Saturday, September 23, 2006


Osama bin Laden may have died...again

"France's Defence Ministry said on Saturday a secret service report saying al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had died could not be confirmed but said it would launch an inquiry into the leak of secret documents.

The Defence Ministry issued the statement after a French regional newspaper, L'Est Republicain, published a report quoting a French secret service report as saying Saudi Arabia is convinced al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden died of typhoid in Pakistan last month.

"The information published this morning in the L'Est Republicain newspaper relating to the supposed death of Osama bin Laden cannot be confirmed," the Defence Ministry said." -- from Reuters, UK

The media is buzzing about this latest report of the unconfirmed death of Osama bin Laden. In fact, I just watched CNN's terrorism analyst and author Peter Bergen comment on this very story, expressing cautious skepticism. And in typical CNN style, the story is being repeated about every 3-4 minutes. We all will obviously have to wait and see if bin Laden has actually died...again. Yes, again.

It is no secret that bin Laden has reportedly "died" numerous times in the past few years.
  • In December 2001, Fox "News" published a story that bin Laden died of an "untreated lung complication."
  • In January 2002, Pakistan's President Musharraf speculated that bin Laden's kidney ailment may have taken his life or that he is alive somewhere in Afghanistan.
  • In July 2002, Dale Watson, while serving as the FBI's counter-terrorism chief, speculated that bin Laden is "probably" dead.
  • In early October 2002, Afghan President Hamid Karzai commented that he is "probably" dead.
  • Also in October 2002, a London based Arab news magazine, published a document, purported to be Osama bin Laden's will that allegedly indicated "he's dying or he's going to die soon.

If the current story were to be confirmed, it would certainly be ironic that typhoid or some other health related ailment caused his death, rather than a bombing or other military action. It's clear that the Bush adminstration would rather have bin Laden dead than have him captured and brought to justice. The possibility of bin Laden having to testify could potentially reveal information that Bush (and Cheney) don't want revealed. If bin Laden died sometime in 2001 or 2002, keeping that information quiet undoubtedly benefits the Bush agenda. Fear, and the existence of a bogeyman, is a vital tool this adminstration uses time and again to polarize, divide, and confuse the American people for self-serving political gain. Fear mongering is a vital component of the GOP's fall election platform. Is it a surprising that Bush said " bin Laden" 17 times in a single speech on September 5th, 2006? I think not.

Do I want bin Laden dead and/or captured? Of course. And if he happens to die from a disease instead of an attack, so be it. Is he already dead, and will this latest story be confirmed? We simply don't know...yet. We may have to wait until October to find out.

Whatever the outcome, Vote this November 7th. Vote early or absentee if possible. I urge you to Vote for change.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


The Power of Nightmares

Once upon a time, the BBC aired a very powerful documentary entitled "The Power of Nightmares" directed by Adam Curtis. Subtitled "The Rise of the Politics of Fear", this three-part film examines the history, philosophies, and similarities between Islamic Fundamentalism in the Middle East, and the Neo-Conservative movement in America. Originally aired November 2004, this program has never been televised in the United States. This film is a must see, and I strongly urge you to watch it. It is both fascinating and frightening, and an important study for all citizens.

The following is an excerpt from the introductory narration:
"Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see, and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism, a powerful and sinister network with sleeper cells in countries across the world. A threat that needs to be fought by a "War On Terror." But much of this threat is a fantasy which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It's a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media. This is a series of films about how and why that fantasy was created, and who it benefits."
I first saw "The Power of Nightmares" in 2005, after downloading the MPEG2 files from, a very comprehensive, public domain content site. Here are some downloading and viewing suggestions:
If you have difficulties viewing the downloaded file(s), or creating a video DVD from the files, send me an E-Mail and I will do my best to help you.

Not surprisingly, much of the negative criticism I've read regarding this film has been written by individuals who have not actually seen it. Again, I urge everyone to take the time to watch "The Power of Nightmares" ASAP! Information and knowledge can be an extremely motivational impetus to take action and inspire others to do the same. This November, please take action by voting. Vote for truth. Vote for progress. Vote for change.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


A Misguided Tribute

Monday night, during my evening commute , I listened to President Bush's 9/11 Anniversary speech on the radio in its entirety. He was surprisingly eloquent, spoke clearly, and paid a trite, yet polite tribute to the victims and heroes of the 9/11 attacks with subtle grace and measured aplomb. It was actually an OK speech. For about two and a half minutes.

At approximately 2:18 into the speech (according to my dashboard clock), Bush began to head down an all too familiar path, repeating predictable talking points delivered with the passion of an automaton reading 3 x 5 index cards. Now to be fair, during the first minute Bush remarked:
" I have asked for some of your time to discuss the nature of the threat still before us, what we are doing to protect our nation, and the building of a more hopeful Middle East ..."
It was fairly clear of what was coming next. And let's face it, at some point he's going to have to talk about Iraq, arguably THE major issue of the upcoming Mid-Term elections in November. Besides, the Iraq War is the $300 Billion gorilla that is always in the room.

But, like a day-dreaming school girl, I was expecting, perhaps longing for so much more. More compassion, more of the humble acknowledgment that Bush displayed earlier in the speech. Hell, I was half hoping for him to say that he felt sorry for those who lost their loved ones on that horrific day five years ago. And how he wished he could comfort them and try to help ease their grief. You may (or may not) recall his " bull horn" moment in 2001. From atop WTC rubble, Bush announced with confident bravado "I hear you, and soon the people who knocked down these towers will hear you." It was a remarkable moment, a unique display of leadership, a call for unity, hope, and triumph in a time of great sorrow. Five years later, those words ring empty, echoing of unfulfilled promises and a misguided agenda. Yet, in my mind I heard him expound on that pledge, acknowledging mistakes, pledging to get back on track and fulfill his commitment to the American people. That also would have been a great moment, had it actually happened in a space outside of my own imagination.

What we got Monday night was the same rhetoric, the same tired cliches, a bumper sticker-palooza of neo-con balderdash and bullshit. Pardon me for nit picking, but this is the Fifth Anniversary of September 11th. We heard this speech last week, and the week before, and we will undoubtedly hear it again before this week is up, What could have been a brief and heartfelt tribute, quickly morphed into a neo-con infomercial, a polished prime-time propaganda piece:
" It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century."

"We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our people."

"...after 9/11, Saddam's regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take."

"I am often asked why we're in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The answer is that the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat."
And so on. References to Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman (both Democrats by the way) apparently were intended to draw comparisons to the Bush foreign policy. Nice try. No fucking cigar. And what about the Bush foreign policy, the one launched to actually kill or capture the 9/11 conspirators? Well George???
"We put al Qaeda on the run and killed or captured most of those who planned the 9/11 attacks, including the man believed to be the mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed."
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured in 2003, and reportedly is being moved from a secret prison to Guantanamo Bay. Congratulations. But let's not forget the major players still at large FIVE YEARS LATER: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, and of course Bush's favorite bogeyman, Osama bin Laden. Remember him? The one Bush claimed he would capture "dead or alive", that he "would smoke him out of his cave", the guy he allowed to escape from Tora Bora in 2001? Well, our appointed President doesn't spend too much time thinking about him, except two months before the Mid-Term elections, when fear mongering is again used as a political tool. True leadership is a skill painfully absent from the Campaigner-in-Chief's abilities.

There will undoubtably be many more occasions for Bush and his apologists to adjust, modify, and pimp the rationale for their misguided folly into Iraq. Choosing the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks however was the wrong occasion. It is often said that crisis gives birth to opportunity. Another catalyst for opportunity is change.
Vote for change this November. Vote to save Democracy. It is every American's duty to preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. Voting for change is quite possibly the best defense we have.

Monday, September 11, 2006


On Reflection

I know I don't need to remind you what today is. You know the date, and what it represents. You can't turn on the television, radio, or visit the web without the constant reminders of the fifth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. Tributes will be held, vigils attended, tears shed, and questions will be continued to be asked. To those who lost their lives on that tragic day, we give pause and reflect; mindful of spouses, partners, relatives, children and friends who lost loved ones five years ago today. To the brave firefighters, police, and emergency workers who gave their lives selfishly to help others, we tearfully salute your bravery and will never be able to forget your heroism.

As the media overwhelms us with images, sounds and words , pundits will pontificate and analyze. Politicians will politicize and ramp up the rhetoric. We may never know the full truth of the attacks of 9/11, but further investigation certainly is needed.
Thorough investigation. Investigation that will lead to more understanding, accountability, and security for our country. I feel that one way to encourage this further investigation is to elect a Democratic Majority in Congress in November, less than 60 days from now.

The right wing machine has been very busy blaming the Clinton administration for every foreign and domestic problem facing America, including the attacks on 9/11. Did the Clinton administration make mistakes dealing with terrorism? Admittedly yes. Did Clinton turn a blind eye to terrorism?Absolutely not. When the WTC attack in 1993 happened on Clinton's watch, Clinton did not blame George H.W. Bush. He Instead used Law Enforcement, to investigate, apprehend, and convict the perpetrators. Certain TV programs and radio hosts would like you to believe otherwise, but many programs and policies were implemented or proposed during the Clinton years. Clinton also warned the Bush administration of the threat they would face from terrorism. Those warnings were ignored as were additional intelligence reports leading up to the attacks.

Yet 9/11 continues to be the defining issue for the Bush agenda. An agenda based on fear, extreme secrecy, disregard for the rule of law, and unsubstantiated conflation. Bush recently conceded that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, yet continues to mention the event every time he defends the troubled Iraq invasion. (Condoleezza Rice still insists on an Al-Qaeda /Saddam connection. Perhaps she should consult with her boss and decide which lie they are going support).

Again, we may never know the full truth of this terrible day in history, and we can only speculate of how different things might have been if warnings were heeded, action taken, or if others were in charge. We can only hope that the truth we find will lead to real security, accountability, and steps to insure that this will never happen again.

Vote for Change in November. The future of our Nation depends on it.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Voting For Sanity

The 2006 Mid-Term elections are less than 60 days away, and anyone with even a passing interest in politics is well aware how important and crucial these elections are. We are in dire and desperate need of a return of oversight, balance, and the restoration of Checks and Balances to our government. The GOP's position essentially centers around "security", as they again try to scare citizens into supporting a bizarre and ridiculous claim that they alone can protect the American people from harm. National security should never be a partisan issue, yet by continuing to divide, frighten and polarize the nation, the Bush administration and their lock-step, rubber stamp Congressional sheep have failed in their job and responsibility again and again. Perhaps people need to be made aware (or be reminded) that members of Congress also take an oath to "support and defend the Constitution", not to blindly follow an administration, party, policy or agenda. This lack of oversight is a clear and inexcusable dereliction of duty. Regardless of party affiliation, members of both the House and The Senate are elected and required to govern at the behest of the governed - the American people.

With this in mind, here are some basic progressive "talking points" to use when encountering current right wing rhetoric.

Anyone who supports or advocates a permanent one party Congressional majority opposes Democracy.
Anyone who suppresses alternate views, dissent, and healthy debate opposes Democracy.
Anyone who places their political party's agenda ahead of the Security of the country opposes Democracy.
• You can disagree with the President's foreign policy and still support the troops (Even a disgraced bug-killer would agree).
• When confronted by a fellow citizen who supports and advocates these types of authoritarian ideology, ask them: "Why do you hate Democracy"?

Make sure you are registered to vote. If you aren't, do it today. Do no use electronic voting machines. Demand a paper ballot. If possible vote by absentee ballot. If possible exercise early voting. Demand that your Senators and Representatives support serious election reform. Call, write, volunteer, get involved. Dare to care about the State of our Union. Vote for Change. Vote for Democracy. Vote for the good of our country. Vote for Sanity.