Printer Friendly Version
 
"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan



PODCAST October 1, 2005

Signs of the Times
Commentary

The world as seen from around the kitchen table

The American Perspective

Podcast Icon Click to stream mp3
mp3 download icon Click to download mp3 (16 megs)
mp3 download icon Click to download mp3 (5 megs)



In our latest podcast, (left to right) editors Henry See, Scott Ogrin, and Joe Quinn chat with one guest from Australia about the nature and effects of the average US resident's perspective of the world.

First we take a look at some of the worldwide effects of the war on terror, which seems to be a direct result of a US administration that is able to act virtually unquestioned by the populace. The discussion then turns to the roots of the uniquely "American" perspective, focusing on various aspects of past and present US society. Topics include xenophobia, the US educational system, and a look at why there aren't more Cindy Sheehan's standing up for the truth.

If you have any questions for the Signs Team or would like to suggest a topic for future Podcast discussion, you can write us at:




How many Americans own passports?
A comment left on Phil Gyford's Blog

[...]There is also the good point made by other posters, that we can see other cultures without ever leaving the U.S.. We can travel further than most Europeans and still be within the U.S. Hell, living in far west Texas, I can drive 800 miles east, and still be in the state of Texas! When I get there, not only will the climate be different, but the culture will be different also. [...]

Click here to comment on this article


RESOLUTION

Supporting the goals and ideals of National Passport Month.
thomas.loc.gov

Whereas interacting with the global community inspires Americans to reflect on the diverse multi-cultural background that has defined the United States as a great country of cooperation... (Introduced in House)

HRES 327 IH

109th CONGRESS
1st Session

H. RES. 327

Supporting the goals and ideals of National Passport Month.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 16, 2005

Ms. LEE (for herself, Mr. LANTOS, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Ms. NORTON, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. OWENS, and Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Government Reform


RESOLUTION

Supporting the goals and ideals of National Passport Month.

Whereas, through international travel, Americans can individually play a major role towards improving foreign relations by building bridges and making connections with citizens of other countries;

Whereas interacting with the global community inspires Americans to reflect on the diverse multi-cultural background that has defined the United States as a great country of cooperation and progress;

Whereas having a passport and traveling abroad creates connections with the global community, supporting goodwill throughout the world;

Whereas having a passport and traveling abroad promotes understanding and goodwill throughout the world, opening the doors to increased peace, tolerance, and acceptance;

Whereas having a passport and traveling abroad opens up a preponderance of educational opportunities and experiences for Americans of all ages;

Whereas having a passport and traveling abroad enables Americans to see first-hand the effect of the United States on the world, including the tremendous amount of humanitarian aid given by the United States through both public and private sectors;

Whereas having a passport and traveling abroad reminds Americans that they are members of a global family and gives them opportunities to mend rifts around the world;

Whereas fewer than 23 percent of Americans have passports, thereby limiting their ability to travel outside the United States;

Whereas the more Americans travel outside the United States, the more they will experience opportunities to increase their understanding of the world and the place of the United States in it;

Whereas the creation and support of a National Passport Month signals to Americans the important role they can play as ambassadors for the United States by serving as agents of understanding, tolerance, and mutual respect; and

Whereas travel publishers along with travel editors from the most prestigious media outlets in the United States, student travel organizations, and book sellers have designated September as `National Passport Month' to educate the public about the importance of having a passport and the positive impact international travel has on individuals: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
      (1) supports the goals and ideals of National Passport Month; and
      (2) requests that the President issue a proclamation calling on the Federal Government, States, localities, schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, other entities, and the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities.

Click here to comment on this article


Downer: Hicks should face justice
AAP
September 26, 2005 - 7:34PM

Australian terror suspect David Hicks will be dodging justice if he gets out of Guantanamo Bay via British citizenship, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says.

Hicks, 30, has been in detention for nearly four years but hopes that British citizenship - through his British mother, could clear a path to freedom.

During a recent chat about the Ashes cricket series with his US military-appointed lawyer Major Michael Mori, Hicks revealed his mother was British and had never taken out Australian citizenship.

Major Mori then took an application for citizenship for Hicks to the British embassy in Washington.

The British government has refused to allow any of its nine inmates of the United States' detention facility in Cuba to be tried because of concerns the US military tribunals do not meet international justice standards.

Mr Downer said today he would not stand in the way of the citizenship bid, but felt Hicks should "face justice" by remaining in Guantanamo Bay for the tribunal that charged him.

"If Mr Hicks and his lawyers want to try to circumvent justice by going to some other country and think that will help them, that's a matter between him and that country," he told reporters.

"Our point about Mr Hicks is that he should face justice.

"I would have thought charges like conspiracy to commit war crimes and attempting to murder people are charges that should be heard."

Mr Downer said the clear difference between Hicks and the freed British detainees was that the Brits were never charged and Hicks had been.

If Hicks can provide the appropriate documentation, the chances of getting British citizenship appear good - but it could take a year.

His trial before a military commission is expected sooner than that.

A spokeswoman for the British High Commission in Canberra said Britain brought in new laws in 2002 allowing people to claim citizenship if their mothers had British citizenship.

She said 1769 Australians had so far applied for citizenship under this category.

Asked if an applicant's character or legal status could affect their application, she said people weren't asked about past criminal convictions and character became more of an issue if they were seeking to be naturalised.

She said the process could take 12 months and the final decision rested ultimately with Britain's Home Secretary.

Mr Downer chastised the federal opposition for championing Hicks' cause.

"The opposition running around saying we should free Mr Hicks, I don't think that's a responsible position for them as a so-called `alternative government' to be taking," he said.

"Mr Hicks is no hero, he is facing very serious charges."

Labor leader Kim Beazley criticised the government for failing to stand up for Hicks' legal rights.

"I don't know what the British will do (about Hicks' citizenship application) but the issue arises because the government hasn't pressed the Americans in the same way the British have ... to ensure that Australian citizens ... are tried under appropriate American jurisdiction," Mr Beazley told reporters.

Hicks pleaded not guilty before a US military commission last year to conspiracy, aiding the enemy and attempted murder.

A trial date has yet to be set.

UK citizenship rules

The British high commission website says a person born between 1961 and 1983 to a mother who was a British citizen at the time of the birth is entitled to make an application for citizenship.

However, it warns that applications, which incur a fee of $390.25, can take between six and 12 months to process, and sometimes longer.

If an applicant is successful, he or she is required to make a pledge, similar to an oath of allegiance, at a citizenship ceremony before being issued with their British citizenship.

The website makes no mention of whether the pledge, which costs an additional $78, can be made at alternative locations, such as in a detention facility.

The citizenship application form asks a range of questions about the applicant and their parents, and even grandparents, but has no questions referring to the applicant's current legal status.

Click here to comment on this article


Class Consciousness Matters

Belief in the myth of the self-made man has made many ordinary people suckers for the right-wing pitch.
By David Moberg, In These Times.
Posted June 30, 2005.

The myth of the self-made man is American culture's own special heart of darkness, helping to explain both its infectious optimism and ruthless greed.

The idea holds enough truth and seductiveness to make it easy to forget its delusional dangers. To reprise Marx's famous formulation, individuals, like humankind, do make their own personal history, but not under conditions they choose. But in America, we choose to ignore the caveat about conditions at our peril.

The myth, or belief, that people are solely what they make of themselves is useful to keep in mind while reading two ongoing series: the New York Times' on class and the Wall Street Journal's on social mobility. Both focus attention on a truth about American society that runs counter to most people's deep-seated beliefs: There is less social mobility in the United States now than in the '80s (and less then than in the '70s) and less mobility than in many other industrial countries, including Canada, Finland, Sweden and Germany.

Yet 40 percent of respondents to a Times poll said that there was a greater chance to move up from one class to another now than 30 years ago, and 46 percent said it was easier to do so in the United States than in Europe.

Although the news about social mobility has not been widely reported, it is generally recognized that inequality has grown over the past thirty years. The Times series highlights how much the super-rich have made out like, well, bandits.

While the real income of the bottom 90 percent of Americans fell from 1980 to 2002, the income of the top 0.1 percent--making $1.6 million or more--went up two and a half times in real terms before taxes. With the help of the Bush tax cuts, the gap between the super-rich and everyone else grew even larger.

The American people accept this, it is argued, because they think not only that there's more social mobility than there is, but also that they'll personally get rich. Indeed, a poll in 2000 indicated that 39 percent of Americans thought they were either in the wealthiest one percent or would be "soon." The Times poll was slightly less exuberant: 11 percent thought it was very likely they would become wealthy, another 34 percent somewhat likely.

"It is okay to have ever-greater differences between rich and poor, [Americans] seem to believe," David Wessel wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "as long as their children have a good chance of grasping the brass ring."

This view is problematic. First, the greater the inequality, the less likely the possibility of mobility. Increased inequality worsens the large disparities in resources that families can devote to education -- resources that are increasingly important for both entering many careers and for social mobility. A college degree, it should be stressed, is important not just because of the knowledge acquired, but because college serves as a class-biased sorting mechanism for entry to certain jobs. In contrast, the record suggests that countries with greater equality also have greater mobility. Substantive equality creates more equality of opportunity.

But even if there were mobility, such inequality would be problematic. Is it fair that society's wealth be divided so unevenly? Isn't there a decent standard of living -- rising as economies become wealthier -- to which everyone who "works hard and plays by the rules," in the Clintonian formulation, should be entitled? Great social disparity means that the financially well-off use their money and greater political leverage to protect their privilege rather than to design policies for the common good.

In defense of the rich getting richer, former Bush economic advisor Gregory Mankiw wrote in response to the Times series that the richest increased their share when the economy boomed; so if we want prosperity, let the plutocrats prosper. But the economy grew faster in the first three decades after World War II when equality was increasing than in the next three decades when equality was decreasing. In any case, if the income from growth is captured by the very rich, as it largely has been for a couple decades, this path to prosperity offers little to most people.

Also, with high inequality, even the pretense of community declines, social conflict increases and society functions more poorly. Individual mobility is not the only way to improve one's lot. Social solidarity and working together can improve everyone's lot.

This brings us back to the self-made man. It becomes clear, as the Times series is titled, that "class matters," just as race, gender and other accidents of history matter. The social class into which someone is born largely defines one's class as an adult, and both make a difference in how healthy or how long-lived the person will be, especially in the absence of universal health insurance. It influences access to education and to jobs.

The myth of the self-made person, however, encourages the person who succeeds to think his good fortune is due entirely to his work and genius. For this reason businessmen in the United States have historically been more anti-union and hostile to government than their counterparts in Europe. And the myth makes those who fail blame themselves.

According to recent polls, American workers -- worried more about job insecurity, rising costs of education, health care expenses, the availability of insurance, pension failures and social security privatization -- are increasingly looking for stronger social action to provide security. They are deeply skeptical about the globalization that has increased inequality and insecurity. Like the French vote on the European Union constitution, a U.S. referendum on globalization might well divide along class lines. The irony is that taking responsibility as a society to guarantee more stability and equality -- by regulating the global economy and establishing universal guarantees of health care, education, and retirement security -- can provide citizens with more individual freedom.

For now, the realm of freedom for most Americans remains constricted to the shopping mall, where they can buy their identities. Both the Journal and Times point to the rapid growth of personal credit as one way that Americans have continued to buy while earnings have stagnated. Former United Auto Workers official Frank Joyce even sees the rise of credit cards as undermining workers' interest in unions. Income, earned or borrowed, obviously greatly differentiates people's lives, even if a working class consumer can only indulge in a box of luxury chocolates or sub-luxury car. And the growing differences in income are exacerbated by growing but unmeasured differences in health insurance, as well as various business perks such as free cars or expense accounts.

But the focus on income ignores the even greater inequalities of wealth. Wealth provides security. As the Times series points out, the better-off consistently talk of making choices while working class individuals talk about feeling trapped. Kids from wealthy families can take unpaid internships, spend a year abroad or experiment with careers; kids from working class families are likely to stick with a summer job that pays the bills and provides health insurance, thus failing to finish college.

More important, wealth and class are issues of power. Aaron Kemp, who lost his job when Maytag shifted production from Illinois to Mexico and Korea (see "Maytag Moves to Mexico," January 17), remarked, "I never remember even thinking about what class I was in until after the plant closing announcement and layoff. And then you begin to think about what class you're in." Rather than manners or fashion, class ultimately has more to do with who has the power to make such decisions and the powerlessness of the majority. These crucial aspects of class--social, political and economic power--have been missing from the series.

It might have been good for the Times to run an excerpt of Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro's new book, Death by a Thousand Cuts. It recounts how the super-rich worked with ultra-conservatives to demonize and possibly eliminate the estate tax, which they renamed the "death tax." As William Gates, Sr., father of Microsoft Bill, often argued on behalf of the tax, the very rich accumulate their wealth not simply because of what they did but because of the society in which they lived, and they have a debt to that society. And the heirs of such wealth are the antithesis of self-made men.

The rich used their political power, their money and the right's shameless, mendacious hucksters to protect their riches, at the expense of society. But belief in the myth of the self-made man--abetted by the feckless incompetence of Democratic opposition--made many ordinary people suckers for the right-wing pitch. Class matters, but so does consciousness of class. That's another, longer story.

David Moberg is a senior editor of In These Times.

Click here to comment on this article


Students Score Below Average on Tests
By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer
Wed Dec 17, 3:54 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Students in some of the nation's largest urban school districts score below the national average on federal math and reading tests, new scores show. [...]

Education officials say the new scores reflect expanded efforts by urban districts to help children succeed despite language barriers, crowded conditions and poverty. The results, however, also underscore how much ground schools must gain in raising achievement for all.

Across the country, in reading, only 30 percent of fourth-graders and eighth-graders reach at least the key level, proficient, which means competency over difficult material. In math, 31 percent of fourth-graders and 27 percent of eighth-graders do at least that well.

In almost every case, the city students did worse. That means less than three out of 10 students achieved at the level they should have, based on federal standards. [...]

Comment: It is probably no coincidence that the country whose people honestly believe they are the most "free" also happen to have been schooled in one of the worst educational systems in the world. It appears that with the recent covert addition of Patriot Act II, the US and the world will soon realize that ignorance is not bliss - it is slavery.

Click here to comment on this article


Studies: Don't Believe Homework Hype
By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer
October 1, 2003

WASHINGTON - The image of students lugging home heavy packs of books may be familiar in many homes, but two new studies offer a different picture: The nation's homework load is light. [...]

Most students have less than an hour of homework a night, according to a Brookings analysis of a broad range of homework research. The report is based on data from the Education Department, international surveys and research by the University of Michigan and the University of California-Los Angeles, among other sources.

For example, when asked how much homework they were assigned the day before, most students age 9, 13 and 17 all reported less than an hour, according to a federal long-term survey in 1999. The share of students assigned more than an hour of homework has dropped for all three age groups since 1984.

Only about one in 10 high school students does a substantial amount of homework - more than two hours a night - according to a separate study co-authored by Brian Gill of the RAND Corp., another research group. The figure has held fairly stable for 50 years. [...]

Comment: The U.S. educational system seems to be designed to produce mindless automatons who are more concerned with who will marry a fake millionaire on TV than with objective reality.

Click here to comment on this article


The Educational System Was Designed to Keep Us Uneducated and Docile
thememoryhole.org

[...] By the turn of the century, America's new educrats were pushing a new form of schooling with a new mission (and it wasn't to teach). The famous philosopher and educator John Dewey wrote in 1897:

Every teacher should realize he is a social servant set apart for the maintenance of the proper social order and the securing of the right social growth.

In his 1905 dissertation for Columbia Teachers College, Elwood Cubberly - the future Dean of Education at Stanford - wrote that schools should be factories

"in which raw products, children, are to be shaped and formed into finished products...manufactured like nails, and the specifications for manufacturing will come from government and industry."

The next year, the Rockefeller Education Board - which funded the creation of numerous public schools - issued a statement which read in part:

In our dreams...people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present educational conventions [intellectual and character education] fade from our minds, and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have ample supply. The task we set before ourselves is very simple...we will organize children...and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.

At the same time, William Torrey Harris, US Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906, wrote:
Ninety-nine [students] out of a hundred are automata, careful to walk in prescribed paths, careful to follow the prescribed custom. This is not an accident but the result of substantial education, which, scientifically defined, is the subsumption of the individual.

In that same book, The Philosophy of Education , Harris also revealed:

The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places.... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world.

Several years later, President Woodrow Wilson would echo these sentiments in a speech to businessmen:

We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forego the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.

Writes Gatto: "Another major architect of standardized testing, H.H. Goddard, said in his book Human Efficiency (1920) that government schooling was about

'the perfect organization of the hive.'"

While President of Harvard from 1933 to 1953, James Bryant Conant wrote that the change to a forced, rigid, potential-destroying educational system had been demanded by "certain industrialists and the innovative who were altering the nature of the industrial process."

In other words, the captains of industry and government explicitly wanted an educational system that would maintain social order by teaching us just enough to get by but not enough so that we could think for ourselves, question the sociopolitical order, or communicate articulately. We were to become good worker-drones, with a razor-thin slice of the population - mainly the children of the captains of industry and government - to rise to the level where they could continue running things.

This was the openly admitted blueprint for the public schooling system, a blueprint which remains unchanged to this day. Although the true reasons behind it aren't often publicly expressed, they're apparently still known within education circles.

Clinical psychologist Bruce E. Levine wrote in 2001:

I once consulted with a teacher of an extremely bright eight-year-old boy labeled with oppositional defiant disorder. I suggested that perhaps the boy didn't have a disease, but was just bored. His teacher, a pleasant woman, agreed with me. However, she added,

"They told us at the state conference that our job is to get them ready for the work world…that the children have to get used to not being stimulated all the time or they will lose their jobs in the real world." [...]

Click here to comment on this article


The War on Teachers and Students: The Devil in New England
Counterpunch
October 05, 2003

Police states don't exist without help and acquiescence... Most recently, a cop in the small town of Barre...took it upon himself to do some reconnaissance in the Bush war on the world.

According to the Times-Argus (the daily paper that serves this region of Vermont), office John Mott had heard that one of the history teachers at the local high school was encouraging his students to think critically about the war on Iraq and other controversial actions of the Bush administration. The teacher, Tom Treece, is a pacifist who has made it clear that he opposes the current administration's warmongering. Although most of the high school's students don't seem to have a problem with Treece's stance and vocal support of it, certain citizens do. Indeed, some of them have gone so far as to form a small citizen's group called Citizens Advocating Responsible Education (CARE), to oppose Treece's teaching. An underlying motive of the group is to scuttle the school district's budget.

...The facts are these. At 1:30 in the morning of April 9, 2003, Officer Mott, in full uniform, convinced a custodian at Spaulding High School in Barre, Vt. To let him in to the high school and enter Treece's classroom. Mott was on duty at the time and was out of his assigned jurisdiction. Upon entering Treece's classroom, Mott began photographing a number of student projects concerning the war on Iraq and other aspects of Washington's current policies. Mott defended his actions in the Times-Argus, stating, "Having spent 30 years in uniform, I was insulted, I'm just taking a stand on what happens in that classroom as a resident and a voter and a taxpayer of this community." Mott's recon mission took place the day after he attended a school board meeting where CARE presented their complaints to the board regarding Treece's instructional approach. CARE's founders claim that the issue is not free speech. To them, "It's an issue of balance and it's an issue of professionalism."

...According to the Times Argus, one of the opponents of Treece and his class (called Public Issues) said: "The purpose of education is to teach students facts and how to use these facts to compete in the real world." Academic freedom, continued this speaker, is a waste of time.

...Mott has expressed no remorse over the forced entry into the school, nor has he expressed any doubt as to his right to use his police uniform to do so. It's clear that Mott and his supporters have forgotten (if they ever knew) the reasons that certain of our country's founders insisted on the Bill of Rights before they would approve the constitution. It's also clear that these folks' leaders in Washington like things that way. This is why the minds of the young are their battleground. After all, if young people can think critically about their government and its actions, they might want to change it. If young people start asking why their friends are being asked to go to war and why there are military recruiters in their schools and their mailboxes, they might decide to oppose those wars and the liars who try and sweet talk them into fighting them. If young people start questioning why policemen can use their uniform to commit acts that would be illegal for anyone else, they might want to rein in the police.

Comment: Big brother is alive and well and in a neighbourhood near you! Freedom of speech is most definitely a thing of the past, especially when even the teachers have been co-opted to act as state spys and dupes...

Click here to comment on this article


Why Don't Americans Care?

Do you know who Halliburton is? Dick Cheney? How about Karl Rove? Alas, most Americans don't
By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
October 6, 2004

Let's be honest. Percentage-wise, few people in America really give much of a crap about what's going on in the hallowed halls of politics and power.

This is what we in the media and maybe you in the media-consuming audience tend to forget far too easily: This country is simply jam-packed with millions of people who have no time for, or interest in, politics, or media, or environmental policy, or education, or global issues, or which presidential candidate lied his ass off about which aspect of his military career and which Orange Alert is totally bogus and how many soldiers are dying for what imbecilic war.

It seems hard to believe. But the general rule of thumb is that major cities are slightly more attuned due to aggressive media saturation and how issues tend to make themselves known more urgently, more immediately, whereas Middle America is a scattershot conglomeration of the politically apathetic and the actively disenfranchised, full of people far too busy with their lives and kids and jobs and zoning out on "Fear Factor" and "Monday Night Football" to care about following the elitist, ever dire dramas playing out on the nation's gilded stages.

Most Americans, in other words, have no idea what the hell a Halliburton is. Or a Karl Rove. Or a Donny "Shriveled Soul" Rumsfeld. Or a Lockheed Martin. Or a Carlysle Group. Or have any idea that Saddam had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. Or that WMDs were never found. Or that President Bush has taken more vacation time than any president in U.S. history. Or that Jesus thinks Dubya is "sort of a dink." Or where Iraq is on a map.

Fact is, in the past decade, TV-news ratings -- cable and network, combined -- has shrunk to a fraction of its former numbers. Newspaper subscriptions have been either flat or dropping for just about as long. Newsmagazines, radio, historical nonfiction: flat or dropping fast. Even the Internet, that vast teeming customizable firestorm of news and info streaming in from all over the planet, even the awesome Net draws far more people to its porn and gossip and shopping departments than any e-news joint could ever wet dream.

Is this unfair? Does it sound elitist and biased? It's not. There have been studies. And reports. And alarming indicators of all kinds telling us time and again that, for example, fully 50 percent of eligible Americans don't even bother to vote (a 15 percent drop since 1964), and many have no idea who's on the Supreme Court or what Congress does, and many can't even point to France on a globe.

Voter turnout, comparatively, in Italy, Spain, the U.K., or Germany? Anywhere from 75 to 92 percent, every time. The sad fact is, the United States ranks 139th out of 172 countries in voter turnout. Wave that flag proudly, baby.

You've seen the headlines. Alarming numbers of American high school students can't even identify the current vice president, much less name a half dozen presidents from history. Far too many citizens can't name the capital of their own home state or recognize their own senators, much less discern how Bush's environmental policy is poisoning their water or how Ashcroft wants to scan their email and tap their phones and suck the pith from their souls. A whopping 49 percent of Americans aged 18-25 can't find New York on a map, and 11 percent can't even locate the United States. Now that's patriotism.

Comment: HALF of Americans aged 18-25 cannot find New York on a map! And a little over one tenth can't even locate the US!! Think about it...

A recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development states that upward of 60 percent of Americans ages 16-25 are 'functionally illiterate', meaning they can't, for example, fill out a detailed form or read a numerical table (like a time schedule).

A recent Florida study shows at least 70 percent of recent high school graduates need remedial courses -- that is, basic reading and math -- when they enter community college. These are kids who, you can be assured, think Colin Powell is that nasty British dude on "American Idol." [...]

Maybe this, then, is the most pressing question of our time: How to get the vast majority of Americans to care? To pay attention? To read? To effect change and demand accountability from bumbling spoon-fed leaders who count on voter apathy and force-fed ignorance to cram through their environmental rollbacks and homophobic laws and draconian Patriot Acts? Is it even possible? Are we too far gone?

How to make America more like, say, Europe, where knowledge of current events and political intrigue is not only hugely important to the vast majority of citizens but is also deeply woven into the very fabric of daily life, an integral part of the educational system and the café conversation and the workplace water-cooler chats, and to ignore it is considered, well, irresponsible and even a mite traitorous?

True, part of why they care so much is because America is the foremost bully on the block and it pays to know what makes the bully tick. And whine. And kill. In short, as the theory goes, most Americans don't give a damn because we're on top and we own everything and have more nukes than anyone and we're never the ones getting invaded. It's our unofficial motto -- America: We Don't Have to Care.

And this very column is frequently slapped with the accusation that it merely "preaches to the choir," and if I really want to affect minds I should consider tempering or sanitizing my opinions for a more "moderate" mainstream readership, as if the nation was chock-full of opinionated, well-read, temperate thinkers ready to be gently informed of new ideas, when in fact this group is but a fraction, a sliver, far overshadowed and overpowered by the real majority in America: The detached. The disinterested. The intellectually lazy.

So, what's the solution? It is as simple as dramatically changing the way we educate our children, our population? Is it desanitizing our vacuous history textbooks and making media studies and political science and current events as mandatory to the educational diet as macho sports and bad lunches and playground kickball?

Or maybe it's a new national draft? Will that galvanize the rest of the populace sufficiently? How about Iraq devolving even faster into Vietnam 2.0? Is it 10,000 dead U.S. soldiers and nary an imprisoned terrorist or fresh barrel of oil to show for it? How about five bucks a gallon? Ten? Is it legalizing pot and banning guns? What will it take?

Maybe another massive national catastrophe? Maybe a 9/11 cubed, and cubed again, something unthinkably horrific and unleashed upon the innocents and the children and the puppies, something that so jars and infuriates and undermines our desperate empire that even the cold-blooded neoconservative Right can't possibly leverage our sorrow and pain for its own political gain? Very possible. After all, nothing like a little hard-earned apocalypse to make you consider voting independent.

Or maybe it's something entirely different, maybe some sort of potent, unimaginable spiritual enlightenment that looks like revelation and smells like Vishnu and sounds like harmonic convergence and tastes like Buddha and has nothing whatsoever to do with fundamentalism or Christianity or Bush's angry homophobic flag-wavin' God. The mystics say we're very close. They claim the next decade will offer, to those who care to participate, one helluva transformational vibrational wallop. Possible?

Whatever it looks like, we can rest assured we're still not out of the dark, dank woods just yet. Our national apathy is well protected, our intellectual ignorance secure and our fears well fed and carefully, perpetually reinforced by the Powers That Be and the fact that the overall 50 percent voter turnout never moves by more than a point or two, usually downward.

And the Establishment, it only smiles knowingly, and nods, and says there there now. It'll be all right. Just go back to sleep.

Comment: Readers have written to us and asked how it would be possible for the powers that be to pull off enormous scams such as the attacks on 9/11, or lying to the population about the reasons for invading Afghanistan and Iraq. This article is an excellent answer to such questions. How hard can it be when such a huge percentage of Americans are so woefully uninformed and misinformed? If today's young adults cannot even find New York on a map of the US, does anyone think they will have a clue about the location, culture, or politics of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, or Israel??

Click here to comment on this article


Americans have not learnt the lessons of history

By Niall Ferguson
Telegraph.co.uk
10/04/2004

Around this time last year I had a conversation in Washington that summed up what was bound to go wrong for America in Iraq. I was talking to a mid-ranking official in the US Treasury about American plans for the post-war reconstruction of the Iraqi economy. She had just attended a meeting on precisely that subject. "So what kind of historical precedents have you been considering?" I asked. "The post-Communist economies of Eastern Europe," she replied. "We have quite a bit of experience we can draw on from the 1990s."

When I suggested that the problems of privatisation in Poland might not prove relevant on the banks of the Euphrates, she seemed surprised. And when I suggested that she and her colleagues ought at least to take a look at the last Anglophone occupation of Iraq, her surprise turned to incredulity. Not for the first time since crossing the Atlantic, I was confronted with the disturbing reality about the way Americans make policy. Theory looms surprisingly large. [...] The lessons of history come a poor second, and only recent history - preferably recent American history - gets considered.

There was amazement last year when I pointed out in the journal Foreign Affairs that in 1917 a British general had occupied Baghdad and proclaimed: "Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators." By the same token, scarcely any American outside university history departments is aware that within just a few months of the formal British takeover of Iraq, there was a full-scale anti-British revolt.

What happened in Iraq last week so closely resembles the events of 1920 that only a historical ignoramus could be surprised. [...]

Comment: Freedom can be defined in terms of the level of ability to interact in a real and meaningful way with life and the world around us. Freedom is nothing if it is not freedom to know and understand truth and reality. The closer we can get to an objective view of true reality the freer we are. Conversely, the further we are from a true understanding of reality, the less we are able to interact in a meaningful way with life, and the more enslaved we are.

Far from being a land of opportunity where persecuted peoples the world over could find refuge and realise their dream of creating the first truly free and egalitarian society, with hindsight it seems that modern America was designed, from the very beginning, to be a vast Petri dish for an experiment to create a nation of people that would willingly submit their will to the ruling elite to an extent never before seen in modern times, while at the same time believing themselves to be the living embodiment of personal freedom.

Of course, such a grand plan could not be accomplished overtly or by the use of force, since the key to success was in creating an environment where the people themselves would fight to maintain their own state of enslavement. The most obvious and natural way to achieve this was to make lies and illusion the foundation of modern American society and the yardstick by which the American people define themselves. The battle then was for control of the minds of the American people.

As infants we know nothing of reality, as we grow we undergo a process of socialisation, from which we obtain our sense of who we are, our values, our sense of morality and, perhaps most significantly, our education. All of these things are given to us at a stage in our lives when we have no ability to choose if we truly want them or not. By the time we are old enough to make "independent" choices about what to do with our lives we have already been so programmed to view the world in one specific way, that there is literally nothing independent about any choices we might make from then on. This process of socialisation then is crucial in defining our view and understanding of reality.

While morality, values and sense of self are all important for our development as conscious responsible human beings, we will not get far without at least a semi-objective understanding of the world in which we live. As a result of the dire level of education offered to the average American citizen, their understanding of the world outside the borders of their "great nation" is virtually nil, or distorted to such an extent that they would probably be better off if it were nil. Of course, such a state of affairs is without doubt deliberately contrived by those that set the educational curriculum. Humans by their nature have an inherent need to understand, yet we also tend towards egocentricity and fear of the unknown. This aspect of human nature has been used against Americans to great effect in securing their participation in their own enslavement.

By denying most Americans access to good quality education the ruling elite are able to play on this fear of the unknown and make Americans very susceptible to xenophobic propaganda and the idea that their country is the definition of freedom. Of course, when your have little or no awareness or appreciation of other cultures or peoples (at least none that is based in reality), it is much easier to allow yourself to be convinced that your country is the "greatest nation on earth" and that other nations and peoples are somehow lesser. The level of deception is so deep and the illusions so engrained that few Americans know or would be willing or able to accept that their "great nation" stands tall only because it stands on the corpses of 80 million native American Indians who had to be sacrificed to create the world's first "free and democratic nation." It seems that the ability of modern Americans to appreciate irony is another casualty of the grand American enslavement experiment.

While on one level it is true that America became a home for a diversity of racial types and cultures, any potential benefits of this eclecticism were subverted through the promotion of an internal xenophobia, and all original cultures were forced to give way to the hollow "benefits" of a homogenous yet soulless American "culture".

It is not hard to see how the ignorance and fear of other cultures and the ethnocentricity that is rife in American "culture" readily gives rise to indifference among Americans when their leaders are seen to carry out acts of cruelty and inhumanity against other peoples. Of course, there are US citizens who, even when made aware of the deception and lies that have lead them to support the atrocities carried out in their name by their leaders, will continue to support them.

The real tragedy is that there appears to be a large number of US citizens who, even at this late stage, remain unwitting victims of the insidious and incredibly pervasive mind programming that defines American society and culture. If given a chance, they might choose to stand up for truth, yet the fact that they have never known even simple truth, and never admitted that are being lied to, makes the task of recognising and accepting deeper truth all the more difficult, if not almost impossible. One wonders then why we would even try to convey these ideas to our American readers? The reason of course is that there is no other option. We have to hope that, even against odds that were not included in our expectations, the seed of love for the truth exists and will finally spring forth.

Nothing short of an intense and deliberate effort to SEE the truth of the perilous situation is required, if we are to hope that the bonds of mental (and soon to be physical) enslavement can be broken, and the chance to act for our own collective destinies secured.

As Gurdjieff commented:

"The white man knows, as it were, nothing about the ways of life which are not his own. The world-wide diffusion of western civilisation has protected him better than ever before from having to take seriously that of other peoples.The uniformity of behaviour and the general outlook which he sees are prevalent everywhere seem to him sufficiently convincing and he accepts without further ado the idea of a simple equivalence between human nature and his own cultural standards."

In Order to shake off the contemptuous ignorance and prejudices which still exist in contemporary man, a certain disorientation seems necessary at the outset. He needs to feel the full blast of a gale force wind and to submit to the shock of enquiry, which runs counter to all his habitual ways of thinking and his ethical beliefs. If his instinct for self preservation, or concern for his intellectual comfort do not hinder him too much, he has some chance of then discovering in himself and echo of these ways of thinking and of feeling which are so unfamiliar to him, and which will resound in him not as a menacing frustration but, the very opposite, as an enrichment, a broadening of his field of experience. - "In Search of a Living Culture" - Lecture by Henri Tracol, 1961, Aix en Provence, France

Click here to comment on this article


New probe opened into death of US football star-turned-soldier
AFP
Tuesday December 7, 2:30 PM

The US Army has launched a new investigation into the death of a US football star who turned down a lucrative sport career to fight the war on terror as a simple soldier, a military official disclosed late.

Twenty-seven-year-old Army Ranger Pat Tillman was killed in southeastern Afghanistan last April, in what was initially described by his superiors as a shootout with Taliban guerrillas who had attacked his convoy.

A subsequent probe determined that Tillman, who gained national hero status when he forswore a 3.6-million-dollar National Football League contract to join special forces for 18,000 dollars a year in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks, fell victim of "friendly fire."

But independent probes undertaken in the intervening months by two leading US newspapers have shown the episode could have been the result of outright negligence on the part of Tillman's superiors.

"Because of concerns and questions that the Tillman family had, the Army started a new investigation into this matter," Sergeant Kyle Cosner, a spokesman for the Army Special Operations Command, told AFP. [...]

The Los Angeles Times, for instance, quoted Afghan militia commanders as expressing doubt the Ranger unit was under rebel attack to begin with.

The commanders said one team of Rangers had likely mistaken a landmine explosion for an attack and began uncontrollably strafing a canyon where Tillman and other US soldiers were, the newspaper report points out.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post quoted a confidential Army document questioning the wisdom of a commander's decision to split Corporal Tillman's platoon into two teams, saying it had "contributed to the eventual breakdown in internal platoon communications."

As a result, the late football star's family is now raising pointed and angry questions about the Pentagon's handling of the matter. [...]

Comment: Remember the story about brave and heroic Pat Tillman? The following article contains a summary of the first story we were told about Tillman's death.

Click here to comment on this article


Flashback: Tillman Killed by 'Friendly Fire'
By Josh White, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sun May 30, 2004 1:00 AM ET

Pat Tillman, the former pro football player, was killed by other American  troops in a "friendly fire" episode in Afghanistan  last month and not by enemy  bullets, according to a U.S. investigation of the incident.

New details released yesterday about Tillman's death indicate that he was  gunned down by members of his elite Army Ranger platoon who mistakenly shot in  his direction when the unit was ambushed. According to a summary of the Army  investigation, a Ranger squad leader mistook an allied Afghan Militia Force  soldier standing near Tillman as the enemy, and he and other U.S. soldiers  opened fire, killing both men.

That Tillman, 27, wasn't killed by enemy fire in a heroic rescue attempt was a  major revelation by the U.S. military more than a month after the April 22  incident, which the Pentagon and members of Congress had hailed as an example  of combat bravery. Tillman's sacrifice of millions of dollars when he left the  National Football League's Arizona Cardinals to become a soldier has been held  up as a stark contrast to the prison scandal in Iraq.

Comment: And here we see one of the reasons for the blatant lies...

Shortly after his death, Army officials awarded Tillman a Silver Star for  combat valor and a Purple Heart. He also was promoted from specialist to  corporal. They said Tillman was killed while charging at the enemy up a hill,  allowing the rest of his platoon to escape alive.

Instead, it appears Tillman's bravery in battle led him to become a victim of a  series of errors as he was trying to protect part of his stranded platoon,  which Army officials say was attacked while hampered by a disabled vehicle it  had in tow. The report said Tillman got out of his vehicle and shot at the  enemy during a 20-minute firefight before he was killed when members of his  unit opened fire after returning to the scene to help. [...]

Comment: So, first Tillman was a hero for charging at the enemy up a hill, thereby allowing the rest of his platoon to escape. Then the story changed to his death due to friendly fire when he was trying to protect his stranded platoon from an attack by enemy soldiers. Now it seems the story is changing again: there may not have been any attack at all. Tillman was killed by friendly fire when his fellow soldiers freaked out and started firing wildly when a land mine detonated. We anxiously await episode four of this exciting saga!

If the government will lie to such an extent just to drum up support for the war and make Americans forget about Abu Ghraib, how many other bigger lies have been passed off as the truth to the masses? And what does the intentional propaganda involving Tillman - released around the time the Abu Ghraib story broke - say about the complicity of the government, intelligence agencies, and military in the torture committed at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere? If Abu Ghraib was just a few bad apples, why would the Tillman propaganda be needed?

In any case, it was well-conceived propaganda - even though the execution was obviously far from flawless. A football star who had been offered over three million dollars by the NFL turns down the offer, joins the military, and sets off to defend his countrymen from evil terrorists. If Tillman's death had not been glorified as it was, some Americans may have looked upon his death as unnecessary, and his passing up of the NFL contract as a terrible waste. Had it not been for Abu Ghraib, a simple little lie about Tillman's fate would have prevented any doubt amongst the masses. Instead, he was made into a self-sacrificing and noble hero, thereby reinforcing his decision, making all football players look good (and we all know how terribly important sports stars are in American culture), and stirring up a tidal wave of patriotism that drowned out any concern about US forces using torture.

Click here to comment on this article


Who Did You Torture During The War, Daddy?

Or, We Are All Torturers Now
By Ted Rall
09/29/05 "ICH"

NEW YORK--Never miss the Saturday paper. Because it's the skimpiest and least-circulated edition of the week, it's the venue of choice for lowballing the stories the government can't completely cover up. September 24's New York Times, for example, contained the bombshell revelation that the U.S. government continues to torture innocent men, women and children in Iraq.

An army captain and two sergeants from the elite 82nd Airborne Division confirm previous reports that Bagram and other concentration camps in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan are a kind of Torture University where American troops are taught how to abuse prisoners who have neither been charged with nor found guilty of any crime. "The soldiers told Human Rights Watch that while they were serving in Afghanistan," reports The Times, "they learned the stress techniques [sic] from watching Central Intelligence Agency operatives interrogating prisoners." Veterans who served as prison guards in Afghanistan went on to apply their newfound knowledge at Abu Ghraib and other facilities in U.S.-occupied Iraq.

One of the sergeants, his name withheld to protect him from Pentagon reprisals, confirms that torture continued even after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. "We still did it, but we were careful," he told HRW.

The latest sordid revelations concern Tiger Base on the border with Syria, and Camp Mercury, near Fallujah, the Iraqi city leveled by U.S. bombs in a campaign that officials claimed would finish off the insurgent movement. After the army told him to shut up over the course of 17 months--tacit proof that the top brass condones torture--a frustrated Captain Ian Fishback wrote to two conservative Republican senators to tell them about the "death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment" carried out against Afghans and Iraqis unlucky enough to fall into American hands.

"We would give them blows to the head, chest, legs and stomach, and pull them down, kick dirt on them," one sergeant said. "This happened every day...We did it for amusement." Another soldier says detainees were beaten with a broken chemical light stick: "That made them glow in the dark, which was real funny, but it burned their eyes, and their skin was irritated real bad." An off-duty cook told an Iraqi prisoner "to bend over and broke the guy's leg with a...metal bat." The sergeant continues: "I know that now. It was wrong. There are a set of standards. But you gotta understand, this was the norm."

Torture, condemned by civilized nations and their citizens since the Renaissance, has continued to be carried out in prisons and internment camps in every nation. But save for a few exceptions, such as France's overt torture of Algerian independence fighters during the late 1950s, it has been hidden away, lied about and condemned when exposed. Torture is shameful. It is never official policy.

That changed in the United States after 9/11. Current attorney general Alberto Gonzales authored a convoluted legal memo to George W. Bush justifying torture. Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld joked about forcing prisoners to stand all day and officially sanctioned keeping them naked and threatening them with vicious dogs. Ultimately Bush declared that U.S. forces in Afghanistan would ignore the Geneva Conventions. By 2004 a third of Americans told pollsters that they didn't have a problem with torture.

Torture has been normalized.

By Monday, September 26, the story of torture at Camps Tiger and Mercury to which New York Times editors had granted page one treatment two days earlier had vanished entirely. Only a few papers, such as the Seattle Times and Los Angeles Times, ran follow-ups.

In his 2000 book "Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture" John Conroy presciently describes the surprising means by which democracies are actually more susceptible to becoming "torture societies" than dictatorships: Where "notorious regimes have fallen, there has been a public acknowledgement that people were tortured. In democracies of long standing in which torture has taken place, however, denial takes hold and official acknowledgement is extremely slow in coming, if it appears at all." Conroy goes on to describe the "fairly predictable" stages of governmental response:

First, writes Conroy, comes "absolute and complete denial." Rumsfeld told Congress in 2004 that the U.S. had followed Geneva "to the letter" in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The second stage," he says, is "to minimize the abuse." Republican mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh compared the murder and mayhem at Abu Ghraib to fraternity hazing rituals.

Next is "to disparage the victims." Bush Administration officials and right-wing pundits call the victims of torture in U.S. custody "terrorists," implying that detainees--who are not charged because there is no evidence against them--deserve whatever they get. Dick Cheney called victims of torture at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (who, under U.S. law, are presumed innocent) "the worst of a very bad lot." Rumsfeld called them "the worst of the worst."

Other government tactics include charging "that those who take up the cause of those tortured are aiding the enemies of the state" (Right-wing bloggers have smeared me as a "terrorist sympathizer" because I argue against torture); denying that torture is still occurring (numerous Bush Administration officials claimed that Abu Ghraib marked the end of the practice); placing "the blame on a few bad apples" (the classic Fox News-Bush trope); and pointing out that "someone else does or has done much worse things" (the beheadings of Western hostages by Iraqi jihadi organizations was used to justify torturing Iraqis who didn't belong to those groups).

Bear in mind: Conroy wrote his book in 2000, before Bush seized power and more than a year before 9/11 was given as a pretext for legalizing torture.

Citing the case of widespread and proven torture of arrestees by Chicago cops, Conroy noted: "It wasn't a case of five people...doing nothing or acting slowly, it was a case of millions of people knowing of an emergency and doing nothing. People looked about, saw no great crusade forming, saw protests only from the usual agitators, and assumed there was no cause for alarm. Responsibility was diffused. Citizens offended by torture could easily retreat into the notion that they lived in a just world, that the experts would sort things out."

Ted Rall, America's hardest-hitting editorial cartoonist for Universal Press Syndicate, is an award-winning commentator who also works as an illustrator, columnist, and radio commentator. Visit his website http://www.tedrall.com/

Click here to comment on this article


Global Eye

Captain Courageous
By Chris Floyd
Published: September 30, 2005

Quietly, firmly, relentlessly, the good captain laid out the list of atrocities committed at the order of the enemies of freedom: "Death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment." A catalogue of depravity, all of it designed -- with diabolical sophistry -- by self-exalted men cloaking their violent perversions with sham piety and righteous sputum. This was terrorism on a grand scale, chewing up the innocent and guilty alike.

The good man is of course Captain Ian Fishback, the born-again U.S. Army officer who has blown the whistle on the systematic abuse of captives rounded up in President George W. Bush's War on Terror, The New York Times reports. Fishback, frustrated after 17 months of trying to get the atrocities investigated through official channels, finally turned to Human Rights Watch -- and top Republican senators -- seeking redress for the bloody dishonor that Bush has brought upon America.

In one sense, Fishback's revelations -- corroborated by other soldiers, now lying low to ward off the inevitable reprisals by Bush minions -- are not news. For example, this column has been detailing the use of torture in Bush's global gulag since January 2002. It was no secret; at first, the Bushists even bragged about it. "The gloves are coming off" was a favorite phrase of the deskbound tough guys cracking foxy to an enthralled media.

They also boasted of "unleashing" the CIA, which set up its own "shadow army" of non-uniformed combatants operating outside the law -- i.e., "terrorists," according to Bush's own definition -- while creating secret prisons all over the world. As one CIA op enthused to The Boston Globe: "'We are doing things I never believed we would do -- and I mean killing people!" A senior Bush official proudly pointed to the ultimate authority for this deadly system: "If the commander in chief didn't think it was appropriate, we wouldn't be doing it."

We now know that in the very first weeks of the War on Terror, White House legal lackeys began concocting weasel-worded "findings" to justify a range of Torquemadan techniques while shielding Bush honchos from prosecution for the clear breaches of U.S. and international law they were already planning. Bush and his top officials signed off on very specific torture parameters, including physical assault and psychological torment; even beating a captive to death was countenanced, as long the killer proclaimed that he had no murder in his heart when he commenced to whupping, The New York Review of Books reports. Indeed, the lackeys went so far as to establish a new principle of Executive Transcendence: The president, they claimed, could not be constrained by any law whatsoever in his conduct of the War on Terror.

Fishback saw the fruits of this vile labor in the vast Bushist holding pens in Iraq, where thousands upon thousands of Iraqis were herded, beaten and tortured -- even though 70 to 90 percent of them were innocent of any crime, the International Red Cross reported in 2004. The incidents he and the other soldiers detailed took place before, during -- and after -- the photographic revelations of torture at Abu Ghraib. The mayhem "happened every day," said the soldiers, and it was committed "under orders from military intelligence personnel to soften up detainees."

"They wanted intel," said a sergeant, one of the ordinary, untrained grunts pressed into duty as interrogation muscle. "As long as no [captives] came up dead, it happened. We kept it to broken arms and legs" -- sometimes with baseball bats, and occasionally augmented by scalding naked prisoners with burning chemicals. The soldiers learned their "stress techniques" from CIA interrogators, dropping into Iraq from their "unleashed" torture centers in Afghanistan, Diego Garcia and points unknown.

But of course they didn't always "keep it" to broken arms and legs. Fishback, who had been trying desperately to get his superiors to act on the atrocities he'd witnessed himself, discovered that a captive had been "interrogated" to death. From that point on, while still urging official action, he also began gathering evidence and testimony from fellow officers about the nightmarish regimen, the Los Angeles Times reports. When at long last he began to realize "that the Army is deliberately misleading the American people about detainee treatment within our custody," he stepped out of the system -- and into the storm.

What will come of the good captain's moral courage? Nothing much. A Pentagon investigation has been belatedly launched; no doubt a few more bad eggs will be fried, just as the hapless Lynndie England, poster girl for Abu Ghraib, was convicted this week for "aberrations" that, as Fishback confirms, were countenanced and encouraged throughout Iraq. Fishback himself will be certainly slimed in one of Karl Rove's patented smear campaigns. By next week, the upright, Bible-believing West Point grad -- a veteran of both the Afghan and Iraqi wars -- will be transformed by Fox News and the war-porn bloggers into a cowardly, anti-American terrorist sympathizer under the hypnotic control of Michael Moore.

Meanwhile, one of the Republican senators Fishback approached, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, has already put the kibosh on legislation setting clear legal guidelines for prisoner treatment. Frist, a goonish errand boy now under investigation for insider trading, killed the bill after hearing Fishback's evidence. His White House masters don't want any legal clarity for their dark deeds; they can only thrive in the murk of moral chaos.

One thing is certain: The true architects of these atrocities will never face justice. They'll go on to peaceful, prosperous retirements, heedless of the broken bodies and broken nations -- including their own -- left behind in their foul wake.

Click here to comment on this article


NEW! 9/11: The Ultimate Truth is Available for Pre-Order!

On the fourth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Laura Knight-Jadczyk announces the availability of her latest book:

In the years since the 9/11 attacks, dozens of books have sought to explore the truth behind the official version of events that day - yet to date, none of these publications has provided a satisfactory answer as to WHY the attacks occurred and who was ultimately responsible for carrying them out.

Taking a broad, millennia-long perspective, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's 9/11: The Ultimate Truth uncovers the true nature of the ruling elite on our planet and presents new and ground-breaking insights into just how the 9/11 attacks played out.

9/11: The Ultimate Truth makes a strong case for the idea that September 11, 2001 marked the moment when our planet entered the final phase of a diabolical plan that has been many, many years in the making. It is a plan developed and nurtured by successive generations of ruthless individuals who relentlessly exploit the negative aspects of basic human nature to entrap humanity as a whole in endless wars and suffering in order to keep us confused and distracted to the reality of the man behind the curtain.

Drawing on historical and genealogical sources, Knight-Jadczyk eloquently links the 9/11 event to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also cites the clear evidence that our planet undergoes periodic natural cataclysms, a cycle that has arguably brought humanity to the brink of destruction in the present day.

For its no nonsense style in cutting to the core of the issue and its sheer audacity in refusing to be swayed or distracted by the morass of disinformation that has been employed by the Powers that Be to cover their tracks, 9/11: The Ultimate Truth can rightly claim to be THE definitive book on 9/11 - and what that fateful day's true implications are for the future of mankind.

Published by Red Pill Press

Scheduled for release in October 2005, readers can pre-order the book today at our bookstore.

Click here to comment on this article

 


 

Readers who wish to know more about who we are and what we do may visit our portal site Quantum Future



Remember, we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part of the world!

We also need help to keep the Signs of the Times online.


Send your comments and article suggestions to us Email addess