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"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan
P I C T U R E   O F  T H E  D A Y
©Pierre Paul Feyte
22 Dec 2005
WASHINGTON - US President George W. Bush called 2005 "a good year for the American people," but cautioned that terrorists like those who carried out the September 11 attacks still posed a threat.

In brief remarks outside the White House as he headed to the Camp David presidential retreat for Christmas, Bush also pointed to elections in Iraq and in Afghanistan and said the US economy had grown stronger.

"This has been a year of strong progress toward a freer, more peaceful world and a prosperous America," he said. "It's been a good year for the American people."

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Comment: Yes, it HAS been a "good year" for the American People, but not in the way Bush is describing it. It's been good because I.Scooter Libby was indicted, possibly leading to more indictments next year; Abramoff is getting ready to sing his lungs out, possibly leading to more indictments of Bush cronies; the Patriot Act was NOT made permanent; Bush crony, Harriet Meiers didn't become a Supreme Court judge; Bush and his Gang have been exposed as vile torturers, and breakers of the Law of the Land, and the possibility of Impeachment is looming on the horizon for next year. Yes, indeedy, it's been a good year for the American People, but a veritable annus horribilis for Bush. Let's make a New Year's wish for Bush: May you get everything you deserve in the coming New Year!

23 Dec 2005
President George W. Bush is ending the year with a series of setbacks in Congress, where his divided Republican majority has failed to deliver on many of his top legislative priorities.

On Thursday, the White House put a brave face on its failure to secure long-term renewal by the Congress of a controversial package of anti-terrorism powers known as the Patriot Act.

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22 Dec 2005
Comment: PSYCHO-THINK ALERT: Bush is also concurrently convincing himself that he had a "great year."

Bush's entire "reality" is constructed from the Neocon's wish fulfillment fantasies, their lies and wishful thinking, all revolving around the means to get what they most want with the least amount of risk or effort to themselves.

They have no other type or capacity of "creative" or "intelligent" thinking. They cannot conceive of others not believing each new lie, immediately and completely, because those lies are as "real" to them, as soon as they are uttered, as the ground and the Sun in the sky.

Recall, please, their fantasies of how the invasion of Iraq would turn out. They still believe them. Each of their new lies has convinced them anew of their increasing success in winning what they really set about to achieve in Iraq. They are utterly sincere when they assert that we are winning the war there and that all will soon be well. That is their "truth."

Their absolute and instantaneous belief in their own lies to themselves is a key factor in what makes them able to "hypnotically" convince normal people that they are telling the truth even when it is quite obviously not so. From their own perspective, they are telling the truth, with every ounce of their own certainty that it IS true, because their reality - including their own personalities - is composed entirely of lies.

Perhaps the hardest thing to grasp about psychopaths, rather than the lack of emotions, empathy and compassion is that they do NOT have a "reality base" that exists outside of their own "minds." Any "fact" that exists for them, that they consciously accept and acknowledge, does so only if it is essential to the construction or maintenance of a core lie or a projective mechanism.

Is there anyone on earth more persuasive than the person who actually believes that he or she IS telling the truth with utmost sincerity? This is precisely the status of consciouness in a psychopath telling the newest lie, all lies, any lie. Seldom is there any inner awareness that the lie is a lie once it has been told. To them, SAYING that something IS, EQUALS it BEING as was said, instantly, until it isn't anymore, and then it instantly becomes the next thing said of it. There is NO concrete, set, contiguous and consistent REALITY, NO TRUTH within. And that is, possibly, the hardest Fact to grasp about the inner "reality" of the psychopath: There is no "there" there.

If you want to find the child most likely to be a budding young organised (compensated) psychopath, (Himmler's type) seek the one who remains convinced that Santa Claus is real long after his classmates have learned the Truth. If you want to find the budding young disorganised (uncompensated) psychopath, (Hitler's type) look for the best friend to the former, who outwardly acts the part of the new, age appropriate, disbelief, while deeply, likely kept secret even from his own conscious thoughts, he remains absolutely certain Santa is real. To satisfy and maintain this secret belief, he continues to "trick" his sincerely convinced friend into never giving up the belief in Santa Claus, in one form or another, while displaying the customary ridicule of the idea outwardly, thus clandestinely reinforcing his own latent belief as well.

Two such, once met, will form a pair bond that is legendary, construct a shared delusional system and then attempt to "enlist" as many others in it as they can. How many pairs of bonded serial killers, outlaws, etc., have we heard of? It is very probable that Rove and Bush are two such; even that the entire Neocon Cabal is just such a "Ponerological Union." It would explain much, yes?

"For those who have eyes, let them See."

By Carlos Fazio
Translated by Paula van de Werken
December 19, 2005
Since the attacks of September 11, George W. Bush has 'used lies in a systematic way to further his agenda.' According to this op-ed article from Mexico's La Jornada, 'Bush and his underlings are drowning in a swamp of lies' and 'Europe in unlikely to do anything to help.'

The president of the United States, George W. Bush, is a consummate liar. During all of his time as Commander in Chief, he has deceived the American people and the world. I refer specifically to the time after the attacks on the Twin Towers of New York, September 11, 2001.

Since then, he has used lies in a systematic way to further his agenda.

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Comment: How many U.S. citizens are even aware that editorials such as this one are appearing in newspapers and journals all over the world? It should be unbearably humiliating to them that their "elected" leader is held in such contempt that the majority of normal people everywhere nod their heads in agreement when anyone says "George Bush is a consummate liar and lawbreaker." But they don't know because the American press keeps it from them.

Any war waged by a pathocratic nation has two fronts, the internal and the external. The internal front is more important for the leaders and the governing elite, because the internal threat to their power must be suppressed at all costs.

By Huang Qing, Senior Editor
People's Daily, China
December 22, 2005
America's religious adherence to Western values blind it to the contradictions of its own behavior. According to this op-ed article from China's State-run People's Daily, 'The startling contrast between these much-trumpeted "values" and actual behavior is food for thought.'

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Comment: Thanks to George W. Bush and his Gang of Neo-nazis, "Red China" can write such criticism of the United States with no possibility of being accused of writing "evil communist propaganda."

by Sydney H. Schanberg
December 6th, 2005
Every time I try to wrap my mind around President Bush's Iraq war and his associated war against the press, I come back to the lies the president and his courtiers have endlessly told. And to how they conned and cowed much of the press into being their early accomplices.

Those offended by the jolt of the word "lies" can substitute a gentler synonym, such as "fictions" or "frauds" or "breaches of the national trust."

The lies haven't stopped. Vice President Dick Cheney lately accuses the "reprehensible" Democrats in Congress of twisting history when they point to the flagrant disinformation campaign that got us into the war. He is saying, in effect, that telling the truth about a lie-based presidency comforts the enemy and makes you a bad American. That might be so if anyone were revealing national-security secrets. But these senators and representatives whom the vice president would crush are merely—and very belatedly—calling attention to the untruths sown by his own tribe to concoct a war.

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by Andy Ostroy
22 Dec 2005
For weeks, President Bush declared he would not accept a short-term extension of the Patriot Act. Then in a bi-partisan manner last week, prompted by the startling front-page news that Bush repeatedly authorized illegal NSA spying on Americans domestically, the Senate filibustered to prevent the legislation from being renewed. The Senate pushed for an extension, allowing lawmakers time to negotiate stricter civil liberties protections, but the Bushies rejected, and instead went on the PR warpath against Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV), Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA).

But Wednesday Bush backpedaled, as he's had to do so many times lately (Harriet Miers, McCain/torture, war mistakes). He blasted the Democratic leadership, choosing to deceive Americans yet again by ignoring the fact that this was a bi-partisan action.

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Comment: Bush sez: "The senators obstructing the Patriot Act need to understand that the expiration of this vital law will endanger America and will leave us in a weaker position in the fight against brutal killers."

Ostroy sez: The last time Bush peddled this extremist rhetoric we invaded a sovereign nation and killed tens of thousands of people, including 2100 U.S. soldiers. And the killing continues.

by Sydney H. Schanberg
December 20th, 2005
Most of the time these days, when I scour the "media" looking for a sign of hope about mankind, I inevitably trip over a discouraging spew of waste matter passing as news of importance. Historically, the name we give this offal is propaganda. Its spewers are often reporter-impersonators. The Defense Department, CIA, and White House have been hiring these performers in large numbers lately to spread the gospel of a puppeteer named Rove.

Some of the impersonation journalism actually comes from failed reporters who are still not admitting they embarrass the profession. Just the other day, I came across a story that said Judith My-WMD- Sources-Were- Wrong- It-Was- All- Their-Fault Miller was now on a cruise-ship gig in South America. The brief report said the former New York Times employee is lecturing unsuspecting tourists on why protecting the identity of rumor-mongering sources must be journalism's first commandment.

But most of the spew is government waste, like the latest string of road show speeches from President Bush, who confessed that all the "secret" intelligence that led him to invade Iraq was wrong, but then he said, Never mind, folks, the war was still the right thing to do, and anyway most of the critics of my war are "defeatists." That kind of sophistry was called horse manure back in the mill town where I grew up.

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December 19, 2005
Eric Margolis
WASHINGTON - Victory or defeat! So proclaimed President George W. Bush in his TV speech about Iraq last night.

Those who oppose Bush’s continued, $6.5 billion monthly war in Iraq are `defeatists.’ Withdrawal from Iraq would `damage US credibility around the world,’ warned the self-proclaimed `war president.’

What Bush is really worried about, of course, is his own credibility. He has repeatedly shown he cares nothing about what the rest of the world thinks about the US. Why start now?

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Comment: Them's fighting words, Mr. Margolis, and we agree with all of them. Now how about turning your eagle eye onto 9/11 and admitting what this column has been saying for years?

AP Military Writer
Dec 23 12:36 AM US/Eastern
FALLUJAH, Iraq - President Bush has authorized new cuts in U.S. combat troops in Iraq, below the 138,000 level that prevailed for most of this year, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday. Addressing U.S. troops at this former insurgent stronghold, Rumsfeld did not reveal the exact size of the troop cut, but Pentagon officials have said it could be as much as 7,000 combat troops.

Two army brigades that had been scheduled for combat tours - one from Fort Riley, Kan., the other now in Kuwait - will no longer deploy to Iraq. That will reduce the number of combat brigades in Iraq from 17 to 15.

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22 Dec 2005
Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. [Louis Brandeis, Whitney v. California]

It was another great week on the national scene. First it was George Bush showing his lack of scruples and then it was the New York Times belying its motto: "All the news that's fit to print". (The Times would probably explain that the question is what the meaning of "fit' is.)

The New York Times's contribution to the week was its acknowledgement that it learned before the 2004 election that George Bush was a law breaker yet chose to remain silent. The broken law was Mr. Bush's habit of repeatedly approving a policy that permits the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without obtaining a court order. Historically the N.S.A. has only conducted spying operations abroad.

When the White House learned what the paper had learned, it urged the paper not to publish the information lest terrorists learn that they were being scrutinized by the Bush administration. The administration did not suggest disclosure would affect the 2004 election although it might have since a number of those who voted for Mr. Bush might have voted for his opponent had they known of Mr. Bush's fondness for illegal spying. As Senator Chuck Hagel said: "If this is true, then it needs to stop. It's very clear in the law that the National Security Agency is prohibited from domestic spying, from spying on citizens of the United States unless there are extenuating circumstances." One way of stopping it would have been to vote for Senator Kerry. Had that happened Mr. Bush could have continued his spying as a private citizen, using one of the decoder rings he got as a child with a box top and $.25 instead of the N.S.A.

As offensive as news of the Times' self-censorship was, the week still belonged to George Bush. When asked by Jim Lehrer of "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" about the eavesdropping he said: "We do not discuss ongoing intelligence operations to protect the country. And the reason why is that there's an enemy that lurks, that would like to know exactly what we're trying to do to stop them." He went on to say it was being done to fulfill his obligation to "protect the civil liberties of the American people." By spying on thousand of citizens he is making those on whom he is not spying safer. Leaders of many third world countries would find that a compelling argument.

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21 Dec 2005
It may be the Holiday Season, but for the United States of America we're back to Lexington and Concord.

Dick Cheney has put it on the table as bluntly and thuggishly as a mobster setting down a crowbar. Cheney has said that he, Bush and Rumsfeld are out to seize as much power as they can in the name of a "robust" executive branch. It ain't no executive branch Cheney is after; it's a dictatorship.

As we've said before, call it the Franco regime, the Stalin regime, the Pinochet Regime, the Brezhnev regime, the Bush regime -- they are all the same in terms of dictatorial powers that deny democracy.

Is the American Constitution going to be put through the shredder until there is nothing left but strips of paper to throw out in the trash? Or are some patriotic heroes going to rescue America?

Right now the "Centrist Democrats" are still sitting back acting as if there's no immediate crisis. Their consultants warn them not to appear too radical! As if the dismembering of democracy by Cheney and Bush is not radical! As if the brazen seizure of illegal dictatorial powers is not radical! As if the conduct of an unnecessary war costing thousands of lives, fomenting a new generation of terrorists, and bankrupting America is not radical!

The Bush dictatorship -- and it has clearly and publicly crossed the threshold now -- is not going to tiptoe away. Dictatorships don't. They hang on until they are displaced from positions of power.

If the Democrats don't start yelling fire soon, we'll just be left with the burning hulk of what once was a great democracy. We are on the verge of irreversibly becoming just another dictatorship "ism."

The terrorists have an ally in Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. Cheney and Bush have accomplished what Osama never dreamed of achieving: bringing down the American democracy and replacing it with a dictatorship.

And what's more the Busheviks are totally inept at making the right strategic moves in actually confronting the threat of terrorism.

They are like all dictators, arrogant, elitist losers who seize permanent power because they could not hold onto it based on accomplishment -- because they only have a record of ruin to run on.

Meanwhile the John Kerrys of the world act as if they have all the time in the world to "win the next election." As if there were a chance of a fair one in a de facto dictatorship.

The satirist Jonathan Swift ("Gulliver's Travels") would tell us this. For the most part, we are left with a party composed of Democratic fools living in a political world of GOP knaves.

God help us all!

Comment: America really needs some statesmen-heroes pretty damn quick. As we have said, time and again, it isn't going to be the democrats because they are in bed with the GOP Neocons. The United States has been a one-party state for a long time, with elections held to give the illusion of democracy.

So, who's it gonna be? And if there was anybody cut out to be a hero, who would know about him/her with the stranglehold that Israel has on the media?

Any takers out there? It's a thankless task, you know, especially when half the country is still asleep. Probably the only rewards are a posthumous statue and some fairytales like Washington and his cherry tree.
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.
Thomas Paine

Friday, December 23, 2005
(12-23) 03:54 PST WASHINGTON (AP)
The use of warrantless wiretaps on American citizens was never discussed when Congress authorized the White House to use force against al-Qaida after the Sept. 11 attacks, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said Friday.

In an article on the op-ed page of The Washington Post, Daschle also wrote that Congress explicitly denied a White House request for war-making authority in the United States.

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Comment: You know Bush lies like he breathes. We know Bush lies like he breathes. You see it in his eyes, in his smirk. It isn't as if there is any complicated obfuscation going on. It is patently transparent.

So what's wrong with all those who still think that somehow, just because he is the president, he wouldn't lie? Is it the fast food and pop? Too much television and music that jellifies the brain? Is American culture a sort of frequency fence that prevents seeing clearly unless one really works at it? Does the worship of the individual at the expense of community and networking keep Americans so busy staying afloat in a crumbling economy that they have no energy left to think?

By Mark Leibovich
Washington Post
December 22, 2005
On the Thursday morning after his reelection in November 2004, President Bush bounded unexpectedly into the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where about 15 members of his communications team were celebrating. He just wanted to thank everyone for their hard work on the campaign, he said, before singling someone out.

"Is Scotty here? Where's Scotty?" Bush asked, half-grinning, according to two people who were in the meeting but asked not to be quoted by name because they were discussing a private event. Bush scanned the room for Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary.

"I want to especially thank Scotty," the president said, looking at his aide. "I want to thank Scotty for saying" -- and he paused for effect. . . .

" Nothing ."

At which point everyone laughed and the president left the room.

This is one of those quips that distill a certain essence of the game. In this era of on-message orthodoxy, the republic has evolved to where the leader of the free world can praise his most visible spokesman for saying nothing.

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Former CIA analyst
I'll say this for Vice President Dick Cheney: he puts it right out there, whether it is trying to ensure legal protection for those torturing prisoners, or insisting-as he did on Tuesday-that a wartime president "needs to have his powers unimpaired."

Supporters of this view are dredging up quotes from former officials like George H.W. Bush's attorney general William Barr who, according to the Washington Post, contends:
"The Constitution's intent when we're under attack from outside is to place maximum power in the president, and the other branches-and especially the courts-don't act as a check on the president's authority against the enemy."

So there we have it: the Bush administration contention that the president's power as commander in chief during wartime puts him above the law. Bush may bristle, as he did Monday, at a question from the press about "unchecked power," but that is plain English for it. Whether authorizing torture or wiretaps, he reserves the right to act irrespective of domestic or international law.

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The top of the Drudge Report claims “CLINTON EXECUTIVE ORDER: SECRET SEARCH ON AMERICANS WITHOUT COURT ORDER…” It’s not true. Here’s the breakdown –

What Drudge says:

Clinton, February 9, 1995: “The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order”

What Clinton actually signed:
Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.

That section requires the Attorney General to certify is the search will not involve “the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person.” That means U.S. citizens or anyone inside of the United States.

The entire controversy about Bush’s program is that, for the first time ever, allows warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens and other people inside of the United States. Clinton’s 1995 executive order did not authorize that.

Drudge pulls the same trick with Carter.

What Drudge says:

Jimmy Carter Signed Executive Order on May 23, 1979: “Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order.”

What Carter’s executive order actually says:
1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.

What the Attorney General has to certify under that section is that the surveillance will not contain “the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.” So again, no U.S. persons are involved.

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By Justin Raimondo
In defending his edict authorizing surveillance of phone calls and e-mails originating in the United States, President Bush reiterated legal arguments, long made by his intellectual Praetorians, that imbue the White House with wartime powers no different from those exercised by a Roman emperor. As Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer pointed out in the Washington Post the other day:

“Bush’s constitutional argument, in the eyes of some legal scholars and previous White House advisers, relies on extraordinary claims of presidential war-making power. Bush said yesterday that the lawfulness of his directives was affirmed by the attorney general and White House counsel, a list that omitted the legislative and judicial branches of government. On occasion the Bush administration has explicitly rejected the authority of courts and Congress to impose boundaries on the power of the commander in chief, describing the president’s war-making powers in legal briefs as ‘plenary’ – a term defined as ‘full,’ ‘complete,’ and ‘absolute.’”

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By William Rivers Pitt
21 December 2005
The framers of the Constitution devised an elaborate system of checks and balances to ensure our liberty by making sure that no person, institution or branch of government became so powerful that a tyranny could be established in the United States of America. Impeachment is one of the checks the framers gave the Congress to prevent the executive or judicial branches from becoming corrupt or tyrannical. - Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Opening Statement, Impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, 10 December 1998

A long time ago - before the Iraq invasion, before the elections in '02 and '04, before all the unprecedented governmental violations of trust we have discovered and endured - I wrote something for a book.

"This is America," I wrote. "At bottom, America is a dream, an idea. You can take away all our roads, our crops, our people, our cities, our armies - you can take all of that away, and the idea will still be there as pure and great as anything conceived by the human mind. I do very much believe that the idea that is America stands as the last, best hope for this world. When used properly, it can work wonders. That idea, that dream, is in mortal peril. You can still have all our roads, our crops, our people, our cities, our armies - you can have all of that. But if you murder the idea that is America, you have murdered America itself in a way that ten thousand 9/11s could never do. No terrorist can destroy the ideals we hold dear. Only we can do that."

The breaking strain has been reached, and those ideals we hold so dear are indeed in mortal peril. The President of the United States of America has declared himself fully and completely above the law. The Constitution does not matter to him, nor do the Amendments. Laws passed to safeguard the American people from intrusive governmental invasion have been cast aside and ignored, simply because George W. Bush finds it meet to do so.

Intolerable. Impeachable.

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Comment: As Pitt points out, if you Impeach Bush, you get Cheney. If you Impeach Cheney, you get Dennis Hastert. Impeach Hastert, and you get Ted Stevens.

It's an impossible situation for the pragmatist. But as Pitt also points out, if nothing is done, if the rule of law is destroyed by a self-appointed dictator, there is nothing left to save of the United States which is the ideal of government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

So, what to do? It is an almost unprecedented situation: a self-appointed dictator and a congress corrupt beyond redemption.


Nobody wants a revolution. They are bloody and messy. Too many innocent people get hurt.

But still, something must be done. Any reader suggestions?

Jim Downey's Rants & Raves
20 Dec 2005
President Bush has admitted that he has authorized the use of surveillance upon American citizens and residents. He has argued that he has the authority to do so, that he has balanced the need to spy on us and our civil liberties. Unfortunately, his claims do not withstand scrutiny.

Firstly, the spying upon Americans without probable cause, due process and a warrant supported by evidence and sworn before a competent magistrate violates the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution. It is essential to the argument to understand that the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights does not create the rights of citizens, but places our government in the position of GUARANTEEING these inherent and INALIENABLE rights. Infringing upon these rights in any manner is unlawful, unconstitutional, immoral and evil.

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by John Kelley
21 Dec 2005
“The price good people pay for their indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato

“People can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” Herman Goering, Nazi leader who created the Gestapo, sentenced to death at Nuremberg for war crimes.

We should not be talking just of impeachment, that is not strong enough action to send a message to tyrants in the world. Given the Downing Street Memo showing that the current administration knowingly constructed intelligence to create justification for going to war it is appropriate for the world to examine whether officials of the United States and Great Britain should be tried for war crimes.

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22 Dec 2005
By Kristen Breitweiser - a 9/11 Widow
Recently, President Bush has admitted to carrying out surveillance on U.S. citizens in the interest of national security. He unabashedly admits to doing it. He offers no apologies. With his bellicose swagger, he once again uses 9/11 as his justification for breaking our constitutional laws.

The President’s justification of 9/11 to carry out such surveillance begs a closer examination. President Bush should be stopped in his tracks with regard to his use of 9/11 scare tactics to circumvent constitutional laws that are meant to protect U.S. citizens. His justification for doing so – the inability to conduct surveillance on the 9/11 hijackers – is a red herring.

History will bear out the truth – our intelligence agencies held a treasure trove of intelligence on the 9/11 hijackers, intelligence that was gathered through their initially unencumbered surveillance. President Bush should busy himself by investigating why that information was then stymied and not capitalized upon to stop the 9/11 attacks.

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Comment: Kristen Breitweiser makes the astute observation that if Zacarias Moussaoui is being tried for the death penalty because he lied to the FBI in August 2001 (his lie? in short, “i am not a terrorist. i am just interested in flying planes.”), and had Moussaoui not lied to the FBI, the FBI would have been able to thwart the 9/11 attacks, then that opens the door to putting to death anyone else for "intentional withholding of information that would have prevented the attacks."

I can think of a dozen or so such individuals, some of whom are part of the United States government.

Maybe this answers the question about our current Constitutional Crises. Instead of Impeachment proceedings, let's just arrest the whole complicit bunch, from Bush right on down to Porter Goss and most of Congress and put them on trial for Treason!

by William Arkin
19 Dec 2005
"What has happened since the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks is as pernicious and as damaging as any abuse or panic or misstep of the past: We must pledge allegiance to a certain post 9/11 Order, abandon the rule of law, compromise our values, turn against our neighbors, enlist in a clash of civilizations, all in the name of defeating the terrorists.

"We are being asked to destroy our country in order to save it. ...

"The right answer is to challenge the presumption of a terrorist threat that is so potentially destructive that it demands we destroy ourselves to fight it."

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22 Dec 2005
It's pretty obvious what the Bush administration was doing with that National Security Administration spying program.

Look at the facts:

The NSA has this awesome computer technology that allows it to use written and spoken keywords to monitor all telephone and internet communications (though it has been barred under law from using that ability on domestic communications since 1978).

When it wants to conduct a specific monitoring campaign against a target, it has the Federal Intelligence Surveillence Act (FISA) courts to turn to to seek a secret warrant--a process that is extremely fast, and if that's not fast enough, the attorney general can tap without a warrant for 72 hours, and then obtain one retroactively.

Add to this the fact that the FISA courts last year rejected exactly none of the nearly 2000 monitoring requests made by the government, and that it has only rejected such requests five times in its entire history, and you have a situation that should have made the most wire-tapping-obsessed fanatic happy.

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December 23, 2005
ROME, Italy -- A judge has issued European arrest warrants for 22 purported CIA operatives in connection with the alleged kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric from a Milan street in 2003, a prosecutor said Friday.

Prosecutor Armando Spataro said the warrants allowed for the arrest of the suspects in any of the 25 EU member countries. Previously, Italy had issued arrest warrants for the 22 inside Italy.

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Comment: Note that Italy's Justice Minister is suggesting that the prosecutor is a "leftist militant and anti-American." I guess you have to be a Leftist to object to foreign secret services commiting crimes in your country, including kidnapping and "rendering" people for torture without due process. If that's the definition of a Leftist, we ought to all want to be Leftists.

07:50:37 EST Dec 23, 2005
ROME (AP) - A Milan judge has issued European arrest warrants for 22 purported CIA operatives in connection with the alleged kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in 2003, a prosecutor said Friday.

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22 Dec 2005
ROME - Italian magistrates have placed a U.S. marine under official investigation for murder over the killing of an Italian agent in Iraq earlier this year, judicial sources said on Thursday.

But the United States immediately said it considered the issue closed after a joint Italian-U.S. investigation, even though the two governments disagreed on the conclusion of that probe.

Intelligence officer Nicola Calipari was shot dead at an improvised U.S. checkpoint on a road near Baghdad in March as he was accompanying an Italian hostage to safety.

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Comment: You want to know the truth about the rescue of Sgrena and the shooting of Calipari? In securing the rescue of Giuliana Sgrena, Nicola Calipari held several discussions with her captors. In the process, he discovered that her "Iraqi insurgent" captors were in fact not Iraqi at all and were contracted by US and/or Israeli intelligence. To have an uninitiated member of Italian intelligence in possession of such knowlege was extremely dangerous for both the Americans and the Israelis. To remedy this situation, US soldiers that were manning the check point that Calipari's car was to pass through were not informed that his car was approaching. Instead, they were told to be on the look out for suicide car bombers and instructed to "light up" anything that approached. The rest is history. See here for more.

Rome, Italy
12 March 2005
Nicola Calipari was already 220 yards inside Baghdad Airport's security perimeter when he received an incoming call on his
cell phone. Calipari said "Yes?" and instantly recognised the positive identity trap. As Deputy Chief Calipari cursed & threw himself across Giuliana Sgrena to protect her, the kill team from Langley fired more than 300 bullets at their car.

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By Phil Stewart
July 19, 2005
ROME (Reuters) - For eavesdropping Italian investigators, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr was more than a dangerous terrorism suspect.

Monitored through wire taps and ambient listening devices, he was a walking, talking link to a larger threat in Europe and beyond -- who suddenly vanished on February 17, 2003. That's when prosecutors say CIA agents kidnapped Nasr and flew him to Egypt.

The cleric, also known as Abu Omar, says he was tortured in Egypt under questioning and refused to be an informant.

"The kidnapping of Abu Omar was not just illegal, having seriously violated Italian sovereignty, but it was also harmful and corrosive to the effectiveness of the overall fight against terrorism," said Milan Judge Guido Salvini, who has a standing arrest order for Nasr.

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By Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) - A radical Egyptian cleric allegedly kidnapped from Italy by the CIA once provided the American spy agency with valuable information about Islamic militants in Albania, according to a published report.

The Chicago Tribune, citing the former second-ranking official of the Albanian intelligence service, reported in its Sunday editions that Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was a valuable source of information in the mid-1990s to the CIA about the close-knit community of Islamic fundamentalists living in exile in Albania, a formerly communist country in the Balkans.

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Kim Willsher in Paris
Friday December 23, 2005
The Guardian
France's interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has discovered that calling people louts and rabble and threatening to "clean them off the streets" has won him few friends in celebrity circles.

Mr Sarkozy, whose injudicious use of language was partly blamed for exacerbating the recent urban riots, is now being abandoned by his friends in high places. Worse still, many of them are lining up to publicly put the boot into the man who hopes to be president in 2007.

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22 Dec 2005
HOUSTON - A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed Pope Benedict from a civil lawsuit lodged against him and other Roman Catholic church officials that accused them of covering up sexual abuse of a minor by a seminary student.

In a written ruling, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal agreed with a motion filed by the Vatican that Pope Benedict enjoyed "head-of-state immunity" in the case.

Three unnamed plaintiffs in the case have said church officials ignored their pleas to investigate Juan Carlos Patino-Arango, who they accused of sexual abuse, and that the clergy helped him leave the country.

The church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly called the Holy Office of the Vatican, headed by Pope Benedict when he was a cardinal, played a central role in the conspiracy to conceal the abuse that occurred in 1995 and 1996, the plaintiffs said.

The Church has been hit by numerous lawsuits since the 2002 scandal in the United States when it was discovered that priests accused of molesting children were moved from parish to parish to hide the abuse.

Comment: Notice anything wrong with this story? No? Well, maybe we are wrong then, but we just thought that the fact that the Pope has been indicted as an accomplice in covering up a case of pedophila and will never have to answer that case because he enjoys "head-of-state immunity", runs a little counter to the teachings of the catholic church. Happy Christmas to you too "Benedict".

Philippe Gélie's Analysis*
Translated By Mike Goeden
December 15, 2005
In its persistent attachment to the death penalty, the United States is an anomaly among modern democracies. Denied a reprieve by the state's movie-actor governor, the recent execution of Stanley 'Tookie' Williams in California once again drew global attention to what may see as a barbaric anachronism. France's Le Figaro newspaper asks the obvious question: 'Why?'

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21 Dec 2005
PARIS - Spiderman wants justice. The French skyscraper climber who goes by the name of the comic book superhero climbed a 28-story building in Paris on Tuesday to protest what he said was unfair treatment by U.S. police.

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21 Dec 2005
ROME - Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sent his Swedish counterpart 24 bottles of Italian wine on Tuesday, saying it was to help him recover from having to drink British wine at a European Union summit last week.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair hosted the summit in Brussels and offered Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson and his other guests Welsh white wine and English red wine.

"(Persson) was so aghast at the English wines at the summit that I promised to send him some of our wines," Berlusconi told a group of foreign journalists, adding that he had dispatched 24 bottles of cabernet sauvignon.

"Up to 24 bottles is fine. More than that is corruption," Berlusconi joked.

23 Dec 2005
Lech Kaczynski is set to be be sworn in as Poland's president, marking the start of an intriguing political double act with his identical twin brother Jaroslaw, who heads the minority ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Although on paper the president's powers are limited, the fact that PiS won September's legislative elections to form a minority government puts most of the levers of power in the hands of the 56-year-old brothers.

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23 Dec 2005
A decomposed body discovered in a Brussels canal a week ago is that of a Rwandan former minister indicted by a UN tribunal on charges of genocide, a family lawyer said.

The naked body was discovered by a passer-by in the Brussels-Charleroi canal in the heart of the Belgian capital, and was in such an advanced state of decomposition that investigators took five days to identify it.

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Comment: So, he was going to "cooperate"? Abramoff ought to take care that he doesn't end up rotting in a canal, too!

Associated Press Writer
Dec 22, 2005
CAIRO, Egypt — The leader of Egypt's main Islamic opposition group said Thursday the Holocaust was a "myth," and he slammed Western governments for criticizing disclaimers of the Jewish genocide.

The comments by Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Mahdi Akef made on the heels of his group's strong showing in Egyptian parliamentary elections echoed remarks made recently by Iran's hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which sparked international outrage.

"Western democracies have slammed all those who don't see eye to eye with the Zionists regarding the myth of the Holocaust," Akef wrote in a weekly article meant as a directive to the group's followers on its official Web site.

In Israel, the director of the Israeli branch of the Nazi watchdog group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, warned, "There's no question that a very ugly wave of Holocaust denial is sweeping the Arab world."

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Comment: We've said it before, and we'll say it again, and history bears witness to it: the repression and suppression of Free Speech and Free Thought leads always and inevitably to extreme reactions. The Catholic Church in Europe hastened it's own loss of power by instituting the Inquisition. Various monarchies have done the same, most notably the French Revolution. We have read articles recently where it is said that "Jews are smarter" than everyone else. Too bad they aren't smart enough to figure this one out.

By Donald Macintyre in Um al Neu'uman
23 December 2005
A Palestinian man, said to have been last seen in the custody of Israeli border police, died after being found wounded and comatose beside a mule to which he had apparently been tied and dragged along a dirt road.

Relatives of the man are seeking legal advice on whether they can secure the reopening of the investigation. They suspect the policemen detained him for seeking work in Um Touba, a Palestinian village inside Israel, without a permit, tied him to his own mule and drove it off at a gallop.

Police denied the family's version of events and said an investigation had been completed on 11 December and all border police in the area at the time had been "completely cleared" of acting in any way improperly.

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Comment: How many times have we heard that an Israeli investigation has cleared any Israeli of any misconduct whatsoever. From their point of view, this might very well be true. After all, when senior Israeli leaders refer to the Palestinians as "two-legged vermin, cockroaches, beasts walking on two legs, a people that have to be exterminated unless they live as slaves, grasshoppers to be crushed, crocodiles, and vipers" and so on, what other result can you expect from such self-analysis?

28 October 2005
Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss
Neturei Karta International
Jews United Against Zionism
Orthodox Jews the world over, are saddened by the hysteria which has greeted the recent stated desire of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to see a world free of Zionism. This desire is nothing more than a yearning for a better, more peaceful world. It is a hope that with the elimination of Zionism, Jews and Muslims will live in harmony as they have throughout the ages, in Palestine and throughout the world.

It is a dangerous distortion, to see the President’s words, as indicative of anti-Jewish sentiments. The President was simply re-stating the beliefs and statements of Ayatollah Khomeini, who always emphasized and practiced the respect and protection of Jews and Judaism. The political ideology of Zionism alone was rejected. President Ahmadinejad stressed this distinction by referring only to Zionism, not Judaism or the Jewish people, regardless of whether they reside in Palestine or else were.

We concur!!… Orthodox Jews have always prayed and till today, continually pray for the speedy and peaceful dismantling of the Zionist state. As per the teachings of the Torah, the Jewish law, the Jewish people are required to be loyal, upstanding citizens, in all of the countries where-in they reside. They are expressly forbidden to have their own entity or state in any form or configuration, in this Heavenly decreed exile. Furthermore, the exemplification of one-self, with acts of compassion and goodness, is of the essence of Judaism. To subjugate and oppress a people, to steal their land, homes and orchards etc. is of the cardinal sins, of the basics crimes, forbidden by the Torah.

We have long stood together with the suffering Palestinian people in their struggle for self determination and respect. Based on our religious teachings, we believe it is impossible that any lasting peace can be achieved, for so long as the state of Israel exists. It is towards this goal of true reconciliation that religious Jews strive; via Palestinian statehood, so that we can once again reside in harmony and brotherhood.

May we merit to see the fruition of our prayers. Ultimately we pray for the day when all mankind will recognize the One G-g and serve Him in harmony. May this come upon us in the near future. Amen.

Created: 23.12.2005 11:45 MSK (GMT 3), Updated: 11:46 MSK
Iran is interested in developing military-technical cooperation with Russia, the country’s ambassador to Russia, Gholamreza Ansari, said on Friday.

“Until now, our cooperation has mostly been established in the sphere of trade,” the ambassador was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying. “But the Iranian government now wants to strengthen cooperation with Russia in the field of energy, in particular nuclear energy. We also intend to develop military-technical cooperation.”

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By Bernd Debusmann
Dec 22 2005
WASHINGTON - An unprecedented lawsuit stemming from the gruesome killing of four American civilians in
Iraq is slowly making its way through the U.S. legal system, closely watched by companies estimated to field up to 100,000 contractors alongside the U.S. military.

Lawyers and military experts say the case highlights legal gray zones, a lack of regulation and little oversight of a booming global industry believed to bring in more than $150 billion annually. Civilian military contractors now perform scores of functions once restricted to regular troops, and a trend toward "privatizing war" has been accelerating steadily.

The suit was brought by the families of four civilian contractors shot last year by Iraqi insurgents, who burned their bodies and hung the charred remains from a bridge across the Euphrates river in the city of Falluja.

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Comment: This story is quite revealing. We are told that "the number of civilian contractors in Iraq surpassed 100,000 this year. "That takes into account not only people specifically hired to provide armed security, but also those in transportation, construction, food services, housing, laundry etc. Americans and non-Americans."

All that in addition to approximately 173,000 U.S. and coalition of the bought and paid for troops.

The mercenaries - for that is what they are - "provide protection and support personnel" and "the most advanced weapons systems used in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq were manned by civilians." Some of these mercenaries make up to 200 K per year - tax free!

I'm sorry. This is a United States that I no longer recognize.

By Saul Hudson
Dec 22 2005
WASHINGTON - The United States has suspended publishing a lifestyle magazine aimed at improving America's image abroad among young Arabs, in a further sign of troubled U.S. public diplomacy efforts.

The State Department, which sponsors the $4.5 million annual publication and distribution throughout the Arab world of the Arabic-language magazine "Hi," said on Thursday it stopped the presses because it was unclear how widely it was read.

A series of studies in the United States have criticized U.S.-funded Arabic-langauge media, such as Radio Sawa and the satellite TV station Alhurra, for failing to attract a large audience.

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Comment: "Failing to attract a large audience." Imagine that! Imagine that normal people can actually see through the maneuvers of the psychopaths! How dare they! Forget the magazine! No more "Mr. Nice Guy" Bring on more bombs!

December 23, 2005
Arab News
American credibility has been ruined to such an extent, that Saddam Hussein is managing to turn his trial into a rehash of America's blunders in Iraq. According to this editorial from Saudi Arabia's Arab News, 'the deadly stupidity of the Bush Administration' has turned an event that could have been cathartic for the Iraqi people into a circus.

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23 Dec 2005
Cambodia's opposition leader Sam Rainsy was sentenced in absentia to 18 months in prison for defaming the country's prime minister and national assembly president.

Sam Rainsy, who fled to France earlier this year, will be arrested as soon as he returns to Cambodia, judge Chiv Keng said following his conviction on two counts of defamation.

The case has been condemned by rights groups as a bid to silence critics.

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Associated Press
Dec 22, 10:07 PM (ET)
SEOUL, South Korea - South Korean researcher Hwang Woo-suk faked results of at least nine of 11 stem-cell lines he claimed to have created, a deliberate deception that has undermined the credibility of science, his university said Friday.

The announcement by Seoul National University of results so far in its investigation into Hwang's work were the first confirmation of allegations that have cast a shadow over his entire list of breakthroughs in cloning and stem-cell technology.

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By Meera Selva, Africa Correspondent
Published: 23 December 2005
An Ethiopian court has charged 131 politicians, journalists and activists with treason and genocide as the Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, continues to suppress all dissenting voices in the country.

Two campaigners for the Make Poverty History movement are among the defendants. Daniel Bereket, the head of policy for ActionAid in Ethiopia and Netsanet Demessie of the Organisation for Social Justice in Ethiopia, have been charged with two counts of treason. If found guilty, they could face life imprisonment.

ActionAid claims the men were arrested in November for doing their job as anti-poverty campaigners, and have done nothing illegal.

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By Matt Daily
22 Dec 2005
HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas appeals court on Thursday rejected a bid by U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay to get a speedy trial on a money-laundering charge lodged against the powerful Republican lawmaker.

DeLay had sought an quick trial on the charge in the hopes that an acquittal would allow him to return to his post as U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader next month.

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Comment: PSYCHO-THINK ALERT! It's hard to decide what part of this situation is the most outrageous. Note that DeLay claims to want a "speedy" trial so he can hurry up and get back to Congress to fleece more victims. Probably the real reason is that, since his case is linked with that of Abramoff, and Abramoff has recently been offered a plea deal if he "cooperates," that DeLay wants to get the trial over so he can invoke "double-jeopardy" and avoid further charges. Also notice the interesting statement that "conspiracy charges against DeLay and two co-defendants" were dismissed earlier because "the actions were not a crime at the time DeLay was charged with violating them."

That, of course, means that the actions are NOW a crime. But let's not let that little item bother us. DeLay just wants to get back to his job in Congress...

22 Dec 2005
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Assisted-suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian lost his bid to win release from prison on the grounds he was dying, when Michigan's governor said on Thursday she would accept a state parole board's denial of his request.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm said she would follow the recommendation of the state's parole board, which voted 7-2 to deny the 77-year-old Kevorkian's wish to be pardoned or to have his 10- to 25-year sentence for second-degree murder commuted.

Kevorkian, a retired pathologist nicknamed "Dr. Death," is serving his sentence at the Thumb Correctional Facility in Lapeer, Michigan. He suffers from Hepatitis C and other illnesses and does not have long to live, his lawyer has said.

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Comment: Why this guy is in prison while Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, DeLay, and the rest of the gang, still stalk our country, causing tens of thousands of deaths of people who do not WANT to die, passes our understanding.

23 Dec 2005
"Initial investigation shows it was a gas explosion. We have to wait until the end of the rescue to see the cause," the official told AFP.

Local authorities were blocking access for journalists. There were some 400 police officers posted at the scene, state television station CCTV said.

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Comment: "Blocking access for journalists?" What's up with that?

23 Dec 2005
Shell said Tuesday that unknown assailants had attacked its pipeline near the main oil city Port Harcourt resulting in a major spill and fire, and slashing production by about seven percent of Nigeria's total crude export.

The oil giant declared a state of "force majeure," Wednesday night, a legal term allowing a party to a contract legally to breach its terms, with a Shell spokesman telling AFP the explosion has resulted in a loss of 180,000 barrels of oil per day. ...

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Comment: Funny how they downplay the cause of the explosion as "political violence" instead of ranting about those derned ter'rists.

date: 23 12, 2005
Bahrain News Agency
Jakarta, Dec. 23 (BNA) A moderate earthquake struck off Indonesia's eastern province of Maluku on Friday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damages.
The quake, measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, hit at 9:58 a.m., according to an officer from the national Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) in Jakarta. The quake's epicentre was 33 kilometres under the sea bed of the Maluku Sea, some 2,600 kilometres southeast of Jakarta, and there was no report it was felt on the mainland of the province.

Published: Thursday, 22 December, 2005, 10:46 AM Doha Time
NICE, France: A small earthquake registering 3.3 on the Richter scale caused a shudder in France’s Alps region overnight but caused no damage nor casualties, officials said yesterday.

The epicentre was around 40km north of the French Riviera city of Nice, according to Sismalp seismic observatory in the Alpine town of Grenoble.

Minor quakes are relatively common in southeast France, with around two per year recorded at or above the 3.3 magnitude. – AFP

By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
23 December 2005
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retail company, has suffered a potentially ominous legal setback, with a California jury awarding more than $200m (£115m) to thousands of employees who alleged they were illegally and systematically denied lunch-breaks.

The company has been fighting allegations for years, in and out of court, that it cuts corners to keep labour costs low. Yesterday's jury verdict in Oakland, near San Francisco, marked the first time that the company had been forced to go to trial and lost.

The suit was one of about 40 in the works nationwide alleging that the Arkansas-based retailer, which boasts a chain of mostly suburban superstores across the United States and beyond, routinely violates US labour laws - keeping workers off the clock so they are not credited for overtime, denying them lunch-breaks and other rests, and so on.

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Comment: This says it all about the U.S. Corporatocracy:
While the surviving members of the founding Walton family are all multi-billionaires, almost half the children of company employees either have no health insurance or else rely on government-sponsored subsistence programmes to gain access to basic medical care, according to the company's own figures. An unknown number of employees relies on government food stamps to keep body and soul together month to month.

23 Dec 2005
NEW YORK - The time-honored office tradition of whining at the water cooler just might get you fired, according to a newly compiled list of workplace horrors around the world.

Two workers who exceeded the official limit of two moans per employee at one unnamed German firm were fired this year. Several colleagues quit before their moans could be counted.

Their employer's strict policy tops a list compiled by Challenger, Gray and Christmas. The Chicago-based outplacement firm gave nine notable examples from hundreds of cases.

Click to Expand Article

Lawrence Mishel is president of the Economic Policy Institute and Ross Eisenbrey is EPI's policy directory.
1. Profits [Corporate] are up, but the wages and the incomes of average Americans are down.

2. More and more people are deeper and deeper in debt.

3. Job creation has not kept up with population growth, and the employment rate has fallen sharply.

4. Poverty is on the rise.

5. Rising health care costs are eroding families' already declining income.

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Comment: As George W. Bush sez, "It's been a Great Year for Amurkans!"

By BART JANSEN, Washington D.C. Correspondent
Friday, December 23, 2005
WASHINGTON — Congress refused to boost emergency heating-oil assistance by $2 billion, in a blow to Northeastern states that had sought more funding to offset higher fuel prices. The vote means that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program will receive a slightly smaller appropriation this winter than it did a year ago.

Because heating-oil prices spiked this year, the nearly $2.2 billion approved is about half the amount needed to buy the same amount of oil as last year, with 10 percent more applicants so far, according to advocacy groups.

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Friday, December 23, 2005
Ian Telfer seems to have the Midas touch.

When the chief executive officer of Goldcorp Inc. got a call Wednesday night from Barrick Gold Corp. about striking up a friendly, higher $10.4-billion (U.S.) deal to acquire Placer Dome Inc., he got on the blower to call a board meeting for yesterday at 1 a.m. Eastern time.

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December 23, 2005
1. Profits are up, but the wages and the incomes of average Americans are down.
* Inflation-adjusted hourly and weekly wages are still below where they were at the start of the recovery in November 2001. Yet, productivity-the growth of the economic pie-is up by 13.5%.

* Wage growth has been shortchanged because 35% of the growth of total income in the corporate sector has been distributed as corporate profits, far more than the 22% in previous periods.

* Consequently, median household income (inflation-adjusted) has fallen five years in a row and was 4% lower in 2004 than in 1999, falling from $46,129 to $44,389.

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December 22, 2005
PARIS, Dec 22 (AFP) - Exactly 20 years after it was founded by one of the country's best-loved comedians, France's 'Les Restos du Cœur' charity has grown into a national institution — this Christmas providing food once again for hundreds of thousands of the urban poor.

But what was originally intended as a one-off campaign to help the homeless is now offering long-term relief for whole new categories of deprivation.

"These days our beneficiaries range from the young to the very old. Many are mothers of families. Increasingly we are even seeing people coming who actually have jobs," said Dominique Lobjois, a member of the charity's national bureau in Paris.

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Comment: Coluche himself said that if the Restos du coeur were still needed in ten years, it would be a failure. What would he think now, twenty years later, that his idea has become an institution?

Coluche was killed when he was hit by a truck while riding his motorcycle. An apt metaphor for globalisation, n'est-ce pas?

Lauren A. Colby
It is well known that the lung cancer rate in American Indians is very low. Like Asians, they seem to possess a genetic resistance to the disease. They also seem to have a lower incidence of psychopathy.

Check out the stats maps and THINK!

Ker Than
Thu Dec 22, 4:00 PM ET
To recall memories, your brain travels back in time via the ultimate Google search, according to a new study in which scientists found they can monitor the activity and actually predict what you'll think of next.

The work bolsters the validity of a longstanding hypothesis that the human brain takes itself back to the state it was in when a memory was first formed.

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By Deborah Zabarenko
Thu Dec 22, 2:05 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Two days after a U.S. judge struck down the teaching of intelligent design theory in a Pennsylvania public school, the journal Science on Thursday proclaimed evolution the breakthrough of 2005.

Wide-ranging research published this year, including a study that showed a mere 4 percent difference between human and chimpanzee DNA, built on Charles Darwin's landmark 1859 work "The Origin of Species" and the idea of natural selection, the journal's editors wrote.

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December 16, 2005
By Maurizio Molinari
Translated By Enrico Del Sero
La Stampa
Doctors call it hymenoplasty while marketing experts prefer "revirgination," but whatever one calls it, it is the newest trend in American plastic surgery, and it allows women to regain their virginity. It's as though nothing had happened until then. Clinics offering the plastic hymens (price ranges from $1,800 to $5,000) from New England to the Midwest to California, register an increasing number of women wanting to give their partners a new "first time" after years of cohabitation or marriage. Sometimes they do so to get their relationships out of trouble.

Click to Expand Article
Comment: We didn't see this one coming, but we aren't surprised. "Both the Democratic myth of an emancipated woman and the Republican hope of a revival of family values appear jeopardized by long lines of women booking revirgination operations."

Hypocrisy seems to be a contagious disease.

By Barnaby Feder
The New York Times
DECEMBER 21, 2005
Silver, one of humankind's first weapons against bacteria, is receiving new respect for its antiseptic powers thanks to the growing ability of researchers to tinker with its molecular structure.

Doctors prescribed silver to fight infections at least as far back as the days of ancient Greece and Egypt. Their knowledge was absorbed by Rome, where historians like Pliny the Elder reported that silver plasters caused wounds to close rapidly. More recently, in 1884, a German doctor named C.S.F. Crede demonstrated that putting a few drops of silver nitrate into the eyes of babies born to women with venereal disease virtually eliminated the high rates of blindness among such infants.

But silver's time-tested if poorly understood versatility as a disinfectant was overshadowed in the latter half of the 20th century by the rise of antibiotics.

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Associated Press
Dec 22, 2005
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - It's a Charlie Brown Christmas for Rhode Island's official Christmas tree. The 18-foot Colorado blue spruce lost its needles and died after Statehouse workers dried it with commercial fans and sprayed it with a fire-retardant chemical. The workers were following the stringent new fire code enacted after a nightclub blaze in Rhode Island nearly three years ago killed 100 people.

The pathetic-looking tree was hustled out of the building Wednesday night.

Click to Expand Article

Dec 22, 2005
LOS ANGELES - Astronomers aided by the
Hubble Space Telescope have spied two more rings encircling Uranus, the first additions to the planet's ring system in nearly two decades.

The faint, dusty rings orbit outside of Uranus' previously known rings, but within the orbits of its large moons, said Mark Showalter, an astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., who made the discovery.

Details will appear online Friday in the journal Science. The discovery, announced Thursday, means scientists now believe the seventh planet from the sun possesses 13 rings.

Click to Expand Article
23 Dec 2005
If you get a telescope for Christmas, point it at Mars--fast! The red planet is receding from Earth at a speed of 30,000 mph and shrinking as it goes.
23 Dec 2005
It's happening again: For the second time in less than a week, a sunspot is materializing before our very eyes. Just yesterday sunspot 838 was a barely-visible speck. Now it is wider than the planet Neptune.

Sometimes, the magnetic fields of fast-growing sunspots become unstable and explode. The magnetic field of sunspot 838, however, does not appear to harbor energy for strong flares. Stay tuned for updates.

Dec 19 2005
CBC News
A couple in Central Newfoundland has had a close encounter with a mysterious object that appeared to fall from the sky at a high speed.

"I would say [it was] the size of a chicken, probably," says Joanne Knee, who says her experience on Friday afternoon reminded her of the story of Chicken Little.

Knee and her husband were driving from Gander to Carmanville when an object narrowly missed their truck.

She said the beige-coloured rock hit the ground so close to the truck that when it exploded, shards damaged the front grill and a signal light.

"It was such an explosion from it," she said.

"It was just [as] if someone had shot off a gun in the truck. It was just amazing."

Knee and her husband returned to the spot Saturday to find a pile of charcoal-like rock.

They picked up a sample, and after a little digging observed that a cylindrical piece of the material was lodged deep into the side of the road.

Knee said there was no sign of construction or of people working in the area.

Joe Hodych, who teaches earth sciences at Memorial University, said it is possible that the object came from space, and that he is anxious to see the sample.

"Meteorites are very rare. So most reports turn out not to be meteorites in the end," Hodych said.

"But they're extremely important to science."

Knee hopes someone like Hodych will analyze the rock.

However, Knee would like to keep at least a part of the rock as a souvenir.

Comment: While meteorites that impact the earth may be officially "rare", in recent years they have become all to common. What does this seemingly exponential increase in space rocks hitting the earth mean? Read Laura Knight-Jadczyk's book "The Secret History of the World" to find out.

Dec 21, 2005
What's being described as a big boom shook houses along the coast late Tuesday afternoon. Phone calls started pouring into the newsroom shortly after 4:00, with people questioning what the noise was. Now WECT has obtained a tape with the boom recorded on it.

Alex Markowski is a professor at UNC Wilmington and a sound engineer working at the Screen Gems Studio in Wilmington. Tuesday afternoon, during a recording session with a crew from the NBC series Surface, the low frequency waves from the boom picked up sound on Markowski's equipment.

The boom could be felt from Ogden to Carolina Beach and in some cases Brunswick County. Some people described it as a loud bang. Others say it was like several explosions. They say their windows rattled and homes shook under the force.

WECT called 911 centers around the area. There were no reports of any accidents or damage in relation to the bangs. Officials at the nuclear power plant didn't report any problems either. Right now, authorities are just not sure what caused the noise.

One theory is a natural phenomena called Seneca Guns. It's never been fully explained but people along the coast have talked about it for centuries. Some say the sound originates when chunks of the continental shelf drop into the Atlantic Ocean.

It doesn't just happen along the coast. In fact, the name comes from Seneca Lake in New York where the big booms have been heard for years.

Created: 19.12.2005 11:39 MSK (GMT 3), Updated: 12:02 MSK
Komsomolskaya Pravda
Russian intelligence agencies have repeatedly stated that no UFOs have ever been spotted over Russian territory. However, witnesses from the general public continue to contradict these reports with stories of their personal encounters with the paranormal.

Moscow newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda has put together the most reliable of these reports and come up with a list of UFO sightings in Russia and other post-Soviet countries for 2005.

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23 Dec 2005
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. - A clam that a Portsmouth couple thought was rotten turned out to hold a rare gem: a purple pearl that could be worth lots of money.

It happened earlier this month when Barbara Krensavage brought home about four dozen quahogs from a Newport seafood restaurant. Her husband, Thaddeus or "Ted," was shucking them when he came across one he thought was diseased. Upon closer inspection, the couple found the pearl.

"We're finding out there's only a handful on earth," Barbara Krensavage said. "We were excited, biting it and everything."

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David Highfield
Dec 21, 2005
Part of the mystery is that the ‘blue ice’ that has been reported is actually purple.

KDKA’ David Highfield reported the purple splotches in the snow on Monday night. The report sparked phone calls and e-mails from several other people claiming to also have ‘blue ice’ in their yards.

The FAA doesn't have the people to investigate each claim, but they are investigating the original case in Butler County.

The question is whether or not the purple splotches could be blue ice.

‘Blue ice’ is toilet waste that leaks from airplanes.

“It's highly unlikely,” said Nicole Begley, of the National Aviary. “I don't want to speculate on what it was, but it would take a rather large flock of fruit eating birds.

“Most of those fruit eating birds have moved on.”

Begley also said that there's not much fresh fruit left around and that birds don't normally defecate all at the same time while in flight.

“There was actually toilet paper inside that purple stuff,” said Stan Walchesky, of Jefferson Township. “I said this ain’t birds.”

“The risks of blue ice from a health perspective are relatively small,” said Dr. Bruce Dixon, of the Allegheny County Health Department.

Dr. Dixon says people can hose it off in better weather to prevent stains and that there's no reason to worry about your dogs.

“The issue is much more aesthetic,” Dr. Dixon said. “People don't like the idea of human excrement being dispersed throughout the air and landing on their property.

Comment: Naturally, "people don't like the idea of human excrement being dispersed throughout the air and landing on their property", but do people care about the fact that bovine excrement is being dsipersed throughout the ether and ending up in their minds as their "opinions"?

December 23, 2005

Our critics say we have an agenda. Now you can have our agenda, too!

This leatherbound pocket agenda includes a handy notepad as well as a double-page weekly view of all of the important events you need to remember. Moreover, it's in French, a subtle way to show your disapproval of the Bush Reich.

Planning a trip to Europe next summer to scout out a safe haven for the future? An easy-to-use chart includes distances between major European cities.

The Quantum Future Group 2006 Agenda will be available for a limited time for any donation of 20.06 euros (US$24.00 approximately). Get in on the agenda!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Quantum Future Group

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Comment: Supplies are very limited, once they are gone, they are gone!



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