October 22, 2014

How Watergate almost didn't happen

Sam Smith - The passing of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee has brought back memories of the 1972 break-in at the Watergate and, for me, a story I learned about how the incident almost didn't happen. The Washingtonian Magazine reported a few years ago:

 Across the street in the Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge, a “spotter” for the burglars, Alfred C. Baldwin III, was glued to the TV watching a horror movie, Attack of the Puppet People, on Channel 20—oblivious to the situation developing across the street. Baldwin was holed up in a disheveled seventh-floor room with a window facing the Watergate. If squad car 80 had been in service and pulled up in front of the Watergate with lights flashing, siren wailing, and a uniformed police officer emerging from it, that surely would have pulled Baldwin’s attention away from the horror movie and likely given him time to notify the five burglars via walkie-talkie so they could have escaped and the illegal entry gone unnoticed.
But what the Washingtonian didn't report is why Squad Car 80 didn't show up. A high police department officer later told me that the morning of Watergate, the plain clothes officers  in the precinct had been lectured by their commander for not doing a decent job. They were warned if things didn't improve they would be back on uniformed patrol. At the moment that the Watergate call came in, the officers in Squad Car 80 were cooping (aka drinking coffee and eating donuts) in an alley and didn't respond.  The plain clothes officer filled the gap and changed history in the process.



Word

Paul (Race Horse) Mitchell, 57, of one address right after another, died on the street here yesterday, unexpectedly, and after a long illness, but mostly from two bullet wounds in his chest... The grief, if it may be allowed to pass for that, was dry-eyed enough but it had those overtones of sincerity which lend a definite, if indefinable, dignity to the human spirit on such occasions. This is to say that only one man was really glad the rascal was dead -- and the police were looking for him. -- Harry Gabbett, Washington Post, 1968

September 11, 2001

 From 50 years of our overstocked archives

Sam Smith, September 12, 2001 - Throughout the day came contrasting images of Americans. The indefatigably courageous rescue workers - turned gray and white by pulverized matter. The innocent survivors resourcefully joining hands to follow the one flashlight out of a building or using a cell phone to locate themselves under the rubble. The Washington officials noisily locking the barn door too late and creating a new crisis (of the sort they could understand): a massive traffic jam. The glamorous anchors and TV correspondents, children of Pleasantville II, suddenly discovering that news can be real.

And too often during the day there were the incompetent, mendacious, and terminally hubristic voices of an American elite that had helped create a country so hated that some would kill themselves to define their antipathy. There was Madeleine Albright who five years ago said that killing a half million Iraqi children as a result of the sanctions was worth the price. There was Charlie Rose, listening even more intently than usual to his roundtable of failed, fatuous experts. There was talk of instant revenge, of instant action, talk that echoed that of our generals in Vietnam. We have only failed in quantity and not in quality, they repeatedly told us then.

The Washington Post, as during Vietnam, helped lead the macho masochists. It even published a column by Robert Kaman which declared, "Congress, in fact, should immediately declare war. It does not have to name a country." The rest of the media was not far behind.

Notably absent from the airwaves were Muslim Americans and those who favored resolution rather than retribution. Instead, there was a steady procession of figures who had supported or helped form a foreign policy that has made us the earth's most despised nation, who had insisted that the way to a better world was to arm Israel and anathematize Arabs, who had claimed that the civil liberties we have surrendered over the past two decades would make us safer, and who have told us we must choose between security and freedom and in the end have denied us both. In the face of such overwhelming evidence of their failure, if they did not have the grace to resign, they should at least shut up.

Urban farming in Singapore

NPR

Climate change could affect the fall scene

Think Progress - The phenomenon of brilliant red and gold autumn foliage might change due to the large amount of carbon dioxide we put in the atmosphere, and the resulting warmth that carbon traps inside.

The higher concentration of carbon dioxide itself might actually make fall colors brighter, Howard Neufeld, a professor of physiological plant ecology at Appalachian State University, explains in a Tuesday piece in The Conversation, citing research published in the journal New Phytologist back in 2010. But the higher temperatures that result from large atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide could result in longer summers and shorter autumns, thereby delaying the onset of future colorful leaf seasons and causing them to be shorter in duration.

Changing temperature patterns could also cause those colors to come in splotchy — that is, all the trees won’t change at once. “As the climate warms, the finely-tuned timing of the fall’s color display may lose its synchronization,” Neufeld writes, citing research from the Royal Society. “Rather than the well-timed symphony of color that we’re used to now, we might see unsynchronized patches as each species changes over the course of the season.”

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Pocket paradigms

To accept the full consequences of the degradation of the environment, the explosion of incarceration, the creeping militarization, the dismantling of democracy, the commodification of culture, the contempt for the real, the culture of impunity among the powerful and the zero tolerance towards the weak, requires a courage that seems beyond us. We do not know how to look honestly at the wreckage without an overwhelming sense of surrender; far easier to just keep dancing and hope someone else fixes it all.

Yet, in a perverse way, our predicament makes life simpler. We have clearly lost what we have lost. We can give up our futile efforts to preserve the illusion and turn our energies instead to the construction of a new time.

It is this willingness to walk away from the seductive power of the present that first divides the mere reformer from the rebel -- the courage to emigrate from one's own ways in order to meet the future not as an entitlement but as a frontier. - Sam Smith

Recovered history: The real Clinton story

Things the media forgets to tell you about the Clintons and the state that made them.

1960s

A federal investigation concludes that Hot Springs has the largest illegal gambling operations in the United States.

Clinton goes to Georgetown University where he finds a mentor in Professor Carroll Quigley. Quigley writes: "That the two political parties should represent opposed ideals and policies. . . is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical . . .The policies that are vital and necessary for America are no longer subjects of significant disagreement, but are disputable only in detail, procedure, priority, or method. "

Bill Clinton, according to several agency sources interviewed by biographer Roger Morris, works as a CIA informer while briefly and erratically a Rhodes Scholar in England. Although without visible means of support, he travels around Europe and the Soviet Union, staying at the ritziest hotel in Moscow. During this period the US government is using well educated assets such as Clinton as part of Operation Chaos, a major attempt to break student resistance to the war and the draft. According to former White House FBI agent Gary Aldrich Clinton is told by Oxford officials that he is no longer welcome there.

Bill Clinton and his friend Jim McDougal get a job in the office of Senator J. William Fulbright. The Washington Post will later write, "McDougal was interested in making money while Clinton was obsessed with political stature."

After becoming involved in politics, Wellesley graduate Hillary Rodham will order her senior thesis sealed from public view.

1969


Bill Clinton fails to report to his duty station at the University of Arkansas ROTC. Reclassified 1-A on October 30, 1969, as enlistment with Army Reserves is revoked by Colonel E. Holmes.

Leading German journalist claims he was forced to write CIA propaganda under his name

RT, Russia -  German journalist and editor Udo Ulfkotte says he was forced to publish the works of intelligence agents under his own name, adding that noncompliance ran the risk of being fired.

“I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service,” Ulfkotte told Russia Insider. He made similar comments to RT in an exclusive interview at the beginning of October.

“One day the BND (German foreign intelligence agency) came to my office at the Frankfurter Allgemeine in Frankfurt. They wanted me to write an article about Libya and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi...They gave me all this secret information and they just wanted me to sign the article with my name,” Ulfkotte told RT.

“That article was how Gaddafi tried to secretly build a poison gas factory. It was a story that was printed worldwide two days later.”

Ulfkotte reveals all this and more in his book 'Bought Journalists,' where he mentions that he feels ashamed for what he has done in the past.

“It is not right what I have done in the past. To manipulate people, to make propaganda. And it is not right what my colleagues do and have done in the past because they are bribed to betray people not only in Germany, but all over Europe,” he told RT. “I was a journalist for 25 years and I was educated to lie, to betray, and not to tell the truth to the public.”

Zero Hedge - Carl Bernstein, who is best known for his reporting on Watergate, penned a 25,000 word article in Rolling Stone after spending six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the press during the Cold War years. Below is an excerpt, but you can read the entire thing here.
In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.

Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty-five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go-betweens with spies in Communist countries.

Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without?portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, fulltime CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad.

In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations.
Like any good intelligence agency, the CIA learned from its mistakes upon being exposed, and has since adjusted tactics. This is where the concept of “non-official cover” comes into play. The term was recently described by German journalist Udo Ulfkotte, in [his] blistering RT interview. Mr. Ulfkotte was previously a respected journalist for one of Germany’s main dailies, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, so he is no small fry.

“Non-official cover” occurs when a journalist is essentially working for the CIA, but it’s not in an official capacity. This allows both parties to reap the rewards of the partnership, while at the same time giving both sides plausible deniability. The CIA will find young journalists and mentor them. Suddenly doors will open up, rewards will be given, and before you know it, you owe your entire career to them. That’s essentially how it works.

Winners in Afghanistan: Corruption and the drug trade

 Paul Shinkman, US News - Corruption is tearing Afghanistan apart, fueled largely by an illegal drug trade that has reached new highs despite billions spent in U.S. counternarcotics efforts. And the U.S., leading up to a full withdrawal in 2016, does not have a plan to fight it.

These are the findings of two new reports released over the last few days by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, a congressionally mandated government watchdog tasked with overseeing the U.S.-led and funded effort to rebuild the war-torn nation.

October 21, 2014

What's happening

Colorado health officials want to ban marijuana brownies

reports that the European Union sets the poverty level at 60% of median income. That's $30,832 in US.

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Recovered history: The real Clinton story


Sam Smith - One of the ways that politicians running for election handle embarrassing stories is to get them out of the way early.  This may explain Monica Lewinsky, after nearly twenty years of quietude, suddenly coming out with a speech in which she essentially blames it all on the media.  But as the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro correctly notes: 
While it's easy to have compassion for a person who was misled by a powerful person at the tender age of twenty-four, one would think she would have a better perspective on the scandal she was involved in by age 40. Ms. Lewinsky wasn't a victim of cyber-bullying; she was a victim of having sexual relations with a person at or near the peak of power. She became news just as Donna Rice, Elizabeth Ray, Fanne Foxe and many others had before her. Matt Drudge didn't ruin her life just the same way that the Miami Herald did not ruin Donna Rice's life. Drudge simply reported a huge news story.
 Huge it was, but strangely it was but a tiny part of the Clinton story. Tipped off by a progressive student group in Arkansas – no, not a rightwing conspiracy as Hillary Clinton would later put it – I was one of the few reporters who dove into the saga during Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign and even before he had been nominated, I had found  over two dozen issues that had not been adequately investigated which I summed up in a chart in May of that year:

The real Clinton story

Things the media forgets to tell you about the Clintons and the state that made them.

1950s

When Bill Clinton is 7, his family moves from Hope, Arkansas, to the long-time mob resort of Hot Springs, AR.  Here Al Capone is said to have had permanent rights to suite 443 of the Arlington Hotel. Clinton's stepfather is a gun-brandishing alcoholic who loses his Buick franchise through mismanagement and his own pilfering. He physically abuses his family, including the young Bill. His mother is a heavy gambler with mob ties. According to FBI and local police officials, his Uncle Raymond -- to whom young Bill turns for wisdom and support -- is a colorful car dealer, slot machine owner and gambling operator, who (except when his house is firebombed) thrives on the fault line of criminality.

Paul Bosson, Hot Springs Prosecutor - In Hot Springs, growing up here, you were living a lie. You lived a lie because you knew that all of these activities were illegal. I mean, as soon as you got old enough to be able to read a newspaper, you knew that gambling in Arkansas was illegal, prostitution was illegal. And so you lived this lie, so you have to find some way to justify that to yourself and, you know, you justify it by saying, "Well," you know, "it's okay here."

Virginia Kelly, Clinton's mother (1923-1994) - Hot Springs was so different. We had wide-open gambling, for one thing, and it was so wide open that it never occurred to me that it was illegal - it really didn't - until it came to a vote about whether we were going to legalize gambling or not. I never was so shocked. 

Hot Springs before the Clintons

In the 1930s, Hot Springs represented the western border of organized crime in the U.S with the local syndicate headed by Owney Madden, a New York killer who had taken over the mob's resort in Arkansas. Owney Madden was an English born gang member who had been arrested more than 40 times in New York by the time he was 21. Madden got the assignment from his boss, Myer Lansky. The plan for Arkansas was modeled on an earlier one in which Governor Huey Long opened a Swiss bank account into which the mob would put $3 to $4 million annually for the right to run casinos in the state. Lansky then moved to Hot Springs where he hired Madden, former operator of Harlem's Cotton Club. According to one account, "The Hot Springs set up was so luxurious and safe that it became known as a place for gangsters on the lam to hole up until the heat blew over."

Hot Springs was where Lucky Luciano was arrested and brought back for trial prosecuted by Thomas E.Dewey. According to one account, "Dewey proclaimed Luciano Public Enemy No 1, and a grand jury returned a criminal indictment against him that carried a maximum penalty of 1,950 years. . . He was arrested in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and extradited back to New York. There, in the New York State Supreme Court he was tried, and on June 7, the verdict of guilty was returned. Eleven days later, he was sentenced to a total of from 30-to-50 years in state prison. It was the longest sentence ever handed out for compulsory prostitution."

The Dice Man - There is evidence that many syndicate groups became involved in Hot Springs. Owney Madden was the overseer of everything and watched out for the New York mob's interests. Morris Kleinman, who was one of the founding gangsters of the Cleveland syndicate spent much time in Hot Springs. It is rumored that the Cleveland boys had pieces of the profits from Hot Springs gambling. Johnny Roselli, an "upper level" member of the Chicago mob was a silent partner in many Hot Springs casinos in the 1940's and 1950's, as was Frank Costello. All of these groups used local operators as "fronts", a system perfected by the Cleveland syndicate in Ohio, Florida, and Kentucky. Since Hot Springs was a very popular tourist spot, the command went out from the different syndicates that there should be no murders carried out in Hot Springs. This would be the rule in Las Vegas too. If bodies littered the streets like in Chicago, it would only hurt business. Also "petty" crimes like burglary and armed robbery were not to be tolerated. If the suckers weren't comfortable, they wouldn't come to Hot Springs.

Owney Madden laid the groundwork for gangsters on the lam to hide out in Hot Springs. The city had a resort-like atmosphere and elegant nightlife, with people coming and going all the time. This was the perfect situation to "hide" mobsters who couldn't be seen in their hometowns. Al Capone would stay at the Arlington Hotel when things got too hot in Chicago….

Fukushima update

Herald, Scotland -    A large swathe of land downwind of the four Fukushima Daiichi reactors smashed by a 15-metre tsunami in March 2011 is so contaminated by radioactivity that it will not be officially safe to return for more than 100 years.

Tens of thousands more who have left their homes outside the most contaminated zone will choose never to return because of the dangers.

... The explosions, meltdowns and leaks at Fukushima Daiichi triggered by an earthquake and tsunami three and a half years ago have hurt Japan deeply, triggering 2.2 million compensation claims, an £8 billion decontamination budget and dozens of legal suits. It’s a hurt that is going to take many decades to heal.

More than 30,000 square kilometres of northern Japan were contaminated by the huge clouds of radioactivity that belched into the air during the accident. More than 80,000 people were forced to evacuate from the areas closest to Fukushima Daiichi, and at least another 80,000 are reckoned to have voluntarily decided to flee their homes.

The official evacuation zone is divided into three different areas. In the least contaminated, furthest away from the nuclear plant, the Japanese government is hoping to allow 32,900 people to return soon.

In the second area there is twice or three times as much contamination, and no immediate plan to lift the ban on living there. But the government is hoping that, after decontamination work and natural radioactive decay, 23,300 people will be allowed home in years to come.

In the third area closest to the nuclear station, radiation levels are so high that experts say it will be more than 120 years before it will be safe for anyone to be allowed back. That means that the 24,700 who used to live there will all be dead before they can go home.

The natural gas leak problem

538 - About a third of the natural gas we consume is delivered to homes and businesses, where it fires appliances like furnaces, boilers, ovens and cooking stoves. To transport this gas, most urban areas have extensive networks of underground pipelines, many of which were built decades ago. Although big leaks are hard to miss (they smell), small leaks can go undetected. How much natural gas leaks out before it gets to the furnace in your basement? Until recently, no one had thought much about this.

But one research group has pioneered the study of urban gas leaks by driving around cities, first Boston and then Washington, D.C., with equipment that can sniff out natural gas leaking from pipelines. The researchers found plenty of leaks: more than 3,000 individual leaks in Boston and nearly 6,000 leaks in D.C. Although few were concentrated enough to be an explosion risk, all leaks warm the climate; natural gas is mostly methane, which has a stronger climate-warming effect than carbon dioxide in the short term, as I discussed in a recent article.

Every utility knows how much gas is being lost; it’s simply the difference between the amount of gas the utility purchases as the gas enters the city and the amount of gas the utility sells to its customers. But the cost of the lost gas is typically charged to the utility’s customers: Each of us pays a little bit on our gas bill to purchase gas that leaks into the atmosphere.

The Washington study assembled data from the 174 largest urban gas distribution systems in the United States and found a wide range of loss rates: 0 percent to 11 percent, with an average of 1.6 percent. (Note that a small quantity of the gas labeled as “lost” could be due to metering errors, rather than actual gas leaks.)

Plugging the leaks would be no small feat — urban gas pipelines across the country are decades old, and are just one of many items on America’s lengthy to-do list of repairs to aging infrastructure. As Andrew Flowers has reported on this site, we can’t afford all of these repairs in the current political and budgetary climate.

The results of the Boston study hint at one way to prioritize efforts to repair leaky urban gas pipeline systems. The Boston neighborhoods with the most gas leaks were also those with the most pipes made of cast iron, which is older and more prone to rust than newer pipeline materials. This suggests that cities with more cast-iron pipes are probably leaking more gas. Replacing these leaky cast-iron pipes would have multiple benefits: Reduced climate effects, increased safety and cost savings for customers.

Justin Bieber even pisses off the Vatican

Newser - Justin Bieber is apparently still not over his "annoying teenager" phase, and his latest unholy behavior reportedly got him reprimanded by the Vatican. CTV News reports that Bieber took a private after-hours tour of Vatican City earlier this month, including visits to the Vatican Museums and the Papal Apartments—and during the tour, staff scolded him for kicking a soccer ball around the halls of the historic buildings.

21 cities restrict sharing food with homeless

Al Jazeera - In the United States, 21 cities have restricted sharing food with homeless people through legislation or community pressure since January 2013, and about 10 other cities are in the process of doing so, the National Coalition for the Homeless said in a report.

“One of the most narrow-minded ideas when it comes to homelessness and food-sharing is that sharing food with people in need enables them to remain homeless,” the report said.

The report was released a day before Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was set to vote “on the city’s third ordinance this year that will target the life-sustaining activities of people experiencing homelessness,” the NCH said in a news release.

“If the biggest crimes we had to worry about in this country were sitting, sleeping (in public places) and eating and sharing food, we would be in a freaking good state,” said Paul Boden, director of Western Regional Advocacy Project, the organization that launched the Homeless Bill of Rights campaign, an ongoing movement to introduce legislation in California and Oregon to "overturn local laws targeted to remove people from public space."

355 months of record breaking temperatures

Washington Post - We learned from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that last September was the hottest of them all, out of 135 Septembers going back to 1880.The same was true for August 2014. And June of 2014. And May of 2014. What that means is that for each of these months, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature has never been higher, at least since we started recording these temperatures back in the presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes.

..For 355 months now (up through September), "every month on this planet has been warmer than the 20th century average," according to Jessica Blunden, a scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

This used to catch the eye of the Department of Justice

The five biggest U.S. airlines all increased their base fare on domestic flights in the past week,

Ebola stats

Who's winning the ISIS war?

Robert Fisk, Stop the War Coalition, UK -  Last month US warships fired $65.8m worth of Tomahawk missiles within just 24 hours: if we spent as promiscuously on Ebola cures, there would be no more Ebola.

So who is winning the war? Isis? Us? The Kurds (remember them?) The Syrians? The Iraqis? Do we even remember the war? Not at all. We must tell the truth. So let us now praise famous weapons and the manufacturers that begat them.

Share prices are soaring in America for those who produce the coalition bombs and missiles and drones and aircraft participating in this latest war which – for all who are involved (except for the recipients of the bombs and missiles and those they are fighting) – is Hollywood from start to finish.

Shares in Lockheed Martin – maker of the “All for One and One for All” Hellfire missiles – are up 9.3 per cent in the past three months. Raytheon – which has a big Israeli arm – has gone up 3.8 per cent. Northrop Grumman shares swooped up the same 3.8 per cent. And General Dynamics shares have risen 4.3 per cent. Lockheed Martin – which really does steal Alexandre Dumas’ Three Musketeers quotation on its publicity material – makes the rockets carried by the Reaper drones, famous for destroying wedding parties over Afghanistan and Pakistan, and by Iraqi aircraft.

And don’t be downhearted. The profits go on soaring. When the Americans decided to extend their bombing into Syria in September – to attack President Assad’s enemies scarcely a year after they first proposed to bomb President Assad himself – Raytheon was awarded a $251m contract to supply the US navy with more Tomahawk cruise missiles. Agence France-Presse, which does the job that Reuters used to do when it was a real news agency, informed us that on 23 September, American warships fired 47 Tomahawk missiles. Each one costs about $1.4m. And if we spent as promiscuously on Ebola cures, believe me, there would be no more Ebola.

Great thoughts ot Republicans

Debbie Dunnegan, the Republican recorder of deeds in Jefferson County, Missouri--south of St. Louis--asked her military friends on Facebook if they had the right to remove Obama from office since he was a "domestic enemy."

Jazz break

Thelonious Monk: Don't Blame Me

Pocket paradigms

The system that envelops us becomes normal by its mere mass, its ubiquitous messages, its sheer noise. Our society faces what William Burroughs called a biologic crisis -- "like being dead and not knowing it." The unwitting dead -- universities, newspapers, publishing houses, institutes, councils, foundations, churches, political parties -- reach out from the past to rule us with fetid paradigms from the bloodiest and most ecologically destructive century of human existence. What should be merely portraits on the wall of our memories run our lives still, like parents who retain perpetual hegemony over the souls of their children. - Sam Smith

Word

Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization -- G B Shaw

Bottom Line, Dember 2001

From 50 years of our overstocked archives

Sam Smith, December 2001 - The curable cause of the present disaster is not to be found in a cave in Afghanistan nor at a military headquarters in Palestine. Rather it is to be found in a half century of abusive American policy towards the Islamic world including a deadly, criminal embargo against Iraq; the permanent suppression of Palestinian statehood; the promotion, assassination and/or manipulation of a string of leaders against the best interests of peace and our own security; the covert employment (to our later regret) of the likes of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein; and our repeated refusal to listen to the nearly unanimous voice of the United Nations in general assembly. We have wantonly - and at enormous damage to our creditability, safety and honor - pursued the goals of militarists, CIA adventurists, the oil industry, the Israeli lobby, and the Ivy League imperialists of the Council on Foreign Relations - all mindlessly cheered on by a servile and slanted media.

We have absolutely nothing to gain by continuing to follow the self-serving, avaricious, and reckless goals of those who have caused our nation such hurt. By admitting that these policies have been wrong, we have nothing to lose but decades of bad advice and the shame that has accompanied it.

These policies have not been American policies in any indigenous sense; rather they have been the work of greedy corporations, arrogant intellectuals in search of machismo, violent militarists, and a stunningly uncritical press. Nowhere is the defense of Israeli aggression mentioned in the Constitution. Patrick Henry did not say, "Give me a pipeline or give me death." Nathan Hale did not declared, "I regret have but one life to give for hegemony in Eurasia."

In fact, no policy by any president has been more alien to American ideals than that now being pursued by George W. Bush. He is destroying our Constitution, bringing disgrace to our history, and endangering the entire planet.

Many say there is no other course, but this is absolutely false. One reason it doesn't seem so is because the media refuses to give time or space to other than apostles of violence and revenge. The voices of calm, reason, and rational resolution have been blacklisted by almost all the major media - including those supported by tax dollars and public contribution.

We can still stop the madness. All we need is enough humility to admit that our country has been wrong, enough rationality to understand that one does not eradicate evil by compounding it, and enough courage to oppose the evisceration of our liberties and values by those whose words do not reflect patriotism but blasphemy.

Or, on the other hand, we can condemn ourselves and our children to lives of fear, anger, and confusion - and perhaps even worse - all because our leaders were unwilling to act with the honor, decency, and sense of fair play that were once the hallmark of an American.