Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Will McClellan Be John Dean to Bush's Richard Nixon?

In 2003 Ambassador Joe Wilson published an op-ed piece saying he had investigated the reports of Niger selling Uranium (yellow cake) to Iraq, and found them to be false, but that Pres. Bush and other administration officials had gone ahead and spouted that lie as if it were truth. Shortly afterward Ambassador Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was exposed as a CIA agent. It is treason to reveal the identity of a secret agent under cover, especially in a time of war.

George Bush promised that if anybody in his administration were involved they would be fired and face consequences. Instead what happened was stonewalling, interference in the investigation, etc, and essentially nobody has faced any consequences due to this. I. Scooter Libby did go to trial, but for Perjury and Obstruction of Justice, not for Treason.

Scott McClellan is about to publish a book WHAT HAPPENED Inside the Bush White House and What's Wrong with Washington that tells the story. A part of the book discusses how he, as the White House Press Secretary, was ordered by Bush, Cheney, Rove, Libby, etc, to stand at the podium and lie to the press. I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.... There was one problem. It was not true.... I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself.

The Press Dog That Didn't Bark Scott McClellan has offered no bombshells—yet.seems to be saying that since McClellan's book doesn't contain bombshells that it won't change anything? After news broke Plame's identity had been revealed in the summer of 2003, it was McClellan who played a key role in exonerating Karl Rove and Scooter Libby. In October 2003, he stood at the press room podium and said they were not involved. When it became obvious that was untrue, McClellan spent months stonewalling for the administration, refusing to address questions about the case. His credibility deteriorated with each appearance.

Publisher: McClellan doesn't believe Bush lied "Former White House spokesman Scott McClellan does not believe President Bush lied to him about the role of White House aides I. Lewis Scooter Libby or Karl Rove in the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, according to McClellan's publisher."

The Bush Family Gets Away with Crimes That Would Land Anyone Else in Jail "For decades -- arguably going back generations -- the Bushes have been protected by their unique position straddling two centers of national power, the family's blueblood Eastern Establishment ties and the Texas oil crowd with strong links to the Republican Right....For Bush not to have been involved would have required him to be oblivious to the inner workings of the White House and the actions of his closest advisers on an issue of great importance to him. From the evidence at Libby's trial, it was already clear that Bush had a direct hand in the effort to discredit Plame's husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, after he had gone public in July 2003 with his role in a CIA investigation of what turned out to be bogus claims that Iraq had sought yellowcake uranium from Niger.... In other words, though Bush knew a great deal about how the anti-Wilson scheme got started -- since he was involved in starting it -- he uttered misleading public statements to conceal the White House role.... "

Article Reference: 

2007 ZEV Technology Review


At the 2003 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Regulation hearings, the Air Resources Board directed staff to conduct a review of Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) technologies and advise the Board. To accomplish this, ARB has convened an Expert Review Panel to summarize technology status through site visits with automakers and suppliers as well as conducting a ZEV Technology Symposium in September 2006. To read more about the ZEV Technology Review and the Expert Review Panel, please download a copy of the 2007 ZEV Technology Review Fact Sheet.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The cost to us all When the News Media Fails

The latest episode of Media Matters with Bob McChesney is an interview with Lance Bennett. Bennett is a Professor of Communication at the University of Washington. He is also founder and director of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement. The interview covers some very important ground to consider, the role of Journalists, the failures of Journalism to present the truth, and the desire we all have for truth and justice to be the norm rather than the official lies and deceit we are getting today.

In the interview they discussed a wide range of issues related to Bennett's latest book, When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina. Increasingly the Press is dominated by inside-the-beltway discussions, and is largely about inside-the-beltway people talking to each other through articles published in the news media. Increasingly the Press is disconnected from the rest of the country, and not in a dialog with us, etc. This leads to failures of Journalism to do the job it claims to be doing.

The role claimed by Journalism is about seeking out truth and act as a watchdog over the government. Remember that in the U.S.A. the Government is (supposedly) working for We The People. Yet increasingly we are asked to kowtow to whatever the Government says, and the Press is increasingly only speaking the government line.

Part of the issue is the reliance by Journalists on Official Sources. In order to get information to report, Journalists are increasingly addicted to getting information spoonfed to them by Official Sources and only reporting what the Official Sources are saying. The only time, increasingly, a Journalist practices the freedom to question the truth of what the Official Source says is when another Official Source themselves question the statements of other Official Sources. The Journalists then engage in reporting the debate between Official Sources.

The question I had was very aptly put by the last caller who expressed a lot of angst at a broken Media who is mouthing to us the lies of the Administration. What are we to do? Where are we to get the truth?

The blogosphere, for example, is an opportunity for anybody to build their own soapbox, as I'm doing here. But the blogosphere isn't quite focused on Journalistic endeavors. Each of us bloggers are following our own passion about what to write etc. Often bloggers who are acting as government oversight are not producing original Journalism pieces and it is easy to brush us off, as Lance Bennett does, as simply rehashing the stories printed in the news media. While that is often true it's also true that the large picture only comes clear when you connect the dots between dozens of disparate news articles. It seems the news media splits the big picture into small chunks, and unless you proactively connect up the pieces between those articles you'll miss the real story.

Journalists have an advantage over a blogger like me. They have access, they can more easily go into war zones, they know how to find 'Fixers' who can guide them safely through dangerous territories, etc. I on the other hand have to hold a day job and sneak time out of the rest of my life to write on my blogs.

In any case the interview is excellent and offers a lot of great insight and thought about the role of media and whatever is the truth. The cost to us for allowing the journalistic nightmare to continue is that we are being lied into war after war after war. The sort of journalist failures which allowed the Bush Administration to create the Iraq war are being perpetrated upon us right now with the Iran war that's due to begin any day now.

The Media Matters site does not have individual pages for each show, but the MP3 is available at this URL:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sibel Edmonds, a modern day Ellsberg?

In EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Ellsberg Says Sibel Edmonds Case 'Far More Explosive Than Pentagon Papers' is a mindblowing set of claims. In the Vietnam War era the main event which blew apart support for continuation of that war was the bravery of Daniel Ellsberg to reveal the truth, and leak the 'Pentagon Papers'. Ellsberg faced severe criticism and danger but he did it thereby stopping that war. The Brad Blog discusses the case of Sibel Edmonds and her attempt to reveal the truth she discovered about the September 11, 2001 attacks. So far the government has refused her attempts to reveal the truth under the Whistleblower laws, which would give her the legal protection she'd need to safely do so. And she is apparently considering risking all and talking without having whistleblower protection.

Since this is the first I've heard of her, the following will be a summary of the Brad Blog article plus other articles I find by searching for information about her.

EXCLUSIVE: FBI WHISTLEBLOWER SIBEL EDMONDS IS READY TO TALK! Is an earlier Brad Blog posting listing the charges she has made. Essentially the allegations are that the FBI and other agencies dropped several balls, and did other shoddy work related to terrorist investigations prior to September 11, 2001.

Sibel Edmonds: A Patriot Silenced, Unjustly Fired but Fighting Back to Help Keep America Safe is a statement by the ACLU, who is representing her in the appeal of the dismissal of her case claiming unfair firing from her job with the FBI. So, that's a little confusing -- Sibel worked for the FBI starting in September 11, 2001 because of her expertise in Middle Eastern languages. "She was fired less than a year later in March 2002 for reporting shoddy work and security breaches to her supervisors that could have prevented those attacks." She is contesting that firing, and her suit in that matter has been dismissed, and the ACLU is handling her appeal. "Even though she followed all appropriate procedures for reporting her concerns up the chain of command, Edmonds was retaliated against and fired. After her termination, many of Edmonds' allegations were confirmed by the FBI in unclassified briefings to Congress. More than two years later, in May 2004, the Justice Department retroactively classified Edmonds' briefings, as well as the FBI briefings, and forced Members of Congress who had the information posted on their Web sites to remove the documents."

JUST A CITIZEN This is the 2000's and everybody has an official web site. This one is Sibel's, and contains pointers to media, articles, legal documents, etc.

Wikipedia entry for Sibel Edmonds

Lost In Translation: FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Grants First Interview To Ed Bradley is coverage published by CBS News of her appearance on 60 Minutes. The Department of Justice later retroactively classified the 60 Minutes broadcast, along with several other appearances by Sibel Edmonds. Yes, Retroactively classified. As in, the show was broadcast, nationwide, and sometime later the DoJ said "wait, that's top secret". How Orwellian is that? In any case the CBS report describes her allegations as being about documents which went untranslated, and that her supervisors required her to work slowly so that they could justify budget for more employees because obviously the work was backing up.

Complete 911 Timeline Sibel Edmonds and Related Scandals is the subset of the excellent 9/11 Timeline which is related to Sibel Edmonds. The most interesting of these is: November 2001 or December 2001: FBI Translator to Have Exclusive Access to Wiretaps of Surveillance Targets with Whom She Has Links ... it concerns FBI translator Melek Can Dickerson and her recommendation of a change in assigning translators to documents to translate. Previously translators were assigned randomly, but Melek recommended assigning translators to specific targets. She went on to recommend specific assignments for the agents, and that she (Melek) be assigned to the American Turkish Council, an organization where she had previously been employed. What's interesting is that if someone were to attempt a cover-up of nefarious activity, one way to do so is for an insider to hide or skew information being collected about those activities. Melek may have had ulterior motives for recommending she be assigned to do translation of her former employer.

Fmr. FBI Translator: White House Had Intel On Possible Airplane Attack Pre-9/11 is an appearance by Sibel Edmonds, in March 2004, on Democracy Now. This happened in the same time frame as when Condoleeza Rice was still National Security Advisor and made some kind of special allowance to Congress for her to testify. It was in this context that she made the claim the government "had no information about an imminent domestic threat involving airplanes" and then went on to name the White House briefing of August 6, 2001 titled "bin Laden Determined to Strike U.S.". Most of the interview discusses the legal wranglings and the gag order which is preventing Sibel from (safely) disclosing the story she has to tell.

Kill the Messenger: Sibel Edmonds focused on the documentary about Sibel Edmond's struggle.

External Media

Saturday, November 24, 2007



Prosper, America's first people-to-people lending marketplace, was created to make consumer lending more financially and socially rewarding for everyone.

The way Prosper works is intuitive to people who have used an online auction. Instead of listing and bidding on items, people list and bid on loans using Prosper's online auction platform.

People who want to lend set the minimum interest rate they are willing to earn and bid in increments of $50 to $25,000 on loan listings they select. People who lend can easily diversify using "standing orders", which automatically make many small loans to different borrowers.


CIA agent alleged to have met Bin Laden in July

This is one of the significant bits of news which point to possible Bush Administration complicity in the September 11, 2001 attacks. This Guardian (of London) article from November 2001 states that "Two months before September 11 Osama bin Laden flew to Dubai for 10 days for treatment at the American hospital, where he was visited by the local CIA agent, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro.... Bin Laden is reported to have arrived in Dubai on July 4 from Quetta in Pakistan with his own personal doctor, nurse and four bodyguards, to be treated in the urology department. While there he was visited by several members of his family and Saudi personalities, and the CIA.... The CIA chief was seen in the lift, on his way to see Bin Laden, and later, it is alleged, boasted to friends about his contact. He was recalled to Washington soon afterwards."

In general the article undermines the claim that Osama bin Laden has been cut off from the Saudi leading families. Supposedly when Osama bin Laden became a radical extremist he was cut off from his family and the Saudi officialdom shunned him, banning him from returning to Saudi Arabia. Supposedly. However this article as well as many others show that there are continuous contacts between Osama bin Laden, his family, and prominent Saudi people.

The particular consternating question is if CIA agents had contact with Osama bin Laden in July 2001, then why didn't we do something about him? At that time he was sought over responsibility over several previous attacks against the U.S., such as the bombing's in Kenya and of the U.S.S. Cole.

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The Shock Doctrine


In THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world-- through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.

Naomi Klein


Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the international bestseller No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies. She writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian that is syndicated internationally by The New York Times Syndicate.

She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia. She was voted 11th, the highest ranked woman, in the Global Intellectuals Poll—a list of the world’s top public intellectuals compiled by Prospect Magazine, in conjunction with Foreign Policy Magazine.

Naomi Klein’s latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, is an international bestseller and was published worldwide in September 2007.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Local 2 Investigates Police Secrecy Behind Unmanned Aircraft Test

The Houston Texas police department gets caught secretly testing Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV) by the local TV station. The police department staged a demonstration at a farm 70 miles from town, inviting only the officialdom, and the invitations read "NO MEDIA ALLOWED". Somehow the local TV station learned of the event and sent out a their "news chopper" to record the test. That then caused the police department to go ahead and disclose the project at a "hastily organized news conference".

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Thursday, November 22, 2007


The Pilgrim Hall Museum has this record of the 2 (and only 2) primary sources for the events of autumn 1621 in Plymouth : Edward Winslow writing in Mourt's Relation and William Bradford writing in Of Plymouth Plantation

The eyewitness accounts don't use the name 'Thanksgiving' however it does describe a feast of many days in length, and describes a mingling of native people with the Pilgrim settlers.

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First Genocide, Then Lie About It: Why I Hate Thanksgiving

This article by Mitchel Cohen, published by Counter Punch, recounts the horrific crimes committed by Europeans settling the 'New World' (new to Europeans). He starts with "The year was 1492. The Taino-Arawak people of the Bahamas discovered Christopher Columbus on their beach" recounts the brutality of Columbus as "When some refused to be taken prisoner, they were run through with swords and bled to death" and the story goes on from there.

'What Columbus did to the Arawaks of the Bahamas and the Taino of the Caribbean, Cortez did to the Aztecs of Mexico, Pizarro to the Incas of Peru, and the English settlers of Virginia and Massachusetts to the Powhatans and the Pequots. Literally millions of native peoples were slaughtered. And the gold, slaves and other resources were used, in Europe, to spur the growth of the new money economy rising out of feudalism. Karl Marx would later call this "the primitive accumulation of capital." These were the violent beginnings of an intricate system of technology, business, politics and culture that would dominate the world for the next five centuries.'

Thanatocracy, the regime of death.

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S. Brian Willson offers an alternate history of Thanksgiving beginning with: 'Native Americans in the Caribbean greeted their 1492 European invaders with warm hospitality. They were so innocent that Genoan Cristoforo Colombo wrote in his log, "They willingly traded everything they owned . . . They do not bear arms . . . They would make fine servants . . . They could easily be made Christians . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want." This meeting set in motion a 500-year plunder of the Western Hemisphere, then spread to the remainder of the globe. And it has not stopped!'

So much for Christopher Columbus as a noble explorer. The story goes on to the settling of America who brought death to the Natives in the form of diseases and open battle and massacres. 'The Pequot tribe reportedly numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had reduced their population to 1,500 by 1637, when the first, officially proclaimed, all-Pilgrim "Thanksgiving" took place. At that feast, the whites of New England celebrated their massacre of the Pequots. "This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots," read Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop's proclamation. Few Pequots survived.'

So it goes.

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' The story began in 1614 when a band of English explorers sailed home to England with a ship full of Patuxet Indians bound for slavery. They left behind smallpox which virtually wiped out those who had escaped. By the time the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts Bay they found only one living Patuxet Indian, a man named Squanto who had survived slavery in England and knew their language. He taught them to grow corn and to fish, and negotiated a peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Nation. At the end of their first year, the Pilgrims held a great feast honoring Squanto and the Wampanoags.... But as word spread in England about the paradise to be found in the new world, religious zealots called Puritans began arriving by the boat load. Finding no fences around the land, they considered it to be in the public domain. Joined by other British settlers, they seized land, capturing strong young Natives for slaves and killing the rest. But the Pequot Nation had not agreed to the peace treaty Squanto had negotiated and they fought back. The Pequot War was one of the bloodiest Indian wars ever fought. '

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Native Blood: The Myth of Thanksgiving

An article which appeared in Revolutionary Worker #883, November 24, 1996 discusses the truth of the Thanksgiving celebration as having been rooted in massacre of the native peoples of this land. This website is the home of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. Therefore one should read this with a grain or two of salt in that their article is going to be slanted to support their cause.

For example the article starts with: Every schoolchild in the U.S. has been taught that the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony invited the local Indians to a major harvest feast after surviving their first bitter year in New England. But the real history of Thanksgiving is a story of the murder of indigenous people and the theft of their land by European colonialists--and of the ruthless ways of capitalism.

This article has section headers which reveal the content:

How the Puritans Stole the Land

The Birth of "The American Way of War"

Discovering the Profits of Slavery

Thanksgiving in the Manhattan Colony

The Conquest of New England

Runaways and Rebels


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The end of American Thanksgivings: A Cause for Universal Rejoicing

An article appearing in The Black Commentator magazine is clearly written from the viewpoint of downtrodden Black people exposing a 'four centuries-old abomination' and the White Supremacy being celebrated in the Thanksgiving observation. 'The real-life events – subsequently revised – were perfectly understood at the time as the first, definitive triumphs of the genocidal European project in New England. The near-erasure of Native Americans in Massachusetts and, soon thereafter, from most of the remainder of the northern English colonial seaboard was the true mission of the Pilgrim enterprise – Act One of the American Dream. African Slavery commenced contemporaneously – an overlapping and ultimately inseparable Act Two.'

An interesting factoid is the myth of Europeans settling in a 'New World' as if nobody was living here and the land was widely available to simply settle here. The truth is that this land was filled with native peoples, and that the Europeans conducted decade after decade of warfare against the native people in order to 'settle' here. But the Black Commentator article quotes: 'In a letter to England, Massachusetts Bay colony founder John Winthrop wrote, "But for the natives in these parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest part of them are swept away by smallpox which still continues among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50, have put themselves under our protection."' and that the Thanksgiving feast celebration in the early 1600's was about their luck that the native peoples had somehow disappeared prior to the settling of this land by the Pilgrims.

The truth seems to be that the Plymouth Company of England hired Captain John Smith (the same Smith who had led the first successful English Colony at Jamestown) to do exploration of other land. One technique used by these explorers was to distribute 'Smallpox Blankets'. The Europeans were immune to Smallpox but it being an old world disease the native peoples did not have this immunity. In this way they spread Smallpox to the native peoples and the disease did the work of wiping them out without having to conduct warfare. 'smallpox would effectively wipe out entire villages with very little effort required by the Europeans... From 1615 to 1619 smallpox ran rampant among the Wampanoags and their neighbors to the north.... Most of the Wampanoag had died from the smallpox epidemic so when the Pilgrims arrived they found well-cleared fields which they claimed for their own. A Puritan colonist, quoted by Harvard University's Perry Miller, praised the plague that had wiped out the Indians for it was "the wonderful preparation of the Lord Jesus Christ, by his providence for his people's abode in the Western world."'

The article keeps going with more discussion and details. It is worthwhile recognizing the author of that article is clearly embedded in the worldview of centuries of suppression of the Black People, the African Americans. Just as he points at the Thanksgiving Myth at being embedded in the worldview that White European Americans praise truth and honesty and carry a myth of American cultural morality, we all have a form of blinders on our perception of truth based on our cultural heritage.

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Thanksgiving Day Myths

Timothy Walch, is the director of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa. He has a story about the history of Thanksgiving. ' So what are the facts of that first Thanksgiving? In fact, the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony in today's Massachusetts did share a meal with the Wampanoag Indians in the autumn of 1621, but the rest of the details are uncertain. The only documentary evidence of the event comes from the journal of Plymouth Colony's governor, Edward Winslow, who noted simply that the colonists met with Chief Massasoit and 90 of his men for a feast that lasted four days. No one worried about cholesterol or obesity in 1621!'

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Top 10 Myths About Thanksgiving

Rick Shenkman, the editor of the History News Network, has an article discussing myths about the Thanksgiving celebration.

MYTH # 1: The Pilgrims Held the First Thanksgiving

MYTH # 2: Thanksgiving Was About Family

MYTH # 3: Thanksgiving Was About Religion

MYTH # 4: The Pilgrims Ate Turkey

MYTH # 5: The Pilgrims Landed on Plymouth Rock

MYTH # 6: Pilgrims Lived in Log Cabins

MYTH # 7: Pilgrims Dressed in Black

MYTH # 8: Pilgrims, Puritans -- Same Thing

MYTH # 9: Puritans Hated Sex

MYTH # 10: Puritans Hated Fun

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The Truth About Thanksgiving Is that the Debunkers Are Wrong

Jeremy Bangs, former Chief Curator of the Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, MA, has an article discussing the myths about the Thanksgiving holiday. He says the mythsmaking include the United American Indians of New England describing "the ‘first Thanksgiving’ as merely a pretext for bloodshed, enslavement, and displacement that would follow in later decades".

He has an interesting question... in aspiring to discover the true history of an event, "these holidays say much less about who we really were in some specific Then, than about who we want to be in an ever changing Now". By keeping alive our Past does this confine us to only be who our ancestors were? Can we not learn and grow from our Past to be who we truly desire to be? We all desire peace and justice but any study of history shows our ancestors conducted many bloody massacres often in the name of Religion.

Dr. Bangs discusses several sorts of Thanksgiving feasts and celebrations which occurred in the settling of this land by the Europeans. While these feasts were related to other sorts of harvest festivals, to the Puritans 'Thanksgiving' was a specific sort of Religious observance in their cult. He goes into a lot of details and excellent information about several aspects to the history of the Thanksgiving observance.

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Fast and Thanksgiving Days of Plymouth Colony

The founders of the Plymouth Colony were Separatists and they observed three holy days. 'the weekly Sabbath, the Day of Humiliation and Fasting, and the Day of Thanksgiving and Praise.' Carolyn Freeman Travers, Research Manager of Plimoth Plantation goes on to explain: 'The latter two were held for special circumstances. A series of misfortunes meant that God was displeased, and the people should both search for the cause(s) and humble themselves before him. Good fortune, on the other hand, was a sign of God’s mercy and compassion, and therefore he should be thanked and praised. ...Early fast days and thanksgiving days were similar in many respects. They were called by either church or civil officials or the two working together. Occasionally, officials reacted to one overwhelming situation, such as an epidemic. More frequently, there were a number of reasons....A 1685 Day of Thanksgiving in the Plymouth church was held for “continuance of spirituall & civill liberties, a good harvest notwithstanding a threatening drought, & for health.”'

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As American as Pumpkin Pie

'Prior to the mid-1800s, Thanksgiving had nothing to do with the 1621 harvest celebration, Pilgrims or Native People. Thanksgiving started as a traditional New England holiday that celebrated family and community. It descended from Puritan days of fasting and festive rejoicing. ... The Pilgrims, Wampanoag and Thanksgiving were first linked together in 1841, when historian Alexander Young rediscovered Edward Winslow’s account of the 1621 harvest celebration. The account was part of the text of a letter to a friend in England, later published in Mourt’s Relation (1622)....One of the first private organizations to undertake “Americanizing” new immigrants was the Daughters of the American Revolution. As early as 1910, the group published a guide for new citizens...Industries like the Ford Motor Company conducted Americanization classes for their employees. These classes included information about the Pilgrims. At the closing ceremonies of Americanization classes at Plymouth Cordage Company, Plymouh, Massachusetts, employees reenacted scenes in American history, including the landing of the Pilgrims....'

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Deconstructing the Myths of “The First Thanksgiving”

'What is it about the story of “The First Thanksgiving” that makes it essential to be taught in virtually every grade from preschool through high school? What is it about the story that is so seductive? Why has it become an annual elementary school tradition to hold Thanksgiving pageants, with young children dressing up in paper-bag costumes and feather-duster headdresses and marching around the schoolyard? Why is it seen as necessary for fake “pilgrims” and fake “Indians” (portrayed by real children, many of whom are Indian) to sit down every year to a fake feast, acting out fake scenarios and reciting fake dialogue about friendship? And why do teachers all over the country continue (for the most part, unknowingly) to perpetuate this myth year after year after year?'

Indeed. Judy Dow (Abenaki) and Beverly Slapin go on to discuss, in great detail and with footnotes citing sources, several myths about the settling of the land we call the United States of America, and myths about the Thanksgiving feast. These myths are:

Myth #1: “The First Thanksgiving” occurred in 1621.

Myth #2: The people who came across the ocean on the Mayflower were called Pilgrims.

Myth #3: The colonists came seeking freedom of religion in a new land.

Myth #4: When the “Pilgrims” landed, they first stepped foot on “Plymouth Rock.”

Myth #5: The Pilgrims found corn.

Myth #6: Samoset appeared out of nowhere, and along with Squanto became friends with the Pilgrims. Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive and joined them at “The First Thanksgiving.”

Myth #7: The Pilgrims invited the Indians to celebrate the First Thanksgiving.

Myth #8: The Pilgrims provided the food for their Indian friends.

Myth #9: The Pilgrims and Indians feasted on turkey, potatoes, berries, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and popcorn.

Myth #10: The Pilgrims and Indians became great friends.

Myth #11: Thanksgiving is a happy time.

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No Thanks to Thanksgiving

It would be a strong indication of moral progress in the United States of America if the Thanksgiving holiday would be widely acknowledged as to what actually happened. And that instead of a feast we might hold a national Day of Atonement for the genocide perpetrated by our European ancestors against the native peoples of this land. 'it's also true that by 1637 Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop was proclaiming a thanksgiving for the successful massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, part of the long and bloody process of opening up additional land to the English invaders. The pattern would repeat itself across the continent until between 95 and 99 percent of American Indians had been exterminated and the rest were left to assimilate into white society or die off on reservations, out of the view of polite society....Simply put: Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers.'

'How does a country deal with the fact that some of its most revered historical figures had certain moral values and political views virtually identical to Nazis?'

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Thanksgiving Day originated from 1637 massacre

"Thanksgiving is not just about turkey and mashed potatoes." Americans have been told a fictional story about the Thanksgiving holiday, that "it was just about them offering us food and being nice to the newcomers". That makes for a nice story doesn't it? The truth is that the Europeans who settled this land had to slaughter the people living here to make room for Europeans to live here.

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Remember Fallujah - Thanksgiving Massacre

'On 8 November 2004, after more than two months of aerial attacks, the US began its second major assault on Fallujah - originally codenamed “Thanksgiving Massacre” - devastating the city and killing hundreds of civilians. ' Much of the resistance fighting against the U.S. occupation of Iraq stems from the bloodthirsty violence launched by U.S. forces against Fallujah in November 2004. And to be accurate, November 8, 2004 was the Monday following George Bush's re-election on November 2, 2004. It would obviously have been bad politically for George Bush if a bloodthirsty slaughter had been occuring before the election.

It may seem curious why the U.S. Military used the codename 'Thanksgiving Massacre'. However the true history of the Thanksgiving celebration is a celebration of a successful massacre of native americans, so has a curious sort of logic to it.

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Native Americans Will Mourn Thanksgiving

'To many Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a "Day of Mourning" that marks the genocide of thousands of Native Americans, the theft of Native lands and the assult on Native cultures. A few hundred Native Americans plan to gather along Plymouth shore to tell the stories of their ancestors. ... Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop might have declared 1637 the first official day of Thanksgiving, but for many of the nearly 3 million Native Americans, it's a cruel reminder of the massacre that year of 700 Pequot men, women and children by the Puritans, who had arrived a few years earlier on the Mayflower and were warmly greeted by Native Americans with food. Later, the visitors were given land, taught to plow, sow and tend to their crops.'

There are several gatherings of surviving native peoples around the country to hold "anti-Thanksgiving' events. One is held on Alcatraz Island, and this article discusses another held in Plymouth Rock Massachusetts.

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Thanksgiving Myth Conceals Massacre, Says Indigenous Journalist

This article is an interview with Sundust Teocuauhtli Martinez is the executive director and co-host of Native Voice TV, a nonprofit news program in San Jose, Calif. He's discussing what he claims is the true history of Thanksgiving, that the 1621 'feast' was actually to celebrate a massacre of the Pequot tribe. He explains: It was portrayed by the government and mainstream media authorized it. I think a lot of things contributed [to the myth]. People think, 'It makes money, sounds good, smells good -- let's keep promoting it.' I'm sure if a lot of people knew what happened they would think about it in a different way.

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Thanksgiving - Giving Thanks

Herbert Storch "became curious and started to browse through the Internet and see what I would find about the history of Thanksgiving. Well, there is an overwhelming amount of information, but to my surprise, the "History of Thanksgiving" started and ended on the borders of the United States. You will find detail description about the Pilgrims, who celebrated their first bountiful harvest by having a "Feast" in the year of 1621. The authors accidentally forgot to mention that this "Feast" was not officially repeated until 1676, when Governor Bradford proclaimed another day of thanks." He goes on to detail several instances where Thanksgiving feasts were held in honor of massacre's of "Heathen Savages".

There is a long tradition in all cultures of harvest time feasting, giving thanks for the bounty the land honors us with. No doubt the current feast really stems from that tradition. However the specific instance in the U.S.A. carries a context of European "settlers" having to wrest this land from the native peoples living here. To 'wrest' land from people already living here inevitably led to fighting. Such as: The Dutch and the Puritans (with Bible passages in their hands to justify their every move), joined forces to exterminate all "Natives Savages" from New England. Woman and children over 14 were captured to be sold as slaves; other survivors were massacred. The Natives were sold into slavery in the West Indies, the Azures, Spain, Algiers and England, where ever the Puritan traded. The slave trade was so lucrative that boatloads of 500 at a time left the harbors of New England. So, the 2nd "Thanksgiving" was to celebrate the victory (massacre) over the "Heathen Savages". During the feasting, the hacked off heads of Natives were kicked through the streets of Manhattan like soccer balls as part of the celebration.

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Thanksgiving Massacre in Fallujah: 1st Anniversary

"Thanksgiving Day" is an invented holiday which commemorates "the massacre of 700 Pequot Indians in 1637". This article connects that invented holiday with "The US manufactured the phantom 'Al Qaeda' which is the translation of the CIA 'data Base' and fabricated an Islamic enemy which does not exist and is terrorizing the world under the guise of its Fake War on Terror." With the phantom Al Qaeda in Iraq always dogging U.S. Soldiers we have justified the slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Iraqi people.

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Thanksgiving Day Celebrates A Massacre

""Thanksgiving Day" was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance...In June 1637 John Underhill slaughtered a pequot village in just the manner described above. Narranganset Indians were used as the mercenaries. ...The Jamestown Colony may be the source for the tradition of Indians under the leadership of Powhaton joining with early settlers for a dinner and helping those settlers through the winter. "

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Cooking the History Books: The Thanksgiving Massacre

Laura Elliff, Vice President, Native American Student Association asks "Is All That Turkey and Stuffing a Celebration of Genocide?" She goes on to discuss The standard history of Thanksgiving tells us that the "Pilgrims and Indians" feasted for three days, right? Most Americans believe that there was some magnificent bountiful harvest. In the Thanksgiving story, are the "Indians" even acknowledged by a tribe? No, because everyone assumes "Indians" are the same. So, who were these Indians in 1621?

History is written by the winners, and in the history of the land we call the United States of America the winners were the Europeans who came to this land and slaughtered the native peoples of this land. I am a descendent of those Europeans but I am aware enough to recognize genocide when I see it.

She explains the official Thanksgiving holiday we know did not come into existence until 1637. In 1621 there was some kind of feast held in this context: "Pilgrims perceived Indians in relation to the Devil and the only reason why they were invited to that feast was for the purpose of negotiating a treaty that would secure the lands for the Pilgrims"

In 1637 there was a massacre of 700 native peoples of the Pequot tribe, and the Governor of Massachusetts declared "A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children." It was signed into law that, "This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots."

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

War Is a Government Program

The article claims that many "Conservatives" are claiming "Progressives" (or else those 'damn liberals') are causing political leaders to subordinate military considerations to political control. The article then dives into a long and truly excellent discussion of the appropriate role of political leaders and military leaders.

In the U.S. Constitution it is very clearly stated, that military decisions are subordinated to civilian authority. If one is to value the U.S. Constitution then one should practice what it says.

But, says the article, there is a deeper consideration: "those who make this complaint seem willfully blind to the nature of war. At its most fundamental level, war is no more a military phenomenon than it is a scientific phenomenon. True, militaries fight wars, and military tactics is a meaningful discipline. But war also requires weapons that make use of the principles of physics. Does that mean wars are fundamentally the province of scientists? No, and neither are they fundamentally the province of generals. Wars are political phenomena. You’d think the armchair generals and word-processor pilots would know that. "

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Iraq's Laboratory of Repression

The current U.S. strategy in Iraq is called "The Surge", and the idea is to bring more forces into Baghdad to stop the violence that's threatening to destabilize the U.S. puppet government, and give that government breathing room within which to establish stability. The "Surge" has been going for several months and in the news are many articles glowingly claiming there is a decrease in violence and therefore that means The Surge is working.

The linked article offers a different view: "The Bush administration is turning Iraq into a test tube for modern techniques of repression, from sophisticated biometrics that track populations to devastating weapons systems that combine night-vision optics from drone aircraft, heat resonance imaging and deadly firepower from the sky to kill suspected insurgents."

They claim The Surge is "working" because U.S. forces are terrorizing the Iraqi's into submission. Or: "loose rules of engagement that allow U.S. troops to kill Iraqis at the slightest sign of hostility, have contributed to what U.S. generals and a growing number of American journalists are hailing as an improving security situation."

The pattern is similar to "operations used in El Salvador and Guatemala in the 1980s to eradicate leftist guerrillas and their political backers." In Iraq there are groups which are effectively death squads being led by Sunni Sheiks.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Bush-Cheney Really Are Planning to Attack Iran!

"Look out -- here they come again! Bush & Buckshot are riding their little stick horses, waving the bloody flag of 9/11, demonizing another Muslim nation, shouting warnings about weapons of mass destruction, bellowing for regime change, and generally trying to whoop up a new war." Bleck. Okay, maybe, just maybe, Iran has plans for nuclear weapons. The problem is that the current situation is an obvious retread of the leadup to the Iraq war, the same arguments being pushed forward etc. The administration has very little credibility, they lied through their teeth the last time so why should we trust them today?

Maybe the problem is that many people are still believing the lies told about Iraq and therefore aren't questioning the same sorts of statements being said about Iran.

In the article Jim Hightower considers and dashes these claims:-

  • Claim: Iran is in cahoots with al Qaeda, the demons who crashbombed America on 9/11.
  • Claim: WMDs! Iran is on the brink of making a nuclear bomb, thus posing an imminent threat to America and to our national interests.
  • Claim: Those dastardly Iranians are meddling in our war in Iraq by supplying weapons to our enemies and by sending intelligence agents to undermine Iraq's government.

On the other hand consider ... Deception: British Reporter Adrian Levy on How the United States Secretly Helped Pakistan Build Its Nuclear Arsenal ...

The U.S. has been secretly helping Pakistan build their nuclear arsenal. Eek.. Uhm, first that Pakistan and India both have nuclear weapons is very troublesome because they are engaged in a long-running border feud, end have a couple times threatened to nuke each others countries. In any case the Democracy Now article is itself very alarming in what they say concerning proliferation.

Pakistan's nuclear program head, A.Q. Khan, has been actively pursuing sales of nuclear weapons materials to other countries including the ones which Pres. Bush labeled as the Axis of Terror. There was an orchestrated public pardoning of A.Q. Khan, even though he actively proliferated nuclear weapons technology. I suppose that behind the scenes it's possible that he has "told all" to U.S. Intelligence to give details about what materials were proliferated, and to whom they were provided. I suppose if so the U.S. has information it hasn't revealed about nuclear programs. And it is curious that Libya publicly abandoned their nuclear weapons program, in exchange for closer ties with "The West" around the same time as this public pardoning of Mr. Khan.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

America's Growing Trade Deficit Is Selling The Nation Out From Under Us. Here's A Way To Fix The Problem--And We Need To Do It N

This is a opinion piece by Warren Buffet warning the U.S. about the dangerous situation we've gotten ourselves into. He uses an analogy of Thriftville and Squanderville, two neighboring communities, one of whom takes over the other through purchase rather than through conquest.

At that point, the Squanders are forced to deal with an ugly equation: They must now not only return to working eight hours a day in order to eat--they have nothing left to trade--but must also work additional hours to service their debt and pay Thriftville rent on the land so imprudently sold.

...More important, however, is that foreign ownership of our assets will grow at about $500 billion per year at the present trade-deficit level, which means that the deficit will be adding about one percentage point annually to foreigners' net ownership of our national wealth.

...The likely outcome of an IC plan is that the exporting nations--after some initial posturing--will turn their ingenuity to encouraging imports from us. Take the position of China, which today sells us about $140 billion of goods and services annually while purchasing only $25 billion.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Waterboarding = Drowning = Torture = Illegal = Immoral

A lot of discussion in the news this week concerned torture, conducted by U.S. soldiers in the conduct of this war on Terror. The context is the confirmation hearings of the new Attorney General, Mukasey. See: Despite Waterboarding Stance, Senate Committee Approves Mukasey’s Attorney General Nomination During the hearings Mukasey was questioned about his stance on torture, whether waterboarding is torture, etc.

There's a lot of pussyfooting around this issue... is it torture or is it not. Is it simulated drowning or the real thing. The Democracy Now story linked above does some truly excellent coverage of this issue.

Sen Ted Kennedy had some excellent things to say including:

...My concerns began with Judge Mukasey's answers to our questions about waterboarding. Waterboarding is a barbaric practice in which water is poured down the mouth and nose of a detainee to simulate drowning. It’s an ancient technique of tyrants. In the fifteenth and sixteenth century, it was used by interrogators in the Spanish Inquisition. In the nineteenth century, it was used against slaves in this country. In World War II, it was used against us by Japan. In the 1970s, it was used against political opponents by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and the military dictatorships of Chile and Argentina. Today, it’s being used against pro-democracy activists by the rulers of Burma. When we fail to reject waterboarding, this is the company that we keep.

Make no mistake about it: waterboarding is already illegal under United States law. It’s illegal under the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit outrages upon personal dignity, including cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment. It’s illegal under the Torture Act, which prohibits acts specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering. It’s illegal under the Detainee Treatment Act, which prohibits cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. And it violates the Constitution. The nation's top military lawyers and legal experts across the political spectrum have condemned waterboarding as torture. And after World War II, the United States prosecuted -- prosecuted -- Japanese officers for engaging in waterboarding. What more does this nominee need to enforce existing laws?

It is the job of the Attorney General to enforce our Constitution laws. The Attorney General must have the legal and moral judgment to know when an activity rises to the level of a violation of our Constitution, treaties or statutes. But this nominee wants to outsource his job to Congress. That passing of the buck is completely unacceptable by a nominee who wants to be the highest justice official in our country. ...

A few days earlier Democracy Now interviewed a French journalist who had been tortured, with waterboarding, in Algiers. French Journalist Henri Alleg Describes His Torture Being Waterboarded by French Forces During Algerian War He made it clear, this is not simulated drowning, it is actual drowning, and that often it results in real death.

Likewie this interview with Stephen Grey, New PBS Documentary Gives Voice to Victims of U.S. “Extraordinary Rendition” also goes into not just the waterboarding and other torture techniques but the whole practice of extraordinary rendition.

In this weeks On The Media they discussed the media coverage of waterboarding in: Word Watch: Waterboarding To them this was an exercise in word definitions. Maybe that's a fair tact since that's what the inside-the-beltway-types in Washington DC are doing, parsing words carefully to tread a very narrow line of definition over what is or is not torture. But it seems to me that a practice that often results in death can not in any way be considered anything but torture. And listening to it I felt outrage that they skipped over the excellent coverage by Democracy Now.

Waterboarding is 'drowning', 'water torture': expert testimony is a recounting of a TV appearance by an expert who was also interviewed in the On The Media piece. Interrogation expert Malcolm Nance, who serves as a counterterrorism and intelligence consultant for the U.S. government and was formerly an instructor at the Navy's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school in California, did not mince when detailing the dangers of waterboarding, the highly controversial interrogation technique to which he was previously subjected.

Waterboarding Used to be a Crime (digg) "The United States military justice system has prosecuted "waterboarding" as a form of torture since the Spanish-American war. " An article by a former JAG who says "The media usually characterize the practice as "simulated drowning." That's incorrect. To be effective, waterboarding is usually real drowning that simulates death. That is, the victim experiences the sensations of drowning: struggle, panic, breath-holding, swallowing, vomiting, taking water into the lungs and, eventually, the same feeling of not being able to breathe that one experiences after being punched in the gut. The main difference is that the drowning process is halted. According to those who have studied waterboarding's effects, it can cause severe psychological trauma, such as panic attacks, for years."

The presidency is now a criminal conspiracy is Keith Olbermann going through his rage routine, raging at Bush's cowardice and the nonsense of this "debate" on whether waterboarding is torture or not. Daniel Levin, a former Acting Assistant Attorney General who asked the Army to waterboard him so he could understand the process. They did it, and he came out utterly convinced of it being torture, and when he started pushing that agenda the Bush Administration fired him. Bush Administration Blocked Waterboarding Critic is coverage of the same issue from ABC News. December 30, 2004 MEMORANDUM OPINION FOR THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL is a memo written by Daniel Levin in 2004 concerning torture. In the memo he goes through several court cases describing how different regimines of treatment were considered torture, including waterboarding. has a profile of Daniel Levin, Profile: Daniel Levin, making it clear this memo was meant to be written to supersede the infamous memo previously written by Alberto Gonzales

August 1, 2002: Justice Department Approves Torture of Terrorism Suspects is the coverage of that memo. The Aug 2002 memo defines torture as “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death” and that it "...appear to conclude that any act short of torture, even though it may be cruel, inhuman or degrading, would be permissible". But even under this definition waterboarding would be torture because it regularly causes death. In any case this Aug 2002 memo was used as cover for the CIA and other military agencies to "get more aggressive" with their techniques resulting in all the torture techniques we now know are being used.

Former Assistant AG Daniel Levin and the Importance of Hands-On Experience in Advising on the Law is a legal experts discussion of his experience and bravery in exploring just what waterboarding really is.

Wikipedia: Waterboarding, for reference purposes.

I remember from childhood hearing reference to "Chinese Water Torture" being described as an incessant dripping of water. My imagination had it pegged as something which I now recognize it is not. I thought, oh, they're just dripping water somewhere on the body, and that over a period of hours it will drive someone batty. Hurm, was I wrong. I now understand this is pouring water into someone's mouth, nostrils, throat, and into their lungs (if done long enough). That it is indeed a drowning which, if done properly, is interrupted before the drowning causes death. How this can be condoned as anything but torture, how it can be allowed as appropriate behavior by American military, that is beyond me. I don't think my idealism is misplaced in this case. If America is to stand as a model for the rest of the world, if we are to have the moral high ground with which to condemn other countries for torture, then we must also disallow our own people the practice of torture.

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