, in this case, refused to acknowledge that the insult wasn’t about the troops, and that the insult was not even truly about you either, that the insult, in fact, is you.

So now John Kerry has apologized to the troops; apologized for the Republicans’ deliberate distortions.

Thus, the president will now begin the apologies he owes our troops, right?

This president must apologize to the troops for having suggested, six weeks ago, that the chaos in Iraq, the death and the carnage, the slaughtered Iraqi civilians and the dead American service personnel, will, to history, “look like just a comma.”

This president must apologize to the troops because the intelligence he claims led us into Iraq proved to be undeniably and irredeemably wrong.

This president must apologize to the troops for having laughed about the failure of that intelligence at a banquet while our troops were in harm’s way.

This president must apologize to the troops because the streets of Iraq were not strewn with flowers and its residents did not greet them as liberators.

This president must apologize to the troops because his administration ran out of “plan” after barely two months.

This president must apologize to the troops for getting 2,815 of them killed.

This president must apologize to the troops for getting this country into a war without a clue.

And Mr. Bush owes us an apology for this destructive and omnivorous presidency.

We will not receive them, of course.

This president never apologizes.

Not to the troops.

Not to the people.

Nor will those henchmen who have echoed him.

In calling him a “stuffed suit,” Sen. Kerry was wrong about the press secretary.

Mr. Snow’s words and conduct, falsely earnest and earnestly false, suggest he is not “stuffed,” he is inflated.

And in leaving him out of the equation, Sen. Kerry gave an unwarranted pass to his old friend Sen. John McCain, who should be ashamed of himself tonight.

He rolled over and pretended Kerry had said what he obviously had not.

Only, the symbolic stick he broke over Kerry’s head came in a context even more disturbing.

Mr. McCain demanded the apology while electioneering for a Republican congressional candidate in Illinois.

He was speaking of how often he had been to Walter Reed Hospital to see the wounded Iraq veterans, of how “many of them have lost limbs.”

He said all this while demanding that the voters of Illinois reject a candidate who is not only a wounded Iraq veteran, but who lost two limbs there, Tammy Duckworth.

Support some of the wounded veterans. But bad-mouth the Democratic one.

And exploit all the veterans and all the still-serving personnel in a cheap and tawdry political trick to try to bury the truth: that John Kerry said the president had been stupid.

And to continue this slander as late as this morning — as biased or gullible or lazy newscasters nodded in sleep-walking assent.

Sen. McCain became a front man in a collective lie to break sticks over the heads of Democrats — one of them his friend, another his fellow veteran, legless, for whom he should weep and applaud or at minimum about whom he should stay quiet.

That was beneath the senator from Arizona.

And it was all because of an imaginary insult to the troops that his party cynically manufactured out of a desperation and a futility as deep as that of Congressman Brooks, when he went hunting for Sen. Sumner.

This is our beloved country now as you have redefined it, Mr. Bush.

Get a tortured Vietnam veteran to attack a decorated Vietnam veteran in defense of military personnel whom that decorated veteran did not insult.

Or, get your henchmen to take advantage of the evil lingering dregs of the fear of miscegenation in Tennessee, in your party’s advertisements against Harold Ford.

Or, get the satellites who orbit around you, like Rush Limbaugh, to exploit the illness — and the bipartisanship — of Michael J. Fox. Yes, get someone to make fun of the cripple.

Oh, and sir, don’t forget to drag your own wife into it.

“It’s always easy,” she said of Mr. Fox’s commercials — and she used this phrase twice — “to manipulate people’s feelings.”

Where on earth might the first lady have gotten that idea, Mr. President?

From your endless manipulation of people’s feelings about terrorism?

“However they put it,” you said Monday of the Democrats, on the subject of Iraq, “their approach comes down to this: The terrorists win, and America loses.”

No manipulation of feelings there.

No manipulation of the charlatans of your administration into the only truth-tellers.

No shocked outrage at the Kerry insult that wasn’t; no subtle smile as the first lady silently sticks the knife in Michael J. Fox’s back; no attempt on the campaign trail to bury the reality that you have already assured that the terrorists are winning.

Winning in Iraq, sir.

Winning in America, sir.

There we have chaos — joint U.S.-Iraqi checkpoints at Sadr City, the base of the radical Shiite militias, and the Americans have been ordered out by the prime minister of Iraq … and our secretary of defense doesn’t even know about it!

And here we have deliberate, systematic, institutionalized lying and smearing and terrorizing — a code of deceit that somehow permits a president to say, “If you listen carefully for a Democrat plan for success, they don’t have one.”

Permits him to say this while his plan in Iraq has amounted to a twisted version of the advice once offered to Lyndon Johnson about his Iraq, called Vietnam.

Instead of “declare victory and get out” we now have “declare victory and stay indefinitely.”

And also here — we have institutionalized the terrorizing of the opposition.

True domestic terror:

Critics of your administration in the media receive letters filled with fake anthrax.

Braying newspapers applaud or laugh or reveal details the FBI wished kept quiet, and thus impede or ruin the investigation.

A series of reactionary columnists encourages treason charges against a newspaper that published “national security information” that was openly available on the Internet.

One radio critic receives a letter threatening the revelation of as much personal information about her as can be obtained and expressing the hope that someone will then shoot her with an AK-47 machine gun.

And finally, a critic of an incumbent Republican senator, a critic armed with nothing but words, is attacked by the senator’s supporters and thrown to the floor in full view of television cameras as if someone really did want to re-enact the intent — and the rage — of the day Preston Brooks found Sen. Charles Sumner.

Of course, Mr. President, you did none of these things.

You instructed no one to mail the fake anthrax, nor undermine the FBI’s case, nor call for the execution of the editors of the New York Times, nor threaten to assassinate Stephanie Miller, nor beat up a man yelling at Sen. George Allen, nor have the first lady knife Michael J. Fox, nor tell John McCain to lie about John Kerry.

No, you did not.

And the genius of the thing is the same as in King Henry’s rhetorical question about Archbishop Thomas Becket: “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?”

All you have to do, sir, is hand out enough new canes.

Link to original and video

I watch Keith Olbermann's show every night, or almost every night. He ends each show with a small tribute to Edward R Murrow saying "Good night, and good luck."

I think Mr Murrow would be pleased.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bush's Absolute Power Grab

Bush's Absolute Power Grab
By Carla Binion
Consortium News

Saturday 21 October 2006

Many Americans are in denial about what is happening to the United States. They don't want to believe that a totalitarian structure could be put in place in their own country. They don't want to view the various pieces of George W. Bush's "anti-terror" system in that broad a context. They hope that someone or something - the Supreme Court maybe - will strike down the excesses of the Republican-controlled Congress and the Executive Branch.

Though there are still obstacles that stand in Bush's way - the Nov. 7 elections, for instance - America's march down a road to a new-age totalitarianism has advanced farther than many understand, as freelance reporter Carla Binion argues in this disturbing guest essay:

On October 17, George W. Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This new law gives Bush power similar to that possessed by Stalin or Hitler, and grants agencies within the Executive Branch powers similar to those of the KGB or Gestapo.

Bush justifies this act by claiming he needs it to fight the "war on terror," but a number of critics, including former counterterrorism officials, have said the administration has greatly exaggerated the threat and used illogical methods to combat terrorism. (Examples are listed below.)

Except for MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, few television news reporters have bothered to mention that the Military Commissions Act has changed the U.S. justice system and our approach to human rights. As Olbermann said of the new law on his October 17 Countdown program, the new act "does away with habeas corpus, the right of suspected terrorists or anybody else to know why they have been imprisoned."

Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Constitutional Law Professor, was Olbermann's guest. Olbermann asked him, "Does this mean that under this law, ultimately the only thing keeping you, I, or the viewer out of Gitmo is the sanity and honesty of the president of the United States?"

Turley responded, "It does. And it's a huge sea change for our democracy. The framers created a system where we did not have to rely on the good graces or good mood of the president…People have no idea how significant this is. What, really a time of shame this is for the American system. What the Congress did and what the president signed today essentially revokes over 200 years of American principles and values."

Although we have a free press, rather than follow Olbermann's good example, most television news reporters have responded to this nullification of America's fundamental principles by avoiding the subject. News networks which voluntarily relinquish their right and duty to challenge government officials function more as the Soviet Union's Pravda or Hitler's Nazi press program than as a genuinely free press.

Just as the mainstream media failed to adequately question the Bush administration's many shifting rationales for invading Iraq in the lead-up to the war, they're now failing to challenge Bush's logic and motives as he justifies eviscerating the Constitution in the name of his ever-expanding "war on terror." How realistic is this so-called war, and is the Bush administration conducting it effectively?

Robert Dreyfuss covers national security for Rolling Stone. He interviewed nearly a dozen former high-ranking counterterrorism officials about Bush's approach to the war on terrorism. In his article, "The Phony War," (Rolling Stone, 9/21/06) Dreyfuss says these officials conclude:

  • The war on terror is bogus. Terrorism shouldn't be treated as if it were a nation to be battled with the military, but should instead be fought with police work and intelligence agencies.
  • Terrorism is not an enemy, but a method. Even if the United States were to wipe out every terrorist cell in the world today, terrorism would be back tomorrow.
  • Bush lacks a clear understanding of the nature of the "enemy" and has no real strategy for dealing with them.
  • The Bush administration confuses the issue by grouping "Al Qaeda" with everything from Iraq's resistance movement to states such as Syria and Iran.
  • Today, there's virtually no real "Al Qaeda threat" to Americans.
  • Bush's policies have spawned a new generation of "amateur terrorists," but there are few of them, and they're not likely to pose a major threat to the U.S.
  • Though Bush has said he will fight his "war" until every last terrorist is eliminated, terrorism can never be defeated, merely "contained and reduced."

Dreyfuss says, "In the short term, the cops and spies can continue to do their best to watch for terrorist threats as they emerge, and occasionally, as in London, they will succeed. But they are the first to admit that stopping a plot before it can unfold involved, more than anything, plain dumb luck."

Not only has the Bush administration falsely characterized and exaggerated the threat of terrorism; they have gone out of their way to mislead the public by claiming credit for preventing attacks. Dreyfuss points out that although Bush has claimed we've fended off 10 terrorist plots since 9/11, "on closer examination all 10 are either bogus or were to take place overseas."

Dreyfuss also notes that, although in 2002 the Bush administration leaked to the press that Al Qaeda had 5,000 "sleepers" in the U.S., there were, in fact, none. (Or, as Dreyfuss says, not a single one has been found.) If the administration believes the facts bolster their case for a war on terrorism, why do they find it necessary to leak false information?

The administration has done little to secure U.S. borders, ports, airports and nuclear facilities. What could logically explain their inattention to these vulnerabilities if they believe a terrorist threat here is likely? Bush has said he'll do anything it takes in order to protect the American people. Why hasn't he secured our nuclear facilities?

Exaggerating the terrorist threat does give the Bush team an excuse to seize more power for the Executive and shred the Constitution. In an article for Foreign Affairs (September/October 2006), political science professor John Mueller supports Dreyfuss's view that the war on terrorism is bogus.

Mueller points out that not only have there been no terrorist incidents here in the past five years, but there were none in the five years before 9/11. Mueller asks: "If it is so easy to pull off an attack and if terrorists are so demonically competent, why have they not done it? Why have they not been sniping at people in shopping centers, collapsing tunnels, poisoning the food supply, cutting electrical lines, derailing trains, blowing up oil pipelines, causing massive traffic jams, or exploiting the countless other vulnerabilities that, according to security experts, could be so easily exploited?"

He also bolsters Dreyfuss's conclusion that the Bush administration can't take credit for the fact that we haven't been attacked again. He says, "the government's protective measures would have to be nearly perfect to thwart all such plans. Given the monumental imperfection of the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, and the debacle of FBI and National Security Agency programs to upgrade their computers to better coordinate intelligence information, that explanation seems far-fetched."

Mueller addresses Bush's irrational argument that we're "fighting terrorists in Iraq so we don't have to fight them here." He points out that terrorists with Al Qaeda sympathies have managed to carry out attacks in a variety of countries (Egypt, Jordan Turkey, the United Kingdom), not merely in Iraq.

He adds that a reasonable explanation for the fact that no terrorists have attacked since 9/11 is that the terrorist threat "has been massively exaggerated." He notes that "it is worth remembering that the total number of people killed since 9/11 by Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-like operatives outside of Afghanistan and Iraq is not much higher than the number who drown in bathtubs in the United States in a single year, and that the lifetime chance of an American being killed by international terrorism is about one in 80,000 - about the same chance of being killed by a comet or a meteor."

Although Bush's justification for the war on terror has been illogical and deceptive, the administration has used it as an excuse to abuse the U.S. military in Iraq, tear down our system of government at home and seize power on his own behalf. As Jonathan Turley told Keith Olbermann on his October 17th program, with the signing of the Military Commissions Act, "Congress just gave the president despotic powers…I think people are fooling themselves if they believe that the courts will once again stop this president from taking - overtaking - almost absolute power."

Bush's many power grabs and refusal to submit to usual constitutional checks and balances indicates he prefers monarchy or dictatorship to the government set up by America's founders. The framers of our Constitution provided checks on tyranny by writing into law separation of powers, granting the legislative and judicial branches of government the ability to curb abuses by the executive. Today, the Congress has abdicated its constitutional obligation and serves only as a rubber stamp for the despotic president, and to date, the courts have done much the same.

Can George W. Bush be trusted with absolute power? Here are some things he has done with his unchecked power:

  • Stolen two presidential elections.
  • Exaggerated and falsely characterized the terrorist threat.
  • Misled the country into war with Iraq.
  • Urged the U.S. intelligence agencies to fix the intelligence around the Iraq war policy (as confirmed by the Downing Street Memo and other sources) in order to mislead the Congress and public into supporting war with Iraq.
  • Abused human rights by promoting the use of torture and setting up virtual gulags.
  • Suspended habeas corpus for some.
  • Tried to silence political opposition by pronouncing them "weak on terrorism" or somehow "with the terrorists," and
  • Placed himself above the law by issuing more legislation-challenging signing statements (around 800) than all of his predecessors put together.

Bush's unnecessary invasion of Iraq alone has cost nearly 3,000 American lives. An October 11, 2006 article by Greg Mitchell at Editor and Publisher says that a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, "suggests that more than 600,000 Iraqis have met a violent or otherwise war-related end since the U.S. arrived in March 2003."

The Bush administration's policies have not only resulted in high death counts, but also in widespread, out of control torture. A September 22, 2006 Christian Science Monitor report says:

"The United Nation's special investigator on torture said Thursday that torture may now be worse in Iraq than it was during the regime of deposed leader Saddam Hussein. The Associated Press reports that Manfred Nowak, who was making a brief to the United Nations Human Rights Council about the treatment of detainees at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba, said the torture situation in Iraq was 'totally out of hand.'"

The CS Monitor mentions the fact that the recent compromise between the Bush White House and dissident Republicans (including Senator John McCain) allows torture to continue. The article quotes a Washington Post piece:

"The bad news is Mr. Bush, as he made clear yesterday, intends to continue using the CIA to secretly detain and abuse certain terrorist suspects…It's hard to credit the statement by [McCain] yesterday that 'there's no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved.' In effect, the agreement means that U.S. violations of international human rights law can continue as long as Mr. Bush is president, with Congress's tacit assent."

Congress has given Bush a blank check as he's bulldozed toward an imperial presidency. We have the outward forms of democratic institutions such as Congress and a so-called free press. However, the people currently managing those institutions behave as if they're being forced to serve a totalitarian dictator.

A perfect example of this surrender to Bush's virtual despotism is Congress's and the mainstream media's compliance regarding Bush's Military Commissions Act. While Keith Olbermann and Jonathan Turley see the extreme danger posed by Bush's authoritarian moves, Congress has done little to challenge Bush, and, overall, the press is eerily silent.

In The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich, William L. Shirer said the Reich Press Law of October 4, 1933, ordered editors not to publish (among other things) anything which "tends to weaken the strength of the German Reich or offends the honor and dignity of Germany." According to Shirer, Max Amman, Hitler's top sergeant during the war and head of the Nazi Party's publishing firm and financial head of its press said that after the Nazis seized power in 1933, it was "a true statement to say that the basic purpose of the Nazi press program was to eliminate all the press which was in opposition to the party."

The U.S. mainstream press doesn't have to be coerced by a government Press Law to avoid publicly opposing Bush's most egregious policies. Television news networks, in particular, have voluntarily held back serious scrutiny. They have not only failed to discuss the recent Military Commissions Act at length, but in the run-up to the Iraq war, liberal talk show host Phil Donahue and comedian Bill Maher were fired for challenging the White House spin about Iraq and the 9/11 attacks.

Shirer also describes the ease with which the German Reichstag gave Hitler the power to change the nature of Germany's parliamentary democracy. He writes:

"One by one, Germany's most powerful institutions now began to surrender to Hitler and to pass quietly, unprotestingly, out of existence…It cannot be said they went down fighting. On May 19, 1933, the Social Democrats - those who were not in jail or in exile - voted in the Reichstag without a dissenting voice to approve Hitler's foreign policy."

Shirer concludes: "The one-party totalitarian state had been achieved with scarcely a ripple of opposition or defiance, and within four months after the Reichstag had abdicated its democratic responsibilities."

The U.S. Congress, like the German Reichstag, has abdicated its democratic responsibilities by granting Bush an inordinate amount of power - "with scarcely a ripple of opposition or defiance." The U.S. press has abandoned its role as democracy's watchdog by failing to question this development. Both of these institutions have failed the American people.

Considering Bush is using the war on terror to justify seizing undue power, both Congress and the media should question his reasoning and offer opposition. Just as they didn't effectively challenge the administration's shifting excuses for attacking Iraq, these institutions haven't scrutinized Bush's claims about the need for the Military Commissions Act and the apparently endless war on terrorism.

Among things Congress and the media should challenge is George W. Bush's false claim that the United States does not torture. In an article published at the CommonDreams.org site, journalist Molly Ivins reports that in one case of death from torture by Americans, the military at first said the prisoner's death was caused by a heart attack. Ivins adds that the coroner later said the heart attack occurred after the prisoner "had been beaten so often on his legs that they had 'basically been pulpified.'"

She adds that the Bush administration's officially sanctioning torture "throws out legal and moral restraints as the president deems necessary - these are fundamental principles of basic decency, as well as law." Ivins isn't inclined to hyperbole, yet she says of Americans' passive acceptance of this new law: "Do not pretend to be shocked when the world begins comparing us to the Nazis."

As Jonathan Turley said on Olbermann's program, "I think you can feel the judgment of history. It won't be kind to President Bush. But frankly, I don't think that it will be kind to the rest of us. I think that history will ask, 'Where were you? What did you do when this thing was signed into law?' There were people that protested the Japanese concentration camps; there were people that protested these other acts. But we are strangely silent in this national yawn as our rights evaporate."

Future generations will wonder why the U.S. Congress and mainstream press helped Bush build up an imperial presidency and eliminate Constitutional protections. If they're able to sort through the administration's fallacies and lies and clearly see what went wrong with America during this time, they'll wonder why there were so few Molly Ivins's, Keith Olbermann's and Jonathan Turley's.

Coming generations will also ask why by comparison there were so many who failed to notice the obvious holes in Bush's logic and why so many turned a blind eye to his numerous false assertions and cruel policies. They'll wonder why so many supported, whether by direct action or by silence, the Bush administration's changing the fundamental nature of the democratic Republic we were given by America's founders, based on the flimsy excuse of fighting a war on terrorism - a "war" Bush defines falsely and fights ineffectively.

Generations to come might ask why this president who lied so often, about Iraq and other critical matters, was ever entrusted with enough power to damage this country's founding principles and wage endless, unprovoked war on other nations. If Congress and the media would ask these questions now, they might prevent Bush from doing further harm. This might save many lives, prevent much unnecessary suffering and possibly steer this country out of its present darkness.

Carla Binion is a freelance researcher and writer whose essays have been published at various Web sites.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Keith again!

'Beginning of the end of America'

We have lived as if in a trance.

We have lived as people in fear.

And now—our rights and our freedoms in peril—we slowly awaken to learn that we have been afraid of the wrong thing.

Therefore, tonight have we truly become the inheritors of our American legacy.

For, on this first full day that the Military Commissions Act is in force, we now face what our ancestors faced, at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering:

A government more dangerous to our liberty, than is the enemy it claims to protect us from.

We have been here before—and we have been here before, led here by men better and wiser and nobler than George W. Bush.

We have been here when President John Adams insisted that the Alien and Sedition Acts were necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use those acts to jail newspaper editors.

American newspaper editors, in American jails, for things they wrote about America.

We have been here when President Woodrow Wilson insisted that the Espionage Act was necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use that Act to prosecute 2,000 Americans, especially those he disparaged as “Hyphenated Americans,” most of whom were guilty only of advocating peace in a time of war.

American public speakers, in American jails, for things they said about America.

And we have been here when President Franklin D. Roosevelt insisted that Executive Order 9066 was necessary to save American lives, only to watch him use that order to imprison and pauperize 110,000 Americans while his man in charge, General DeWitt, told Congress: “It makes no difference whether he is an American citizen—he is still a Japanese.”

American citizens, in American camps, for something they neither wrote nor said nor did, but for the choices they or their ancestors had made about coming to America.

Each of these actions was undertaken for the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And each was a betrayal of that for which the president who advocated them claimed to be fighting.

Adams and his party were swept from office, and the Alien and Sedition Acts erased.

Many of the very people Wilson silenced survived him, and one of them even ran to succeed him, and got 900,000 votes, though his presidential campaign was conducted entirely from his jail cell.

And Roosevelt’s internment of the Japanese was not merely the worst blight on his record, but it would necessitate a formal apology from the government of the United States to the citizens of the United States whose lives it ruined.

The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

In times of fright, we have been only human.

We have let Roosevelt’s “fear of fear itself” overtake us.

We have listened to the little voice inside that has said, “the wolf is at the door; this will be temporary; this will be precise; this too shall pass.”

We have accepted that the only way to stop the terrorists is to let the government become just a little bit like the terrorists.

Just the way we once accepted that the only way to stop the Soviets was to let the government become just a little bit like the Soviets.

Or substitute the Japanese.

Or the Germans.

Or the Socialists.

Or the Anarchists.

Or the Immigrants.

Or the British.

Or the Aliens.

The most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And, always, always wrong.

“With the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?”

Wise words.

And ironic ones, Mr. Bush.

Your own, of course, yesterday, in signing the Military Commissions Act.

You spoke so much more than you know, Sir.

Sadly—of course—the distance of history will recognize that the threat this generation of Americans needed to take seriously was you.

We have a long and painful history of ignoring the prophecy attributed to Benjamin Franklin that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

But even within this history we have not before codified the poisoning of habeas corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow.

You, sir, have now befouled that spring.

You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order.

You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom.

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And — again, Mr. Bush — all of them, wrong.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has said it is unacceptable to compare anything this country has ever done to anything the terrorists have ever done.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who has insisted again that “the United States does not torture. It’s against our laws and it’s against our values” and who has said it with a straight face while the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison and the stories of Waterboarding figuratively fade in and out, around him.

We have handed a blank check drawn against our freedom to a man who may now, if he so decides, declare not merely any non-American citizens “unlawful enemy combatants” and ship them somewhere—anywhere -- but may now, if he so decides, declare you an “unlawful enemy combatant” and ship you somewhere - anywhere.

And if you think this hyperbole or hysteria, ask the newspaper editors when John Adams was president or the pacifists when Woodrow Wilson was president or the Japanese at Manzanar when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

And if you somehow think habeas corpus has not been suspended for American citizens but only for everybody else, ask yourself this: If you are pulled off the street tomorrow, and they call you an alien or an undocumented immigrant or an “unlawful enemy combatant”—exactly how are you going to convince them to give you a court hearing to prove you are not? Do you think this attorney general is going to help you?

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope he has not lied about how he intends to use it nor who he intends to use it against?

“These military commissions will provide a fair trial,” you told us yesterday, Mr. Bush, “in which the accused are presumed innocent, have access to an attorney and can hear all the evidence against them.”

"Presumed innocent," Mr. Bush?

The very piece of paper you signed as you said that, allows for the detainees to be abused up to the point just before they sustain “serious mental and physical trauma” in the hope of getting them to incriminate themselves, and may no longer even invoke The Geneva Conventions in their own defense.

"Access to an attorney," Mr. Bush?

Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift said on this program, Sir, and to the Supreme Court, that he was only granted access to his detainee defendant on the promise that the detainee would plead guilty.

"Hearing all the evidence," Mr. Bush?

The Military Commissions Act specifically permits the introduction of classified evidence not made available to the defense.

Your words are lies, Sir.

They are lies that imperil us all.

“One of the terrorists believed to have planned the 9/11 attacks,” you told us yesterday, “said he hoped the attacks would be the beginning of the end of America.”

That terrorist, sir, could only hope.

Not his actions, nor the actions of a ceaseless line of terrorists (real or imagined), could measure up to what you have wrought.

Habeas corpus? Gone.

The Geneva Conventions? Optional.

The moral force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out.

These things you have done, Mr. Bush, they would be “the beginning of the end of America.”

And did it even occur to you once, sir — somewhere in amidst those eight separate, gruesome, intentional, terroristic invocations of the horrors of 9/11 -- that with only a little further shift in this world we now know—just a touch more repudiation of all of that for which our patriots died --- did it ever occur to you once that in just 27 months and two days from now when you leave office, some irresponsible future president and a “competent tribunal” of lackeys would be entitled, by the actions of your own hand, to declare the status of “unlawful enemy combatant” for -- and convene a Military Commission to try -- not John Walker Lindh, but George Walker Bush?

For the most vital, the most urgent, the most inescapable of reasons.

And doubtless, Sir, all of them—as always—wrong.

And here's the link: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/15321167/

Friday, October 06, 2006

Keith Olbermann on the difference between terrorists and critics

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment given 10/5/2006. Please watch it.

For those of you without sound, I will post it in it's entirety.

A special comment about lying

Keith Olbermann on the difference between terrorists and critics

By Keith Olbermann
Anchor, 'Countdown'
Updated: 11:19 a.m. ET Oct. 6, 2006

While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool ...

While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover ...

The president of the United States — unbowed, undeterred and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: the Democrats.

Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, “177 of the opposition party said, ‘You know, we don’t think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.’”

The hell they did.

One hundred seventy-seven Democrats opposed the president’s seizure of another part of the Constitution.

Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn’t be listening to the conversations of terrorists.

President Bush hears what he wants.

Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said, “Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we’re attacked again before we respond.”

Mr. Bush fabricated that, too.

And evidently he has begun to fancy himself as a mind reader.

“If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party,” the president said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, “it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is — wait until we’re attacked again.”

The president doesn’t just hear what he wants.

He hears things that only he can hear.

It defies belief that this president and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow.

Yet they do.

It is startling enough that such things could be said out loud by any president of this nation.

Rhetorically, it is about an inch short of Mr. Bush accusing Democratic leaders, Democrats, the majority of Americans who disagree with his policies of treason.

But it is the context that truly makes the head spin.

Just 25 days ago, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this same man spoke to this nation and insisted, “We must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.”

Mr. Bush, this is a test you have already failed.

If your commitment to “put aside differences and work together” is replaced in the span of just three weeks by claiming your political opponents prefer to wait to see this country attacked again, and by spewing fabrications about what they’ve said, then the questions your critics need to be asking are no longer about your policies.

They are, instead, solemn and even terrible questions, about your fitness to fulfill the responsibilities of your office.

No Democrat, sir, has ever said anything approaching the suggestion that the best means of self-defense is to “wait until we’re attacked again.”

No critic, no commentator, no reluctant Republican in the Senate has ever said anything that any responsible person could even have exaggerated into the slander you spoke in Nevada on Monday night, nor the slander you spoke in California on Tuesday, nor the slander you spoke in Arizona on Wednesday ... nor whatever is next.

You have dishonored your party, sir; you have dishonored your supporters; you have dishonored yourself.

But tonight the stark question we must face is — why?

Why has the ferocity of your venom against the Democrats now exceeded the ferocity of your venom against the terrorists?

Why have you chosen to go down in history as the president who made things up?

In less than one month you have gone from a flawed call to unity to this clarion call to hatred of Americans, by Americans.

If this is not simply the most shameless example of the rhetoric of political hackery, then it would have to be the cry of a leader crumbling under the weight of his own lies.

We have, of course, survived all manner of political hackery, of every shape, size and party. We will have to suffer it, for as long as the Republic stands.

But the premise of a president who comes across as a compulsive liar is nothing less than terrifying.

A president who since 9/11 will not listen, is not listening — and thanks to Bob Woodward’s most recent account — evidently has never listened.

A president who since 9/11 so hates or fears other Americans that he accuses them of advocating deliberate inaction in the face of the enemy.

A president who since 9/11 has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack — attack by terrorists, or by Democrats, or by both — it is now impossible to find a consistent thread of logic as to who Mr. Bush believes the enemy is.

But if we know one thing for certain about Mr. Bush, it is this: This president — in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month — has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies are, they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak called the Constitution of the United States of America.

How often do we find priceless truth in the unlikeliest of places?

I tonight quote not Jefferson nor Voltaire, but Cigar Aficionado Magazine.

On Sept. 11th, 2003, the editor of that publication interviewed General Tommy Franks, at that point, just retired from his post as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command — of Cent-Com.

And amid his quaint defenses of the then-nagging absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or the continuing freedom of Osama bin Laden, General Franks said some of the most profound words of this generation.

He spoke of “the worst thing that can happen” to this country:

First, quoting, a “massive casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western World — it may be in the United States of America.”

Then, the general continued, “the Western World, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years, in this grand experiment that we call democracy.”

It was this super-patriotic warrior’s fear that we would lose that most cherished liberty, because of another attack, one — again quoting General Franks — “that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass-casualty-producing event. Which, in fact, then begins to potentially unravel the fabric of our Constitution.”

And here we are, the fabric of our Constitution being unraveled, anyway.

Habeus corpus neutered; the rights of self-defense now as malleable and impermanent as clay; a president stifling all critics by every means available and, when he runs out of those, by simply lying about what they said or felt.

And all this, even without the dreaded attack.

General Franks, like all of us, loves this country, and believes not just in its values, but in its continuity.

He has been trained to look for threats to that continuity from without.

He has, perhaps been as naïve as the rest of us, in failing to keep close enough vigil on the threats to that continuity from within.

Secretary of State Rice first cannot remember urgent cautionary meetings with counterterrorism officials before 9/11. Then within hours of this lie, her spokesman confirms the meetings in question. Then she dismisses those meetings as nothing new — yet insists she wanted the same cautions expressed to Secretaries Ashcroft and Rumsfeld.

Mr. Rumsfeld, meantime, has been unable to accept the most logical and simple influence of the most noble and neutral of advisers. He and his employer insist they rely on the “generals in the field.” But dozens of those generals have now come forward to say how their words, their experiences, have been ignored.

And, of course, inherent in the Pentagon’s war-making functions is the regulation of presidential war lust.

Enacting that regulation should include everything up to symbolically wrestling the Chief Executive to the floor.

Yet—and it is Pentagon transcripts that now tell us this—evidently Mr. Rumsfeld’s strongest check on Mr. Bush’s ambitions, was to get somebody to excise the phrase “Mission Accomplished” out of the infamous Air Force Carrier speech of May 1st, 2003, even while the same empty words hung on a banner over the President’s shoulder.

And the vice president is a chilling figure, still unable, it seems, to accept the conclusions of his own party’s leaders in the Senate, that the foundations of his public position, are made out of sand.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

But he still says so.

There was no link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaida.

But he still says so.

And thus, gripping firmly these figments of his own imagination, Mr. Cheney lives on, in defiance, and spreads—around him and before him—darkness, like some contagion of fear.

They are never wrong, and they never regret -- admirable in a French torch singer, cataclysmic in an American leader.

Thus, the sickening attempt to blame the Foley scandal on the negligence of others or “the Clinton era”—even though the Foley scandal began before the Lewinsky scandal.

Thus, last month’s enraged attacks on this administration’s predecessors, about Osama bin Laden—a projection of their own negligence in the immediate months before 9/11.

Thus, the terrifying attempt to hamstring the fundament of our freedom—the Constitution—a triumph for al Qaida, for which the terrorists could not hope to achieve with a hundred 9/11’s.

And thus, worst of all perhaps, these newest lies by President Bush about Democrats choosing to await another attack and not listen to the conversations of terrorists.

It is the terror and the guilt within your own heart, Mr. Bush, that you redirect at others who simply wish for you to temper your certainty with counsel.

It is the failure and the incompetence within your own memory, Mr. Bush, that leads you to demonize those who might merely quote to you the pleadings of Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear, Sir.

It is your own—before 9/11 - and (and you alone know this), perhaps afterwards.

Mr. President, these new lies go to the heart of what it is that you truly wish to preserve.

It is not our freedom, nor our country—your actions against the Constitution give irrefutable proof of that.

You want to preserve a political party’s power. And obviously you’ll sell this country out, to do it.

These are lies about the Democrats -- piled atop lies about Iraq -- which were piled atop lies about your preparations for al Qaida.

To you, perhaps, they feel like the weight of a million centuries -- as crushing, as immovable.

They are not.

If you add more lies to them, you cannot free yourself, and us, from them.

But if you stop -- if you stop fabricating quotes, and building straw-men, and inspiring those around you to do the same -- you may yet liberate yourself and this nation.

Please, sir, do not throw this country’s principles away because your lies have made it such that you can no longer differentiate between the terrorists and the critics.

Special Comments by Keith Olbermann

Other Special Comments by Keith Olbermann:

Bush owes us an apology
Keith Olbermann comments on President Bush's Rose Garden address

Feeling morally, intellectually confused?
Keith Olbermann comments on Donald Rumsfeld's remarks

'Have you no sense of decency, sir?'
Keith Olbermann comments on Bush's Rose Garden press conference

It's about time some journalists are beginning to speak out.

Keep it up Leith!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

This Hole in the Ground

Keith Olbermann's special comment about 9/11 five years after the terrorist attacks.

Sept. 11, 2006 | 8:32 p.m. ET

This hole in the ground

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.

All the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and -- as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul -- two more in the Towers.

And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors.

I belabor this to emphasize that, for me this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft,"or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante and at worst, an idiot whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

However, of all the things those of us who were here five years ago could have forecast -- of all the nightmares that unfolded before our eyes, and the others that unfolded only in our minds -- none of us could have predicted this.

Five years later this space is still empty.

Five years later there is no memorial to the dead.

Five years later there is no building rising to show with proud defiance that we would not have our America wrung from us, by cowards and criminals.

Five years later this country's wound is still open.

Five years later this country's mass grave is still unmarked.

Five years later this is still just a background for a photo-op.

It is beyond shameful.

At the dedication of the Gettysburg Memorial -- barely four months after the last soldier staggered from another Pennsylvania field -- Mr. Lincoln said, "we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Lincoln used those words to immortalize their sacrifice.

Today our leaders could use those same words to rationalize their reprehensible inaction. "We cannot dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground." So we won't.

Instead they bicker and buck pass. They thwart private efforts, and jostle to claim credit for initiatives that go nowhere. They spend the money on irrelevant wars, and elaborate self-congratulations, and buying off columnists to write how good a job they're doing instead of doing any job at all.

Five years later, Mr. Bush, we are still fighting the terrorists on these streets. And look carefully, sir, on these 16 empty acres. The terrorists are clearly, still winning.

And, in a crime against every victim here and every patriotic sentiment you mouthed but did not enact, you have done nothing about it.

And there is something worse still than this vast gaping hole in this city, and in the fabric of our nation. There is its symbolism of the promise unfulfilled, the urgent oath, reduced to lazy execution.

The only positive on 9/11 and the days and weeks that so slowly and painfully followed it was the unanimous humanity, here, and throughout the country. The government, the President in particular, was given every possible measure of support.

Those who did not belong to his party -- tabled that.

Those who doubted the mechanics of his election -- ignored that.

Those who wondered of his qualifications -- forgot that.

History teaches us that nearly unanimous support of a government cannot be taken away from that government by its critics. It can only be squandered by those who use it not to heal a nation's wounds, but to take political advantage.

Terrorists did not come and steal our newly-regained sense of being American first, and political, fiftieth. Nor did the Democrats. Nor did the media. Nor did the people.

The President -- and those around him -- did that.

They promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused, as appeasers, as those who, in the Vice President's words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken, a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated al-Qaida as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had 'something to do' with 9/11 is "lying by implication."

The impolite phrase is "impeachable offense."

Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country.

Still, there is a last snapping flame from a final candle of respect and fairness: even his most virulent critics have never suggested he alone bears the full brunt of the blame for 9/11.

Half the time, in fact, this President has been so gently treated, that he has seemed not even to be the man most responsible for anything in his own administration.

Yet what is happening this very night?

A mini-series, created, influenced -- possibly financed by -- the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes.

The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.

So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

This is an odd point to cite a television program, especially one from March of 1960. But as Disney's continuing sell-out of the truth (and this country) suggests, even television programs can be powerful things.

And long ago, a series called "The Twilight Zone" broadcast a riveting episode entitled "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street."

In brief: a meteor sparks rumors of an invasion by extra-terrestrials disguised as humans. The electricity goes out. A neighbor pleads for calm. Suddenly his car -- and only his car -- starts. Someone suggests he must be the alien. Then another man's lights go on. As charges and suspicion and panic overtake the street, guns are inevitably produced. An "alien" is shot -- but he turns out to be just another neighbor, returning from going for help. The camera pulls back to a near-by hill, where two extra-terrestrials are seen manipulating a small device that can jam electricity. The veteran tells his novice that there's no need to actually attack, that you just turn off a few of the human machines and then, "they pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it's themselves."

And then, in perhaps his finest piece of writing, Rod Serling sums it up with words of remarkable prescience, given where we find ourselves tonight: "The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men.

"For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own -- for the children, and the children yet unborn."

When those who dissent are told time and time again -- as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus -- that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of it, we are somehow un-American...When we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have "forgotten the lessons of 9/11"... look into this empty space behind me and the bi-partisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me:

Who has left this hole in the ground?

We have not forgotten, Mr. President.

You have.

May this country forgive you.

News Today

I've decided to start a new blog, unrelated to diet and health issues so I can voice my opinion and help promote ideas I believe in.

I think each blog is going to be different...I'm going to post about anything.

News articles I've seen today:

Bodies found as US vows to secure Baghdad. 47 more bodies found. Most victims were found to have been bound, tortured and shot. This bring a 4 day total of almost 180.

E-Coli contaminated Spinach: apparently at least some of the cases have been linked to a California processor, but other companies are still being looked at. Spinach can be eaten if thoroughly cooked, but cannot be eaten raw as washing will NOT kill/remove the bacteria.

Remember the woman who strangled the intruder in her home? Well, now it looks like her husband had hired a hitman....and the hitman was the man this woman killed. I've read a lot of posts on message boards about this and have to say, in my opinion, if this woman was trying to protect herself she is guilty of nothing.....except making a really bad choice in her husband (which I can relate to!).

The death of Anna Nicole Smith's son: Apparently Ms Smith has now hired an independent pathologist to determine what happened to her son. Good for her! I feel so sorry for Ms Smith. I cannot imagine how it would feel to loose a child. In this case the child apparently died right in front of her and she coulnd't do anything to save him?? Horrible! I hope she at least has some friends and family to help her during this time in her life. We should all keep her in our thoughts and prayers.

Nancy Grace says "Guilt" likely made mother commit suicide: Wow....the fact that she, on national TV berrated and yelled at this mother had nothing to do with it? I think not.

Polar bears drown, islands appear in Arctic thaw: I am getting more and more concerned about this global warming!!! They've been saying for a while that polar bears are at risk of extinction due to changes in thei hunting areas....now they're getting stranded at sea when the ice their on unexpectedly melts and breaks up, drifting away out to sea. They've also found 3 "new" islands!!! These islands were previously covered by glaciers, but the glaciers have melted enough to reveal their existance. Wonder how much longer our government will ignore this threat?

The Dutch are the world's tallest people:
WOW!!! Average man just over 6' and the average woman around 5'7"!!

Woman, 73, Fights Off Intruder:
I love seeing stories like this!!!