Monday, January 31, 2005

My sister Anne

I'm proud of her! "Best of Seattle" , Best defender of the Police for 2004 in the Seattle Weekly.

Ghost War

"United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting. According to reports from Saigon, 83 percent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong. A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam."

- Peter Grose, in a page 2 New York Times article titled, 'U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote,' September 4, 1967.

Taken from William Rivers Pitt's FYI.

The Fall of Fallujah

I found this Documentary on Fallujah. Pretty interesting.

Is the Jonger on the way out?

Kim Jong il's Dissolving Kingdom -- from the Sunday edition of the London Times.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Steve on Ute Trail, Manitou Springs run this morning. Posted by Hello

Rebekka early into our Ute Pass Trail Run this morning. Posted by Hello

Iraq election success

Looks like the elections in Iraq are a unqualified success. Reuters reported earlier that they had 72% turnout. Astonishing. I heard a report an hour ago or so that 36 Iraqis had been killed by suicide bombers. While terrible, that is just an average day for Iraq. Cautious optimism is the call.

The Washington Post has the tragic story of a popular Army platoon leader felled by a sniper's bullet as he encouraged Iraqis to vote. Pulitzer material.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Researchers Who Rushed Into Print a Study of Iraqi Civilian Deaths Now Wonder Why It Was Ignored

Remember that study in the British journal "The Lancet" three months ago that determined that about 100,000 Iraqi civilians had died as a direct result of the Operation Iraqi Freedom? Seems it was buried in the pre-election news. Now the researchers are wondering why their carefully researched study was ignored.

The researchers saved the most dangerous location for last. On September 20, Dr. Lafta went to violence-racked Fallujah with the only interviewer willing to travel there. The researchers had done a haunting bit of calculus before the journey. Given that the chance was high of an interviewer's or researcher's getting killed there, the study would be better served by getting the other data first.

The Fallujah data were chilling: 53 deaths had taken place in the study's 30 households there since the invasion commenced, on March 19, 2003. In the other 32 neighborhoods combined, the researchers had counted 89 deaths. While 21 of the deaths elsewhere were attributable to violence, in Fallujah 52 of the 53 deaths were due to violence.

The number of deaths in Fallujah was so much higher than in other locations that the researchers excluded the data from their overall estimate as a statistical outlier. Because of that, Mr. Roberts says, chances are good that the actual number of deaths caused by the invasion and occupation is higher than 100,000.

Scientists say the size of the survey was adequate for extrapolation to the entire country. "That's a classical sample size," says Michael J. Toole, head of the Center for International Health at the Burnet Institute, an Australian research organization. Researchers typically conduct surveys in 30 neighborhoods, so the Iraq study's total of 33 strengthens its conclusions. "I just don't see any evidence of significant exaggeration," he says.

Read the whole article here.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Seymour Hersh: We've been taken over by a cult

In the transcript to a live interview, Sey Hersh, who first exposed the Abu Ghraib torture scandal in the New Yorker magazine in April 2004 and author of "Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib", who also broke the My Lai story 35 years ago in Viet Nam, says,

There's a lot of anxiety inside the -- you know, our professional military and our intelligence people. Many of them respect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as much as anybody here, and individual freedom. So, they do -- there's a tremendous sense of fear. These are punitive people. One of the ways -- one of the things that you could say is, the amazing thing is we are been taken over basically by a cult, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our Democracy is. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way. What they have done is neutralize the C.I.A. because there were people there inside -- the real goal of what Goss has done was not attack the operational people, but the intelligence people. There were people -- serious senior analysts who disagree with the White House, with Cheney, basically, that's what I mean by White House, and Rumsfeld on a lot of issues, as somebody said, the goal in the last month has been to separate the apostates from the true believers. That's what's happening. The real target has been “diminish the agency.” I'm writing about all of this soon, so I don't want to overdo it, but there's been a tremendous sea change in the government. A concentration of power.

Be sure and read the whole thing though here. Combine Nationalism, an uneducated populace, hyped up propaganda (Fox News) and a team of crazies at the top consolidating power and this is what we get.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Romeo Dallaire: Canadian Patriot

My first and only encounter with Romeo Dallaire was in a Master's program in War Studies with the Royal Military College of Canada. We were in a class together. As a US Air Force exchange officer stationed in Ottawa I was somewhat surprised to find a Major General pursuing a Master's degree in War Studies. This happenstance spoke volumes about the sort of mensch Gen Dallaire is--constantly questioning, continually learning, trying to understand his world and to make it a better one.

Since that time about seven years ago I have heard his name come up on occasion in news reports. There was the report of his disappearance and subsequent appearance drunk and disoriented in Hull, Quebec--across the river from Ottawa. This led to his forced retirement from the Canadian Forces.

Why did he go from the heights of achievement--from the highest ranks in the Canadian Army to a park bench, depressed, drunk, out of his mind? In a word: Rwanda. You see, Maj Gen Dallaire was the commanding officer in charge of the UN mission in Rwanda in 1994 when the Hutus en masse went into collective hysteria and hacked 800,000 Tutsis to death with machetes in the course of about four weeks. He begged for 5000 combat ready troops. This was all he felt he needed to quell and put down the ragtag genocidal Hutus. The UN and the world ignored him. 18 Belgian soldiers were massacred by the base barbarians in order to intimidate the world community. The world community reacted predictably. See the new movie Hotel Rwanda for a shorthand version of this unspeakable atrocity.

Romeo Dallaire wrote an account of his tenure in Rwanda: Shake Hands with the Devil , and Mother Jones recently conducted an interview with him.

Here are a couple of other books on the subject I read about two years ago that I highly recommend:

National Book Award winner "America in the Age of Genocide" by Samantha Powers
"We Regret to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed along with our families: Tales from Rwanda" by Philip Gourevitch

Watch the movie. Then ask yourself the question: Does the Bush rhetoric match the task at hand?? Liberty for nations with oil but ignore those without?? Where are the ethics in our policy??

Sponge Boarding Posted by Hello

Evangelical Right: destroyers of our environment

Listen to Robert F. Kennedy Jr talk to Glen Scherer about how corporate polluters have recruited Envangelical Christians (like our prez) to their agenda. These crazies who believe "the end is near" feel it's just fine to wipe out our wild heritage.

See also Glen Scherer's article in Grist: The Godly must be Crazy: Christian-right views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment.

And the storm of letters to the editor that followed that article.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Neocons going Green

James Woolsey bought a 58-MPG Toyota Prius. Why? Glad to see that SOME of the hawks recognize that the they are either part of the solution or part of the problem.

Fox: Fair and Balanced Inauguration

Follow this link for a three minute video clip of a Fox anchor boiling over because a guest dared criticize El Inauguracion del Presidente. Funny stuff.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Global warming approaching point of no return

We have at most ten years before there is no turning back.

Thai Islanders survive Tsunami: nearly 100%

They call it "wave that eats people", but the Moken sea gypsies, who have lived in isolation for decades, emerged from the tsunami almost unscathed. See also this entry from the New Yorker's Talk of the Town.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Mothering the Boys

Tina Brown has First Lady Laura pegged about right.

Colorado Vodka panel van--spotted at the end of my run up the Barr Trail near Memorial Park, Manitou Springs  Posted by Hello

Pikes Peak this morning from the Garden of the Gods Posted by Hello

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Paul and Larry on lower Gold Camp Road late into our 3.5 hour run. Posted by Hello

Steve emerging from the second tunnel on Upper Gold Camp Road. We turned around here.  Posted by Hello

Rick Hessig, Paul Dewitt, Larry Dewitt on the portion of the Upper Gold Camp Road that is presently closed to vehicles due to a collapsed tunnel. Amid considerable controversy, the Forest Service is proposing to repair the tunnel and reopen the road. I think it's a bad idea.  Posted by Hello

This week's cover for Don Savage's Seattle Stranger Posted by Hello

First Nonsmoking Nation

If you're indignant that your boss just shut the smoking room and outraged that you have to leave the bar to light up, take heart. Life could be worse. You could be

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Great Speech on the Environment by RFK, Jr

Great Speech on the Environment. The Greatest threat to the environment is GWB. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. tells the truth.

Attack on Iran?

The Guardian reports the drumbeat towards the next war is on.

President Bush's second inauguration on Thursday will provide the signal for an intense and urgent debate in Washington over whether or when to extend the "global war on terror" to Iran, according to officials and foreign policy analysts in Washington.

That debate is being driven by "neo-conservatives" at the Pentagon who emerged from the post-election Bush reshuffle unscathed, despite their involvement in collecting misleading intelligence on Iraq's weapons in the run-up to the 2003 invasion.


The New Yorker reported this week that the Pentagon has already sent special operations teams into Iran to locate possible nuclear weapons sites. The report by Seymour Hersh, a veteran investigative journalist, was played down by the White House and the Pentagon, with comments that stopped short of an outright denial.

See also this article from December's Atlantic "Will Iran be Next?" to understand just how difficult an invasion of Iran would be.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Mississippi Marathon

I ran the Mississippi Marathon yesterday on the Natchez Trace Parkway near Jackson, MS yesterday. I'm still here in MS, writing this from my room in the Ramada Inn. The course is very pleasant--an out and back along the scenic Natchez Parkway. Unsure of my condition, I took a gamble and latched on early to the leader and eventual winner, clicking off 6:10 miles until close to the turn around point, 13.1 miles into the race. Well, I'm not there yet--I crashed, finishing in 3:08. That's the problem with marathon memory, pace, and the limits of the body. You see, my marathon memory tells me that I can do that pace (and faster) for the distance--problem is the body is not ready. Therein lies the dilemma. Only way forward is more miles on the legs. So this is my task before the next marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC in one month. My plan is the tried and true Mon, Tue, Wed, 10-12-10 miles, followed by Thursday morning hill climb with CRUD and Sunday long run with the Incline Club.

Richard Florida: The Creative Class Wars

Richard Florida, Heinz professor of economic development at Carnegie Mellon University and author of The Rise of the Creative Class posits in January's Washington Monthly that "red state mentality" is driving out our creative class that built our prosperity.

...this shift has come about with the changing of the political guard in Washington, from the internationalist Bill Clinton to the aggressively unilateralist George W. Bush. But its roots go much deeper, to a tectonic change in the country's political-economic demographics. As many have noted, America is becoming more geographically polarized, with the culturally more traditionalist, rural, small-town, and exurban "red" parts of the country increasingly voting Republican, and the culturally more progressive urban and suburban "blue" areas going ever more Democratic. Less noted is the degree to which these lines demarcate a growing economic divide, with "blue" patches representing the talent-laden, immigrant-rich creative centers that have largely propelled economic growth, and the "red" parts representing the economically lagging hinterlands.

Read the entire article here.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Bush Turd Blossom

Thom Hartmann writes on Dubya's master manipulation of the media:

The CBS/Rather/Bush/Guard affair - regardless of how it ultimately turns out - has brilliantly deflected the issue of George W. Bush having strings pulled to get him into the Guard, and then not fulfilling his service requirements. Anytime the issue is raised in the future - regardless of facts or context - partisan Republicans will simply dismiss it by saying, "Those documents were forged." That four-word sound byte will be remembered long after the details of Bush's failures have dimmed from popular memory. Politically, it was a masterstroke.

And not only does it hurt Bush family enemy Kerry, but also gets back at Bush family enemy Dan Rather, against whom they've nursed a 16-year grudge.

The Bush family's hostility to Rather first broke the surface of public attention back in 1988, when Vice President George H.W. Bush was confronted on network television about his various roles in the criminal affair now known as Iran/Contra. At the time, rumors were flying that in the fall of 1980 then-VP-candidate Bush had negotiated with Iran to hold the American hostages until after the election. The hostages were not only held throughout the election campaign, but were released the very hour Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. The ongoing dragged-out hostage crisis (and Carter's failed attempt at rescue) had knocked the incumbent president down so far in the polls that the long-shot ticket of Reagan/Bush won.

When it later came out, in part because of an investigation started by Senator John Kerry, that after the 1980 election Reagan/Bush were illegally selling American missiles to the Iranians "in exchange for hostages" at a time there were no hostages (the Iranian hostages had been freed, and the Lebanese hostages not yet taken), speculation intensified. The key to busting the whole deal open and indicting George H.W. Bush, some congressional investigators believed, would be Bill Casey. As the manager of the 1980 Reagan/Bush campaign, he would have known of the deal, and persistent allegations floated around Washington that he'd even helped organize the initial negotiations between Bush and Iranian representatives.

Read the rest here.

Friday, January 14, 2005

CIA Report: Iraq Breeding Ground for Terrorists

In the "I told you so..." Department, an independent think tank reporting to the CIA concluded in a 119-page report that the Iraq war has created more terrorists.

Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.

Iraq provides terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills," said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats. "There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries."

Creationism vs. Evolution

Richard Dawkins weighs in with this piece on the Evolution of the Eye. Turns out that servicable image forming "eyes" have evolved independently 40 to 60 times.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

One Guy in a Bubble

One of my all time favorite editorials:

Washington Post
October 20, 2004
Pg. 27

'One Guy In A Bubble'

By Harold Meyerson

"I have no outside advice" in the war on terrorism, President Bush told Bob Woodward in December of 2001. In an interview that Woodward revealed to Nicholas Lemann in last week's issue of the New Yorker, Bush insisted that, "Anybody who says they're an outside adviser of this Administration on this particular matter is not telling the truth. First of all, in the initial phase of the war, I never left the compound. Nor did anybody come in the compound. I was, you talk about one guy in a bubble."

Indeed. By every available indication, George W. Bush's is the most inside-the-bubble presidency in modern American history. It's not just that his campaign operatives exclude all but the true believers from his rallies, or that Bush, by the evidence of his debate performances, has grown utterly unaccustomed to criticism.

With each passing day, we learn that once Bush has decided on a course of action, he will not be swayed by mere intelligence estimates, military appraisals or facts on the ground. We already knew that when Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki told Congress during the run-up to the war that occupying Iraq would require hundreds of thousands of troops, he sealed his ticket to an early retirement. We've recently learned that Paul Bremer had told the president we needed more troops to secure postwar Iraq and the safety of our troops already there, and that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez had pleaded for more armored vehicles to better shield our soldiers.

But these and other such assessments and pleas ran counter to the idea of the war that Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had lodged in their heads. This would be our lightning war, and after Saddam Hussein was deposed, resistance would cease and U.S. forces could pack up and go home. A report in Tuesday's New York Times documents a Defense Department plan to shrink the number of U.S. forces in Iraq by 50,000 within 90 days of the taking of Baghdad. There were estimates aplenty from the State Department, the CIA and the Army suggesting that we'd need more forces for the occupation than for the war, but they were all blithely ignored.

It wasn't as if the administration couldn't calculate the number of troops it would need to secure Iraq. If troops were required at the same ratio that they were deployed in Kosovo, then 480,000 troops would be needed in Iraq, according to James F. Dobbins, who'd served as the Bush administration's special envoy for Afghanistan and who was a former ambassador at large to Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti and Somalia. If we wanted to deploy troops at the same ratio we had in Bosnia, we would have needed 364,000 soldiers patrolling Iraq.

However, Dobbins told the Times, the administration "preferred to find a model for nation building that was not associated with the previous administration."

But the Clinton administration and its allies did not deploy troops in the former Yugoslavia for the sheer fun of it. They calculated the number of forces required to keep the ethnic and political hatreds that suffused the area from erupting into violence, and assigned forces accordingly.

Every remotely sober assessment of Iraq after Saddam Hussein turned up a picture with disquieting resemblances to Yugoslavia -- a mélange of separate peoples united only by force, with scant indigenous traditions of democracy and pluralism. But large-scale deployment of forces was nation-building in the mode of Bill Clinton, and thus to be shunned. It was empiricism in the manner of Clinton -- or perhaps just empiricism itself was indictment enough -- and thus to be shunned.

Generals, though, shun empiricism at their own peril -- and their troops'. The Times reports that Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of coalition forces, requested right after the fall of Baghdad that the army's First Cavalry Division be sent to Iraq to bolster our forces there, but that his request was denied. "Rumsfeld just ground Franks down," said Thomas White, then-secretary of the Army.

In the debates, Bush insisted that he'd never turned down a request from his military commanders in Iraq. His denial didn't extend to Rumsfeld, and now we know why.

With the presidential race coming down to its final two weeks, the Bush campaign has all but made a virtue of the bubble in which Bush resides and presides. This presidency is a triumph of the will, of resolve. Facts are for flip-floppers; data, for girlie-men. Kerry commands the facts and it breeds vacillation. The force is with Bush, and that is all he, and the nation, need. Bush has fused anti-empiricism and cultural resentment -- and that, should he ride it to victory, will truly be a catastrophic success.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Bush: Iraq Invasion Worth It Despite No Trace of WMD

Our president the "make no mistakes" idiot is oblivious to reality: in a Barbara Walters Interview to be aired on Friday. Can our world get any more BIZARRE??

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

RFK Waterkeeper statement

Waterkeeper: Redefining the Environmental Debate

Corporate polluters, their phony think tanks and political toadies like to marginalize environmentalists as “tree huggers,” or “radicals” but there is nothing radical about clean air or water. Environmentalists are battling for the very mainstream values that right-wing fanatics so often herald in their rhetoric: property rights, law and order, local control, and free market capitalism. Too often these are only hollow facades that mask the radical agenda of the White House’s doublespeakers whose only real value seems to be corporate profit taking. These federal officials have taken the “conserve” out of conservatism. They only embrace property rights when it is the right of polluters to use their property to destroy their neighbor’s or the public property. (Where is their clamor when industrial hog syndicates and mountaintop mining conglomerates destroy the properties of their neighbors?) While proclaiming law and order, they let corporate polluters off the hook. (As President Bush did last year when he ordered the Justice Department and EPA to drop dozens of lawsuits against coal-burning utilities and corporate hog farms that had contributed millions to his campaign.) “Local control” is only invoked to dismantle the obstacles to corporate dominion at the local level (When Arnold Schwarzenegger passed the toughest auto emissions law in the U.S., the White House threatened to join Detroit in suing). And while proclaiming Christianity, they routinely violate the manifest mandates of Christianity that we act as stewards of the Earth and exercise responsibility toward our children. Rather than honoring the free market, they fight for corporate welfare and envision a system of capitalism for the poor and socialism for the rich.

In a true free-market economy you can’t make yourself rich without enriching your neighbors and your community. A true free-market properly values natural resources and promotes efficiency and the elimination of waste. Waste is pollution. So the free market eliminates pollution. But polluters subvert the discipline of the free market. Corporations are externalizing machines – ever seeking ways of foisting their costs on the public, and pollution is perhaps the most common method for loading production costs onto the rest of us. Acid rain pollutants, asthma-causing particulates and deadly mercury that are now discharged from coal burning power plants thanks to President Bush’s blessing, imposing costs on society that should, in a true free market, be reflected in the price of those utilities’ energy in the market place. You show me a polluter, I’ll show you a subsidy—a fat cat using political clout to escape the discipline of the free market.

All our federal environmental laws were intended to promote free market capitalism by forcing actors in the marketplace to pay the true costs of bringing their products to market. Werkeeper Alliance and our 128 local programs enforce these laws. We go into the marketplace, and catch cheaters. “We are going to force you, we tell them, “to internalize your costs the same way you are internalizing your profit.” I don’t even consider myself an environmentalist anymore. I’m a free-marketeer. So long as the polluters are cheating, none of us will get the benefits of the efficiency, prosperity and democracy that the free market promises America.

This issue of Waterkeeper Magazine focuses on mercury, which has led to warnings against eating fish in 45 states. One out of every six American women of childbearing years now carries so much mercury in her body that her children are at risk for permanent IQ loss, blindness, autism, kidney, heart and liver damage. I recently tested my own blood for mercury and found levels double those considered safe. Dr. David Carpenter, a national authority on mercury and human health, told me that the children of a woman with equivalent concentrations would have cognitive impairment. He estimated they would suffer permanent IQ loss of five to seven points. Half of the mercury emissions in our country are coming from coal-burning plants that could remove this poison cheaply and easily but choose instead to externalize their costs by poisoning our children and contaminating our waterways.

Proposed Clinton-era regulations required utilities to remove 90% of the mercury within 3 years, but President Bush, after accepting $100 million from the industry, scrapped those regulations in favor of regulations penned by utility lobbyists that will effectively allow the industry to escape enforceable mercury controls forever.

All environmental injury is a subversion of the market system and an assault on democracy. The corporations that persuaded our President to dump those public health regulations don’t want free markets or democracy, they want profits. Oftentimes the best path to profits is to capture government officials using our campaign finance system, which is nothing more than legalized bribery, and then use that power to privatize and plunder the commons. Corporations are a good thing for our economy, but they should not be running our government. To protect our democracy and our environment, we must ensure that government agencies and public trust assets stay within the hands of the people.

Pollution threatens all of our national values. It violates the free market, diminishes property rights, mocks law and order, promotes corporate rather than local control and shatters the duties of responsibility mandated by Judeo-Christian and other religious traditions. It is pessimistic, defeatist and anti-democratic. It contradicts America’s historical ties to wilderness and the American tradition of responsibility, resourcefulness and commitment to community. It is unpatriotic and un-American and threatens our public health and national security far more than any terrorist. Our battle is a battle for those values and for all the things that make us proud of our country.

Letter From the President
04 Waterkeeper Magazine Fall 2004

RFK, Jr: Nature--A Real Moral Value

Despite the rejection of some of Bush's worst environmental initiatives, the White House still hasn't learned that it's sailing against the public tide. Robert F. Kennedy Jr sets the record straight.

Here is his life's project: Working AGAINST the immoral Republican corporate polluters. Join him and his efforts. Contribute. Make a difference.

North Korea: "Long Hair steals the brain's energy"

STALINIST North Korea has stepped up its campaign against long hair and untidy attire which its media says represents a "corrupt capitalist" lifestyle, reports said.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Armstrong Williams: "There are others..."

Conservative pundit, Armstrong Williams, in a rare moment of candor stated "There are others...", implying that the administration is paying conservative talk show hosts and pundits to broadcast their propaganda with OUR TAXPAYER dollars. He quickly went back on message. Williams recently admitted to receiving $240,000 from the Bush Administration to promote the "No Child Left Behind Act" on his conservative radio show. OUR TAXPAYER dollars by the way. How do you feel about that??

David Corn's Blog has more on Armstrong Williams: Clarence Thomas wannabe.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

How's it going in Iraq?

The Poor Man has it just about right.

Poor Man concludes:

…And, before you ask: no, I have no clue about how we can improve things in Iraq. I don’t have a single idea for how we can un-shit the bed, and I don’t hold out much hope that this whole bed-shitting episode is ever going to be brought to a lemony-fresh conclusion. I do, however, know who shit the bed, and have some sense of how frequently he shits there. Let’s stop shitting for a start.

Steve Bremner, John Courtney, Rebekka Hannula, Jose Aponte: Williams Canyon, Colorado, 9 Jan 2005 Posted by Hello

Steve on Rampart Range Road with Pike Peak in the background; 9 Jan 2005 Posted by Hello

Appalachian Mining Town up in anger

These poor people in the Appalachian mountains in the SW corner of Virginia, next to the Kentucky border probably voted for Bush for "moral values". Little did they realize that this man, while "moral" is unethical, and his policies would turn their world upside down when a 1,000 pound boulder tumbled down the mountain from a strip-mining operation, into their house, and killed their three-year-old child.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Scowcroft Skeptical Vote Will Stabilize Iraq

Washington Post: Friend of Bush Family Joins Pessimists

Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser for President George H.W. Bush and a leading figure in the U.S. foreign policy establishment, now is saying, "The Iraqi elections, rather than turning out to be a promising turning point, have the great potential for deepening the conflict," He said he expects increased divisions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims after the Jan. 30 elections, when experts believe the government will be dominated by the majority Shiites.

Well, yes... Once the scales have fallen from their eyes (or once reality forces its way to fruition through bitter failure) even the Administration will have to realize that the elections are no panacea. No, sadly.... Things will likely get worse following the "elections"... Full-scale civil war is not unlikely.

2004 Voting Fraud

My letter to the Colorado Springs Independent and to the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Dear CS Independent,

Accusations by Republican lawmakers that their colleagues who objected to certification of Ohio’s electoral votes are “sore losers” are off-base and disingenuous. I urge anyone with similar inclinations to closely examine all the evidence before they rush to judgement.

As a computer professional I am alarmed over the so-called Blackbox voting machines. These come with proprietary code only accessible to the company. Further, two companies with 80% of our e-voting machines are run by two brothers and both are GOP enthusiasts and fund raisers. Wally O'Dell, president of Diebold Corporation expressed in a letter to Bush in mid-2003 that "he was committed to delivering the electoral votes of Ohio.." to the president.

Anyone who has read Bev Harris' book "Blackbox Voting" understands that these machines are designed with backdoors and untraceable opportunities to commit massive fraud. IN EVERY CASE that these machines were used in this last election, the exit polls favoring Kerry ended up swinging massively to Bush--a statistical impossibility. Indeed, exit polls have historically shown to be universally accurate within 1/10%. Strangely, everywhere else in the nation, where paper ballots were used, the exit polls matched the actual results. Clearly this cries out for a full-scale investigation by the FBI. Criminal activity is indicated. Read Bev Harris' book before you make any judgements. Prepare to be astonished. The entire book is available on the web at

Republican leadership has stood in the way of meaningful electoral reform, especially on the issue of an auditable paper-trail for electronic voting, despite common sense and bi-partisan efforts supporting it. It's unconscionable. How is it that every ATM can give a secured receipt, but not the touch screen machines that capture and tally our votes? It's the integrity of our democracy that's at stake. If we don't address this then the Republican candidate for president may as well be crowned "King" and we the people will have been had. Goose stepping and sieg heil are right around the bend.

2000 Voting Fraud

Found this short flash movie on the disenfranchisement of about 55,000 mostly African-American voters in Florida in the 2000 election.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Bush wants Good News Only

Further evidence of Bizarro World: Bush wants to hear good news only. He only wants to hear progress reports from the war. This man is so shallow and incompetent it's truly scary.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Trouble with Islam

Andrew Sullivan has correspondence from Irshad Manji, authoress of the revealing little book, "The Trouble with Islam". Irshad, a Canadian woman, has taken on Muslim intolerance and misogyny. The book is highly recommended and apparently it is making an impact on the Muslim community.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Talking Sense

Using examples from history of failed societies, Jared Diamond, who won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for "Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies," presents a learned appraisal of our future prospects as a civilization in a New Year's Day editorial: "The Ends of the World as We Know Them". "History warns us that when once-powerful societies collapse, they tend to do so quickly and unexpectedly."

Robertson: God told me he will remove Supreme Court judges quickly

Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network told his audience on Monday that God will move quickly to remove the six "liberals" from the Supreme Court. Fortunately, he has been less than successful in previous predictions: 1) God told him he would be elected President in 1988, 2) God told him Russia would invade Israel in 1982, 3) God told him there would be an international financial meltdown in 1985 4) in 1991 he predicted that Sen Jay Rockefeller would be elected president in 1996.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

200,000 insurgents?

TNR's Iraq'd quotes Allawi's chief of Iraqi intelligence, Maj Gen Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, as saying that the Sunni insurgency consists of 200,000 fighters, of which 40,000 are a hard core. "I think the resistance is bigger than the U.S. military in Iraq," Shahwani told AFP today.

Military Leaders oppose Gonzales

A dozen military leaders have come out against the nomination of Alberto Gonzales. Only "one man in a bubble" (GWB) could have conceived such a poor idea as to nominate the architect of Abu Graib as our top law enforcer.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Sunday Editorials from the Denver Post and Col Spgs Gazette

Two extremes:

Denver Post is Metro: New Forest Service Rules Silence Public

Col Springs Gazette is Retro: Free Smokey: Reducing federal red tape would reduce forest management costs.

Dialogue with the Colorado Springs Gazette

Don't know if they will print my letter, but here is the dialogue so far with the Colorado Springs Gazette and me on their Sunday editorial entitled: "Free Smokey: Reducing Federal Red Tape would reduce forest management costs" (Scroll down and read from bottom to top)


Thanks for the reply. However, I don't accept the paint-with-one-brush
assessment that either one is "an environmental extremist" or that one must
be fall into the "wise use" (read: exploit the environment for all it's
worth) persuasion. We have to come to a balance that weighs the values that
ALL Coloradans cherish as well as work the land in an environmentally
responsible manner. Certainly we need to be good stewards of the National
Forest lands and they must be managed to avoid forest fires. This means that
timber must be harvested. I have no objection to this. Where you object to
the "paralysis of analysis" I instead see the necessary safeguards to ensure
that we do the right thing and that special interests don't run rampant on
our lands. For example, in the Pacific Northwest there are competing
interests between the fishing industry and the timber industry. If the
timber industry has its way then they would fell timber right into the
salmon spawning streams and ruin the livelihood of the fishing industry.
There is a balance that has to be addressed everywhere we decide to make an
impact on our lands. Likewise here in Colorado Springs every day we have to
acknowledge the impact of two scars on the Rampart Range every day of our
lives, and that is just what is visible to us. My hope that with dialogue
that we Coloradans can strike the balance between truly wise stewardship of
the land to include preserving our wild heritage and environmentally
unobtrusive extraction of our natural resources. Therefore it is imperative
that the public have an input into the decision process. Under Clinton and
Babbit they conducted extensive polling of public comment, which came out
OVERWHELMINGLY in favor of protection and conservation. This is what the
PEOPLE value.

Under Bush we have nothing. Nothing but silence and relentless push of their
radical agenda.

Nevertheless, you and I have more in common in our viewpoints than



----- Original Message -----
From: "Gazette Opinion"
To: "Steve Bremner"
Sent: Monday, January 03, 2005 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: Gazette Letter to the Editor: New Forest Service Rules

> Thanks for your feedback, Steve, but it seems to me that you're the one
> stuck in a rut and in "retro" mode. In case you hadn't noticed, the
> forests and wild places you so dearly love are being ravaged by disease,
> wildfire, invasive species and
> threats far more dangerous than the ones you evoke (only two percent of
> U.S. timber production comes from public lands these days, and even if you
> are in denial about it, you're living in a society that's highly dependent
> on minerals and fossil
> fuels, many of which can be responsibly extracted from on or beneath
> public lands). Dealing with these threats will require a return to the
> kind of active management practices that have become impossible under the
> present regulatory regime. The
> just-leave-it-alone, nature-will-take-care-of-itself approach favored by
> ecocentrics is a naive fantasy and failure: man is here to stay; man was
> altering the Western ecosystem before Columbus arrived; we cannot return
> to some mythical Eden or
> Arcadia; resource development and good environmental stewardship are not
> mutually exclusive -- these are realities. It's time that more people
> climb out of the 1960s and embrace them, Steve. The Post is just wrong and
> hysterical to suggest the
> public will be shut out of the decision-making process, or that science
> will somehow be subverted, by updating a wasteful, redundant and
> counterproductive system that has led to "analysis paralysis" and
> deteriorating forest health. The public that
> matters most -- those living amongst the forests in question -- will
> simply have a greater say in matters, balancing the extremists in urban
> areas and Washington who arrogantly believe they know best how to manage
> the "public" lands. The tired old
> arguments and ways of thinking that The Post editorial exemplifies will
> only hamper our ability to deal with the present national forest health
> crisis.
> That, once again, for the feedback.
> Sean Paige
> Editorial Page Editor

Dear Editor,

The stark contrast between the Gazette's and the Denver Post's editorials of today concerning the new Forest Service rules highlights the divide between those interests who want to exploit and ravage our every last vestige of wilderness and those who want to preserve and conserve our heritage for future generations and allow for public comment. On the one hand we have the Gazette, championing no restrictions on timber or mining interests and giving free rein to the Forest Service to plunge ahead with no input from the public. The Denver Post however cautions that public comment is a necessary and vital check in that it requires environmental assessments and management plans to ensure we don't cause irreperrable harm to our forests.

Clearly Denver and the Post are in tune with Coloradans and our love of our wild heritage. Sadly, the Gazette is mired in a retro-viewpoint intent on depleting our very livelihood which is more and more dependent on the tourism that comes from the wild and the forests and pristine environment. This is why we live here.

Steve Bremner

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Rep Conyers calls for Senators to open debate on election

Bluelemur reports... Be sure and scroll down to the long comment-posting #17 replete with extensive details and links on the voting fraud. Also--a right-wing auditor, Chuck Herring has a nice piece on hacking the vote. Here is his helpful explanation for why Bush-supporters are not up-in-arms over evident voting fraud: Empathy Training for Liberals: A Primer on the Conservative Mind, From the Inside of One.