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The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside.
Allan Bloom The Closing of the American Mind

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. --Voltaire--

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December 25, 2002 - Today marks the anniversary of the famous "Christmas Eve truce" during WWI. Spontaneously, British, French and German soldiers began singing 'Silent Night.' They lay down their weapons, walked across no-man's land and exchanged cigarettes and tins of canned meat. Senior officers could barely get them back at their work - trying to kill each other.

Today, Christmas Day, I would like to remind everyone of Love. Indeed, in the past days, we have talked about "depression" or rather, the sadness side of the coin of love. Without the ability to feel great sadness, grief, despair, there is no possibility to feel the transcendent love of the higher realms. Negative emotions are just as important as positive ones, and all true emotion derives from love.

Those who truly love others, those who truly see, cannot but be sad at this present stage in planetary lessons. As Jesus said: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!"

And then, of course, there is that most profound of verses in the Bible - also the shortest - found in the story of the death of Lazarus, John 11:35: "Jesus wept." One has to wonder why, if Jesus knew that he could restore his friend to life, he wept?

I think the answer is: Because of Love. When you love, you HURT for another. And when the planet is hurting, when other people are hurting, the greater your love, the more pain you will feel. And all the signs point to a clear and present danger of suffering of such a magnitude that even if we know that a New World will be born from the ashes, we still weep.

Diane Ackerman writes in A Natural History of Love, "When I set a glass prism on a windowsill and allow the sun to flood through it, a spectrum of colors dances on the floor. What we call 'white' is a rainbow of colored rays packed into a small space. The prism sets them free. Love is the white light of emotion. It includes many feelings which, out of laziness and confusion, we crowd into one simple word. ...Everyone admits that love is wonderful and necessary, yet no one can agree on what it is. ...Love. What a small word we use for an idea so immense and powerful it has altered the flow of history, calmed monsters, kindled works of art, cheered the forlorn, turned tough guys to mush, consoled the enslaved, driven strong women mad, glorified the humble, fueled national scandals, bankrupted robber barons, and made mincemeat of kings.

The Sanskrit "lubhyati" (he desires) is the root of our word "Love."

"Love is an ancient delirium, a desire older than civilization, with taproots stretching deep into dark and mysterious days.

"We use the word 'love' in such a sloppy way that it can mean almost nothing or absolutely everything. ...It is a universally understood motive for crime. 'Ah, he was in love, ' we sigh, 'well, that explains it.' In fact, in some European and South American countries, even murder is forgivable if it was 'a crime of passion.' Love, like truth, is the unassailable defense." [Ackerman, 1994]

P.D. Ouspensky writes in Tertium Organum:

"Love, in relation to our life, is a Deity, now stern, now benevolent, but never submitting to us, never consenting to serve our aims. Men strive to subjugate love to themselves, to force it to serve their aims, both spiritual and material. But love cannot be subjugated to anything and it wreaks merciless vengeance on the puny mortals who strive to subjugate God to serve their own ends. It confuses all their calculations and makes them do what they have never expected. It forces them to serve it, to do what it wants.

"Mistaken about the origin of love, men are mistaken about its result. Both [material and spiritual] morality admit only one possible result of love - children, the propagation of species. But this objective result, which may or may not happen, is in any case only the result of the external, objective side of love, or the material fact of impregnation.

"For science... the purpose of love consists in the continuation of life... and the force which mutually attracts the two sexes acts in the interests of the propagation of species.

"But if we regard love from this standpoint, we shall have to admit that there is more of this force than is necessary, infinitely more! In reality, for the purposes of the propagation of species only a small fraction of one per cent of this force of love inherent in humanity is utilized.

"Where then, does the main part of the force go?

"Let us take an ordinary candle. It should give light. But it gives much more heat than light. Light is the direct function of the candle, heat is the indirect function, but there is more heat than light. In order to give light, the candle must burn. Burning is the necessary condition for obtaining light from a candle; burning cannot be done away with. But this same burning produces heat. It seems, at the first glance, that the heat produced by a candle is wasted unproductively and is, at times, even superfluous, unpleasant and hindering: if a room is lighted by candles, it becomes too hot. But the fact of the matter is that light is obtained from a candle only owing to its burning - the evolution of heat and the incandescence of the gases evolved.

"The same applies to love. We say that only an insignificant part of the energy of love goes to create progeny; the greater part seems to be spent by fathers and mothers on their personal emotions.

"In springtime, with the first awakening of the emotions of love, birds begin to sing and to build nests. Naturally, a materialist will say that the singing is to attract the females or the males and so on. But even a materialist will not be able to deny that there is much more of this singing than is necessary for the propagation of the species. For the materialist, the 'singing' is only 'accidental,' only a 'byproduct.' But, in reality, the singing may be the main function of the given species, the meaning of its existence, the purpose which nature had in view in creating this species. And this singing is needed not to attract the females, but for some general harmony of nature we only sometimes vaguely feel.

"Thus we see that what appears to be a collateral function of love, from the point of view of the individual, may serve as a principal function of the species.

"The young birds are not there yet, there is not even a hint of them. Yet 'houses' are already being prepared for them. Love has evoked a thirst for activity. Instinct governs this thirst for activity... at the first awakening of love - work starts.

"We see the same thing in men. Love is a creative force. And the creative force of love manifests itself not in one but in many varied directions. Perhaps it is precisely by this force of love, Eros, that mankind is incited to fulfill its main function, which we do not know and only sometimes dimly feel.

"But, even without touching upon the purpose of mankind's existence, within the limits of what we can know, we must admit that all the creative activity of mankind is the outcome of love.

"Love opens up in man sides he was not aware of in himself. ...Many men cannot be pushed by anything but love to crime, to treason; only love can bring forth in them deeply hidden feelings which they considered long extinct in themselves. In love there is concealed a tremendous amount of egotism, vanity and self-pride. Love is a great force that tears off all masks. And people who run away from love, run away in order to keep their masks.

"If creation, the birth of ideas, is the light which comes from love, then this light comes from a great flame. In this everlasting flame, in which all mankind and the whole of the world are burning, all the forces of the human spirit and genius are developed and refined; and perhaps it is precisely from this flame, or with the help of it, that a new force will spring into being which will lead those who follow it away from the shackles of matter.

"I have dwelt so long on the question of the understanding of love because it is of the most vital importance; for the the majority of people approaching the threshold of the mystery, it is precisely from this side that much becomes opened or closed and because for many precisely this question constitutes the greatest obstacle.

"The most important thing in love is that which is not, which is completely non- existent from an ordinary, everyday, materialistic point of view. In this sensing of that which is not, in the contact thus reached with the world of the miraculous, i.e. the truly real, lies the principal meaning of love in human life.

"A soul, when it begins to realize that all visible life is but a dream, approaches awakening. And the stronger, the more vivid the experiences of a man, the quicker may come the moment of consciousness of the unreality of life.

"Only he who is able to see far beyond the facts and who can view the facts themselves in the light of what is concealed behind them, only he can see the true depth of the question.

"Whoever is capable of seeing beyond 'facts' begins to see many new things precisely in love and through love.

"All life by all its facts, events and accidents, agitations and attractions always leads us to the knowledge of something. The strongest emotion in man is a yearning for the unknown. Even in love,k the strongest attraction to which everything else is sacrificed, is the attraction of the unknown, the NEW - curiosity.

"Al-Ghazzali says: 'The highest function of man's soul is the perception of truth.'

"The world is everything that exists. The function of inner life may be defined as the realization of existence.

"Man realizes his existence and the existence of the world of which he is a part. His relation to himself and to the world is called knowledge. The broadening and deepening of the relation to oneself and the world is a broadening of knowledge.

"All the mental faculties of man, all the elements of his inner life - sensations, representations, concepts, ideas, judgments, conclusions, feelings, emotions, even creation - all these are the instruments of knowledge which we possess.

"Feelings - from the simple emotions to the highest, such as aesthetic, religious and moral emotions - and creation, from the creation of a savage fashioning himself a stone hatchet, to the creation of Beethoven, are means of knowledge. Only to our narrow human view do they seem to serve other purposes - the protection of life, the creation of something, or enjoyment. In actual fact, all this serves knowledge.

"Evolutionists will say that the struggle for existence and the selection of the fittest have created the mind and feeling of the modern man - that mind and feeling serve life, protect the species, and apart from this, can have no meaning.

"The opposing argument is that, if intelligence exists, then nothing exists except for intelligence. The struggle for existence, and the survival of the fittest, if they in truth play such a role in the creation of life, are also not accidents, but products of an intelligence which we do not know. And, like everything else, they serve KNOWLEDGE.

"But we do not, as a rule, see the presence of intelligence in the phenomena and laws of nature. This happens because we always study the parts and not the whole. By studying the little finger of a man we cannot know the intelligence of the man. We always study the little finger of nature. If we realize this and understand that every life is the manifestation of a part of some whole, only then a possibility opens of knowing that whole.

"From this point of view, every separate life is the manifestation in our sphere of a part of one of the intelligences of another sphere. These intelligences seem to look in on us by means of lives which we see. Every separate human life is a moment of the life of the great being which lives in us. The intelligences of these higher beings do not exist independently of the lower lives. They are two sides of one and the same thing. Each single human mind, in some other section of the world may produce the illusion of many lives.

"Life and mind seem to us different and separate from one another because we do not know how to look, how to see. And this in its turn is due to the fact that it is very hard for us to get out of the framework of our divisions. We see the life of a tree, this tree. And if we are told that the life of the tree is a manifestation of some mind, we understand it to mean that the life of this tree is a manifestation of the mind of this tree.

"This, of course, is an absurdity resulting from our three- dimensional thinking, the 'Euclidean mind.' The life of this tree is a manifestation of the mind of the species or the variety, or perhaps, of the intelligence of the whole vegetable kingdom.

"In the same way our individual lives are the manifestations of some great intelligence. Proof of this is found in the fact that our lives have no meaning whatever apart from the process of acquiring knowledge. And a thoughtful man ceases to feel painfully the absence of meaning in life only when he realized this and begins to strive consciously in that direction which he was unconsciously following before.

"Moreover, this acquisition of knowledge, which constitutes our function in the world, is achieved not only by our intellect, but by our whole organism, all our body, all our life and the whole life of the human society, by its organizations, institutions, the whole culture and the whole civilization, by all we know in mankind and even more so by what we do not know. And we get to know that which we deserve to know.

"If we say about the intellectual side of man that its purpose is the acquisition of knowledge, this will not evoke any doubt. All are agreed that man's intellect, with all its subordinate functions, exists for the purpose of acquiring knowledge, although very often the faculty of knowledge is regarded as subordinate. But as regards the emotions: joy, sorrow, anger, fear, love, hate, pride, compassion, jealousy; as regards the sense of beauty, aesthetic sense and artistic creation; as regards moral sense; as regards all religious emotions; fait, hope, veneration and so on, as regards all human activity, thing are not so clear. As a rule, we do not see that all emotions and all human activity serve knowledge. In what way can fear or love or work serve knowledge?

"It seems to us that by emotions we feel, and by work we create. Feeling and creation seem to us something different from knowledge. Concerning work, creation, the making of something, we are rather apt to think that they require knowledge and if they serve it, they only do so indirectly. In the same way we cannot understand how religious emotions can serve knowledge. "Usually the emotional is opposed to the intellectual: 'heart' is opposed to 'reason.' 'Cold reason' or intellect is placed on one side, and on the other side :feelings, emotions, artistic sense; then, again quite separately, moral sense, religious feeling, 'spirituality.'

"The misunderstanding here lies in the interpretation of the words intellect and emotion.

"It is often said: reason conquered feeling; will conquered desire; the sense of duty overcame passion; spirituality conquered intellectuality; faith conquered reason. But this is as incorrect as the expressions 'sunrise' and 'sunset.' In the soul of man there is nothing but emotions or their harmonious coexistence. This was clearly realized by Spinoza when he said that an emotion can be overcome only by another, stronger emotion, and by nothing else. Reason, will, sense of duty, faith, spirituality, conquering some other emotion, can only conquer it by the emotional element contained in them. The ascetic who kills all desires and passions in himself, kills them by his desire for salvation. A man who renounces all worldly pleasures, renounces them for the sake of enjoying his sacrifice, his renunciation. A soldier who dies at his post through a sense of duty or habit of obedience does so because the emotion of devotion or faithfulness, or customary passivity are stronger in him than all the rest. A man whose moral sense tells him that he must overcome his passion, does so because moral sense, i.e. a certain emotion, is stronger in him than his other feelings, other emotions.

"Will is the result of desire. We call strong-willed a man whose will follows a definite line without deviation from it, and we call weak-willed a man whose will follows a zigzag course, deviating now in one, now in another direction under the influence of every new desire. But this does not mean that will and desire are opposites. On the contrary, they are one and the same thing, because will is built up of desires.

"Reason cannot conquer feeling, because feeling can only be conquered by feeling. Reason can only provide thoughts and images which would evoke feelings, and these conquer the feeling of the given moment. Spirituality is not something opposed to 'intellectuality' or 'emotionality.' It is only their higher flight. Reason has no bounds. Limitation is a characteristic that belongs only to the human 'Euclidean' mind - the intellect separated from emotions.

"In a man the growth of reason consists in the growth of the intellect and in the accompanying growth of higher emotions: aesthetic, religious, moral - which, as they grow, become more and more intellectualized; moreover, simultaneously with this the intellect becomes impregnated with emotionality and ceases to be 'cold. Thus, 'spirituality' is the merging together of the intellect and the higher emotions; the emotions are spiritualized from the intellect.

"At the present stage of his development, while man learns to know many things by means of the intellect, he also knows a great many things through emotions. Emotions are in no way instruments of feeling for the sake of feeling; they are all instruments of knowledge. By every emotion man learns to know something he cannot know without its help - something he cannot know by any other emotion or by any effort of the intellect. There are things and relations which can be known only emotionally and only through a given emotion.

"Theoretically all emotions serve knowledge; all emotions arise as a consequence of the cognition of one or another thing. ...Undoubtedly there are relations which can be known only through fear. A man who has never experienced fear will never understand many things in life and in nature. ...

"The sign of the growth of the emotions is their liberation from the personal element and their transition to higher planes. The liberation from personal elements enhances the cognitive power of emotions, because the more personal elements there are in an emotion, the more capable it is of leading into delusion. A personal emotion is always biased, always unfair, if only for the reason that it opposes itself to everything else.

"The evolution of knowledge consists in a gradual withdrawal from oneself. Only by withdrawing from self do we begin to understand the world as it is.

"Just as it is wrong in relation to oneself to evaluate everything from the point of view of one emotion, opposing it to all the rest, so it is wrong in relation to the world and to people to evaluate everything from the point of view of one's own self.

"Thus the problem of right emotional knowledge is to feel in relation to people and the world from a point of view other than the personal. And the wider the circle for which a given person feels, the deeper the knowledge which his emotions give.

"Christ driving the moneychangers out of the temple or expressing his opinion of the Pharisees was not at all meek or mild. And there are cases where meekness and mildness are not a virtue at all. Emotions of love, sympathy, pity are very easily transformed into sentimentality, into weakness. And in this form they naturally serve only absence of knowledge, i.e. matter.

"There exists a division of emotions into pure and impure. We all know this, we all use these words, but we understand very little what this means.

"Ordinary morality divides emotions, a priori, into pure and impure according to external traits. All 'carnal' desires are relegated into the category of the impure. However, carnal desires are as pure as everything else in nature.

"Nevertheless there actually are pure and impure emotions. We are well aware that there is truth in this division. Where is it then? What does it mean?

"An impure emotion is exactly the same as a dirty glass, dirty water or an impure sound. An emotion which is not pure contains foreign matter or echoes of other emotions. It is mixed. A pure emotion gives a clear, pure image of the knowledge which it is intended to transmit.

"If we discard the usual moral framework, we shall see that the matter is much more simple, that there are no emotions impure in their nature. "There may be pure sensuality, the sensuality of the 'Song of Songs,' which passes into the sensation of cosmic life and enables one to hear the beating pulse of nature. And there may be impure sensuality, mixed with other emotions, good or bad from the moral point of view, but equally making sensuality turbid. There is sensuality with anger that causes pain; there is sensuality with guilt that seeks pain.

"There may be pure sympathy - and there may be sympathy mixed with calculation to receive something for one's sympathy. There may be pure desire to know, a thirst for knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and there may be a pursuit of knowledge led by considerations of profit and gain.

"In their external manifestations pure and impure emotions may differ very little. Two men may play chess and be quite alike in their outward behavior, but one may be driven by ambition, desire of victory, and he will be full of unpleasant feelings towards his opponent - apprehension, envy of a clever move, vexation, jealousy, animosity, or anticipation of his winnings; but another may simply try to solve the complicated mathematical problems before him, without giving a thought to his opponent.

"Examples of such a division of outwardly similar emotions may be constantly seen in artistic, literary, scientific, social and even in spiritual and religious activities of men. In all domains, only complete victory over the self-element leads man to a right knowledge of the world and himself. All emotions coloured by the self-element are like concave, convex or distorting glasses which refract the rays incorrectly and so distort the image of the world.

"Thus the problem of emotional knowledge consists in a corresponding preparation of the emotions which serve as instruments of knowledge.

"Become as little children...' and 'Blessed are the pure in heart...' These words speak about the purification of emotions. It is impossible to know rightly through impure emotions. Therefore, in the interests of a right knowledge of the world and oneself, the work of purification and elevation of emotions should go on in man.

"There are emotions through which we gain knowledge, and there are emotions by which we are led astray.

"Let us take an emotion, valuable and capable of a very high evolution, such as pleasure in activity. This emotion is a powerful moving force in culture, it serves the perfectioning of life and the development of all the higher capacities of man. But the same emotion is also the cause of an endless series of errors. In the excitement of activity man easily forgets the aim for the sake of which he started to act; to take the activity for the aim; and then, for the sake of the activity, he will sacrifice the aim! This can be seen especially clearly in the activity of various religious trends. Having started in one direction, a man, without noticing it, turns in the opposite direction and very often heads towards the abyss thinking that he is scaling the heights.

"Nothing is more paradoxical than a man absorbed in activity. Violence in the name of freedom. Violence in the name of love. Preaching Christianity sword in hand. The stakes of the Inquisition to the glory of a God of Mercy. The oppression of the freedom of thought and speech on the part of ministers of religion. All these are utter absurdities of which only men are capable. " [Ouspensky, 1922]

I wish it were possible that the world might be awakened by my feeble efforts on this page to draw attention to the darkening gloom of the approaching winter of discontent. And in some small way, I believe it does based on the letters I get from readers. But more than that, while we all know that there are many good people in the world trying to do their best in this strange landscape of our reality, we also know that the "only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing."

As I wrote on this page some months back:

Recently we bought a copy of the TV movie "V" since I hadn't seen the whole thing back when it was on prime time. I had forgotten that the reptilian aliens disguised as humans were referred to throughout the movie as "the Visitors." I had also forgotten that there were so many allusions to the alien take-over as being accomplished in exactly the same way the Nazis took over Germany.

There is a character in the movie - an old Jewish man - who remembers the Nazi death camps and sees the comparisons of his current situation to exactly what prevailed as the Nazi Juggernaut came to life and stalked the land. This is what I, too, see in the present day. It is also related to what the C's have said: that the Nazi "experiment" was a "practice run" for what is happening now.

At the end of the movie, after the old man has been taken and tortured and killed, his son finds a letter that was left for him by his father which said:

My Dear Family,

It is painful knowing that I'll not see your faces anymore. I must take a stand for what I know is right. You may think that an old man wouldn't be afrraid to die, but this old man is very frightened. [...] So far, I am as frightened as a child who fears the dark.

But we must fight this darkness that is threatening to engulf us. Each of us must be a ray of hope and do our part and join with the others until we become a blinding light, triumphant over darkness. Until that task is accomplished, life will have no meaning.

More than anything, you must remember always which side you are on and fight for it - [We] have to... or we won't have learned a thing.

Fighting the darkness by illuminating it - is what this page is about. If you want to read feel good stories that put you back to sleep in your ignorace, perhaps this page isn't right for you. You should find another site to read and maybe you should even create your own to repeat the bedtime stories of all the nice things people are doing for each other to make it easier to ignore the fact that the planet is in peril - the shades they pull down around their personal reality so they don't have to look at what is really going on.

But Merry Christmas to you anyway.

And Merry Christmas to all the warriors and "Boulder Pushers" out there. On 08-03-96, we discussed the Wave and the following exchange occurred:

Q: (L) Okay, we have the 3600 year comet cluster cycle, the Sun twin is another cycle altogether, and then we have the wave, which is a Grand Cycle. So, we have three things causing a transition in nature?
A: Like "biorhythms."
Q: (T) And we have a triple bad day coming up! Or a good day, depending on which way you look at it.
A: Bad day if you are John D. Rockefeller, good day if you are Mahatma Ghandi.

Excerpts of the writings of Mahatma Gandhi:

I know the path. It is straight and narrow. It is like the edge of a sword. I rejoice to walk on it. I weep when I slip. God's word is: 'He who strives never perishes.' I have implicit faith in that promise. Though, therefore, from my weakness I fail a thousand times, I will not lose faith, but hope that I shall see the Light when the flesh has been brought under perfect subjection, as some day it must.

My soul refuses to be satisfied so long as it is a helpless witness of a single wrong or a single misery. But it is not possible for me, a weak, frail, miserable being, to mend every wrong or to hold myself free of blame for all the wrong I see. The spirit in me pulls one way, the flesh in me pulls in the opposite direction. There is freedom from the action of these two forces, but that freedom is attainable only by slow and painful stages. I cannot attain freedom by a mechanical refusal to act, but only by intelligent action in a detached manner. This struggle resolves itself into an incessant crucifixion of the flesh so that the spirit may become entirely free.

If I was a perfect man, I own I should not feel the miseries of neighbors as I do. As a perfect man I should take note of them, prescribe a remedy, and compel adoption by the force of unchangeable Truth in me. But as yet I only see as through a glass darkly and, therefore, have to carry conviction by slow and laborious processes, and then, too, not always with success. That being so, I would be less than human if, with all my knowledge of avoidable misery pervading the land and of the sight of mere skeletons under the very shadow of the Lord of the Universe, I did not feel with and for all the suffering but dumb millions of India.

I am in the world feeling my way to light 'amid the encircling gloom'. I am asking my countrymen in India to follow no other gospel than the gospel of self-sacrifice which precedes every battle. Whether you belong to the school of violence or non-violence, you will still have to go through the fire of sacrifice and of discipline.

I want to declare to the world, although I have forfeited the regard of many friends in the West - and I must bow my head low; but even for their friendship or love, I must not suppress the voice of conscience, - the promptings of my inner basic nature today. There is something within me impelling me to cry out my agony. I have known humanity. I have studied something of psychology. Such a man knows exactly what it is. I do not mind how you describe it. That voice within tells me, "You have to stand against the whole world although you may have to stand alone. You have to stare in the face the whole world although the world may look at you with blood-shot eyes. Do not fear. Trust the little voice residing within your heart." It says: "Forsake friends, wife and all; but testify to that for which you have lived and for which you have to die."

I am content with the doing of the task in front of me. I do not worry about the why and wherefore of things… My work will be finished if I succeed in carrying conviction to the human family, that every man or woman, however weak in body, is the guardian of his or her self-respect and liberty. This defense avails, though the whole world may be against the individual resister. It will be time enough to pronounce a verdict upon my work after my eyes are closed and this tabernacle is consigned to the flames.

Responses to and commentary on the "Depression Essay."

Pope Calls on World to Avert Conflict in Iraq - In his appeal, his first public reference to the crisis in Iraq, the pope said believers in all religions should build peace. Looking frail but resplendent in gold vestments, the 82-year-old Polish pontiff said they were called on "in the Middle East, to extinguish the ominous smoldering of a conflict which, with the joint efforts of all, can be avoided." The Vatican believes that any action in Iraq must be approved by the United Nations. The message of hope was echoed by Christians at church services around the world, even as the United States stepped up preparations for war in Iraq and worshippers in Asia were nervous over possible fresh attacks by Islamic militants. In Iraq, the country's Christian minority put on a brave face to celebrate Christmas but there was little joy. - In Bethlehem, Palestinians marked what some called the saddest Christmas ever in the biblical city, walking to Mass through cold rainy streets bereft of holiday cheer after weeks of Israeli military occupation.

The threat of terrorist attack and the prospect of a war in Iraq cast a looming shadow over Christmas celebrations around the world. As the stand-off deepened between Iraq and the United States over Washington's claims that Baghdad is secretly building weapons of mass destruction, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein delivered his own defiant Christmas message to Washington. Referring to the "growing" military threat against his regime, Saddam said in his annual television address that Washington and its allies were really after the nation's oil wealth. If United Nations-mandated weapons inspections were carried out in good faith, he said, their conclusions would be "a big shock to the United States and will expose all American lies".

Christmas eve storm brings snow, tornadoes - A Christmas Eve storm pushed toward the east Tuesday after dumping heavy snow in the southern Great Plains and spawning tornadoes in Texas. The storm system was expected to bring snow to the northeast part of the nation and heavy rain and severe thunderstorms in the southeast. Tornado warnings were posted Tuesday in parts of Florida.- 12 Dead As Snowstorm Moves to Northeast - By Christmas night, the storm is expected to have painted a broad streak of snow from the mountains of Arizona, across the Midwest and all the way to Maine. The forecast was for 10 to 20 inches around Albany, N.Y., which has not had snow on the ground on Christmas since 1985. "All those people who wanted a white Christmas – we are going to give it to them," said National Weather Service meteorologist Chuck Tingley in Buffalo, N.Y., where up to 11 inches was forecast. Temperatures Tuesday morning were in the teens as far south as the Texas Panhandle. Since Monday, the weather has been blamed for five deaths in Missouri, three in Oklahoma, three in Kansas and one in New Mexico.Comment: It was interesting here in Florida, to say the least - strong winds and driving rain on Christmas Eve... a CLUE?

"But Daddy, if the North Pole ice melts, where is Santa going to live?" - The maps show that the part of the Arctic Ocean covered by ice at its minimum for an average year had shrunk 9 percent between the 1980s and the 1990s. And the NASA report warned that if the pattern continued, by the end of the century the Antarctic's permanent ice cover could disappear altogether. - Today the ice is retreating, it seems, on virtually all fronts. We know the ice over the Arctic Ocean is retreating because since the late 1970s we've had satellites watching the entire globe. And scientists fear the rate at which the ice disappears could accelerate. This is because ice a nd snow reflect a lot more of the sun's heat and light than liquid water, so the less ice there is in the Arctic Ocean, the greater the tendency for the zone to heat up. A lot of people immediately think that the danger is that the level of the sea will rise, flooding coastal cities from Boston to Buenos Aires. But in the specific case of sea ice that isn't true, because the ice displaces in the sea the same quantity of water as is contained in the ice. - The reduction in sea ice detected by NASA satellites was much greater than climate models projected. But there have also been other changes that have been much smaller than projected.

Horrifying stories about vampires attacking villagers in the dead of night and sucking their blood have forced Malawi's government to wage a campaign to fight the rumours and calm the public. The rumours, which began three weeks ago in the south of the poor African nation, have intensified in recent days. Last week, scared villagers beat to death a man suspected of being a vampire, attacked and nearly lynched three visiting priests, and destroyed an aid group's encampment they feared was the vampires' headquarters.

This is RIDICULOUS! - An airline passenger was cited for disorderly conduct Tuesday after the plane's crew accused him of insinuating the pilot had been drinking. The remark caused Comair to cancel the 9:30 a.m. flight to Cincinnati, forcing 26 passengers to make other travel plans, said Lt. Michael Krembs of the Dane County Sheriff's Department. Steven M. Wiese, 33, of Cottage Grove, was accused of leaning into the cockpit and remarking to the pilot, "I hope you haven't been drinking," Krembs said. Federal Aviation Administration regulations require the flight crew to be tested for controlled substances when drug or alcohol abuse allegations are made. "My assumption is it was a flippant remark," Krembs said. "But in this day and age of heightened airport security, you just don't joke about stuff anymore." The airline refused to allow Wiese and his wife on another flight Tuesday, Krembs said. His citation carries a $225 fine. The sheriff's department has referred the case to the FBI for further investigation. Comment: They are certainly practicing on us to see just how much people will take before standing up for so-called Constitutional Rights! And just keep in mind: the "engineered terrorism" is the excuse for everything. And who benefits? Why George and the Gang, of course!

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Tuesday that Israel suspected that Iraq has been transferring chemical and biological weapons to Israel's arch-foe Syria to hide them from U.N. inspectors. Sharon, in an interview with Israel's Channel Two television, said his comments were based on unconfirmed information and he gave no evidence to support the allegation. Comment: My guess is that a lot is being stored in Libya, too. You can be sure that if George and the Warmongers hit Iraq, America will pay a very dear price. It's easy to think about a war "over there," but all the signs indicate that this one is going to be on our doorsteps.

Russia challenged the US contention that Iraq is a terrorist threat, saying nobody had produced any such evidence, while Syria denied an Israeli claim that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were stationed on its soil. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Yury Fedotov was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying: "No-one can provide the slightest evidence" that Iraq represented a terrorist threat, Russia opposes unilateral US military intervention against Iraq, threatened by Washington if Baghdad should prove to be in material breach of UN Security Council resolution 1441 ordering its complete renunciation of weapons of mass destruction. Meanhwile Syria described as "ridiculous" and "unfounded" accusations by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon that Iraq had transferred weapons of mass destruction to Syrian soil.

"Sharon's allegations are unfounded and aim to divert attention from the chemical, nuclear and biological arsenal that Israel possesses," a foreign ministry spokesman said in Damascus. "The accusations are ridiculous, especially since Syria has signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and called along with the other Arab countries for the Middle East to be freed from all weapons of mass destruction," he was quoted by the official news agency SANA as saying.

"The only party that has opposed this call and continues to do so is Israel," he said.

Israel agreed with the United States in 1969 not to declare its nuclear weapons programs nor to test the weapons. Washington in return pledged not to pressure Israel to sign the the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Experts say Israel possesses at least 200 nuclear warheads and the means to use them in an attack.

Russia brushed aside strong U.S. criticism on Wednesday and said it had agreed with Tehran to speed up building of a $800 million nuclear reactor in Iran and to consider constructing another. The United States, which has branded Iran part of an "axis of evil" for allegedly developing weapons of mass destruction, fiercely opposes the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev said Washington had failed to show that Iran had broken any international regulations over the nuclear program. "We always tell our American colleagues that all Iran- Russia cooperation is in accordance with international regulations and the resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Rumyantsev told a news conference.

Major-General Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash told a parliamentary committee that a U.S. strike would logically follow the January 27 deadline for the final weapons inspectors' report to the U.N. Security Council, the spokesman, Giora Pordes said. "The assessment is that if there is an attack, it will be at the beginning of February," Pordes quoted Ze'evi-Farkash as saying when asked if the U.S. military action would affect Israel's national elections, scheduled for January 28. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon indicated on Tuesday that he had been briefed by Americans on a tentative date for the assault. "Apparently there will be a war. I think I know more or less when. It is not going to happen immediately," Sharon told Channel Two television.

A 12-year-old boy was shot and killed by state troopers after he led them on a chase in a stolen car, authorities said. Michael Ellerbe led troopers on a chase Tuesday afternoon, crashed the car and then tried to run away, state police said. While chasing the boy, the troopers shot him, police said. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. Troopers Juan Curry and Samuel Nassan have been placed on administrative leave, pending an internal investigation. Police declined to discuss the incident further, citing the probe. Uniontown is located about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh.

Emergency workers scoured the side of an isolated mountain in central Iran for the remains of up to 48 Ukrainian and Russian aeronautics engineers killed in a crash of their Antonov plane. A top official in Ardestan in central Iran, near where the An-140 plane smashed into the side of a rocky peak late on Monday, said there were 39 passengers and six crew on board. Among the passengers were one child and one woman, Mohsen Gholabi said by telephone from near the crash site. Six of the passengers were Russians, while the remaining victims were Ukrainians, he said.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said on Wednesday North Korea had moved fresh fuel to a reactor which the United States says must stay mothballed because it can be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. The announcement by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) heightens a tense international confrontation that has followed the breakdown of an eight-year-old agreement restricting North Korea's nuclear program. North Korea's defense minister on Tuesday accused Washington of pushing the Korean peninsula to the brink of nuclear war.

North Korea admits disabling UN cameras at nuclear reactor - The move prompted condemnation from governments around the world. The North Koreans said they had no choice but to fire up the reactor to compensate for the loss of fuel oil imports from the US, Europe, Japan and South Korea. But many regional analysts said the move was tantamount to blackmail – using the threat of nuclear war to pressure the Americans, in particular, into resuming shipments of oil. - The timing of the gambit, as America prepared to go to war against Iraq, appeared designed to embarrass Washington. In contrast to Iraq, military action against North Korea is generally considered out of the question. Pyongyang has said South Korea would be reduced to a "sea of flames" by nuclear weaponry within minutes of war breaking out. A leading Democratic senat-or said the threat to America from North Korea's restarting of the plants was far greater than Iraq's weapons programmes. "This is a greater danger immediately to US interests, in my view, than Saddam Hussein is," said Senator Joe Biden, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. - Lee Jung Hoon, a professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, told The Washington Post: "Clearly, this is a fierce game of chicken. We should be very worried about this. We are approaching the worst limits of this situation."

George Bush was under intense pressure yesterday to give UN weapons inspectors intelligence data that the US says proves Iraq is lying when it claims to have given up its weapons of mass destruction. Hours before Mr Bush was to meet the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, and senior Russian and European representatives, Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, delivered a stinging attack on the US and Britain, accusing them of failing to co-operate with his team. "If the UK and the US are convinced and they say they have evidence, then one would expect they would be able to tell us where is this stuff," Mr Blix said. Asked if he was getting enough co-operation from Western intelligence agencies, he said: "Not yet. We get some, but we don't get all we need."

US plane shot down as Iraqis heighten tension - Tensions in the Gulf increased yesterday after an Iraqi fighter plane penetrated the no-fly zone over the southern tier of the country and shot down an American unmanned surveillance drone. The attack, the first downing of a US aircraft since the United Nations adopted a resolution giving Baghdad its last chance to disarm, was confirmed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, Richard Myers. "They got a lucky shot today, and they brought down the Predator," he said.

Seven out of 10 Muslims in Britain believe the war on terrorism is a war on Islam, an opinion poll published yesterday shows. More than half of the British-based Muslims questioned believe Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa'ida network should not have been blamed for the 11 September attacks in the United States. - The findings echo a warning last week by the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee that a war with Iraq could strengthen al-Qa'ida and destabilise the Arab world. The ICM poll found that 70 per cent of British Muslims rejected statements by President George Bush and Tony Blair that the war against terror is not a war against Islam. Only 20 per cent agree with the two leaders. - Two out of three of those polled said the US was unjustified in blaming al-Qa'ida for terrorist acts such as the Bali bomb in October. Eleven per cent thought that further attacks in the US by al-Qa'ida or similar organisations were justified, and 8 per cent said such actions were justified in Britain.

President Bush may seem a clumsy and unpractised player in the international arena, but in his native habitat of domestic and, especially, southern politics, he is deft, assured – and ruthless. Having led the Republican Party to regain control of the Senate last month, he has now seized the chance to dispatch an influential opponent – the Senate Majority leader-elect, Trent Lott. Mr Lott, who now claims he was trapped, was overheard lamenting the days of the segregationist South at the 100th birthday party of a like-minded Senator, Strom Thurmond. His nostalgia for the old days was taken down and used against him in the court of George Bush, who, in the graphic parlance of official Washington, "hung him out to dry". Clearly bereft of support, Mr Lott drew the required conclusion and resigned.

Tyranny In America - Why I Won't Fly - Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife's Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There? - [...]

At the security checkpoint I was led aside for the "inspection" that's all the rage at airports these days. My shoes were removed. I was told to take off my sweater, then to fold over the waistband of my pants. My baseball hat, hastily jammed on my head at 5 AM, was removed and assiduously examined ("Anything could be in here, sir," I was told, after I asked what I could hide in a baseball hat. Yeah. Anything.) Soon I was standing on one foot, my arms stretched out, the other leg sticking out in front of me àla a DUI test. I began to get pissed off, as most normal people would. My anger increased when I realized that the newly knighted federal employees weren't just examining me, but my 7 months pregnant wife as well. I'd originally thought that I'd simply been randomly selected for the more excessive than normal search. You know, Number 50 or whatever. Apparently not though - it was both of us. These are your new threats, America: pregnant accountants and their sleepy husbands flying to weddings.

After some more grumbling on my part they eventually finished with me and I went to retrieve our luggage from the x-ray machine. Upon returning I found my wife sitting in a chair, crying. Mary rarely cries, and certainly not in public. When I asked her what was the matter, she tried to quell her tears and sobbed, "I'm's...they touched my breasts...and..." That's all I heard. I marched up to the woman who'd been examining her and shouted, "What did you do to her?" Later I found out that in addition to touching her swollen breasts - to protect the American citizenry - the employee had asked that she lift up her shirt. Not behind a screen, not off to the side - no, right there, directly in front of the hundred or so passengers standing in line. And for you women who've been pregnant and worn maternity pants, you know how ridiculous those things look. "I felt like a clown," my wife told me later. "On display for all these people, with the cotton panel on my pants and my stomach sticking out. When I sat down I just lost my composure and began to cry. That's when you walked up."

Of course when I say she "told me later," it's because she wasn't able to tell me at the time, because as soon as I demanded to know what the federal employee had done to make her cry, I was swarmed by Portland police officers. Instantly. Three of them, cinching my arms, locking me in handcuffs, and telling me I was under arrest. Now my wife really began to cry. As they led me away and she ran alongside, I implored her to calm down, to think of the baby, promising her that everything would turn out all right. She faded into the distance and I was shoved into an elevator, a cop holding each arm. After making me face the corner, the head honcho told that I was under arrest and that I wouldn't be flying that day - that I was in fact a "menace."

It took me a while to regain my composure. I felt like I was one of those guys in The Gulag Archipelago who, because the proceedings all seem so unreal, doesn't fully realize that he is in fact being arrested in a public place in front of crowds of people for...for what? I didn't know what the crime was. Didn't matter. Once upstairs, the officers made me remove my shoes and my hat and tossed me into a cell. Yes, your airports have prison cells, just like your amusement parks, train stations, universities, and national forests. Let freedom reign.

After a short time I received a visit from the arresting officer. "Mr. Monahan," he started, "Are you on drugs?"

Was this even real? "No, I'm not on drugs."

"Should you be?"

"What do you mean?"

"Should you be on any type of medication?"


"Then why'd you react that way back there?"

You see the thinking? You see what passes for reasoning among your domestic shock troops these days? Only "whackos" get angry over seeing the woman they've been with for ten years in tears because someone has touched her breasts. That kind of reaction - love, protection - it's mind-boggling!

"Mr. Monahan, are you on drugs?" His snide words rang inside my head. This is my wife, finally pregnant with our first child after months of failed attempts, after the depressing shock of the miscarriage last year, my wife who'd been walking on a cloud over having the opportunity to be a mother...and my anger is simply unfathomable to the guy standing in front of me, the guy who earns a living thanks to my taxes, the guy whose family I feed through my labor. What I did wasn't normal. No, I reacted like a drug addict would've. I was so disgusted I felt like vomiting. But that was just the beginning. [ More...]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another example, Miller said, occurred early in Bush's White House tenure when he said, "I know how hard it is to put food on your family." According to Miller, "That wasn't because he's so stupid that he doesn't know how to say, 'Put food on your family's table'?it's because he doesn't care about people who can't put food on the table." Miller told Whyte, ""When he tries to talk about what this country stands for, or about democracy, he can't do it."

"This, then, is why he's so closely watched by his handlers, Miller says not because he'll say something stupid, but because he'll overindulge in the language of violence and punishment at which he excels," Whyte wrote. "He's a very angry guy, a hostile guy. He's much like Nixon. So they're very, very careful to choreograph every move he makes. They don't want him anywhere near protestors, because he would lose his temper," Miller said. "I call him the feel bad president, because he's all about punishment and death," Miller told Whyte. "It would be a grave mistake to just play him for laughs."

A grave mistake, indeed. If all that has happened since Bush was first mentioned as a possible GOP presidential candidate hasn't set off alarms, his naming of war criminal, mass murderer and international fugitive Henry Kissinger last week to head up the 9/11 investigation should have. And this week another alarm should have gone off when Bush promoted Elliot Abrams to lead the National Security Council's office for Near East and North African affairs, which oversees Arab-Israeli relations. Bush must be stopped now, before he sets the world aflame. And set it aflame is what he intends to do, even if Iraq has no "weapons of mass destruction" or Saddam stands on his head, naked, on the White House lawn.

Technical Problems



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