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Chuckle out the old year

December 30th, 2008

>>>> If you need a good laugh, try reading through these
>>>> children’s science
>>>> exam answers…
>>>>
>>>> Q: Name the four seasons.
>>>> A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.
>>>>
>>>> Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made
>>>> safe to
>>>> drink.
>>>> A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes
>>>> large
>>>> pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.
>>>>
>>>> Q: How is dew formed?
>>>> A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them
>>>> perspire.  < BR>
>>>> Q: How can you delay milk turning sour? (Brilliant, love
>>>> this!)
>>>> A: Keep it in the cow.
>>>>
>>>> Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?
>>>> A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon.
>>>> All water tends
>>>> to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the
>>>> moon, and
>>>> nature hates a vacuu m. I forget where the sun joins in
>>>> this fight.
>>>>
>>>> Q: What are steroids?
>>>> A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.
>>>>
>>>> Q: What happens to your body as you age?
>>>> A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get
>>>> intercontinental
>>>>
>>>> Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
>>>> A: He says good-bye to his boyhood and looks forward to his
>>>> adultery.
>>>> (The kid gets an A+ for this answer!)
>>>> < B>
>>>> Q: Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
>>>> A: Premature death.
>>>>
>>>> Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? ( e.g.,
>>>> abdomen)
>>>> A: The body is consisted into three parts — the brainium,
>>>> the borax and
>>>> the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the
>>>> borax
>>>> contains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity
>>>> contains the five
>>>> bowels A, E, I, O, and U.
>>>>
>>>> Q: What is the fibula?
>>>> A: A small lie.
>>>>
>>>> Q: What does ‘varicose’ mean? (I do love this
>>>> one…)
>>>> A: Nearby.
>>>>
>>>> Q: Give the meaning of the term ‘Caesarian
>>>> Section.’
>>>> A: The Caesarian Sect ion is a district in Rome.
>>>>
>>>> Q: What does the word ‘benign’ mean?’
>>>> A: Benign is what you will be after you be eight

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Stop Monsanto nominee for Secretary of Agrigulture

December 30th, 2008

 

 Friends,

 

    In spite of 20,00 e-mails from organic consumers and, in apparent contradiction to his announcement that he wants an organic garden at the White House, Obama has chosen Tom Vilsack,  a strong bio-tech proponent supporting genetically engineered crops, cloned animals, etc., to run the Department of Agriculture.

    As you will see below, Vilsack is truly Monsanto‘s boy.  He pre-empted the local votes of towns and counties who had voted to disallow GE seeds! 

 

    It’s still possible to block Vilsack’s confirmation with a massive support of the petition  drafted by the Organic Consumer Association. It’s easy to sign on at this link:

 

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1783 

 

    or from the  Organic Consumer Association website http://www.organicconsumers.org/

    

Your email will be sent to your Senators and the President-Elect‘s office.

 

    The article below gives further details.

 

    Thanks!

 

    Gerhard Bedding

 

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Gaza cease fire petition

December 30th, 2008

 

You too may be wondering if there is anything you can do to ameliorate 

the situation in Gaza — if you haven’t signed this petition yet, it may 

be one of the things

 

 

Brett Solomon – Avaaz.org wrote:

> Dear friends,

>

> The Gaza crisis has exploded — put your name to our *emergency 

> petition demanding a ceasefire.* We’ll *deliver it immediately *to the 

> UN Security Council, the Arab League, the US and other world leaders!

> Take Action Now 

> <http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace/?cl=163020060&v=2610>

>

> As we watch the *Gaza bloodshed *with horror, appalled at how the 

> crisis is spiraling further out of control, one thing is clear – 

> *this violence will only lead to further civilian suffering and an 

> escalation of the conflict.*

>

> *There must be another way.* Over 280 are dead so far in the Gaza 

> Strip and hundreds more injured — rockets are striking Ashdod deep 

> inside Israel for the very first time, and the sides are mobilising 

> for invasion. *A global outcry has begun, but it’ll take more than 

> words *– the immediate violence won’t end, nor will wider peace be 

> secured, *without firm action from the international community.*

>

> *Today, we’re launching an emergency campaign *which will be delivered 

> to the UN Security Council and key world powers, urging them to act to 

> ensure an immediate ceasefire and address the growing humanitarian 

> crisis — *only with robust international oversight and action can 

> civilians on all sides be protected and real steps be taken toward a 

> wider peace.* Follow this link now to sign the emergency petition and 

> send it to everyone you know:

>

> http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace/?cl=163020060&v=2610 

> <http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_time_for_peace/?cl=163020060&v=2610>

>

> *After Gaza’s bloodiest day in recent memory and eight or more years 

> of ineffective US and global diplomacy, *we need to get world leaders 

> to do more than issue statements if they’re to ensure a lasting 

> ceasefire.^1 Through the UN Security Council and other international 

> bodies, *the world can provide the help and pressure needed to stop 

> the violence and change the situation on the ground in Gaza *– 

> preventing the rockets and incursions, re-opening crossing-points 

> under international oversight so that instead of weapon-smuggling, the 

> 1.5 million ordinary people of Gaza can get the fuel, food and 

> medicines they so desperately need.

>

> *All sides to the conflict will continue to act as they have in the 

> past if they believe that the world will stand by and allow them to do 

> so.* We mobilised for a ceasefire in 2006′s Israel-Lebanon war and 

> succeeded, *but this time the international community must not delay 

> *– let’s raise a truly worldwide outcry. 2009 is a year that things 

> can be different. As we face this crisis, and the possibilities of a 

> new year, *it’s time for us everywhere to work together to stop this 

> violence.*

>

> With hope and determination,

>

> Brett, Ricken, Alice, Ben, Pascal, Paul, Graziela, Paula, Luis, Iain 

> and the whole Avaaz team

>

>

> ^1 *Further actions could include:* a formal resolution from the 

> Security Council rather than issuing a press statement as was done on 

> 28 December 2008; explicit private and public international pressure 

> on the parties to end the hostilities including developing clear terms 

> for the resumption of negotiations; proper international oversight of 

> the Rafah border; and in time, a detailed Security Council resolution 

> setting out the terms in international law for a permanent peace 

> between Israel and Palestine. For background, see this Jerusalem Post 

> article, “No international pressure to end op”: 

> http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230456497503&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull 

> <%20http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1230456497503&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull>) 

>

>

> —————————-

>

>

>

>

> *ABOUT AVAAZ*Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global 

> campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and 

> values of the world’s people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz 

> means “voice” in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from 

> governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in 

> Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva. 

> Call us at: +1 888 922 8229 or +55 21 2509 0368 Click *here* 

> <http://www.avaaz.org/en/report_back_2/> to learn more about our 

> largest campaigns. *Don’t forget to check out our Facebook 

> <http://www.facebook.com/pages/Avaaz/8340223883> and Myspace 

> <http://www.myspace.com/avaazorg> and Bebo 

> <http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=6305316853> pages!*

> You are getting this message because you signed “World to Obama: Let’s 

> Do It Together <http://www.avaaz.org/en/million_messages_to_obama>” on 

> 2008-11-12 using the email address baronessjoy@optonline.net.To ensure 

> that Avaaz messages reach your inbox, please add avaaz@avaaz.org to 

> your address book. To change your email address, language settings, or 

> other personal information, 

> https://secure.avaaz.org/act/index.php?r=profile&user=7816055e402db8c77c3e838d7f0e1999â?©=en

> or simply *go here to unsubscribe 

> <https://secure.avaaz.org/act/?r=unsub&cl=163020060&email=baronessjoy@optonline.net&b=490&v=2610&lang=en>*.

>

> To contact Avaaz, please *do not reply to this email.* Instead, write 

> to info@avaaz.org. You can also call us at +1-888-922-8229 (US) or +55 

> 21 2509 0368 (Brazil)If you have technical problems, please go to 

> http://www.avaaz.org <http://www.avaaz.org/>

>

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Not to be forgotten Palistinians

December 29th, 2008

 

Aloha,  It is with great sadness that I am forwarding this article.  And since our owned Jewish media does not report the horrors of the Concentration Camps full of Palestinians being held captive by Israel, it is up to each of us who care about these defenseless poor people, who have been held in unspeakable conditions for 40 years, to speak up loudly for them.  Please forward this article widely, we need to do our part in ending this tragic occupation.  Mahalo

 

“How can keeping food and medicine from the people of Gaza protect the people of Israel? How can the impoverishment and suffering of Gaza’s children – more than 50 per cent of the population – benefit anyone? 

The tactic of restricting caloric intake to weaken subject populations is not figuratively ‘Nazi,’ it is literally what took place in Warsaw and elsewhere under the Nazi terror regime. It is a war crime.”

 

UPDATE DEC. 27: Here is an iron rule of the modern age. Whenever you think a situation has gotten so hellish that it can’t get worse — it will get worse. The piece below examined the literally atrocious condition of Gaza at Christmas. Now, of course, that situation has grown infinitely worse, with a massive Israeli airstrike, killing at least 200 people so far — children among them, of course — with more hell promised to come. 

 

What is happening in the Holy Land during this holiest of seasons? Sara Roy reports in the London Review of Books:

 

Israel’s siege of Gaza began on 5 November, the day after an Israeli attack inside the strip, no doubt designed finally to undermine the truce between Israel and Hamas established last June. Although both sides had violated the agreement before, this incursion was on a different scale. Hamas responded by firing rockets into Israel and the violence has not abated since then….

On 5 November the Israeli government sealed all the ways into and out of Gaza. Food, medicine, fuel, parts for water and sanitation systems, fertiliser, plastic sheeting, phones, paper, glue, shoes and even teacups are no longer getting through in sufficient quantities or at all. According to Oxfam only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza in November. This means that an average of 4.6 trucks per day entered the strip compared to an average of 123 in October this year and 564 in December 2005. The two main food providers in Gaza are the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the World Food Programme (WFP). UNRWA alone feeds approximately 750,000 people in Gaza, and requires 15 trucks of food daily to do so. Between 5 November and 30 November, only 23 trucks arrived, around 6 per cent of the total needed; during the week of 30 November it received 12 trucks, or 11 per cent of what was required. There were three days in November when UNRWA ran out of food, with the result that on each of these days 20,000 people were unable to receive their scheduled supply. According to John Ging, the director of UNRWA in Gaza, most of the people who get food aid are entirely dependent on it. On 18 December UNRWA suspended all food distribution for both emergency and regular programmes because of the blockade.

The WFP has had similar problems, sending only 35 trucks out of the 190 it had scheduled to cover Gazans’ needs until the start of February (six more were allowed in between 30 November and 6 December). Not only that: the WFP has to pay to store food that isn’t being sent to Gaza. This cost $215,000 in November alone. If the siege continues, the WFP will have to pay an extra $150,000 for storage in December, money that will be used not to support Palestinians but to benefit Israeli business.

The majority of commercial bakeries in Gaza – 30 out of 47 – have had to close because they have run out of cooking gas. People are using any fuel they can find to cook with. As the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has made clear, cooking-gas canisters are necessary for generating the warmth to incubate broiler chicks. Shortages of gas and animal feed have forced commercial producers to smother hundreds of thousands of chicks. By April, according to the FAO, there will be no poultry there at all: 70 per cent of Gazans rely on chicken as a major source of protein.

Banks, suffering from Israeli restrictions on the transfer of banknotes into the territory were forced to close on 4 December. A sign on the door of one read: ‘Due to the decision of the Palestinian Finance Authority, the bank will be closed today Thursday, 4.12.2008, because of the unavailability of cash money, and the bank will be reopened once the cash money is available.’…

During the week of 30 November, 394,000 litres of industrial diesel were allowed in for the power plant: approximately 18 per cent of the weekly minimum that Israel is legally obliged to allow in. It was enough for one turbine to run for two days before the plant was shut down again. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company said that most of the Gaza Strip will be without electricity for between four and 12 hours a day. At any given time during these outages, over 65,000 people have no electricity.

No other diesel fuel (for standby generators and transport) was delivered during that week, no petrol (which has been kept out since early November) or cooking gas. Gaza’s hospitals are apparently relying on diesel and gas smuggled from Egypt via the tunnels; these supplies are said to be administered and taxed by Hamas. Even so, two of Gaza’s hospitals have been out of cooking gas since the week of 23 November.

The breakdown of an entire society is happening in front of us, but there is little international response beyond UN warnings which are ignored. The European Union announced recently that it wanted to strengthen its relationship with Israel while the Israeli leadership openly calls for a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip and continues its economic stranglehold over the territory with, it appears, the not-so-tacit support of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah – which has been co-operating with Israel on a number of measures. On 19 December Hamas officially ended its truce with Israel, which Israel said it wanted to renew, because of Israel’s failure to ease the blockade.

How can keeping food and medicine from the people of Gaza protect the people of Israel? How can the impoverishment and suffering of Gaza’s children – more than 50 per cent of the population – benefit anyone? 

As Roy notes, the UN has sounded some warnings about the situation in Gaza and has attempted to document the situation there. How has Israel responded to these efforts? Stephen Lendman reports on the treatment given to Richard Falk, a Jewish American who is the UN Human Rights Council Special Investigator for the Occupied Territories.

 

On December 14, he arrived at Ben Gurion airport, Tel Aviv to perform his assigned duties. He led a three-person mission that intended to visit the West Bank and Gaza, assess conditions on the ground, then report on Israel’s compliance with human rights standards and international humanitarian law….

Nonetheless, he was denied entry and harassed as follows:

 

despite his UN status, he was put in a holding room with about 20 others experiencing entry problems; 

then “treated not as a UN representative, but as some sort of security threat, subjected to an inch-by-inch body search and the most meticulous luggage inspection I have ever witnessed;” 

separated from his two UN companions; they were allowed entry and taken to the airport facility about a mile away; 

required to put his luggage and cell phone in a room, then taken to a “locked tiny room that smelled of urine and filth;” 

five other detainees were with him in very cramped, uncomfortable quarters; 

he was confined there for the next 15 hours, “which amounted to a cram course on the miseries of prison life, including dirty sheets, inedible food and lights that were too bright or darkness controlled from the guard office;” 

Israel’s “obvious intention (was) to teach me, and more significantly, the UN a lesson: there will be no cooperation with those who make strong criticisms of Israel’s occupation policy.”

One can only imagine the uproar if a UN envoy to, say, Iran or Syria or Russia was given this kind of treatment. Indeed, you don’t have to imagine it. You need only look at news reports of the recent incident when Jimmy Carter and other who had come to investigate depredations by the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe were turned away at the border. Yet not only has Israel been allowed to impose this horrific collective punishment on Gaza, it is now gathering “international support” for a full-scale assault on the besieged enclave, as Israel’s ynetnews.com reports:

 

Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni and Israel’s ambassadors around the world are preparing to launch a global effort in a bid to secure backing for the anticipated operation in the Gaza Strip….

As reported by Ynet, the triumvirate of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Livni ruled in favor of the operation in a clandestine meeting last Thursday. The international diplomatic groundwork was one of the steps the three agreed would have to precede the operation.

So on the holiest of days in the homeland of Christ, we stand on the precipice of an even greater disaster. And when it happens, let no one say they didn’t see it coming. As Lendman notes, Falk has been speaking forcefully on the growing horror and atrocity in Gaza for a long time. In an article from July 2007, Falk wrote:

 

“It is especially painful for me, as an American Jew, to feel compelled to portray the ongoing and intensifying abuse of the Palestinian people by Israel through a reliance on such an inflammatory metaphor as ‘holocaust’….Is it an irresponsible overstatement to associate the treatment of Palestinians (in such terms)? I think not.”

He condemned Israel’s actions in Gaza and referred to subjecting “an entire human community to life-endangering conditions of utmost cruelty.” He called it “a holocaust-in-the-making” and appealed to world governments and international public opinion “to act urgently to prevent these current genocidal tendencies from culminating in a collective tragedy.”

He urged concerted action to spare Gazans “from further pain and suffering.” He took umbrage with how America supports Israel and with European governments for having “lent their weight to recent illicit (and overt) efforts to crush Hamas as (the legitimate) Palestinian (government).” He referred to “Israel’s impunity under America’s geopolitical umbrella,” and the immorality of the international community watching Gaza’s “ugly spectacle unfold while some of its most influential members actively encourage and assist Israel” in its efforts…

He condemned Israel for being “more determined than ever to foment civil war in Palestine,” arm and pit Fatah against Hamas, “make Gazans pay with their well being and lives,” crush their will, and maintain separate Gaza and West Bank “destinies…”

“To persist with such an approach under present circumstances is indeed genocidal, and risks destroying an entire Palestinian community….” This prospect sends a “warning of a Palestinian holocaust in the making, and should remind the world of the famous post-Nazi pledge of ‘never again.’”

It seems to be the tragic fate of this generation of Israel to teach the world, once more, the bitter lesson of the universality of human evil. This base drive to impose suffering on others — out of fear, out of greed, out of the lust to dominate — lives in us all, in every individual, every nation, every people, every tribe, every sect, every clan. It must be resisted at all of these levels — beginning within, of course. And when it breaks out into the open, we must condemn it forthrightly, call it what it is, no matter what form it takes or who unleashes it. 

 

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yankee 30 said:  

I read this morning that our ghoulish homeland security secretary is forecasting five years of terror threats based on instability in the middle-east! Real luminaries, our fearless leaders! 

 

 

December 26, 2008

Votes: +1 

 

scott douglas said:  

While the population density of the Gaza strip is not up to Warsaw Ghetto standards, it is nonetheless currently the most crowded piece of hell on earth. Two thirds of the human beings trapped there are already refugees from Palestine, not native Gazans. The tactic of restricting caloric intake to weaken subject populations is not figuratively ‘Nazi,’ it is literally what took place in Warsaw and elsewhere under the Nazi terror regime. It is a war crime. As I type this footnote, there are Reuters reports of massive missile strikes beginning against the crowded urban enclave launched from aircraft of the Israeli government, supplied by US manufacturers and paid for largely with American tax dollars. You know, the money the US makes from your labor – leaving you the remainder “to buy the funeral-coats and anti-dotes they show (you) on TV.” While I recognize that there are at least two points of view in every national conflict, I cannot fathom any Zionist looking upon the actions of the Nation of Israel in this instance with anything but grave sadness, contempt, and a sickened stomach-curdled horror shot through with the looming Fear of God… 

But enough of this useless hyperbole: Let the tanks roll! 

 

 

December 27, 2008 | url 

Votes: +0 

 

lordmisterford said:  

One imagines the Zionists see

One imagines the Zionists see a time coming when an impoverished U.S. calls its forces home and no longer has money to squander on the state of Israel and foreign aid and military arsenals for thuggish shitholes pretending democracy. They’re out to exterminate the Palestinians before Uncle Sam quits buying the bullets. 

 

December 27, 2008 | url 

Votes: +0 

 

yankee 30 said:  

Yes, yes, and until Uncle Sam quits buying the bullets, we can only reel in horrorstruck awe! Though ‘defense’ will be the last sector to see budget cuts, the day is coming. The ‘live free or die’ ethic has merit, but, unfortunately, most of the dying is being done by the unarmed and unprotected. In this cruelest of meantimes, organized, peaceful, non-participation, is the only response. And may God have mercy. 

 

December 27, 2008

Votes: +0 

 

Bia said:  

Nice to know where our hard-earned tax money is going, eh? 

Is it time to refuse to pay that portion that goes to pay for Zionazi thuggery yet? 

 

 

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Robin Williams in England

December 28th, 2008

http://politicalirony.com/2008/11/30/robin-williams-on-obamas-election/

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kwanazaa season’s greetings

December 26th, 2008

Happy Kwanzaa <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa> , Hanukkah <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah> , Christmas <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas>  and all celebrations this holiday season. Be in the best of spirits with the best of company– either in person and/or in heart. May 2009 nourish your true self, bring you close to love ones and connect you to deeper community. Peace and Shaloha, Evan



Kwanzaa <http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml> : The Seven Principles (Non-denominational)
The seven principles, or Nguzo Saba are a set of ideals created by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle.

Unity (Umoja) – (oo-MO-jah)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Self-determination (Kujichagulia) – (koo-gee-cha-goo-LEE-yah)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima) – (oo-GEE-mah)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.

Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa)- (oo-JAH-mah)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Purpose (Nia) – (nee-YAH)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Creativity (Kuumba)- (koo-OOM-bah)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Faith (Imani) – (ee-MAH-nee)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

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Rove IT Whistle Blower feared for his life: Dies before Testifying–

December 24th, 2008

 

Rove’s IT Guru Warned of Sabotage Before Fatal Plane Crash; Was Set to Testify

 

Monday 22 December 2008

by: Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!

photo

Mike Connell, Karl Rove’s chief IT consultant who, was set to testify in a case alleging election tampering in 2004 in Ohio, died in a plane crash last Friday. (Photo: Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Mike Connell, the chief IT consultant to Karl Rove, reportedly asked for protective custody from the government before he died.

 

    Amy Goodman: A top Republican internet strategist who was set to testify in a case alleging election tampering in 2004 in Ohio has died in a plane crash. Mike Connell was the chief IT consultant to Karl Rove and created websites for the Bush and McCain electoral campaigns. He also set up the official Ohio state election website reporting the 2004 presidential election returns.

 

    Connell was reportedly an experienced pilot. He died instantly Friday night when his private plane crashed in a residential neighborhood near Akron, Ohio.

 

    Michael Connell was deposed one day before the election this year by attorneys Cliff Arnebeck and Bob Fitrakis about his actions during the 2004 vote count and his access to Karl Rove’s e-mail files and how they went missing.

 

    Velvet Revolution, a non-profit investigating Connell’s activities, revealed this weekend that Connell had recently said he was afraid George Bush and Dick Cheney would “throw [him] under the bus.” Cliff Arnebeck had also previously alerted Attorney General Michael Mukasey to alleged threats from Karl Rove to Connell if he refused to “take the fall.”

 

    Well, Mark Crispin Miller joins us now, a professor of media culture and communication at New York University, the author of several books, including Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008 and Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They’ll Steal the Next One Too. Mark Crispin Miller us now in our firehouse studio.

 

    Welcome to Democracy Now!

 

    Mark Crispin Miller: It’s good to be here, Amy. Thank you.

 

    AG: Alright, well, we had you on right before the election, because that’s when Mike Connell was being deposed. This news that came out of his death in a plane crash on Friday night, talk about what you understand has happened.

 

    MCM: Well, I cannot assert with perfect confidence that this was no accident, but I will say that the circumstances are so suspicious and so convenient for Rove and the White House that I think we’re obliged to investigate this thing very, very thoroughly. And that means, first of all, taking a close look at some of the stories that were immediately circulated to account for what happened, that it was bad weather. That was the line they used when Wellstone’s plane went down. There had been bad weather, but it had passed two hours before. And this comes from a woman at the airport information desk in Akron. We’re told that his plane was running out of gas, which is a little bit odd for a highly experienced pilot like Connell, but apparently, when the plane went down, there was an explosion, a fireball that actually charred and pocked some of the house fronts in the neighborhood. People can go online and see the footage that news crews took. But beyond the, you know, dubiousness of the official story, we have to take a close look at – and a serious look at all the charges that Connell was set to make.

 

    AG: Now, he had asked the Attorney General Mukasey for protective custody, because of threats to him and his wife?

 

    MCM: He reported threats to his lawyer, Cliff Arnebeck, and Arnebeck – also, Velvet Revolution heard from tipsters, as well, tipsters who also claimed that Connell’s life was at risk. Stephen Spoonamore, the whistleblower who was the first – who was the one to name Connell in the first place, also had an ear to the inside. He’s also very connected. And all these people were saying Rove is making threats, the White House is very worried about this case.

 

    Having heard all this, Arnebeck contacted Mukasey, he contacted Nancy Rogers, who is the Ohio Attorney General, and he wrote a letter to the court, telling all of them that “This man should be in protective custody. He is an important witness in a RICO case. Please do something to look after him.” And they didn’t respond to this.

 

    AG: So, explain what this case is all about and exactly what Mike Connell has been doing over these last years. What does it mean to be Karl Rove’s IT guru?

 

    MCM: Well, the lawyers in the case refer to him as a high-IQ Forrest Gump, by which they mean that he seems to have been present at the scene of every dubious election of the last eight years. We’re talking about Florida in 2000. We’re talking about Ohio in 2004. We’re talking about Alabama in 2002. He seems to have been involved in the theft of Don Siegelman’s re-election for governor. There’s some evidence that links him with the Saxby Chambliss-Max Cleland Senate race in Georgia in 2002. To be Karl Rove’s IT guru seems to have meant basically setting it up so that votes could be electronically shaved to the disadvantage of the Democrats and the advantage of Republicans.

 

    AG: What do you mean, “electronically shaved”? I mean, you’ve got all these precincts all over Ohio. They’re counting up their votes. What does he have to do with this?

 

    MCM: Well, specifically, there’s a computer architecture setup called “Man in the Middle,” which involves shunting the election returns from, you know, the state in question – in this case, Ohio – shunting them to a separate computer elsewhere. All of the election returns in Ohio in 2004 went from the Secretary of State’s website – this is Ken Blackwell – to a separate computer in a basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which was under the control of another private company called SMARTech.

 

    So we have now two private companies: GovTech Solutions, which is Connell’s company, SMARTech, which is run by a guy named [Jeff] Averbeck. And the company – the third private company that managed the voting tabulators in Ohio was called Triad. All three of these companies worked closely together on election night in Ohio in 2004. It turns out that the state’s own IT person was sent home at 9:00 p.m. They said, “Go ahead. Go home. We’ll take care of this.” So that this trio of highly partisan and, let me add, Christianist companies basically took over the whole -

 

    AG: What do you mean, “Christianist”?

 

    MCM: Well, they’re radical theocratic activists, particularly – particularly Triad and SMARTech. You know, they are fervently anti-choice.

 

    AG: Well, Mike Connell was, in fact – many said that’s what motivated him through all of this, his fierce anti-abortion stance.

 

    MCM: He told – Connell told Spoonamore that one of the primary reasons why he helped Bush-Cheney steal elections was to save the babies. I do think, though, that we have to draw a distinction between Connell, on the one hand, and the Averbeck and the Rapp family, on the other hand, because Connell was far less ferocious in his political views. He was an ardent anti-abortionist, it’s true, but he wasn’t quite as hardcore as the others. And in fact, you know, he was a little bit alienated from the others, and that’s one of the reasons why he was inclined to talk, and so on.

 

    But the fact is, to answer your question, that on election night in 2004, it had been Connell, with these other two companies working with him, who had managed the computer setup, enabling Ken Blackwell to study the maps of precincts and voter turnout very carefully and figure out how many votes they need. By shunting the data to Chattanooga, they kind of slowed down the data stream.

 

    AG: Wasn’t Karl Rove’s email also there in Chattanooga on some of these servers?

 

    MCM: Yes, yes. The same servers were used to host a whole bunch of highly partisan websites. And also, indeed, Karl Rove’s emails were on that server, too.

 

    AG: That have gone missing.

 

    MCM: That have gone missing. Incidentally, Stephen Spoonamore, again, the whistleblower who’s the one who named Connell, has told us – and I’ve seen his own contemporary notes -

 

    AG: And explain again who he was. Why was he in a position to whistleblow?

 

    MCM: Stephen Spoonamore is a conservative Republican, a former McCain supporter and a very prominent expert at the detection of computer fraud. He’s the star witness in the Ohio lawsuit, right, in which Connell was involved. He has done extensive work of this kind, involving computer security, and had therefore worked with Connell, knew Connell personally and knew a lot of the people who were involved in the sort of cyber-security end of the Bush operation.

 

    Despite his conservatism – or I suppose some would say because of it – he’s a man of principle – I mean, believes in the Constitution. He believes elections should be honest. He’s the one who came forward and named Connell.

 

    And I have seen his notes of a conversation in which Connell asked Spoonamore how one would go about destroying White House emails. To this, Spoonamore said, “This conversation is over. You’re asking me to do something illegal.” But clearly, clearly – this is the important point – Mike Connell was up past his eyeballs in the most sensitive and explosive aspects of this crime family that, you know, has been masquerading as a political party.

 

    AG: And what did Fitrakis, the attorney who has brought the suit with Harvey Wasserman, the Ohio lawsuit, learn in the deposition of Mike Connell in the day before the election, which hardly got attention, considering it was the day before this historic election?

 

    MCM: Yeah. Harvey wasn’t part of it. Harvey writes articles with Bob. It’s Bob Fitrakis and Cliff Arnebeck are the attorneys. They learned very little. What they learned was that Bush-Cheney lawyer who accompanied Connell to the deposition was watching the whole thing like a hawk, repeatedly objected to questions. Connell was stonewalling like crazy at this deposition.

 

    They only learned one thing. And that was, they got confirmation that it was Connell who brought these other private companies into the arrangement, in addition to his own GovTech Solutions. Again, there was Triad and SMARTech. It was Connell who brought those three companies into one unit, so that the three of them were, in effect, handling Ohio’s election returns on election night under Connell’s supervision. That’s what we learned.

 

    We also know, Amy, that since the deposition – I want to make this clear; we said it before, I want to repeat it – that Connell has indicated very clearly a desire to talk further, to tell more, whether it’s his conscience bothering him or whether it’s fear of some kind of a perjury charge because of how vigorously he stonewalled at the deposition. He made it known to the lawyers, he made it known to reporter Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story, that he wanted to talk. He was scared. He wanted to talk. And I say that he had pretty good reason to be scared.

 

    AG: So why did he fly in – why did he pilot his own plane when he was so afraid?

 

    MCM: Well, that’s a good question. We can’t ask him, unfortunately. I mean, this is kind of a grisly thought, but, I mean, I think we should be asking where the body is. We’re told that a trooper on the scene immediately identified Connell. But then we read elsewhere that there was nothing left but debris and that the fireball was enormous. So maybe he wasn’t on the plane. I mean, who knows, when you’re dealing with people as deep as these?

 

    But the point is – I can’t stress this strongly enough – we’re dealing not just with a shocking accident, if that’s what it was, and a convenient one. We’re dealing not even just with a particular lawsuit that, you know, really requires vigorous promotion. The important point here is that this is all about our elections. That’s what this is about. This is about democratic self-government.

 

    The fact that Obama won so handily has caused a lot of us to sit back and relax. There’s been a lot of popping of champagne corks and people drawing the conclusion that the system must work, because our guy won. Well, this is not a sports event. This is self-government.

 

    In fact, the evidence strongly suggests – and we haven’t had a chance to talk about this since Election Day – that Obama probably won by twice as many votes as we think. Probably a good seven million votes for Obama were undone through vote suppression and fraud, because the stuff was extensive and pervasive, in places where you wouldn’t expect it.

 

    The Illinois Ballot Integrity Project was monitoring the vote in DuPage County, right next door to Obama’s, you know, backyard, Cook County. And two of them, in only two precincts on Election Day, saw with their own eyes 350 voters show up, only to be turned away, told, “You’re not registered,” people who were registered, who voted in the primary. All but one of these people was black. That’s in Illinois.

 

    People at the Election Defense Alliance have discovered, from sifting through the numbers, an eleven-point red shift in New Hampshire. That means that there’s a discrepancy in Obama’s disfavor, primarily through use of the optical scan machines, an eleven-point discrepancy in the Republicans’ favor, OK?

 

    You start to combine this with all the vote suppression, all the disenfranchisement, all the vote machine flipping that went on in this election, you realize, OK, Obama won, but millions of Americans, most of them African American and students, you know, were not able to participate in any civic sense, ironically, a lot of the same people, you know, who would have been disenfranchised and were disenfranchised before the civil rights movement. So the fact that a black president was elected, while cause for jubilation, see, ought not to take place at the expense of a whole lot of our fellow citizens who seem to have been disenfranchised on racial grounds. My point is very simply this: We’ve got to get past the victory of Obama and look seriously at what our election system is like, or else, I promise you, see, the setup that was put in place in this last election, in 2004 and in 2000, OK, will still be there in 2010, still be there in 2012. So we’ve got to take steps to do something about it now.

 

    AG: Mark Crispin Miller, I want to thank you very much for being with us, professor of media culture and communication at New York University, most recent book Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008.

 

    ——–

 

    Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!

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information please–at no cost!

December 22nd, 2008

 

 

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Lessons from Easter Island

December 21st, 2008

fyi

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My latest

A Word  About Easter Island And Other Calamitous Feedback Loops

   by Don Williams

Stone faces of Easter  Island gaze on as anthropologists, mythologists and space cadets endlessly  debate their meaning. Measuring up to 28 feet high and more than 80 tons in some  cases, the stones have elevated a ruined island paradise to the status of icon  in the realm of cautionary tales.

Either Easter Island’s  decline was brought on by smallpox and slave trade courtesy of Europeans who  arrived there in the 1700s or else, shortly after sinking roots around 1200 CE,  the islanders began destroying their own world by killing their verdant forests  in a vain effort to avert disaster.

It’s an article of faith  among tree-huggers–including me until I read up–that Easter Island fell prey to  a cult or three. For centuries, the natives built enigmatic stone heads in  tribute to dead chiefs. Such ancestor worship helped ward off trouble, they  believed, and grew their clans’ prestige, but transporting the stones and  erecting them used up lots of logs, adding to the decline of forests. This  caused a shortage of wood for building boats and a shortage of trees for birds  to nest in, and so the seafood and fowl that provided sustenance began  disappearing from their diets. Soon this once proud and accomplished  civilization turned to eating rats, even to cannibalism, the record  shows.

One theory goes that, as  the decline began, leaders commanded their subjects to accelerate the building  of statues. More than 1,000 have been counted, many left abandoned in quarries  or by the roadside. The idol boom was a vain attempt to call down the favor of  Gods. In short, by the middle of the last millennium, they’d mostly destroyed  their own environment by creating a feedback loop that spiraled out of control.  More cutting, less food, more cutting, even less food. Or so the story  goes.

If true, we’re wise to  embrace this cautionary tale, for our leaders ask us repeatedly to feed our  sustenance to idols they erect.

Idols to commerce, high  finance, fossil fuel, the military-industrial-media complex. All bask in dogmas  bordering on religion.

Behold Wall Street,  where numbers rise like stone edifices. Today we’ve passed 9,000. Can 10,000 be  far away? Is 12,000 once again within our grasp? Now watch as towering numbers  tumble.

“More capital!” implore keepers of the Dow. $700 billion should do.  No, toss in 150 more to prop up that idol, 200 for the one down on Main Street.  

Be not deceived. We’ve rendered such sacrifice before. In the 1980s,  the savings and loan industry failed, and we the people poured our sustenance  into it. Behold! Wall Street recovered, then faltered. For a time leaders  suggested feeding Social Security and perhaps, one day, all such safety-nets to  Wall Street.

Yes, feed the mighty Dow  your pensions.

Yes, feed it  Medicaid.

Yes, let’s have another  war–there’s a trillion we can feed Westinghouse and Boeing and General Electric  and other makers of armaments. There’s how we’ll restore Halliburton and the  Carlyle Group and other entities in which Bushes, Bakers, bin Ladens and others  lay money on the bet that wars they insist we fund continue to pay  dividends.

And so it  goes.

Hear the people chant,  “Drill here! Drill now!” Drill anywhere at all!

Yet deep ecologists tell  us the wealth of nations is founded on the shaky ground of drawing down deposits  of natural energy placed in this earth by the sun over billions of years. In  this, “the last syllable of recorded time,” to quote Shakespeare, we’re drawing  those deposits down ever more rapidly, turning them into money and ruinous  greenhouse gases.

England stripped her  landscape of most primordial forests in a couple of centuries and then turned to  coal, mostly in the 19th century. Then, along with America, Germany  and many other countries, she discovered the power of oil, bestowing prosperity  on millions, yet contributing to wars around the world. It’s been little noted  that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in part because of our oil embargo against that  country.

Beginning some thirty  years ago, Carl Sagan, J. E. Lovelock and other scientists began warning that  burning fossil fuels would result in a greenhouse effect. Yet the same  faith-based “conservatives” who ignored the need to conserve, applauded as  Ronald Reagan stripped solar panels from the White House and clean energy  incentives from the national budget. Now hear the pathetic chants from their  benighted tribe:

“Drill here! Drill  now!”

And so such chants  resound. Death to terrorists. Build more bombs. More ships. More planes. Support  the Troops! They’ll keep us safe.

In the next fiscal year  we’ll throw nearly a trillion dollars at the military, counting supplemental  funding for Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s more than the rest of the world  combined will spend on all things military. Some among those nations have  signaled they’ll raise their defense spending in response, prompting a cry for  still more from us. And so the military feedback loop spirals onward,  mesmerizing the faithful.

Few  pause amid the clamor to consider truths that might set us  free.

Here’s one: For the cost  of one cruise missile or one aerial drone, we could build 80 schools in Pakistan  and Afghanistan, whence terror springs. Yet we feed the god of cruise missiles  while starving the benign spirit of education.

Here’s another: Osama  bin Laden told the world why he launched a jihad that most people agree included  the terror of 9/11. It was because the feet of infidels trod sacred ground.  Osama mostly won. We withdrew from Saudi Arabia as he and the house of Saud  demanded. We linger in Iraq, oblivious that our presence recruits more  terrorists for the likes of bin Laden.

Here’s one more: Clean  energy cannot compete against Big Oil and Big Coal unless nurtured, yet the  President and Congress spent the last eight years giving tax breaks to gas  companies, while mostly ignoring wind, solar, geothermal and other  sources.

On Easter Island, the stones stand looking, silent as  voices of the faithful who built them so many years ago.  

Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist for Knoxville Voice, a  blogger for www.knoxvoice.com and the founding editor and publisher of New  Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of literary stories, essays and poems.  His awards include a National Endowment for the Humanities Michigan Journalism  Fellowship, a Golden Presscard Award and the Malcolm Law Journalism Prize. He is  finishing a novel, “ORACLE OF THE ORCHID LOUNGE,” set in his native Tennessee  and Iraq. His book of selected journalism, “Heroes, Sheroes and Zeroes, the Best  Writings About People” by Don Williams, is due a second printing. Along with  Greg Palast, Marjorie Cohn, Norman Solomon, Will Durst, James Secor and others,  he is a contributing editor to Media With Conscience (www.mwcnews.net) and his  commentary frequently leads the page at www.opnews.com. For more information,  email him at donwilliams7@charter.net. Or visit the NMW website at  www.NewMillenniumWritings.com.


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