Monday, January 10, 2005

WaPo editorial board is totally clueless

It's hard to believe how the spinning is done, until you see it in action. The idea that Armstrong Williams was paid to support the "No Child Left Behind" initiative was not necessarily known by the White House. Wow!

Interesting Review of NYT

The CIA and Riggs Bank

Decentralize the power grid

Bush team scolded for disguised TV report

Why the Rehnquist Court has done so little damage, so far.

As The Monty Python Show would say: "And now, for something completely different": I am Charlotte Simmons


The Psychology of Christian Fundamentalism

US deserters flee to Canada to avoid service in Iraq
By Charles Laurence in New York
(Filed: 09/01/2005)
American Army soldiers are deserting and fleeing to Canada rather than fight in Iraq, rekindling memories of the thousands of draft-dodgers who flooded north to avoid service in Vietnam.
An estimated 5,500 men and women have deserted since the invasion of Iraq, reflecting Washington's growing problems with troop morale.

Jeremy Hinzman: a 'wrong career choice'
Jeremy Hinzman, 26, from South Dakota, who deserted from the 82nd Airborne , is among those who - to the disgust of Pentagon officials - have applied for refugee status in Canada.
The United States Army treats deserters as common criminals, posting them on "wanted" lists with the FBI, state police forces and the Department of Home Security border patrols.
Hinzman said last week: "This is a criminal war and any act of violence in an unjustified conflict is an atrocity. I signed a contract for four years, and I was totally willing to fulfil it. Just not in combat arms jobs."
Hinzman, who served as a cook in Afghanistan, was due to join a fighting unit in Iraq after being refused status as a conscientious objector.
He realised that he had made the "wrong career choice" as he marched with his platoon of recruits all chanting, "Train to kill, kill we will".
He said: "At that point a light went off in my head. I was told in basic training that if I'm given an illegal or immoral order, it is my duty to disobey it. I feel that invading and occupying Iraq is an illegal and immoral thing to do.''
Pte Brandon Hughey, 19, who deserted from the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, said that he had volunteered because the army offered to pay his college fees. He began training soon after the invasion of Iraq but became disillusioned when no weapons of mass destruction were found.
"I had been willing to die to make America safe," he said. "I found out, basically, that they found no weapons of mass destruction and the claim that they made about ties to al-Qaeda was coming up short. It made me angry. I felt our lives as soldiers were being thrown away."
When he was ordered to deploy to Iraq, Hughey searched the internet for an "underground railroad" operation, through which deserting troops are helped to escape to Canada.
He was put in touch with a Quaker pacifist couple who had helped Vietnam draft-dodgers and was driven from Texas to Ontario.
The Pentagon says that the level of desertion is no higher than usual and denies that it is having difficulty persuading troops to fight. The flight to Canada is, however, an embarrassment for the military, which is suffering from a recruiting shortfall for the National Guard and the Army Reserves.
The deaths of 18 American soldiers in a suicide bomb attack in Mosul, northern Iraq, last month, was a further blow to morale. Soon after, the number of American soldiers killed since President Bush declared that large-scale combat operations were at an end passed the 1,000 mark.
Lt Col Joe Richard, a Pentagon spokesman, said that the US government wanted the deserters to be returned from Canada. "If you don't want to fight, don't join," he said.
"The men in Canada have an obligation to fulfil their military contracts and do their duty. If and when they return to this country, they will be prosecuted."
The penalty for desertion in wartime can be death. Most deserters, however, serve up to five years in a military prison before receiving a dishonourable discharge.
In order to stay in Canada, deserters must convince an immigration board that they would face not just prosecution but also "persecution" if they returned to America. Hinzman's hearing has begun in Toronto and a decision is expected next month.
During the Vietnam war an estimated 55,000 deserters or draft-dodgers fled to Canada. There were amnesties for both groups in the late 1970s under President Jimmy Carter, but many stayed.
One who did so is Jeffrey House, a Toronto-based lawyer, who represents some of the deserters. He said that at least 25 had reached Canada in recent months with the help of "railroad" organisations, and believed that the immigration board would back his clients.
19 April 2004: US 'soldiers of conscience' take Sixties route to Canada
18 December 2004: US military sees sharp fall in black recruits

Egyptian paper: Israel-India nuke test caused tsunami

If Reagan had admitted this in the middle 1980s it's not too crazy to suggest this might've led to Reagan's impeachment (although probably not his conviction by the Senate).

bullsh*t to the nth degree

Andrea Mitchell jumped in before Hunt could name names.

Noam Chomsky

Director Mueller may be in the hot seat

kiss the official UA 93 theory good-bye!

But there is that nagging question of torture.

OKC Bombshell Implicates Feds In Murrah Blast

More Fear Mongering - Prime Time

Tonight as I was making dinner, I heard a commercial that made me stop and listen. It was for GlaxoSmithKlineBeecham Pharmaceuticals.

The spokesperson was talking about new anti-infectious disease drug R&D and although I didn't see it, he must have been standing near a large snow bank. He said that they are "waging war" every day on disease and to demonstrate how uphill a battle it is, he said to imagine every snowflake there being one possible compound that could stop an infectious disease, but only a few being safe and effective for humans. Then, he pointed out that bacteria are becoming resistant to drugs all the time, so they're having to find new ones.

The war symbolism was repeated over a couple or three times. Not only was this fear mongering (the diseases out there that can hurt you are as numerous as the snowflakes you see here), but it was equating war with something good (fighting the things that can hurt you).

It starts young. I heard a mother today out in a field taking pictures of her toddler. She kept saying, "Don't let that get you. Don't let that get you." It wasn't anything that was actually going to harm her - just some big stalks of dried grasses. But the message that child got was that even in the field next to her house in very safe, suburban Colorado, there is danger lurking, just waiting to get you. Is it any wonder that we spend billions of dollars trying to wage war against what are often imagined dangers?

We have an immune system to protect us against disease, a sympathetic nervous system to alert us to real dangers, a physiological system that allows us to fight or flee those dangers, and a rational brain that can allow us to understand that most of what we are "fighting" these days are dangers we've created ourselves. It's time to find a new way to take care of ourselves based on believing in our own ability to do so in a peaceful and joyful way.

Texas audit cites improper use of millions in homeland security funds

Drug Prohibition is a Terrorist's Best Friend

Iraq: The Devastation

The Terrorists are Coming!
David McGowan
August 2000

Click to see Real Player Video

Do We Believe In Conspiracies?

Salazar Sucks!

Sanity in The UK

Let bin Laden stay free,says ex-No. 3 CIA man:

Calling for an End to Opposite Day

Winners of the "I look like my Dog" Contest