okay, now that internet works again – need i say it? QWEST SUCKS RANCID DONKEY DICKS!!! because they disconnected our DSL service without warning or provocation on saturday. they said that we hadn’t paid our bill, in spite of the fact that we have the confirmation numbers that say we did. when we told them so, the IMBECILES took 48 hours to do nothing… and when i finally called again this morning, suddenly, we had internet service again within 15 minutes, which indicates to me that we could have had internet service within 15 minutes, TWO DAYS AGO but they couldn’t be bothered to fix their own mistake… grumble, mutter…

an interesting update to the stuff that’s going on here, apparently bill breeze, otherwise known as hymenaeus beta, erstwhile OHO of the caliphate OTO, and the complainant in the DMCA notification that was filed against me and my ISP, is apparently no longer a member of the caliphate OTO. he is now head of a “splinter group” and the caliphate OTO is, apparently, without an outer head, at least for the moment. i don’t expect the caliphate people can confirm any of this, and even if they can, i’m not sure they’d want to, but the whole thing is terrifically amusing, as the caliphate OTO have maintained that they are the only “real” OTO and all the others are “fakes” for a long time, while i have maintained that they’re all fighting like children over who is more important, and who was authorised by whom to do what, and ignoring The Great Work. here is an excellent example of what i am talking about.

the first weekend of drunk puppet night went more or less without a hitch, although whether i am going to be able to run lights and sound for them in the future is sort of questionable, as the current fixed lights in the theater are all on one two-position switch, and the guy who runs the columbia city theater is a snob and won’t let me touch the sound equipment. the good news is that the meat play impressed josh enough, and was well enough received that he’s going to include it as part of the show, so even if i don’t get to run lights and sound, i’ll still get paid for two more weeks of performances. also my understanding is that we have sold approximately 15 buttons, which isn’t a lot, but every little bit helps.


i’m going to an acupuncture appointment, then i’m going over to mercer island to pick up a business card from the vet clinic (they need two or three new cards, and i don’t have the original in a place where i can find it easily), then i’m going to opening night of drunk puppet night, where, at the last minute, i got 3 other people together and we’re going to do the meat play.


we got the car back from the body shop on monday. it was all shiny and new-looking, which is pretty dramatically different from what it looked like the last time i saw it… hopefully it will stay like this for a while… i expect it to collect road dirt, but not a deer.

after before

this is weird. i’m sitting here waiting for an autosave, so that i can switch platforms and get the updated version of this post on a different platform… and it worked. very strange indeed.


thanks to , i found a resource for filing a "formal DMCA notification" without having to spend money for a lawyer, and as a result, the whole "offending" page at tokerlounge dot com has been taken down. that’s not to say that he’s still not hot linking other web sites, because, in fact, he is… and being the concientious businessman that i am, i went ahead and notified the four other sites that i was able to find (which is not to say there aren’t more, i just found four others in my idle perusing of his site) about this, so it’s likely that soon the whole site will come down and/or be completely redone with a different background (because one of the images that they’re hot linking is the background for the whole site). i don’t have anything in particular against this guy, but the fact that he hot links graphics means that it’s likely that he’s ignorant enough to get infected with a trojan or something like that, which would affect a lot more people than just christian hartmann.


i haven’t heard anything from christian hartman (the owner of tokerlounge dot com), but i heard from his host provider, which requests me to file a “formal DCMA notification” before they will do anything… typical bureaucracy… 8/ so i changed the graphic, and i got a link to the Comprehensive guide to .htaccess, which should give me some ideas about how i can deal with this without having to pay a lawyer to write me a “formal DCMA notification”.


this goes in the “who couldn’t see that coming?” department…

Supreme Court Reopens Abortion Issue on Alito’s First Day

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 — The Supreme Court, at full strength with Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. on the bench for the first time, opened the next chapter in its long-running confrontation with abortion today by agreeing to decide whether the first federal ban on a method of abortion is constitutional.

The court accepted, for argument next fall, the Bush administration’s appeal of a decision invalidating the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. The law makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion during which a portion of the fetus, either the “entire fetal head” or “any part of the fetal trunk past the navel,” is outside the woman’s uterus at the time the fetus is killed.

While the law’s supporters maintain that this technique is used only late in pregnancy, and that the law therefore does not present an obstacle to most abortions, abortion-rights advocates say the statute’s description applies to procedures used to terminate pregnancies as early as 12 or 13 weeks.

The law makes an exception for instances in which the banned technique is necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life, but not for preservation of her health, as the Supreme Court found necessary six years ago when it overturned a similar law from Nebraska.

In omitting a health exception, the federal law presents a direct threat to that precedent. In the federal statute, Congress included a “finding” that “partial-birth abortion is never medically indicated to preserve the health of the mother” and that “there is no credible medical evidence that partial-birth abortions are safe or are safer than other abortion procedures.”

The four doctors who went to Federal District Court in Lincoln, Neb., to challenge the federal law, including Dr. Leroy Carhart, who had brought the earlier challenge to the Nebraska state law, disputed the Congressional findings. They said the method was safer under some conditions and could preserve some women’s fertility by avoiding such complications as punctures from bone fragments inside the uterus.

The trial judge, Richard G. Kopf, who had earlier found the Nebraska law unconstitutional, said the plaintiffs had demonstrated that the Congressional findings were “unreasonable.” He declared the federal law unconstitutional in a 269-page opinion, issued in September 2004. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in St. Louis, upheld that decision last July, leading to the administration’s Supreme Court appeal, Gonzales v. Carhart, No. 05-380.

Last month, two other federal appeals courts, the Second Circuit in New York and the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, declared the statute unconstitutional in separate lawsuits. All three courts issued injunctions barring enforcement of the law.

Ever since Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, in 1973, the court has required exceptions for health as well as life in any regulation of abortion. But the vote in the Nebraska case, Stenberg v. Carhart, was 5 to 4, with Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in the majority. It is highly likely, therefore, that her successor, Justice Alito, will be in the position to cast the deciding vote. The dissenters in the Nebraska case were Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony M. Kennedy, along with Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who has since been replaced by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

After the court’s announcement this morning, groups on both sides of the abortion debate tried to attach some significance to the decision to accept the case. In fact, it would have been highly unusual for the court to turn down the appeal. A lower court’s invalidation of a federal statute has an almost automatic claim on the justices’ attention, even those justices who may view the decision as correct or those who may not necessarily agree in this instance with the Bush administration’s description of the case as “extraordinarily important” and requiring immediate review.

The court had the administration’s appeal under review since early January. It may have deferred action as a courtesy to Justice Alito, who participated in his first closed-door conference with the other justices last Friday.

Or, equally likely, the justices set the case aside while they finished work on a New Hampshire abortion case that also raised a question about a medical exception to an abortion regulation, in that instance a requirement that a teenage girl notify a parent and then wait 48 hours before obtaining an abortion.

In what proved to be Justice O’Connor’s final opinion before retirement, that case, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, was decided on Jan. 18. The unanimous opinion restated the court’s longstanding insistence on an exception for medical emergencies but, in its list of precedents, pointedly omitted reference to the Nebraska case from six years ago, its most recent treatment of the subject.

In the Bush administration’s brief in the new case, Solicitor General Paul D. Clement said the appeals court should have given “substantial deference” to the Congressional findings on the lack of need for a health exception. Such deference was not at issue in the Supreme Court’s earlier case, he said, because that case concerned a state rather than federal law.

Representing the plaintiffs, who include Drs. William G. Fitzhugh, William H. Knorr, and Jill L. Vibhakar, in addition to Dr. Carhart, the Center for Reproductive Rights told the justices in its brief that the Congressional findings were not entitled to the deference that courts usually apply when evaluating legislation.

“The facts at issue here involve the current state of medicine, physicians’ testimony about patients they have cared for, medical conditions they have treated and the impact of abortion techniques on the health of these patients,” the brief said, adding that Congress does not have “a particular expertise in the area of medicine, as it does in the area of nationwide economic regulatory schemes.”

The organization, based in Manhattan, was known as the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy when it represented Dr. Carhart in the earlier case.

and this one goes in the “if alito had been presiding over this case, it would have come out entirely differently” department… 8/

Court upholds church use of hallucinogenic tea
Justices unanimously rule that N.M. congregation can drink illegal drug
Feb. 21, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday that a small congregation in New Mexico may use hallucinogenic tea as part of a four-hour ritual intended to connect with God.

Justices, in their first religious freedom decision under Chief Justice John Roberts, moved decisively to keep the government out of a church’s religious practice. Federal drug agents should have been barred from confiscating the hoasca tea of the Brazil-based church, Roberts wrote in the decision.

The tea, which contains an illegal drug known as DMT, is considered sacred to members of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal, which has a blend of Christian beliefs and South American traditions. Members believe they can understand God only by drinking the tea, which is consumed twice a month at four-hour ceremonies.

New Justice Samuel Alito did not take part in the case, which was argued last fall before Justice Sandra Day O’Connor before her retirement. Alito was on the bench for the first time on Tuesday.

Roberts said that the Bush administration had not met its burden under a federal religious freedom law to show that it could ban “the sect’s sincere religious practice.”

The chief justice had also been skeptical of the government’s position in the case last fall, suggesting that the administration was demanding too much, a “zero tolerance approach.”

The Bush administration had argued that the drug in the tea not only violates a federal narcotics law, but a treaty in which the United States promised to block the importation of drugs including dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT.

“The government did not even submit evidence addressing the international consequences of granting an exemption for the (church),” Roberts wrote.

The justices sent the case back to a federal appeals court, which could consider more evidence.

Roberts, writing his second opinion since joining the court, said that religious freedom cases can be difficult “but Congress has determined that courts should strike sensible balances.”

The case is Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal, 04-1084.

Earth Hurtles Toward 6.5 Billion
By Joanna Glasner
Feb, 21, 2006

The planet’s population is projected to reach 6.5 billion at 7:16 p.m. EST Saturday, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and its World Population Clock.

Thomas Malthus, the 18th-century thinker who famously predicted the human population would outrun its food supply, would be astounded.

Back in 1798, when Malthus penned his classic An Essay on the Principle of Population, barely a billion Homo sapiens roamed the planet. Today, Earth’s population teeters on the brink of a new milestone: 6.5 billion living, breathing humans.

“Malthus would be astonished not only at the numbers of people, but at the real prosperity of about a fifth of them and the average prosperity of most of them,” said demographer Joel Cohen, a professor of populations at Rockefeller and Columbia universities. “He wouldn’t be surprised at the abject poverty of the lowest quarter or third.”

The clock, which operates continuously, estimates that each second 4.1 people are born and 1.8 people die. The clock figures are estimates, subject to error, given the difficulties of maintaining an accurate global population count.

However, the key concept — that population levels are growing, but at a slower rate than in the past few decades — reflects the consensus view of demographers. The current growth of world population, estimated by Cohen at 1.1 percent a year, has slowed significantly from its peak of 2.1 percent annual growth between 1965 and 1970.

“That’s a phenomenal decline,” said Cohen, who probed the question of whether population growth is sustainable in his book, How Many People Can Earth Support?. (The short answer: It depends.)

Today, a large portion of the world’s population lives in nations that are at sub-replacement fertility, meaning the average woman has fewer than two children in her lifetime. Countries in this camp include former members of the Soviet Union, Japan and most of Europe.

Demographers attribute the slowing rate of global population growth in part to more-widespread availability of birth control and to people in developed nations choosing to have fewer children. But low-birthrate countries are counterbalanced by nations like Yemen, where the average woman has seven children in her lifetime.

The highest population growth rates emanate disproportionately from the poorest regions of Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

U.S. population is also growing at a steady clip, augmented by high numbers of immigrants. It is projected to hit 300 million later this year. Earth’s population is expected to reach 7 billion in 2012, according to the Census Bureau.

Carl Haub, a demographer with the Population Reference Bureau, sees urbanization contributing to slowing growth, because urban areas typically have lower birthrates than rural areas. In 1950, less than 30 percent of people lived in areas defined as urban. Next year, the United Nations projects that more than half the world’s population will be urban.

As population growth marches forward, debate continues in academia — as it has since Malthus’ time — over how many people the Earth can realistically support.

Certainly individual countries, such as Bangladesh or Rwanda, can be characterized as overpopulated, said Haub. But in other places, such as India, it’s harder to determine the extent to which overpopulation — rather than other social and economic factors — contributes to poverty.

Some turn to mathematical models for estimating maximum sustainable population levels.

One metric modeled on the Census Bureau’s population clock compares world population to the finite supply of arable land.

For his part, Cohen estimates that if we want to support individuals indefinitely — allotting each person 3,500 calories per day from wheat and 247,000 gallons per year of fresh water — the planet has room for only about 5 billion people.

But such formulas are subject to tinkering. Changes in agricultural practices, more efficient water-desalination technologies and a host of other factors can increase the number of people the planet can support. Shifts in behavior — such as acceptance of new food sources that are cheap to produce — can have a similar effect, noted Cohen.

“What most of this commentary neglects is the role of culture in defining wheat as food but not, let’s say, cultured single-cell algae,” he said.


22% Combativeness, 60% Sneakiness, 64% Intellect, 72% Spirituality

Sneaky, cunning, and spiritual: You are a Druid
Druids work with nature to cast their spells and favor balance over extremes. They’re shapeshifters, capable of taking the forms of natural creatures. While they don’t always deal well with people, they do have animal companions to come to their aid. You are probably intelligent, spiritual, and more than a little deceptive. Fortunately, your lack of violent tendencies means you are also likely to be level-headed.
My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 4% on Combativeness
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 91% on Sneakiness
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 28% on Intellect
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 92% on Spirituality

Link: The RPG Class Test written by MFlowers on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
the Romantic
Test finished!
you chose BY – your Enneagram type is FOUR.

“I am unique”

Romantics have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.

How to Get Along with Me

  • Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.
  • Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.
  • Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.
  • Though I don’t always want to be cheered up when I’m feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.
  • Don’t tell me I’m too sensitive or that I’m overreacting!

What I Like About Being a Four

  • my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level
  • my ability to establish warm connections with people
  • admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life
  • my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor
  • being unique and being seen as unique by others
  • having aesthetic sensibilities
  • being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me

What’s Hard About Being a Four

  • experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair
  • feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don’t deserve to be loved
  • feeling guilty when I disappoint people
  • feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me
  • expecting too much from myself and life
  • fearing being abandoned
  • obsessing over resentments
  • longing for what I don’t have

Fours as Children Often

  • have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games
  • are very sensitive
  • feel that they don’t fit in
  • believe they are missing something that other people have
  • attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.
  • become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood
  • feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents’ divorce)

Fours as Parents

  • help their children become who they really are
  • support their children’s creativity and originality
  • are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings
  • are sometimes overly critical or overly protective
  • are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed

Renee Baron & Elizabeth Wagele

The Enneagram Made Easy
Discover the 9 Types of People
HarperSanFrancisco, 1994, 161 pages

You are not completely happy with the result?!
You chose BY

Would you rather have chosen:

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 28% on ABC
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 67% on XYZ

Link: The Quick and Painless ENNEAGRAM Test written by felk on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

and, courtesy of , a real meme!


i’m not sure whether to be annoyed or amused or what, but i discovered that one of my pipe graphics is being used, without my permission, by tokerlounge dot com. i was going through my web stats and i noticed that the objects directory was consistently higher hit rate than the incense directory, despite the fact that i’ve essentially taken the pipes offline since i don’t have a worshop… i’m inclined to be annoyed, since they used the graphic from my web page on their web page, without providing a link or any clue that the graphic wasn’t theirs, and then had the balls to post “dont copy or redistribute any content on this site, without giving proper credit to tokerlounge” at the bottom of the page. i wrote to the administrative contact for the domain, and i also wrote to the host service for the web site… and i just got an email back from the web host service… now we’ll see what happens next.

it’s obvious that other people probably will end up writing to this guy as well. there’s another graphic that is not resident on tokerlounge dot com on the same page with my pipe, and i’m going to bet that, judging by the skillz of the guy who coded the HTML, there are a few other graphics that he stole from other web sites on other pages of his web site as well. if he would link to my site, and copy the graphic on to his web host, i wouldn’t have anywhere near as much of a problem with this, but as it is currently, i’m pretty pissed off at this guy.

also, if you’re ever looking for sound effects, a good place to avoid is soundrangers dot com, in spite of the fact that they are located here in seattle. i ordered some sound effects from them recently, and without giving me an option not to recieve spam from them, they sent me spam. it is my understanding that such behaviour is illegal in the state of washington, and it may well be illegal under federal statute as well, but one way or the other, i don’t do business with spammers, so i’m no longer a customer of theirs.


okay, now that i’m done venting about that asshat majid, i have finally calmed down enough to write about the opening weekend of drunk puppet night.

Winningstad Theatre

the opening was in the winningstad theatre, where it was last year… unfortunately there are no actual pictures of the puppet shows because i was too busy running sound. i stayed with lance, who is the guy whose job is to run the technical aspects of this theatre… which means from top to bottom if you want some kind of theatre magic, lance is the guy to ask. they have 300 hanging lights, and another 100-200 in a room backstage in case that wasn’t enough, that are all controlled by a board in the booth, which also houses all the audio gear and a separate board for that. josh needed a piece of gel for one of his shadow puppet sets and lance took us into a back room where they have every colour gel imaginable, all classified according to the catalogue number. we decided that the winningstad is where we want to do all of our performances, but lance says that “menopause: the musical” has bought the theatre for the next year, with options to extend another year, so next year we’re probably going to have drunk puppet night in portland in a different theatre. i got there with no clue where i was going to stay, so i was grouped with a couple of other folks from seattle who were supposed to stay at the emcee’s house, but there was only enough room for two, so i actually got to stay with lance. he and his wife both work for tears of joy puppet theatre, which was our sponsor, and they have a futon in their basement. they also have huge quantities of a wide variety of geckos and skinks in their basement, apparently lance also breeds them – for what… i didn’t ask… just the fact that they were there was cool enough for me – and, thus, they have crickets in their basement as well, which are gecko food. they also have a parrot and an iguana and a dog named dozer who was apparently starved for attention.

the first night was kind of sparse, but al franken was appearing in the theatre next door, and everybody apparently went to see him instead (slobs), but the second night there was actually a full house, which was a lot better than we expected, considering that (or because of, we weren’t able to determine which) the emcee, a guy named rale sidebottom, was smoking and drinking on stage during the performance, and was actually “fired” from his job as emcee by someone in the audience.

i got up sunday morning and left portland by 9:30 and drove straight to port townsend for the lantern festival. i arrived in port townsend at around 1:00 and spent a couple hours wandering around and re-acquainting myself with fort worden. there have been some changes at the cistern which lead me to believe that somebody official has gained access for some official purposes, but has restricted all other access. the whole area has been mowed, and the two tanks full of concrete that used to be over the access hole have been moved to the side, and a new access hole, with a steel door and a lock, has been added. because of the fact that the area was mowed, i actually discovered a second, and, potentially, a third and a fourth access point that leads to the cistern which i didn’t know about previously. one of them has a similar door and lock, and the other two can probably be accessed with a pry bar and some muscle. it’s good that someone has been looking after the space, in spite of the fact that i couldn’t get in myself. i did some harmonic singing in one of the mortar batteries, underground in the powder room, to make up for, once again, not being able to access the cistern.

small dog nose

around 3:30 or so i went down to the jefferson county municipal field, which is where the lantern festival was being held. it was fairly sunny in port townsend yesterday, but when the sun went down (which, coincidentally, was when we started to play) it was suddenly evident that it was the pacific northwest in the middle of february. fortunately i had my burnoose, and my tuba was as good as a camel, as long as i was playing. unfortunately there were a lot of breaks at first, and when i stopped playing, and especially when i (frequently) had to put my horn down to get a piece of music that fred came up with on the spur of the moment, but wasn’t in the line up, it got really cold, really fast. the performance itself went surprisingly well considering that only 6 of the 25 people in the show were at the dress rehearsal last weekend. nobody caught fire that wasn’t supposed to.

it was all over, finally, around 8:30, and i drove through tacoma and got home by 10:30… whereas if i had gone through bremerton, it would have meant a 3 hour wait for the ferry to seattle, and then another 45 minutes from seattle. and i did it all without a map, despite the fact that i haven’t driven up the olympic peninsula since before my injury. i shouldn’t have worried about it… the roads tell me where to go… 8)

then, when i came home, our blindingly cute little doggie was in the bedroom, with her nose under the door, and i had to share the blinding cuteness with all of you…


ergh… i got back from portland drunk puppet night, and the port townsend lantern festival last night, but before i write about that, i’ve got to vent about majid again… in spite of the fact that he fired me in october!!!

i was working on the photos for the afore mentioned show when i got email from majid. he needs my help… apparently his server went down, and when it came up again there was no font directory on the macs. i know exactly what happened, and could probably fix it without any difficulty whatsoever, within about 10 minutes, but i don’t know if i want to… after all, he fired me in october!!!

what i would like to do is two different things, which are, unfortunately, mutually exclusive. the first thing i want to do is delete the email and ignore any further requests from him. the other thing is that i want to tell him that i can fix it for $125 an hour, with an hour minimum, and then go in, fix it, and leave again without saying anything to anyone, including majid. actually there’s a third thing, which is also mutually exclusive of the other two, which is ream majid a new asshole via email.

unfortunately, i’ll probably end up doing the “professional” thing and doing the 2nd option, but it really gets to me that i can’t do either the first or the third options without seeming like i am the one who is an asshole… 8/


the washington quarter is due to be minted next year. there are currently 3 candidates, of which i, personally, feel that #3 is the preferable one. if you’re a resident of the state of washington, maybe you’ll get a vote in the final decision. if not… stay away, ’cause we’ve already got far too many people from other states here, and they’re clogging traffic and contributing to smog.

the latest in a long, involved and complicated string of lies,
Cheney says he has power to declassify information
Vice president stays mum on case involving aide Libby
Thursday, February 16, 2006

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that an executive order gives him the authority to declassify secret documents, but he would not say whether he authorized an indicted former aide to release classified information.

Cheney’s former chief of staff, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, told a grand jury he was “authorized by his superiors” to disclose classified information from an intelligence estimate on Iraq to reporters, the special prosecutor investigating the 2003 leak of a CIA agent’s identity told Libby’s attorneys. The prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, did not identify who those “superiors” are.

In an interview Wednesday with Fox News, Cheney said the case was “nothing I can talk about.” But he said he had the authority to declassify material under an executive order that “focuses first and foremost on the president, but also includes the vice president.”

He would not disclose whether he had exercised that authority, however.

Libby was indicted in October on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements to investigators probing the July 2003 exposure of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Plame’s husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, had just emerged as a critic of the pre-war intelligence underpinning the invasion of Iraq when her identity was disclosed.

According to Fitzgerald, Libby met on July 8, 2003, with New York Times reporter Judith Miller to give her information regarding the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq. The document included much of the information used to justify the invasion of Iraq earlier that year.

But a legal source involved in the case tells CNN that Libby has never suggested and did not testify that anyone in the administration — including Cheney — authorized outing Plame.

Cheney declined to discuss the investigation but said he had “cooperated fully” with the special prosecutor. And he suggested he may have to testify in Libby’s trial, now tentatively set for January 2007.

“Scooter is entitled to the presumption of innocence,” the vice president said. “He’s a great guy. I’ve worked with him for a long time, have enormous regard for him. I may well be called as a witness at some point in the case and it’s, therefore, inappropriate for me to comment on any facet of the case.”

Cheney’s remarks came during an interview in which he accepted responsibility for the weekend shooting of a companion during a south Texas quail hunt.

The wounded man, 78-year-old Harry Whittington, remained in intensive care in a Corpus Christi hospital on Wednesday.

The incident’s belated disclosure left the White House fending off questions for three days and fueled renewed criticism of the vice president, with Democrats calling it symbolic of an administration obsessed with secrecy.

now let me get this straight… in an investigation to discover who outed plame, i seem to recall cheney vowing that whoever was responsible would face extreme and dire consequences… but when it turns out that he is the one who was actually responsible, suddenly he has the power to declassify information and nothing was done wrong… including his shooting “his friend”, harry whittington…

does that make sense to you, or does it sound like more back-pedalling and ass-covering?

Happy St. Valentines Day… 8P

Law Organization Objects To Spy Strategy
By Denise Royal
February 14, 2006 10:23 a.m. EST

Chicago, IL (AHN) – The American Bar Association objects to President Bush’s domestic spying program. The lawyers’ group accuses the White House of exceeding his power, and is calling for special court warrants for similar spying in the future.

The Bush Administration says warrant-less eavesdropping is legal under the President’s constitutional powers as commander-in-chief and congressional authorization for the use of military force adopted days after the September 11 attacks. The program bypassed secret courts created under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (or FISA) that grant warrants.

The ABA’s resolution calls on Mr. Bush “to abide by the limitations which the Constitution imposes on a President” to make sure national security is protected in a way that is consistent with constitutional guarantees. It opposes “any future electronic surveillance inside the United States by any U.S. government agency for foreign intelligence.”

UN report damns Guantanamo jail
Tuesday 14 February 2006, 4:37 Makka Time, 1:37 GMT

An investigation into the prison at Guantanamo Bay says the US committed acts amounting to torture, including force-feeding and prolonged periods of solitary confinement.

The report by five human rights experts from the UN accused the US of violating the detainees’ rights to a fair trial, to freedom of religion and to health.

It recommended that the US close the detention centre and revoke all special interrogation techniques authorised by the US Department of Defence.

The draft report said: “The apparent attempts by the US administration to reinterpret certain interrogation techniques as not reaching the threshold of torture in the framework of the struggle against terrorism are of utmost concern.”

US officials rejected the report, saying it was riddled with errors and treated statements from detainees’ lawyers as fact.

Its most significant flaw, officials said, was that it judged US treatment of detainees according to peace-time human rights laws.

US position
The US contends that it is in a state of conflict and should be judged according to the laws of war.

An official from the US State Department said: “Once you fail to even acknowledge that as the legal basis for what we’re doing, much of the legal analysis that follows just doesn’t hold.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the US has not formulated an official public response.

The draft report was delivered to the US on 16 January. It was first disclosed late on Sunday by the Los Angeles Times, and a copy was obtained by journalists.

The five experts have mandates that cover torture, freedom of religion, health, independent judiciary and arbitrary detention. They started working together in June 2004 to monitor conditions at Guantanamo Bay.

Important UN group
They were appointed to their three-year terms by the 53-nation UN Human Rights Commission, the global body’s rights watchdog.

The US holds about 500 people on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban government at the base in Guantanamo. It has filed charges against 10 detainees.

The draft report, which will be presented to the next session of the commission, dismissed the US claim that the “war on terror” constitutes an armed conflict.

It also said the detainees at Guantanamo Bay had a right to challenge their detention, and that right was being violated.

The report said: “In the case of the Guantanamo Bay detainees, the US executive operates as judge, as prosecutor, and as defence counsel. This constitutes serious violations of various guarantees of the right to a fair trial.”

The five experts had sought invitations from the United States to visit Guantanamo Bay since 2002. When it was offered last year, they turned it down because they were told they would not be allowed to interview detainees.

On Monday, US officials faulted the experts for rejecting the invitation, saying it undermined the accuracy of their findings.

Uighur case
Meanwhile, lawyers for two Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay want a federal appeals court to order their release inside the US.

In court papers filed on Monday, lawyers for Abu Bakker Qassim and A’Del Abdu al-Hakim, captured in Pakistan in 2001, said they should be released because the US military found that they are not “enemy combatants”.

The lawyers want the appellate court to overturn a ruling by U.S. District Judge James Robertson, who ruled in December that the men are being detained illegally but said he could not force the U.S. government to release them.

The two men, along with several other Uighurs, have been held at Guantanamo Bay since 2002 because the US government has been unable to find a country willing to accept them. US officials cannot send them back to China because of the possibility they would be tortured or killed.

Guantanamo Bay inmates ‘tortured’

Treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay constitutes torture in some cases and violates international law, a leaked UN draft report says.

The document, seen by the Los Angeles Times, suggests that investigators will recommend the prison camp is shut down.

It also questions the legal status of the camp and the classification of detainees as enemy combatants.

The US State Department has criticised the draft report as “hearsay”.

The Los Angeles Times published the draft report in its paper on Monday and spoke to one of the authors, the UN special raporteur on torture, Manfred Novak.

“We very, very carefully considered all of the arguments posed by the US government. There are no conclusions that are easily drawn. But we concluded that the situation in several areas violates international law and conventions on human rights and torture,” Mr Nowak told the LA Times.

The report suggests some of the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay meets the definition of torture under the UN Convention Against Torture.

This includes the force-feeding of hunger strikers through nasal tubes and the simultaneous use of several interrogation techniques such as prolonged solitary confinement and exposure to extreme temperatures, noise and light.

The UN team also questions the legal status of the Guantanamo camp.

It says insufficient effort has been made to prove that the inmates really are enemy combatants.

It also recommends the prison camp is shut down.

“The US government should close Guantanamo Bay detention facilities without further delay,” the report says. “The US government should either expeditiously bring all Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial … or release them without further delay.”

‘Spurious claims’
Mr Nowak was one of five UN envoys who interviewed former prisoners, detainees’ lawyers and families during the past 18 months.

nvestigators rejected an invitation to tour the base in Cuba because they would not have been allowed to interview the prisoners directly.

The US State Department has criticised the findings.

“Just because they decided not to take up the US government on the offer to go to Guantanamo Bay does not automatically give [them] the right to publish a report that is merely hearsay and not based on fact,” spokesman Sean McCormack said.

UN officials will include responses from the US government before the report is officially released at the end of the week.

Mr Nowak says that nothing of substance will be altered when the final report is issued.

The investigation was ordered by the UN Commission on Human Rights.

The camp at Guantanamo Bay was set up in 2002 to hold foreign terror suspects, many of them captured in Afghanistan.

It currently houses around 500 suspects.

Outed CIA officer was working on Iran, intelligence sources say
By Larisa Alexandrovna
February 13, 2006

The unmasking of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson by White House officials in 2003 caused significant damage to U.S. national security and its ability to counter nuclear proliferation abroad, RAW STORY has learned.

According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.

Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame’s work. Their accounts suggest that Plame’s outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran’s burgeoning nuclear program.

While many have speculated that Plame was involved in monitoring the nuclear proliferation black market, specifically the proliferation activities of Pakistan’s nuclear “father,” A.Q. Khan, intelligence sources say that her team provided only minimal support in that area, focusing almost entirely on Iran.

Plame declined to comment through her husband, Joseph Wilson.

Valerie Plame first became a household name when her identity was disclosed by conservative columnist Robert Novak on July 14, 2003. The column came only a week after her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, had written an op-ed for the New York Times asserting that White House officials twisted pre-war intelligence on Iraq. Her outing was seen as political retaliation for Wilson’s criticism of the Administration’s claim that Iraq sought uranium from Niger for a nuclear weapons program.

Her case has drawn international attention and resulted in the indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who is leading the probe, is still pursuing Deputy Chief of Staff and Special Advisor to President Bush, Karl Rove. His investigation remains open.

The damages
Intelligence sources would not identify the specifics of Plame’s work. They did, however, tell RAW STORY that her outing resulted in “severe” damage to her team and significantly hampered the CIA’s ability to monitor nuclear proliferation.

Plame’s team, they added, would have come in contact with A.Q. Khan’s network in the course of her work on Iran.

While Director of Central Intelligence Porter Goss has not submitted a formal damage assessment to Congressional oversight committees, the CIA’s Directorate of Operations did conduct a serious and aggressive investigation, sources say.

Intelligence sources familiar with the damage assessment say that what is called a “counter intelligence assessment to agency operations” was conducted on the orders of the CIA’s then-Deputy Director of the Directorate of Operations, James Pavitt.

Former CIA counterintelligence officer Larry Johnson believes that such an assessment would have had to be done for the CIA to have referred the case to the Justice Department.

“An exposure like that required an immediate operational and counter intelligence damage assessment,” Johnson said. “That was done. The results were written up but not in a form for submission to anyone outside of CIA.”

One former counterintelligence official described the CIA’s reasons for not seeking Congressional assistance on the matter as follows: “[The CIA Leadership] made a conscious decision not to do a formal inquiry because they knew it might become public,” the source said. “They referred it [to the Justice Department] instead because they believed a criminal investigation was needed.”

The source described the findings of the assessment as showing “significant damage to operational equities.”

Another counterintelligence official, also wishing to remain anonymous due to the nature of the subject matter, described “operational equities” as including both people and agency operations that involve the “cover mechanism,” “front companies,” and other CIA officers and assets.

Three intelligence officers confirmed that other CIA non-official cover officers were compromised, but did not indicate the number of people operating under non-official cover that were affected or the way in which these individuals were impaired. None of the sources would say whether there were American or foreign casualties as a result of the leak.

Several intelligence officials described the damage in terms of how long it would take for the agency to recover. According to their own assessment, the CIA would be impaired for up to “ten years” in its capacity to adequately monitor nuclear proliferation on the level of efficiency and accuracy it had prior to the White House leak of Plame Wilson’s identity.

A.Q. Khan
While Plame’s work did not specifically focus on the A.Q. Khan ring, named after Pakistani scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the network and its impact on nuclear proliferation and the region should not be minimized, primarily because the Khan network was the major supplier of WMD technology for Iran.

Dr. Khan instituted the proliferation market during the 1980s and supplied many countries in the Middle East and elsewhere with uranium enrichment technology, including Libya, Iran and North Korea. Enriched uranium is used to make weaponized nuclear devices.

The United States forced the Pakistan government to dismiss Khan for his proliferation activities in March of 2001, but he remains largely free and acts as an adviser to the Pakistani government.

According to intelligence expert John Pike of GlobalSecurity.org, U.S. officials were not aware of the extent of the proliferation until around the time of Khan’s dismissal.

“It slowly dawned on them that the collaboration between Pakistan, North Korea and Iran was an ongoing and serious problem,” Pike said. “It was starting to sink in on them that it was one program doing business in three locations and that anything one of these countries had they all had.”

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Pakistan became the United States’ chief regional ally in the war on terror.

The revelation that Iran was the focal point of Plame’s work raises new questions as to possible other motivating factors in the White House’s decision to reveal the identity of a CIA officer working on tracking a WMD supply network to Iran, particularly when the very topic of Iran’s possible WMD capability is of such concern to the Administration.

Bush’s Social Security Sleight of Hand
By Allan Sloan
Wednesday, February 8, 2006

If you read enough numbers, you never know what you’ll find. Take President Bush and private Social Security accounts.

Last year, even though Bush talked endlessly about the supposed joys of private accounts, he never proposed a specific plan to Congress and never put privatization costs in the budget. But this year, with no fanfare whatsoever, Bush stuck a big Social Security privatization plan in the federal budget proposal, which he sent to Congress on Monday.

His plan would let people set up private accounts starting in 2010 and would divert more than $700 billion of Social Security tax revenues to pay for them over the first seven years.

If this comes as a surprise to you, have no fear. You’re not alone. Bush didn’t pitch private Social Security accounts in his State of the Union message last week.

First, he drew a mocking standing ovation from Democrats by saying that “Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security,” even though, as I said, he’d never submitted specific legislation.

Then he seemed to be kicking the Social Security problem a few years down the road in typical Washington fashion when he asked Congress “to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” adding that the commission would be bipartisan “and offer bipartisan solutions.”

But anyone who thought that Bush would wait for bipartisanship to deal with Social Security was wrong. Instead, he stuck his own privatization proposals into his proposed budget.

“The Democrats were laughing all the way to the funeral of Social Security modernization,” White House spokesman Trent Duffy told me in an interview Tuesday, but “the president still cares deeply about this. ” Duffy asserted that Bush would have been remiss not to include in the budget the cost of something that he feels so strongly about, and he seemed surprised at my surprise that Social Security privatization had been written into the budget without any advance fanfare.

Duffy said privatization costs were included in the midyear budget update that the Office of Management and Budget released last July 30, so it was logical for them to be in the 2007 budget proposals. But I sure didn’t see this coming – and I wonder how many people outside of the White House did.

Nevertheless, it’s here. Unlike Bush’s generalized privatization talk of last year, we’re now talking detailed numbers. On page 321 of the budget proposal, you see the privatization costs: $24.182 billion in fiscal 2010, $57.429 billion in fiscal 2011 and another $630.533 billion for the five years after that, for a seven-year total of $712.144 billion.

In the first year of private accounts, people would be allowed to divert up to 4 percent of their wages covered by Social Security into what Bush called “voluntary private accounts.” The maximum contribution to such accounts would start at $1,100 annually and rise by $100 a year through 2016.

It’s not clear how big a reduction in the basic benefit Social Security recipients would have to take in return for being able to set up these accounts, or precisely how the accounts would work.

Bush also wants to change the way Social Security benefits are calculated for most people by adopting so-called progressive indexing. Lower-income people would continue to have their Social Security benefits tied to wages, but the benefits paid to higher-paid people would be tied to inflation.

Wages have typically risen 1.1 percent a year more than inflation, so over time, that disparity would give lower-paid and higher-paid people essentially the same benefit. However, higher-paid workers would be paying substantially more into the system than lower-paid people would.

This means that although progressive indexing is an attractive idea from a social-justice point of view, it would reduce Social Security’s political support by making it seem more like welfare than an earned benefit.

Bush is right, of course, when he says in his budget proposal that Social Security in its current form is unsustainable. But there are plenty of ways to fix it besides offering private accounts as a substitute for part of the basic benefit.

Bush’s 2001 Social Security commission had members of both parties, but they had to agree in advance to support private accounts. Their report, which had some interesting ideas, went essentially nowhere.

What remains to be seen is whether this time around Bush follows through on forming a bipartisan commission and whether he can get credible Democrats to join it. Dropping numbers onto your opponents is a great way to stick your finger in their eye. But will it get the Social Security job done? That, my friends, is a whole other story.

Oops! – Bush Unaware Mikes Were Still On
Sat Feb 11, 10:08 AM ET

CAMBRIDGE, Md. – The eavesdropping tables were turned on President Bush on Friday. The president apparently believed he was speaking privately when he talked about listening in without a warrant on domestic communications with suspected al-Qaida terrorists overseas. But reporters were the ones doing the listening in this time.

The incident happened at a House Republican retreat. After six minutes of public remarks by the president, reporters were ushered out. “I support the free press, let’s just get them out of the room,” Bush said, intending to speak behind closed doors with fellow Republicans and take lawmakers’ questions.

When reporters left, Bush spoke about the National Security Agency program that he authorized four years ago and which has drawn criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike.

However, the microphones stayed on for a few minutes. That allowed journalists back at the White House to eavesdrop on Bush’s defense of the eavesdropping. His private statements were basically no different from what he’s said in public.

“I want to share some thoughts with you before I answer your questions,” Bush began. “First of all, I expect this conversation we’re about to have to stay in the room. I know that’s impossible in Washington.”

He was right.


The Stereogram

this is a stereogram. to view it, let your eyes cross, so that there appears to be three images, and focus your gaze on the image in the middle… something interesting will happen in the center of the middle image. if you need a hint, take a look here and try again… if you still can’t see it, the answer is here.


more updates to various picture galleries. more to come as time goes on.

went to a “rehearsal” for sunday’s performance last night. of the 25 people that have confirmed that they are going to be in the performance, only six showed up for what looks like it’s going to be the only rehearsal that we’re going to have before then, which isn’t too encouraging, particularly since we’re going to be performing in the dark with fire… this morning i got up, took moe to work, shipped stuff out, and came home before 9:00. we bought a collapsible dog crate from costco, that broke over the weekend, so i called and made arrangements to take it back, but i don’t know if i’ll get another one or if they don’t have any more in stock… and i probably won’t know until i actually get there.

Religious Discrimination
For the second time in as many months, Starbucks management has kicked SWU member Suley Ayala out of the workplace for wearing her modest Pentagram necklace. Ms. Ayala is a practicing Wiccan and as a religious observance never takes off the necklace. She wore the necklace at Starbucks without interruption for three years until the company started harassing her after she and a group of her co-workers went public as members of the Starbucks Workers Union on November 18, 2005. Since then various management officials have badgered her and sent her home for refusing to take off the necklace. Ms. Ayala is extremely distraught and understandably angry.

Management can’t even get its story straight, sometimes saying no religious symbols are allowed and other times saying the necklace is too distracting. All the while, baristas wearing crosses of the same modest size have never been disciplined. Our opinion is that Starbucks is exploiting Suley’s non-traditional religion to retaliate against her for union activity.

The Fight Back
As a mother of four working hard to make ends meet, being disrespected by the company and losing a day’s earnings are the last things Ms. Ayala needs. We’re asking people of good will from all religions or no religion at all to join our fight. An indigenous Ecuadorian, Suley has struggled hard to win material gains on the job for her family and she’s not about to back down on her right to freely practice her religion.

Last Tuesday after Suley was sent home following a lull in the harassment, a co-worker and fellow union member asked her for the necklace. Tomer Malchi, a
Jew, put the necklace on and he too was confronted by management. In a moving act, Mr. Malchi refused to take off the Pentagram in solidarity with his sister worker. He was ousted from the workplace. Since then SWU members and supporters have been leafleting in front of the store to get the word out about Starbucks’ reprehensible conduct. Suley Ayala has filed a religious discrimination complaint against Starbucks with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, the government won’t win this fight for us, grassroots action will. In response to the union’s outrage, Starbucks has backed down a bit. Management now says that Ms. Ayala can wear a miniature version of the Pentagram. But that’s not enough. Suley wore her Pentagram without incident for three years. Why should she be arbitrarily disciplined now that she is a union member? We demand that she be allowed to wear her original Pentagram and receive compensation for the days she was sent home early.

Take Action
Before we formed the Starbucks Workers Union, the tyrants at the company could treat us like servants and we had no recourse to fight back. No longer. We will not tolerate religious discrimination against any of our members whether Wiccan, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or atheist, or any other world view. Please take a stand with us for religious liberty in the workplace. Together we can create a truly global labor movement.

Call Starbucks District Manager Kim Vetrano NOW and demand that Suley be allowed to freely observe her religion while at work and that she be compensated for the work hours she missed:

Phone: (646) 256-9929
E-Mail: [email protected]
Fax: (917)591-8599

Drunk Puppet Night #6

Portland, 17 – 18 Feburary, 2006
Seattle, 24 – 25 February, 3 – 4, 10 – 11 March, 2006


thanks to
Welcome to the Community of Dildo.

Our community of Dildo is situated in a deep narrow cove at the entrance point of Dildo Arm, Dildo and South Dildo. It is at the South side of Trinity Bay, some 96 km. from St. John’s. This community is close to good fishing grounds and the cod fishery was always the basis for this community. Later in the twentieth century, this community became a flourishing whaling community. A museum in the nearby town of South Dildo shows the history of whaling. Our school is in Dildo. There is another school called Woodland Junior High located here, too. However, we have other buildings here. There is the Interpretation Centre for our town, which has fishery-related artifacts from the past. Outside this museum there is a large giant squid, of actual size, made from fiberglass. There is also a tepee made with sticks and covered with seal skin.

Our commmunity also has a Lion’s Center, which has a large playground where boys and girls can go to play safely. We can play field hockey, soccer, tennis, and volleyball. The Lions Club also sponsors many activities for our community such as parities, dances, and suppers. This building is used by many groups throughout the community.

Dildo, today with a population of about 700 people is a very interesting community to visit.

and here is one of it’s inhabitants


ezra approximately 1984

1. (left) a gallery of black and white pictures that were taken during an acid trip in approximately 1983. these photos are on fading negatives that have never been printed, so the quality is a little poor, but it definitely catches the feelings that i was having at the time. location is downtown seattle, and the sea tac airport (this was a long time before 11 september, 2001…

2. (right) a gallery of various pictures of ezra from 1984 to 1989 or thereabouts.

3. (below) a gallery of photos from the past, including one that may be NSFW, so beware. also includes at least one that won’t be of any meaning to you unless you were there.

weird sculpture at western washington university
madhouse workshop circa 1987

4. (left, small) a gallery of some of the more interesting musical instruments and some of the more difficult jobs that have been repaired by Nataraja Music Service, and some of it’s different locations since 1986.

most of these galleries will expand as time goes on. i just discovered that i have the ability to process regular negatives into reasonably acceptible digital photos, and i have a huge quantity of negatives of a variety of subjects that have never been printed before, and plenty of time to scan them.


took moe to work so that i can have the car today. shipped stuff out. bought some screens. did some grocery shopping, but didn’t find what i wanted. i suspect that i won’t find it out here in the boonies, in spite of the fact that safeway is supposed to be more or less the same store regardless of where you find it. they had what i was looking for when we lived in renton, which is a lot closer to seattle, but far enough out that they could be pretty well assured of some indians coming in to the store, but out here in “unincorporated” king/pierce county, they’re not as likely to get people who want indian food, and i doubt they will carry an item that only one of their customers wants… it’s time to start making the rounds of the numerous small asian markets along highway 99, which i’ve been avoiding because the signs are in chinese or korean and i suspect that their knowledge of english is minimal at best… ’cause they’re bound to have something similar, and potentially a lot better…

we still haven’t heard anything new about the van, which is making me nervous since i have to use the car on wednesday during the time when i know moe will be wanting to use it, and even if that works out, i’m going to portland next friday and saturday, and then going directly to port townsend on sunday, so i’m going to need my car, more-or-less with no strings attached, and i’ve gotten no indication that those strings are going to be adequately attached to someone else’s car for that period of time. moe said that she was going to call them today, so i won’t start worrying about it just yet.


it’s things like this that make me wonder how long it’s going to have to be before we, the people, take action to preserve this democracy against those who would take it from us, whether those people are our leaders or not.

Rove counting heads on the Senate Judiciary Committee

The White House has been twisting arms to ensure that no Republican member votes against President Bush in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation of the administration’s unauthorized wiretapping.

Congressional sources said Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has threatened to blacklist any Republican who votes against the president. The sources said the blacklist would mean a halt in any White House political or financial support of senators running for re-election in November.

“It’s hardball all the way,” a senior GOP congressional aide said.

The sources said the administration has been alarmed over the damage that could result from the Senate hearings, which began on Monday, Feb. 6. They said the defection of even a handful of Republican committee members could result in a determination that the president violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Such a determination could lead to impeachment proceedings.

Over the last few weeks, Mr. Rove has been calling in virtually every Republican on the Senate committee as well as the leadership in Congress. The sources said Mr. Rove’s message has been that a vote against Mr. Bush would destroy GOP prospects in congressional elections.

“He’s [Rove] lining them up one by one,” another congressional source said.

Mr. Rove is leading the White House campaign to help the GOP in November’s congressional elections. The sources said the White House has offered to help loyalists with money and free publicity, such as appearances and photo-ops with the president.

Those deemed disloyal to Mr. Rove would appear on his blacklist. The sources said dozens of GOP members in the House and Senate are on that list.

So far, only a handful of GOP senators have questioned Mr. Rove’s tactics.

Some have raised doubts about Mr. Rove’s strategy of painting the Democrats, who have opposed unwarranted surveillance, as being dismissive of the threat posed by al Qaeda terrorists.

“Well, I didn’t like what Mr. Rove said, because it frames terrorism and the issue of terrorism and everything that goes with it, whether it’s the renewal of the Patriot Act or the NSA wiretapping, in a political context,” said Sen. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican.

Helen to Scotty: You know what happened to Nixon when he broke the law.

Q: Does the president think he should obey the law? He put his hand on the Bible twice to uphold the Constitution. Wiretapping is not legal under the circumstances without a warrant.

MR. MCCLELLAN: Well, I guess you didn’t pay attention to the attorney general’s hearing earlier today, because he walked through very clearly the rationale behind this program.

Q: There is no rationale —

MR. MCCLELLAN: And Helen, I think you have to ask —

Q: — (inaudible) — the law.

MR. MCCLELLAN: I think you have ask are we — well, he’s not — are we a nation at war.

Q: That’s not the question.

MR. MCCLELLAN: No, that is the issue here.

Q: The question is, the point is, there are means for him to go to — get a warrant to spy on people.

MR. MCCLELLAN: Enemy surveillance is critical to waging and winning war. It’s one of the traditional tools of war.

Q: But he says he doesn’t have running room —

MR. MCCLELLAN: The attorney general outlined very clearly today how previous administrations have used the same authority —

Q: That doesn’t make it legal.

MR. MCCLELLAN: — and cited the same — and cited the very same authority.

Q: (Inaudible) — they broke the law, that’s too bad.

MR. MCCLELLAN: And we’re going to continue doing everything we can —

Q: You know what happened to Nixon when he broke the law.

MR. MCCLELLAN: — within our power to protect the American people. This is a very different circumstance, and you know that.

Q: No, I don’t.

Bush squirms as policies denounced at King funeral
By Andrew Gumbel
08 February 2006

President George Bush led a crowd of 10,000 mourners at yesterday’s funeral for Coretta Scott King, one of the icons of the civil rights movement, only to squirm in his seat as one speaker after another invoked Mrs King’s spirit to lambast his administration on everything from the Iraq war to the response to last year’s Hurricane Katrina.

The lavish occasion, bringing together civil rights veterans, three former presidents, more than a dozen senators, musicians and poets at a megachurch in the suburbs of Atlanta, was both a tribute to the woman who carried on the campaigning legacy of her assassinated husband, Martin Luther King Jr, for almost 40 years and also an opportunity to invoke some of the Kings’ passionately outspoken rhetoric.

President Bush called Mrs King, who died 10 days ago at the age of 78, “one of the most admired Americans of our time”.

Her nearest and dearest pointedly did not return the compliment. “We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there,” said Joseph Lowery, who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Dr King more than 40 years ago, “but Coretta knew and we knew that there are weapons of misdirection right down here.”

The Rev Lowery issued a searing indictment of the Bush administration’s economic priorities. “For war billions more,” he said, “but no more for the poor.”

Far better received than President Bush was Bill Clinton, who won an enthusiastic ovation as he described how Mrs King might easily have given up the civil rights struggle after her husband’s assassination in 1968. Instead, he said, she asked herself “What am I going to do with the rest of my life?”

U.S. policy appears to be "we don’t torture unless it serves our purpose, and then we don’t admit it, or, preferably, let our ‘allies’ take care of it so that we can say it doesn’t reflect negatively on us"… 8/

U.S. Citizen May Be Handed Over to Iraqis

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government wants an Iraqi court to handle criminal charges against a naturalized American citizen who is being held in Iraq on suspicion that he is a senior operative of insurgent leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The man’s lawyers said he is innocent and likely to be tortured if he is handed over to the Iraqis.

The case is the first known instance in which the government has decided to allow an American to be tried in the new Iraqi legal system. At least four other U.S. citizens suspected of aiding the insurgency had been held in Iraq, the Pentagon has said.

Shawqi Omar, 44, who once served in the Minnesota National Guard, has been held since late 2004 in U.S.-run military prisons as an enemy combatant. He has not been charged with a crime or been given access to a lawyer, said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer representing Omar’s family in the United States.

The government said Omar, who also holds Jordanian citizenship, was harboring an Iraqi insurgent and four Jordanian fighters at the time of his arrest and also had bomb-making materials. He is described in court papers as a relative of Zarqawi who was plotting to kidnap foreigners from Baghdad hotels.

Separately, Omar, Zarqawi and 11 others have been indicted by a Jordanian court on charges they plotted a chemical attack against Jordan’s intelligence agency.

Omar’s family said he is a businessman who was seeking reconstruction contracts in Iraq.

The family is asking a U.S. judge to step in and force the government to charge Omar with a crime and put him on trial in the United States, or release him. They also are seeking to prevent Omar’s transfer to Iraqi custody, which they said would subject the Sunni Muslim to torture by Shiite-dominated authorities.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina last week issued an order in Washington temporarily blocking Omar’s transfer to Iraqi custody. The order is set to expire on Monday, but the judge could extend it.

The Justice Department weighed in on Tuesday, arguing that Urbina has no business intervening on Omar’s behalf and denying that Omar is even in U.S. custody.

Instead, the department said in court papers, Omar was captured by the U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq and remains in its custody, the department said in court papers. The multinational force is independent of the U.S. government, the department said.

In any event, Omar would not be handed over to the Iraqis unless he is convicted in an Iraqi court, the government said.

Hafetz, a lawyer at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, said the government is resorting to a legal gimmick to keep Omar’s case out of American courts. “It’s legally incorrect and factually incorrect to say the U.S. does not have control of him,” Hafetz said.

In July, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said five unnamed Americans, including one who also had Jordanian citizenship, were in U.S. military custody in Iraq. Whitman said then that the government had not decided whether their cases would be turned over to the Justice Department or to the new Iraqi legal system, which has handled the prosecution of other foreign fighters who came to Iraq to fight the U.S.-led occupation and Iraqi government.

In March, Matthew Waxman, the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, said a panel of three U.S. officers determined the Jordanian-American was an enemy combatant and not entitled to prisoner-of-war status under the Geneva Convention. The description provided by Waxman and other officials matches Omar’s biography as contained in the government’s court papers.

In its filing Tuesday, the Justice Department said the officers were part of the multinational force.

Omar became a U.S. citizen in 1986, two years after he served in the National Guard. Omar spent about 11 months in the Guard before being discharged in November 1984 without completing his training, said Shannon Purvis, a spokesperson for the Minnesota National Guard. Omar received an “uncharacterized discharge,” meaning he was discharged for such things as health problems or poor performance, Purvis said.

Non-citizens can serve in the Guard as long as they obtain citizenship within eight years of joining, Purvis said.

U.S. Navy constructs permanent bases in Iraq
Top 10 ‘Conspiracy Theories’ about George W. Bush Part I & Part II


more updates for Seattle Agility Center including a new EAT page, and pictures for another, plus a surreptitious update to two more EAT pages in an attempt to start organising their web site a little more logically. more updates for Capitol Hill Neighborhood Acupuncture, including changing the message, link and order on a javascript rollover that i didn’t create, which is pretty good considering that i never really learned javascript. all in all, they came out pretty well, in that you can’t tell that they’re not original unless you really look, but the fact that his site doesn’t validate really bugs me and i want to change it… unfortunately that means totally replacing the whole site, and not just chris’ part of it, so for now i’m keeping my hands to myself. got an order for bhutanese temple incense today that i was able to prepare for shipping within 5 minutes of receiving the order. i like it when that happens.


when i had my injury, i lost consciousness on the way to the hospital, and regained consciousness 10 days later. during that period of time i was apparently conscious and responding to commands, but i don’t remember any of it. instead i had this bizarre, vivid hallucination of an opera, which i fully intend to write and produce eventually. here’s what i’ve got so far:

opening my skull and performing surgery is like opening the hood and performing maintenance. the surgeon and the auto mechanic perform the same services, only on a different level.

a big show-piece with a large chorus of men and women dressed in 50’s-style, white uniforms. this also features a young, eager person of indetermite sex, all in a white 50’s-syle uniform, although different from the rest of them, buying an alchohol-powered tow-truck from a somewhat-sleazy car dealer in a white, pin-striped suit.

open with the imression that it’s going to be a musical about cars, then morph into psychedelic brain-surgery with oversized, flashing backgroud of angiogram graphics, then finish with explanation of how brain surgery and auto mechanics are the same thing.


introduction: about cars and trucks, how they are used every day, how they break down and who the people are who fix them. music is ragtime/dixieland/marching band style.

the chorus is in white tuxedos with hats and canes and are doing complicated dance steps in a grid pattern, on multiple levels

introduction of the young, eager, idealistic person of indeterminate sex: how s/he wants to be one of these people.

the person should be clean-shaven, with a blonde pageboy bob, and slightly chubby, in a white uniform with a tie, and a floppy uniform hat with a bill. throughout the performance, it should not be made obvious whether the person is male or female.

the song of the somewhat-sleazy used-truck salesman.

the somewhat-sleazy used-truck salesman should be a short, skinny person with a pencil-thin moustache and greased back hair in a grey pinstriped suit that’s slightly too big, and shoes that would match if they weren’t clown-sized.

duet between the person of indeterminate sex and the somewhat-sleazy used-truck salesman: combining his/her interest with becoming a tow-truck driver, lack of skill and desire to learn with the somewhat-sleazy used-truck salesman’s desire to sell something, anything to anyone at all.

an alcohol-powered truck appears: alcohol versus gasoline – the differences and similarities, whether gas or alcohol has more power.

the truck is sold, much to the amazement of everyone. the person of indeterminate sex is seen driving down a dirt road lined with trees.

we are left with an image of the truck lumbering off into rolling hills in the distance, on a dirt farm road, lined with trees, with the person of indeterminate sex waving their uniform hat out the window.

we need some repair: the truck is put to use, much to the amazement and delight of everyone… or could it be that the tow-truck itself needs repair? we may never know, because:

psychedelic morph: the music changes, the uniform and tuxedos change from white to red and everything is overlayed with movies of angiograms.

the music changes gradually from ragtime/dixieland/marching band style music to heavy rock with screaming guitars

introduction of the two repair men: one is a doctor, with bag, mask, occulus and stethescope, the other is a car mechanic in a grease stained, pin-striped coverall (the return of the somewhat-sleazy used truck salesman?) and cap, with a wrench and hand rag, but for the most part they move and act as one person.

the repair: the hood goes up and we tinker with the engine. the skull opens up and we tinker with the brain. the movies change to stills of angiograms but there is still an overall red cast to everything.

the repairmen: auto-mechanics and brain-surgeons are the same thing; both make things go.

the repairmen part 2: auto-mechanics perform brain-surgery on a car while brain-surgeons perform engine maintenance on a human. complex, indian-style pas-de-deux with repairmen.

finale: has this performance been about auto maintenance or brain surgery?


Soldier pays for armor
Army demanded $700 from man who was wounded
By Eric Eyre
February 07, 2006

The last time 1st Lt. William "Eddie" Rebrook IV saw his body armor, he was lying on a stretcher in Iraq, his arm shattered and covered in blood.

A field medic tied a tourniquet around Rebrook’s right arm to stanch the bleeding from shrapnel wounds. Soldiers yanked off his blood-soaked body armor. He never saw it again.

But last week, Rebrook was forced to pay $700 for that body armor, blown up by a roadside bomb more than a year ago.

He was leaving the Army for good because of his injuries. He turned in his gear at his base in Fort Hood, Texas. He was informed there was no record that the body armor had been stripped from him in battle.

He was told to pay nearly $700 or face not being discharged for weeks, perhaps months.

Rebrook, 25, scrounged up the cash from his Army buddies and returned home to Charleston last Friday.

"I last saw the [body armor] when it was pulled off my bleeding body while I was being evacuated in a helicopter," Rebrook said. "They took it off me and burned it."

But no one documented that he lost his Kevlar body armor during battle, he said. No one wrote down that armor had apparently been incinerated as a biohazard.

Rebrook’s mother, Beckie Drumheler, said she was saddened – and angry – when she learned that the Army discharged her son with a $700 bill. Soldiers who serve their country, those who put their lives on the line, deserve better, she said.

"It’s outrageous, ridiculous and unconscionable," Drumheler said. "I wanted to stand on a street corner and yell through a megaphone about this."

Rebrook was standing in the turret of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle when the roadside bomb exploded Jan. 11, 2005. The explosion fractured his arm and severed an artery. A Black Hawk helicopter airlifted him to a combat support hospital in Baghdad.

He was later flown to a hospital in Germany for surgery, then on to Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital in Washington, D.C., for more surgeries. Doctors operated on his arm seven times in all.

But Rebrook’s right arm never recovered completely. He still has range of motion problems. He still has pain when he turns over to sleep at night.

Even with the injury, Rebrook said he didn’t want to leave the Army. He said the "medical separation" discharge was the Army’s decision, not his.

So after eight months at Fort Hood, he gathered up his gear and started the "long process "to leave the Army for good.

Things went smoothly until officers asked him for his "OTV," his "outer tactical vest," or body armor, which was missing. A battalion supply officer had failed to document the loss of the vest in Iraq.

"They said that I owed them $700," Rebrook said. "It was like ‘thank you for your service, now here’s the bill for $700.’ I had to pay for it if I wanted to get on with my life."

In the past, the Army allowed to soldiers to write memos, explaining the loss and destruction of gear, Rebrook said.

But a new policy required a "report of survey" from the field that documented the loss.

Rebrook said he knows other soldiers who also have been forced to pay for equipment destroyed in battle.

"It’s a combat loss," he said. "It shouldn’t be a cost passed on to the soldier. If a soldier’s stuff is hit by enemy fire, he shouldn’t have to pay for it."

Rebrook said he tried to get a battalion commander to sign a waiver on the battle armor, but the officer declined. Rebrook was told he’d have to supply statements from witnesses to verify the body armor was taken from him and burned.

"There’s a complete lack of empathy from senior officers who don’t know what it’s like to be a combat soldier on the ground," Rebrook said. "There’s a whole lot of people who don’t want to help you. They’re more concerned with process than product."

Rebrook, who graduated with honors from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., spent more than four years on active duty. He served six months in Iraq.

Now, Rebrook is sending out resumes, trying to find a job. He plans to return to college to take a couple of pre-med classes and apply to medical school. He wants to be a doctor someday.

"From being an infantryman, I know what it’s like to hurt people," Rebrook said. "But now I’d like to help people."


If there is someone on your friends list who makes your world a better place just because they exist and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.

you know who you are… 😉

oh, by the way… i have an interview today. i was feeling really discouraged the other day, so i went to the martin luther king center web site and found a volunteer position at a local center, helping people who lack computer skills gain them. i don’t know whether this will be in the form of teaching classes, or just being overseer for a computer lab somewhere, and i’m not sure how long i will last before i go nuts, but it’s better than doing nothing.

EDIT: barring anything negative on my background check (which i can’t imagine, but anything is possible, especially these days) i will have a five-hour-per-week volunteer position on or about the 20th. whee.


Hybrid Elephant report: i shipped out two orders on saturday, got one ready to ship out today, and, if fedex gets here before i have to leave, i’ll have one to ship out tomorrow. average successful requests per day is 988, and has been going up steadily during the past few weeks, but average successful requests for pages per day is only 347, which is fewer than it was last week or the week before, which tells me that i’ve been getting a ton of hits from robots, but fewer actual people… which is good in a way, i suppose, but i’d rather have paying customers than lookie-loo robots, especially when the robots have been looking places that they shouldn’t recently anyway… 8/ i got a big order from aroma harbor of franklin, georgia, which i had to refund because they need the fragrance right away and i am completely out of stock of almost everything they ordered. i’m probably still going to order it, but now it can wait until i actually have need of it.

Grandpa Al Lewis

Grandpa Al Lewis, actor/politician/restaurant owner, dies at 95
Larry Mcshane, Canadian Press
Saturday, February 04, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) – Al Lewis, the cigar-chomping patriarch of The Munsters whose work as a basketball scout, restaurateur and political candidate never eclipsed his role as Grandpa from the television sitcom, died after years of failing health. He was 95.

Lewis, with his wife at his bedside, passed away Friday night, said Bernard White, program director at WBAI-FM, where the actor hosted a weekly radio program. White made the announcement on the air during the Saturday slot where Lewis usually appeared.

“To say that we will miss his generous, cantankerous, engaging spirit is a profound understatement,” White said.

Lewis, sporting a somewhat cheesy Dracula outfit, became a pop culture icon playing the irascible father-in-law to Fred Gwynne’s ever-bumbling Herman Munster on the 1964-66 television show. He was also one of the stars of another classic TV comedy, playing Officer Leo Schnauzer on Car 54, Where Are You?

But Lewis’ life off the small screen ranged far beyond his acting antics. A former ballplayer at Thomas Jefferson High School, he achieved notoriety as a basketball talent scout familiar to coaching greats like Jerry Tarkanian and Red Auerbach.

He operated a successful Greenwich Village restaurant, Grandpa’s, where he was a regular presence – chatting with customers, posing for pictures, signing autographs.

Just two years short of his 90th birthday, a ponytailed Lewis ran as the Green party candidate against incumbent Governor George Pataki. Lewis campaigned against draconian drug laws and the death penalty, while going to court in a losing battle to have his name appear on the ballot as Grandpa Al Lewis.

He didn’t defeat Pataki, but managed to collect more 52,000 votes.

Lewis was born Albert Meister in upstate New York before his family moved to Brooklyn, where the 6-foot-1 teen began a lifelong love affair with basketball. He later became a vaudeville and circus performer, but his career didn’t take off until television did the same.

Lewis, as Officer Schnauzer, played opposite Gwynne’s Officer Francis Muldoon in Car 54, Where Are You? – a comedy about a Bronx police precinct that aired from 1961-63. One year later, the duo appeared together in The Munsters, taking up residence at the fictional 1313 Mockingbird Lane.

The series, about a family of clueless creatures plunked down in middle America, was a success and ran through 1966. It forever locked Lewis in as the memorably twisted character; decades later, strangers would greet him on the street with shouts of Grandpa!

Unlike some television stars, Lewis never complained about getting typecast and made appearances in character for decades.

“Why would I mind?” he asked in a 1997 interview. “It pays my mortgage.”

Lewis rarely slowed down, opening his restaurant and hosting his WBAI radio program. At one point during the ’90s, he was a frequent guest on the Howard Stern radio show, once sending the shock jock diving for the delay button by leading an undeniably obscene chant against the Federal Communications Commission.

He also popped up in a number of movies, including the acclaimed They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? and Married to the Mob. Lewis reprised his role of Schnauzer in the movie remake of Car 54, and appeared as a guest star on television shows such as Taxi, Green Acres and Lost in Space.

But in 2003, Lewis was hospitalized for an angioplasty. Complications during surgery led to an emergency bypass and the amputation of his right leg below the knee and all the toes on his left foot. Lewis spent the next month in a coma.

A year later, he was back offering his recollections of a seminal punk band on the DVD Ramones Raw.

He is survived by his wife, Karen Ingenthron-Lewis, three sons and four grandchildren.


You Are Gonzo the Great Weird!!
“Is something burning in here? Oh, it’s just me.” You’re a total nutball who will do anything for attention. The first to take a dare, you’ll pull almost any stunt. You’re one weird looking creature, but your chickens don’t mind!

“almost” any stunt?

although i get the impression that it was a close race between gonzo and animal.

we just lost the super bowl…

ha ha!


the electricity was out yesterday… it’s what we get, i suppose, for living at the end of a rural gravel road that you have to drive down another gravel road to get to. i suppose the idea of a generator wouldn’t be too out of the question, but not until i can afford a workshop.

the weather was fairly nice today, so i put up the tarp over the holes in the roof, and put roofing goo on the leaky spots near the chimney. woo hoo.



i was forced to take down a section of the web that has been there for at least 5 years that i can recall, and probably a lot longer than that, because the Caliphate O.T.O.’s web crawler finally figured out where i had stashed Liber CDXIV. in spite of all their bluster, they haven’t been able to prove that they actually own the copyright to a piece that should be in the public domain by now anyway, but i’ve had to take it down because i can’t afford to defend myself against a group who thinks it’s okay to violate uncle al’s specific request that people involved in the great work not file lawsuits against one another… feh!


here it is, three days after the SOTU, and already bush has broken two of his promises already… so bush lied. who is surprised? what surprises me is that we’re not in the middle of an impeachment already. don’t any of you remember NIXON? what is so different about bush?

Bush Keeps Privacy Posts Vacant
Feb, 02, 2006
By Ryan Singel

President Bush has moved slowly to fill top civil liberty and privacy posts.

The powerful Office of the Director of National Intelligence, created by the Intelligence Reform Act, must have a civil liberties protection officer who is charged with ensuring that the "use of technologies sustain, and do not erode, privacy protections," according to the law. But it took the Bush administration a full year after passage of the bill to fill the position last Dec. 7.

The current DNI is former U.S. ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte. His deputy is ex-National Security Agency chief Gen. Michael Hayden, who, for the last month, has been vigorously defending the NSA eavesdropping program that circumvented federal wiretapping laws. Alexander W. Joel was appointed to the civil liberties post days before The New York Times revealed that the NSA was spying on Americans’ overseas communications.

Bush mentioned the spy plan in his State of the Union address Tuesday, calling it a "terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America."

The White House has also failed to nominate a replacement chief privacy officer for the Department of Homeland Security, a post that’s been vacant since September when Nuala O’Connor Kelly left the administration to become General Electric’s privacy officer. The office is currently being run by O’Connor Kelly’s former deputy, Maureen Cooney.

Congress, too, has been slacking in the privacy arena. A five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board mandated by law in 2004 remains in limbo as board members await congressional confirmation. The board is supposed to report to Congress yearly and oversee antiterrorism policies.

The privacy board was also created by the Reform Act, which translated the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations into law. According to the 9/11 Commission report, the board should make sure that antiterrorism powers "actually materially enhance security and that there is adequate supervision of the executive’s use of the powers."

"The civil liberties board is supposed to be the first contact for the president to talk about privacy and intelligence matters," says Ari Schwartz, associate director of the Center for Democracy and Technology. "We didn’t know about the NSA piece when the intelligence-reform bill was put forward, but it would have been helpful to have the experts at the civil liberties board involved at the beginning."

Bush named the board’s members in June, but did not forward the nominations to the Senate until late September.

Carol E. Dinkins, a former deputy attorney general under President Reagan and a partner at Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ former law firm, is slated to head the commission, while Alan Charles Raul, who served under President George H.W. Bush, will be the vice chairman.

Both had confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 8, but the committee will not likely vote on their nominations until at least early February, according to a commission staffer.

The Senate should move quickly, according to Peter Swire, an Ohio State University law professor and former chief counselor for privacy in the Clinton administration.

"Recent revelations show even more clearly why the board is needed," Swire said. "The White House has had no privacy officials, and having privacy expertise in the White House will reduce the chance of mistakes going forward."

The White House did not return a call for comment.

hmmm… this is odd… why do you suppose that nobody noticed this when it was happening back in july and august of last year!!

and while we’re at it, somebody needs to remind those people in china and iran that…

There is no such thing as a dirty word, nor is there a word so powerful that it’s going to send the listener to the lake of fire upon hearing it.
     –Frank Zappa

Information doesn’t kill you.
     –Frank Zappa

Pentagon to Increase Domestic Surveillance for Counterterrorism
August 01, 2005
By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

WASHINGTON – The Department of Defense has developed a new strategy in counterterrorism that would increase military activities on American soil, particularly in the area of intelligence gathering.

The move is sparking concern among civil liberties advocates and those who fear an encroaching military role in domestic law enforcement.

In an argument that eerily foreshadowed the July London terror attacks, the Pentagon in late June announced its "Strategy for Homeland Defense and Support," which would expand its reach domestically to prevent "enemy attacks aimed at Americans here at home."

The strategy, approved by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England on June 24, argues that the government needs a multi-layered, preventive approach to national defense in order to combat an unconventional enemy that will attack from anywhere, anytime and by any conceivable means.

"Transnational terrorist groups view the world as an integrated, global battlespace in which to exploit perceived U.S vulnerabilities, wherever they may be," reads the 40-page document that outlines the new plans.

"Terrorists seek to attack the United States and its centers of gravity at home and abroad and will use asymmetric means to achieve their ends, such as simultaneous mass casualty attacks," it said.

Critics say the fears raised by the Pentagon are being used as a justification for the military to conduct wider, more intrusive surveillance on American citizens.

"Do we want, as a free people, with the notion of privacy enshrined in the Constitution and based on the very clear limits and defined role of government, to be in a society where not just the police, but the military are on the street corners gathering intelligence on citizens, sharing that data, manipulating that data?" asked former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., a constitutional law expert and civil libertarian.

"This document provides a blueprint for doing just that."

Barr said the new strategy is a back-door means of following through with a 2002 plan to create a massive, centralized information database using public and private records of individuals, called "Total Information Awareness." Congress killed TIA in 2003 because of civil liberties and privacy concerns.

Critics say they believe much of TIA lives on in some form through smaller, undisclosed military contracts. This latest plan, they say, is one way of jump-starting TIA’s initial goals.

"This is TIA back with a vengeance," said Barr. "What they have come up with here is a much vaguer and much broader concept that sounds more innocuous. [The Pentagon] is getting much smarter in how to sell these things."

The Defense Department report says its increased surveillance capabilities at home will adhere to constitutional and privacy protections, even though it emphasizes enhancing current "data mining" capabilities.

"Specifically, the department will develop automated tools to improve data fusion, analysis, and management, to track systematically large amounts of data and to detect, fuse and analyze aberrant patterns of activity, consistent with U.S. privacy protections," the report reads.

It will also develop "a cadre of specialized terrorism intelligence analysts within the defense intelligence community and deploy a number of these analysts to interagency centers for homeland defense and counter-terrorism analysis and operations," states the report.

Some national security experts agree that emboldened surveillance on domestic soil is necessary in the global War on Terror, and that such intelligence could prevent the kind of attacks perpetuated by homegrown terrorists in England on July 7 and 21.

"The Defense Department has always done intelligence operations in the United States. They have the legal right to do that. There is nothing new here," James Carafano, a homeland security analyst with The Heritage Foundation, told FOXNews.com. "There are no new threats to privacy or constitutionality. I just think it’s about doing [intelligence] more efficiently and effectively."

But John Pike, founder of GlobalSecurity.org , a clearinghouse of available intelligence and national security information, says it’s not so clear how much data the Pentagon will be collecting on citizens and whether it will be retaining, sharing and building individual dossiers. So far, the lack of detail leaves as many question as answers, he said.

"The bad news is there is certainly the possibility of a return to the sort of domestic surveillance that we saw in the 1950s and 1960s," Pike said.

Pentagon officials declined to comment on the variety of data it would gather and share, or how long it would retain files on individuals under the new homeland defense plan.

The Washington Post reported recently that among the databases being built by the Pentagon is a military recruitment list of individual high school and college students culled from commercial data brokers and other sources. The military is planning to share the database with federal and state law enforcement agencies if necessary, the Post reports.

A Defense Department spokesman said the military’s domestic role in homeland security will remain a supportive one, and the Pentagon will only provide resources when local, state and federal resources and capabilities "have been exceeded or do not exist."

"We have expanded activities in order to better execute support missions, but we are extremely sensitive to the historically restricted, limited role of the Defense Department," the spokesman told FOXNews.com in an e-mailed response to questions.

The Pentagon’s new strategy appears to dovetail with a recent report by The New York Times, that said the upcoming Quadrennial Defense Review, which outlines the future vision of the military and is due to Congress in February, will reflect a new approach in which the Defense Department will prepare to fight in one war theater at a time while putting the bulk of its resources into homeland defense.

The strategy approved by military officials in June also increases joint training exercises with first responders and other agencies as well as the creation of National Guard-staffed teams in case of a catastrophic attack.

The president would have to authorize the actual use of troops on military soil in order to adhere to the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits military involvement in domestic law enforcement. Pentagon officials say the new strategy won’t require that authorization.

But the strategy does includes more collaboration with law enforcement in "support" roles on all levels of counter-terrorism efforts as well as the monitoring of terrorist threats along the borders, in the air and on water.

"If they find information in the course of their business that might help other agencies, then they can share it. If other agencies in their own intelligence gathering find information that can help the Defense Department, they can share that," said Carafano. "I really don’t see any legal or constitutional issues here."

U.S. Tech Firms Help Governments Censor Internet
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

WASHINGTON – Free speech advocates are frustrated with a host of American companies they say have been collaborating with oppressive regimes in countries like China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, to help them filter and monitor the Internet activity of their citizens.

Big technology names like Microsoft, Yahoo! and Cisco Systems have been criticized roundly in recent years for providing foreign governments with the tools they need to crack down on Internet use, but critics say they have not been able to do much more than complain.

"These companies’ lack of ethics is extremely worrisome," said Lucie Morillon, the Washington representative of Reporters Without Borders, an international advocacy group for journalists that monitors government repression of the Internet worldwide, documenting dissidents charged with breaking their country’s Internet laws. For instance, the organization reports that an estimated 60 "cyber-dissidents" are in Chinese jails today.

"It’s the role of watchdog organizations like ours — and any citizen who is willing — to let these companies know that this is a matter of human rights," Morillon said. "Write to these companies and make them feel bad."

Critics last month blasted Microsoft, the largest software company in the world, when it acknowledged that it was working with the Chinese government to censor its new Chinese-language Web portal and new free Web log tool, MSN Spaces.

In addition to the vigilant filtering of content transmitted through Web sites, e-mail, message boards, chat rooms and blogs, the Communist government in Beijing announced in June that everyone in China publishing a blog would have to register it with the government by the end of the month.

Already, anyone who opens a Web account in China must register it with police, according to the Open Net Initiative, a collaborative effort by the University of Toronto, Harvard University and the University of Cambridge.

"China’s Internet filtering regime is the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world," ONI authors declared in a recent report on China. "The implications of this distorted online information environment for China’s users are profound, and disturbing."

According to the ONI, about 15 to 20 nations across the globe are actively filtering their citizens’ Internet access. In June, the group announced that Iran’s filtering efforts are reaching the sophisticated status of China.

"Iran is also one of a growing number of countries, particularly in the Middle East region, that rely upon commercial software developed by for-profit United States companies to carry out the core of its filtering regime," ONI’s report on Iran reads. "In effect, Iran outsources many of the decisions for what its citizens can access on the Internet to a United States company, which in turn profits from its complicity in such a regime."

ONI reported that Iran relies on filtering software designed by U.S.-based Secure Computing, called "SmartFilter." It helps block a range of banned words, topics and images — most of which Tehran says contradict the country’s strict Muslim beliefs.

Unlike China, selling technology to Iran is illegal because of U.S. sanctions. David Burt, spokesman for Secure Computing, said that the big Iranian Internet service providers, which are controlled by the government, are using SmartFilter illegally.

"We have no contracts with any ISPs in Iran. A couple of the biggest ones are illegally using our software," said Burt. "I think our options of going after these foreign companies are limited."

But Secure Computing legally provides its software to other countries that filter Internet content, including Saudi Arabia. "We sell to ISPs all over the world," acknowledged Burt. "It’s really up to the customer on how they use the product."

Representatives from Nortel and Cisco said they do not specifically design their technology for regimes like China to repress Internet access. They say they cannot control the use of the technology once it is enabled. For instance, the firewall that Cisco designed to combat viruses can also be used to block political content that the government does not like.

"Cisco has been and will continue to be a key driver of Internet growth worldwide," said spokesman John Earnhardt. "Cisco Systems has not specially designed any products for any government, or any regional market, to block or filter content. The products that Cisco Systems sells in the U.S., China, India, Pakistan, France, Mexico, etc. are the same products that we sell worldwide."

The fact that U.S. companies like Nortel Networks and Cisco Systems have been silent on what they consider the misuse of their technology by governments creating back doors into monitoring Internet use and filtering capabilities, has angered many.

"I think that companies chartered in free countries ought to ask the question, ‘What is our technology being used for in authoritarian [countries], and is it a purpose that we want to be behind?’" said Jonathan Zittrain, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and assistant professor of law at Harvard University.

Dick D’Amato, chairman of the U.S-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which has held hearings on the Chinese Internet filtering issue, called the companies’ explanations a "copout."

"They know what’s being done with [the technology]," he said. "They need to be held accountable for what they are doing."

Western companies providing technology to authoritarian governments say that playing by the rules of the host country is the price they pay for doing business there.

"MSN (Microsoft Network) abides by the laws and regulations of each country in which it operates," an MSN spokesperson told FOXNews.com.

Yahoo! made a similar argument two years ago, and continues to do so as critics complain that the regime censors its Yahoo! China portal.

"Just like any other global company, Yahoo! must ensure that its local country sites must operate within the laws, regulations and customs of the country in which they are based," Yahoo! said in a statement to FOXNews.com.

But the watchdogs don’t buy it — especially, they say, when the Chinese government prohibits any political dissent, even to the point of blocking out searches that include words like "democracy," as well as international news sites of which the government does not approve.

D’Amato said the commission, which reports to Congress, hopes to put pressure on these companies by bringing them in for hearings, soon.

"I’m not so sure they’ll come," he said. "They’re running for cover."


You scored as Discordian. You are a Discordian! That makes you a real oddball, and this is a fact in which you take great pride! Everything is funny, and really, who cares anyway? Synchronicity is the Great Cosmic Comedy, and meaning is where you find it! Have you hugged your paradigm today?





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i put a favicon on The Seattle Agility Center, but i’m not gonna tell anyone about it and see how long it takes until somebody associated with the center (other than moe, who reads this journal occasionally) notices and says something about it.

the shipment of murtis came in on monday and i shipped out murtis on tuesday. another shipment of incense is supposed to be here tomorrow, and i’ve got another shipment of incense that i don’t know when it’s supposed to get here, and the suppliers haven’t called me back, so i’m getting a little worried. steven has been flaky – as usual – but he’s apparently back in reality for the moment, so i’m probably going to order some stuff from him within a week or so. i’m considering putting some more “hippie-type” stuff (meaning “less spiritual-type stuff”) on Hybrid Elephant, but i have been hesitating because i don’t have a very clear idea of what the market is, whether it is more hippy-type people that are looking for spiritual-type stuff, or whether it is more spiritual-type people. i wouldn’t want to drive away what customers i have…


Big Brother reminds you to REPORT THOUGHTCRIME!

thanks to , i got a chance to consider the similarities between bush’s rhetoric thus far, as compared to goebbels speech on new year’s eve 1943, (and all of goebbel’s propaganda speeches), which i found particularly frightening.

i didn’t watch the SOTU because i believed it was all going to be lies, and i wasn’t wrong. they’re already starting to backpedal…

Administration backs off Bush’s vow to reduce Mideast oil imports
By Kevin G. Hall
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON – One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America’s dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn’t mean it literally.

What the president meant, they said in a conference call with reporters, was that alternative fuels could displace an amount of oil imports equivalent to most of what America is expected to import from the Middle East in 2025.

But America still would import oil from the Middle East, because that’s where the greatest oil supplies are.

The president’s State of the Union reference to Mideast oil made headlines nationwide Wednesday because of his assertion that “America is addicted to oil” and his call to “break this addiction.”

Bush vowed to fund research into better batteries for hybrid vehicles and more production of the alternative fuel ethanol, setting a lofty goal of replacing “more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.”

He pledged to “move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.”

Not exactly, though, it turns out.

“This was purely an example,” Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.

He said the broad goal was to displace foreign oil imports, from anywhere, with domestic alternatives. He acknowledged that oil is a freely traded commodity bought and sold globally by private firms. Consequently, it would be very difficult to reduce imports from any single region, especially the most oil-rich region on Earth.

Asked why the president used the words “the Middle East” when he didn’t really mean them, one administration official said Bush wanted to dramatize the issue in a way that “every American sitting out there listening to the speech understands.” The official spoke only on condition of anonymity because he feared that his remarks might get him in trouble.

Presidential adviser Dan Bartlett made a similar point in a briefing before the speech. “I think one of the biggest concerns the American people have is oil coming from the Middle East. It is a very volatile region,” he said.

Through the first 11 months of 2005, the United States imported nearly 2.2 million barrels per day of oil from the Middle East nations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. That’s less than 20 percent of the total U.S. daily imports of 10.062 million barrels.

Imports account for about 60 percent of U.S. oil consumption.

Alan Hubbard, the director of the president’s National Economic Council, projects that America will import 6 million barrels of oil per day from the Middle East in 2025 without major technological changes in energy consumption.

The Bush administration believes that new technologies could reduce the total daily U.S. oil demand by about 5.26 million barrels through alternatives such as plug-in hybrids with rechargeable batteries, hydrogen-powered cars and new ethanol products.

That means the new technologies could reduce America’s oil appetite by the equivalent of what we’re expected to import from the Middle East by 2025, Hubbard said.

But we’ll still be importing plenty of oil, according to the Energy Department’s latest projection.

“In 2025, net petroleum imports, including both crude oil and refined products, are expected to account for 60 percent of demand … up from 58 percent in 2004,” according to the Energy Information Administration’s 2006 Annual Energy Outlook.

Some experts think Bush needs to do more to achieve his stated goal.

“We can achieve energy independence from the Middle East, but not with what the president is proposing,” said Craig Wolfe, the president of Americans for Energy Independence in Studio City, Calif. “We need to slow the growth in consumption. Our organization believes we need to do something about conservation” and higher auto fuel-efficiency standards.

New Patriot Act Provision Creates Tighter Barrier to Officials at Public Events
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

WASHINGTON — A new provision tucked into the Patriot Act bill now before Congress would allow authorities to haul demonstrators at any “special event of national significance” away to jail on felony charges if they are caught breaching a security perimeter.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sponsored the measure, which would extend the authority of the Secret Service to allow agents to arrest people who willingly or knowingly enter a restricted area at an event, even if the president or other official normally protected by the Secret Service isn’t in attendance at the time.

The measure has civil libertarians protesting what they say is yet another power grab for the executive branch and one more loss for free speech.

“It’s definitely problematic and chilling,” said Lisa Graves, senior counsel for legislative strategy at the American Civil Liberties Union , which has written letters to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, pointing out that the provision wasn’t subject to hearings or open debate.

Some conservatives say they too are troubled by the measure.

“It concerns me greatly,” said Bob Barr, former U.S. prosecutor and Republican representative from Georgia. “It clearly raises serious concerns about First Amendment rights.”

But not everyone agrees that rights are being trampled on by the additional provision. In fact, some say the ACLU is the problem when it comes to protecting national security.

Rocco DiPippo, a freelance writer for the conservative FrontPageMagazine.com and editor of The Autonomist Web log , said the ACLU has fought the government every step of the way over security measures following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

“Its opposition to Specter’s reasonable proposal is simply more of the same,” he said. “I can understand the concern that we should be suspicious of government, but we shouldn’t adopt this mindset: ‘government is evil.’ This is just more hatred of (President) Bush.”

Under current law, the Secret Service can arrest anyone for breaching restricted areas where the president or a protected official is or will be visiting, but the new provision would allow such arrests even after those VIPs have left the premises of any designated “special event of national significance.” The provision would increase the maximum penalty for such an infraction from six months to one year in jail.

In a post-Sept. 11 world many non-political events have been designated National Special Security Events and would rise to the higher status. Examples of possible NSSEs are the Olympics or the Super Bowl. In 2004, the presidential inaugural balls and President Ronald Reagan’s June funeral procession in Washington, D.C., were designated NSSEs.

According to government sources with knowledge of the legislation, Secret Service protection and law enforcement authority would extend beyond protecting a specific person, rather the event itself would become the “protectee.”

Currently, non-violent demonstrators who enter restricted areas at such events previously would be arrested and charged by local law enforcement with simple trespassing, said Graves. Under the provision included in the new law, they will be charged with felonies by the Secret Service.

“It’s a different consequence to people,” she said.

“You are talking about giving the executive branch broader authority to create these exclusion zones which could cover broad areas and last for days [during an event],” David Kopel, a constitutional expert with the Cato Institute, told FOXNews.com.

A spokesman at Specter’s office said the senator was surprised by the clamor over the provision, which merely makes a technical change to clear up legal confusion over who has arresting authority at NSSEs. His office had no further comment on the provision. Committee Ranking Member Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., also declined comment. Republican and Democratic House Judiciary Committee leaders did not return calls for comment.

White House sources say the measure was not instigated by the administration and pointed out that it was a stand-alone bill that was rolled into the Patriot Act by Specter’s office during House-Senate conference negotiations. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told FOXNews.com that the White House would not comment on the intent of the measure, but that the president is concerned with preserving individual rights.

“President Bush is committed to protecting the American people’s national security as well as their civil liberties,” she said.

Secret Service representatives said the agency does not comment on pending legislation.

The Bush administration has been criticized in the past for what many say are tactics that keep protesters far away from official events and by employing stringent policies to ensure favorable audiences for the president.

Last year, three ticket-holding audience members at one of the president’s Social Security events in Denver, Colo., were apprehended by a man who they said identified himself as Secret Service. The three were forced away from the event because of an anti-war sticker on the driver’s car.

“[The administration] has certainly demonstrated a desire to have carefully-controlled events,” said Graves.

John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, an Alexandria, Va.-based clearinghouse for domestic and international security information, said he “could certainly understand why the Secret Service would want that legal authority,” given the enormous burden of making venues safe for VIPs today.

“However, I think many people have concluded that the way it is being used has nothing to do with protecting the president from Usama bin Laden and everything to do with suppressing dissent and making sure the protesters don’t get on TV,” Pike said.

Bush is not the first president to flex his authority in this area, said Kopel, who pointed out that beginning with Reagan, presidents have created a larger security bubble and greater distance between themselves and dissenters at public events. The 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States just intensified the situation, he said.

“I think the concerns about free speech in areas where the president is speaking long pre-date Bush. They were an issue in the Clinton administration, the first Bush administration and began as an issue during Reagan,” Kopel said. “I do think the ACLU has legitimate concerns about the breadth of the new language and how it could be applied.”

Graves points out that conservative “pro-life” groups will be the target of the new provisions, too, a scenario that could raise the concerns for those who are typically critical of the ACLU, which she said is necessarily concerned about other provisions in the bill that impinge on civil liberties.

House and Senate leaders, who return to Capitol Hill this week, are trying to renew the Patriot Act by Friday. Democrats and four Republicans in the Senate who filibustered a final vote in December after raising concerns about preserving civil liberties instituted a short-term extension of the previous bill, which was set to expire on Dec. 31.


about three and a half years ago i saw a protestor by the side of the road with a handmade sign that said “IRAQ IS A WEAPON OF MASS DISTRACTION”… it seems that only now are our “leaders” starting to get the same idea…

Iraq Has Diverted Our Attention Away From The Fight Against Global Terrorism

Wednesday February 1, 2006
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

This March will mark the beginning of the 4th year of the war in Iraq. In contrast, U.S. involvement in WWI came to an end after 19 months. Victory in Europe was declared in WWII after 3 years 5 months. In the Korean War, a cease-fire was signed after 3 years and 1 month. But after more than three and a half years into the war in Iraq, your administration finally produced what is called a “Plan for Victory” in Iraq.

Iraq is not the center for the global war on terrorism. I believe Iraq has diverted our attention away from the fight against global terrorism and has depleted the required resources needed to wage an effective war. It is estimated that there are only about 750 to 1,000 al-Qaeda in Iraq. I believe the Iraqis will force them out or kill them after U.S. troops are gone. In fact, there is now evidence that Iraqi insurgent groups are increasingly turning against al-Qaeda and other foreign terrorists.

Our country needs a vigorous and comprehensive strategy for victory against global terrorism. The architect of 9/11 is still out there but now has an international microphone. We must get back to the real issue at hand – we have to root out and destroy al-Qaeda’s worldwide network.

There are 4 key elements that I recommend to reinvigorate our global anti-terrorism effort: Redeploy, Replace, Reallocate, and Reconstitute.

The war in Iraq is fueling terrorism, not eliminating it. Our continued military presence feeds the strong anti-foreigner fervor that has existed in this part of the world for centuries. A vast majority of the Iraqi people now view American troops as occupiers, not liberators. Over 80% of Iraqis want U.S. forces to leave Iraq and 47% think it is justified to attack Americans. 70% of Iraqis favor a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces, with half favoring a withdrawal in the next six months. In fact, 67% of Iraqis expect day-to-day security for Iraqi citizens will improve if U.S. forces withdraw in six months and over 60% believe violent attacks, including those that are ethnically motivated, will decrease. Our military presence is the single most important reason why the Iraqis have tolerated the foreign terrorists, who account for less than 7 percent of the insurgency. 93% of the insurgency is made up of Iraqis. Once our troops are re-deployed, the Iraqis will reject the terrorists and deny them a safe haven in Iraq. The Iraqis are against a foreign presence in Iraq of any kind.

The steadfast and valiant efforts of the United States military and coalition partners have provided the Iraqi people with the framework needed to self govern. The Iraqis held elections that have been touted as highly successful, based primarily on the accounts of Iraqis who went to the polls. But our continued military presence in Iraq, regardless of the motives behind it, is seen by Iraqis as interfering in Iraq’s democratic process and undercuts the chances for the newly elected government to be successful. Recently, Iraq’s National Security Adviser accused U.S. negotiators of going behind the back of the Iraqi government on talks with insurgents, saying the process could encourage more violence. He said, “Americans are making a huge and fatal mistake in their policy for appeasement and they should not do this. They should leave the Iraqi government to deal with it… The United States should allow the new Iraqi government to decide on how to quell the insurgency.”

In December 2005, an ABC News poll in Iraq produced some noteworthy results. 57% of Iraqis identified national security as the country’s top priority. When asked to rate the confidence in public institutions, they gave Iraqi police a 68% confidence level, the Iraqi army 67%, religious leaders 67%. But the U.S./U.K. forces scored the lowest, a mere 18%.

The longer our military stays in Iraq, the more unwelcome we will be. We will be increasingly entangled in an open-ended nation building mission, one that our military can not accomplish amidst a civil war. Our troops will continue to be the targets of Iraqis who see them as interfering occupiers.

Redeploying our forces from Iraq and stationing a mobile force outside of the country removes a major antagonizing factor. I believe we will see a swift demise of foreign terrorist groups in Iraq if we redeploy outside of the country. Further, our troops will no longer be the targets of bloody attacks.

The ever-changing justifications of the war in Iraq, combined with tragic missteps, have resulted in a worldwide collapse of support for U.S. policies in Iraq.

The credibility of the United States of America will not be restored if we continue down the path of saying one thing and doing another. We must not lower our standards and tactics to those of the terrorists. In order to keep our homeland secure, we must hold true to the values that molded our American democracy, even in the face of adversity. Former Secretary of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, said it best during a speech in March 2004 to the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies: “America knows we cannot seek a double standard. And, America knows we get what we give. And so we must and will always be careful to respect people’s privacy, civil liberties and reputations. To suggest that there is a tradeoff between security and individual freedoms — that we must discard one protection for the other — is a false choice. You do not defend liberty to forsake it.”

Restoring the world’s confidence in America as a competent and morally superior world leader is essential to winning the war on global terrorism.

A recent pubic opinion poll, conducted jointly with Zogby International and taken in Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, found that 81% said the war in Iraq had brought less peace to the Middle East. A majority of the respondents said they view the United States as the biggest threat to their nations.

Mr. President, I believe in order to restore our credibility, you must hold accountable those responsible for so many missteps and install a fresh team that demonstrates true diplomatic skill, knowledge of cultural differences and a willingness to earnestly engage other leaders in a respectful and constructive way. This would do much to reinvigorate international participation in a truly effective war on global terrorism.

The Department of Defense has been allocated $238 billion for the war in Iraq, with average monthly costs growing significantly since the beginning of the war. In 2003 the average monthly war cost was $4.4 billion; by 2005 the average monthly cost had reached $6.1 billion.

Despite the urgent homeland security needs of our country, the bipartisan 9/11 Commission issued a dismal report card on the efforts to improve our counter-terrorist defenses. Even the most basic of recommendations, such as the coordination of fire and police communication lines, still have not been accomplished.

In the face of threats from international terrorists, we need to reallocate funds from the war in Iraq to protecting the United States against attack. A safe and swift redeployment from Iraq will allow us to do just that.

The U.S. army is the smallest it’s been since 1941. It is highly capable. But this drawn out conflict has put tremendous stress on our military, particularly on our Army and Marine Corps, whose operations tempo has increased substantially since 9/11.

The Government Accountability Office issued a report in November 2005 addressing the challenges of military personnel recruitment and retention and noted that the Department of Defense had been unable to fill over 112,000 positions in critical occupational specialties. This shortfall includes intelligence analysts, special forces, interpreters, and demolition experts– those on whom we rely so heavily in today’s asymmetric battlefield.

Some of our troops have been deployed four times over the last three years. Enlistment for the regular forces as well as the guard and reserves are well below recruitment goals. In 2005, the Army missed its recruitment goal for the first time since 1999, even after offering enlistment bonuses and incentives, lowering its monthly goals, and lowering its recruitment standards. As Retired Army officer Andrew Krepinevich recently warned in a report to the Pentagon, the Army is “in a race against time” to adjust to the demands of war “or risk ‘breaking’ the force in the form of a catastrophic decline” in recruitment and re-enlistment.

The harsh environment in which we are operating our equipment in Iraq, combined with the equipment usage rate (ten times greater than peacetime levels) is taking a heavy toll on our ground equipment. It is currently estimated that $50 billion will be required to refurbish this equipment.

Further, in its response to Hurricane Katrina, the National Guard realized that it had over $1.3 billion in equipment shortfalls. This has created a tremendous burden on non-deployed guard units, on whom this country depends so heavily to respond to domestic disasters and possible terrorist attacks. Without relief, Army Guard units will face growing equipment shortages and challenges in regaining operational readiness for future missions at home and overseas.

Since 9/11, Congress has appropriated about $334 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the insurgents have spent hundreds of thousands. We have seen reports estimating that the total cost of the wars may reach as high as $1 trillion. These estimates are said to include such costs as providing long-term disability benefits and care for injured service members. It is estimated today that over 16,000 U.S. troops have been wounded in Iraq, 10,481 of whom have been wounded by “weaponry explosive devices.”

But while war costs continue to climb, cuts are being made to the defense budget. As soon as the war is over there will be pressure to cut even more. This year, even while we are at war, 8 billion dollars was cut from the base defense spending bill. You ordered another $32 billion in cuts to the defense budget over the next five years, with $11.6 billion coming from the Army. The Pentagon told Congress only last year that it needed 77 combat brigades to fulfill its missions, but now insists it only needs 70. In fact, 6 of the 7 combat brigades will be cut from the National Guard, reducing its combat units from 34 to 28. Even though all of the National Guard combat brigades have been deployed overseas since 9/11, your Administration has determined that, because of funding shortfalls, our combat ground forces can be reduced. Not only will these cuts diminish our combat power, but our ability to respond to natural disasters and terrorist threats to our homeland will be adversely affected. It is obvious that the cost of the war, in conjunction with the Army’s inability to meet recruitment goals, has impacted this estimate. My concern is that instead of our force structure being based on the future threat, it is now being based on the number of troops and level of funding available.

I am concerned that costly program cuts will lead to costly mistakes and we will be unable to sustain another deployment even if there is a real threat. The future of our military and the future of our country could very well be at stake. The high dollar forecasts of our future military weapons systems and military health care add pressure to cut costs on the backs of these programs. As our weapons systems age, the concern becomes even greater.

During a time of war, we are cutting our combat force, we have not mobilized industry, and have never fully mobilized our military. On our current path, I believe that we are not only in danger of breaking our military, but that we are increasing the chances of a major miscalculation by our future enemies, who may perceive us as vulnerable.


Member of Congress


This piece is called “Your Television Will Not Be Revolutionized” because despite what our so-called leaders of technology and communications may tell you, the chances are slim that your quality of life will be enhanced by further dependence on a device which has throughout its history been referred to as the “idiot box” or “boob tube.” After Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”


Your Television Will Not Be Revolutionized
by (otherwise known as the Radical Druid)

You will not be able to site back in your recliner and experience
the sights and smells of an actual African safari with Marlon Perkins
because your television will not be revolutionized.

You will not have the option to view programming that reflects
actual facts, opinions and situations of real people in real jobs doing real work
because your television will not be revolutionized.

You will not have more information at your disposal,
but a great deal more disposable information;
you will not experience a reduction in the amount of subliminal messaging
or an increased exposure to the fully explored viewpoints
of persons with alternative outlooks on the world and ways of life;
nor will you have the ability to selectively choose shows and entertainment
that will best equip you to face other human beings
who may have differing and conflicting methods of dealing with everyday existence
because, despite your ability to earn a Ph.D.
by absorbing the litany of T&A, S&M, B&D and R&R
on CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN,
people who have important things to say
regarding the fragility of relying on modern convenience
will not be able to set up independent broadcast towers
because the FCC, FBI and CIA will make sure
that you do not find these programs included as part of “Must See TV,”
and they will certainly not be sponsored
by Mobil Oil Corporation and the Fortune 500.
You will not be able to immediately gain access
to the viewing public without waiting nine months
on a list for new programs, waiting only to be passed over
by a Committee for Fairness in Television
because your views are not deemed interesting enough
to command a favorable Nielson share.
Nor will you be able to select features for your viewing pleasure
that have not been hand-picked by the owners of the airwaves
and their supporting advertisers.
Your television will not be revolutionized.

Your television will not be revolutionized.
Your television will not be revolutionized.

You will continue to experience a decrease in rapid eye movement,
increasing cases of attention deficit disorder among your babies and children,
and on-going, invasive modifications to your DNA
caused by the barrage of an electron machine gun
you have invited into your home to expose “viewers like you”
to a thousand points of artificial light.
You will continue to form images subconsciously inside your physical brain
without the benefit of seeing them outside your head,
and without the ability to blink and shut them out or slow them down
so as to maintain the facility to selectively choose
the sound bytes and sound tracks and sound effects and
hypnotic waves of electricity that will influence
your spending patterns, your methods of recreation, your opinions on procreation,
your impression of reality and
your overall sense of physical health and well-being.
Your television will not be revolutionized.

Your retention of information will continue to decrease,
while the available percentage of brain cells at your disposal
will continued to be used up by phrases from sitcom theme songs,
by deductive meanderings on who shot J.R., and
by images of politicians wrapped in flags and kissing babies,
eating chitterlings, slicing pizza and
spreading lox on bagels.
You will not be able to take your message to the streets
or distribute pamphlets questioning the party line
at union meetings or city council sessions,
because your fellow citizens will be safe at home,
unified only in the respect that they are all watching re-runs
of the same shows so it can be assured there will be a topic of conversation
when we are all turned loose to exercise
our First Amendment rights
assisted by a new and improved level of communication
brought to you by the Association for the Preservation of Technological Megalomaniacs.
You will not be able to tell the difference between an embrace
offered by a virtual reality image of your dead father
and the gentle purring of a live kitten grasping your shoulder;
but you will continue to be able to anesthetize your sense of boredom
vicariously, whether through the war game simulation of professional sports,
or candid interviews with starvation victims
in a country of which you were not even aware “prior to this newscast,”
and may be convinced exists
only thanks to the believability score of the on-the-scene commentator,
or by gripping the edge of your seat while watching
carnage and bloodshed and laying on of hands
resulting in cures for leprosy, AIDS, infantile paralysis,
sickle cell anemia, and that awful bloated feeling,
all of which may or not be created using special effects.
Your television will not be revolutionized.

You will continue to trust in a world that has been edited for television,
in situations that will be re-enacted based on circumstantial evidence
and the imagination of financial advisors to the producers during “sweeps” week,
and in actors who are paid to tell you their headache disappeared in minutes
or that they actually spent time at their last dinner party discussing yeast infections
or wash-and-go shampoos.

You will be able to see inside the minds and hear the thoughts
of Richard Nixon, of Jeffrey Dahmer, of Charles Manson and Mother Theresa,
but you will see them being asked the same questions, things like,
“When did you first realize that you were different from other children?”
and you will see the same one-liners being used to promote their causes
in between paid advertisement programs
showcasing the efficiency and pleasure provided by shopping at home,
and they will be given equal air-time,
and each will be gently disclaimed:
“The opinions expressed by guests on this program
do not necessarily reflect the views of this network,
do not support the philosophy or political leanings of the majority of our viewers,
and are not intended to stimulate, educate or otherwise affect anyone at all.”

You will continue to find yourself in a world
that has an increasing number of methods for communication,
and alarmingly less and less to say.
You will find it true, as Marshall McLuhan once said, that
“the medium is the message,”
and that its sweet velvet voice is crooning,
“Learn to consume as you have taught me to consume,”
and reminding us in the words of Jello Biafra
that the conveniences we have requested are now mandatory.

Your television will not be revolutionized.


as you are probably aware at this point, i am a terrorist in the same way Cindy Sheehan is a terrorist, which is why i didn’t watch shrubby junior’s state of the republican "christian" radical-right-wing part of the country that he currently calls "the union", although i can pretty much guarantee that whatever he said, with the exception of mentioning that coretta scott king died, was 100% lies. this is a pretty good characterisation of how i feel about the whole thing:

State Of The Union Fact Check
January 31, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Bush set energy self-sufficiency goals Tuesday night that would still leave the country vulnerable to unstable oil sources. He also declared he is helping more people get health care, despite a rising number of uninsured.

Whether promoting a plan to "save Social Security" or describing Iraqi security forces as "increasingly capable of defeating the enemy," Bush skipped over some complex realities in his State of the Union speech.


By identifying only Mideast oil imports for reductions, Bush was ignoring some of the largest sources of U.S. petroleum, among them Canada, Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela. The U.S. considers Venezuela a source of political instability in the region; relations with Mexico have been strained over immigration; and violence has curbed nearly 10 percent of Nigeria’s oil output.

Imports of oil and refined product from the Persian Gulf make up less than a fifth of all imports, according to the government.

Bush has spoken of reducing reliance on foreign oil in every State of the Union speech, if not as explicitly as in this one, and presidents back to Richard Nixon outlined similar goals, to little or no effect.

Nixon announced Project Independence in 1973, setting a goal of energy self-sufficiency in seven years. Then, the U.S. imported 35 percent of its oil; now it’s close to 60 percent. This, despite substantive steps taken by Nixon and Jimmy Carter to spur both supply and conservation, including construction of the Alaskan oil pipeline and reduction in the highway speed limit to 55 mph for many years.


Noting that the government must help provide health care for the poor and elderly, Bush asserted, "We are meeting that responsibility."

It is true that a new prescription drug benefit took effect this year, a new entitlement for up to 42 million disabled and older people. But implementation has been rocky: Mark McClellan, the administration’s top Medicare official, recently acknowledged that tens of thousands of recipients probably didn’t get medicine due to confusion and computer glitches, prompting some lawmakers to seek an extension of the May 15 signup deadline to work out the snafus.

An incomplete picture also emerges on health care for the poor.

The number of uninsured has increased nearly 5 million since Bush took office in 2001, to 45.5 million in 2004, two-thirds of the total from low-income families, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

And while total federal spending on the health care "safety net" for the uninsured edged up from 2001 to 2004 – adjusted for inflation, slightly more than 1 percent – spending actually decreased from $546 to $498 per uninsured person due to the jump in uninsured, the Kaiser group said.

Bush actually is expected to propose curbing the growth of benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in his 2007 budget request next week.


Bush said Congress did not act last year on his "proposal to save Social Security." In fact, his plan does not take care of Social Security’s future solvency; instead, he wants to let younger workers divert some of their Social Security payroll taxes into private investment accounts to take advantage of the possibilities for a better return.


Bush’s upbeat account of progress in Iraq, coupled with an acknowledgment that "our enemy is brutal," left unstated a variety of setbacks in turning control over to Iraqi forces, including Iraqi Army desertions in the volatile west.


Addressing Hurricane Katrina aid, Bush said a hopeful society "comes to the aid of fellow citizens in times of suffering and emergency" and the government is meeting New Orleans’ "immediate needs."

Federal money is indeed being used to build stronger levees and provide business loans and housing assistance. But the government has declined to rebuild levees strong enough to sustain a Category 5 hurricane, and it recently rejected as unnecessary a $30 billion redevelopment plan for Louisiana that state officials considered the cornerstone of their hopes for rebuilding.


Bush urged Americans to back his secretive domestic spy program, saying he was using his "authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute" and noting that "appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed."

Bush did not address the counterarguments that he failed to heed a separate 1978 law that specifically calls for court approval to conduct the surveillance. Some lawmakers have also questioned why Bush did not brief more than eight members of Congress about the program, which has been in effect since 2001.


On the theme of improving math and science education, Bush boasted, "We have made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country."

In 2005, fourth-graders and eighth-graders posted their highest-ever math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and black and Hispanic children narrowed their achievement gap with whites in both math and reading. But the fourth-grade reading performance was essentially flat, and in eighth grade, reading scores dropped.


The president said that "every year of my presidency, we have reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending." That doesn’t tell the full story because the category he cited omits big-ticket spending items like Iraq, natural disasters such as Katrina and homeland security.

He spoke of saving taxpayers $14 billion next year if his budget proposals are adopted, not mentioning some of those savings would come from health care programs such as Medicaid.

meanwhile, once again this is appropriate, and although i’ve said it before, it bears repeating again, as those who do not learn from history are CONDEMNED to repeat it…

When they took the fourth amendment,
     I was quiet because I didn’t deal drugs.
When they took the sixth amendment,
     I was quiet because I was innocent.
When they took the second amendment,
     I was quiet because I didn’t own a gun.
Now they’ve taken the first amendment,
     and I can say nothing about it.

… and there go our first amendment rights… 8(

What Really Happened
By Cindy Sheehan

Wednesday 01 February 2006

As most of you have probably heard, I was arrested before the State of the Union address last night.

I am speechless with fury at what happened and with grief over what we have lost in our country.

There have been lies from the police and distortions by the press (shocker). So this is what really happened:

This afternoon at the People’s State of the Union Address in DC, where I was joined by Congresspersons Lynn Woolsey and John Conyers, Ann Wright, Malik Rahim and John Cavanagh, Lynn brought me a ticket to the State of the Union address. At that time, I was wearing the shirt that said: 2245 Dead. How many more?

After the PSOTU press conference, I was having second thoughts about going to the SOTU at the Capitol. I didn’t feel comfortable going. I knew George Bush would say things that would hurt me and anger me, and I knew that I couldn’t disrupt the address because Lynn had given me the ticket, and I didn’t want to be disruptive out of respect for her. I, in fact, had given the ticket to John Bruhns, who is in Iraq Veterans Against the War. However, Lynn’s office had already called the media, and everyone knew I was going to be there, so I sucked it up and went.

I got the ticket back from John, and I met one of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s staffers in the Longworth Congressional Office building and we went to the Capitol via the underground tunnel. I went through security once, then had to use the rest room and went through security again.

My ticket was in the 5th gallery, front row, fourth seat in. The person who in a few minutes was to arrest me, helped me to my seat.

I had just sat down and I was warm from climbing 3 flights of stairs back up from the bathroom so I unzipped my jacket. I turned to the right to take my left arm out, when the same officer saw my shirt and yelled, "Protester." He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat, and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs. I said something like "I’m going, do you have to be so rough?" By the way, his name is Mike Weight.

The officer ran with me to the elevators, yelling at everyone to move out of the way. When we got to the elevators, he cuffed me and took me outside to await a squad car. On the way out, someone behind me said, "That’s Cindy Sheehan." At which point the officer who arrested me said, "Take these steps slowly." I said, "You didn’t care about being careful when you were dragging me up the other steps." He said, "That’s because you were protesting." Wow, I got hauled out of the People’s House because I was "Protesting."

I was never told that I couldn’t wear that shirt into the Congress. I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things … I would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of speech later. I was immediately and roughly (I have the bruises and muscle spasms to prove it) hauled off and arrested for "unlawful conduct."

After I had my personal items inventoried and my fingers printed, a nice Sgt. came in and looked at my shirt and said, "2245, huh? I just got back from there."

I told him that my son died there. That’s when the enormity of my loss hit me. I have lost my son. I have lost my First Amendment rights. I have lost the country that I love. Where did America go? I started crying in pain.

What did Casey die for? What did the 2244 other brave young Americans die for? What are tens of thousands of them over there in harm’s way for still? For this? I can’t even wear a shirt that has the number of troops on it that George Bush and his arrogant and ignorant policies are responsible for killing.

I wore the shirt to make a statement. The press knew I was going to be there, and I thought every once in awhile they would show me, and I would have the shirt on. I did not wear it to be disruptive, or I would have unzipped my jacket during George’s speech. If I had any idea what happens to people who wear shirts that make the neocons uncomfortable, that I would be arrested … maybe I would have, but I didn’t.

There have already been many wild stories out there.

I have some lawyers looking into filing a First Amendment lawsuit against the government for what happened tonight. I will file it. It is time to take our freedoms and our country back.

I don’t want to live in a country that prohibits any person, whether or not he/she has paid the ultimate price for that country, from wearing, saying, writing, or telephoning any negative statements about the government. That’s why I am going to take my freedoms and liberties back. That’s why I am not going to let BushCo take anything else away from me … or you.

I am so appreciative of the couple of hundred of protesters who came to the jail while I was locked up to show their support. We have so much potential for good. There is so much good in so many people.

Four hours and 2 jails after I was arrested, I was let out. Again, I am so upset and sore it is hard to think straight.

Keep up the struggle … I promise you, I will too.

late breaking word is that they’re dropping the charges against sheehan, but i think she should go ahead with her first amendment lawsuit in spite of this… she doesn’t have to be arrested to have her civil rights trampled upon.

Activist Sheehan arrested in House gallery
GOP congressman says his wife was also ordered to leave

Wednesday, February 1, 2006; Posted: 12:32 p.m. EST (17:32 GMT)

WASHINGTON — Peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Tuesday in the House gallery after refusing to cover up a T-shirt bearing an anti-war slogan before President Bush’s State of the Union address.

According to a blog post on Michael Moore’s Web site attributed to Sheehan, the T-shirt said, "2,245 Dead. How many more?" — a reference to the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq.

"She was asked to cover it up. She did not," said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman.

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Florida, spoke on the House floor saying his wife, Beverly, had been "ordered to leave" the gallery during the speech for wearing a shirt that said, "Support Our Troops."

Young, an 18-term congressman, held up his wife’s shirt during his remarks, speaking with anger and emotion about her treatment.

"She has a real passion for our troops, and she shows it in many, many ways," Young said.

"And most members in this House know that, but because she had on a shirt, that someone didn’t like, that said, ‘Support Our Troops,’ she was kicked out of this gallery while the president was speaking and encouraging Americans to support our troops. Shame. Shame."

Sheehan held 4 hours
Sheehan was arrested around 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday on charges of unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail, Capitol Police said.

She was handcuffed and held in the Capitol building until she was driven to the Capitol Police headquarters for booking. According to her blog, she was released about four hours after her arrest.

Sheehan, who became a vocal war opponent after her son was killed in Iraq, was an invited guest of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-California. Woolsey has called for a withdrawal of troops in Iraq and supports legislation for the creation of a Department of Peace.

Sheehan gained national attention in August when she and hundreds of other protesters camped outside Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, and demanded an audience with the president.

She also recently penned a book, "Not One More Mother’s Child."

In April 2004, Sheehan and other relatives of troops killed in Iraq met with Bush during a visit to Fort Lewis, Washington, shortly after the death of her son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, 24.

Sheehan later said that the president wouldn’t look at pictures of her son and "didn’t even know Casey’s name."

The Vacaville, California, resident has said she’d like to meet with Bush again to discuss her opposition to the war.

The president has declined another meeting and has taken issue with Sheehan’s calls for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

"She expressed her opinion; I disagree with it," Bush said in August. "I think immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake."

Capitol Police arrest antiwar activist Sheehan
Republican congressman’s wife also removed for ‘Support the Troops’ shirt

WASHINGTON – Cindy Sheehan, mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq, wasn’t the only one ejected from the House gallery during the State of the Union address for wearing a T-shirt with a war-related slogan that violated the rules. The wife of a powerful Republican congressman was also asked to leave.

Beverly Young, wife of Rep. C.W. Bill Young of Florida — chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee — was removed from the gallery because she was wearing a T-shirt that read, "Support the Troops — Defending Our Freedom."

"Because she had on a shirt that someone didn’t like that said support our troops, she was kicked out of this gallery," Young said on the House floor Wednesday morning, holding up the gray shirt.

"Shame, shame," he scolded.

Mrs. Young was sitting about six rows from first lady Laura Bush and asked to leave. She argued with police in the hallway outside the House chamber.

"They said I was protesting," she told the St. Petersburg Times. “I said, ‘Read my shirt, it is not a protest.’ They said, ‘We consider that a protest.’ I said, ‘Then you are an idiot.’"

They told her she was being treated the same as Sheehan, a protester ejected before the speech Tuesday night for wearing a T-shirt with an antiwar slogan. Sheehan wrote in her blog Wednesday that she intends to file a First Amendment lawsuit.

"I don’t want to live in a country that prohibits any person, whether he/she has paid the ultimate price for that country, from wearing, saying, writing, or telephoning any negative statements about the government," Sheehan wrote.

Capitol Police took Sheehan, invited as a guest of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., away in handcuffs and charged her with unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor. She later was released on her own recognizance.

Capitol Police Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said police warned her that such displays were not allowed in the House chamber, but Sheehan did not respond.

Woolsey gave Sheehan her only ticket earlier in the day — Gallery 5, seat 7, row A — while Sheehan was attending an "alternative state of the union" news conference by CODEPINK, a group pushing for an end to the Iraq war.

In her blog, Sheehan wrote that her T-shirt said, "2245 Dead. How many more?" — a reference to the number of soldiers killed in Iraq.

She said she felt uncomfortable about attending the speech.

"I knew George Bush would say things that would hurt me and anger me and I knew that I couldn’t disrupt the address because Lynn had given me the ticket," Sheehan wrote. "I didn’t want to be disruptive out of respect for her."

She said she had one arm out of her coat when an officer yelled, “Protestor.”

"He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs," she wrote. She was then cuffed and driven to police headquarters a few blocks away.

"I was never told that I couldn’t wear that shirt into the Congress," Sheehan wrote. "I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things… I would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of speech later."

Sheehan was arrested in September with about 300 other anti-war activists in front of the White House after a weekend of protests against the war in Iraq. In August, she spent 26 days camped near Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, where he was spending a working vacation.

a "working vacation"… riiiiiiight… how many of us "real people" have ever had a "working" vacation?