Blogging Left

With the darkness now covering the land, the progressive spirit of the Enlightenment is getting dimmer and dimmer. But at the same time, the blogosphere allows folks an alternative means of communication that allows the truth to be known and someday, the progressive agenda will be realized.

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

When I was an undergraduate, I read Escape From Freedom in an anthropology course, wow did I think that was cool stuff when I was 19, but how can you make a living doing that kind of stuff. Well, somehow I pursued an interdisciplinary education and trained to become a shrink, but with strong social and political values. (I did spend several years at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis. Well, somehow I got caught up in protesting the war in Viet Nam, moved from a more individualistic perspective to a sociological perspective, and voila, here I am, having made a career in sociology and what am I doing, Frankfurt School critical theory....yes maybe Nietzsche is right about eternal return. If interested in my professional work, see my website-tho it has not been updated lateley. I will soon have a volume of papers on alienatioun out. I am now working on a book on the carnivalization of our culture, how the degeneration of taste destroys the mind and fosters political indifference.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Voter Fraud in Florida and Ohio-NO SHIT

Voter Fraud in Florida and Ohio:

Kerry Won the Election by at least 1,7 Million Votes
by Brad Menfil 27 Nov 2004 3 December 2004
The URL of this article is:
Editor's Note:
A word of caution.
While the following text presents evidence which is not directly verifiable, Global Research, nonetheless, took the decision to bring this controversial text to the attention of our readers. Moreover, the author's identify is not known.
The relevance of this text, should be assessed in relation to the large body of documentation and research already conducted on electoral fraud in America.
In this regard, we refer the reader to Michael Keefer's extensive bibliography at:

Brad Menfil is not my real name. I work for the RNC. I fear reprisals if I'm found out.

The truth about this election is this: Florida and Ohio had to go for Bush in order for him to "win" the election. In reality he lost both states. In fact, he did not even win the popular vote. He lost the national popular vote by at least 1,750,000. This shows you the scale of the fraud.

The exit polls were not wrong. Kerry was the clear winner, but victory was snatched from him.

Florida first. The 200,000+ margin of victory for Bush made this state uncontestable. Everybody assumes that even with some fraud, Kerry could never have made up the difference in a recount. But Kerry actually won by about 750,000 votes. The numbers were changed by a computer program (in both electronic and scan-tron voting systems) called "KerryLite." "KerryLite" of course is not actual name of the program. The actual name is 11-5-18-18 etc. For additional encryption, the numbers were jumbled but I'm not sure in which order. The numbers replace the letters of the alphabet. For example, K is the eleventh letter of the alphabet.

So the if-then statement goes something like this: "if total true Kerry>total true Bush, Bush x 1.04x (.04 is a random number)(total true Kerry), total true Bush". The second part of the equation takes the total number of votes cast and subtracts the new Bush total, subtracts the third party totals and leaves the rest for Kerry.
Sometimes the program would also reduce third party votes and award them to Bush. And even where Bush legitimately won, he was still awarded additional votes. The big Democratic counties (Broward for example) went to Kerry because it had to appear that everything was on the up and up. It's interesting to see this unfold. Does anybody wonder why the Republican counties were mostly counted after the Democratic counties? You should wonder, and also know that this was no accident. The Bush team had to make up the votes as the night went on.

In Ohio, computer voting fraud, vote tossing and voter suppression were the main methods. Vote tossing was simply the removal of Kerry votes and some third party votes. In some areas, the Bush vs. Kerry votes were absurd. Nine to one, eight to two.
Voter suppression took the form of making voters stand in four hour long lines. This of course took place in Democratic areas. The simplest thing to do was to have too few voting machines. Sometimes that's all it takes. People eventually lose patience and leave without casting a vote.

In other states such as New Mexico, Nevada, Iowa and New Hampshire, Kerry's leads evaporated very quickly once the polls were shut down. Kerry only won New Hampshire, but barely. As it turned out, the lead was 6% for Kerry in that state and not enough fraudulent activity took place to flip the state to Bush.

So this will all come out and be known to everyone. Nothing this massive can be kept a secret. You're already beginning to see these "irregularities" and the whisper will become a roar.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Why Bush Won-Corn Pone vs Well Honed

Why Bush Won
By Dr. James J. Zogby t r u t h o u t Perspective
Tuesday 21 December 2004

While traveling in the Middle East, I'm hearing from Arab friends who are still deeply troubled over the outcome of the U.S. elections. "How could the American people reelect this man who has failed so badly and has betrayed American values?" was one of the more benign questions they asked me.

The question, of course, was referring to the unfinished fragile situation in Afghanistan, the unraveling mess in Iraq, the long neglected Palestinian crisis, and the reports of civil liberties problems in the U.S.

From the outside looking in at America, one might assume that in reelecting President Bush, American voters, fully aware of these situations, approved of those policies and decided to give the President a mandate to continue them for four more years. This, quite simply, was not the case.

It is important to note that many American voters, while concerned with the war and foreign policy in general, do not follow the news in any detail. And despite these concerns, they are not the worries that keep Americans up at night. Not Iraq, but, "will we have enough money to send Johnny to college next year," or, "do I trust Susie's new boyfriend," or, "will I be able to keep my job?" The lead story on most local television news stations and in most local newspapers is the car accident on Route 11, the fire on Main Street and topics like underage drinking.

In this setting, the Republican campaign was able to effectively manage information and perceptions about the more troublesome issues the President might have had to face in this election. Iraq and Afghanistan were presented as "freedom on the march" with violence the result of thugs and terrorists who are enemies of liberty. Bush was portrayed, as a strong wartime president whose resolve and strength would see us through this period of uncertainty, while Kerry was portrayed as too indecisive and weak to provide the leadership the world needs.

And despite coming from rather similar backgrounds, both were born in the Northeast of wealthy parents and educated at Yale, Bush was transformed into a regular guy, while Kerry was portrayed as an elitist who could not understand the needs of average Americans.

For me, one of the more compelling images to emerge from this year's Presidential contest was a rather simple event that explains a lot.

It was George W. Bush, shirtsleeves rolled, arms holding the sides of the podium, leaning in toward the crowd below and saying in that "down home" Texan accent he learned to use, "I ask you for your vote" or, "I'd really appreciate your vote."

While pundits continue to debate the importance of big issues or values in the outcome of the election, it would be a mistake to discount the powerful impact of the simple gesture of the President of the United States asking average voters for their support. That line never made the evening news, but repeated day in and day out at rallies across the country, it allowed Bush to connect with voters in a way no policy speech could. It established a bond and created comfort.

As many voters indicated in interviews and polls, Bush was the guy they'd invite to a backyard barbeque, or the guy with whom they'd have a beer. He was, they felt, "a guy like me" and by implication, "a guy who understands me and what I care about."

A rule of thumb in politics is that when Democrats lose the "he's the guy like me" voters, they can't win, because this group of middle class working families is part of the Democrats' core vote.

So how did Bush, whose actual policies did not serve the interests of this constituency, win their support? He asked for it and Kerry did not.

Kerry should have known better. The importance of asking was, after all, one of the lessons taught by the legendary Speaker of the House of Representatives "Tip" O'Neill, from Kerry's home state of Massachusetts. To make his point, O'Neill would tell the story of his shock at learning that his long-time next-door neighbor didn't vote for him. When he asked her why, she replied, "Because you never asked me." As he would elaborate, this act of asking forms a bond between the candidate and his constituents. It says, "I'm not above you. I need you."

Now I'm not saying that issues didn't matter, or that insecurity resulting from terrorism or concerns about changing mores weren't real concerns to some voters. But at the end of the day, with many voters, neither issues nor interests mattered as much as trust and comfort. They voted for the guy who "seemed" more like them, for the guy who asked for their vote.

It sounds simple and it is. So don't read too much into this election. Post-election polls show that Americans still disapprove of the war, want the U.S. to pursue a more balanced foreign policy and aren't happy with the President's handling of foreign affairs and the economy. But they liked Bush more than Kerry and that's all it took to win not a mandate, but 51% of the vote.

Dr. James J. Zogby is the President of the Arab American Institute. For comments or information, contact or visit

Sunday, December 19, 2004


The risks of the al-Zarqawi myth

by Scott RitterTuesday 14

December 2004 12:50 PM GMT
An interesting phenomenon is taking place today in the Iraqi city of Falluja.
For months now, the Bush administration had been building up the image of a massive network of foreign terrorists using Falluja as a base for their terror attacks against targets associated with the interim government of Iyad Allawi and the US military which backs him.

One name appeared in western media accounts, over and over again: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a wanted Jordanian turned alleged "terror" mastermind. Almost overnight, Zarqawi's terrorist group, al-Qaida Holy War for Iraq, expanded its operations across the width and breadth of Iraq.

Al-Zarqawi was everywhere, his bombers striking in Mosul, Baghdad, Samarra, Najaf, Baquba, Ramadi and Falluja. Islamist websites published accounts of al-Zarqawi's actions, and the western media, together with western intelligence services, ran with these stories, giving them credibility. The al-Zarqawi legend, if one can call it that, was born.

The problem is, there is simply no substance to this legend, as US marines are now finding out. Rather than extremist foreign fighters battling to the death, the marines are mostly finding local men from Falluja who are fighting to defend their city from what they view as an illegitimate occupier. The motivations of these fighters may well be anti-American, but they are Iraqi, not foreign, in origin.
There is, indeed, evidence of a foreign presence. But they were not the ones running the show in Falluja, or elsewhere for that matter. As a result, the US-led assault on Falluja may go down in history as the tipping point for the defeat of the US occupation of Iraq. The January 2005 elections are now very much in doubt, and anti-coalition violence has erupted throughout Iraq (including from sources claiming to be aligned with - no surprise - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi).

Reflecting back, one cannot help but wonder if al-Zarqawi was used as a lure to trap the Americans into taking this action. On the surface, the al-Zarqawi organisation seems too good to be true. A single Jordanian male is suddenly running an organisation that operates in sophisticated cells throughout Iraq. No one man could logically accomplish this. But there is an organisation that can - the Mukhabarat (intelligence) of Saddam Hussein.

A critical element of this resistance was to generate chaos and anarchy that would destabilise any US-appointed Iraqi governmentAccording to former Iraqi intelligence personnel I have communicated with recently, the Mukhabarat, under instructions from Saddam Hussein, had been preparing for some time before the invasion of Iraq on how to survive, resist and defeat any US-led occupation of Iraq. A critical element of this resistance was to generate chaos and anarchy that would destabilise any US-appointed Iraqi government.

Another factor was to shift the attention of the US military away from the true heart of the resistance - Saddam's Baathist loyalists - and on to a fictional target that could be manipulated in an effort to control the pace, timing and nature of the US military response.

According to these sources, the selection of al-Zarqawi as a front for these actions was almost too easy. The Bush administration's singling out of al-Zarqawi prior to the war, highlighted by Colin Powell's presentation to the Security Council in February 2003, made the Jordanian an ideal candidate to head the Mukhabarat's disinformation effort.

The Mukhabarat was desperate for a way to divert attention from the fact that it was behind the attacks against Iraqi civilians. Iraqis killing Iraqis would turn the public against the resistance. It needed a foreign face, and al-Zarqawi provided it. A few planted CD disks later, and the al-Zarqawi myth was born.

In its attempts to use the al-Zarqawi myth to distract and defeat the US military and the interim government of Iyad Allawi, the Mukhabarat is engaged in a dangerous game. In embracing the al-Zarqawi myth, the Mukhabarat has engaged the forces of Islamist activism to a degree never before seen in modern-day Iraq.
Having created a fiction, there is a potential danger of it becoming a realityAccording to my contacts, the goal in creating a foreign Islamist face for the violence taking place in Iraq is to get the Iraqi populace to turn away from Iyad Allawi and the US military as a source of stability, and endorse the return of the Baathists (under a new guise, to be sure), who would then deal with the Islamists by shutting down an operation the Mukhabarat thinks they control.
But engaging these activists may not be without cost. Having created a fiction, there is a potential danger of it becoming a reality. Al-Zarqawi may not be the real force behind the anti-US resistance in Iraq, but many now, in Iraq and throughout the Muslim world, believe him to be.

Having created this giant the Mukhabarat may not be able to control it. The real danger in Iraq is not the inevitable defeat of the United States and the interim government of Iyad Allawi, but the fact that the longer it takes for the United States to realise that victory cannot be achieved, the more emboldened the Islamists become.

Right now, the Mukhabarat controllers of the al-Zarqawi network think themselves clever as they watch the US military play into their hands through the destruction of Falluja, and the futile search for a phantom menace.
But the tragedy that is the war in Iraq is far from over, and it may very well be that it is al-Zarqawi and his followers, and not the Baathist Mukhabarat, who will have the last laugh. And, as always, it will be the people of Iraq who will pay the price.

Scott Ritter was a senior UN arms inspector in Iraq between 1991 and 1998. He is now an independent consultant.
AljazeeraBy Scott Ritter
You can find this article at:

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Politics as Showbiz

Politics as Showbiz

One of the primary themes of the Frankfurt School as well as the Birmingham tradition is the means through which hegemony is attained, not just the content of media, but its format and specific form. Sort of Adorno and Hall, meet McLuhan and Postman. Anyhow, when you wanna know why the Nazis won in 33, or Repugs in 04, they put on a better show. Remember Bonzo goes to Washington ? Now its "Top Gun" (Bottom Mind) with wonderjock who runs Washington. Why....its the media in general, esp TV entertainment called journalism, its corporatization, and thus its great bias to Rupugnicans. Anyhow, from Daily Kos:

Politics as Showbizby

The "showbiz" component of politics:

What drives the news media, particularly TV, is action and spectacle and the right is just better at providing it. The southern style preachers, in particular, put on a helluva show. I have always believed that this was the key to Clinton's survival as well. He was a media star as much as a politician. And after 9/11, George W. Bush became one too.
It is entirely possible that the economy is going to seriously go to hell in a handbasket, which always tends to make people get serious --- it's not very glamorous to go broke --- but in the meantime we are going to have to face the reality that liberals are severely charisma challenged and haven't figured out how to disarm the other side. One of the reasons, I believe, that we are so often underrepresented on these screamer shows is that we don't have very many people who can play the role of angry advocate. I keep thinking that this barking heads and playing against type format (dozens of African American Republican mouthpieces, for instance) would grow stale. But, I don't see any signs of it losing favor at the moment. In fact, our new lukewarm war makes verbal combat more fashionable than ever.
It's possible that Hollywood will become gunshy after all this criticism of their political activity, but I would hope that the Democrats would at least prevail upon them for some help in the presentation department. Our people do great on the Lehrer News Hour and I and 140 other people in the country tune in religiously. But that's not where the action is. They can say what they will about Michael Moore but he gets people's attention, doesn't he? In this noise fest we call a media, that's half the battle.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Proof of Ohio Election Fraud Exposed By William Rivers Pitt

A long post, for complete info go to website:
Affidavit of Evelyn RobersonLawmaker Seeks Inquiry Into Ohio Vote
Proof of Ohio Election Fraud Exposed By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t Report
Wednesday 15 December 2004
Among activists and investigators looking into allegations of vote fraud in the 2004 Presidential election, the company always mentioned was Diebold and its suspicious electronic touch-screen voting machines. It is Diebold that has multiple avowed Republicans on its Board of Directors. It was Diebold that gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Bush’s election campaign. It was Diebold CEO Walden O’Dell who vowed to deliver Ohio’s electoral votes to Bush.
As it turns out, everyone was looking the wrong way. The company that requires immediate and penetrating scrutiny is Triad Systems.
Triad is owned by a man named Tod Rapp, who has also donated money to both the Republican Party and the election campaign of George W. Bush. Triad manufactures punch-card voting systems, and also wrote the computer program that tallied the punch-card votes cast in 41 Ohio counties last November. This Triad company graphic displays the counties where their machines are used:

Given the ubiquity of the Triad voting systems in Ohio, the allegations that have been leveled against this company strike to the heart of the assumed result of the 2004 election.
Earlier this week, the allegations against triad were first raised by Green Party candidate David Cobb, who testified at a hearing held in Columbus, Ohio by Rep. John Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Startling new revelations-Ohio

Startling new revelations highlight rare Congressional hearings on Ohio Vote

Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman

December 13, 2004

Startling new revelations about Ohio's presidential vote have been uncovered as Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee join Rev. Jesse Jackson in Columbus, the state capital, on Monday, Dec. 13, to hold a rare field hearing into election malfeasance and manipulation in the 2004 vote. The Congressional delegation will include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, and others.

Taken together, the revelations show Republicans – in state and county government, and in the Ohio Republican Party – were determined to undermine and suppress Democratic turnout by a wide variety of methods.

The revelations were included in affidavits gathered for an election challenge lawsuit filed Monday at the Ohio Supreme Court. Ohio's Republican Electoral College representatives are also to meet at noon, Monday, at the State House, even though the presidential recount, requested by the Green and Libertarian Parties, is only beginning the same day.

On Sunday, John Kerry spoke with Rev. Jesse Jackson and urged him to take an more active role in investigating the irregularities and ensuring a fair and impartial recount. Kerry said there were three areas of inquiry that should be addressed: 92,000 ballots that recorded no vote for president; qualifying and counting provisional ballots; and supported an independent analysis of the software and set-up of the optical scan voting machines.

What follows are excerpts from some of the affidavits for the election challenge.
- In Warren County, where election officers declared a homeland security emergency on Election Day, and barred reporters and others from watching the vote count, it now has been revealed that county employees were told the previous Thursday they should prepare for the Election Day lockdown. That disclosure suggests the lockdown was a political decision, not a true security risk. Moreover, statements also describe how ballots were left unguarded and unprotected in a warehouse on Election Day, and they were hastily moved after county officials received complaints.

- In Franklin County, where Columbus is located, the election director, Matt Damschroder, misinformed a federal court on Election Day when he testified the county had no additional voting machines – in response to a Voting Rights Act lawsuit brought by the state Democratic Party that minority precincts were intentionally deprived of machines. It now appears as many as 81 voting machines were being held back, out of 2,866 available, according to recent statements by Damschroder and Bill Anthony, the chairman of the Franklin County Board of Elections. The shortage of machines in Democratic-leaning districts lead to long lines and thousands of people leaving in frustration and not voting. Damschroder's contradictory statements raise the possibility of perjury.

- Also in Franklin County, a worker at the Holiday Inn observed a team of 25 people who called themselves the "Texas Strike Force" using payphones to make intimidating calls to likely voters, targeting people recently in the prison system. The "Texas Strike Force" members paid their way to Ohio, but their hotel accommodations were paid for by the Ohio Republican Party, whose headquarters is across the street. The hotel worker heard one caller threaten a likely voter with being reported to the FBI and returning to jail if he voted. Another hotel worker called the police, who came but did nothing.

- In Knox County, students at Kenyon College, a liberal arts school, stood in line for up to 11 hours, because only one voting machine was in use. However, at nearby Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, there were ample voting machines and no lines. This suggests the GOP shorting of voting machines was a more widespread tactic than just targeting inner-city neighborhoods.

- Reports in sworn affadavits affirm numerous instances of direct official interference with the right to vote. In Warren County, Democrats were being targeted and forced to use provisional ballots, even if they had proper identification. These ballots were then subjected to more rigorous standards to be counted than were other ballots. In a half-dozen precincts in Franklin County, people who were not inside polling places by 7:30 PM were told to leave - even if they had waited in line for hours. This is a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Sworn affidavits also confirmed reports of old voter rolls being used, meaning that new voters were not on the list and would be given provisional ballots, if allowed to vote at all.

Affidavits were also filed in support of the election challenge suit raising questions about manipulating exit poll results and computer tabulation of county and statewide votes.

In one exit poll affidavit, Jonathan David Simon, an expert witness, notes that at 12:53 a.m. the exit polls altered the projected winner – even though the same number of votes had been cast. "Although each update reports the same number of respondents (872), the reported results differ significantly, with the latter (12:53 a.m.) exit poll results apparently having been brought into congruence with the tabulated vote results." In other words, the exit polls were made to conform to a political decision to declare Bush the victor.

Another exit poll affidavit, filed by Ron Paul Baiman, an economist and statistician at the University of Illinois and University of Chicago, said the swing in national exit poll results, recorded at 12:33 a.m., when Kerry was winning with 50.8 percent of the vote, to Bush winning with 51.2 percent, was, "in lay terms, impossible." "This is more than a 100 percent swing in the other direction of the exit poll margin, he said. "There is less than a one in 25,000,000 (1/25,507,308) chance of this occurring." Another affidavit by Richard Hayes Phillips, a geomorphology Ph.D. from University of Oregon with a special expertise in spotting anomalous data, found dramatic examples of erroneous voting patterns – with votes taken away from Kerry - that can only be explained by computer manipulation.

For instance, in 16 precincts in Cleveland, he found votes that were shifted from Kerry to other candidates. In at least 30 precincts, there was ultra-low voter turnout reported – as low as 7.1 percent or 13.05 percent – and seven entire wards where total turnout was below 50 percent. He writes, "Kerry won Cleveland with 83.27 percent of the vote to 15.88 percent for Bush. If voter turnout were really 60 percent of registered voters, as seems likely based on turnout in other major cities of Ohio, rather than 49.89 percent as reported, Kerry's margin of victory in Cleveland has been wrongly reduced by 22,000 votes."

Phillips points to other counties where has says "there is compelling evidence of fraud." In Miami County early on election night, when 31,620 votes had been counted, and later, when 50,235 votes were counted, "Kerry had exactly the same percentage, 33.92 percent, and the percentage for George Bush was almost exactly the same, dropping by 0.03 percent from 65.80 to 65.77 percent. The second set of returns gave Bush a margin of exactly 16,000 votes, giving cause to question the integrity of the central counting device for the optical scan machines. "

He cites many other examples, but summarizes his findings: "It is my professional opinion that John Kerry's margins of victory were wrongly reduced by 22,000 votes in Cleveland, by 17,000 votes in Columbus, and by as many as 7,000 votes in Toledo. It is my further professional opinion that John Kerry's margins of defeat in Warren, Butler, and Clermont Counties were inflated by as many as 37,000 votes in the aggregate, and in Miami County by as many as 6,000 votes. There are still 92,672 uncounted regular ballots that, based upon the analysis set forth of the election results from Dayton and Cincinnati, may be expected to break for John Kerry by an overwhelming margin. And there are still 14,441 uncounted provisional ballots." --Bob Fitrakis, Steve Rosenfeld and Harvey Wasserman are co-authors of OHIO'S STOLEN ELECTION: VOICES OF
THE DISENFRANCHISED, 2004, upcoming from

Sunday, December 12, 2004


December 12, 2004
The Plot Against Sex in America

WHEN they start pushing the panic button over "moral values" at the bluest of TV channels, public broadcasting's WNET, in the bluest of cities, New York, you know this country has entered a new cultural twilight zone.
Just three weeks after the election, Channel 13 killed a spot for the acclaimed movie "Kinsey," in which Liam Neeson stars as the pioneering Indiana University sex researcher who first let Americans know that nonmarital sex is a national pastime, that women have orgasms too and that masturbation and homosexuality do not lead to insanity. At first WNET said it had killed the spot because it was "too commercial and too provocative" - a tough case to make about a routine pseudo-ad interchangeable with all the other pseudo-ads that run on "commercial-free" PBS. That explanation quickly became inoperative anyway. The "Kinsey" distributor, Fox Searchlight, let the press see an e-mail from a National Public Broadcasting media manager stating that the real problem was "the content of this movie" and "controversial press re: groups speaking out against the movie/subject matter" that might bring "viewer complaints."

Maybe in the end Channel 13 got too many complaints about its own cowardice because by last week, in response to my inquiries, it had a new story: that e-mail was all a big mistake - an "unfortunate" miscommunication hatched by some poor unnamed flunky in marketing. This would be funny if it were not so serious - and if it were an anomaly. Yet even as the "Kinsey" spot was barred in New York, a public radio station in North Carolina, WUNC-FM, told an international women's rights organization based in Chapel Hill that it could not use the phrase "reproductive rights" in an on-air announcement. In Los Angeles, five commercial TV channels, fearing indecency penalties, refused to broadcast a public service spot created by Los Angeles county's own public health agency to counteract a rising tide of syphilis. Nationwide, the big three TV networks all banned an ad in which the United Church of Christ heralded the openness of its 6,000 congregations to gay couples.
Such rapid-fire postelection events are conspiring to make "Kinsey" a bellwether cultural event of this year. When I first saw the movie last spring prior to its release, it struck me as an intelligent account of a half-forgotten and somewhat quaint chapter in American social history. It was in the distant year of 1948 that Alfred Kinsey, a Harvard-trained zoologist, published "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male," a dense, clinical 804-page accounting of the findings of his obsessive mission to record the sexual histories of as many Americans as time and willing volunteers (speaking in confidentiality) would allow. The book stormed the culture with such force that Kinsey was featured in almost every major national magazine; a Time cover story likened his book's success to "Gone With the Wind." Even pop music paid homage, with the rubber-faced comic Martha Raye selling a half-million copies of "Ooh, Dr. Kinsey!" and Cole Porter immortalizing the Kinsey report's sizzling impact in a classic stanza in "Too Darn Hot."
Though a Gallup poll at the time found that three-quarters of the public approved of Kinsey's work, not everyone welcomed the idea that candor might supplant ignorance and shame in the national conversation about sex. Billy Graham, predictably, said the publication of Kinsey's research would do untold damage to "the already deteriorating morals of America." Somewhat less predictably, as David Halberstam writes in "The Fifties," The New York Times at first refused to accept advertising for Kinsey's book.

Such history, which seemed ancient only months ago, has gained in urgency since Election Day. As politicians and the media alike pander to that supposed 22 percent of "moral values" voters, we're back where we came in. Bill Condon, who wrote and directed "Kinsey," started working on this project in 1999 and didn't gear it to any political climate. The film is a straightforward telling of its subject's story, his thorniness and bisexuality included, conforming in broad outline to the facts as laid out by Kinsey's most recent biographers. But not unlike Philip Roth's "Plot Against America," which transports us back to an American era overlapping that of "Kinsey," this movie, however unintentionally, taps into anxieties that feel entirely contemporary. That Channel 13 would even fleetingly balk at "Kinsey" as The Times long ago did at the actual Kinsey is not a coincidence.
As for the right-wing groups that have targeted the movie (with or without seeing it), they are the usual suspects, many of them determined to recycle false accusations that Kinsey was a pedophile, as if that might somehow make the actual pedophilia scandal in one church go away. But this crowd doesn't just want what's left of Kinsey's scalp. (He died in 1956.) Empowered by that Election Day "moral values" poll result, it is pressing for a whole host of second-term gifts from the Bush administration: further rollbacks of stem-cell research, gay civil rights, pulchritude sightings at N.F.L. games and, dare I say it aloud, reproductive rights for women. "If you have weaklings around you who do not share your biblical values, shed yourself of them," wrote Bob Jones III, president of the eponymous South Carolina university, to President Bush after the election. "Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil." Such is the perceived clout of this Republican base at government agencies like the F.C.C. that it need only burp and 66 frightened ABC affiliates instantly dump their network's broadcast of that indecent movie "Saving Private Ryan" on Veterans Day.

In the case of "Kinsey," the Traditional Values Coalition has called for a yearlong boycott of all movies released by Fox. (With the hypocrisy we've come to expect, it does not ask its members to boycott Fox's corporate sibling in the Murdoch empire, Fox News.) But such organizations don't really care about "Kinsey" - an art-house picture that, however well reviewed or Oscar-nominated, will be seen by a relatively small audience, mostly in blue states. The film is just this month's handy pretext for advancing the larger goal of pushing sex of all nonbiblical kinds back into the closet and undermining any scientific findings, whether circa 1948 or 2004, that might challenge fundamentalist sexual orthodoxy as successfully as Darwin challenged Genesis. (Though that success, too, is in doubt: The Washington Post reports that this year some 40 states are dealing with challenges to the teaching of evolution in public schools.)

"Kinsey" is an almost uncannily helpful guide to how these old cultural fault lines have re-emerged from their tomb, virtually unchanged. Among Kinsey's on-screen antagonists is a university hygiene instructor who states with absolute certitude that abstinence is the only cure needed to stop syphilis. Sound familiar? In tune with the "moral values" crusaders, the Web site for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has obscured and downplayed the important information that condoms are overwhelmingly effective in preventing sexually transmitted diseases. (A nonprofit organization supporting comprehensive sex education, Advocates for Youth, publicized this subterfuge and has been rewarded with three government audits of its finances in eight months.) Elsewhere in "Kinsey," we watch desperate students pepper their professor with a series of uninformed questions: "Can too much sex cause cancer? Does suppressing sex lead to stuttering? Does too much masturbation cause premature ejaculation?" Though that sequence takes place in 1939, you can turn on CNN in December 2004 and watch Genevieve Wood of the Family Research Council repeatedly refuse - five times, according to the transcript - to disown the idea that masturbation can cause pregnancy.

Ms. Wood was being asked about that on "Crossfire" because a new Congressional report, spearheaded by the California Democrat Henry Waxman, shows that various fictions of junk science (AIDS is spread by tears and sweat, for instance) have turned up as dogma in abstinence-only sex education programs into which American taxpayers have sunk some $900 million in five years. Right now this is the only kind of sex education that our government supports, even though science says that abstinence-only programs don't work - or may be counterproductive. A recent Columbia University study found that teens who make "virginity pledges" to delay sex until marriage still have premarital sex at a high rate (88 percent) rivaling those that don't, but are less likely to use contraception once they do. It's California, a huge blue state that refuses to accept federal funding for abstinence-only curriculums, that has a 40 percent falloff in teenage pregnancy over the past decade, second only to Alaska.

No matter what the censors may accomplish elsewhere, the pop culture revolution since Kinsey's era is in little jeopardy: in a nation of "Desperate Housewives," "Too Darn Hot" has become the national anthem. A movie like "Kinsey" will do just fine; the more protests, the more publicity and the larger the box office. But if Hollywood will always survive, off-screen Americans are being damaged by the cultural war over sex that is being played out in real life. You see that when struggling kids are denied the same information about sexuality that was kept from their antecedents in the pre-Kinsey era; you see that when pharmacists in more and more states enforce their own "moral values" by refusing to fill women's contraceptive prescriptions and do so with the tacit or official approval of local officials; you see it when basic information that might prevent the spread of lethal diseases is suppressed by the government because it favors political pandering over scientific fact.

While "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" was received with a certain amount of enthusiasm and relief by most Americans in 1948, the atmosphere had changed radically by the time Kinsey published his follow-up volume, "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female," just five years later. By 1953 Joe McCarthy was in full throttle, and, as James H. Jones writes in his judicious 1997 Kinsey biography, "ultra-conservative critics would accuse Kinsey of aiding communism by undermining sexual morality and the sanctity of the home." Kinsey was an anti-Soviet, anti-New Deal conservative, but that didn't matter in an America racked by fear. He lost the principal sponsor of his research, the Rockefeller Foundation, and soon found himself being hounded, in part for his sympathetic view of homosexuality, by the ambiguously gay homophobes J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson. Based on what we've seen in just the six weeks since Election Day, the parallels between that war over sex and our own may have only just begun.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Mark Crispin Miller on NYT Ignoring Vote Fraud


From Author and Professor Mark Crispin Miller
Dear Americans Concerned About the Preservation of Democracy:
As you know (and way too many others don't), Rep. John Conyers recently held open hearings in the US Congress, on the all-important subject of the voting in Ohio on November 2nd. There was a lot of harrowing testimony on the tricks and tactics used there by Bush/Cheney to suppress as many Democratic votes as possible, and to exaggerate Ohio's electoral support for the regime. It was a public inquiry of towering importance, and not only because it was (allegedly) Ohio that gave Bush just enough electoral votes to win. Ohio matters more than anyone can say, because what went down there went down not only in Ohio.
There is in fact abundant evidence--strong evidence--suggesting that Team Bush pursued that crooked twofold strategy throughout the nation. In other words, they used a broad variety of means to trash the Kerry vote and to exaggerate the Bush vote, and did so everywhere they could. Now, this being a democratic republic (or so we've all been taught), you'd think that that the Conyers'charges -- and the hearing -- would get a lot of coverage in the press.And yet the New York Times, our nation's "newspaper of record," did not even mention it, much less cover it. The hearings were on Wednesday. There was no word of it in Thursday's paper, nor any word, belatedly, in Friday's. (Thursday's Times did run a couple of long stories on the electoral situation in Ukraine, but none on the quite similar, and -- to Americans -- vastly more important story here at home.)
Such silence is bizarre. It's deeply wrong. In fact, it's un-American. For what public issue could there be that matters quite as much as the integrity of our elections? What, then, could possibly explain, or excuse, the Times's failure even to note Conyers' hearings? For that matter, what explains the Times's thorough indifference to this crucial subject? Like all American news outlets, the Times is obligated, by the First Amendment, to attempt to keep its readership informed about the government, so that the government is answerable to us, its ultimate custodians. Rather than deal squarely with the ever-mounting evidence of massive fraud by the Republicans, the Times instead has merely ridiculed those raising questions, as if such patriotic citizens were laughably insane. Soon after Election Day, several other US papers likewise tried to laugh off the innumerable glitches and anomalies that mainly favored the Republicans. For instance, the Baltimore Sun and Boston Globe at first derided the whole issue -- and then recanted, in effect, by running serious articles about the growing likelihood of systematic fraud. And yet the Times has never come around. Except for one stern editorial, our leading national daily has all but ignored the controversy raging everywhere; and as the Times has gone, of course, so has the TV news, which also downplayed the Conyers' hearings, or tuned them out entirely. (The hearings did run, uninterrupted, on C-SPAN.) Let's not let them get away with it. We should do all we can to get the Times's attention, so that it will cover this enormous story thoroughly, upfront and every day. Let them hear from you, right now.Contact them by phone, by fax, by email; by mail, or, if you're in New York, just drop in briefly to express your views about the paper's shocking irresponsibility. If you're a subscriber, do consider canceling that subscription--and be sure to tell them why. Let them know how much you care about American democracy, which they have put at risk, because they haven't done their job. Sincerely,Mark Crispin MillerMark Crispin Miller is author of many books, including "The Bush Dyslexicon" and "Cruel and Unusual: Bush/Cheney's New World Order." He is the writer and star of "A Patriot Act" [LINK]

Thursday, December 09, 2004

20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA


20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA

by Angry Girl

Did you know....

1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two
companies: Diebold and ES&S.

2. There is no federal agency with regulatory
authority or oversight of the U.S. voting machine

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president of
ES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bush
campaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that he
was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral
votes to the president next year."

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairman
of ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted by
ES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected with
the Bush family, was recently caught lying about his
ownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of George
W. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer in
the U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have no
paper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no
way to verify that the data coming out of the machine
is the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, and
ticket machines, all of which log each transaction and
can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

12. Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as senior
managers and developers to help write the central
compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in
30 states.,2645,61640,00.html

13. Jeff Dean, Diebold's Senior Vice-President and
senior programmer on Diebold's central compiler code,
was convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the first

14. Diebold Senior Vice-President Jeff Dean was
convicted of planting back doors in his software and
using a "high degree of sophistication" to evade
detection over a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were
allowed in the polls in Ohio.

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines
because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold's
claims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a
chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here <>.),2645,63298,00.html

17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on
unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no paper

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machine
errors detected and reported in Florida went in favor
of Bush or Republican candidates.,2645,65757,00.html

19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is
the President's brother.

20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- again
always favoring Bush -- have been mathematically
demonstrated and experts are recommending further

If You Think we are Losing in Iraq-You Must be Mad

Whitewashing torture?

A veteran sergeant who told his commanding officers that he witnessed his colleagues torturing Iraqi detainees was strapped to a gurney and flown out of Iraq -- even though there was nothing wrong with him.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By David DeBatto

Dec. 8, 2004 On June 15, 2003, Sgt. Frank "Greg" Ford, a counterintelligence agent in the California National Guard's 223rd Military Intelligence (M.I.) Battalion stationed in Samarra, Iraq, told his commanding officer, Capt. Victor Artiga, that he had witnessed five incidents of torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees at his base, and requested a formal investigation. Thirty-six hours later, Ford, a 49-year-old with over 30 years of military service in the Coast Guard, Army and Navy, was ordered by U.S. Army medical personnel to lie down on a gurney, was then strapped down, loaded onto a military plane and medevac'd to a military medical center outside the country.

Although no "medevac" order appears to have been written, in violation of Army policy, Ford was clearly shipped out because of a diagnosis that he was suffering from combat stress. After Ford raised the torture allegations, Artiga immediately said Ford was "delusional" and ordered a psychiatric examination, according to Ford. But that examination, carried out by an Army psychiatrist, diagnosed him as "completely normal."

A witness, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Marciello, claims that Artiga became enraged when he read the initial medical report finding nothing wrong with Ford and intimidated the psychiatrist into changing it. According to Marciello, Artiga angrily told the psychiatrist that it was a "C.I. [counterintelligence] or M.I. matter" and insisted that she had to change her report and get Ford out of Iraq.

Documents show that all subsequent examinations of Ford by Army mental-health professionals, over many months, confirmed his initial diagnosis as normal.

An officer at the California Office of the Adjutant General in Sacramento, Calif., Sgt. Maj. Patrick Hammond, has known Ford for over 15 years during their service in the California National Guard. Hammond said, "I have never had any reason to question his honesty and I don't do so now." This reporter served in the military with Ford in Iraq for seven months and can also attest that he is sane and level-headed.

Ford, who has since left the military, claims that his superiors shipped him out of the country to prevent him from exposing the abusive behavior. "They were determined to protect their own asses no matter who they had to take down," he says.

Col. C. Tsai, a military doctor who examined Ford in Germany and found nothing wrong with him, told a film crew for Spiegel Television that he was "not surprised" at Ford's diagnosis. Tsai told Spiegel that he had treated "three or four" other U.S. soldiers from Iraq that were also sent to Landstuhl for psychological evaluations or "combat stress counseling" after they reported incidents of detainee abuse or other wrongdoing by American soldiers.

Artiga and other higher-ups in the 223rd M.I. Battalion deny Ford's charges. But in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib scandal, federal agencies including the Department of Defense, the Army's Criminal Investigation Command (CID), and the FBI are finally looking into them. The Department of the Army's Office of the Inspector General has launched an investigation, according to Ford and his attorney, Kevin Healy, who have been contacted by investigators. If Ford's allegations are proven, the Army would be faced with evidence that its prisoner abuse problem is even more widespread than previously acknowledged -- and that some of its own officers not only turned a blind eye to abuses but actively participated in covering them up.

The 223rd M.I. Battalion was one of the first divisions to enter Iraq after the U.S. "Shock and Awe" aerial bombardment ended, in mid-April 2003. (I also served in that unit in-country from April through October 2003. I met Ford in February 2003, at Fort Bragg, N.C., and continued to stay in contact with him until he was shipped out of the country. I have also since left the military.) The battalion's mission was to collect counterintelligence. Its agents, highly trained soldiers responsible for force protection and for investigating national security crimes committed against the Army, were divided into small units called Tactical Human Intelligence Teams, or THTs. Every day, these teams went out from their forward operating bases in Iraq and interacted with the local people in an effort to gather critical intelligence on such matters as the location of conventional and unconventional weapons and the whereabouts of the fugitives depicted on the Pentagon's 55-most-wanted playing cards. It was arguably one of the most sensitive and important jobs in the entire Iraqi theater of operations. As the team sergeant of his THT, Ford was second in command of his four-person team and responsible for training, discipline, logistics and supervision of day-to-day operations. He was also the team's designated combat life saver, or medic.

Ford spent his first weeks in Iraq at Balad Air Base, also known as Camp Anaconda, about 50 kilometers north of Baghdad along the Tigris. In early May, he was assigned to a THT that was headed for Samarra, another 20 kilometers to the northeast. An ancient trading center that dates to the Mesopotamian era, Samarra was known as a hotbed of Sunni Arab loyalists, ex-Baath Party officials, and Islamist extremists. The two-story police station the Army occupied was located in the center of town, closely surrounded by taller buildings, giving anyone who cared to fire on the Americans an excellent field in which to do so. And fire they did. Almost every night, Ford and his teammates would be forced to dive from their bunks for cover as mortar rounds rocked the compound. The concussions shook the foundation and broke whatever glass windows remained. Fortunately, the Iraqi mortar crews proved wildly inaccurate, and no Americans were killed, but several were wounded and the attacks never let up. There was immense pressure on the THT to find out who was behind the attacks and to supply the information to the "gunslingers" of the 4th Infantry Division. It was in that environment that Ford says he saw the incidents that led to the end of his long military career.

Late last summer I met Ford for lunch on a sunny afternoon at the Delta King Riverboat, which is tied to the docks in downtown Sacramento. Ford has returned to his longtime job as a corrections officer at Folsom Prison, and his wavy brown hair is longer than it was when I knew him in Iraq. He has spent the past year trying to clear his name, but apart from a few newspaper interviews he gave after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke last spring, he has not told his story to anyone until now.

Ford seemed calm and resolute as he talked about how the events that took place in Samarra contradicted everything he thought he knew about the military. For more than three decades, he said, he had always served with "people that I knew I could depend on when it really mattered. They were people that I would have sacrificed my life to save if need be, and I knew they would do the same for me, no questions asked."

He went on, "There were also rules and regulations to follow. Some of the rules applied only in peacetime, some only in time of war. Some always applied. You knew which was which. These simple, basic rules were pounded into your head from the day you got off the bus at basic training. You broke the rules, you paid the price. Period. Everyone knew that simple fact, and everyone accepted it."

But Ford said those rules were savagely broken in Samarra in June 2003. He described multiple incidents of what he called "war crimes" and "torture" of Iraqi detainees ranging in age from about 15 to 35. According to Ford, his teammates, three counterintelligence agents like himself -- one of them a woman -- systematically and repeatedly abused several Iraqi male detainees over a two-to three-week time period. Ford describes incidents of asphyxiation, mock executions, arms being pulled out of sockets, and lit cigarettes forced into detainee's ears while they were blindfolded and bound. These atrocities took place in an Iraqi police station, Ford said. His attempts to stop the abuse were met with either indifference or threats by his team leader, who was himself one of the abusers, according to Ford.

Ford clenched his fists tightly and shook his head slowly from side to side. "I guess one of the things that pisses me off most is the arrogance," he said. "The condescending attitude that my team had. Some of the medics, too. Saying things like 'So what, he's just another haji,' like they were scum or some kind of animal, really just pisses me off."

Ford said he was fighting a raging battle with himself over whether to report what he'd seen to his superiors at Anaconda or to confront the team leader one last time. He felt "sick inside" about the mistreatment of detainees, but he did not want to be a "rat," either. Having worked as a corrections officer for almost 20 years, Ford knew how he would be perceived among the troops if he snitched. "I didn't want to have to watch my back at the same time I was dodging mortar rounds from the Iraqis. I decided that I had to confront [the team leader] and tell him, in no uncertain terms, that I would not stand for any more of that kind of shit toward the detainees."

Ford said he found the team leader and had it out with him. "I told him that if there was ever a court-martial over these incidents, I would absolutely testify against him. I said that this kind of crap has to stop or else I would report it to Artiga." According to Ford, the team leader replied, "Fine, Greg, you do what you have to do." By then, Ford said, he'd "had enough." He told the team leader that he would be filing a complaint against him and the other agent as soon as possible. He said the team leader told him he was "crazy" and "seeing things" and no one would believe him anyway, so "knock yourself out."

The next day, Ford said he rode with the rest of his team down to Camp Anaconda, where the 223rd had its headquarters, as did the 205th M.I. Brigade, which was made infamous by the Abu Ghraib scandal. Both divisions were commanded by Col. Thomas Pappas. Upon his arrival, Ford said that he immediately went to the company headquarters and met with Artiga and 1st Sgt. John Vegilla. Ford said that it was clear that Artiga knew he was coming. "I told them that I wanted to request a formal investigation into allegations of war crimes committed by my team against Iraqi detainees. I said I wanted to request a removal of this whole team and their replacement by a senior team, because they're bringing the house down. He looked right at me and said, 'Nope, that never happened. You're delusional, you imagined the whole thing. And you've got 30 seconds to withdraw your complaint. If you do, it will be as if this conversation never took place.'" Ford refused, and Artiga told him to "get out of here" and that he would call him when the complaint was ready.

In an interview, Artiga denied making those statements. Vegilla did not respond to interview requests.

A few hours later, Marciello, a senior counterintelligence agent, arrived to accompany Ford from the transient tent where he was staying to company headquarters to see Artiga and Vegilla. The slight and bespectacled Marciello, who looks like a cross between Woody Allen and Wally Cox, recently retired from the National Guard after almost 35 years of service. According to Marciello, "Artiga then instructed Vegilla to take Ford's M-16 and ammunition away from him for safekeeping and said that he was revoking Ford's security clearance. He [Artiga] also said that I was being assigned to escort Ford 24 hours a day until further notice." Artiga then ordered Ford to report immediately to Capt. Angela Madera, an Army psychiatrist, at the base mental-health facility for a "combat stress evaluation." Marciello says he escorted Ford to his meeting with Madera.

According to Marciello, he waited outside Madera's office for approximately one hour while Madera interviewed Ford. After the interview, "I escorted Ford back to his tent and then stayed with him for the remainder of the day." To Marciello, Ford seemed frustrated at the situation but calm and under control.

Marciello remembers being summoned the next morning, June 16, to company headquarters by Artiga, who according to Marciello was "really pissed" about the report Madera had written regarding Ford. "He was pacing around in the office holding the report up," Marciello said. "Dr. Madera had diagnosed Ford as completely 'normal' and 'not a danger to himself or others.'" Artiga was "just livid," Marciello recalls. "He took me in tow over to meet with Madera. Just me and him. We practically ran over there. Once we got there, he held up her report and asked her what she thought she was doing. He walked right over to her and got right in her face. Then he told her that this report cannot stay the way it is. He said that she will change it to read that Ford is unstable and must be sent out of [the Iraqi] theater immediately. He then said something to the effect that this was a C.I. or M.I. matter and that he was telling her that she had better see to these changes right now."

Artiga denied pressuring Madera to change her diagnosis and said he did not recall whether Marciello or anyone else was in the room during the meeting.

According to Marciello, "Madera was really shook up by the encounter with Artiga ... She was trembling." With that, Marciello said, "Me and Artiga just up and left Madera's office and headed back to the company area. Artiga went back to the office and I went to find Ford." Marciello found Ford in his tent and related what had just occurred. "I told him to stay put and that I would return in a little while." It was the last time Marciello saw Greg Ford.

The Geneva Conventions signed by the United States and 114 other countries in 1949 give prisoners of war strict protections. They cannot be assaulted, photographed (except for counterintelligence purposes), threatened with physical harm, denied medical care and medication, or deprived of food, water, clothing or sleep. They are also entitled to have mail access and regular visits from the Red Cross or other humanitarian groups.

The photographs from Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad that became public in the spring showed interrogators flagrantly violating those conventions. Seven low-level soldiers have since been charged, with one conviction, but no one up the ladder has been held accountable. Meanwhile, it has become increasingly clear that the mistreatment at Abu Ghraib was symptomatic of a wider problem. The Department of Defense is currently investigating more than a hundred allegations of prisoner abuse. So far, not a single officer or high-ranking enlisted soldier has been charged in any of them.

There are striking parallels between the conditions at Abu Ghraib when the abuses took place and those at Samarra when Greg Ford says he saw his colleagues torturing detainees. Both facilities were suffering heavy casualties as the result of daily mortar attacks from an invisible enemy. In both cases, the command became increasingly frustrated at its inability to identify, locate and stop the attackers and -- bolstered by directives from top military brass to "set the conditions" for information collection -- allowed combat troops and military intelligence operatives to use harsh tactics. Both facilities were populated mostly by young reservists with no combat experience. The majority of detainees, meanwhile, were adolescents or old men of little to no intelligence value.

The M.I. units at both centers also shared a commanding officer, Col. Thomas Pappas, who arrived in Iraq sometime in the middle of June 2003 and formally took charge of the 205th M.I. Brigade at an elaborate change-of-command ceremony at Anaconda on July 1. The 205th comprises Ford's 223rd M.I. Battalion and the 519th M.I. Battalion, which played a part in the both the Abu Ghraib scandal and at least one detainee death in Afghanistan, resulting in criminal charges being filed. After Pappas ordered all members of the 205th to be present at his change-of-command ceremony, three soldiers from the 519th were killed in a vehicular accident while traveling through hostile territory from northern Iraq in order to attend.

The Army has already dealt with one case of abuse by soldiers stationed at Samarra. At a recent court-martial in Fort Hood, Texas, four enlisted soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division in Samarra were convicted of manslaughter for forcing two handcuffed Iraqi men to jump off a bridge over the Tigris River during an interrogation. One of the Iraqis drowned. The soldiers' commanding officer, a lieutenant colonel that regularly worked with agents of the 223rd, was administratively disciplined for helping to cover up the incident.

Not long after Marciello left him, Ford said, Madera, accompanied by an unknown male captain, entered Ford's tent and told him to get ready because he was going to be "medevac'd" to Germany immediately. "What the hell is going on here?" Ford remembered demanding, but Madera told him to "be quiet," that he "had to leave," and that she would explain once they were airborne. She escorted him to a waiting Humvee that took them to the base airstrip, where a C-130 was warming up on the tarmac.

"Madera ordered me to lie down on a gurney that had been in the rear of the Humvee so she could strap me down. I again asked what was going on, only this time a lot more pissed off. I said that I was perfectly able to walk." Ford said Madera insisted, telling him it was the order of "[Lt. Col. Timothy] Ryan and Artiga" that he be "bound and secured" when taken "out of country." "I saw that I had no choice and finally said OK, anything just to get the fuck out of there," Ford recalled. With the help of the male captain, who Ford said identified himself as a medical officer, Madera strapped him to the gurney.

Just then, Ford claimed, Ryan, Artiga's superior officer, pulled up in his Humvee and walked over to where Ford was lying on the gurney. "He looked down at me and said, 'Don't worry. We are going to get you the best treatment available.' I was enraged at that point, and it was a good thing I was strapped down. I just stared back at Ryan with looks that I hoped could kill, but I didn't say nothing. What was the point? He had won that round."

Ryan did not respond to interview requests for this story.

The propellers of the huge turboprop engines on the C-130 sent scorching blasts of superheated air back toward the group, almost hot enough to singe the skin on a face. (When I left Iraq from the same tarmac a few months later, I did get burned from the blasts.) As Ford's gurney sank into the steaming tarmac, Madera and the other medical officer wheeled him up the long ramp and into the aircraft's cavernous interior. Once they were airborne, Madera unstrapped Ford and motioned for him to sit next to her on one of the hard benches that run along the sides of the plane. "She told me that she was forced to get me out of Iraq ASAP by Ryan and Artiga, who she claimed were scared to death by what I might say. She also told me that she wanted me to get out of Iraq as soon as possible because she feared for my safety." Ford said Madera also told him, "These people are serious and very scary." She apologized for having orchestrated such an exit, but said there was no other way. "I told her that I understood, but felt as though I had just been kidnapped." According to Ford, Madera replied, "You were."

Madera did not respond to several requests to be interviewed for this story.

The C-130 took Ford to Kuwait, where he cooled his heels inside transient tents for two to three days and waited for the 223rd to issue him an order. The order never came -- in violation of Army regulations -- but eventually he boarded another aircraft, still accompanied by Madera and the other officer but now acting on his own volition, and flew to the Army Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany. "The first thing they kept asking me at Landstuhl was, 'Where are your orders?' How'd you get out of theater?' I mean, I was probably asked that 50 times when I was there. Everybody asked me that. They have a reception group that meets you there and even the Air Force people when I was getting off the plane said, 'We don't know how you got on this plane because you don't have any orders. We don't have a single set of orders for you.'"

According to a senior official at the California National Guard headquarters in Sacramento, Ford should have had what is known as a "medevac" order from his unit in Iraq (205th M.I. Brigade) in order to leave the country. No one is allowed out of a theater of operations without either a medevac order or a standard set of written orders authorizing travel to a destination. Ford had neither, which is a violation of Army policy.

After a brief stay for evaluation at Landstuhl, Ford says, he was flown to the United States, where he went first to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and then to Fort Lewis, Wash., where he was placed in the Madigan Army Medical Center. At Fort Lewis, Ford filed a complaint with the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, or CID, in which he cited both the uninvestigated "war crimes" allegations and the retaliation that he says followed.

At every stop along the way, from Kuwait to Germany to the United States, Ford was evaluated by Army mental-health professionals and given a clean bill of health. Doctors at each location confirmed Madera's original diagnosis -- that he was mentally stable. Ford supplied me with documents from all of the hospitals he visited, showing diagnoses of "normal," "not delusional," "not paranoid," "no evidence of hallucination," "stable mental condition," and other similar remarks. There is nothing to suggest that any of the Army medical personnel who evaluated Greg Ford after he made his allegations in Iraq felt that there was anything wrong with him. Tsai at the Army Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, gave Ford a final diagnosis of "Stable Mental Condition." Dr. Thomas Hardaway of the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, wrote, "there was not any indication of overt paranoia or delusional quality to what he was saying about his circumstances." He went on to say, "There is nothing on my initial screening evaluation indicating any overt pathology or personality problems ... Release patient from Behavioral Medicine Clinic."

Finally, in February 2004, eight months after he blew the whistle, Ford was released from active duty and given an honorable discharge, and in October, 10 months after his initial application, he was formally retired from the Army.

Even if Ford's allegations of prisoner abuse turn out to be false, the Army's treatment of him betrays an outrageous attempt to cover up a potential scandal and a blatant disregard for its own rules. According to both Ford and a credible witness, Marciello, Ford was strapped to a gurney and bundled off to a mental ward on the basis of a coerced diagnosis for an indefinite period of time, all before any investigation was even started, much less completed. When a CID investigator finally began pursuing the matter in the fall, Artiga told the investigator that the 223rd had "looked into it" and found "nothing wrong." If what Ford and his witnesses say turns out to be true, then the officers involved could face criminal charges ranging from threatening and intimidation, perjury, and assault to false imprisonment, conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The list of potential breaches of Army regulations is just as long, including "conduct unbecoming of an officer," a serious offense in the military.

In addition to Ford and the other soldiers treated by Tsai, other Army whistle-blowers have also reported this type of mistreatment. According to a May 25 report by United Press International, Julian Goodrum, a decorated lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves, was allegedly locked in a psychiatric ward as punishment for filing a complaint over the death of a soldier in his command. He had also testified before Congress about the poor medical care Reserve soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan were receiving at Fort Knox, Ky. After he escaped from the locked ward, he was charged with being AWOL and was even given a $6,000 bill for room and board during his involuntary hospital stay. Still another whistle-blower, Sgt. Samuel Provance of the 205th M.I. Brigade, was stripped of his security clearance and assigned to administrative duties in Germany after reporting abuses at Abu Ghraib. Provance told me in recent e-mails that he has been harassed by other soldiers and commanders since he made his allegations and has become something of a pariah in his unit.

In August 2004, Ford filed a report on his allegations of war crimes and abduction with the Sacramento office of the FBI. That office forwarded the report to the Bureau's headquarters in Washington, which in turn passed it along to the Department of Defense. Ford says he met with investigators from the DoD's Office of the Inspector General in the last week of September. "It was obvious from their line of questioning that their mission was to cover up for DoD and the Army," Ford said. Special Agent Karen Ernst of the FBI's Sacramento office told me that the Bureau "may" have jurisdiction in the matter and is prepared to step in if the DoD "drops the ball on this." Although she would not offer an opinion of Ford's case, she did say that they only file reports if they believe the allegations have "some merit."

The Department of the Army Office of the Inspector General has also launched an investigation into Ford's allegations. Although by policy they can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a current investigation, Ford said that investigators have flown out to California to interview him and have conducted several follow-up interviews as well as requested documents and e-mail records from him. Requests through the Freedom of Information Act to the Army or the DoD for any reports relating to Ford and his allegations have resulted in a flurry of letters stating essentially that the case is "complex" and that it will take additional time to compile all of the requested documents.

Neither the California Office of the Adjutant General in Sacramento nor the state's Judge Advocate General (JAG) office would officially comment, but staff at both places told me off the record that they hoped Ford would be vindicated and the officers in question punished for "abuse of authority."

According to an Army CID special agent who is familiar with Ford's case, "This is a classic case of a whitewash. A coverup. The agent in Iraq never even looked at the 15-6 investigation the 223rd supposedly did. No one was ever interviewed until Abu Ghraib hit the fan." When I asked him whether the CID was complicit in an Army coverup of the case, he said, "Absolutely ... Do you have any idea how ugly this case could get if they ever really looked into it? It would open up a whole can of worms that they just don't want to touch." The agent, who refused to give his name for fear of retaliation, added, "Based on everything I know about this case, I believe Ford. I have seen too many similar cases not to. It fits the pattern. Everyone involved in this blatant coverup should be criminally prosecuted. For this to have dragged on for over a year without being investigated is ridiculous." In September, the CID conducted two telephone interviews with Marciello, but no one else in the 223rd has yet been interviewed, including myself.

His nightmarish experience with the Army in Iraq has changed him forever, Ford told me as we sat on a bench near the fountain in front of California National Guard headquarters in Sacramento. He said that he intended to devote the next few years, and maybe even the rest of his life, to working with individuals and organizations in the fight for human rights and dignity. He specifically mentioned Amnesty International and the World Organization for Human Rights. The latter has formally requested that Attorney General John Ashcroft file criminal war-crimes charges against high-ranking administration officials, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush, over the revelations coming out of Abu Ghraib. Ford said he hoped to join in pushing for that action.

- - - - - - - - - - - -


20 Amazing Facts About Voting in the USA

by Angry Girl you know....
1. 80% of all votes in America are counted by only twocompanies: Diebold and ES&S.

2. There is no federal agency with regulatoryauthority or oversight of the U.S. voting machineindustry.

3. The vice-president of Diebold and the president ofES&S are brothers.

4. The chairman and CEO of Diebold is a major Bushcampaign organizer and donor who wrote in 2003 that hewas "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoralvotes to the president next year.

5. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel used to be chairmanof ES&S. He became Senator based on votes counted byES&S machines.

6. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, long-connected withthe Bush family, was recently caught lying about hisownership of ES&S by the Senate Ethics Committee.

7. Senator Chuck Hagel was on a short list of GeorgeW. Bush's vice-presidential candidates.

8. ES&S is the largest voting machine manufacturer inthe U.S. and counts almost 60% of all U.S. votes.

9. Diebold's new touch screen voting machines have nopaper trail of any votes. In other words, there is no way to verify that the data coming out of the machineis the same as what was legitimately put in by voters.

10. Diebold also makes ATMs, checkout scanners, andticket machines, all of which log each transaction and can generate a paper trail.

11. Diebold is based in Ohio.

12 Diebold employed 5 convicted felons as senior managers and developers to help write the central compiler computer code that counted 50% of the votes in 30 states.,2645,61640,00.html

13. Jeff Dean, Diebold's Senior Vice-President andsenior programmer on Diebold's central compiler code,was convicted of 23 counts of felony theft in the firstdegree.

14 Diebold Senior Vice-President Jeff Dean was convicted of planting back doors in his software andusing a "high degree of sophistication" to evade detection over a period of 2 years.

15. None of the international election observers were allowed in the polls in Ohio.

16. California banned the use of Diebold machines because the security was so bad. Despite Diebold'sclaims that the audit logs could not be hacked, a chimpanzee was able to do it! (See the movie here .),2645,63298,00.html

17. 30% of all U.S. votes are carried out on unverifiable touch screen voting machines with no papertrail.

18. All -- not some -- but all the voting machineerrors detected and reported in Florida went in favorof Bush or Republican candidates.,2645,65757,00.html

19. The governor of the state of Florida, Jeb Bush, is the President's brother.

20. Serious voting anomalies in Florida -- againalways favoring Bush -- have been mathematicallydemonstrated and experts are recommending furtherinvestigation.,10801,97614,00.html
htm _______________________________________________________

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Gott mitt uns-Oy Vey

God Is With Us": Hitler's Rhetoric and the Lure of "Moral Values"
by Maureen Farrell
"God does not make cowardly nations free." -- Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
A couple weeks ago, while asserting that the Founding Founders intended for the U.S. government to be infused with Christianity, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that the Holocaust was able to flourish in Germany because of Europe's secular ways. "Did it turn out that, by reason of the separation of church and state, the Jews were safer in Europe than they were in the United States of America?"
Scalia asked a congregation at Manhattan's Shearith Israel synagogue. "I don't think so."
One might expect regular citizens to be ignorant of history, but a Supreme Court Justice? Does he imagine that the phrase "Gott mit Uns" was a German clothier's interpretation of "Got Milk"?
photographic evidence of the Third Reich's Christian leanings were not enough, Hitler's own speeches and writings prove, at the very least, that he presented many of the same faith-based arguments heard in America today. Religion in the schools? Hitler was for it. Intellectuals who practiced "anti-Christian, smug individualism"? According to Hitler, their days were numbered. Divine Providence's role in shaping Germany's ultimate victory? Who could argue? In other words, there is enough historical evidence to color Scalia deluded. Writing for Free Inquiry, John Patrick Michael Murphy explained:
Hitler's Germany amalgamated state with church. Soldiers of the vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with the following: "Gott mit uns" (God is with us). His troops were often sprinkled with holy water by the priests. It was a real Christian country whose citizens were indoctrinated by both state and church and blindly followed all authority figures, political and ecclesiastical.
Hitler, like some of the today's politicians and preachers, politicized "family values." He liked corporeal punishment in home and school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. While abortion was illegal in pre-Hitler Germany, he took it to new depths of enforcement, requiring all doctors to report to the government the circumstances of all miscarriages. He openly despised homosexuality and criminalized it."
For anyone wanting even more proof, Mein Kampf is chock full of the Fuhrer's musings on God. ("I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord," Hitler wrote). But anti-Semitic rants aside, some of Hitler's religious musings are interchangeable with Mr. Bush's.
Hitler was raised a Catholic and spoke of his faith in God, yet, singling out his rants against religion, politicians and pastors continue to
characterize him as a pagan barbarian. Such distortions are convenient -- particularly in an age where propaganda concerning "moral values" is readily gobbled up and Christian nation legislation waits in the wings -- but, to paraphrase the Bible, overlooking the truth will not make us free.
Scalia, who also cited the Bible to claim that government "
derives its moral authority from God," is hardly alone in his assertions. Leo Strauss, the philosopher who has influenced neoconservativism, and by proxy, George Bush's America, felt that religion, like deception, was crucial to maintaining social order. Meanwhile, neoconservative kingpin Irving Kristol has argued similar points -- bragging about how easy it is to fool the public into accepting the government's actions while arguing that America's Founding Fathers were wrong to insist on the separation of church and state. Why? According to Jim Lobe, it's because religion, as Strauss and his disciples see it, is "absolutely essential in order to impose moral law on the masses who otherwise would be out of control."
Saying that neoconservatives believe that secular society is undesirable "because it leads to individualism, liberalism, and relativism, precisely those traits that may promote dissent that in turn could dangerously weaken society's ability to cope with external threats," Lobe explained why Kristol and other neocons have "allied themselves with the Christian Right" and, in some cases, have also denounced Darwin's theory of evolution. "Neoconservatives are pro-religion even though they themselves may not be believers," Reason magazine's Ronald Bailey explained, pointing to publications like Commentary which has espoused the virtues of religious fundamentalism and has
questioned evolutionary science.
(Hitler did the same. The book The German Churches Under Hitler includes his assertion that secular schools should not be tolerated while Hitler's Table Talk quotes him questioning the wisdom in teaching children both creationism and the theory of evolution. "The present system of teaching in schools permits the following absurdity: at 10 a.m. the pupils attend a lesson in the catechism, at which the creation of the world is presented to them in accordance with the teachings of the Bible; and at 11 a.m. they attend a lesson in natural science, at which they are taught the theory of evolution,"he said. "Yet the two doctrines are in complete contradiction. As a child, I suffered from this contradiction, and ran my head against a wall.")
Professor Shadia B. Drury also noted the similarities between the methods endorsed by Hitler and neoconservatives' favorite philosopher. She explained:
"Strauss loved America enough to try to save her from the errors and terrors of Europe. He was convinced that the liberal democracy of the Weimar Republic led to the rise of the Nazis. That is a debatable matter. But Strauss did not openly debate this issue or provide arguments for his position in his writings. I am inclined to think that it is Strauss's ideas, and not liberal ideas, that invite the kinds of abuses he wished to avoid. It behooves us to remember that Hitler had the utmost contempt for parliamentary democracy. He was impatient with debate and dispute, on the grounds that they were a waste of time for the great genius who knew instinctively the right choices and policies that the people need. Hitler had a profound contempt for the masses - the same contempt that is readily observed in Strauss and his cohorts. But when force of circumstances made it necessary to appeal to the masses, Hitler advocated lies, myths, and illusions as necessary pabulum to placate the people and make them comply with the will of the Fuhrer. Strauss's political philosophy advocates the same solution to the problem of the recalcitrant masses. Anyone who wants to avoid the horrors of the Nazi past is
well advised not to accept Strauss's version of ancient wisdom uncritically. But this is exactly what Strauss encouraged his students to do."
Although several others, including the legendary Seymour Hersh, have noted the
neoconservatives' belief that deception is essential, the religious aspect of their philosophy is especially unnerving. Religion may be the opium of the masses, but when zealots become so certain of their own righteousness that they ignore their own humanity, horror is the natural consequence. Islamic extremism offers the most glaring recent example, and now that Osama bin Laden has been granted permission to nuke America, the most extreme changes within the U.S. could very well come from the outside world.
In the meantime, however, for those who have not yet noticed, our own homegrown zealots -- those who
advocate hatred in the name of the Lord -- have made considerable headway, with gays and lesbians currently at the center of legislation which, should it pass, will alter this country forever.
When the
Marriage Protection Act passed the House in July, the New York Times called it "a radical assault on the Constitution. "If it passes in the Senate, the bill could obliterate the separation of powers and wipe out Constitutional protections for all minorities, stripping the courts and possibly paving the way for Christian nationhood. Other pieces of court stripping legislation bills designed to topple the wall between church and state are also in play.
This encroaching infusion of church and state, combined with recent decrees concerning moral values, doesn't resonate with inclusive tolerance. "When was the last time a Western nation had a leader so obsessed with God and claiming God was on our side? If you answered
Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany, you're correct," Bob Fitrakis wrote. "Nothing can be more misleading than to categorize Hitler as a barbaric pagan or Godless totalitarian, like Stalin."
While many of us reserve a soft spot for true Christian generosity and the warm teachings of Jesus, it's important to remember that Christianity can be (and has been) distorted for darker purposes. Whether you're talking about Nazi Germany, the pre-Civil War American South, or the atmosphere in the U.S. these past few years, whenever questions of conscience are vigorously denounced, you can bet there is trouble ahead -- and the hijacking of faith and the manipulation of religion should always arouse suspicion. Moral values as a mandate? What better way to foster civil obedience and
"One nation Under God" unity in a time of preventative war, suppressed liberty and sanctioned torture.
So, yes, despite tales of Hitler's atheism and Germany's Godlessness, the list of Hitler's religious assertions and
Nazi Christian affiliations is long, and before Americans swallow more WMD-type baloney, it's best to comprehend this history and understand that no nation, including our own, is immune to faith-based fascism.
Substituting "America" for "Germany," many of Hitler's religious assertions could have been uttered by Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson -- with Hitler even asserting that God punished Germany for turning away from Him -- before promising that renewed piety would protect the Fatherland and make it prosperous and successful once more. "Once the mercy of God shown upon us, but we were not worthy of His mercy. Providence withdrew its protection and our people fell, fell as scarcely any other people heretofore. In this deep misery we again learned to pray," Hitler said in 1936, sixty-five years before Falwell and Robertson blamed abortionists and feminists for the tragedies of Sept. 11.
Hitler's religious phrases could have also come from the lips of George W. Bush. "Our prayer is: Lord God, let us never hesitate, let us never play the coward, let us never forget the duty which we have taken upon us,"Hitler said in March, 1933, sounding much like our president, who believes that God wants him to liberate the people in Middle East -- even if he has to torture, maim and kill tens of thousands in the process. "I believe we have a duty to free people," Bush told Bob Woodward. "I would hope we wouldn't have to do it militarily, but we have a duty.. . . Going into this period, I was praying for strength to do the Lord's will. . . ."
Speaking in Berlin in March, 1936, Hitler said something remarkably similar. "I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people to be allowed to wage this battle for Germany," he said, before launching the preventive war heard round the world.
Both leaders also
promised peace while planning for war. "We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended," Bush said, in his State of the Union address in Jan. 2003, two months before launching a preventative war in Iraq. "Never in these long years have we offered any other prayer but this: Lord, grant to our people peace at home, and grant and preserve to them peace from the foreign foe!"Hitler said in Nuremberg on Sept. 13, 1936.
Yes, many of Hitler's faith-based comments could have come from George Bush himself, and are undoubtedly the kinds of sentiments many Americans not only agree with -- but take comfort in. This is not to say that Bush is Hitler or that religion is evil, but to serve as a reminder that things are not always what they seem. Christianity was used to justify everything from the Salem witch trials to slavery in America, and facilitated group-think in Germany -- when individuality and questions of conscience were needed the most. These are but a few of the Fuhrer's assertions:
"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith." (The German Churches Under Hitler, p.241)
"We must turn all the sentiments of the Volk, all its thinking, acting, even its beliefs, away from the anti-Christian, smug individualism of the past, from the egotism and stupid Phariseeism of personal arrogance, and we must educate the youth in particular in the spirit of those of Christ's words that we must interpret anew: love one another; be considerate of your fellow man; remember that each one of you is not alone a creature of God, but that you are all brothers! This youth will, with loathing and contempt, abandon those hypocrites who have Christ on their lips but the devil in their hearts." (Hitler: Memoirs of a Confidant, page 140)
"It will be the Government's care to maintain honest cooperation between Church and State; the struggle against materialistic views and for a real national community is just as much in the interest of the German nation as in that of the welfare of our Christian faith." (At the Reichstag, March 23, 1933)
"Without pledging ourselves to any particular Confession [Protestantism or Catholicism], we have restored to faith its prerequisites because we were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." (Berlin, Oct. 24, 1933)
"But there is something else I believe, and that is that there is a God. . . . And this God again has blessed our efforts during the past 13 years." (Munich, Feb. 24, 1940)
"You [blue-collar workers] represent the most noble of slogans known to us: "God helps those who help themselves!' (Hitler: Speeches and Proclamations, Vol. 2, page 1147)
"Fifteen years ago I had nothing save my faith and my will. Today the Movement is Germany, today this Movement has won the German nation and formed the Reich. Would that have been possible without the blessing of the Almighty? Or do they who ruined Germany wish to maintain that they have had God's blessing? What we are we are, not against but with the will of Providence. And so long as we are loyal, honest, and ready to fight, so long as we believe in our great work and do not capitulate, we shall also in the future have the blessing of Providence." (Rosenheim, Aug. 11, 1935)
"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. . . As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people." (Munich, April 12, 1922)
"If positive Christianity means love of one's neighbor, i.e. the tending of the sick, the clothing of the poor, the feeding of the hungry, the giving of drink to those who are thirsty, then it is we who are the more positive Christians. For in these spheres the community of the people of National Socialist Germany has accomplished a prodigious work." (Feb. 24, 1939)
"We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out." (Berlin, Oct. 24, 1933)
"An educated man retains the sense of the mysteries of nature and bows before the unknowable. An educated man, on the other hand, runs the risk of going over to atheism (which is a return to the state of the animal)." (Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944, page 59)
In his book, They Thought They Were Free, Milton Mayer interviewed Germans who discussed how their society changed right before their eyes, and how, despite Hitler's rhetoric, God was nowhere to be found. As one interviewee put it:
"The world you live in -- "your nation, your people" --
is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way."
Of course, America has hardly "gone all the way" and is unlikely to become as psychotic as Nazi Germany any time soon. But what do you suppose God thinks of preventative war based upon deception? Or about the
use of depleted uranium? Or about dropping napalm on civilians? Are Iraqi insurgents are any less certain that God is on their side than our own Evangelical Marines?
Yes, Saddam Hussein was a brutal thug, but why do so many insist on forgetting that the
U.S. helped him to power in the first place? Does God see our role in all of this as lightly as we do? And how many U.S. citizens do you know, who, mired in fear, readily dismiss America's use of torture and rationalize our disregard for international law? What else might they overlook?
In 1937, Hitler said that because of Germany's belief in God and God's favoritism towards Germany, the country would prevail and prosper. "We, therefore, go our way into the future with the deepest belief in God. Would all we have achieved been possible had Providence not helped us? I know that the fruits of human labor are hard-won and transitory if they are not blessed by the Omnipotent. Work such as ours which has received the blessings of the Omnipotent can never again be undone by mere mortals,"he said.
While attempting to solidify his power, Hitler also denounced those who denounced religion -- as if he were talking about Hollywood or blue states or Noam Chomsky. "For eight months we have been conducting a fearless campaign against that Communism which is threatening our entire nation, our culture, our art, and our public morals, "Hitler said in a speech in Oct. 1933. "We have made an end of denials of the Deity and the crying down of religion."
There will be no more crying down of religion in George Bush's America, either. Though oft-repeated assertions made by the media in the immediate aftermath of the election have proven to be nothing more than myth, propagandists would have you believe that the American people have spoken: "Moral values" reign supreme.
But how can any one of us know God's desires -- especially when our enemies claim to have God on their side as well? And doesn't it seem that religious hubris -- believing that God sanctions one's own inhumane treatment of others -- always invites a fall?
"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever," Thomas Jefferson said, of the price America would eventually pay for slavery. "Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions," Ulysses S. Grant advised, describing karmic retribution without pointing hateful fingers at lesbians.
And long before that, the poet John Milton tried to "justify the ways of God to Man." But yet, the world, with its conflicting visions of morality, ethics and truth, still struggles to comprehend.
Perhaps Truth, for want of a better definition, is what God sees when he looks at any given situation. And perhaps it is ultimately impossible for us to know God's mind. After all, it's obvious that Hitler wasn't telling the truth when he spoke of God and country -- and by the same token, it's difficult to look at Najaf or Fallujah or Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay and see God's hand in any of it.
After one of Bush's operatives promised to "export death and violence to the four corners of the earth in defense of our great nation" Bob Woodward wrote: "The president was casting his mission and that of the country in the grand vision of God's Master Plan." And sure enough, when Woodward asked Bush if he had discussed the impending invasion of Iraq with his father, President George H.W. Bush (who could have
offered sage advice), the President responded: "He is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength; there is a higher father that I appeal to."
But, without knowing God's mind, most of us have only History to help us judge. And the fact is, without the benefit of History, some of the "moral values" Hitler embraced sound eerily like those being peddled today.
George Bush is not Hitler. America is not Nazi Germany. But buying into religious assertions or thinking that God is on your side is not wise when it comes to matters of war -- particularly when that war is an aggressive preventative war based on false premises and assumptions.
So, aside from Jerry Falwell, who speaks with hate-filled authority, most of us do not know how God will judge us. We will have to settle for History's imperfect record.
All of this begs the question, however. Given his assertions regarding God's role in helping him decide policy ("I pray that I be as good a messenger of His will as possible" Bush told Woodward. . . "I felt so strongly that [invading Iraq] was the right thing to do") how does Bush view the more mundane, secular implications of his actions? When asked by Woodward how History would judge the war in Iraq, Bush replied: "History. We don't know. We'll all be dead."
I challenge anyone to find the moral value in that.