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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
By Greg Szymanski
William Cooper, a former military intelligence officer and world-reknown lecturer and writer, was killed in a suspicious 2001 police shootout in his Arizona home. Author of the best selling underground book of all time, Behold A Pale Horse, his top secret intelligence document discoveries provide proof positive the Illuminati intends mass destruction of half the world's population, reaching its diabolical goal in what the author terms 'the age of deception.'
26 Dec 2005

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Comment: Notice that Szymanski quotes William Cooper saying:
“When I saw Operation Majority while serving in the Navy I believed the alien threat was real just like everyone else. ...“The plan is real. The extraterrestrial threat is artificial. The threat is presented through the use of secret technology originally developed by the Germans in their secret weapons programs during WW-II, by geniuses like Nikola Tesla, and many others.

We notice that Cooper died after taking this position. Isn't that convenient? Reminds us of another curious death - that of Edward Ruppelt. After years as an advocate of UFO disclosure, he suddenly did an about face - re-wrote his book recanting his belief that UFOs were extraterrestrial craft, and was dead within a year at a very young age.
It looks to us as though, if they can't corrupt you, they kill you so covertly that no one ever suspects, and if they can corrupt you, they still kill you so you won't have a chance to change your mind and recant your recantation like Jacques de Molay did when the Templars were destroyed. Those who get close to the belly of the beast are generally subjected to a new "approach" it seems. And that approach is the biggest betrayal of all. It's even better, of course, if they can kill you and use your death to create a myth as they did with Morris K. Jessup. See next article.

Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Let's talk about death now. Sure, I know, nobody wants to talk about death. But I have in mind some very interesting deaths that ought to be talked about for a lot of reasons.

The first death I want to talk about is the "apparent suicide" of Morris K. Jessup. The problem with Morris Jessup's suicide is that it was too obvious. He was found in his station wagon in a Dade County Park, Florida, on the evening of April 29, 1959. A hose had been attached to the exhaust pipe of the station wagon and looped into the closed interior. The whole set-up had been accomplished during daylight hours, in a public park. Ever since, researchers have said that Jessup's death was the price he paid for getting too close to the truth. You see, Jessup's death is SO apparent a suicide, that everyone just KNEW that it was NOT a suicide. And, of course, as a consequence, an entire mythos was born about something called the Philadelphia Experiment having to do with Time Travel.

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Donald Hunt
December 26, 2005
Gold closed at $505.90 an ounce on Friday, up less than 0.1% from $505.50 the week before. The dollar closed at 0.8425 euros last week, up 1.2% from 0.8323 at the previous Friday's close. That put the euro at 1.1869 dollars, compared to 1.2015 the week before. Gold in euros would be 426.24 euros an ounce, up 1.3% from 420.72 euros an ounce the Friday before. Oil closed at 58.43 dollars a barrel Friday, up 0o.6% from $58.06 the week before. Oil in euros would be 49.23 euros a barrel, up 2.1% from 48.23 euros a barrel the Friday before last. The gold/oil ratio closed at 8.66 Friday, down 0.6% from 8.71 at the previous Friday's close. In U.S. stocks, the Dow closed at 10,883.27 on Friday, up less than a tenth of a percent for the week from 10,875.59. The NASDAQ closed at 2,249.42, down 0.1% from 2,252.48 the week before. The yield on the ten-year U.S. Treasury note closed at 4.38%, down six basis points from 4.44 the week before.

Friday saw the release of the U.S. new housing sales numbers for November. The numbers were surprisingly bad:

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By Mark Weinraub
Sat Dec 24, 5:47 PM ET
CHICAGO - U.S. retailers faced slower-than-expected traffic in stores on the last shopping day before Christmas as extended hours and steep discounts failed to draw a big crowd of shoppers.

"I don't think the day is the kind of day that retailers thought it would be," said Britt Beemer, head of America's Research Group, which surveys consumer spending habits.

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NY Times
December 26, 2005
It might seem counterintuitive that many credit card companies would inundate the recently bankrupt with solicitations for new cards. It's especially perplexing that those same companies would do so after having spent more than eight years and $100 million lobbying Congress to protect them from irresponsible borrowers with a draconian new bankruptcy law.

But the truth is that credit card companies aren't all that interested in customers who pay their bills in full every month. They really want the so-called revolvers, people who don't cover their balances and pony up those juicy interest payments and fees. The tighter repayment provisions in the new law will encourage companies to trawl for even less-qualified customers.

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by Mark S. Tucker
26 Dec 2005
There was a period in which Jack Kemp vaguely mattered. That was a long time ago. Now he’s practically unknown. There’s a multitude of excellent reasons for that, the best of which can be perused in his Dec. 22, 2005, column entitled “Washington Fails to Embrace Supply-Side Truths”. In it, he’s hoping like hell you haven’t a clue about economics. He’s expecting you were as miserable a student as our President-select, a man whose grasp of business produced a long string of horrifyingly ineptly run businesses, and, thus, you won’t know enough to parse his, Mr. Kemp’s, utter gibberish for the semantic folderol it is. In the annals of columnist gobbledygook, there have been some gems, but rarely so lustrous as this one. Step behind the curtain with me, won’t you?

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Dec 22, 2005
Asia Times
BEIJING - A mammoth revision in gross domestic product (GDP, the most widely accepted estimate of the size of an economy) figures by statisticians in Beijing has officially turned China into a much larger economy than previously thought.

While the new figures, which reflect a modernization of calculation methods, are widely accepted by outside analysts, who have argued for years that China has been underestimating the size of its service sector, there is some uncertainty about China's new position in the world GDP rankings. Initial press reports on the statistical readjustment, made before the release of official results on December 20, had stated that China would supplant the UK as the world's fourth-ranked economy. However, when the actual figures appeared, the government only claimed sixth place.

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Mon Dec 26, 2005 12:28 AM ET
TOKYO - The Nikkei share average rose to fresh five-year highs on Monday as retail stocks advanced on bright prospects for the industry after Seven & I Holdings Co. Ltd. said it planned to buy a department store group. [...]

The Nikkei rose 0.83 percent, or 131.79 points, to 16,073.16 as of 0436 GMT. It earlier rose to 16,098.59, its highest intraday level since October 2000.

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Dec 23, 2005
Congress gave the nation a Christmas present Thursday, adjourning for the year and getting the hell out of Dodge with most of its business unfinished.

President George W. Bush did the same, hightailing it to Crawford for yet another vacation.

Yes, the nation and world are much safer places when these clowns leave town. For a few weeks, we can breathe easier, content in knowing that members of Congress are off junketing at some lobbyist’s expense and our phony cowboy President is in Texas pretending, once again, to be something that he is not.

Which leaves the rest of us to wonder just how in the hell we got into this mess?

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ABC News
20 Dec 2005
Nine in 10 Americans Believe in Heaven, but a Quarter Say It's Christians Only

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William Greider
20 Dec 2005
The political news from Connecticut did not seem earth-shaking on its face, but the New York Times and the Washington Post were both sufficiently alarmed to put the story on page one. Some upstart citizens are talking about challenging their warrior senator, Joe Lieberman, by running an antiwar candidate against him next fall. The Wall Street Journal went ballistic. Its hysterical editorial denounced the "liberal animosity" toward Wall Street's favorite Democrat.

Possibly, this rump-group assault on the established order will come to nothing, just another angry rant from frustrated Democrats. But it could be the start of something big--a David-and-Goliath challenge that encourages other nascent insurgencies around the country. Rebellion can be fun--who doesn't enjoy upsetting the mainstream media?--but in these dispiriting times it is also good for one's mental health. Even better, rebellion could revive the Democratic Party.

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Comment: Attaboy! Let's get some more Anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-globalization, anti-everything the present administration stands for candidates out there and kick the bastards out. At the same time, it's going to be important to demand election oversight and votes that leave paper trails or no amount of alternative candidates will make a bit of difference.

Dec 23, 2005
As a U.S. lawmaker steps down for taking bribes and others face a separate corruption probe, the relationship between money and power in Washington is coming under increased scrutiny.

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26 Dec 2005
WASHINGTON - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday supported government eavesdropping to prevent terrorism but said a major controversy over presidential powers could have been avoided by obtaining court warrants.

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Sun Dec 25, 5:46 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday supported government eavesdropping to prevent terrorism but said a major controversy over presidential powers could have been avoided by obtaining court warrants.

Powell said that when he was in the Cabinet, he was not told that President Bush authorized a warrantless National Security Agency surveillance operation after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Appearing on ABC's "This Week" Powell said he sees "absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions" to protect the nation.

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AP Diplomatic Writer
Sun Dec 25, 5:08 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has become the most popular member of the Bush administration and a potential candidate to succeed her boss in the White House, even as Americans lose confidence in the president she serves and patience with the Iraq war she helped launch.

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 26, 2005
President Bush has been summoning newspaper editors lately in an effort to prevent publication of stories he considers damaging to national security.

The efforts have failed, but the rare White House sessions with the executive editors of The Washington Post and New York Times are an indication of how seriously the president takes the recent reporting that has raised questions about the administration's anti-terror tactics.

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By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 26, 2005
Framing the battle against terrorism as a wartime emergency, Yoo redefined torture, reinterpreted the Constitution and classified as archaic the long-established humanitarian rules of the battlefield.

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Comment: "Yoo traces his convictions in no small part to his parents, and Ronald Reagan. His father and mother are psychiatrists who grew up in Korea during the Japanese occupation and the Korean War. They emigrated in 1967, when Yoo was 3 months old."

This little tidbit about the background of John Yoo gives us much information about his psychological structure and the role he plays in Ponerogenesis.

Psychologist George K. Simon writes:
...[W]e often have trouble recognizing the ways people aggress us, but we also have difficulty discerning the distinctly aggressive character of some personalities. The legacy of Sigmund Freud’s work has a lot to do with this. Freud’s theories (and the theories of others who built upon his work) heavily influenced the psychology of personality for a long time. Elements of the classical theories of personality found their way into many disciplines other than psychology as well as into many of our social institutions and enterprises. ...

The malignant impact of overgeneralizing Freud’s observations about a small group of overly inhibited individuals into a broad set of assumptions about the causes of psychological ill-health in everyone cannot be overstated.[…]

Therapists whose training overly indoctrinated them in the theory of neurosis, may “frame” problems presented them incorrectly. They may, for example, assume that a person, who all their life has aggressively pursued independence and demonstrated little affinity for others, must necessarily be “compensating” for a “fear” of intimacy. In other words, they will view a hardened fighter as a terrified runner, thus misperceiving the core reality of the situation.[…]

We need a completely different theoretical framework if we are to truly understand, deal with, and treat the kinds of people who fight too much as opposed to those who cower or “run” too much.
Psychologist Andrew Lobaczewski writes:
The emotionalism dominating in individual, collective and political life [in the United States today], as well as the subconscious selection and substitution of data in reasoning, are impoverishing the development of psychological world-view and leading to individual and national egotism. ....

People fortunate enough to achieve a position higher than someone else are contemptuous of their supposed inferiors in a way highly reminiscent of czarist Russian customs. Turn-of-the-century Freudian psychology finds fertile soil in this country because of the similarity in social and psychological conditions [to the Weimar Republic in Germany, the environment in which Freud developed his theories.]....

Fed for a generation on pathologically altered psychological material, the German nation fell into a state comparable to what we see in certain individuals raised by persons who are both characteropathic and hysterical. Psychologists know from experience how often such people then let themselves commit acts which seriously hurt others....

The frontal areas of the cerebral cortex are virtually present in no creature except man; they are composed of the phylogenetically youngest nervous tissue. Their cyto-architecture is similar to the much older visual projection areas on the opposite pole of the brain. This suggests some functional similarity. […] As described by researchers (Luria et al.), the functions of these areas - thought-process acceleration and coordination - seem to result from this basic function....

Brain cortex damage in these areas selectively impairs the above mentioned function without impairing memory, associative capacity, or in particular such instinct-based feelings and functions as for instance the ability to intuit a psychological situation. The general intelligence of an individual is thus not greatly reduced. ...

The pathological character of such people, generally containing a component of hysteria, develops through the years. The non-damaged psychological functions become overdeveloped to compensate, which means that instinctive and affective reactions predominate. Relatively vital people become belligerent, risk-happy, and brutal in both word and deed. Persons with an innate talent for intuiting psychological situations tend to take advantage of this gift in an egotistical and ruthless fashion. In the thought process of such people, a short cut way develops which bypasses the handicapped function, thus leading from associations directly to words, deeds, and decisions which are not subject to any dissuasion. Such individuals interpret their talent for intuiting situations and making split-second oversimplified decisions as a sign of their superiority compared to normal people, who need to think for a long time, experiencing self-doubt and conflicting motivations. ...

Such "Stalinistic characters" traumatize and actively spellbind others, and their influence finds it exceptionally easy to bypass the controls of common sense. A large proportion of people tend to credit such individuals with special powers, thereby succumbing to their egotistic beliefs. If a parent manifests such a defect, no matter how minimal, all the children in the family evidence anomalies in personality development.

NBC, MSNBC and news services
Dec. 22, 2005
Approval in the House came on a voice vote in a nearly empty chamber after Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, refused to agree to a six-month extension the Senate had cleared several hours earlier.

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Comment: Well, what are they gonna do? Are we to have a new manufactured "ter'rist" attack before or after the Patriot Act expires? If there is one before it expires, then they have to admit that it doesn't work. But if there is an "attack" AFTER, then the administration doesn't have the "powers" it needs to effect a cover-up; it isn't likely that another attack will be viewed with quite the same shock as the 9/11 attacks were. People might demand a real investigation.

By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
Published: 26 December 2005
Secret domestic wiretaps authorised by US President George Bush led to the National Security Agency gaining access to the country's main telephone switches in a vast operation to mine data from phone calls and emails.

The New York Times, the paper that broke the wiretap story, cited disclosures from current and former government officials that the surveillance operation was far broader than anything admitted by the White House and involved the co-operation of private telecoms companies.

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By Jim Puzzanghera and Truong Phuoc Khánh
Mercury News
Posted on Sat, Dec. 24, 2005
Like many Americans, the Rev. Dan Hutt of Palo Alto was prepared to sacrifice some freedom for more safety in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

During those frightening weeks, Congress overwhelmingly passed the hastily drafted USA Patriot Act. It gave the federal government broad new counterterrorism powers, such as allowing investigators to comb library records and secretly search people's homes.

Hutt didn't object -- back then.

``I could understand how that happened,'' the 34-year-old said last week during a family outing at San Jose's Christmas in the Park. ``People were saying, `We need to look carefully at security in the country.' ''

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Comment: Looks like it's getting to be time to deliver another shock to the American people, better to get them to approve another extension of the Patriot Act. They are starting to "forget" how dangerous the situation really is, starting to think that they don't need to sign away their rights to a small cabal of power-hungry psychopaths.

Dan-ger-ous! If you ask us!

By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, December 24, 2005; A03
CHALMETTE, La. -- Ronnie Nunez bought the weird pink house in the Battleground Subdivision to entice his daughter and baby granddaughter to come back to Louisiana from out of state. But they didn't stay with him long.

He thought he'd patch up his marriage there. That didn't work either.

The house is a bad renovator's jigsaw puzzle, with three roofs stitched together and an inexplicable interior bay window connecting separate wings. To tell the truth, he never much liked the place.

Soon it will be gone.

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December 19, 2005
By Brian Livingston
Two counties in Florida have terminated their use of Diebold computerized voting equipment after computer experts showed that vote totals could be changed by a single individual in a way that would be undetectable later.

The county commission of Leon County, which includes Tallahassee, voted on Dec. 13 to scrap its Diebold equipment and switch to a different manufacturer, at an estimated cost of $1.3 million. Three days later, the county council of Volusia County (Daytona Beach) approved a similar change. The switch will cost that jurisdiction at least $2.5 million, county officials said.

These actions, and the events that led up to them, can teach us a great deal about our dependence on computer procedures that are developed by flawed human beings.

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By Eleanor Clift
Dec. 22, 2005
Every holiday season, we on "The McLaughlin Group" hand out news awards. Some categories, like "Biggest Winner," are easy (My choice was Chief Justice John Roberts, with the oil companies as runner-up). Others are a struggle to fill, like who to insult with the “Overrated” award.

In compiling this year’s list, I had the highest number of entries for the category, “Biggest Lie.” I chose the White House declaration that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby had nothing to do with leaking the identity of a covert CIA agent. They were the principal participants in the effort to discredit former ambassador Joe Wilson because he had raised doubts about one of the pillars of their argument for war, namely that Iraq had tried to buy yellowcake uranium to make a bomb.

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Comment: It's a strangely schizophrenic state for the United States to be in: on one side, you have Bush, Cheney and the gang loudly proclaiming "their reality," and on the other, you have more and more mainstream media outlets loudly proclaiming that Bush, Cheney, and the whole White House gang are out and out liars.

Two years ago, almost NONE of the mainstream media sources were calling Bush and Cheney liars; that was the purview of the alternative news sites and bloggers. But the issues have grown so large, so frightening that even the moderates and former Bush supporters are joining the general clamor for something to be done.

There's a problem, however, as Eleanor Clift points out above:
"The polls show that a majority of Americans no longer trust this team, which is why Bush and Cheney are hitting back hard at their critics. ... We have no mechanism to deal with a president who has lost the trust and confidence of the American people and has three years remaining in office. Impeachment is a nonissue; it’s not going to happen with Republicans in control of the House and Senate."
Recent polls (uncooked ones, that is) show that over 80 % of the American People want Bush impeached. But, as we pointed out a day or so ago, that's not the answer. If you impeache Bush, you get Cheney, if you impeach Cheney, you get Hastert, if you impeach Hastert, you get Stevens.

What we need is a way to get rid of an entire government.

The problem seems to be that our Founding Fathers did not include in their deliberations, any situation such as the United States is faced with today: a gang that has fixed elections, assassinated opposition, blackmailed and stacked the Congress to pass laws that essentially create a dictatorship.

Some other democratic governments have made provisions for just such contingencies. Typically, when parliaments vote 'no confidence,' or where it fails to vote confidence, a government must either: 1. resign, or 2. seek a parliamentary dissolution and request a General Election. We think that such provisions still leave something to be desired in that there is no way to factor in the voice of the people

In view of the situation, we here at Signs do have an idea. Since it is now obvious that 80 % or more of the American people want Bush OUT, it is not very likely that any of them will be voting Republican in the next congressional elections. If a Republican majority is returned to Congress, we can then be almost certain of vote rigging. So, the thing to do first is deluge all state governments with demands for voting systems that have a paper trail to ensure that no more elections are stolen.

Then, the people must put their energy into demanding new legislation. This legislation should be a bill introduced in Congress to the effect that a petition of citizens can invoke a national referendum of confidence/no confidence. Such a referendum will be 1 person = 1 vote, no "electoral college," no steps between the will of the people and the representatives of the people. If the will of the people is "no confidence" in the reigning government, they must all resign and a new election will be held. There ought to also be new legislation regarding elections, election financing, Congressional perks and power brokering.

So, here are some general ideas:

Government Should Be In The Hands Of Those Who Wish To Serve And Who Are Qualified By A Thorough Psychological Testing Program As Well As Extensive Background Investigation by something equivalent to a Grand Jury. Governing powers should certainly never be in the hands of those who are evaluated according to "electability" in terms of looks, or budget. Government should be made undesirable to those who seek money and power. Honor and the High Regard of the People should be the main rewards of statesmanship. Therefore, the following should be enacted as Constitutional Amendments:

A. Outlaw Expensive Political Campaigns. The Top Five qualified candidates should be given equal media representation gratis so that each can clearly state their positions and platforms. Money must be divorced from power in a Democracy.

B. Outlaw Lobbying And Special Interest Groups. Each Act Of Legislation should be clearly written so that all people can understand it,and no bills should be "conglomerates" where an unpopoular measure can be piggy-backed on a popular one.

C. All Elected Officials should be elected by Majority Vote of the People only. The Electoral College needs to be dismantled.

D. Salaries Of Elected Officials should reflect an average of the incomes of their constituents. In this way, they will have a better idea of how everybody else lives and will be more motivated to solve the problems of the people they serve.

Legislators and government officials should be provided with simple apartments, paid for by the government, where they can live while performing government functions if they must live away from their normal homes while doing so. Expensive residences, parties, cars, trips, and other so-called perks must be outlawed. Entertainment for visiting heads of state from other countries can be handled via special programs for same.

E. Outlaw Honorariums, Speaking Fees, Consulting Fees, Gifts etc, for elected officials while in office. If they can't live on their salaries, how do the expect anyone else to do so?

Such measures as the above are simple and would quickly result in social adjustments relating to government. With individual riches and power eliminated from the government equation, only those who truly seek to serve will be motivated to run for government office.

Naturally it is to be expected that great resistance to such ideas will issue from those possessing great wealth and power. The wealthy and powerful control not only the government, but also religions, social customs and social institutions. They have access to very clever theoreticians who invent very clever theories to justify everything they do. The result of these machinations can be seen all around us today. Never before has humanity been so precariously balanced on the edge of a chasm of fire, from which no one will emerge if we fall in.

Popular Theory holds that, while concentrated wealth may seem unfair, it is "good for economic prosperity." A couple of con-artists once made an Emperor a New set of clothes, too.

We believe in prosperity and comfort and freedom from want for all. Indeed, those who are more industrious and ambitious will naturally have more than others: that is the nature of a free market. We have no issues with that. However, we believe that those individuals who are less "equal" in terms of intellect or ambition, but who are still the majority of humanity, should be able to establish and maintain a basically comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle. The people who are content flipping burgers and collecting the trash should be able to live without stress, too.

Since our current major problems are actually Economic, we think immediate measures must be taken. These measures are based on the ideas of Dr. Ravi Batra, Professor Of Economics at Southern Methodist University.

A. Enact taxation in proportion to benefits received from the government. Since "Defense Of Our Way Of Life" is the Primary Benefit we receive, and is the major part of the Federal Budget, those who have the most to protect should pay the most taxes for that service.

Those who have accumulated great wealth in the United States have been vigorously protected at great expense of life limb by the common people from the time of The Revolutionary War until the present. That is to say, that the wealthy have been protected at the expense of the poor and middle classes and yet, the poor and middle classes are getting poorer and less able to survive while the rich are getting richer and sending more of the sons of the poor and middle classes off to die to enable the rich to get richer. For this reason, such a Wealth Tax should be retroactive when possible.

This Tax should be imposed on net worth including Stocks, Bonds, Real Estate, Precious Metals, Paintings Etc. An Exemption of an amount to equal twice the average cost of living in a given region should be allowed for everyone for personal and living expenses. The next double amount of the average cost of living would be taxed at 2%, the third at 3%, the fourth at 4%, and so on up to 10% of everything above 10 times double the average cost of living.

As can easily be seen, this would instantly remove the tax burden from the poor and Middle Classes entirely.

This Tax Rate would also generate revenues amounting to well over $300 Billion, based on $15 Trillion in total wealth.

This tax would apply to all foreign investors as well. This money should be used to immediately balance the Federal Budget. At the same time, government spending must be frozen and capital controls against moving money out of the country enacted.

Several things would result from this plan.

1. The tax would only fall on those who could afford to pay.

2. It would stimulate those of wealth to divest themselves of speculative paper and invest in actual industry. REAL jobs would be created and expanded.

B. Financial Institutions Must Be Regulated, and not by themselves as is the current situation with the so-called "Fed."

C. Charge Foreign Countries For Defense. It is cheaper for foreign governments to pay the U.S. than to establish and maintain their own standing armies. That is one of the reasons the U.S. has so many military bases all over the world. Ten years agoa, as much as $290. billion of the U.S. Defense Budget was spent on defense abroad. Today, that figure is so unbelievable that the U.S. is in imminent danger of economic collapse.

Following WW II, America offered a sefense umbrella to impoverished allies. At that time it was the world's largest banker. Those surpluses have declined turning America into the world's largest debtor. We can no longer compete in world trade because of our defense spending. Charging 1 To 2 percent of other nation's GNP for defense would bring in hundreds of millions annually. It can be said that the Iraq War is being fought on behalf of Israel, therefore, Israel should pay for it. Any wealthy individuals in the U.S. holding dual Israeli/American citizenship ought to pay double the Wealth Tax: once for the U.S. and once for Israel.

If other countries imposed a wealth tax as well, they would easily be able to bring their books into balance. But, as we have noted above, it is the wealthy who have risen to power on the blood, sweat and tears of the common man with the predictable result of today's embarrassing situation of the U.S. being stuck for the next three years with a president and administration that over 80% of the people do not want. It is the "love of money" for its own sake that has brought this evil on America.

In closing we would like to say: We believe in government of the people, by the people, and for the people - and we desire to see that it does not perish from the Earth!

By Jean-Louis Turlin
Le Figaro
Translated By Pascaline Jay
December 24, 2005
With the Republican majority in Congress concerned about the 2006 elections, George W. Bush can't seem to get a break lately. According to this article from France's Le Monde newspaper, 'a President who has lost his aura and will no longer have to face the voters' is in retreat.

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Sunday December 25th 2005
Kurt Nimmo
CNN tells us about a “covert” FBI snoop program to check “suspicious radiation levels outside more than 100 predominantly Muslim-related sites in the greater Washington, D.C., area, as well as various sites in other cities,” thus providing more anti-Muslim fodder for the undiscerning American public. “It is a waste of time, it is a waste of resources and it is causing us to be concerned about our citizenship, our constitutional rights,” Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told CNN.

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By Nathan Guttman
The Jerusalem Post
December 23, 2005
Some people worry that the culture-war being waged in the U.S. to reassert the nation's Christianity could be bad for Jews. But according to this op-ed article from Israel's Jerusalem Post, the trend should prompt American Jews to realize why Israel is so precious. 'As Jerry Falwell reminds us: 'Because America is so Christian, Israel matters ever more.'

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Comment: "Approximately 80% of Americans define themselves as Christian, and more than 90% observe Christmas. America is Christian through and through, in symbol and in content, and American Jews would be well served by acknowledging that."

And they would also be well served by acknowledging exactly WHY U.S. Fundies "value" the Jews so highly: because they intend to use them to "initiate the Eschaton," after which, if they don't convert, they die.

By Matthias Gebauer
Der Spiegel
Translated By Hartmut Lau
December 21, 2005
America wants to prosecute Hezbollah terrorist Mohammad Ali Hamadi for 1985 hijacking and murder of a U.S. Navy diver. Germany says that Hamadi did his time, and under German law, he cannot be prosecuted twice for the same crime. Besides, according to this article from Der Spiegel, Washington failed to submit the proper paperwork!

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Dagens Hyheter, Sweden
Translated Carl Bergquist
December 20, 2005
“Perhaps this humbler outlook will reverse the collapse in the president's approval ratings, but the address should be seen more as a premonition of upcoming battles in Washington.”

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December 21, 2005
Khaleej Times
Arguing that spying on Americans could have prevented September 11, 'is as strange as it gets.' According to this op-ed article from the Khaleej Times of the United Arab Emirates, 'America's strength lies in its free spirit and respect for civil liberties.

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Chicago Sun Times
November 4, 2005
"The Biblical record is clear. The scriptural witness on which our faith tradition stands speaks dramatically to God's concern for and solidarity with the poor and oppressed communities while speaking firmly in opposition to governments whose policies place narrow economic interests driven by greed above the common good."

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By Ellen Goodman
December 23, 2005
The Boston Globe
SO IT COMES DOWN to September 11, 2001. Again. The president has drawn a great dividing line through the country, separating his supporters from his critics. Again.

This time, those who see a presidency run amok are not just labeled ''defeatists." They are considered amnesiacs.

This time, those who oppose torture are diagnosed with short-term memory loss. Those who are outraged at domestic snooping are people who have forgotten to be afraid.

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Barron's Magazine
Conservative Business Magazine, Barron's, Excoriates Bush for Committing a Potentially Impeachable Offense: "If we don't discuss the program and the lack of authority for it, we are meeting the enemy -- in the mirror."

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December 25, 2005
NY Times Editorial
One of the shabbiest shell games of the year was played out in the closing hours of Congress in its now-you-see-it, now-you-don't offering of some badly needed winter heating aid to the nation's working poor. The climactic moment occurred when Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, huckstering his most treasured goal, tried to sell oil drilling in his state's pristine wildlife preserve by promising it would help finance a long list of shoppers' bonuses for his colleagues: extra money for flu vaccine, hurricane reconstruction, first-responder radios and - if you vote yes right away - $2 billion in extra heating aid for the poor this cold winter.

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Comment: This kind of crap has got to stop: piggybacking popular bills on unpopular ones. Each and every bill ought to be decided indpendently and on its own merits.

Jihad el Khazen
When I and others said that a cabal had hijacked American foreign policy and began to run it in order to serve Israel, we were accused of promoting the idea of the "conspiracy." However, the then-US Secretary of State Colin Powell denied the existence of a cabal, which confirmed that it did exist. Recently, Powell's top aide, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, acknowledged the existence of this cabal.

More than 90% of this cabal's members are American Likudnik Jews, of the extremist variety. Sometimes they are the most venal of people, although the current leadership is held by two of the giants of the traditional American right, namely Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Usually, a person starts out with idealistic aspirations, on the left, and ends up on the right. However, these two individuals began on the right, so it's natural that they end up on the extreme right. A friend of the Bush family, Brent Scowcroft, who was the National Security Council adviser under George HW Bush, wrote a frank article in which he said that he no longer knew Cheney, with whom he served in Bush's Cabinet.

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by Eric Alterman
December 22, 2005
The Low Bar the MainStream Media has set for Pres. Bush -- "No matter how many times they are deliberately misled by this mendacious administration, the Washington press corps continues to try to find some way to assure Americans that somehow everything’s going to be alright … this time."

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By Ronald Brownstein
LA Times
23 Dec 2005
WASHINGTON — The frenzied action on Capitol Hill this week captured in miniature the strengths and limitations of the often-combative political strategy that has guided President Bush and congressional Republicans.

Since taking office, Bush has placed the highest priority on unifying his party behind an agenda of bold conservative change, even at the price of provoking intense resistance from Democrats and sharply polarizing the electorate.

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The Nation
January 9, 2006
When Congress authorized the President to use all "necessary and appropriate" military force to respond to the 9/11 attackers, little did members know that in George W. Bush's mind they were freeing him to wiretap innocent American citizens without probable cause or a judicial warrant, to hold indefinitely without charge US citizens arrested within US borders and to order torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of suspects.

Had the President forthrightly said this was what he was seeking, Congress would almost certainly have said no. After all, laws on the books forbid all such conduct.

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by Kagro X
Fri Dec 23, 2005
Daily KOS
Reinforcements have arrived! In case you hadn't noticed, there's a small but growing buzz in the traditional media regarding what they're coyly calling, "the 'I' word."

Fineman's got it.

Froomkin's got it.

Editor & Publisher's got a round-up on it.

So maybe the conditions for the "resonance" we're looking for are here.

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NY Times
December 24, 2005
With the Bush administration claiming sweeping and often legally baseless authority to detain and spy on people, judges play a crucial role in underscoring the limits of presidential power. When the Senate begins hearings next month on Judge Samuel Alito, President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, it should explore whether he understands where the Constitution sets those limits. New documents released yesterday provide more evidence that Judge Alito has a skewed view of the allocation of power among the three branches - skewed in favor of presidential power.

One troubling memo concerns domestic wiretaps - a timely topic. In the memo, which he wrote as a lawyer in the Reagan Justice Department, Judge Alito argued that the attorney general should be immune from lawsuits when he illegally wiretaps Americans. Judge Alito argued for taking a step-by-step approach to establishing this principle, much as he argued for an incremental approach to reversing Roe v. Wade in another memo.

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Comment: Readers need to start flooding their representatives with paper mail or faxes demanding that Alito does NOT get confirmed! Ladies, this guy is going to hurt you, so don't sit back and "enjoy it."

Nat Hentoff
December 23rd, 2005
The Village Voice
Praise for the president's yielding to John McCain ignored the awful details in fine print.

Expect to see an announcement by John McCain declaring his candidacy for the presidency — as he reminds us of the principled stand he and George W. Bush took to show the world how deeply the United States values human rights.

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by Nat Hentoff
December 19th, 2005
Condoleezza Rice now says U.S. policy has changed, and we must no longer abuse and torture our prisoners anywhere. So, there is no longer any need for secret CIA prisons, or "enhanced interrogation techniques" in detention centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo, or anyplace else. The CIA's kidnapping gangs executing "extraordinary renditions" will be disbanded. The president will urge Congress to immediately conduct an independent investigation, with subpoena powers, to make accountable and punish — throughout the chain of command to the very top—everyone who has committed cruel, inhumane, and degrading acts. And as the CIA's secret prisons around the world are closed down, the International Red Cross will be present to escort the surviving inmates back into the known world.

And, in recognition of this validation of America's rule of law, again an inspiration to the rest of the world, there will be a Nobel Prize for human rights to be shared by Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the head of the CIA, Porter Goss, who—bearing his newly minted presidential Medal of Freedom — will also be in Norway to become a Nobel laureate. Praise the Lord!

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by Sylvia Topp
December 23rd, 2005
I walked out of my Anglican-church confirmation classes when I was 13, thinking I'd put religion out of my life for good, because the "devout" Christians I was being counseled by couldn't hide the hate in their eyes. Still, because I do admire much of Jesus's teachings, I've been angry at George Bush for a long time for claiming to be a follower of Jesus while doing so many things that He would surely have disapproved of.

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by John Gravois
December 16th, 2005
What's life like for a child of the Patriot Act?

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Last Updated Sun, 25 Dec 2005 18:00:56 EST
CBC News
The U.S. military says it won't relinquish control over the prisons it runs in Iraq until officials there raise their level of care.

Iraqi authorities still haven't demonstrated they can meet American standards, U.S. military officials say.

Their comments came weeks after scores of abused and neglected prisoners were revealed to be in two detention centres run by the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

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Comment: In stumbling upon this headline this morning, we weren't certain whether it was Boxing Day or April First. According to he good Maj. Gen. Gardner, the U.S. prisons in Iraq have "come a long way" since the scandal at Abu Ghraib.

Now that the Americans have learned to do it right, it is the Iraqi's turn. But behind every Iraqi minister is a coterie of American advisors. To think that the Iraqis in some way are working outside the scope of the occupying power would be naive.

Then think for a minute on the curious statement that:
"The Iraqis are committed to doing this right and will not rush to failure. The transition will be based on meeting standards, not on a timeline."

We aren't talking here about learning to ride a bike or play golf or drive a car. What does it mean that the Iraqi's will not "rush to failure" when it is a question of rooting out abuses of prisoners? "OK, now that wasn't nice. You go over there and make him talk without applying so much force. You're gonna stay here all day until we get this right!"

"That was better. You see, he didn't scream quite so much, but the point is that he not scream at all. So do it again."

"Now that was excellent. You see, he didn't scream at all. Unfortunately, that's because he was dead. Now we're going to have to start all over again with the next prisoner."

4 December 2005
Eliot Weinberger
London Review of Books
In 2005 I heard that Coalition forces were camped in the ruins of Babylon. I heard that bulldozers had dug trenches through the site and cleared areas for helicopter landing pads and parking lots, that thousands of sandbags had been filled with dirt and archaeological fragments, that a 2600-year-old brick pavement had been crushed by tanks, and that the moulded bricks of dragons had been gouged out from the Ishtar Gate by soldiers collecting souvenirs. I heard that the ruins of the Sumerian cities of Umma, Umm al-Akareb, Larsa and Tello were completely destroyed and were now landscapes of craters.

I heard that the US was planning an embassy in Baghdad that would cost $1.5 billion, as expensive as the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero, the proposed tallest building in the world.

I saw a headline in the Los Angeles Times that read: ‘After Levelling City, US Tries to Build Trust.’

I heard that military personnel were now carrying ‘talking point’ cards with phrases such as: ‘We are a values-based, people-focused team that strives to uphold the dignity and respect of all.’

I heard that 47 per cent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein helped plan 9/11 and 44 per cent believed that the hijackers were Iraqi; 61 per cent thought that Saddam had been a serious threat to the US and 76 per cent said the Iraqis were now better off.

I heard that Iraq was now ranked with Haiti and Senegal as one of the poorest nations on earth. I heard the United Nations Human Rights Commission report that acute malnutrition among Iraqi children had doubled since the war began. I heard that only 5 per cent of the money Congress had allocated for reconstruction had actually been spent. I heard that in Fallujah people were living in tents pitched on the ruins of their houses.

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By Melinda Liu
Dec. 22, 2005
Saddam Hussein’s top aides just released from prison may have stories to tell. But when it comes to Iraq, who should we trust?

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By Pepe Escobar
Dec 23, 2005
Asia Times
Iraq is a giant, messy albatross hanging from President George W Bush's neck. The faith-based American president believes "we are winning the war in Iraq". The reality-based global public opinion - not to mention 59% of Americans, and counting - know this is not true.

Bush felt that "God put me here" so he could conduct a "war on terror". Somebody up there must have a tremendous sense of humor - once again manifested in the way He allotted winners and losers in Iraq's December 15 parliamentary elections.

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B11608 / Thu, 22 Dec 2005 13:14:27
This is from Saddam’s trial:

[Three witnesses testified on Thursday but, like others, said nothing directly implicating either Saddam or the other defendants in the Dujail killings.

One recalled the abuse he saw in Abu Ghraib prison.

“The beating was continuous,” he said. “They would take a group into the hallway, the guards would hit them with cables and ask the group to crawl. The women would watch this and scream because their kids were being hit.”]

So abuse at Abu Ghraib is used as evidence to convict Saddam; yet the abuse at Abu Ghraib under our watch is just the work of a few peon soldiers….. hmmm…

Monday Dec 26 10:38 AEDT
(Photo: AAP)
The top US military commander admitted Sunday that Iraqis wanted US and other foreign troops to leave the country "as soon as possible," and said US troop levels in Iraq were now being re-assessed on a monthly basis.

The admission by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Marine General Peter Pace followed a decision by the Pentagon to reduce the current level of 160,000 soldiers in Iraq by two army brigades, which amounts to about 7,000 soldiers.

"Understandably, Iraqis themselves would prefer to have coalition forces leave their country as soon as possible," Pace said in a Christmas Day interview on Fox News Sunday. "They don't want us to leave tomorrow, but they do want us to leave as soon as possible."

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Jamie Wilson in Washington
Saturday December 24, 2005
The Guardian
“In Iraq they have had to make do with Christian hip-hop bands and sometime pop singer and reality TV star Jessica Simpson.”

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Comment: Wayne "Danke Schöen" Newton sez: "many celebrities have been wary of going because they think it might be seen that they are endorsing the war. And I say it's not. I tell them these men and women are over there because our country sent them, and we have the absolute necessity to try to bring them as much happiness as we can."

With all due respect to our troops illegally stationed in Iraq, I think the idea is that if the troops realize that they do not have the support of the Will of the American People, they just might find the backbone to refuse to take illegal orders en masse and bring this nightmare in Iraq to an end. "Just following orders" was no defense at Nuremberg.

The U.S. congress approved Friday the transfer of 600 million dollar in aid to Israel for joint defense projects, in addition to aid Israel already receives from America, Haaretz Daily reported.
The aid approved will be used to fund joint security projects between Israel and the U.S, according to media reports.
The main component in the package, according to the Jerusalem Post, is the Arrow anti-missile system, a collaborative project between Israel Aircraft Industries and Boeing.

Congress provided 133 million dollars for the arrow, 45 million more than what the U.S. government requested for this project, so that the extra money be used to increase the pace of the production of the Arrow components in the U.S, and thus enable Israel complete its anti-missile shield.

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Comment: Why is congress so eager (to the tune of $45 million)to ensure that Israel gets an anti-missile system asap? Do members of congress know something that the rest of us do not? More importantly, how can an Israeli lobbying organistaion in the US - AIPAC - wield so much influence on the American political system that it can "accelerate the approval" of $600 million of American taxpayers money to fund the defence of Israel, a country which is largely to blame for the for fact that the Middle East peace seems as far away as ever??
Answer that question, and you get to the heart of the matter.

Hypothetical Newsdesk
After carrying out preliminary scans, Israeli doctors who had been planning a "minor heart operation" on Israeli PM Sharon have cancelled the operation.

"We conducted a routine pre-operation X-Ray and, to our surprise, we found that the Prime Minister doesn't actually have a heart", one of the doctors stated.

The discovery would seem to explain Sharon's ability to inflict cruel and unusual punishment on thousands of innocent Palestinian men, women and children over the past 50 years without feeling any apparent empathy or remorse - emotions usually associated with the human heart.

"Everyone thought that the nickname 'the bulldozer' was just a reference to his aggressiveness, but it seems now that it was more of a literal description, the guy is more machine than man" one Israeli government insider, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

Joint Statement, ECCP, 21 December 2005
European organisations today defied the refusal of EU Ministers to publish a report compiled by their own diplomats regarding Israeli violations of international law with regard to East Jerusalem. Over 30 Jewish, Palestinian, peace and anti-poverty groups from around Europe will publish the suppressed Report on their websites.

The report, which states that "Israel's activities in Jerusalem are in violation of both its Roadmap obligations and international law" was shelved by EU foreign ministers at their 12 December Foreign Affairs (GAERC) meeting in Brussels, for fear of alienating Israel and reducing the EU's influence.

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By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 25, 2005; Page A09
At Issue Is New Stance on Tehran's Nuclear Program

After years of unwavering support for the Bush administration, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC has begun to sharply criticize the White House over its handling of Iran's nuclear program.

In lengthy news releases and talking points circulated to supporters on Capitol Hill, AIPAC describes the Bush administration's recent policy decisions on Iran as "dangerous," "disturbing" and "inappropriate." One background paper suggests that White House policies are actually helping Iran -- a sworn enemy of the Jewish state -- to acquire nuclear weapons.

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Comment: So on the one hand, the US is using American taxpayer's money to ensure that Israel feels confident to engage in its planned attack on Iran in the spring of 2006, yet at the same time, AIPAC (which is Israel's voice in Washington) is alarmed that the US seems to be subtly helping Iran to meet the threat from Israel. One would almost think that someone, somewhere, actually wants to see a war of mutual destruction between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

Jürgen Gottschlich, Der Spiegel
December 23, 2005
Are the USA planing a rocket attack against targets in Iran? In secret discussions Washington was preparing the Allies for appropriate air strikes in 2006, agencies disclosed to day. Especially in the NATO country Turkey, speculations about an attack against Iranian nuclear facilities are taking place.

Istanbul/Berlin - The News exploded like a Bomb in the tranquil prechristmas mood. Washington was preparing close allies for air strikes against Iran. This was disseminated today by the German Depeschenservice in a text by the former "FAZ" editor - Head and Secret Service Expert Udo Ulfkotte - however substantial doubts on this matter are certainly justified.

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Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the army to establish a no-go zone for Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip, BBC reported.

Sharon gave the order at a meeting with cabinet colleagues and security officials.

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Comment: Remember the fanfare with which the Gaza withdrawal was announced earlier this year? Remember that it was presented in the mainstream press as a "bitter pill" that Israel was swallowing in the interest of peace?

Apparently it was all a sham.

Life has not changed for the oppressed citizens of the Gaza strip. The air-raids and miitary incursions by Israel have not ceased. The arbitrary murder of Palestinians continues unabated.

Our question:

Who are the real terrorists??

By Mike Odetalla
Palestinians in Bethlehem's refugee camps have lived in abject poverty ever since being expelled from their homes in 1948 during the creation of the state of Israel.

Today, ringed by Jewish settlements and the 30-foot high concrete wall that strangles Palestinian cities and villages, Bethlehem is virtually cut off from the rest of Palestine, its lands, water and other resources expropriated by Israel in a relentless effort to make life ever more unbearable for the Palestinians who call it home.

How fitting that the Virgin Mary, seeking refuge from the mighty Roman army and a safe place to give birth, came to this town.

Today, pregnant Palestinian women must endure the degrading Israeli checkpoints in order to reach a hospital. While the Virgin Mary found refuge in a humble stable, many contemporary mothers-to-be are forced to stand endless hours at checkpoints manned by teenage soldiers who couldn't care less about a woman in labor.

Many have given birth in taxis or in streets choked with dust in summer and swimming with mud in winter, waiting at checkpoints for a soldier to arbitrarily decide whether they "look pregnant or only fat." And many children and mothers have died when not allowed to pass in time.

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Posted: 26-12-2005 , 10:14 GMT
Israel's Ministry of Housing published on Monday tenders for 228 new housing units in the West Bank, 150 of which are for the West Bank settlement of Beitar Illit, outside of Jerusalem, while another 78 are to be built in the Efrat settlement.

The left-leaning Israeli political group, Peace Now, has accused Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of taking advantage of upcoming Israeli elections, scheduled for this March, to publishing the tenders.

"In the shadow of the elections," a statement from the group said, "Ariel Sharon is undertaking political hijacking and permitting the construction of hundreds of housing units in the (occupied) territories."

"The move is in clear violation of the Road Map (peace plan) and harms the interests of the State of Israel," the statement added.

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By Jose Antonio Roman and Ciro Perez
La Journada
Translated by Carly Gatzert
December 20, 2005
New 'anti-immigrant' legislation being taken up in the U.S. Congress is the latest in a series of 'affronts and insults' from 'our northern neighbor.' According to this article from Mexico's La Jornada, the Vice President of the Mexican Senate believes, 'continuing to support this relationship of dependence on the U.S. will carry our nation to disaster.'

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Christmas Message From Buzzflash
25 Dec 2005
Does BuzzFlash Believe in God?

Yes, a God who manifests the divine in the good deeds and good will exchanged between people on a daily basis. In Judaism, there is an expression that it is the duty of a believer to engage in "tikkun olam," the healing of the world.

But our qualification is that those who defile the works of the divine by engaging in lying, killing, ill will, spiteful words, hate, bigotry, profiteering in death, corruption, arrogance, and the diminishment of the common good -- our qualification is that these people do the bidding of another master, a master who is at war with the revelation of the divine in the world; these people betray God.

That is because the revelation of the divine comes from those who would leave the world a better place than when they were born into it.

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Drudge Flash
Sat Dec 24 2005 12:33:41 ET
The chief of Russia's strategic forces on Saturday attended the deployment of a new set of state-of-the art intercontinental ballistic missiles, boasting of their capability to penetrate any prospective missile defense, news reports said.

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MORE than 4,000 British soldiers have been flown home from Iraq for medical treatment since the start of the war in 2003 - but not one has received a visit from the Prime Minister in hospital on their return.

Comment: Does anyone need any further evidence that, from the point of view of the political "elite" soldiers are nothing more than expendable cannon fodder?

Last Updated: Monday, 26 December 2005, 05:07 GMT
Countries around the Indian Ocean have begun commemorations marking one year since the tsunami which killed some 200,000 people.

In Indonesia, which was hardest hit, the province of Aceh observed a minute's silence at 0816 (0116 GMT) - the moment the first waves struck.

Sri Lanka's president led mourning at the site where a train was engulfed.

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December 25, 2005
Islamabad | A 5.2-magnitude quake jolted various parts of northern Pakistan Sunday. No damage was reported.

Dec 25, 2005
Jakarta - An 4.6-magnitude earthquake rocked Nias Island off the western coast of Indonesia's Sumatra on Sunday morning, triggered panic among the islanders but there were no immediate reports of injury or structural damage, officials said.

Sunday, December 25, 2005
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Get ready for a minute with 61 seconds. Scientists are delaying the start of 2006 by the first "leap second" in seven years, a timing tweak meant to make up for changes in the Earth's rotation.

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18 Dec 2005
Alongside tragedies, wars and natural disasters the year just ending brought its share of unusual, outrageous and tragi-comic and just downright silly news items.

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December 26, 2005



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