Saturday, November 3, 2007

I Tread in Murky Waters: AIPAC and Congress

In the past several weeks I have noticed several disturbing bits of news which led me to this post. The latest was just yesterday when I read that Senators Schumer and Feinstein, liberal Democrats, approved the nomination of Michael Makasey as Attorney General, even though he balked at classifying waterboarding as torture. All three are of the Jewish faith.

Three days ago I read an article by Ray McGovern, Attacking Iran for Israel, in which he said, " Vice President Dick Cheney reiterated, “We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.” That remark followed closely on President George W. Bush’s apocalyptic warning of World War III, should Tehran acquire the knowledge to produce a nuclear weapon.
The Israelis appear convinced they have extracted a promise from Bush and Cheney that they will help Israel nip Iran’s nuclear program in the bud before they leave office. That is why the Israeli ambassador says there is “very little time”-less than 15 months."

Further on in the article, McGovern says, "If the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) with its overflowing coffers supports an attack on Iran, so will most of our spineless lawmakers."

Four weeks ago 76 members of the Senate voted in favor of the non-binding resolution of Kyl-Lieberman calling for the designation of its Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization responsible for killing U.S. troops. Many see it as the first step that Bush/Cheney can use to defend the bombing of military sites in Iran.

Interestingly, of the 13 members of the Senate who are Jews, Boxer, Feingold, Sanders, and Wyden voted 'NO." The other 9 voted "YES." Many of these 9 are generally liberal in other voting such as Charles Schumer, Karl Levin, Herb Kohl and Frank Lautenberg.

I also note that Norman Podhoretz, the god-father of the Neoconservative movement, wrote a WSJ op ed with the self-explanatory title, "The Case for Bombing Iran I hope and pray that President Bush will do it." Podhoertz recently spent time in the Oval Office with George W. Bush.

Norman and John Podhoretz, Douglas Feith, Lewis Libby, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, and Bill Kristol are all members of PNAC as well as Neocons and, coincidentally, of the Jewish faith. They were terribly influential on the naive governor of Texas shortly after 9-11. They along with Cheney and Rumsfeld convinced the young Bush to attack Iraq. Who's to change his mind on Iran? After all, if both Iraq and Iran are humbled and crushed militarily, the state of Israel will be the sole masters of the Middle East.

The foolish Christian Zionists have easily walked into this trap and are most welcomed by the neocons. The Nation published an article, AIPAC's Hold, which, besides exposing the Israeli Lobby, saying, "Christian conservatives increasingly aligned with AIPAC demand unwavering support for Israel from their Republican leaders. "

The website Democracy Now posted an article with this title, "Christians United for Israel: New Christian Zionism Lobby Hopes to Rival AIPAC." It says, " A new group was recently established called Christians United for Israel - CUFI. They're an evangelical organization that believes supporting expansionist policies of the Israeli government is: "a biblical imperative." In a new article for The Nation, journalist Max Blumenthal reports group members have held several meetings with White House officials to talk about US policy in the Middle East. They've apparently lobbied the administration to adopt a confrontational posture toward Iran, refuse aid to the Palestinians and give Israel a free hand in its attack on Lebanon."

John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago's Department of Political Science and Stephen M.Walt of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government contend that the centerpiece of U.S. Middle East policy is its intimate relationship with Israel. The authors argue that although often justified as reflecting shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, the U.S. commitment to Israel is due primarily to the activities of the “Israel Lobby." This paper goes on to describe the various activities that pro-Israel groups have undertaken in order to shift U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.

OK. Those are the facts that lead me to this question: Do political interest groups who support the state of Israel have undue influence in the government and policies of the United States?

I am particularly worried at this moment about a preemptive strike by the Bush/Cheney administration on Iran. I see many signs that this attack is in the works. I see votes in Congress, many from members of the Jewish faith, that will lead to such an attack.

I am terribly concerned that the foreign policy of this administration on the Middle East is unduly influenced by AIPAC and Christian Zionists. Nowhere in our Constitution is there permission for a foreign nation to determine our policies. Nowhere in our Constitution is there permission for a pre-emptive strike on another nation unless that nation is imminently posed to strike our nation.

It's the Constitution. It is being shredded.

Friday, November 2, 2007

What's Up Chuck [and Dianne]?

Charles Schumer of New York and Dianne Feinstein of California are both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and both have said that will vote FOR the nomination of George Bush's pick, Michael Mukasey, for AG. The other 8 Dems on the committee will vote against him due to the deviant answers on 'waterboarding.' The math is clear: 8 GOP + 2 Dems = recommendation to Senate floor.

What's up with that? Why these two senators? What do they see in Mukasey that the other Dems miss? The only connections that I can see is that they are all of the Jewish faith. Is that the connection that pushes him into the Attorney General's office?

Catholic Public Activism Must Become More Focused on Common Good

This story from the Catholic News Service:

Catholics involved in the public square must above all follow the principles of the common good, though that's a countercultural approach in both politics and contemporary American life, said the chairman of the department of politics at The Catholic University of America in Washington. Speaking Oct. 30 to a gathering of the group Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Stephen Schneck, who also heads the university's Life Cycle Institute, a public policy research program, outlined a five-step agenda for bringing a "common good agenda" to American public policy. "The foundation for Catholic thinking about politics, governance and policy is the idea of the common good," Schneck said. But that's "a hard notion for contemporary Americans to understand."

And the momentum in American politics "is one accelerating (away) from anything like the common good," he said. "Let's remember that ours is a politics where citizens are encouraged - after a terrorist attack - to go shopping. Where even military service is sometimes privatized."


Apparently Stephen Schneck hopes to awaken the sleeping political Catholic giant to help them understand that there is more to being 'pro-life' than bombing abortion clinics and pasting photos of fetuses on billboards. I have been arguing that very point on this blog for a long time. I also think, if my intuition serves me well, that the Catholic fundamentalist is more likely to be persuaded to think more broadly about a mission of 'common good' than Protestant fundamentalists. Catholic social teaching is much more ingrained in the Catholic parishioner.

Already we have seen in some recent polling that the traditional support of the GOP by fundamentalist Catholics is waning. I only hope that this trend continues through the election of November '08 so that we can get this nation into a more helping role in the world instead of the Bush killing role in the world. I think the Catholic vote will swing to the more tolerant, more peaceful Democrat side.

Obama to Force Hillary's Hand on Warmongering

She voted to authorize George Bush to go to war with Iraq and has never apologized for that blunder. Perhaps she doesn't think it was a blunder. Obama doesn't let her off the hook for that vote. She also voted for the Kyl -Lieberman nonbinding resolution that designates Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization; some think that proposal was a green light for Bush to bomb Iran. Kyl and Lieberman culled Clinton's vote which Obama has also used against her in the debates.

Obama introduced a Senate resolution late Thursday that says President Bush does not have authority to use military force against Iran. Mrs. Clinton signed a letter to Bush circulated to several senators reminding him that he doesn't have the authority to bomb Iran. An Obama spokesman said the Illinois senator drafted the measure in an effort to "nullify the vote the Senate took to give the president the benefit of the doubt on Iran." That was the Kyl-Lieberman resolution. Clinton was the only Senate Democrat running for president to support the measure, and her rivals have argued that Bush could use it to justify war with Iran.

The Obama legislation is a bold move to hold Clinton's feet to the fire on warmongering. It will be interesting to see whether she will vote for the legislation. I wonder if she is talking to Harry Reid behind closed doors to have the proposed Obama legislation tabled until after the Iowa caucus. I wouldn't put it past her.

An even bolder move on Obama's part would be to fly over to Tehran and have a one-on-one with either Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He said that he will meet with them if elected, but he could use the Bush policy of preemption to show his resolve now.

The Enemy of Our Proxy Friend Becomes Our Enemy

Snarled thinking, but necessary for the cowboy diplomacy of the Bush Administration. Today Condi Rice, speaking on behalf of the United States, declared the Turkish PKK 'our enemies too.'

Irrational? Stupid? Of course, but so it the Bush 'diplomacy.' There Ms Rice is shaking hands with the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, so that his enemy becomes our enemy. The PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party ] is working to unite the Kurdish people throughout the area, but, because Turkey doesn't want their Kurds to merge with the Iraqi Kurds, the PKK is now our enemy.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Science Discovery: Molecules Organize Themselves Into Patterns

Yes, themselves: that is the operative word in a newly released study by scientists who study nanotechnology. has the article. When heated copper molecules were allowed only 2-dimensional movement, "those in incorrect positions move to make room for others which fit properly," says the article. The scientists further report, "The molecular-level observation of such self-selection gives, for the first time, direct insight into fundamental steps of the biological evolution from inanimate molecules to living entities."

Scientists from the USA and Germany explain that 'this observation of molecular organization at surfaces may lead to further insight of how simple, inanimate molecules can build up biological entities of increasing structural and functional complexity, such as membranes, cells, leaves, trees, etc.'

These fascinating discoveries these are at the nano-measurement level, magnification 50,000 times smaller than a human hair. The study was conducted by Alexander Langner, Dr. Steven Tait, Dr. Nian Lin, and Prof. Dr. Klaus Kern of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research and Dr. Chandrasekar Rajadurai and Dr. Mario Ruben of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

Chávez Pours Millions into Pioneering Music for Poor Venezuelan Children

The BBC this evening ran a segment on Venezuelan President Chavez who has used his nation's oil revenues to create music programs for the poorer children in his nation. The UK Guardian ran the story last month. They said, "President Hugo Chávez has thrown his weight behind a scheme which brings classical music into Venezuela's slums, following international acclaim for the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra. The Venezuelan leader announced the creation of "Misión Música", a government-funded effort to give tuition and instruments to 1 million impoverished children."

I was thinking, as I watched these youngsters and their instruments, how wonderful it would be if and American president would do such a thing for our poor and disadvantaged children. Instead, he vetoes their health care and spends our money on his war.

No wonder Chavez called Bush 'Diablo' at the United Nations last year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Westboro Baptist Church [God Hates Fags] Fined $11 Million

BALTIMORE, Maryland (AP) -- A grieving father won a nearly $11 million verdict Wednesday against a fundamentalist Kansas church that pickets military funerals in the belief that the war in Iraq is a punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality.

A member of Westboro Baptist Church protests outside a veteran's hospital in Maywood, Illinois, in April 2006.

Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania, sued the Westboro Baptist Church for unspecified damages after members demonstrated at the March 2006 funeral of his son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq.

The jury first awarded $2.9 million in compensatory damages. It returned later in the afternoon with its decision to award $6 million in punitive damages for invasion of privacy and $2 million for causing emotional distress.

Way to go! Hit these oh-so righteous idiots in the purse. That ought to shut them up.

Black holes may harbour their own universes

Black holes may harbour their own universes is the most recent article from The speculation is that "When matter gets swallowed by a black hole, it could fall into another universe contained inside the black hole, or get trapped inside a wormhole-like connection to a second black hole, a new study suggests."

Fascinating stuff. It goes on to say that a computer model gave interesting 'results.' "Böhmer realised that one set of answers looked like a so-called 'Nariai universe' – a mathematical model of a universe allowed by general relativity in which the universe expands in only one spatial direction. (Our observed universe appears to be a "de Sitter space" instead because it expands in all three dimensions, so that distant galaxies move away from us no matter where we look in the sky.)"

That de Sitter space is in itself quite fascinating and says, according to Wikipedia, "Our universe may be approaching a de Sitter universe in the infinite future. If the current acceleration of our universe is due to a cosmological constant then as the universe continues to expand all of the matter and radiation will be diluted. Eventually there will be almost nothing left but the cosmological constant, and our universe will have become a de Sitter universe.

The exponential expansion of the scale factor means that the physical distance between any two non-accelerating observers will eventually be growing faster than the speed of light. At this point those two observers will no longer be able to make contact. Therefore any observer in a de Sitter universe would see event horizons beyond which that observer can never see nor learn any information. If our universe is approaching a de Sitter universe then eventually we will not be able to observe any galaxies other than our own Milky Way and a few others in the gravitationally bound Local Group."

Clear enough. Good bye universe, I guess.

Calling Non-Zionist American Jews

This line is from Ray McGovern's article, Attacking Iran for Israel? as he wonders who will stop Bush and Cheney from dropping the bomb on Iran: "How about Congress? Could it act as a brake on Bush and Cheney? Forget it. If the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) with its overflowing coffers supports an attack on Iran, so will most of our spineless lawmakers. Already, AIPAC has succeeded in preventing legislation that would have required the president to obtain advance authorization for an attack on Iran."

I know that there is an unwritten pact between American Christian Fundamentalists and American and Israeli Zionists to guarantee Israel's homeland for the Jews and for the lift-off for the Apocalypse and rapture and all. 'The time of tribulations is nigh and that doomsday soon will follow.' Do the Jews of Israel want this destruction to occur in their homeland?

One of the key players in all of this is the 'godfather' of the neocon movement, Norman Podhoretz. Sourcewatch says of him: "Podhoretz converted to neo-conservatism late in the decade and transformed the magazine [Commentary] into a main source of neo-conservative writing, despite the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community itself rejecting those positions."

Here, then, is my question: Does 'the overwhelming majority of the Jewish community' also reject this supposed attack by the Bush Administration on Iran? McGovern thinks that congressional Jews are in sync with AIPAC and will go along with the plan.

Clearly there must be thousands of American Jews who do not go along with either the Armageddon or Iran-bombing scenarios. Where are their voices of protest?

Mystery Box

I posted this piece on The Brain Police blog last night. Since then I read a poll stating that 53% of the polled public would like to see Iran bombed. Why? Because the notion has been drummed into their heads by repititous drumbeat of the media in lockstep with the propaganda dished out by the Bush Administration. I would be willing to bet that most of the same 53%, if asked to find Iran on a map, would probably pick Tasmania or Italy. This is a piece about how we get our bad propaganda and how it is used to shape popular opinion:

"In the intelligence community, a disinformation operation is a calculated attempt to convince an audience that falsehoods about an adversary are true, either to discredit him or, in an extreme case, to justify military action. When such a campaign is properly conducted, information is leaked to numerous outlets over a period of time, creating the impression of a media consensus that the story is true, as each new report validates earlier ones.
The [news] pieces [on the target of the Israeli air attack in Syria] have a common thread: they rely entirely on information provided by Israeli sources without independent corroboration. And the ongoing play they are getting in the international media, without much critical commentary and without direct attribution to Israel, mark them as classic disinformation."

This was a quote from a piece by former CIA Officer, Phillip Giraldi in the American Conservative. He believes that the Syrian Nuclear Reactor Story had all the hallmarks of a classic disinformation campaign.
The alleged Syrian reactor was noted for the last 4 years, it had been looked at by the intelligence community and it was old news. What was released as far as justification for the bombing was the original conjecture that it its shape resembles the North Korean Yongbyon reactor building, which was a larger box with smaller boxes stacked on it. The mysterious Syrian building had a faint square on the top where it was thought another structure was going to be built, but after 4 years, the faint square remained just that.
Global Security's John Pike refers the site as being in the middle of nowhere and the photos provided to the press reveal what looks to be a barren location, but you only have to look at Google Earth to see it is smack dab in the middle of Syrias most dense farm region.
This is stranger still, as photos show absolutely no defense or security perimeter around the building. The Syrians would have to be pretty layed back and lax about security to leave their "Nuclear Research Complex" in such an open and casual condition.
What do we know about the box at this point? We know in 2003 it appeared, visible from space. It disappeared last month. It's not there and we know the site was bombed by the Israelis and was probably cleaned after the bombing and the building was destroyed.
Do we have evidence that Syria was building a reactor? No. Were any reporters pursuing the story before the bombing? No.
The only evidence came from journalists schmoozing with John Bolton and his buddies.
The IAEA Director, Mohamed ElBaradei is angry about the bomb first, ask questions later approach of the Israelis because it only fosters suspicion and undermines the role of the IAEA inspectors and their role in investigating and verifying nuclear activity. He also stated that Bolton had been making comments for years about Syrias Nuclear Activity, but the IAEA had never had any evidence to back it up.
Perhaps then, the real target of the Israeli strike wasn't a clandestine nuclear program in Syria, it was the IAEA inspection process itself. A very troubling road block in the neo con march to Tehran!

This post was cross posted by Microdot on The Brain Police Oct.30,2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Keep religious right out of electoral race

A letter to the editor in The Blade this morning pretty well pegs the christian-right as nincompoops as well as a danger to our democracy. It begins:

"The Republican candidates, except for Rudy Giuliani, have shown us over and over again how the religious right has tainted the electoral brush.

These presidential wannabes all tout their Christian right views to seek the approval and the endorsement of this organization. Except for Mr. Giuliani, Republican voters will not have the choice of voting for a moderate, a liberal, or a conservative for president.

The members of the Christian right have already come out swinging against Mr. Giuliani and vow that he will not receive their nomination. Only a conservative thinker, like them, will be considered.

There was a time when a person campaigned for the lofty job, gave speeches declaring that he was the best, swore to uphold the Constitution, and swore to do his best for the country and to protect the people. The party would decide whom it would back, and the primaries made the final decision.

This system brought us Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. The religious right brought us President Bush."

Enough said about whom they 'brought' to the White House. It's been perpetual Halloween with George, Dick, Don, and Condi. It's a toss-up as to which is the most scary, although Dick is way ahead in the early polling.

The writer continues: "Religious views have no place in politics. One's religious beliefs must not become the rule of the land and be foisted upon those with other religious beliefs."

Ain't that the truth! That's exactly why the right-wing fundamentalists are such a clear and present danger to our way of life.

The author concludes:
"Voters must decide on who they believe is the best person to benefit the country, the person most dedicated to helping every citizen, and the person who is most interested in making us, once again, the most revered and most trusted nation in the world.'

Adele Federman
Mockingbird Lane

Way to go, Ms Federman. Now let's all spread her message on the dangers of mixing religion into politics.

Left Of Center

Lets look at the following results of a very recent Gallup poll:
Americans are pro-choice - 67%
Americans support the Geneva Convention on torture - 57%
Americans want their phone, banking, and internet free from Gov't search - 67%
Americans want the Patriot Act eliminated - 81%
Americans support protecting the environment even at the expense of economic growth - 55%
Americans believe global warming is happening - 86%
Americans believe that the Gov't's responsibility is to provide health care - 69%
Americans favor decriminalization of marijuana - 55%
Americans support medical marijuana -78%
Americans think that the Iraq war is lost - 64%
Americans oppose attacking Iran - 68%
Americans support labor unions - 60%
Americans want embryonic stem cell research - 56%
Americans believe that free trade hurts American workers - 65%
Americans believe that rich people and corporations aren't paying enough taxes,
66% and 71% respectively
Americans are 56% democratic and 39% republican

This seems to show me that we are not a conservative country; we lean left of center
on all of these issues. Now, where are the candidates who will support the American people?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

There are Still Some Dolts Who Believe All the Reasons for the Bush War

I would have thought that they either became educated or don't talk about the fact that they believed all of the string of lies and twists that Bush/Cheney/Rove used to cover their foolish adventure in Iraq.

But no. Here it is 4 long and bloody years later and some especially ignorant folks are still mouthing the lies. I know it is hard to believe; we all know it was a total scam, but one person in particular, one who comments regularly on this blog, just mouthed the lies and the spin on another blog.

"The US just wanted Iraq to be self-determining and free from a tyrant , and no longer a threat to the region as they were when Sadam went to Kuwait. Saudi Arabia was afraid of Sadam. Israel was. The Kurds and Shia were. And all with good reason with his legacy of two maniacal sons who would’ve inherited his army and his ruthless disregard even for fellow Iraqis–many of whom went into exile and at least one scientist who said Sadam had him working on nuclear capability. Sadam wanted nuclear weapons and we thought he had WMD because all the intelligence sources said so –as reinforced by his delays in letting in UN inspection teams –(I say he didn’t want them to find all the mass graves.) We went just to get their bad guys out and we did so. And we’re staying to try to help their democracy get on its feet. And let’s not forget that Al Quaeda is there –causing the trouble now. The whole area has been fertile soil for the enlistment of AlQuaeda –BEFORE we went there."

We just went there to be the 'good guys' and because of those WMD's, and the two maniacal sons, and the nukes, and the link to al-Qaeda and to get that democracy going.

All she missed were the aluminum tubes.

What a pathetic dolt. What an grand apologist for Bush/Cheney.

Of course, you must realize that the author suffers from authority worship: she's a fundamentalist christian, so any authority figure gets the nod.

Then there is that 'christian' man, George Bush. Here's what she says about this lug: "

He used to drink a lot –and around 40, he was in a Bible study with his church fellows in Texas and committed his life to Christ. He said publically that Jesus was his most admired person in history , because “He changed my heart.” People who REALLY believe in the Bible and Christ DO have compassion."

Compassion? The only 'compassion' this jackass has shown is not dropping the H-bomb on Baghdad.

No, the reason she sticks up for Bush is because he's an evangelical too! The love of Jesus pours out of him. And he is 'pro-life.' PRO-LIFE! Can you imagine anyone labeling George Bush pro-life?

That's why these fundamentalist zealots have to be stopped-- before they bring down our entire nation.

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