Monday, September 06, 2004The Daily Battle Against Subjectivity

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©2004 Jason Knight

George W. Bush Mental Health Day

Yes, friends, it is that time of year again. It's George W. Bush Mental Health Day, the day when we look at the mental stability of the man whose finger is on the bomb, the born-again dry drunk lurching the Free World™ from glorious occupation to glorious occupation.

We've all read the great quips, we've laughed at the way he mangles the English language, we've shuddered in horror as it tells his fundie base that "God made me do it!". Now we are venturing inside the mind* of the man* himself.

We are not the only ones to put into question Bush's sanity, as the articles we have collected today well testify.

So, brothers and sisters, join your hands together, get down on your knees, and bow your head in wonder and awe at Yahweh/Jehovah/God's work...


* For more on how these terms might be applied to the man in the White House, please see our article Organic Portals: The Second Race?


Is Bush Unhinged?
Robert Higgs
March 25, 2004

Before you conclude that I myself must be unhinged even to raise such a question, ask yourself this: If a man talks as if he has lost contact with reality, then might he actually have done so? Granted that this possibility deserves evaluation, then consider President George W. Bush's rhetoric in his March 19 speech to diplomats and others at the White House.

The president begins by stating his interpretation of the recent bombings in Madrid, reiterating one of his recurrent themes of the past two and a half years: "[T]he civilized world is at war" in a "new kind of war." The concept of war, of course, ranks high among evocative metaphors. Not by accident have politicians declared wars on poverty, drugs, cancer, illiteracy, and an assortment of other alleged enemies. A society at war, as William James observed in 1906 in his call for the "moral equivalent of war," finds a reason for unaccustomed solidarity and—here's where the politicians come in—for unaccustomed submission to central government authority. James himself, after all, was arguing that "the martial type of character can be bred without war." Political leaders are always seeking to establish such character, with themselves in command of the battalions of "disciplined" subjects. Insofar as the so-called war on terrorism merely represents the latest attempt to bend the war metaphor to an obvious political purpose, we might well dismiss the president's rhetorical flourish as nothing but the same old same old.

Bush, however, will allow no such dismissal. "The war on terror," he insists, "is not a figure of speech." Well, I beg your pardon, Mr. President, but that is precisely what it is. How can one go to war against "terror," which is a state of mind? Even if the president were to take more care with his language and to speak instead of a "war on terrorism," the phrase still could not be anything more than a metaphor, because terrorism is a form of action available to virtually any determined adult anywhere anytime. War on terrorism, too, can be only a figure of speech.

War, if it is anything, is the marshalling of armed forces against somebody, not against a state of mind or a form of action. Wars are fought between groups of persons. We might argue about whether the United States can wage war only against another nation state, as opposed to an indefinitely large number of individuals committed to fanatical Islamism who in various workaday guises are living in scores of different countries. The expression "war on certain criminals and conspirators of criminal acts" would fit the present case better and would entail far more sensible thinking about the proper way to deal with such persons. The idea of war, obviously, calls to mind too readily the serviceability of the armed forces. Hence the application of such forces to the conquest of Iraq in the name of "bringing the terrorists to justice," although that conquest was actually nothing but a hugely destructive, immensely expensive diversion from genuine efforts to allay the threat posed by the Islamist maniacs who compose al Qaeda and similar groups. "These killers will be tracked down and found, they will face their day of justice," the president declares, speaking as always as if only a fixed number of such killers exist, rather than a vast reservoir of actual and potential recruits that is only augmented and revitalized by actions such as the U.S. invasion of Iraq. It would be a boon to humanity if the president could be brought to understand the distinction between waging war and establishing justice.

Whatever our understanding of the president's "war on terror" might be, however, he definitely parts company with reality when he states, "There is no neutral ground—no neutral ground—in the fight between civilization and terror, because there is no neutral ground between good and evil, freedom and slavery, and life and death." Of course, this Manichean pronouncement echoes the administration's previous declaration that everybody on earth is either with us or against us—and if they know what's good for them, they'll fall into line with our wishes. Aside from the undeniable fact that some nations simply prefer, as did the Spanish people (as opposed to the Aznar government), to avoid the blowback of U.S. interventions around the world, the president's insistence on equating U.S. policy with good, freedom, and life and all alternative policies with evil, slavery, and death represents the sort of childish bifurcation one expects to find expressed by a member of a youth gang, not by the leader of the world's most powerful government. To raise but a single example, though a highly relevant one in this context, can any dispassionate person argue that the U.S. position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is entirely good, whereas every alternative position is entirely evil?

Observers endowed with humane moral sensibilities recognize that there is plenty of evil to go around in Israel and elsewhere. In Iraq, for example, the U.S. government bears clear responsibility for killing and injuring thousands of noncombatants in the past year—not to mention the horrendous mortality and suffering it brought about previously by enforcement of the economic sanctions used to cripple that country for more than a decade. Some people maintain that the price was worth paying, that ultimately the good obtained will more than compensate for the harm caused in the process, but even if one accepts that assessment for the sake of argument, it remains true nevertheless that much harm was caused, that the burden of responsibility for evils perpetrated must be borne by the U.S. side as well as by the demonized enemy (Saddam Hussein having been made out after 1990 as "another Hitler"). International conflicts in the real world do not often divide neatly into nothing-but-good versus nothing-but-evil. For the president of the United States to employ such a juvenile characterization raises the possibility that his mind is so immature that he ought to be removed from office before he propels the world into even worse disasters.

Seemingly aware of previous criticism, the president declares that "the terrorists are offended not merely by our policies—they are offended by our existence as free nations." I myself have seen no evidence to confirm such a statement; certainly the president has adduced none. I have seen, however, the translated testimony of one Osama bin Laden, who in a famous October 2001 videotape objects to U.S. support for Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to the presence of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia, and to U.S. economic sanctions and other hostile actions against Iraq—that is, to various U.S. policies. "Millions of innocent children are being killed in Iraq and in Palestine and we don't hear a word from the infidels. We don't hear a raised voice," says bin Laden. In my ears, this statement sounds like an objection to U.S. policies. I have seen no evidence that bin Laden or any other known Islamic terrorist takes offence at our very existence, provided that we mind our own business in our own homeland.

In the president's mind, however, every deviation from adherence to his promulgated national-security policy of U.S. world domination and preventive warfare represents a dangerous form of appeasement: "Any sign of weakness or retreat simply validates terrorist violence, and invites more violence for all nations. The only certain way to protect our people is by early, united, and decisive action"—that is, by global military intervention by the United States, with all other nations serving as its lackeys. In the neoconservative vision to which the president has been converted, time stands still: It is always 1938, and if we fail to bring all our military might to bear preventively against the Hitler du jour, we shall certainly be plunged into global catastrophe.

Waxing positive, the president credits recent U.S. and allied military actions with bringing about "a free Afghanistan" and the "long-awaited liberation" of the Iraqi people. He maintains that the fall of the Iraqi dictator has removed a source of violence, aggression, and instability in the Middle East. . . . [Y]ears of illicit weapons development by the dictator have come to the end. . . . [T]he Iraqi people are now receiving aid, instead of suffering under the sanctions. . . . [M]en and women across the Middle East, looking to Iraq, are getting a glimpse of what life in a free country can be like. . . . Who would begrudge the Iraqi people their long-awaited liberation?

This effusion evinces a tenuous grip on reality. Nobody begrudges the Iraqi people their freedom, but many of us have serious doubts about just how much freedom those long-suffering people really have. Their country is occupied by a lethal foreign army whose soldiers roam freely, breaking into homes and mosques at will, maintaining checkpoints that often become the venues of unjustified killings, carrying out police activities by employing such means as aerial bombardment and bursts of heavy machine-gun fire. If this unfortunate scene is the "glimpse of what life in a free country can be like" that others throughout the Middle East are getting, then woe unto anyone who yearns to stimulate those Middle Easterners to seek freedom. "With Afghanistan and Iraq showing the way, we are confident that freedom will lift the sights and hopes of millions in the greater Middle East," the president states. If he really harbors such confidence, one can only note how ill-founded it is.

The president seems to have no idea of what a free society consists of. Violent military occupation and the complete absence of the rule of law totally invalidate any claim that either Iraq or Afghanistan is now a free society. At present Iraq is awash with violence perpetrated by resistance fighters and occupation forces and with criminality of all sorts unleashed by the disruptions associated with the war and by the U.S. dissolution of the old police apparatus. "We will not fail the Iraqi people, who have placed their trust in us," Bush declares. But they never placed their trust in us in the first place; they simply suffered our invasion and occupation of their country. In any event, we have already gravely disappointed the hopes that many Iraqis held for life after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. The country is rife with resentment and hostility, and the people are eager for U.S. forces to get out. Although the president maintains that "[w]e've set out to break the cycle of bitterness and radicalism that has brought stagnation to a vital region," one cannot help concluding from the facts on the ground that the upshot of the U.S. invasion and occupation has been just the opposite, that U.S. actions in Iraq have only poured fuel on the fires of terrorism there as well as in the wider world.

It is disconcerting for me to listen to the president's speeches. I get the unsettling feeling that the man inhabits another world in which things are the exact opposite of how they seem to me. Of course, I may be the one whose perspective is askew. Unlike Bush, I cannot claim that the Almighty has licensed my position. Yet I fear that time will tell in favor of my view of the matter—a view shared, of course, by most people on the planet, indeed, by nearly everybody who has not been bribed, intimidated, or blinded by partisan loyalty to the Bush administration. For now, this difference of views might seem to be nothing more than that—just one man's opinion jousting with another's—but reality has a way of passing definite judgment, and I will not be surprised if Bush's pronouncements ultimately come to be seen as having no more substance than a bad dream.

Comment: As we begin our descent, we find George the II uses words like "freedom" and "terror" in such a way as to promote his own variety of politics. The words do not have to match with real things in the real world because the discourse is aimed at a public removed, as he is, from the realities of American intervention in other countries. No spilled blood and splattered brains in the Oval Office, nor in the evangelical Churches that drink up his words like the blood of Christ.

On the other hand, one could argue that lying or twisting the truth is a character trait of politicians in general, the world over. So we have only established that Bush fits into the mold.

But is there something more?

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The Madness of Emperor George
by Butler Shaffer
September 4, 2004

While campaigning for reelection, President Bush declared: "Knowing what we know today, we still would have gone into Iraq." That Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction nor ongoing efforts to create them, no Iraqi ties to al Qaeda or involvement with the attacks of 9/11 were, by Bush's own admission, irrelevant to his plans to attack an innocent nation. Truth, in other words, has no meaning in this man's calculation of his actions. Mr. Bush went even further in declaring, on the one hand, "I don't think you can win" the war on terror, but adding that America cannot retreat from this war because, to do so, would "show weakness" to the world.

Most Americans are probably uncomfortable with the thought that their president might suffer from madness. The mere contemplation of such a possibility simply does not compute within minds that have been conditioned to believe in the rationality of the political process which is supposed to filter out the unstable, the crazed fanatics, and those of "extremist" dispositions. How could a man become and remain president if his thinking and actions were dominated by irrational impulses?

And yet, unless the rest of us are equally affected by madness, how else do we explain behavior that not only bears no relation to clearly demonstrated truth, but admittedly contradicts that truth? One dictionary defines "paranoia" as "a tendency toward suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others that is based not on objective reality." Might this definition describe a man whose thinking is dominated by the worldwide presence of an "axis of evil," and who persists in the childish view that "if you're not with us, you're against us?" And when there is absolutely no evidence to support a war he undertook and insists on continuing, are his acts not grounded in a lack of "objective reality?"

Another dictionary defines "paranoia" as a "mental disorder, characterized by persistent delusions." A "delusion" is further defined as a "false opinion or belief which cannot be shaken by reason." What better term to describe a man unrestrained by revelations that his stated reasons for attacking Iraq were totally unfounded but that, even on the basis of such falsehoods, he would still have gone to war? Might his insistence on going to war – and seeking new enemies to replace the beleaguered Iraqis – not qualify as an "obsession," which one dictionary tells us is "an anxious and inescapable preoccupation with an idea or feeling?"

Paranoia is often associated with "megalomania," which dictionaries define as "a mania for doing great or grandiose things," or "an excessive overestimation of one's own importance." Did Bush not confirm this symptom of himself when he declared that "God wants me to be president?" What more exalted delusion of grandeur than to imagine oneself to be God's anointed agent for ferreting out the forces of "evil" on earth?

In partial mitigation of his deluded mindset, it must be noted that the madness of George Bush is the madness of a society that produced such a man – and others like him – elevated him to power, and sustains his authority even in the face of his continuing patterns of lies, deceptions, and arrogance. I wrote, shortly after 9/11, that the attacks of that day "have struck deeper into our conscious and unconscious minds than any of us has begun to imagine." In varying ways, most of us are still engaged in a catharsis associated with these events, with many of us yet unable to discover their deeper meaning.

[...] Iraq had been selected as the designated scapegoat for America's unrequited anger, and if the Iraqis objected to this "honor" bestowed upon them by America, this provided all the more reason to intensify the attack. In June of this year, the ultra-jingoistic Bill O'Reilly raged against the Iraqis for not fully appreciating the destruction and killing American forces were perpetrating upon them. His proposed solution was to "bomb the living daylights out of them," a recommendation he also made regarding Iraqi resistance in Fallujah. "Why doesn't the U.S. military just go ahead and level it?," he asked, adding "we know what the final solution should be." This is the kind of thinking that represents the collective madness in which so much of America is enmeshed.

In January, 1940, Christopher Isherwood wrote the following in his diary: "Am I afraid of being bombed? Of course. Everybody is. But within reason. I know I certainly wouldn't leave Los Angeles if the Japanese were to attack it tomorrow. No, it isn't that. . . . If I fear anything, I fear the atmosphere of the war, the power which it gives to all the things I hate – the newspapers, the politicians, the puritans, the scoutmasters, the middle-aged merciless spinsters. I fear the way I might behave, if I were exposed to this atmosphere. I shrink from the duty of opposition. I am afraid I should be reduced to a chattering enraged monkey, screaming back hate at their hate."

While 9/11 Commissions conduct their make-believe investigations and conclude that events of that day were produced by failures of intelligence, it is more to the point to suggest that there is a continuing "failure of intelligence" in this country that has nothing to do with the CIA, FBI, NSA, or the Pentagon. Long before that deadly day of three years ago, the minds of most Americans had collapsed into a preoccupation with irrelevancies, trivia, and a continuing insistence upon being entertained. The idea that the intelligence of Americans might be energized to address problems which the political establishment prefers not to be recognized, has long been absent from social discourse. Even the Democratic and Republican conventions reflected this flight from thoughtfulness. The William F. Buckleys and Gore Vidals no longer exchanged thoughtful observations – and barbs – with one another as they had decades ago. Boobus electorus was now treated to the ruminations of Hollywood performers, rock musicians, country-western singers, and professional wrestlers!

To abandon one's mind – along with the control and responsibility for one's life that follows – is to collapse into madness. When done by enough people, the social effect is to turn a country into a Mad Hatter's tea party, or worse. One saw reflections of this collective madness in the faces of airhead Republicans listening to Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he crowed from his perch about the alleged "virtues" of President Bush, a "leader who doesn't flinch, who doesn't waiver, who does not back down." He failed to mention that such steadfastness was most pronounced when Bush's house of lies and deceptions came crashing down, a quality Schwarzenegger would equate with "inner strength," but which could also be taken as evidence of paranoia. [...]

The madness of war-making goes well beyond the dead and maimed bodies and minds of its immediate victims. Casualty counts reflect only what is of interest to institutions to calculate, namely, the material costs of combat. There is a toxic quality to war that affects the inner life of individuals and, as a collective consequence, the society itself. In the degradation and dehumanization of the individual lies the destruction of all mankind. This is the point of Isherwood's observations. It is difficult to avoid war's venomous nature. Even the individual who manages to retain a constant energized awareness, will never be fully insulated from war's impact upon his or her life.

The political spectacle of the 2004 elections ought to have made clear to you that there is absolutely nothing that either the politicians or the state can do to bring an end to the destructiveness of war. Politics is the mobilization of war, what Randolph Bourne called "the health of the state." Politicians will no more act to dismantle the war system than crime syndicates will work to end the war on drugs. We need to extricate ourselves from this organized insanity, a task we can accomplish only by observing our own thought processes – at the same time being aware that the "observer" is the "observed."

In his work on the processes of "individuation," Carl Jung offered crucial insight into our efforts to withdraw our energies from the collective madness that is destroying us. The observations of J. Krishnamurti are also relevant to our task: "War is the spectacular and bloody projection of our everyday living. We precipitate war out of our daily lives; and without a transformation in ourselves, there are bound to be national and racial antagonisms, the childish quarreling over ideologies, the multiplication of soldiers, the saluting of flags, and all the many brutalities that go to create organized murder."

Politicians and the media continue to exploit 9/11 for their narrow ends. For the rest of us, however, these events – and the political forces that produced them – continue to represent a form of entropy that we have yet to work out of our systems. We must remove such destructive energy, recognizing that those who stand to gain from our remaining in a state of fear about "terrorism" will be of no help to us, and will try to keep us groveling at their feet. Our choice, as always, is to look within our own souls, and listen for those inner voices that continue to speak to us, even over the roar of the crowd.

Comment: With this article, we add another ingredient to the pot: the relationship between Bush and his public. What does it say about America itself if it has elected a loony-tune as leader? What does it say about the sanity of the nation if it supports the "God-given" right of Bush to do what he wishes.

Here we are speaking of Bush's perception. Of course, there are other forces at work pushing Bush to do what he does. He is a puppet, with very little idea of the realities of the world behind the prefabricated sound bites he struggles to express to the press. For all we know, he may be receiving waves beamed into his mind telling him what to do, the real explanation for his talks with "God".

We saw above that Bush wasn't terribly conversant with the truth. We put it off, at first, as possibly being a character of the politician. However, the question of "truth" no longer concerns the American public. It is as if all the years of New Age programming, the nonsense that suggests that "You create your own reality", has left its mark. The world is now what these people wish it to be, no longer to be measured up against any objective criteria. The "facts" are to be manipulated to get what one wants. In Bush's case, it was the "facts" about WMD in Iraq.

So let us take a short diversion into the mind of the people who have put Bush into power....

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FLASHBACK! AUGUST 8, 2003

Functionally Insane Americans

by David McGowan

There have been many attempts made, by both the legal and mental health communities, to define "insanity." But it seems to me that that term can be most succinctly defined as: "a disconnection from reality." And the severity of any individual's insanity is a function of the degree of that person's disconnection from reality.

That definition, of course, is entirely dependent on how "reality" is defined. From the point of view of the state, "reality" is whatever the shapers of public opinion say it is. Anyone who disagrees with the voices of authority is, therefore, insane. From that perspective, people such as, for instance, yours truly, are completely bonkers.

But if we base our definition on a relatively objective reality, then most of the people that I know are, without question, insane. Most of my relatives are insane. Most of my friends are insane. Most of the people that I work with are insane. Damn near everyone in the country is at least mildly insane. A very large majority are moderately to severely insane. And according to polls, at least a third are stark raving mad.

These people hold beliefs that are clearly delusional, that have absolutely no connection to reality. And they persist in holding these beliefs even when not a shred of evidence can be produced to support them. And no, I'm not talking about people who believe in UFOs, reincarnation, and the Loch Ness Monster. And I'm also not talking about people who believe in some supreme spiritual entity.

I'm talking about people who believe that 'weapons of mass destruction' have been uncovered in Iraq . . . who believe that 'weapons of mass destruction' were used against our troops over there . . . who even believe that 'weapons of mass destruction' is something other than a arbitrary term cooked up recently by Uncle Sam to describe weapons systems possessed by our 'enemies,' regardless of the actual destructive capability of those systems.

The functionally insane also believe that Iraqis were among the hijackers who allegedly commandeered the planes on September 11, 2001. It is difficult to fathom, but these people are so crazed that they have actually taken the government's already fanciful conspiracy theory, which is itself totally disconnected from reality, and they have made it even more ludicrous by adding some Iraqis to the mix. I'm betting that a few years down the road these same people will also believe that there were a couple of Liberians on one of the planes, as well as an Iranian guy, a couple of North Koreans, a Syrian, and perhaps a Cuban or two. Maybe even a French couple.

Comment: A people that are "functionally insane", holding delusional ideas about the world. That sounds about right if we look at their actions in the world: by their fruits you shall know them. The discouraging aspect of this question is that these delusional people will have no motivation to change their points of view until they can no longer continue to live in the way to which they are accustomed. Inertia. Until some force comes into play to change their direction and speed, they will continue along the same trajectory.

And if you are a regular reader of these pages, you will have a very good idea of where that trajectory is heading: war, violence, radical climate change that will unleash a new ice age, earthquakes, volcanos, and a possible special guest appearance from a comet cloud.

Admittedly, the opinions so far have been from laymen, people who look upon Bush and can believe that those around them can't see the same thing. In the next article we begin seeing Bush in the eyes of certain members of the psychiatric profession...

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Democrat shrink takes unflattering look into depths of Bush
Julian Borger in Washington
Tuesday June 22, 2004
The Guardian

"I don't spend a lot of time trying to figure me out," George Bush once said. "I'm just not into psychobabble."

The president will not need a shrink, then, to tell him he is unlikely to enjoy Bush on the Couch, a new book by a Washington psychiatrist and Democrat, who tries to explain his subject's quirks and policies by examining his personal history, and comes up with some unflattering conclusions.

Justin Frank, a clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University, argues that the president's inclination to see the world in black-and-white, good-versus-evil terms, and his tendency to repeat favourite words and phrases under pressure, are not simply politics as usual, but classic symptoms of untreated alcoholism.

Mr Bush was a heavy drinker from his youth but stopped at 40, becoming a born-again Christian. But Professor Frank, who has never met the president, argues he never treated the underlying cause of his alcohol dependence.

"He reminded me of my more disturbed patients," the psychiatrist said. "Being on the wagon is not the same thing as having alcoholism treated. That means taking responsibility, and making amends to the people you've damaged.

"Bush switched from alcoholism to religion. It takes responsibility out of his hands. Being born again is a way of denying the past," Prof Frank said.

The White House has not commented on Bush on the Couch. "We don't do book reviews," said the White House spokesman, Scott McLellan.

But the book has come under fire for mixing politics with analysis. A review in Salon.com, a liberal online magazine, described it as "far too partisan a work to make any claim to being a judicious examination of Bush the man", although the book offered "some genuinely enlightening hypotheses".

A spokeswoman for the American Psychiatric Association (APA) pointed to its code, which states it is "unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless they have conducted an examination and been granted proper authorisation".

However, Prof Frank, not an APA member, argued it was not necessary to meet his subject to make a judgment.

His book suggests the president's childhood trauma, the death of his little sister from leukaemia when he was seven, and his parents' decision to suppress their grief and not hold a funeral, left the young George burdened with guilt and unprepared to face the consequences of his actions.

And there was the competitive relationship with his father, which the author believes is a driving force behind an administration which has sought in many fields to distance itself from the first Bush presidency.

Prof Frank's prescription is for Mr Bush to join an Alcoholics Anonymous programme - and for him to be relieved of his high-pressure job.

Comment: The Bush as ex-alcoholic hypothesis. It certainly describes Bush's behaviour. But is that all it is?

The following article gives an overview of the possibilities...

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Is Bush Nuts?
by William Thomas

What drives a man to go against the wishes of his countryfolk and the entire world community - including the presidents of Russia, China, France and Germany?

How can a professed Christian continue to defy church leaders worldwide - including the Bishops of Britain and the Pope? How does he rationalize breaking the commandments of his God, which clearly prohibit coveting another's property, theft of their oil, and mass murder of defenseless populations?

How can he ignore his own generals when they complain, "We're advocating a policy that says we will invade another nation that is not currently attacking us or invading any of our allies." [Capitol Hill Blue Jan, 22, 2003]

To those who deem it unseemly to count the brick's on one man's load, let us recall that this unelected President is one brick short of killing what the UN fears could be up to a half-million people in Iraq. This massacre could easily see Pakistan's government – and its 30 to 40 nukes – falling to an al Qaeda/Taliban majority. Bush's announced plans to attack North Korea and Iran have already prompted both countries to hit the nuclear gas pedal, virtually assuring a "nuclear event". And his $5 trillion blowout has taken the American economy to a $2 trillion deficit in two short years. As ignored global warming triggers Extreme Weather Events, frightened Nobel price-winning economists warn that GW's proposed $600 billion tax cut is "fiscal madness" - "a very serious economic error" that will collapse the country in exactly the same way the ex-Soviet Empire went bust buying and deploying so many arms in so many places. Ditto Imperial Rome.

Are these the acts of a rational person?

Not since Nixon's famous freak-outs in the White House, which saw National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger ordering military commanders to ignore nuclear launch orders from their Commander-In-Chief, is it so urgent that we examine a president's cognitive capacities. [The Trial of Henry Kissinger]

It might be useful to scrutinize the following findings. While everyone "goes nuts" from time to time, the salient question is whether traits described below dominate and drive today's presidential decisions. Is a man called by other government reps, "an idiot" "an imbecile" "dangerously incompetent" and "a moron" competent, capable and qualified to direct America's unchallenged military might?

Read on. If you dare.

Pattern Recognition

" Is The 'President' Nuts?" asks Carol Wolman, M.D. "Many people, inside and especially outside this country, believe that the American president is nuts, and is taking the world on a suicidal path." [Counterpunch Oct. 2, 2002]

A board-certified psychiatrist in practice for 30 years, Dr. Wolman feels compelled to understand the "psychopathology" of man "under tremendous pressure from both his family/junta, and from the world at large." Dr. Wolman wonders if GW is suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition:

"There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others: 1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest; 2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure; 5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others; 7) lack of remorse by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated or stolen from others."

Dry Drunk

GW Bush is highly regarded for "kicking" the twin demons of cocaine and alcohol addiction. If he is still off both wagons and there is no proof that isn't – such a triumph, encouraged and aided by his wife, is commendable.

When probing the mysteries of GW's brain chemistry, a key point to ponder is that damage done to brain cells from drug abuse is permanent and irreversible.

Quaker and university professor Katherine van Wormer co-authored the definitive, 2002, Addiction Treatment. This expert writes that "George W. Bush manifests all the classic patterns of what alcoholics in recovery call 'the dry drunk'. His behavior is consistent with being brought on by years of heavy drinking and possible cocaine use." [Counterpunch Oct. 11, 2002]

"Dry drunk," explains the professor, "is a slang term used by members and supporters of Alcoholics Anonymous and substance abuse counselors to describe the recovering alcoholic who is no longer drinking - one who is dry, but whose thinking is clouded."

Such an individual is 'dry' but not truly sober. Such individuals tend to go to overboard. A good example of Bush' "polarized thinking" is his call for "crusades" based on "infinite justice" for "evil-doers" comprising an "axis of evil".

Bush's "obsessive repetition" also remind this professor, "of many of the recovering alcoholics/addicts I had treated." Van Wormer worriers, "His power, in fact, is such that if he collapses into paranoia, a large part of the world will collapse with him."

Paranoia? Impatience? Rigid judgmental outlook? Grandiose behavior? Childish behavior? Irresponsible behavior? Irrational rationalization? Projection? Overreaction? these are all "dry drunk" traits.

Van Wormer observers that Bush's pompous pledge: "We must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction" is a projection from the world's leading rogue state preparing to attack with nuclear weapons.

"Bush's tendency to dichotomize reality" should be emphasized. Prof. van Wormer describes this is as either/or reasoning - "either you are with us or against us". A White House spokesperson puts it this way: "The President considers this nation to be at war, and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason.'' [Capitol Hill Blue Jan, 22, 2003]

BUSH'S BINGES – HISTORY IMPACTS THE PRESENT

Bush's binges were legendary. Van Wormer describes "years of binge drinking starting in college, at least one conviction for DUI in 1976 in Maine, and one arrest before that for a drunken episode involving theft of a Christmas wreath." She adds:

"The Bush biography reveals the story of a boy named for his father, sent to the exclusive private school in the East where his father's reputation as star athlete and later war hero were still remembered. The younger George's achievements were dwarfed in the school's memory of his father. Athletically he could not achieve his father's laurels, being smaller and perhaps less strong. His drinking bouts and lack of intellectual gifts held him back as well. His military record was mediocre as compared to his father's as well. [He went AWOL] "

In Fortunate Son, Bush himself explained: "Alcohol began to compete with my energies ... I'd lose focus". Though he once said he couldn't remember a day he hadn't had a drink, he quickly added the giveaway phrase that he didn't believe he was "clinically alcoholic".

Van Wormer notes that "Bush drank heavily for over 20 years until he made the decision to abstain at age 40. About this time he became a 'born again Christian' – going as usual from one extreme to the other." When asked in an interview about his reported cocaine use, he answered reasonably, "I'm not going to talk about what I did 20 to 30 years ago".

One motive driving Dubya could be his need "to prove himself to his father - to achieve what his father failed to do - to finish the job of the Gulf War, to get the 'evildoer' Saddam." Adds van Wormer, "His drive to finish his father's battles is of no small significance, psychologically."

Brain Damage

According to Van Wormer, "scientists can now observe changes that occur in the brain as a result of heavy alcohol and other drug abuse. Some of these changes may be permanent."

Van Wormer characterizes this damage as "barely noticeable but meaningful." Researchers have found that brain chemistry irregularities caused by long bouts of drinking or drug abuse cause "messages in one part of the brain to become stuck there. This leads to maddening repetition of thoughts."

One of these powerful "stuck" thoughts, says van Wormer, is that "President Bush seems unduly focused upon getting revenge on Saddam Hussein ('He tried to kill my Dad'), leading the country and the world into war, accordingly."

Grandiosity is another major trait of former addicts brain-damaged by their addiction. Bush has reversed the successful, five-decade old U.S. policy of containment and no first strikes. Now he says, Americans can attack anyone, anywhere at any time with any weapons of their choosing – including banned cluster bomb munitions, radioactive explosives and nuclear bombs.

AN AGENT OF ARMAGEDDON?

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, "Has a grandiose sense of self-importance-exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements."

Sound familiar?

This personality is preoccupied with fantasies of power and being loved. Such a person requires "automatic compliance". He or she is "exploitative" of others, "lacks empathy, is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others." And also "shows arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes."

"This set of characteristics," says Dr. Wolman, not too reassuringly, "may describe Rumsfeld and Cheney better than Dubya."

For those who, like Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stieglitz, warn that Bush "has been captured by a small group of ideologues," Dependent Personality Disorder describes someone who "has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others." [CBC Feb. 10, 2003]

From a Jungian perspective, writes Dr. Wolman, "Dubya may be identifying with an archetype – something out of Revelations, perhaps, whereby he sees himself as an instrument of God's will to bring about Armageddon." Concurs Katherine van Wormer, "To fight evil, Bush is ready to take on the world, in almost a Biblical sense."

A PRESIDENTIAL PATHOLOGY

Is Bush's belligerence bent on securing another oil fix? Katherine van Wormer believes that a Portland peace protestor's sign, "Drunk on Power" nailed it. Says this quiet Quaker, "The drive for power can be an unquenchable thirst, addictive in itself."

Senator William Fulbright agrees. His bestseller, The Arrogance of Power defined power politics as the pursuit of power. "The causes and consequences of war may have more to do with pathology than with politics," Fulbright wrote.

A key "dry drunk" trait is impatience. Bush, who often describes himself as "a patient man", is not. Just four weeks after inspectors went into Iraq, he called for obliterating Baghdad. "If we wait for threats to fully materialize", Bush pointed out to West Pointers, "we will have waited too long". Translations: It's okay to attack projections of our own fearful imaginings – in case those phantom threats someday become real.

Alan Bisbort's "Dry Drunk - Is Bush Making a Cry for Help?" appeared in American Politics Journal. Bisbort believes that Bush's "incoherence" when speaking away from prepared scripts is a classic sign of addicted brain damage.

For Bisbort, another "dry drunk" tip-off is Dubya's irritability with anyone who dares disagree with him – including Germany's new leader, who insists he is opposing Bush's folly in Iraq as a concerned long-time friend of America. (Schroeder's wife is American.)

Another "Dry drunk" sign says van Wormer, is Dubya's "dangerous obsessing about only one thing (Iraq) to the exclusion of all other things."

Van Wormer's bottom line prognosis: "George W. Bush seems to possess the traits characteristic of addictive persons who still have the thought patterns that accompany substance abuse. The fact that some residual effects from his earlier substance abuse - however slight - might cloud the U.S. President's thinking and judgment is frightening, however, in the context of the current global crisis."

DON'T LAUGH

The Toronto Star recounts how NYU author and media critic Mark Crispin Miller attempted to catalogue GW's verbal gaffes. Some favorites: "The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country." "If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."

"The future will be better tomorrow."

"He meant it for a laugh," wrote the Star. "Not now."

The author of Boxed In: The Culture of TV believes "Bush is not an imbecile. He's not a puppet. I think that Bush is a sociopathic personality. I think he's incapable of empathy. He has an inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he's a very skilled manipulator. And in all the snickering about his alleged idiocy, this is what a lot of people miss."

Miller's judgment - that an unelected president might suffer from a clinical personality disorder - is much heavier than being called the global village idiot. "He has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he's speaking punitively, when he's talking about violence, when he's talking about revenge. When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine," Miller mentions. "It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes."

Bush even has trouble repeating comforting clichés. "Fool me once, shame ... shame on ... you," Long, uncomfortable pause. "Fool me - can't get fooled again!"

While the world was laughing, Miller saw something darker. "What's revealing about this is that Bush could not say, `Shame on me' to save his life. That's a completely alien idea to him. This is a guy who is absolutely proud of his own inflexibility and rectitude," wrote Miller.

Miller says that Bush saying, "I know how hard it is to put food on your family" is not 'cause he's stupid, but "because he doesn't care about people who can't put food on the table."

When Bush is envisioning "a foreign-handed foreign policy," Miller contends it's because he can't keep his focus on things that mean nothing to him. "When he tries to talk about what this country stands for, or about democracy, he can't do it," Miller observes.

According to Miller, this is why GW is so closely watched by his handlers. "Not because he'll say something stupid," the Star paraphrased, "but because he'll overindulge in the language of violence and punishment at which he excels."

"He's a very angry guy, a hostile guy," Miller says. "He's much like Nixon. So they're very, very careful to choreograph every move he makes. They don't want him anywhere near protestors, because he would lose his temper." Adds this media expert, "It would be a grave mistake to just play him for laughs."

DEPRESSION CAN BE DANGEROUSLY DEPRESSING

Confronted by a man who will not listen to anyone but a few "chickenhawks" urging worldwide war, why shouldn't we feel depressed? Not surprisingly, we do.

Seventy percent of U.S. pastors constantly fight depression. Right now, almost three million Canadians are seriously depressed. (Multiply by four or five for approximate U.S. figures.) We can't blame GW for this. Or the fact that suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in 15 to 24 year olds. But as the man responsible for perpetrating a worldwide bummer, George isn't helping! [www.tonycooke.org; National Institute of Mental Health]

If it's politically incorrect to ask these questions, how "correct" is it to launch 800 cruise missiles and thousands of one-ton bombs on a captive urban population already suffering the ravages of deliberately imposed hunger and disease?

Choka Cola

Another big clue to Dubya's displays of dementia comes in "photo-ops" showing him slugging back diet Coke with other Aspartame addicts, like Chicago's mayor Richard Daley. Their beet red faces spell either embarrassment over Bush's hijacking of America, or aspartame poisoning. [Chicago Sun Times, Sept. 27, 2002]

According to Carol Guilford, an Aspartame expert and support worker, the President-Select's "pretzel" pratfall was most likely an Aspartame seizure. Bush, like Carter, Al Gore and millions of Americans, is addicted to this constant caffeine hit. Among the FDA's listed 92 symptoms for Aspartame poisoning are: "Difficulty Swallowing", "Fainting" and "Unconsciousness".

Bush's facial lesions, removed as a result of "Too much sun" is another sign of Aspartame poisoning. So was his recent knee surgery: Aspartame depletes synovial fluid lubricating the joints.

Would you drink 6 to 12 cans of formaldehyde a day? It turns out that methanol in Aspartame converts to formaldehyde in the tissues. As Guildford wrote to USN Captain Eleanor Marino, Physician to the President (Feb. 21, 2002): 10% of a 200mg can of diet soda is straight methanol wood alcohol! Methanol is such a gross cumulative poison, the EPA's limit for drinking water is 7.8 mg daily. For serious addicts like Bush, the methanol intake can exceed 32 times the EPA's recommended limit..

Now the punch line: Clinical case studies shows that, among other symptoms, Aspartame ingestion results in "mind fog", feeling "unreal", poor memory, confusion, anxiety, irritability, depression, mania, and slurred speech. [Neurology 1994]

Alcohol-related brain damage is not helped by chugging formaldehyde. James Turner, consumer protection lawyer and author of The Chemical Feast learned that an Oct. 1980 FDA inquiry found that the formaldehyde formed by Aspartame actually eats microscopic holes and triggers tumors in the brain.

That finding banned Aspartame from the food supply. But three months later, Searle CEO Donald Rumsfeld told that pharma giant's sales staff he would get Aspartame approved pronto. The next month, the FDA commissioner was replaced by Dr. Arthur Hayes. In Nov. 1983 the FDA approved aspartame for soft drinks. Under fire for accepting corporate bribes, Hayes went to work for Searle's public-relations firm. Searle lawyer Robert Shapiro coined the name NutraSweet. Monsanto bought Searle. Rumsfeld received $12 million for his help. Shapiro now heads Monsanto.

The same "revolving door" swings wide for arms makers and the oil mafia. The Big Question is: Why hasn't Dick warned George that the diet drinks he's swilling are eating his brain and making him crazy?

Crazy? Am I calling the President-Select of the Excited States crazy? Not me. As a journalist, I can only point out that published medical evidence goes frighteningly far in explaining GW's behavior. For certain, this good ol' boy should go in for a brain scan before being allowed to command more firepower than the next 11 nations combined. If George W. Bush is not crazy - he's sure acting like it.

Comment: Aspartame poisoning, a dry drunk, depression, binge drugging, facility with violence while lacking empathy, not to mention that he used to blow up frogs with firecrackers. Just the kinda guy you want to have leading the world's largest military power.

The following is the CounterPunch article cited by Williams.

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Is the President Nuts? Diagnosing Dubya
by CAROL WOLMAN, M.D.
CounterPunch
October 2, 2002
Many people, inside and especially outside this country, believe that the American president is nuts, and is taking the world on a suicidal path. As a board-certified psychiatrist, I feel it's my duty to share my understanding of his psychopathology. He's a complicated man, under tremendous pressure from both his family/junta, and from the world at large. So the following is offered with humility and questioning, in the form of a differential diagnosis.

From the Freudian point of view:

Dubya may be acting out a classical Oedipal drama--overcome Daddy to get Mommy. By deposing Saddam, when his father did not, he may want to prove himself more worthy of his mother's love. His rationale that he is avenging the assassination attempt on George, Sr., may be a reaction formation- his way of hiding the true motive from himself.

From the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fourth Edition:

Antisocial Personality Disorder--301.7

There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others since age 15 years as indicated by at least three of the following: 1) failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest; 2) deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure; 5) reckless disregard for safety of self or others; 7) lack of remorse by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated or stolen from others.

Another possibility from DSM IV:

Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder) 300.14

A) The presence of two or more distinct identities, each with its own enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to and thinking about the environment and self.

B) At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person's behavior.

This disorder is typical of people raised by satanic cults, and might explain how Dubya can think of himself as a born-again Christian and yet worship money, oil and profit, and sanction killing thousands of innocent Iraqi and Afghani children.

Another possibility:

Narcissistic personality disorder 301.81

1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance- exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements;

2) in preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love;

3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or
high-status people;

4) requires excessive admiration;

5) has a sense of entitlement- unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her
expectations;

6) is interpersonally exploitative;

7) lacks empathy, is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others;

9) shows arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes.

This set of characteristics may describe Rumsfeld and Cheney better than Dubya.

Or, for those who feel that he's just a puppet for others:

Dependent Personality Disorder 301.6

1) has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others;

2) needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his life;

3) has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval;

4) has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his own because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities.

5. goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of doing things that are unpleasant.

From a Jungian point of view:

Dubya may be identifying with an archetype (as Hitler did with the ubermensch)--something out of Revelations, perhaps, whereby he sees himself as an instrument of God's will to bring about Armageddon.

Dr. Carol Wolman is a board certified psychiatrist, in practice for 30 years. She can be reached at: cwolman@mcn.org

Comment: It's always nice to have a choice. Isn't that what being an informed consumer is all about?

In the next articles, we have a slightly different take, based upon an analysis of Bush's use of language....

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Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder
Toronto Star
When Mark Crispin Miller first set out to write Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder , about the ever-growing catalogue of President George W. Bush's verbal gaffes, he meant it for a laugh. But what he came to realize wasn't entirely amusing. - Since the 2000 presidential campaign, Miller has been compiling his own collection of Bush-isms, which have revealed, he says, a disquieting truth about what lurks behind the cock-eyed leer of the leader of the free world. He's not a moron at all... [...]

In studying Bush's various adventures in oration, he started to see a pattern emerging. "He has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he's speaking punitively, when he's talking about violence, when he's talking about revenge. "When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine," Miller said. "It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes." While Miller's book has been praised for its "eloquence" and "playful use of language," it has enraged Bush supporters. [...]

By stumbling blithely along, he has been able to push his image as "just folks" — a normal guy who screws up just like the rest of us. This, in fact, is a central cog in his image-making machine, Miller says: Portraying the wealthy scion of one of America's most powerful families as a regular, imperfect Joe. But the depiction, Miller says, is also remarkable for what it hides — imperfect, yes, but also detached, wealthy and unable to identify with the "folks" he's been designed to appeal to. An example, Miller says, surfaced early in his presidential tenure. "I know how hard it is to put food on your family," Bush was quoted as saying. "That wasn't because he's so stupid that he doesn't know how to say, `Put food on your family's table' — it's because he doesn't care about people who can't put food on the table," Miller says. [...]

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Bush isn't a moron, he's a cunning sociopath
By Bev Conover
Online Journal Editor & Publisher
December 5, 2002 — If any of us are to have a future worth having, the world's leaders, the members of Congress, the US corporate media and people of all political persuasions who value freedom and democracy had better start seeing George W. Bush for what he is: a sociopath and a passive serial killer.

Psychiatrists tell us that all serial killers lack the emotions that make us human; that they have to learn to emulate those emotions in order to get by in society. Hence, a charming, well educated fellow like Ted Bundy who is known to have murdered 15 women and may have killed 36 before he was caught.

While Bush is no Bundy, when it comes Bundy's education and acquired charm, and to our knowledge has never personally murdered anyone, it has been evident to us that there is something missing in George W. in terms of his lack of compassion and empathy. As governor of Texas, he set a record in signing death warrants — 154 in five years. He even made fun of the way convicted killer Karla Faye Tucker begged for her life.

If we believe the psychiatrists, a sign of a future serial killer is a child who delights in torturing and killing animals. George W., as a child, did exactly that. In a May 21, 2000, New York Times' puff piece about the values Bush gained growing up in Midland, Texas, Nicholas D. Kristof quoted Bush's childhood friend Terry Throckmorton: "'We were terrible to animals,' recalled Mr. Throckmorton, laughing. A dip behind the Bush home turned into a small lake after a good rain, and thousands of frogs would come out. 'Everybody would get BB guns and shoot them,' Mr. Throckmorton said. 'Or we'd put firecrackers in the frogs and throw them and blow them up.'"

On Sept. 12, 2000, Baltimore Sun reporter Miriam Miedzian wrote, "So when he was a kid, George W. enjoyed putting firecrackers into frogs, throwing them in the air, and then watching them blow up. Should this be cause for alarm? How relevant is a man's childhood behavior to what he is like as an adult? And in this case, to what he would be like as president of the United States."

We're finding out, aren't we? While we, in two articles before the 2000 election — Sept. 21 and Oct. 23 — noted Bush's penchant for blowing up frogs, the corporate media blew it off, just as it had no interest in what he was trying to hide by obtaining a new Texas driver license and his 1976 drunk driving conviction, or the fact he was AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard. Instead, they bought into his nonsensical claim of being a "compassionate conservative" and "a uniter not a divider" who was going to "restore honor and dignity to the White House."

All through the 2000 campaign and up to Sept. 11, 2001, the corporate media depicted Bush as an affable, tongue-tied bumbler — the kind of guy Joe Six-pack would like to have a beer with — turning a blind eye to his dark underside. It mattered not that he stocked his illicit administration with the worst of the worst: John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, Gale Norton, Paul O'Neill, Harvey Pitt, Thomas White, John Negroponte, Otto Reich and convicted Iran-contra felon Elliot Abrams who received a 1992 Christmas Eve pardon from George W.'s father.

Then, despite his peculiar behavior on Sept. 11, the corporate media and his handlers transformed him into a leader extraordinaire in the mold of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill rolled into one.

And as Bush had Afghanistan bombed back beyond the Stone Age to rid the world of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, then switched to claiming it was the Taliban that had to go, then declared there was an "axis of evil" and it was really Saddam Hussein who was the "mother of all evil" and that war with Iraq was in the offing to get rid of Saddam, the corporate media cheered him on and to this day continues to beat the war drum. They have yet to consider that the passive serial killer needs to feed his lust for blood by sending others to put their lives on the line and do the killing for him.

In his Sept. 12 article, White House insiders say Bush is "out of control," Mike Hersh wrote, "Some among Bush's trusted White House staff fear what they are seeing and where Bush is taking us. His state of mind hauntingly reminds them of Richard Nixon's Final Days. They fear Bush is becoming Nixonesque . . . or worse. Although Bush lacks Nixon's paranoia, he may entertain even more dangerous notions."

But their desperate late night phone calls to trusted reporters has not seen the light of day in the corporate media. Yet, some of us outside the Beltway have long had an inkling of what we are dealing with.

More proof lies in Alexandra Pelosi's documentary, Journeys with George. Pelosi, the daughter of incoming House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, was a producer for NBC when she wangled the assignment to spend 18 months as part of Bush's campaign press corps.

From the surface, Pelosi's "home movie," as she calls it, seems to be nothing more than a love fest as George W. works to charm the pants off her and the rest of the press corps. The striking thing about this George, even though Karen Hughes is often seen hovering at his elbow, is that he isn't tongue-tied when he is pumping up his ego, dishing out digs and being sarcastic and crude.

Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon and professor of media studies at New York University, who also sees the darker Bush, said in a Nov. 28 interview with the Toronto Star, ""Bush is not an imbecile. He's not a puppet. I think that Bush is a sociopathic personality. I think he's incapable of empathy. He has an inordinate sense of his own entitlement, and he's a very skilled manipulator. And in all the snickering about his alleged idiocy, this is what a lot of people miss."

Miller said he did intend The Bush Dyslexicon to be a funny book, but that was before he read all the transcripts, which revealed, according to reporter Murray Whyte, "a disquieting truth about what lurks behind the cock-eyed leer of the leader of the free world. He's not a moron at all on that point, Miller and Prime Minister Jean Chretien agree."

"He has no trouble speaking off the cuff when he's speaking punitively, when he's talking about violence, when he's talking about revenge," Miller told Whyte. "When he struts and thumps his chest, his syntax and grammar are fine. It's only when he leaps into the wild blue yonder of compassion, or idealism, or altruism, that he makes these hilarious mistakes."

In a speech last Sept. in Nashville, trying to strengthen his case against Saddam, Bush's script called for him to say, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." But the words that came out of his mouth were, ""Fool me once, shame . . . shame on . . . you," followed by a long pause, then, "Fool me — can't get fooled again!"

Said Miller, "What's revealing about this is that Bush could not say, 'Shame on me' to save his life. That's a completely alien idea to him. This is a guy who is absolutely proud of his own inflexibility and rectitude."

Another example, Miller said, occurred early in Bush's White House tenure when he said, "I know how hard it is to put food on your family."

According to Miller, "That wasn't because he's so stupid that he doesn't know how to say, 'Put food on your family's table' — it's because he doesn't care about people who can't put food on the table."

Miller told Whyte, "When he tries to talk about what this country stands for, or about democracy, he can't do it."

"This, then, is why he's so closely watched by his handlers, Miller says not because he'll say something stupid, but because he'll overindulge in the language of violence and punishment at which he excels," Whyte wrote.

"He's a very angry guy, a hostile guy. He's much like Nixon. So they're very, very careful to choreograph every move he makes. They don't want him anywhere near protestors, because he would lose his temper," Miller said.

"I call him the feel bad president, because he's all about punishment and death," Miller told Whyte. "It would be a grave mistake to just play him for laughs."

A grave mistake, indeed.

If all that has happened since Bush was first mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate hasn't set off alarms, his naming of war criminal, mass murderer and international fugitive Henry Kissinger last week to head up the 9/11 investigation should have. And this week another alarm should have gone off when Bush promoted Elliot Abrams to lead the National Security Council's office for Near East and North African affairs, which oversees Arab-Israeli relations.

Bush must be stopped now, before he sets the world aflame. And set it aflame is what he intends to do, even if Iraq has no "weapons of mass destruction" or Saddam stands on his head, naked, on the White House lawn.

Comment: We begin to see that the joking and joshing and frat boy humour is the expression of something else, part of the so-called "charm" of the psychopath.

Is Bush a psychopath?

Most of us think of a character such as Hannibal Lecter or Ted Bundy when we hear the word "psychopath". In fact, most psychopaths are not murderers. They are more likely to be successful businessmen, lawyers, and politicians.

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Snakes in suits
Laura Spinney
New Scientist vol 183 issue 2461 - 21 August 2004, page 40

Could one in a hundred of us be a psychopath? Look out, says Laura Spinney, you might be sharing your office with one

HE WAS a natural leader, creative, energetic and ambitious. "Mike" had appeared to be the ideal recruit for a fast-growing electronics company. It was only after he got the job that certain less favourable aspects of his behaviour came to light. He couldn't get along with his secretary, he "forgot" to take on less interesting projects, he bullied colleagues and walked out of meetings. But since he'd already complained about his boss to senior management, his boss's concerns were never taken seriously, and the company even singled Mike out as a "high-potential employee".

Perhaps you know someone like Mike. Someone charming, yet aggressive; a manipulative boss who can't be bothered with paperwork; one who constantly switches allegiance as different people become useful. Mike embellished the truth on his application form, failed to document his expense claims and turned out, in the end, to be setting up his own business on company time and resources. He is what some psychologists describe as an industrial or corporate psychopath.

The psychologists do not use the term lightly. They believe that Mike shares exactly the same constellation of personality traits as the violent and sadistic killers we more commonly call psychopaths.

New research suggests that people like Mike vastly outnumber the psychopaths who commit crimes and end up in prison. Psychopathy, say the researchers, is a spectrum of character traits, milder forms of which could even be useful and adaptive. What's more, studies reveal that Mike's genes contribute to his psychopathic personality. Had you known what to look for, the traits would probably have revealed themselves at a very tender age.

The researchers are going to have a battle on their hands changing the deeply ingrained popular image of psychopaths as criminals - the likes of Charles Manson or Jack the Ripper. There is a good reason for this image, says Paul Babiak, the New York-based industrial organisational psychologist who studied Mike. Psychopaths make themselves known by their crimes, so those who don't commit crimes, or who successfully cover their tracks, tend to remain invisible. So what makes Babiak so sure that the label is appropriate?

It is only recently that psychopathy has been defined by criminal or antisocial acts. In the 1940s, the definition relied chiefly on personality traits - narcissism, lack of remorse, lack of empathy, ability to manipulate others and inability to accept responsibility. These traits, if they persist over time, are still what distinguish psychopathic antisocial behaviour from "normal" aggression or teenage rebelliousness. Thinking is now reverting to these older descriptions, with researchers beginning to concur that there are degrees of psychopathic personality, rather than its being an all-or-none character flaw. It means that a larger subset of society is included.

As far back as 1977, Cathy Spatz Widom, then at Harvard University, suggested a means of luring what she called "non-institutionalised psychopaths" out into the open. She put an ad in a non-mainstream Boston paper: "Wanted: charming, aggressive, carefree people who are impulsively irresponsible but are good at handling people and looking after number one." Of the 73 people who responded, she interviewed 29. All of them met the criteria for psychopathy as defined by personality traits and antisocial behaviour, and two-thirds had a history of arrest. But of those who had been arrested, only 18 per cent had been convicted. On the whole, they had managed to stay out of prison. The main difference she noted between her respondents and convicted criminals who were typically studied at that time was that they were better educated. She showed that if you went looking for psychopathic traits in the non-criminal population, you would find them.

For a decade or so, people have been asking what makes a psychopath. Is it the result of biology or upbringing? [...]

Adrian Raine, a psychologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, suggested that psychopathy tends to be associated with abnormalities of the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain responsible for regulating behaviour, that could arise from birth complications. [...]

But until now studies have provided information only about psychopaths who were identified and who are, generally speaking, criminals. What has been lacking, says the psychiatrist and renowned psychopath expert, Robert Hare of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, are studies looking for the origins of psychopathic tendencies that start with children and follow them as they grow up. [...]

At the Institute of Psychiatry in London, Essi Viding has also made attempts to spot the future Mikes. Thanks to the institute's ongoing study on twins, she had access to around 4000 seven-year-old English and Welsh twin pairs whose teachers had rated them on two measures at the end of their first year at school. [...]

Of the twin pairs who were in the top 10 per cent for antisocial behaviour, about half also had high scores for callous-unemotional traits. Antisocial behaviour seemed to fall into two types. When it occurred in combination with callous and unemotional traits, it was far more likely to be the result of genes than when these traits were not apparent. While 70 per cent of the antisocial behaviour in non-psychopathic children was down to environmental causes - a poor home environment, say - only 20 per cent of the callous- unemotional children's antisocial behaviour could be accounted for by environment. The rest was down to their genes. "There is a sub-group of children who seem to be very strongly predisposed to antisocial behaviour," Viding says. For these kids, their genetic predisposition may mean that even a good family influence can't rescue them, or that bad influences have an especially strong effect, she suggests.

If you were to isolate the really extreme cases, the top 1 or 2 per cent of children on scores for psychopathic tendencies, you would see how different these children really are, she says. "They are different from the antisocial children who are impulsively antisocial. They can be very devious, they can manipulate the teachers against each other in a school setting; they lie very fluently; they can be incredibly charming if they want to." Now she is testing the twins on their moral reasoning. So she might ask a child if it was alright to hit another child in the playground. Assuming they said no, she would then ask them why not. The "psychopathic" reasoning tends to be self-referential - the child will say, "Because I'll get into trouble," rather than, "Because it might hurt or upset them." [...]

Only time will tell if and how many of Viding's antisocial, psychopathic- leaning seven-year-olds will go on to commit crimes. But Hare suggests that plenty will blend in and become "successful" - and hence invisible - psychopaths. Or as he calls them, "snakes in suits". He estimates that 1 per cent of the population of North America could be described as psychopaths. And now Babiak and Hare have teamed up to look for them.

For the past two years they have been developing what they call the Business Scan 360, derived from the PCL-R. The "360" refers to the fact that the screen involves interviews with all those people surrounding the individual under scrutiny - secretaries, colleagues and managers. "If you imagine the conscientious employee at one end of a continuum and a prototypical corporate psychopath at the other end, the B-Scan 360 attempts to gauge where the individual is," Babiak says.

Hare and Babiak have almost finished assessing 100 economic criminals in the US, people who have been convicted of fraud or embezzlement, to provide a benchmark of the ultimately undesirable employee. Next they will assess a "normal" business population of managers. And finally, they will test a group of high-flyers in an attempt to see whether they can distinguish promising future bosses from potential disasters like Mike.

Their mission, as Babiak sees it, is to warn employers that apparent leadership skills could mask something more sinister. That is not to say that people like Mike might not also prove valuable employees in certain capacities. As Raine says, psychopathic traits could prove useful on the front line, or even in a US president. But bosses might think twice about promoting a high-risk individual to a position of power from which he or she could cause great damage. Remember the disgraced British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, who stole from his own company pension fund? "I'm not saying Maxwell was a psychopath," Hare says, "But he sure had psychopathic tendencies."

Viding, too, hopes that her research will pick out those who show strong psychopathic tendencies. But she is also interested in intervention. There is a tendency to assume that psychopathy is untreatable on the basis of limited success with adults. A recent study suggested that a programme designed to improve the empathy skills of sex offenders in some cases made them more dangerous, by improving their ability to groom their victims. But a better understanding of their genetic vulnerability could translate into novel interventions, psychological and even pharmacological, just as it has done for anxiety and depression, Viding says.

Viding even has a gene in mind, whose expression she wants to investigate in twins. Ahmad Hariri of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, implicated a serotonin transporter gene in various forms of neuroticism and psychopathology, especially anxiety traits. Viding wants to find out if some mutation here could contribute to psychopathic antisocial behaviour. If so, there is every chance of finding a way to intervene.

Lorraine Johnstone, a clinical forensic psychologist at Glasgow Caledonian University, UK, says that it is important to look for the childhood precursors of psychopathy, because it is possible that vulnerable children could be identified early on and deflected from a life of crime. She agrees it is a minefield, however. "Children are unreasonable, they're selfish, they test out lots of antisocial behaviours and then most of them think, well actually that doesn't work, so I won't bother doing it again." Only when those traits are stable over time do they become suggestive. But over how long, and who decides what is stable?

But if Viding's findings, bolstered by others in the future, convince the scientific community that psychopaths-in-waiting can be reliably spotted among children, they also suggest something else that may be even harder to swallow: "Prevention efforts need to begin in the preschool years," Viding says. Once a child starts school, it may already be too late to save him from Wormwood Scrubs, or the White House.

A brief history of antisocial behaviour

In the 18th century French doctor Philippe Pinel described a patient who defied all existing categories. He showed no remorse or personal restraint. Pinel labelled his condition "manie sans délire" (madness without delirium).

The term "psychopath" was coined in the 19th century. But until 1941, there were no clear diagnostic criteria and the syndrome was also referred to as "moral insanity" and "psychopathic inferiority".

In 1941, Hervey Cleckley wrote The Mask of Sanity, in which he defined a set of clinical symptoms that distinguished psychopaths. This description, notable for the absence of criminal or antisocial behaviour, comes from the 1964 edition of his book: "...superficial charm and good intelligence; absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking; absence of 'nervousness' or other psychoneurotic manifestations; unreliability, untruthfulness, and insincerity; lack of remorse or shame; inadequately motivated antisocial behaviour; poor judgement and failure to learn by experience; pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love; general poverty in major affective reactions; specific loss of insight; unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations; fantastic and uninviting behaviour with drink and sometimes without; suicide rarely carried out; sex life impersonal, trivial and poorly integrated; and failure to follow any life plan."

From 1952, "psychopath" and "sociopathic personality" came to be used interchangeably by psychiatrists, under the heading "personality disorder".

With the second edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II), published in 1968, "sociopathic personality" yielded to "personality disorder, antisocial type". The third edition of DSM, published in 1980, listed antisocial personality disorder (APD), the diagnosis of which relies almost exclusively on antisocial and criminal behaviour, and no longer on personality traits.

At the moment psychopathy is not recognised as a formal mental disorder. But the issue of psychopathy versus APD is still hotly debated in psychology and legal circles.

Laura Spinney is a writer based in London and Paris

Comment: Cleckley's work, The Mask of Sanity, is available from our site in a pdf file. We also have an excerpt from the book, The Inner Landscape of the Psychopath, available in html. Cleckley's work is seminal.

Let's look again at Cleckley's definition:

This description, notable for the absence of criminal or antisocial behaviour, comes from the 1964 edition of his book: "...superficial charm and good intelligence; absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking; absence of 'nervousness' or other psychoneurotic manifestations; unreliability, untruthfulness, and insincerity; lack of remorse or shame; inadequately motivated antisocial behaviour; poor judgement and failure to learn by experience; pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love; general poverty in major affective reactions; specific loss of insight; unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations; fantastic and uninviting behaviour with drink and sometimes without; suicide rarely carried out; sex life impersonal, trivial and poorly integrated; and failure to follow any life plan."

Isn't this a list of the behaviour of the Bush administration since it too power in the fraudulent 2000 election?

George had his problems as he was growing up. What may have kept little George out of jail were his father's connections.

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The psychopaths in suits
By Joanna Hill-Tout
BBC News Online
The word psychopath strikes fear into the hearts of most ordinary individuals conjuring up images of axe-wielding mass murderers or sexual predators stalking the wards of prison isolation wings.

But that is far from the whole truth and one of the world's experts on psychopaths arrived in Cardiff on Tuesday with some disturbing news.

In a talk entitled Snakes in suits: when psychopaths go to work, Professor Robert Hare from Canada argued that psychopaths may not be what we think they are.

And as BBC News Online found out, they can exist successfully in every walk of live.

"I'm not worried about security - if they were going to get me they would have got me by now."

These were the words of the world's leading authority on psychopathy before he gave a talk in front of a packed out lecture theatre at Cardiff University.

Robert Hare, who is a Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia in Canada, has spent most of his working life studying psychopaths - a dangerous occupation, it seems.

"The first one I met at a maximum security prison in Canada stared at me so hard I felt like I was being pushed up against the wall," he said.

"Then he got a knife out and was moving it around in front of me.

"I didn't know what I was getting myself into."

And he has been "into it" for the past 25 years.

But you would never guess this diminutive, unassuming man has been in contact with real life Hannibal Lecters.

"They get interested in me - and blame me that they're in prison," he said.

"I've had death threats as a result but I keep going - what can you do?"

So was Professor Hare in Cardiff to warn us about the proliferation of psychopaths in Welsh prisons? No, but they could be in your office right now.

Psychopaths are defined as a person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behaviour without empathy or remorse.

Is your boss a psychopath?

Here are just some of the tell tale signs:

They are manipulative
They lack specific goals
They have superficial relations with people
They are impulsive
They are irresponsible
They crave power and prestige
They lack empathy
They lack remorse
They lie easily
They have predatory instincts
They are cool under pressure
They seek excitement and thrills
They take credit for the work of others
They fly into rages

And Professor Hare, along with colleague Dr Paul Babiak, has developed a new 107-point questionnaire - the B-Scan - which can enable people like you and me to identify which desks those smooth-talking, manipulative colleagues might be hiding behind.

"We normally associate psychopaths with death but they're not always in prison," he said.

"We think of them as crazy people but Ian Brady described himself in his book as a businessman.

"You can spot them quite easily in the workplace - so you may want to think about people you know."

Former Daily Mirror tycoon Robert Maxwell, who stole £400m from pension funds to help his ailing companies, was named as a classic example of a man in a powerful position who might very well have displayed psychopathic traits.

So what should we be looking out for?

According to Professor Hare psychopaths are impulsive - they lack empathy and remorse.

They crave power and prestige, and are extremely controlling.

He described them as "knowing the words but not the music."

"They can learn to use ordinary words and to reproduce the pantomime of feeling but the feeling itself does not come to pass."

So is he describing your boss?

They interview well, they get into organisations by using people as pawns, sweet talking patrons and creating conflict.

"I don't see any difference between the people I meet in prison and those in business," he added.

So should we be running for the hills?

You have been warned.

Comment: "They know the words but not the music". How many of us know people like this. They are able to say the right things, and yet there is a curious lack of emotion behind it, and they are incapable of actually doing anything consequent with the words. It comes off like a sophisticated computer programme that mimics real emotions, real caring, but without the depth.

You have been warned.

Unfortunately, with George in the White House, it is a little late for the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine. Moreover, replacing Shrub will not change anything. As we have mentioned, he is but the puppet of others. He is able to "sell" the politics of death because he is a charming simpleton. This does not mean that he doesn't have a sort of predatorial smarts.

Next comes a piece from Signs of the Times aarchives.

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FLASHBACK! October 21, 2002

Bush's Psychopathy

Signs of the Times
Bush himself, as Maureen Dowd points out in her lampoon piece, operates at about the intellectual level of a 10 year old. However, there is something far more troubling about Bush's use of language. Have a look at some of his most revealing comments:

"There ought to be limits to freedom. We're aware of the site, and this guy is just a garbage man." — Bush, commenting on the website www.gwbush.com

"I will do everything in my power to restrict abortions." — George W. Bush, Dallas Morning News October 22, 1994

"I saw the report that children in Texas are going hungry. Where? You'd think the governor would have heard if there are pockets of hunger in Texas." — George W. Bush whose state ranks 2n in total number of children living in poverty to Austin American Statesman, 12/18/99

"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history." "If I decide to [run for President], it will be to restore the promise of America. And I'll define what that means later." (11/15/98)

"The vast majority of our imports come from outside the country."

"The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century."... 9/15/95

"I have made good judgments in the past. I have made good judgments in the future."

"The future will be better tomorrow."

"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."... 8/17/93

"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a part of Europe."

"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur." ... 9/22/97

"Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it." ... 5/20/96

"Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness."

"I mean, there needs to be a wholesale effort against racial profiling, which is illiterate children."

"You f--cking son of a bitch. I saw what you wrote. We're not going to forget this."-- to writer Al Hunt, 1998

"They misunderestimated me."—Bentonville, Ark., Nov. 6, 2000

"I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family."—Greater Nashua, N.H., Chamber of Commerce, Jan. 27, 2000

"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully."- Saginaw, Mich., Sept. 29, 2000

"Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?"- Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000

"The most important job is not to be governor, or first lady in my case."- Pella, Iowa, as quoted by the San Antonio Express-News, Jan. 30, 2000

"I think if you know what you believe, it makes it a lot easier to answer questions. I can't answer your question."— Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Oct. 4, 2000

"Natural gas is hemispheric. I like to call it hemispheric in nature because it is a product that we can find in our neighborhoods."—Austin, Texas, Dec. 20, 2000

"The senator [McCain] has got to understand if he's going to have—he can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road."—To reporters in Florence, S.C., Feb. 17, 2000

"They want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some kind of federal program."—Debate in St. Charles, Mo., Nov. 2, 2000

Now, what is so troubling about these "mixed up" remarks? Those of you who have read the segments of the Adventures Series about psychopathy, are already aware that this "thinking discrepancy" is proposed as one of the observable symptoms of congenital psychopathy.

Hare writes:

What makes psychopaths different from all others is the remarkable ease with which they lie, the pervasiveness of their deception, and the callousness with which they carry it out.

But there is something else about the speech of psychopaths that is equally puzzling: their frequent use of contradictory and logically inconsistent statements that usually escape detection. Recent research on the language of psychopaths provides us with some important clues to this puzzle, as well as to the uncanny ability psychopaths have to move words - and people- around so easily. […]

Here are some examples:

When asked if he had ever committed a violent offense, a man serving time for theft answered, "No, but I once had to kill someone."

A woman with a staggering record of fraud, deceit, lies, and broken promises concluded a letter to the parole board with, "I've let a lot of people down… One is only as good as her reputation and name. My word is as good as gold."

A man serving a term for armed robbery replied to the testimony of an eyewitness, "He's lying. I wasn't there. I should have blown his fucking head off."

From an interview with serial killer Elmer Wayne Henley:

Interviewer: "You make it out that you're the victim of a serial killer, but if you look at the record you're a serial killer."
Henley: "I'm not."
I: "You're not a serial killer?"
H: "I'm not a serial killer."
I: You're saying you're not a serial killer now, but you've serially killed."
H: "Well, yeah, that's semantics."

And so on. The point that the researchers noted was that psychopaths seem to have trouble monitoring their own speech. What is more, they often put things together in strange ways, such as this series of remarks from serial killer Clifford Olson: "And then I had annual sex with her." "Once a year?" "No. Annual. From behind." "Oh. But she was dead!" "No, no. She was just unconscientious." About his many experiences, Olson said, "I've got enough antidotes to fill five or six books - enough for a trilogy." He was determined not to be an "escape goat" no matter what the "migrating facts." [Hare]

Sounds like Dubya, eh? And that's the scary part. Read the following interview with this issue in mind:

Q Gore wants more stringent gun control laws. What's your answer to him, governor?
A Bush "Guns don't kill people; guns are designed and manufactured for the purpose of enabling people to use the guns to kill people."
Q Governor Bush, what's your opinion of negative advertising?
A Bush ""If you ask me, these cheap, mudslinging ads drag the political process down to a level so juvenile and debased, I can actually understand it. Ha-ha."
Q , what should be done about the problems in Chechnya?
A Bush "The U.S. should waste no time in condemning General Mashimkov's brutal occupation of the city of Plovsk in the Chechen province of Azgakasban. Okay, I made that up."
Q Mr. Bush, with prescription-drug prices higher in the United States than elsewhere, what would you do as President to correct this disparity?
A Bush "I think what's getting lost in this whole debate is this: Taking drugs is wrong."
Q a judge in Texas recently banned prayer before football games. What's your position on this?
A Bush "I think it's fine, as long as it's Christian prayers. Anything else is un-American."
Q Governor, in Texas there are full-time wage earners who are homeless. How will your compassionate conservative programs help them?
A Bush "Thank God we've finally stopped looking at the causes of this terrible social problem and started focusing on the symptoms."
Q And about the little Cuban kid? What would you do?
A Bush ""We can't let this child come under the sway of an isolationist, tyrannical state led by a self-obsessed sociopath. By all means, send him back to Cuba."

I'm just shaking my head in amazement that this man can even dress himself. And he's the head of state of the most powerful nation on Earth, for God's sake! Oy vey!

However, there is the problem of Bush's "unnatural power of persuasion." The polls indicate that there are people being persuaded by what he says - which is another symptom of the psychopath - even though they speak in a contradictory way, people are persuaded by what they say to such an extent that they will defend them against all attacks, even if the psychopath is caught doing something red-handed! The psychopath is able to persuade large groups of people to believe in them with no visible and logical reasons for doing so.

Manipulation is the key to the psychopath's conquests. Initially, the psychopath will feign false emotions to create empathy, and many of them study the tricks that can be employed by the empathy technique. Psychopaths are often able to incite pity from people because they seem like "lost souls" as Guggenbuhl-Craig writes. So the pity factor is one reason why victims often fall for these "poor" people.

Hare cites a famous case where a psychopath was "Man of the Year" and president of the Chamber of Commerce in his small town. (Remember that John Wayne Gacy was running for Jaycee President at the very time of his first murder conviction!) The man in question had claimed to have a Ph.D. from Berkeley. He ran for a position on the school board which he then planned to parlay into a position on the county commission which paid more.

At some point, a local reporter suddenly had the idea to check up on the guy - to see if his credentials were real. What the reporter found out was that the only thing that was true about this up and coming politician's "faked bio" was the place and date of birth. Everything else was fictitious. Not only was the man a complete impostor, he had a long history of antisocial behavior, fraud, impersonation, and imprisonment. His only contact with a university was a series of extension courses by mail that he took while in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. What is even more amazing is the fact that before he was a con-man, he was a "con-boy." For two decades he had dodged his way across America one step ahead of those he had hoodwinked. Along the way he had married three women and had four children, and he didn't even know what had happened to them. And now, he was on a roll! But darn that pesky reporter!

When he was exposed, he was completely unconcerned. "These trusting people will stand behind me. A good liar is a good judge of people," he said. Amazingly, he was right. Far from being outraged at the fact that they had all been completely deceived and lied to from top to bottom, the local community he had conned so completely to accrue benefits and honors to himself that he had not earned, rushed to his support!

I kid you not! And it wasn't just "token support." The local Republican party chairman wrote about him: "I assess his genuineness, integrity, and devotion to duty to rank right alongside of President Abraham Lincoln." As Hare dryly notes, this dimwit was easily swayed by words, and was blind to deeds.

Most people are able to combine ideas that have consistent thought themes, but psychopaths have great difficulty doing this. Again, this suggests a genetic restriction to what we have called the Juvenile Dictionary. Not only are they using extremely restricted definitions, they cannot, by virtue of the way their brains work, do otherwise. Virtually all of the research on psychopaths reveals an inner world that is banal, sophomoric, and devoid of the color and detail that generally exists in the inner world of normal people. This goes a long way to explain the inconsistencies and contradictions in their speech.

The situation is analogous to a movie in which one scene is shot under cloudy conditions and the next scene - which supposedly takes place a few minutes later - is shot in brilliant sunshine. […] Some moviegoers - the victims of psychopaths - might not notice the discrepancy, particularly if they are engrossed in the action.

Psychopaths are notorious for not answering the questions asked them. They will answer something else, or in such a way that the direct question is never addressed. They also phrase things so that some parts of their narratives are difficult to understand. This is not careless speech, of which everyone is guilty at times, but an ongoing indication of the underlying condition in which the organization of mental activity suggests something is wrong. It's not what they say, but how they say it that gives insight into their true nature.

But this raises, again, the question: if their speech is so odd, how come smart people get taken in by them? Why do we fail to pick up the inconsistencies?

Part of the answer is that the oddities are subtle so that our general listening mode will not normally pick them up. But my own experience is that some of the "skipped" or oddly arranged words, or misused words are automatically reinterpreted by OUR brains in the same way we automatically "fill in the blank" space on a neon sign when one of the letters has gone out. We can be driving down the road at night, and ahead we see M_tel, and we mentally put the "o" in place and read "Motel." Something like this happens between the psychopath and the victim. We fill in the "missing humanness" by filling in the blanks with our own assumptions, based on what WE think and feel and mean. And, in this way, because there are these "blank" spots, we fill them in with what is inside us, and thus we are easily convinced that the psychopath is a great guy - because he is just like us! We have been conditioned to operate on trust, and we always try to give the "benefit of the doubt." So, there are blanks, we "give the benefit of the doubt," and we are thereby hoisted on our own petard.

According to one individual who suffered at the hands of a psychopath:

"The World has only one problem, Psychopaths. There are two basic types of Psychopaths, Social and Anti-Social. The essential feature of Psychopaths is a Pervasive, Obssesive- Compulsive desire to force their delusions on others.

But then, there are psychopaths, and their close kin, and far more successful Organic Portals... In either case, their "signature" is Wishful Thinking.

Comment: Looks like the prez is suffering from a number of different things. At the base is likely to be a genetic problem. Add to that his alcohol abuse, and now, more recently, the stress he is under in the White House as his rosey world view begins to crumble under the weight of the facts.

It is starting to worry commentators from other countries....

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Passionate Conservatism
by Rick Perlstein
September 3rd, 2004 6:50 PM

[...] Maybe later the media would figure out that they were being punked: that for those with eyes to see this was not a "moderate" gathering in any recognizable sense of word. [...] the shame of the convention stories they so assiduously missed.

One of them concerns the central argument emanating from the podium: that George W. Bush is creating a new world of peace and stability in the Middle East.

That story has shattered like a window pane, and the administration's architects and implementers have been the ones wielding the bricks.

Men like Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who wrote the interrogation policy that, via Abu Ghraib, has rendered every American in Iraq vulnerable to the kind of savagery described in—well, an astonishing article in the previous morning's New York Times, on how the Taliban-like militias in control of the strategically crucial city of Falluja (of most of Western Iraq in fact), are beheading leaders of the American-trained security forces.

Men like War on Terrorism guru Richard Perle, singled out in a report that dropped Wednesday for culpability in the looting of 95 percent of the net income of a company, Hollinger International, on whose board he sat.

Men like defense department analyst Larry Franklin, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and who knows how many neoconservatives to be named later—not to mention Ahmed Chalabi, Laura Bush's State of the Union Address companion, announcing his return to Iraq's political scene on Wednesday—all implicated as details emerged through convention week on an eye-popping two- year FBI investigation of the passing of classified intelligence to Israel.

It was Wednesday night that Vice President Cheney said, "Just as surely as the Nazis during World War II and the Soviets during the cold war, the enemy we face today is bent on our destruction."

I'm inclined to agree with him. Which leaves me in something of a spot. What to do about the fact that so many of the men the Bush administration has charged with redeeming the fear are turning out to be incompetents and crooks? [...]

More and more as convention week went on, I found myself lamenting the lack of a word in the English language to describe the kind of utterance that produces this uncanny frustration, this furious oscillating over whether to call something you swear you just heard a lie, a product of ignorance, or a side- effect of lamentable political self-hypnosis. All are morally contemptible if uttered by figures at this level.

Be that as it may, the problem is terminological efficiency. And it was the Great Communicator himself, the hero of this convention, who came through for me in the pinch. Ronald Reagan used to love to repeat, "It's not that our liberal friends are ignorant. It's just that they know so much that just isn't so."

Just so. [...]

Surely this is historic. A presidential campaign is being built on a tissue of demonstrable falsehoods. And those are just the biggest not-so's. Here are some of the smaller. They came faster than I could fact check them. And, apparently, faster than the New York Times or Washington Post could fact-check them.

Zell exhorts, to a standing ovation that lasts 20 seconds, that "today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator."

A Nexis search indicates that Senator Kerry has never been quoted saying that. Nor Senate minority leader Tom Daschle, nor House leader Nancy Pelosi, nor Senate or House Democratic whips Harry Reid or Steny Hoyer; nor Hoyer's deputy whips Charlie Stenholm, Nita Lowie, Maxine Waters. I'll admit at this point I stopped searching. Maybe Miller is referring to the clerk in the House Democratic cloakroom.

The great straight-talker himself, John McCain, breathed a not-so (like all the most vintage examples of the genre, this one also received a standing ovation) when he said Michael Moore's film depicted "Saddam's Iraq as an oasis of peace" (Moore's actual claim: there are children in Iraq, and they fly kites).

Bill Frist not-so'ed compulsively, not least when he implied that it was George Bush, not a generation of Democrats, who proposed a prescription drug subsidy under Medicare (the GOP stonewalled the notion until they had a president of their own who could claim credit for it).

"Arnold Leaves Them Laughing," Newsday headlined. He also, Newsday neglected to note, not-so'ed: "The President didn't go into Iraq because the polls told him it was popular. A matter of fact, the polls said just the opposite." The facts: two-thirds supported the invasion the month before it happened, 58 percent on its eve, and almost three-quarters after 9-11.

They even not-so'ed before the convention even started. Colin Powell skipped the event, officials claimed, because cabinet secretaries never participate in conventions. Poor Elaine Chao: perhaps she was presented in prime time Wednesday night not for her position as the president's labor secretary, but because she was the only Asian woman they could find?

The not-so's and the nutsos, those coarse threads woven within the skein of "compassionate conservatism": That is the story of this Republican convention.

In the home stretch to come—only seven more weeks!—expect more waves of slashing attacks on John Kerry, on John Kerry's wife, even if an animated video shown on the screen at the convention is any indication, John Kerry's dog.

The media won't call them on it. Nor will they call them on their habitual indulgence of a grassroots extremism that increasingly borders on mania.

The media didn't call the Republicans on Donnie McClurkin. He came. He sang. He conquered. He was surrounded on the stage by a cloud of singing little children, sitting cross-legged, wearing white, pure and innocent—a semiotic coding unmistakable to that narrow world where millions of people know that Pastor McClurkin has devoted his life to saving children from the cult-like snares of the homosexual recruiters. "The gloves are off," he told the 700 Club. "And if there's going to be a war, there's going to be a war."

The media missed that message.

Comment: It may seem highly unusual that those in positions of power would be able to get away with lying so much. In Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article The Psychopath - The Mask of Sanity, we note the following:

Cleckley's seminal hypothesis concerning the psychopath is that he suffers from a very real mental illness indeed: a profound and incurable affective deficit. If he really feels anything at all, they are emotions of only the shallowest kind. He does bizarre and self-destructive things because consequences that would fill the ordinary man with shame, self-loathing, and embarrassment simply do not affect the psychopath at all. What to others would be a disaster is to him merely a fleeting inconvenience.

In other words, lying is no big deal for psychopaths - and they are exceptionally good at it. How do they do it? Consider the above article in light of the following excerpt:

Mimicry is often used to convince others that the psychopath is a normal human being. He does this to create a false empathy with his victim. The psychopath will try to make you believe he has normal emotions by spinning some sad tale or professing profound, moving experiences; the truth is, most psychopaths go through life as in an incubator, touched by few and having no real compassion for others; but they will lie to convince you that they have normal emotions. The pity factor is one reason why victims often fall for these "poor" people. [...]

As Hare states:
"Lying, deceiving, and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths...

When caught in a lie or challenged with the truth, they are seldom perplexed or embarrassed -- they simply change their stories or attempt to rework the facts so that they appear to be consistent with the lie.

The results are a series of contradictory statements and a thoroughly confused listener." [Hare, 46].

Often, their behaviour serves to confuse and repress their victims, or to influence anyone who might listen to the psychopath's side of the story. Manipulation is the key to their conquests, and lying is one way they achieve this. [...]

They will deny reality until their victims have a nervous breakdown.

Often, the psychopath will turn on the victim and claim that the victim suffers from "delusions" and is not mentally stable.

Well, that sure sounds familiar, now doesn't it? You think it wasn't a 757 that crashed into the Pentagon? You think Bush is lying? Why, you must be one of those mentally unstable conspiracy nuts that the politicians talk about!

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George Bush's mental health must be a consideration in the November elections

Michael Berglin
08/02/2004 19:20

Mr. Bush has been acting very erratic lately, and his profanity laced outbursts are becoming almost a daily occurrence, according to White House insiders.

When Bush was questioned about his relationship with Kenneth Lay, the scandal ridden ex-CEO of Enron, Bush stormed off the podium and screamed to his aides: "Keep those motherf***ers away from me," and then "If you can"t, I"ll find someone who can."

Other aides report "In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as "enemies of the state."

In interviews with several White House staff, they paint a picture of an administration under siege has emerged, led by a man who declares his decisions to be "God's will" and then tells aides to "fuck over" anyone they consider to be an opponent of the administration.

When Bush was first running for president, he was very adamant about telling the public he was a born again Christian, but his behavior is quite the opposite. The first sign that something wasn"t quite right was when Bush said he enjoyed the Austin Powers movies series. The Austin Power movies are heavily laced with sexual connotations, innuendos and overt sexual humor. A born again Christian would find these movies abhorrent.

There is more reason to be concerned because Bush has a history of chemical dependency. Bush is an admitted alcoholic, and he never sought treatment. Then there are the stories about his cocaine use when he was younger.

George Washington University psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank in his book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Dr. Frank diagnosed the President as a "paranoid megalomaniac" and "untreated alcoholic" whose "lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad" showcase Bush"s instabilities.

It is rumored that Bush is now being treated with anti-depressants, however, angry outbursts, stating they are doing God"s work, and systematic attacks on perceived enemies are not symptoms of clinical depression. Bush is displaying symptoms of schizophrenia and paranoid delusions.

Bush"s Doctor expressed concerns about prescribing anti-depressants to a person who has a history of alcohol addiction - this is a mystery because anti-depressants are not addicting and are frequently used to treat people with alcohol addictions. This should eliminate the concern that Bush is in a depressive state. It could be Bush is being treated with narcotic based tranquilizers - which would validate the physicians concerns.

Depression is characterized by withdrawal from society, sullen, sudden outbursts of crying, sadness, suicidal idealizations, and in severe cases, the person is immobilized to the point where even getting out of bed is a task too difficult to take on. Bush is showing none of these symptoms. A person with depression does not have angry outbursts or paranoid delusions.

We are also starting to hear that Aides who raise questions quickly find themselves shut out of access to the President or other top advisors. Among top officials, Bush's inner circle is shrinking. Secretary of State Colin Powell has fallen out of favor because of his growing doubts about the administration's war against Iraq.

But the President who says he rules at the behest of God can also tongue-lash those he perceives as disloyal, calling them "fucking assholes" in front of other staff, berating one cabinet official in front of others and labeling anyone who disagrees with him "unpatriotic" or "anti-American."

Attorney General John Ashcroft appears to be the only tefloned member of the shrinking Bush close inner circle. Ashcroft and Bush have close bonds with this "we are doing God"s will" mentality and delusion.

Ashcroft is also under heavy fire for his approach and actions that threatens the very freedoms granted by the Constitution.

One long-time GOP political consultant who - for obvious reasons - asked not to be identified said, "We have to face the very real possibility that the President of the United States is loony tunes," he says sadly. "That"s not good for my candidates, it"s not good for the party and it"s certainly not good for the country."

I am reminded of the last days of Hitler. He too saw enemies everywhere, honestly believed he was doing God"s will, summarily expelled those who were critical of his decisions, and held close those who shared his psychosis.

Mr. Bush, it might be best for the country if you step down and not run for reelection. You need to get a handle on what is going on inside you - the American people would support that decision and we"d be behind you if you stepped down. If you win the election and stay in the White House, you'd be putting this country in even more peril. When Nixon resigned, yes, we did breathe a sigh of relief, but if you noticed, he also won the hearts, and respect, of America for doing the right thing.

Pravda.ru readers can find more information at:
http://www.rense.com/general53/worries.htm
http://shmyl.com/wsoison
http://proliberty.com/observer/20040621.htm

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Castro questions Bush's mental health
AFP
Havana, July 27

Cuban President Fidel Castro on Monday lashed out at his US counterpart for claiming Cuba was a favored destination for pedophiles and other sex tourists, and pointed to George W. Bush's past alcohol problems.

In a speech attended by members of the diplomatic corps, Castro dismissed the claims Bush made during a recent speech in Florida as "crude calumnies" made by "a sinister caracter who threatens and insults us."

"In the feverish and fundamentalist mind of the all-powerful head of the White House ... one now has to save Cuba not only from tyranny but one also has to save Cuban children from sexual exploitation and the trafficking of people," Castro said.

He questioned the Bush's mental capacities, quoting from the "Bush on the couch" book to describe the US president as a past alcoholic. About half his 90-minute speech was devoted to quotes from the book, written by psychoanalist Justin Frank who portrays Bush as a man driven by rage and fear.

Earlier this month, Bush claimed that Castro's communist regime has made Cuba the favored destination for pedophiles and sex tourists from the United States and Canada, replacing nations in Southeast Asia that have fought for years to end the trade.

Castro claimed "Bush's lies" were fabricated to justify last month's adoption of measures to restrict travel to the island by Cuban-Americans.

He claimed the measures would cost the US president votes. "The idea of a vote of punishment is gaining ground among thousands of Cuban-Americans who normally would have voted for Bush," he said, adding that 15,000 to 20,000 voters could sink the US president's hopes for re-election in November.

Most Cuban-Americans live in Florida, a state that could again be pivotal in the presidential election, as it was in 2000.

Clad in his traditional green fatigues, Castro spoke at a ceremony in Santa Clara to mark the 51st anniversary of the rebel assault on the Moncada Barracks, in which he participated and which launched the Cuban revolution.

In a speech tinged with irony toward the US president, Castro said that while Bush believes he had divine inspiration to invade Iraq, "hopefully, that won't be the case for Cuba and God won't give instructions to Bush to attack our country, but rather induces him to avoid this enormous mistake."

"Those of us who are not afraid to die, are not scared of your huge might, of your unstoppable rage, nor of your dangerous and cowardly threats toward Cuba," Castro said.

Comment: Well, that must prove that anyone who questions the President's sanity is a commie.

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Bush Taking Anti-Depressants
By TERESA HAMPTON
Editor, Capitol Hill Blue
Jul 28, 2004, 06:13

President George W. Bush is anti-depressant drugs to control his erratic behavior, Capitol Hill Blue has learned.

The prescription drugs were administered by Col. Richard J. Tubb, the White House physician.

Tubb prescribed the anti-depressants after Bush stalked off stage on July 7, refusing to answer reporters' questions about his relationship with indicted Enron executive Kenneth J. Lay.

Bush's mental stability has become the topic of Washington whispers in recent months. Capitol Hill Blue first reported on June 4 about increasing concern among White House aides over the President's wide mood swings and obscene outbursts.

Although GOP loyalists dismissed the reports an anti-Bush propaganda, the reports were later confirmed by prominent George Washington University psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank in his book Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President. Dr. Frank diagnosed the President as a "paranoid meglomaniac" and "untreated alcoholic" whose "lifelong streak of sadism, ranging from childhood pranks (using firecrackers to explode frogs) to insulting journalists, gloating over state executions and pumping his hand gleefully before the bombing of Baghdad" showcase Bush's instabilities.

"I was really very unsettled by him and I started watching everything he did and reading what he wrote and watching him on videotape. I felt he was disturbed," Dr. Frank said. "He fits the profile of a former drinker whose alcoholism has been arrested but not treated."

Dr. Frank's conclusions have been praised by other prominent psychiatrists, including Dr. James Grotstein, Professor at UCLA Medical Center, and Dr. Irvin Yalom, MD, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University Medical School.

The doctors also worry about the wisdom of giving anti-depressant drugs to a person with a history of chemical dependency. Bush is an admitted alcoholic, although he never sought treatment in a formal program, and stories about his cocaine use as a younger man haunted his campaigns for Texas governor and his first campaign for President.

"President Bush is an untreated alcoholic with paranoid and megalomaniac tendencies," Dr. Frank adds.

The White House did not return phone calls seeking comment on this article.

Although the exact drugs Bush takes to control his depression and behavior are not known, White House sources say they are designed to bring his erratic actions under control. While Col. Tubb regularly releases a synopsis of the President's annual physical, details of the President's health and any drugs or treatment he may receive are not public record and are guarded zealously by the secretive cadre of aides that surround the President.

Veteran White House watchers say the ability to control information about Bush's health, either physical or mental, is similar to Ronald Reagan's second term when aides managed to conceal the President's increasing memory lapses that signaled the onslaught of Alzheimer's Disease.

It also brings back memories of Richard Nixon's final days when the soon-to-resign President wandered the halls and talked to portraits of former Presidents. The stories didn't emerge until after Nixon left office.

Comment: What does all of this mean for us?

Does the word "apocalypse" mean anything to you?

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Might As Well Get To Know It
Charlie Reese
Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Now that our president has embedded us in the Middle East for an indefinite future, you might as well start trying to educate yourself about the area and its conflicts. As one can say about so many problems in this world, it all began with the British Empire.

When you look at a map of the Middle East, you are looking at a map drawn by two Europeans by the names of Sykes and Picot. This map represents the betrayal of the Arabs and the Kurds. Before this map was drawn, the area had been part of the Ottoman Empire. (That's Turkey, for those of you who hate history and geography.)

The British, with their usual perfidy, had promised everything to everybody. Help us overthrow the Turks, they said to the Arabs, and you can have an independent Arab nation afterward. Help us overthrow the Turks, they said to the Kurds, and you will get an independent Kurdistan. And for some reason historians still argue about, they also promised European Zionists that they (the Brits) would establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. They betrayed them, too, because what they did was establish the Palestine mandate — or, in plain language, British occupation of Palestine.

Britain and France divided the Middle East between themselves, and this basic fact set off the conflicts we are still dealing with. The problem with establishing a Jewish state was that Arabs already occupied the area chosen. While they initially had no quarrel with Jews who wanted to immigrate to Palestine (the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with religion and never has), as soon as they figured out that European Jews were not coming to be Palestinians but to take their land away from them, the Arabs revolted. The British crushed this.

It wasn't too long, however, before Jews became impatient with British occupation and so, to drive out the British, did what Palestinians are doing today — used terror. Two of the premier Jewish terrorists — Menachem Begin, who led the Irgun, and Yitzhak Shamir, who led the Stern Gang — would later become prime ministers of Israel. It is the political parties these terrorists started that rule Israel today. Begin is famous for blowing up the King David Hotel, Shamir for reputedly ordering the assassination of Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte, who had been sent on a peace mission by the United Nations. Both of their groups joined forces to commit one of the most infamous massacres in history at the little village of Deir Yassin, where more than 200 men, women and children were slaughtered. Much of modern terrorist methods were pioneered by Begin. You should read his book "The Revolt."

Sometime in 1947, the British had had enough of Palestine and announced they were going to end the mandate the following year and dump the problem in the lap of the United Nations. The Zionists fiercely lobbied both Harry Truman and Joe Stalin. The deal was to get a vote to partition Palestine. The Jews would immediately proclaim the state of Israel, and, as preplanned, the United States and the Soviet Union would instantly recognize it. This was the first instance of the United States using a combination of threats and bribery to round up votes at the United Nations.

Jews and Palestinians were already fighting, and in the course of that fighting, the better-organized Zionists decided to expand beyond the boundaries set by the partition resolution and to do a little ethnic cleansing, since Arabs still outnumbered Jewish residents 2-1. Despite some volunteers coming in from other Arab countries, the Zionists had accomplished both goals by the cease-fire in 1948. In a 1967 war, the Zionists took the rest of Palestine, and Palestinians, who stubbornly insist on self-determination (once, but no longer, an American value), are fighting them the best way they can.

With the United States loading the Israelis down with both modern arms and billions of dollars, however, the Palestinians are having a hard time. This issue has made the United States hated in the region and the king of hypocrites because we have vetoed 35 U.N. resolutions to prevent the international community from giving any justice or help to the Palestinians.

Now, our president has included Palestinian organizations that are not international terrorists (Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah) on our list of enemies. Originally, they were just aiming their attacks at Israel, but I suppose this might change since George Bush has become the puppet of the Israeli government.

Hang on to your hats, folks. You're in for a violent next 50 years or so.

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Our Future?
by Murray Polner
September 4, 2004

Flipping the pages of a newspaper I ran across an AP dispatch buried in the back pages. In it, a grief-stricken father in Florida just informed that his 20-year-old marine son had been killed in Iraq, angrily tried to ignite the van carrying the marines sent to tell him the news, and in the process burning him severely. "My husband did not take the news well," his wife said. And a few days later another story about a mother in New York state mourning the death of her soldier son and filled with anger. "I don't think it's fair that so many mothers and fathers, siblings have to go through what I'm going through. Is it about oil? I don't know what this war is for. We don't want anyone else to die in this useless, stupid war."

It's too much to bear.

I used to commute to work by rail with a neighbor who lived down the road. He had been an Air Force Captain during the Vietnam War and one of his jobs was to visit families and tell them a family member had died in the war. Tell me more, I pleaded. I'm sorry I told you that, he said apologetically. It was hard. He did tell me that he'd never allow his sons to join the military.

Some memories: My boyhood pal Porky never returned from the Korean War. The laconic and pleasant Trinchintella boy, who helped around his father's neighborhood gas station and was trained for Vietnam as a helicopter gunner, was grievously wounded and died in a military hospital in Japan, his parents at his side. My former student Ronald Boston, shy, unathletic, African American, a kid who tried so hard to get good grades. His mother tended my mother in a nursing home and told me one day she had a dream in which Ronald was killed in Vietnam. Poor Mrs. Boston. Poor Ronald. He never did make it home except in a casket. In an earlier "good war," Irving Starr, whose family owned the Deli next door, was killed during a raid over Ploesti oil fields. His body was never found. Phil Drazin who used to play ball with us younger kids. When his father learned the news he raced out of his store and ran screaming into Strauss Street. I wish I remembered the name of an 18-year-old who lived in an adjoining apartment. 0ne summer afternoon his father walked from work toward the bench outside the building in which he lived and began sobbing. My mother, who was very good about such things, embraced him as he cried for his only son.

I have never forgotten any of them. I visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington and New York City. I devour books by Paul Fussell, Samuel Hynes, W.Y. Boyd, E.B. Sledge, all of whom lived as soldiers or marines through the carnage of war and memorized Donald Hall's poem "1943" ("They toughened us for war…Dom died in the third wave at Tarawa…"). During the Vietnam War, I interviewed several hundred combat veterans for a book I wrote about three hawkish soldiers who believed they were fighting for freedom, four doves that spoke of atrocities and smashed ideals, and three I thought of as "haunted," perhaps forever. I wrote, "Never before in American history have as many loyal and brave young men been as shabbily treated by the government that sent them to war."

These days I scan the lists of killed GIs in the New York Times, many of whom, now nearing a thousand, are rarely mentioned in conservative or liberal mass media. Perhaps they really don't care enough to even print their names.

But mainly I think of them because the same people who sent them to war in Iraq and are now subtly promoting yet another war, this time against Iran. "Forget an 0ctober Surprise, a much worse one could come in September," wrote the experienced foreign correspondent Martin Sieff in the Washington Times. "Full-scale war between the U.S. and Iran may be far closer than the [distracted] American public might imagine. Iranian defense Minister Ali Shamkhani's recent bombshell threatened to retaliate should the U.S. or its Israeli partner target nuclear facilities. "Believe him," said Sieff, ominously.

September or not, and given the fact that U.S. troops are currently tied down in Iraq and more than 130 other places around the world, it's still "a serious confrontation," said Iran expert Cliff Kupchan of the Nixon Center. And who is promoting the notion of another preemptive attack and if need be wasting yet another generation of American men and women in war? None other than our neocons, who always remind me of Charles Edward Montague's delicious put down of British hawks in World War I when 8 million soldiers were killed and millions of others perished in an entirely unnecessary war. "War," said Montague, "hath no fury like a non-combatant." Don't hold your breath waiting for news that members of the clan will be sending their kids to recruiting stations.

Leading the charge on the government side is Under Secretary of State John Bolton, their point man and ultra hawk in Colin Powell's reticent and pusillanimous State Department. Bolton recently told his fellow true believers at the Hudson Institute that Iran has hidden a vast nuclear arms program for nearly two decades. "We cannot let Iran, a leading sponsor of international terrorism, acquire nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to Europe, most of Central Asia and the Middle East, or beyond" – meaning New York, Washington and Los Angeles, I imagine. The same bellicose talk has emanated from Condaleeza Rice and the usual hard line pundits, the identical people who brought us the daily casualty lists but whose caskets we are not allowed to photograph or see. They can't come right out before the election and admit Iran is next on their imperial agenda, but it's very much on their minds.

Here's a nightmarish scenario: U.S. and Israelis bomb Iran, its nuclear facilities and even more (or vice versa) and Iran counterattacks against Israel's Dimona nuclear facilities and maybe Israel proper. A draft is reinstated to provide hundreds of thousands of additional cannon fodder to fight 70 million non-Arab Iranians who in the 1980s absorbed 500,000 deaths in a savage war against Sadam's Iraq. More Middle Eastern terrorists are created and American college campuses erupt in fury. Sixties redux, only worse.

But possibly this is just a replay of the hoary Dulles-Nixon "madman" theory to keep adversaries guessing. Or maybe there will be secret talks aimed at settling the problem? Or that Washington's neocons have learned a painful lesson after Iraq and rue all those American and Iraqi deaths, not to mention the badly wounded. Frankly, I wouldn't bet on it.

Prowar imperialists such as Theodore Roosevelt and Rudyard Kipling changed their tunes once their sons died in World War I. Kipling could only assuage his grief and guilt in his shattering couplet:

If any question why we died
Tell them, because our fathers lied.

Comment: So there it is. We are on the verge of World War III with a man in the White House who is incapable of feeling another's pain. And look where it has gotten us.

Yes, it is too easy to say we are here because of Bush. He is the figurehead for others, even more sinister, who actually understand what they are doing. Bush seems lost in his dream world of God and Armegedon while Cheney, Rumsefeld, and others are conscious of the misery they are imposing. The culture of the psychopath is the official culture today in the US. It shapes everything and instills the values of the psychopath by the sheer necessity of survival.

"Look out after number 1!"

The individual is God. The notion of community is reduced to the Church and family. There is no notion of a responsibility on a larger scale. We are each left to fend for ourselves. This leads to the incongruity of the poor, those who are being hurt the most by Republican policies, being Bush's most ardent supporters....

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Why would a Wal-Mart shelf-stacker vote Republican?
The most enthusiastic Bushies are not preppy college kids but poor people, from poor states
Johann Hari
03 September 2004
Independent

In Manhattan this week, a group calling themselves Billionaires for Bush has been protesting in top hat and tails. I first saw them outside Madison Square Garden - where the Republican National Convention was meeting - as the first President Bush arrived. They toasted him with champagne and chanted "No Justice? No Problem!" One of them yelled, "Huzzah to Bush for lining our pockets with the sweat of the American worker!" Like all good satire, it works because it is dangerously close to the truth. It's not hard to see why America's billionaires love Bush. Two thirds of his massive $350bn programme of tax cuts has gone to the richest 10 per cent of Americans.

But even in America, the rich are a minority. So as I wandered through the platoons of Republican delegates stomping around New York this week, I kept asking myself: why do so many poor and middle-income Americans support a party that has done nothing but spit on them for four long years? The poorest county in the United States (MacPherson County, Nebraska) voted for Bush in 2000 by more than 80 per cent. That wasn't a fluke result.

The most rabid delegates I've met here are not the preppy Republican college kids or the tanned, corpulent middle-aged couples. No, the most enthusiastic Bushies are poor people from poor states, some of them visiting New York for the first time. I sat next to a sweet, neat woman in the convention hall called Lily. She works for the minimum wage in an Oklahoma Wal-Mart. If she voted according to class issues, she'd be a solid left-winger - yet she howled in quasi-sexual ecstasy throughout Dick Cheney's speech, punching the air at every mention of the very liberals who might redistribute wealth in her direction.

How did this happen? The mutation in American politics that helps to explain it can be traced to the 1950s, and the corporate buy-out of US democracy. Since both parties now served the richest Americans, their economic policies became startlingly similar, but rather than admit this, politicians changed the debate to the areas where they still disagreed - social issues like abortion, gay rights, and religion.

Only now - with the smirking face of George Bush - has this process finally become complete. Bush is dismantling the few social programmes in the US that help the poor, but he talks up his agreement with the hyper-patriotism, homophobia, evangelism and opposition to abortion prevalent among poor Americans. That's how he passes as a "regular guy" - unlike the pro-gay, pro-choice, quiet-about-religion John Kerry. Since Kerry has no alternative class agenda, of course the American poor opt for the guy who at least agrees with them on something.

I tried to talk to Lily about these issues and she looked at me as if I was a Martian. "Oh no, that's communism, honey," she said about even the most moderate social democratic policies.

In the US, the twin opiates of religion and nationalism have become more successful than any Marxist sociologist could have ever imagined. Lily's gaze has been distracted by a colourful flag and a cross, while the welfare state designed to protect her has been trashed and the already-rich have been handed the proceeds.

It takes a lot to make me feel sympathy for evangelicals, but the way they have been taken for a ride by the Republican Party almost does it. The likes of Cheney - and before him, Reagan - are happy to use divisive social issues as bait to lure in the poor (who form the vast bulk of the evangelical movement) at election time. The Bush posse aren't going to do any of the things Lily wants. They won't criminalise abortion and homosexuality or start censoring "the tide of atheism and porn" coming from Hollywood; they have chosen these issues precisely because they are politically impossible. They guarantee a handy source of pro-Republican evangelical rage until kingdom come.

As the 2000 election approached, it seemed that the evangelicals might be waking up to this political con. They were gradually seeing through patrician Republicans like Bush senior. The two wings of Republicanism - corporate lackeydom and social conservatism - looked less and less compatible. Then George W Bush came along. He was the perfect choice to keep the Republican coalition together, because he is a rare combination of hick theology and absolute obedience to corporate interests. The evangelicals can focus on his born-again narrative while the corporations pocket the receipts.

In the age of Dubya, anybody who tries to explain this dark tale is denounced as trying to "provoke class warfare" and "divide Americans". It's a clever corporate trick: fight a militant class war on behalf of the rich, and then silence your critics by changing the subject and accusing them of being the ones obsessed with class. The last time I saw the Billionaires for Bush, they were playing croquet in Central Park. I asked what they thought about social issues. "Oh, vote for Bush, and he'll be very angry about gays and abortion and what-not. But he won't have time to do much about it: he'll be too busy giving tax cuts for us! All together now - hip-hip, hooray!"

When will women like Lily - travelling back to her $7-an-hour job as you read this - realise they've been had?

Comment: So any programme whatsoever to help the poor is "communism". How well the brain-washing has worked. The exploited have become the most passionate defenders of their exploiters, a form of Stockholm Syndrome we suspect.

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Protest groups 'empowered' by large turnout
By Martha T. Moore and Charisse Jones, USA TODAY
Fri Sep 3, 6:39 AM ET

They didn't change the Republican platform, prevent the nomination of President Bush or even make a lot of noise about voting for Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry. But the half-million or so people who protested during the GOP convention this week didn't come for that.

Protesters said they had shown that not all Americans agree with Bush and that dissenters can speak out. "People are recognizing they need to vote with their feet. They need to be out in the streets," said Tanya Mayo, 36, national organizer of Not In Our Name, an anti-war group.

The protests were believed to be the largest ever at a U.S. political convention.

On Thursday, police in riot gear greeted demonstrators for a final night outside the Republican convention as Bush spoke inside. Police said late Thursday that there were no major incidents. [...]

Organizers said the protests succeeded in focusing attention on the anti-war sentiment in the country and providing a boost to a movement they say will continue long after the Republican convention.

"We feel very heartened by the massive turnout this week," said Brian Becker, national coordinator for the ANSWER Coalition. "It gave the anti-war movement a great gust of wind in its sails."

Leslie Cagan of United for Peace and Justice said, "I think people are coming off of this week feeling very strong, very empowered. ... So hopefully people will go back into their neighborhoods and be inspired ...and keep the action going."

Andrea Buffa, a national organizer for Code Pink, a women's anti-war group that was highly visible at protests thanks to members' hot pink outfits and Statue of Liberty crowns, said a teenager from Queens joined them Saturday and then spent nearly every day demonstrating with the group. She even encouraged members to protest Bush's visit in Queens on Wednesday night, Buffa said.

"She's 14 (years old) and she's going to become an activist for the rest of her life because of what she participated in this week," Buffa said.

"We brought the naked truth to the (convention) floor," said Asia Russell, 28, a spokeswoman for ACT UP, the AIDS activist group that disrupted a Young Republicans meeting Wednesday and also unfurled a banner during Laura Bush's speech Tuesday. But she was not pleased by the overall outcome. "The police and Secret Service acted violently, and they didn't need to," Russell said. "Real issues didn't get discussed unless we were forcing people to pay attention."

More than 1,800 people were arrested during convention-related protests, including 29 on Thursday. Activists and attorneys continued to criticize police for the mass arrests of demonstrators.

Buffa reflected the mixed emotions some protesters felt toward the police. "We felt we were able to establish pretty good rapport with the police out on the streets," she said. "We tried to engage them in dialogue and said that these protests are not against you, they're against the Bush agenda. At the same time, I think that, especially on Tuesday, there was a policy implemented that was kind of like a pre-emptive strike against the protesters. And I think that violated people's First Amendment rights."

New York officials released about 470 protesters late Thursday after being fined by a judge because the protesters had been held too long without being arraigned. New York Supreme Court Justice John Cataldo fined the city $1,000 for every protester held past 5 p.m. "These people have already been the victims of a process," he said.

Kim Sue, 19, a New York college student, spent more than 24 hours in custody after she helped disrupt the Young Republicans rally in Madison Square Garden. She faces charges of assault from the ensuing scuffle - although she says she was punched by people attending the rally who were not arrested.

"I feel like my whole experience was utter hell. Every second of the way, I was scared ... but I would do it again in a heartbeat," Sue said after she was released Thursday. "Because 8,000 people a day are dying and they don't have the same access to the media. Their voices are silent, and it's my responsibility."

Comment: The reason to protest is to stand for the truth, there is so little of it out there. As the page today shows, we are dealing with something that goes deeper than politics and economics and war: we are dealing with the fact that a large number of people on this planet have a genetic make-up that predisposes them to selfishness. They are incapable of empathy. And yet they are charming and successful people. They are expert manipulators.

These are the people who will rise to the "top" in a world based upon competition, based upon laws drawn from the animal kingdom or supposed "natural laws" based upon a study of the material world emptied of spirit. In either case, they ignore our higher selves.

Even if we have no hope of changing this world, it is nevertheless important to stand for the truth, to tell the psychopaths in power that we see through their game.

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Downright Embarrassing
By DAN K. THOMASSON
Sep 2, 2004, 00:14

There are certain rules in the press about taking serious pokes at presidential offspring, especially those in the pre- and post-pubescent stages of their lives. It is always better to give them a break, even when they have engaged in minor youthful indiscretions.

But with their national convention appearance, the Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara (who hardly look related), now can expect that most deferential treatment will disappear rapidly. And while they have had some minor publicity over spreading their wings in college, that is nothing compared to what they might run into if they continue to campaign for their father the next two months.

Welcome to the really hard knocks of national politics.

Very simply, the introduction of their mother before a nationally televised convention Tuesday night was ineptly performed by two formerly sheltered, nervous young ladies whose giggling teleprompter reading of insipid, slightly off-color lines was embarrassing even for those who aren't related to them. If the idea was to make some contact for their father with the 19-to-30 MTV crowd, it failed miserably, despite references to a popular rock song and less than high fashion outfits.

Sandwiched between a rousing speech by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a thoughtful, sincere and amazingly polished speech by their mother, Laura, the girls' performance was not only incongruous but also jarring, reflected by the crowd's tepid response. Probably the mildest critique came in a post mortem of national pundits who suggested that it now is clear that it wasn't for nothing that the girls have been kept out of the limelight.

That's probably unfair given the fact they weren't the architects of this generally silly episode. After all the twins, with their newly minted college diplomas, have spent the last four years engaged in the three Bs of college life _ books, boys and beer _ and could hardly be expected to know the difference between acceptable humor and bad taste. Most college kids don't have a clue about such things.

Even in this age of enlightenment, it just isn't good to josh your grandmother publicly, let alone on national television about her Victorian sense of propriety about sex, particularly when she's the former first lady and you're introducing the current one. Grandmother Barbara Bush, sitting with the former president in the box of honor, reflected her disapproval stoically.

The real culprits are the persons who dreamed up this farce, those who wrote it and those who approved it. The really smart thing to do would be to assign them all to walking the Alaska pipeline during the dead of winter and in the midst of the mosquito season. Their one genuinely funny line was in reference to John F. Kerry's daughter, Alexandra, telling the Democratic Convention that her father had saved their hamster from dying by giving it artificial respiration. "We had a hamster, too," Barbara Bush noted. "Let's just say ours didn't make it."

It is also unfair to compare the twin's performance generally with that of the two Kerry daughters in Boston. Not only was their material far more professional, they themselves are older, more extensively educated, and clearly more experienced and polished in these situations. The Bush twins, if they continue, will get a crash course in the niceties _ and not so niceties _ of presidential campaigning, and because they are bright they will learn.

Since the days of Theodore Roosevelt's free wheeling, spirited daughter Alice, every president wants to shelter his children, particularly the adolescent ones, from what frequently can be a cruel climate. In most cases the press will honor this.

Despite the allegations of personal impropriety by Bill Clinton, his daughter, Chelsea, was treated with sympathy by most of the press. She went from high school through college generally protected from the anger and criticism that surrounded her father.

The Bush twins have been treated similarly with the exception of a couple of incidents when they committed the most common of teenage college sins and presented a false ID at a bar. Horrors!

The twins are energetic, extremely attractive young ladies embarking on their own great adventures. Those running their father's re-election campaign should make certain that the material they are given keeps the faith with their intellect and their image and their position as part of the presidential family. Otherwise, there is no need for them to be a major part of this race and they should refuse to do so.

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The Top 25 Censored News Stories
Media Democracy In Action
9-4-4

Sonoma State University's student run media research group Project Censored announces the release of its annual publication, censored 2005, a compilation of the year's 25 most significant news stories that were overlooked or underreported by the country's major national news media, as well as chapters on the grass roots media democracy, media ownership maps, real news about US involvement in Palestine, Haiti, Iraq, and more.

With introduction by Greg Palast and the political cartoon commentary of Tom Tomorrow throughout, this year's book covers critical issues facing the American public this election year. In Chapter 1's list of top 25 stories focus on politics, economics, foreign policy, food and health, the environment, energy, domestic policy, and the military.

"We define censorship as interference with the free flow of information," states Peter Phillips, Director of the Project, Corporate media in the United States is interested primarily in entertainment news to feed their bottom-line priorities. Very important news stories that should reach the American public often fall on the cutting room floor to be replaced by sex-scandals and celebrity updates."

The Sonoma State University research group is composed of nearly 200 faculty, students and community experts who review about 1000 story submissions for coverage, content, reliability of sources and national significance. The top 25 stories are submitted to a panel of judges who then rank them in order of importance. Current judges include, Norman Solomon, Michael Parenti, Cynthia McKinney, Howard Zinn, and 20 other national journalists, scholars and writers.

For more information, contact:
Project Censored
http://www.projectcensored.org/
Trish Boreta
707-664-2500
censored@sonoma.edu

Top Most Censored News Stories

  1. Wealth Inequity in 21st Century Threatens Economy and Democracy
  2. Ashcroft vs. the Human Rights Law that Holds Corporations Accountable
  3. Bush Administration Manipulates Science and Censors Scientists
  4. High Uranium Levels Found in Troops and Civilians
  5. The Wholesale Giveaway of Our Natural Resources
  6. The Sale of Electoral Politics
  7. Conservative Organization Drives Judicial Appointments
  8. Secrets of Cheney's Energy Task Force Come to Light
  9. Widow Brings RICO Case Against U.S. Government for 9/11
  10. New Nuke Plants: Taxpayers Support, Industry Profits
  11. The Media Can Legally Lie
  12. The Destabilization of Haiti
  13. Schwarzenegger Met with Enron's Ken Lay Before the California Recall
  14. New Bill Threatens Intellectual Freedom
  15. US Develops Lethal New Bio-weapon Viruses
  16. Law Enforcement Agencies Spy on Innocent Citizens
  17. U.S. Government Represses Labor Unions in Iraq in Quest for Business Privatization
  18. Media and Government Ignore Dwindling Oil Supplies
  19. Global Food Cartel Fast Becoming the World's Supermarket
  20. Extreme Weather Prompts New Warning from UN
  21. Forcing a World Market for GMOs
  22. Exporting Censorship to Iraq
  23. Brazil Opposes US-style FTAA agreements, But Provides Little Comfort for the Poor of South America
  24. Reinstating the Draft
  25. Wal-Mart Brings Inequity and Low Prices to the World

-- Peter Phillips Ph.D. Sociology Department/Project Censored Sonoma State University 1801 East Cotati Ave. Rohnert Park, CA 94928 707-664-2588 http://www.projectcensored.org/

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Sorry About That...
By DALE McFEATTERS
Sep 2, 2004, 00:25

Seeing its first post-9/11 terrorism case collapse had to be horribly embarrassing to the Justice Department, but to its credit the department took the right and honorable course.

On Tuesday, the department agreed that terror charges against two Arab immigrants, once said by Attorney General John Ashcroft to be members of an al Qaeda sleeper cell, should be thrown out, their convictions vacated. The two will receive a new trial on lesser charges of document fraud, a substantial comedown from what was once hailed as a major victory in the war on terror.

The department was prodded into that course by U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen in Detroit and by the defense attorneys for the two immigrants, who were bagged in a raid by federal agents looking for someone else. The department investigated defense charges that assistant U.S. attorneys withheld and misrepresented evidence, and indeed found evidence of prosecutorial misconduct fatal to the case.

Photos and drawings found in the pair's apartment did not represent what the prosecution said they did. A key witness turned out to be a known jailhouse liar. A videotape of alleged terrorist targets may well have been an ordinary vacation video. Potentially exculpatory evidence by an ex-CIA agent was withheld from the defense.

So instead of what the department insisted was "a sleeper combat cell" seeking weapons and terror targets, we don't know what we have - maybe just a couple of grifters supplying bogus documents to illegal immigrants, practically a cottage industry in this country.

Ashcroft is prone to make high-profile announcements about purported breakthroughs in the war on terror and the presence of vague new threats. Indeed, the judge admonished him for "a distressing lack of care" in his public comments on the Detroit case.

Combined with the attorney general's deep penchant for secrecy, the public could be excused if it begins wondering if, like this case, there's less there than meets the eye.

Comment: Remember how much press this story received when things were going the way Ashcroft and the gang intended? Now the case has completely disintegrated - yet where is the mass media coverage?

So, we have Bush's lies about 9/11 and Iraq, Rummy's torture memo, and Ashcroft's kangaroo courts - and yet it appears that Bush will nevertheless steamroll right over the election in November.

Speaking of the next election...

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U.S. Near Seizing bin Laden, Official Says
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON
Sep 4, 4:58 PM (ET)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - The United States and its allies have moved closer to capturing Osama bin Laden in the last two months, a top U.S. counterterrorism official said in a television interview broadcast Saturday.

"If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught," Joseph Cofer Black, the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism, told private Geo television network.

Asked if concrete progress had been made during the last two months - when Pakistan has arrested dozens of terror suspects including some key al-Qaida operatives - Black said, "Yes, I would say this."

Black, who briefed a group of Pakistani journalists after talks with officials here Friday, said he could not predict exactly when bin Laden and other top al-Qaida fugitives would be nabbed.

"What I tell people, I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and he's been caught along with all his lieutenants. That can happen because of the programs and infrastructure in place," he told Geo.

Bin Laden and his top associate, Ayman al-Zawahri, are believed to be hiding some place along the rugged border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Officials have divulged no solid intelligence about bin Laden's precise whereabouts, and it's not clear if they have any.

Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, and Black's visit comes weeks after Pakistani security forces captured Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian wanted for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in east Africa, and Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, a Pakistani computer expert allegedly linked to al-Qaida operatives around the world.

The arrests led to a terror warning in the United States, and arrests in Britain and the United Arab Emirates.

Black attended a meeting of the Pakistan-U.S. Joint Working Group on Counterterrorism and Law Enforcement in Islamabad on Thursday and Friday.

During the talks, Pakistan asked U.S. officials for more helicopters, surveillance and communications equipment to help Pakistani forces guard border areas near Afghanistan "more efficiently," a Pakistani official at the talks said.

"We got a positive response from the American officials," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pakistan has deployed about 70,000 troops along the Afghan border and conducted several military operations this year in its lawless and largely autonomous tribal regions against al-Qaida suspects and their local supporters.

Black hailed Pakistan's efforts in counterterrorism - despite criticism from Western officials who say that elements of the former ruling Taliban regime in Afghanistan still operate inside Pakistan.

"In terms of national programs and effectiveness, I would put Pakistan up against anyone else ... If you look at the arrests they have made, the information they have developed and the lives that have been saved, Pakistan is doing a great job," he said.

He added, however, that, "you can always do more."

Comment: Gee, do we think that Bin Laden and his lieutenants will be "caught" just before the election? Maybe even to boost Bush around the time of an invasion of, say, Iran?

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Pakistan says US claim that bin Laden near capture is politicking
September 6, 2004

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan rejected as pre-election politicking a US official's weekend claim that Osama bin Laden was close to being captured.

"He can say this but we have no sound information. This is a political statement," Information Minister Sheikh Rashid told AFP.

The US State Department official in charge of counter-terrorism affairs, Joseph Cofer Black, told local Geo television on Saturday that the forces pursuing the Al-Qaeda chief had got closer to him in the past two months.

"If he has a watch, he should be looking at it because the clock is ticking. He will be caught," Black, who headed a US delegation to Islamabad for bilateral anti-terrorism talks, said in the television interview.

"What I tell people, I would be surprised but not necessarily shocked if we wake up tomorrow and he's been caught along with all his lieutenants. That can happen because of the programs and infrastructure in place."

Rashid however said no new information had come to light despite a series of high-profile Al-Qaeda arrests which began in mid-July.

"I think there is no confirmed information about him. We have no knowledge. Maybe he (Black) has. We exchange our information but we have no new information," the minister said.

"There has been no change (in the information) since then." [...]

Comment: Of course, the Bush administration wouldn't actually have to catch the real Bin Laden. As with the capture of "Saddam Hussein", they could just find some poor sap who barely looks like the alleged al-Qaeda leader, throw a turban and beard on him, and proudly display "Bin Laden" along with his trusty machine gun.

If that sounds ridiculous, keep in mind that Saddam's wife claimed that the US did not capture her husband. Has anyone heard any news from her lately? Saddam's daughter was interviewed, but what about his wife? Furthermore, Saddam and Bin Laden were both armed and trained by America - they are CIA/Mossad assets.

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Senator: Commander Told of Military Drain

By WILLIAM C. MANN, Associated Press Writer
Sun Sep 5,11:43 PM ET

WASHINGTON - A former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman asserted Sunday that the general who ran the war in Afghanistan said more than a year before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that his resources were being shifted in preparation for taking on Saddam Hussein.

Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., contends that just months into combat in Afghanistan, Gen. Tommy Franks also told him that fighting terrorism in Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere should take priority over invading Iraq.

Graham said Franks told him he thought the United States knew less about the situation in Iraq than did some European governments, and the Bush administration should ask them for advice.

The senator, who is retiring at year's end, said his conversation with the now-retired general came in February 2002, when Graham was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

That was the month that Secretary of State Colin Powell told a House committee that President Bush was considering "the most serious set of options one might imagine" to bring "regime change" in Iraq, including the possibility of doing it alone. At least one European leader, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, said a few days later that Bush had assured him "he harbors no attack plans."

The invasion began March 19, 2003, over the vigorous protests of Germany and most other major U.S. allies except Britain, which joined the invading force. Graham opposed the war.

Graham said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that his meeting with Franks was at the general's headquarters, Central Command in Tampa, Fla.

"He laid out a very precise strategy for fighting the war on terror," Graham said.

"First, we should win the war in Afghanistan. Second, move to Somalia, which as he described was almost anarchy but with a substantial number of al-Qaida cells; then to Yemen. And that we should be very careful about Iraq, because our intelligence was so weak that we didn't know what we were getting into," Graham said. [...]

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'Hate Crime' Law Passes Senate
By Ted Twietmeyer
tedtw@frontiernet.net
9-3-4

Greivous Constitutional Destruction; The End Of Free Speech Nears

Recently, within a defense bill on Capitol Hill another bill was hidden. This hidden attachment pertains to so-called "hate crimes." The bill is Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act (S. 933), a pro-homosexual hate crimes bill.

The Defense bill with the 'hate crime' attachment passed the senate 65 to 33, and will now be going to the house.

What does this mean?

Simply put, it permits the GOVERNMENT to decide what is a hate crime. The measure also extends into our freedom of speech.

EVERYONE should be aware, that almost anything you do or say can be construed as a 'hate crime' by someone, somewhere if that person or group chooses to silence the views and thoughts you are discussing.

We've already seen the Patriot Act abused during the RNC, as over 1000 Americans have been arrested merely for expressing their rights of free speech and dissent as AMERICANS. [...]

Here is another write up about the problems such a bill can create from the senate: http://rpc.senate.gov/_files/CRIMEcr071503.pdf

Comment: It seems from the above PDF that the focus will be removed from an individual's conduct and placed upon his or her thoughts. More importantly, the federal government will be able to step in and assert jurisdiction over any case involving defendants that have beliefs that are in conflict with those of the victim:

The Kennedy bill would permit the federal government to assert jurisdiction on the certification of any of several high-level political appointees in the Justice Department that the status of "any person" was "a motivating factor" underlying the defendant's conduct. After consulting with local or state law enforcement, the official can assert jurisdiction by certifying that he or she believes either that (1) the state does not currently have or intend to exercise jurisdiction or (2) the state has requested that the federal government exercise jurisdiction or (3) the state does not object to the federal exercise of jurisdiction, or (4) "the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated violence."

It takes little imagination to see that as a practical matter, the Justice Department will be able to assert jurisdiction wherever a crime has any bias-related component, no matter how distant or vague.

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Putin Urges Strength; School Toll Tops 340
By MIKE ECKEL
Sep 4, 8:21 PM (ET)

BESLAN, Russia (AP) - A shaken President Vladimir Putin made a rare and candid admission of Russian weakness Saturday in the face of an "all-out war" by terrorists after more than 340 people - nearly half of them children - were killed in a hostage-taking at a southern school.

Putin went on national television to tell Russians they must mobilize against terrorism. He promised wide-ranging reforms to toughen security forces and purge corruption.

"We showed weakness, and weak people are beaten," he said in a speech aimed at addressing the grief, shock and anger felt by many after a string of attacks that have killed some 450 people in the past two weeks, apparently in connection with the war in Chechnya.

Shocked relatives wandered among row after row of bodies lined up in black or clear plastic body bags on the pavement at a morgue in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, where the dead from the school standoff in the town of Beslan were taken. In some open bags lay the contorted, thin bodies of children, some monstrously charred.

In Beslan, people scoured lists of names to see if their loved ones survived the chaos of the day before, when the standoff turned violent Friday as militants set off explosives in the school and commandos moved in to seize the building.

Beslan residents were allowed to enter the burned-out husk that was once the gymnasium of School No. 1, where more than 1,000 hostages were held during the 62-hour ordeal that started Wednesday. The gym's roof was destroyed, windows shattered, walls pocked with bullet holes.

Regional Emergency Situations Minister Boris Dzgoyev said 323 people, including 156 children, were killed. More than 540 people were wounded - mostly children. Medical officials said 448 people, including 248 children, remained hospitalized Saturday evening.

Dzgoyev also said 35 attackers - heavily-armed and explosive-laden men and women reportedly demanding independence for the Chechen republic - were killed in 10 hours of battles that shook the area around the school with gunfire and explosions.

Putin made a quick visit to the town before dawn Saturday, meeting local officials and touring a hospital to speak with wounded. He stopped to stroke the head of an injured child.

But some in the region were unimpressed, as grief turned to anger, both at the militants and the government response.

Marat Avsarayev, a 44-year-old taxi driver in Vladikavkaz, questioned why Putin and other politicians didn't "even think about fulfilling the (militants') demands to save the lives of the children. Probably because it wasn't their children here."

During his visit to Beslan, Putin stressed that security officials had not planned to storm the school - trying to fend off potential criticism that the government side provoked the bloodshed. He ordered the region's borders closed while officials searched for anyone connected to the attack.

"What happened was a terrorist act that was inhuman and unprecedented in its cruelty," Putin said in his televised speech later. "It is a challenge not to the president, the parliament and the government but a challenge to all of Russia, to all of our people. It is an attack on our nation."

Comment: Sound familiar?

Including the school disaster, more than 450 people have been killed in the past two weeks in violence. Two planes crashed nearly simultaneously on Aug. 24, killing 90 people, and a suicide bomber killed eight people in Moscow on Tuesday. Chechen separatists are suspected in both attacks.

Putin took a defiant tone, acknowledging Russia's weaknesses but blaming it on the fall of the Soviet Union, foreign foes seeking to tear apart Russia and on corrupt officials. He said Russians could no longer live "carefree" and must all confront terrorism.

Measures would be taken, Putin promised, to overhaul the law enforcement organs, which he acknowledged had been infected by corruption, and tighten borders.

"We are obliged to create a much more effective security system and to demand action from our law enforcement organs that would be adequate to the level and scale of the new threats," he said.

An unidentified intelligence official was quoted by the ITAR-Tass news agency as saying the school assault was financed by Abu Omar As-Seyf, an Arab who allegedly represents al-Qaida in Chechnya, and masterminded by Chechen rebel leader Shamil Basayev.

Comment: Isn't it amazing how organized al-Qaeda is these days? Even against a foe with the combined resources of multiple countries, including the sole military superpower on the planet, al-Qaeda still flourishes...

Also, the Federal Security Service chief in North Ossetia, Valery Andreyev, said Saturday that investigators were looking into whether militants had smuggled explosives and weapons into the school and hid them during a renovation this summer.

It was still unclear exactly how the standoff fell apart into bloodshed at 1 p.m. on Friday. Officials say security forces were forced to act when hostage-takers set off explosives. But some questioned that version.

The militants seized the school on the first day of classes Wednesday, herding hundreds of children, parents who had been dropping their kids off, and other adults into the gymnasium, which the militants promptly wired with explosives - including bombs hanging from the basketball hoops. The packed gym became sweltering, and the hostage-takers refused to allow in food or water.

One survivor, Sima Albegova, told the Kommersant newspaper she asked the militants why the captives were taken. "Because you vote for your Putin," one militant told her, she said.

Another freed hostage said a militant told her, "If Putin doesn't withdraw forces from Chechnya and doesn't free our arrested brothers, we'll blow everything up," according to the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.

Russian officials said the violence began when explosions were apparently set off by the militants - possibly by accident - as emergency workers entered the school courtyard to collect the bodies of hostages killed in the initial raid Wednesday.

Diana Gadzhinova, 14, said the militants ordered her and other hostages to lie face down in the gymnasium as the bodies were collected.

"They told us that there were going to be talks," she was quoted as telling Iszvestia. Others also told of how militants appeared to be confused and surprised at the initial explosions.

Hostages fled during the blasts, and the militants shot at them, prompting security forces to open fire and commandos to move in, officials said.

The explosions tore through the roof of the gymnasium, sending wreckage down on hostages and killing many. Many survivors emerged naked, covered in ashes and soot, their feet bloody from jumping barefoot out of broken windows to escape.

With families gathering for wakes for the dead Saturday, some were vowing vengeance.

"Fathers will bury their children, and after 40 days (the Orthodox mourning period) ... they will take up weapons and seek revenge," said Alan Kargiyev, a 20-year-old university student in Vladikavkaz.

Comment: It seems Russia now has its very own 9/11. Why should the powers that be change their tactics when they work so darn well?

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Russia Admits It Lied On Crisis

By Susan B. Glasser and Peter Finn
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, September 6, 2004; Page A01

Public Was Misled On Scale of Siege

MOSCOW, Sept. 5 -- The Russian government admitted Sunday that it lied to its people about the scale of the hostage crisis that ended with more than 300 children, parents and teachers dead in southern Russia, making an extraordinary admission through state television after days of intense criticism from citizens.

As the bereaved families of Beslan began to lay their loved ones to rest Sunday, the Kremlin-controlled Rossiya network aired gripping, gruesome footage it had withheld from the public for days and said government officials had deliberately deceived the world about the number of hostages inside School No. 1.

"At such moments," anchor Sergei Brilyov declared, "society needs the truth."

The admission of an effort to minimize the magnitude of a hostage crisis that ensnared about 1,200 people, most of them children, marked a sharp turnabout for the government of President Vladimir Putin. In previous crises with mass fatalities, such as the sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk in 2000 and the 2002 siege of a Moscow theater, officials covered up key facts as well, but afterward never acknowledged doing so.

"It doesn't suit our president," a Kremlin political consultant, Gleb Pavlovsky, said on the broadcast. "Lies, which really acted in the terrorists' favor, did not suit him at all. Lies were weakening us and making the terrorists more violent."

The broadcast included no apology and referred only to the most blatant misstatement by officials, the claim that only 354 hostages were inside the school. It did not acknowledge that the hostage-takers had demanded an end to the war in Chechnya or that the government continues to give conflicting information about whether any of the guerrillas remain at large, who they were and how many were killed.

Nor did it mention that many residents of Beslan have been outraged that the government now appears to be understating the death toll, which stood officially at 338 Sunday night, although nearly 200 people are still unaccounted for.

As for the hostage-takers, Deputy Prosecutor General Sergei Fridinsky said authoritatively on Saturday there were 26 of them, and all had been killed. On Sunday, he said there were 32 -- 30 of them dead -- and bragged about the capture of one "member of the gang" who was to be charged in court on Monday.

Putin made no public comment Sunday on the deadliest terrorist attack of his presidency, and no senior member of his government has commented publicly since the siege began at 9 a.m. Wednesday. A day after the president vowed in a televised address to take unspecified new security measures in response to the killing of "defenseless children," the Kremlin was silent on what those steps would be.

Sergei Markov, a political analyst with close ties to the Kremlin, said the deadly outcome of the school standoff had left Putin at a loss as to how to respond beyond the former KGB colonel's instinct to strengthen police powers and centralize control over government institutions. "They don't know what to do," he said. "Vladimir Putin didn't explain in detail what will be happening."

Speaking before the Sunday night broadcast of the state television news program "Vesti," Markov said it had been clear that the government had engaged in a clumsy coverup. "Everybody understands they are lying," he said. "Everybody can do the math and know there were more than 1,000 people inside the school."

The Kremlin sought to distance Putin from the deceptions through Sunday's broadcast, in which the anchor chided "generals and the military and civilians" for failing to act "until the president gives them ideas of what to do." Pavlovsky, the political consultant, said Putin had given Russia's political system "a no-confidence vote" for its handling of the crisis.

Such statements could never be aired unless the Kremlin directly ordered them, according to political analysts here. Criticism of the president is never broadcast on state television, the continuing war in Chechnya is almost never mentioned, and even mild questioning of government policy is not allowed without approval from the Kremlin.

"Nothing happens on Rossiya television without the permission of the Kremlin," commentator Andrei Piontkovsky said. [...]

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Chechen Separatists Say "Third Force" Behind Terrorist Attacks
MosNews
Created: 02.09.2004 15:58 MSK (GMT 3), Updated: 17:15 MSK

Akhmed Zakayev, a special envoy to Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov has said that "a third force that brought Russian President Vladimir Putin to power" is behind all the terrorist attacks committed in Russia over the past two weeks. London-based Zakayev said this in an exclusive interview with the Caucasus Times newspaper, printed in Prague, Czech Republic.

Zakayev said that "Chechen resistance forces led by Ichkeria President Aslan Maskhadov have nothing to do with the hostage crisis in North Ossetia". He called the events a sad fact and condemned actions against Russian children and civilians.

Zakayev believes that the twin aircraft crash last week, the blast near Rizhskaya metro station on 31 August and today's events in North Ossetia are links in the same chain and that "the same power that wants to destabilize the situation in the North Caucasus region" is behind them.

A militant Muslim group called the Islambouli Brigades earlier claimed responsibility for downing two passenger plains and for the bomb blast in Moscow. The legitimacy of the group and the authenticity of such statements have not been verified.

Comment: We are not surprised that a so-called "third force" was involved in the tragic events this past week. This "third force" has been extremely active in the world in recent years, organising the spread of terror in order to sow the conditions for greater and greater control over the world's population.

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Center of Eye of Frances Makes Landfall
By TIM REYNOLDS
Sep 5, 3:17 AM (ET)

STUART, Fla. (AP) - Hurricane Frances crashed ashore at Florida's east coast early Sunday with sustained wind of 105 mph and pelting rain, knocking out power to 2 million people and forcing Floridians to endure a frightening night amid roaring gales that shredded roofs and uprooted trees.

The National Hurricane Center said the eye of the hurricane officially made landfall near Sewall's Point, just east of Stuart - about 40 miles north of West Palm Beach - at about 1 a.m.

Transformers popped along streets, sending sparks into darkened skies, as families huddled in shelters, bathrooms and hotel lobbies. The wind-whipped coastal waters resembled a churning hot tub.

In Melbourne, 65 miles north of Stuart, the wind and rain looked like a giant fire hose going off at full blast.

"I've never seen anything like this, and no one in my family has," said Darlene Munson, who was riding out the storm with family members at her Melbourne restaurant.

The storm's slow-motion assault - Frances was crawling at just 8 mph - came more than a day later than predicted. The western portion of the hurricane's eye crept over parts of the east-central Florida coast Saturday night, with its strongest winds hitting early Sunday.

"Those folks are getting pounded, and they've got worse to come," said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center.

A hurricane warning remained in effect for nearly 300 miles along Florida's east coast, from Florida City north to Flagler Beach, including Lake Okeechobee.

A continued slow west-northwestward motion was expected to move the entire eye of the hurricane inland by sunrise, the weather service said.

Maximum sustained wind was near 105 mph with higher gusts. There was little chance of strengthening before the eastern half of the eye moved inland, the weather service said.

Hurricane force winds extended up to 85 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds, which range from 39 mph to 73 mph, extended up to 200 miles.

Coastal storm surge flooding of 4 to 6 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous battering waves, were expected near and to the north of Stuart. Storm surge flooding of 5 feet above normal levels was expected in Lake Okeechobee.

Florida Power & Light, the state's largest electric company, said power outages to its customers affected 2 million people. Nearly all of Vero Beach, 30 miles north of Stuart, was blackened, the city's utility said.

In Martin County, where Stuart is located, 630 people taking shelter at a school had to move to another shelter when part of the roof blew off, flooding 16 rooms. More than 300 people were able to remain in the school.

Four people were hospitalized in Boynton Beach after breathing carbon monoxide fumes from a generator that was running in a house. No other injuries were immediately reported.

En route, Frances shattered windows, toppled power lines and flooded neighborhoods in the Bahamas, driving thousands from their homes. The Freeport airport was partially submerged in water. At least two deaths in the Bahamas were blamed on the storm.

For many Floridians, this would be a night to remember.

Mary Beth and Jack Stiglin, evacuees from nearby Hutchinson Island, sat in their hotel room in Fort Pierce, eating ham and cheese wraps by candlelight as the power lines outside their room sparked and died.

"It's a little romantic. I brought the roses from our garden because they would have been blown away anyway," Mary Beth Stiglin said.

Frances' arrival came three weeks after Hurricane Charley killed 27 people and caused billions of dollars in damage in southwestern Florida.

For some Floridians, the second storm couldn't arrive soon enough.

"I just want it to be quick. Just get it over with," said Woodeline Jadis, 20, tired of waiting at a shelter in Orlando.

The storm's leading edge pounded the Florida coast early Saturday. Frances was so big that virtually the entire state feared damage from wind and water. Forecasters said the storm would dump 8 to 12 inches of rain, with up to 20 inches in some areas.

"This is the time to show some resolve and not be impatient," Gov. Jeb Bush said. "This is a dangerous, dangerous storm."

In Washington, President Bush declared a major disaster in the counties affected by Frances, meaning residents will be eligible for federal aid.

The largest evacuation in state history, with 2.8 million residents ordered inland, sent 80,000 residents and tourists into shelters. The storm shut down much of Florida, including airports and amusement parks, at the start of the usually busy Labor Day weekend.

Some evacuees, frustrated by Frances' sluggish pace, decided to leave shelters Saturday and return later.

Deborah Nicholas dashed home from a Fort Pierce shelter to take a shower, but stayed only a few minutes when the lights started flickering and trees began popping out of the ground. She has slept in a deck chair at a high school cafeteria since Wednesday.

"I'm going stir crazy," Nicholas said. "I'm going to be in a straitjacket by Monday. I don't know how much longer I can take it. Have mercy."

Residents could take comfort that Frances weakened as it lingered off the coast. Forecasters downgraded it to a Category 2 hurricane as sustained winds receded to 105 mph, down from 145 mph earlier. But the heavy rain forecast still threatened to cause widespread flooding, and the outer bands of the storm packed plenty of punch.

In Palm Bay, winds pried off pieces of a banquet hall roof, striking some cars in the parking lot. Trees were bent and light posts wobbled in the howling gusts.

In Fort Pierce, the storm shredded awnings and blew out business signs. Many downtown streets were crisscrossed with toppled palm trees.

One gust reached 115 mph at Fort Pierce, according to the National Hurricane Center, damaging the mast of a truck measuring the storm's intensity. Florida Power & Light pulled crews off the streets because of heavy wind, meaning those without power would have to wait until the storm subsided, utility spokesman Bill Swank said.

In Stuart, traffic lights dangled, and one hung by a single wire. Downed trees blocked at least one residential street, and signposts were bent to the ground. The facade at a flooring store collapsed, as did the roof of a storage shed at a car dealership.

Roads, streets and beaches were mostly deserted - the occasional surfer notwithstanding. Roads were littered with palm fronds and other debris. Businesses were shuttered and even gas stations were closed, their empty pumps covered with shrink wrap.

Not everyone stayed home: Two men were charged with looting for trying to break into a Brevard County church.

As the weather worsened, a yacht adrift on the Intercoastal Waterway struggled for more than half an hour in choppy water to anchor in West Palm Beach before tying up to a dock. Other boats bobbed like toys. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescued a man and his cat riding out the storm on a sailboat anchored in Biscayne Bay.

At Palm Beach International Airport, the roof and a door were blown off a hangar.

The storm extended vacations for about 10,000 passengers on nine cruise ships unable return to Florida ports on schedule. They were expected to arrive late Sunday or Monday.

Kevin Palmer, a photographer in Palm Beach County, said the wind blew so hard at his front door that it was making the copper weather stripping around it vibrate and shriek violently.

"It's become our high-gust alarm," Palmer said. "It sets the tone for your ambiance when you've got the rumbling outside, you have this screeching from the weather stripping and you keep wondering if that thumping you just heard is another tree going over or a coconut going flying."

Frances was expected to push across the state as a tropical storm just north of Tampa, weaken to a tropical depression and drench the Panhandle on Monday before moving into Alabama.

In the central Atlantic Ocean, the ninth named storm of the season grew stronger Saturday. Tropical Storm Ivan was about 1,355 miles east-southeast of the Lesser Antilles with winds of 70 mph. Forecasters expect Ivan to become a hurricane with winds of at least 74 mph on Sunday and to continue to strengthen.

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Two killed by Frances as yet another hurricane looms in far distance
Mon Sep 6, 3:04 AM ET

STUART, United States (AFP) - Tropical storm Frances killed two as it crossed Florida, authorities said, as yet another hurricane loomed in the far distance.

The deaths occurred Sunday in the city of Gainesville in north-central Florida, 386 kilometers (240 miles) northwest of Stuart, which lies on the state's hard-hit Atlantic coast.

A man died when he lost control of his car and hit a tree, and a woman was killed when an oak tree fell on her mobile home, Captain Beth Hardee of Alachua County Fire and Rescue said.

Their deaths bring the total storm toll to four thus far. Two people died in the Bahamas when Hurricane Frances battered the Atlantic island chain for more than 30 hours Thursday and Friday.

Gainesville was still under driving rain and high gusting wind early Monday, some 22 hours after the storm first entered the area, Hardee said.

"I've lived in Florida all my life and I've never experienced a storm like this," she said.

The remnants of the eye of Frances have moved off Florida's west coast, but "it's trying to reform. It could build up strength again" over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. [...]

But Florida, which is barely recovering from the devastation wrought last month by Hurricane Charley, was warily eyeing yet another hurricane, which loomed on the far horizon.

Hurricane Ivan, a dangerous Category 4 storm packing maximum sustained winds of nearly 215 kilometers (135 miles) per hour, was a thousand kilometers away, but long-term forecasts put it dangerously close to the US state by the end of the week.

Early Monday, Ivan was 1,010 kilometers (625 miles) east-southeast of Barbados, which issued a hurricane watch.

As Ivan headed toward the Caribbean windward islands, Frances lost steam as it crossed Florida, though forecasters said it could regain hurricane strength over the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. [...]

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Scientist says his SoCal earthquake prediction was a false alarm
CHRIS T. NGUYEN
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES - A seismologist who predicted that a magnitude-6.4 earthquake may strike a 12,000-square-mile area in Southern California said Saturday the forecast was a false alarm.

Vladimir Keilis-Borok of the University of California, Los Angeles and a team of scientists worldwide in January said they had determined there was a 50-50 chance that by Sunday the quake would hit the area east of Los Angeles. That region encompasses the Mojave Desert, the Coachella Valley, the Imperial Valley and eastern San Diego County.

The day before the nine-month window ended, Keilis-Borok said he was wrong, blaming the faulty prediction in part on unreliable data.

"It's not something that has absolute precision. It's kind of like military intelligence," he said. "There is a trade off. Tell people nothing and they will suffer. Tell them everything and they will suffer in another way."

The team led by Keilis-Borok, 83, based its prediction on a pattern of earthquakes recorded in the region over the past decades.

Most recent, the predominantly desert area sustained a magnitude-7.1 quake in 1999 near Joshua Tree and a magnitude-7.3 earthquake in 1992 in Landers. A magnitude-6.4 quake struck the Imperial Valley in 1979.

Keilis-Borok's team got credit for calling two earthquakes. The group predicted the magnitude-6.5 San Simeon quake in December and the magnitude-8.1 quake last year off Japan's Hokkaido island.

In both cases, the scientists set wide parameters in place and time using research that includes geodynamics, chaos theory and statistical physics.

Comment: You know it is coming, we know it is coming. So do all the folks living in California. It is only a question of when.

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Strong quake hits western Japan
BBC
A strong earthquake has rocked western Japan, the meteorological agency says.

The quake, which struck shortly after 1900 (1000 GMT), had a magnitude of 6.8 and was centred in a remote area some 50km (30 miles) off the coast of Japan.

The quake made tall buildings in central Tokyo sway, the AP news agency reported, but there were no official reports of injuries or damage.

There are reports of a 50cm (20in) tidal wave off the coast of the Kii peninsula, south of Osaka.

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Second Quake Hits Japan, Evacuations Ordered
Sun Sep 5, 2004 01:00 PM ET
By Teruaki Ueno
TOKYO (Reuters) - An earthquake measuring about 7.3 on the Richter scale shook western Japan on Sunday, the second strong quake to hit the area in five hours, and evacuations were ordered as tsunamis approached the coast, NHK television said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said tsunamis measuring up to 6 feet high could hit some areas of the Pacific coast, and some measuring less than 1 meter had already struck.

Residents of Owase City in Mie Prefecture were ordered to evacuate to higher ground to avoid the tsunamis -- water waves generated by seismic activity -- and there were reports of fishing boats being overturned in the town's harbor.

Television pictures showed residents leaving home, carrying children and belongings.

NHK said at least seven people had been injured in the latest quake, which struck at 11:55 p.m.

An official in Wakayama City in Wakayama Prefecture saw what appeared to be a tidal wave 1 meter high surging up a river, the broadcaster added.

Three people were injured in the earlier quake, which measured 6.9 on the Richter Scale and struck just after 1000 GMT, media reports said.

Both quakes measured five on the Japanese intensity scale of seven and were centered in the Pacific Ocean about 310 miles southwest of Tokyo at a depth of about 6 miles.

There may be strong aftershocks, Katsuyuki Abe, a seismologist at University of Tokyo, told NHK.

Much of affected area relies on fishing and agriculture as well as tourism, centered on the cities of Nara and Kyoto.

Japan is one of the world's most seismically active areas, with an earthquake occurring every five minutes.

The country accounts for about 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude six or greater. A quake of that magnitude has potential to cause major damage in built-up areas.

Memories are still vivid of the earthquake in the western city of Kobe which killed more than 6,400 people in 1995. That quake measured 7.2 on the Richter scale.

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