Saturday, May 24, 2008

Musical Innerlube: Spirits in the material world - The Police

Call out the instigator; There's something in the air! - By Len Hart

A revolution is justified! Since King John signed the Magna Carta, no monarch in our tradition has successfully assumed powers that are now claimed and assumed by the Bush/Cheney regime.

Revolutions often begin with an indictment of those in power, literally, a list of crimes or atrocities committed against the people themselves. Over a period of some centuries, essential principles were won and established. Kings have been deposed and executed for less flagrant abuses than those that must be charged to George W. Bush.

  • Bush's 'unitary executive' doctrine places Bush above the law;
  • Bush has decreed an end to habeas corpus
  • Bush has denied other basic rights guaranteed the people in the Bill of Rights.

In effect, Bush has re-written the US Constitution. He has claimed dictatorial powers because the nation was at war but--significantly --the nation was and remains at war because Bush conducted an orchestrated campaign of bald-faced lies in order to begin the war. This is the case that must be made when Bush is compelled to stand trial for high treason, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Capital crimes.

It's not that they lied about justifications for war, but in their failure to allow oversight into the processes that produced those lies. It's not in the firing of federal attorneys and the refusal to substantiate the firings, but in the pure partisanship of their actions. It's not their countless refusals to comply with subpoenas from Congress or Freedom of Information Act from the people, but in their arrogated stance, setting themselves above the requirements themselves.

Once when challenged for his unwillingness to submit to the rule of law in an obvious snub of the Constitution, Bush screamed, "Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

And thus our Constitution has now become what Bush has made it. This annihilation of the foundational document of our republic was orchestrated by a president who swore an oath of honor to protect it, a devout Christian who promised to restore honor and integrity to the Oval Office.

Congress, in its acquiescence and subservience, is equally culpable. When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced, "impeachment is off the table," she not only absolved Bush of all previous transgressions but paved a figurative superhighway for any to come. There's a reason Congress's approval ratings are even lower than the administration's.

--Michael Abraham, Bush's legacy is the end of law

Until these issue are addressed, the primary process seems all but irrelevant. Those candidates daring to address these questions were all but ignored --victims of the media and an absurd primary process that is designed to weed out anyone wishing to conduct a real debate, anyone not controlled or given a wink and a nod by the MSM. But --there are signs that a 'revolution' of sorts may be afoot.

Voters in two Vermont towns approved measures Tuesday calling for the indictment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for what they consider violations of the Constitution.

More symbolic than anything, the items sought to have police arrest Bush and Cheney if they ever visit Brattleboro or nearby Marlboro or to extradite them for prosecution elsewhere — if they're not impeached first.

In Brattleboro, the vote was 2,012-1,795. In Marlboro, which held a town meeting on the issue, it was 43-25 with three abstentions.

"I hope the one thing that people take from this is, 'Hey, it can be done,'" said Kurt Daims, 54, who organized the petition drive that led to the Brattleboro vote.

--Vt. Towns Approve Bush 'Indictment'

One hopes these indictments address the fundamental treason from which all other administration crimes followed, that is, Bush put himself above the law of the land. The US Constitution, drafted by the 'founders' and duly ratified by the people of the United States affirms as a principle of law the very source of sovereignty: the people themselves.

In putting himself above the law, Bush claims absolute powers that even European monarchs dared not claim. Certainly, when those European Monarchs found themselves 'outside the law', they were often 'brought to book' for violating it. King John was literally forced to concede to the principles of Magna Carta. Later, Charles I, when he presumed to authority above that of Parliament, was prodded out a window in the Banqueting House in White Hall where, on a makeshift platform, his head was chopped off by a French swordsman imported for the occasion.

Bush could not have placed himself above the law without help from Republicans of all stripes as well as timely betrayals and sellouts by key Democrats. Without effective opposition, Bush-Cheney were able to assume a "unitary executive", a dubious doctrine without precedent in either American history or English Common Law to which we are heir. This Republican-birthed 'doctrine' --utter claptrap --places Bush above regulation, above oversight or supervision, above the decisions of the courts, including the Supreme Court, above laws passed by Congress, above responsibility to the people. It is treasonous on its face. Tragically, I don't hear the candidates talking about this. All I hear from the 'candidates' is eyewash, focus group approved monkey chatter, platitudes and bullshit!

"[Since Watergate] I have repeatedly seen an erosion of the powers and the ability of the president of the United States to do his job. ... One of the things that I feel an obligation [to do] ... is to pass on our offices in better shape than we found them to our successors."

--VP Dick Cheney, [Interview with Cokie Roberts] New York Times, Recent Flexing of Presidential Powers Had Personal Roots in Ford White House, SCOTT SHANE. January 2002,

There exists now sufficient probable cause to formally charge Dick Cheney with the crime of mass murder in connection with his 'supervisory role' on 911. Even before 911 consolidated the powers of the Bush/Cheney 'administration', it was clear that real power in the US had accrued to an increasingly tiny elite, what had been called a "commercial class".

The wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.

--Steve Kangas, The Origins of the Overclass [as quoted here: How the CIA Created a Ruling, Corporate Overclass in America]

The trend is not new and history is, indeed, our guide. Throughout the sixteenth century, the grandfathers of the Parliamentarians, were the source of the monarchy's strength. Parliament had supported efforts by Henry VII and Henry VIII and Elizabeth to police England. The specter of a foreign enemy was often raised. In our own time, the GOP has become, increasingly, a party of privilege thanks to inequitable tax cuts by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Jobs have been exported, proverty has increased. Three GOP Presidents since 1989 have hollowed out American industry and subverted the dollar as they made the rich much richer and the poor much poorer.

These are reason enough to forever bar the GOP from positions of responsibility and that includes John McCain --the biggest political disappointment since Dan Quayle compared himself to JFK. Historically, revolutions are fought for considerably less than what is at stake now!

People must see clearly the futility of maintaining the fight for social goals within the framework of civil debate. When the forces of oppression come to maintain themselves in power against established law; peace is considered already broken.

--Che Guevara, General Principles of Guerilla Warfare

Thomas Jefferson had articulated the same principle in a document that is, supposedly, revered by Americans: the Declaration of Independence, in effect, an indictment of King George.

...whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

--Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

Our own declaration of independence of the illegitimate regime of the liar and criminal that has seized the White House must include an indictment of both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. A true revolution must include the impeachment, trial and removal of GWB and all his crooked henchmen. It must declare undone all the many harms done to the Constitution by Bush.

It is hoped that the actions taken in Vermont are but the beginning of a revolution.

Brattleboro, Vermont passes indictment of Bush and Cheney To be arrested in Brattleboro "if they are not duly impeached"

The courageous people of Brattleboro, Vermont have taken the lead! Frustrated that elected officials have refused to introduce articles of impeachment in defiance of their constituents' demands, the people of Brattelboro voted to direct town officials to draw up indictment papers against George Bush and Dick Cheney for violating their oath of office.

The Brattleboro vote took place during the Tuesday's Vermont primary election. Bush supporters launched a major campaign to discredit the referendum resolution and the organizers. Yet the resolution passed by a vote of 2012 in favor to 1795 against.

"Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictments for consideration by other authorities and shall it be the law of the Town of Brattleboro that the Brattleboro Police, pursuant to the above-mentioned indictments, arrest and detain George Bush and Richard Cheney in Brattleboro if they are not duly impeached, and prosecute or extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them?" The people of Brattleboro answered, "yes!"

The indictment means that Bush and Cheney can be arrested for criminal acts should they ever enter Brattleboro. The indictment would go into effect after Bush and Cheney leave office.

The Brattleboro resolution is becoming a powerful organizing model for cities and towns around the country. The impeachment movement has sunk deep roots throughout this country. The people of the United States are demanding not only that the Constitution be restored, but that the President, Vice President and other officials be held accountable for committing high crimes and misdemeanors.

The Brattleboro resolution shows that even where Congressional representatives are refusing to follow the majority sentiment demanding impeachment, that the people themselves can take action.

When Ramsey Clark launched the ImpeachBush / movement in January 2003 he sparked something entirely new. In the face of the aggression and arrogance of the Bush Administration, he launched a movement for the people to take back the Constitution. In Vermont, more than 40 town councils voted in favor of impeachment. Throughout California and in the other states of the union, the grassroots movement has put impeachment on the table through referendum, resolutions, demonstrations, rallies, newspaper ads and door-to-door petitioning.

In the next two weeks, is joining with the anti-war movement for mass protests around the country. We are organizing buses, car caravans, printing placards and banners and making sure the call for Impeachment resounds on this coming 5th anniversary of the criminal war in Iraq. These will be locally and regionally coordinated mass actions in cities and towns throughout the country. Please click here to donate to this effort.

The movement is spreading because of the commitment and sacrifice of thousands of individuals who are engaged as volunteers in day-to-day organizing. Everyone should be proud of their work because this is a movement that belongs to all of us.

Another important beginning can be found in the text of an indictment of George W. Bush prepared by former Federal Prosecutor, Elizabeth de la Vega. All this indictment needs is a courageous Federal Judge and a Federal Grand Jury, which a Federal judge can convene upon his/her own motion. I found the following steps for taking back America on The Republican Party Offers A Choice: "Fascism Or Anarchy?":

The key goal of "total anarchy" is to make the leadership of the Republican Party, and their supporters, so uncomfortable that they will run off and hide in fear for their bank accounts and their lives. This level of discomfort will make the GOP's key supporters want to stop supporting the Republican's fascist ideology and they will want to seek a new democratic ideology that can offer them a much more stable, secure, and friendly form of government.

  • Bring world wide attention to our cause. This can be done through mass resignations by the Democrats in Congress, mass education efforts, by boycotting of all businesses and real estate owned by the GOP's key supporters, by lobbying local law enforcement to join the fight, and by staging mass protest and demonstrations. If this step is successful no other steps will be necessary.
  • Hold mass protest in public, and at the private homes of the GOP's members and the private homes of their key financial backers. If they leave follow them. If they run, run after them. And if they fight then we must fight back even harder. The key is to make them extremely uncomfortable until they realize that their cause is no longer winnable because their risk/reward ratio has turned negative. If this step is successful no other steps will be necessary.
  • Take control of key roads, businesses, homes, and government buildings. The purpose is not necessarily to destroy but to take control and begin to organize a new government, new businesses, and a new social structure. If this step is successful no other steps will be necessary.

  • If these three steps fail then it will be time for the final step and last hope of our democracy, REVOLUTION. Load your guns, dig in, and fight for your life and the lives of your family.

~ From: The Daily Scare ~

Powerful Iraqi cleric flirting with Shiite militant message

Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric has been quietly issuing religious edicts declaring that armed resistance against U.S.-led foreign troops is permissible — a potentially significant shift by a key supporter of the Washington-backed government in Baghdad. 
The edicts, or fatwas, by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani suggest he seeks to sharpen his long-held opposition to American troops and counter the populist appeal of his main rivals, firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia.
But — unlike al-Sadr's anti-American broadsides — the Iranian-born al-Sistani has displayed extreme caution with anything that could imperil the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The two met Thursday at the elderly cleric's base in the city of Najaf south of Baghdad.
So far, al-Sistani's fatwas have been limited to a handful of people. They also were issued verbally and in private — rather than a blanket proclamation to the general Shiite population — according to three prominent Shiite officials in regular contact with al-Sistani as well as two followers who received the edicts in Najaf.
All spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
Al-Sistani — who is believed to be 79 or 80 — has not been seen in public since a brief appearance in August 2004, shortly after returning from London for medical treatment for an unspecified heart condition. But his mix of religious authority and political clout makes him more powerful than any of Iraq's elected leaders.
For American officials, he represents a key stabilizing force in Iraq for refusing to support a full-scale Shiite uprising against U.S.-led forces or Sunnis — especially at the height of sectarian bloodletting after an important Shiite shrine was bombed in 2006.
It is impossible to determine whether those who received the edicts acted on them. Most attacks — except some by al-Qaida in Iraq — are carried out without claims of responsibility.
It is also unknown whether al-Sistani intended the fatwas to inspire violence or simply as theological opinions on foreign occupiers. Al-Sadr — who has a much lower clerical rank than al-Sistani — recently has threatened "open war" on U.S.-led forces.
The U.S. military said it had no indications that al-Sistani was seeking to "promote violence" against U.S.-led troops. It also had no information linking the ayatollah or other top Shiite clerics to armed groups battling U.S. forces and allies.
A senior aide to the prime minister, al-Maliki, said he was not aware of the fatwas, but added that the "rejection of the occupation is a legal and religious principle" and that top Shiite clerics were free to make their own decisions. The aide also spoke on condition of anonymity.

Pfizer's chemical/biological weapons report

Back when the US had an openly acknowledged, offensive chemical-biological-radiological weapons program (as opposed to the secret, illegal one it has now), many pharmaceutical and chemical corporations developed these weapons for the military. Among them was drug giant Pfizer, whose better-known products include Viagra, Zoloft, Rogaine, and Rolaids.

In this 1964 report, the company (then called Chas. Pfizer & Co., Inc.) discusses its first year of research under its contract to create incapacitating agents, which produce tremors, dysphoria, confusion, muscle fatigue, pain, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hypersensitive skin, dangerously low blood pressure, and/or - most intriguingly - retrograde amnesia. Despite the absence of the word biological from the report's title, Pfizer also discusses its work with microbes in addition to chemicals.

The report was declassified on 16 April 2001, although it doesn't appear to have made it to the general public until now.

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A brief socialist history of the automobile

This brief socialist history of the automobile will attempt to give some background and context to today's car-dominated world. It will attempt to explain how the automobile and the mad chase for profits has shaped the world, and helped in turn lead humanity to its current fork, where one road indisputably will lead to global destruction.
~ From Links.~

Football, fate, Gaia theory and socialism

"A classic study in 1964 found that hungry rhesus monkeys would not take food they had been offered if doing so meant that another monkey received an electric shock. The same is true of rats. Does this indicate nascent morality? For decades, we've preferred to find alternative explanations, but recently ethologist Marc Bekoff from the University of Colorado at Boulder has championed the view that humans are not the only moral species. He argues that morality is common in social mammals, and that during play they learn the rights and wrongs of social interaction, the 'moral norms that can then be extended to other situations such as sharing food, defending resources, grooming and giving care'."
Returning to the issue of fate, and the fact that a football result can have a big impact: I have long realised that the world is largely planned rather than random - there are big vested interests in some things happening, so if events can be modelled (in human minds or on computers) they will be, and I have noticed too many "coincidences" in things that have happened. I regard myself as an agnostic - I've veered towards believing in God, but (perhaps largely due to subscribing to New Scientist) now veer towards atheism. There does, however, seem to be some sort of collective consciousness in the world (and perhaps the universe) much as explained by Richard Lovelock's Gaia theory, which encompasses everybody's free will and ensures that things work out, even with respect to football matches!
I have often felt, rightly or wrongly, that it has been vital for me to do certain things to prevent a dictatorial capitalist society like the one predicted by George Orwell in "Nineteen Eighty-Four" from coming about. Arguably Russia already has that sort of society - Putin decided upon Medvedev as his successor as President, the Russian media gave him far more coverage than any other candidate, and (according to the BBC at least) there was no doubt that Medvedev would be elected, which he was; if you don't produce a passport or ID card when stopped by the police on the street, you can be arrested. If the whole world was like Russia, and New Labour are trying to take the UK in that direction, there would be no prospect of revolutionary change, but interactions with ordinary people (including football fans) across the world can bring about real democracy there and internationally.

File under other

In 2004, Julie Bartel, who assembled the Salt Lake City collection, published a resource for fellow librarians titled "From A to Zine: Building a Winning Zine Collection in Your Library." Bartel's book offered the basics for starting an archive, but as the search for and preservation of zines became more professional, so too have the librarians' concerns.

Some of these issues seem fairly mundane to those on the "customer" side of the reference desk. But for a librarian, thoughtful and thorough categorization ensures that an item will find its destined reader. For example, is a zine a serial or a monograph? (Related: can it be a serial if it only comes out at the zinester's whim?)

The answer to the serial vs. monograph question determines where a given zine appears in the catalog, and how detailed an abstract accompanies its listing. Consider Rollerderby, a popular zine by Lisa Carver that is available at Barnard. If categorized as a serial, its inscrutable title and author line reveal little about its contents. If each issue is categorized as an individual monograph, then a catalog search would reveal that Issue 24 promises coverage of four somewhat disparate topics: "Cat Power, capitalism, T.S. Eliot and cats."

This dovetails with a decades-old movement called "radical cataloging," which represents an effort to rethink how an institution like the Library of Congress determines the searchable and supposedly neutral subject headings one can assign a given text. While this seems innocuous enough, most zines defy the largely outdated language of preexistent headings and run the risk of invisibility during standard, heading-driven archive searches.

Freedman maintains a tally of examples detailing the disconnect between zines and Library of Congress terminology. Most offer reminders of how the peripheral, personal-is-political vantage of zines might challenge everyday language or culture. Zines by people who have been raped are automatically assigned to the heading "Rape Victims," even though the zine authors' preferred term, "rape survivor," suggests a productive and empowered post-traumatic existence.

Freedman recounts a more lighthearted example of a zine titled Boobs, Boobs the Musical Fruit that she wanted to place under the heading, "Having Large Breasts." Instead, she had to settle for the Library of Congress' preferred heading: "Breasts -- Social Aspects."

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Banned in Memphis

"Sorry, boys," said the old man, squinting through his wire-rimmed glasses as the reels on the movie projector spun to a halt and somebody switched on the lights. "But I can't let you show a film like that in Memphis."

The movie he previewed was a 1947 Hal Roach comedy called Curley, and it showed black children and white children attending school together. That was all it took for the old man to declare it "inimical to the morals and welfare of our city," as he would explain later. He also disliked any films starring Charlie Chaplin ("a London guttersnipe"), Ingrid Bergman ("because she was living in open and notorious adultery"), and the 1955 classic Rebel Without a Cause ("it promoted juvenile delinquency").

And it certainly mattered what the old man liked and disliked, because from 1928 to 1955, he absolutely ruled the Memphis Censor Board. Memphians never saw many films shown in other cities, or they saw shortened versions of them because "offensive" scenes were snipped out. His harsh judgments of seemingly harmless films made him a household name across the nation, and Memphians still talk about the days when everything they could see, hear, or read was decided by Lloyd T. Binford.

[ ... ]

Binford had come a long way from the log cabin in Duck Hill. His insurance business made him a millionaire, and he was named a colonel on the staffs of the governors of Mississippi and Tennessee. He became director of the Mid-South Fair, then chairman of the committee that was erecting the Shrine Building downtown. He was a Shriner, a Knight Templar, an Elk, a Rotarian, and a Kiwanian.

But nobody was quite sure why Binford, of all people, was named to head the newly formed Memphis Censor Board. His education (or lack of it) and his insurance background hardly qualified him to be the arbiter of public taste. That didn't matter, though, because Memphis political boss E.H. Crump decided Binford was the man for the job. Binford himself always claimed he didn't know he had even been chosen until he read the announcement in the newspapers. If that's true, it was probably the last time something ran in the newspapers that he didn't know about. The job paid him $200 a month, and Binford proudly wore a tiny badge that opened doors for him at movie theaters across the city and at screening rooms on Film Row downtown.

The Memphis Censor Board had been formed in 1921 to "censor, supervise, regulate, or prohibit any entertainment of immoral, lewd, or lascivious character, as well as performances inimical to the public safety, health, morals, or welfare." Such broad powers would have shut down most of the theaters in the city, but the censor board rarely flexed its muscles.

Then Binford took over. And although the board had a half dozen other members, it was Binford's verdict that counted.

Because of his own traumatic experiences with the railroad, Binford ruled against any films that included a train robbery. In 1940 alone, Memphians never saw Tyrone Power in Jesse James, Henry Fonda in The Return of Frank James, or Jane Russell in The Outlaw. As Binford repeatedly preached, such films were "inimical to the public welfare."

That was just the start. Perhaps because the comedian Charlie Chaplin had a penchant for underage girls, Binford called him a "London guttersnipe" and "a traitor to the Christian-American way of life." Why, he was even "an enemy of decency and virtue." Binford banned all of Chaplin's films in Memphis.

He also banned any films starring Ingrid Bergman because she left her husband and moved in with Italian director Roberto Rossellini. When announcing the ban on Bergman's 1949 Stromboli, he refused to permit "the public exhibition of a motion picture starring a woman who is universally known to be living in open and notorious adultery."

Movies banned by Binford were said to be "Binfordized," and there were many of them. He killed the 1928 showing of Cecil B. DeMille's King of Kings because the film story of Jesus differed slightly from the Bible, and he thought the crucifixion scenes were too violent. He banned The Woman They Almost Lynched (1953) simply because "I'm against pictures featuring Jesse James." And Memphians couldn't see Marlon Brando in the 1954 classic The Wild One because Binford considered it "rowdy, unlawful, and raw."

Others getting a thumbs-down, sometimes for inexplicable reasons, included Dead End (1937) with Humphrey Bogart, Lost Boundaries (1949) with Mel Ferrer, Duel in the Sun (1946) starring Gregory Peck, The French Line (1953) with Jane Russell ... the list goes on.

Even stage plays were halted. Binford dropped the curtain on an Ellis Auditorium production of Erskine Caldwell's drama Tragic Ground because he found it "vulgar."

[ ... ]

But it was Binford's attitude toward blacks that caused him — and Memphis — the most condemnation. Binford was absolutely opposed to movies showing blacks and whites together on the same social level. In 1945, he blocked the hit musical Annie Get Your Gun from Ellis Auditorium because there were blacks in the cast "who had too familiar an air about them." For the same reason, he banned the film Imitation of Life (1934) with Claudette Colbert and Brewster's Millions (1945) with Eddie "Rochester" Anderson because certain scenes "gave too much prominence to Negroes."

To show the films in Memphis, local distributors had to delete these scenes. As a result, some movies shown here were minutes shorter than the same films shown in other cities, because Binford ordered the complete removal of scenes featuring prominent black performers like Duke Ellington or Cab Calloway. Memphians probably never realized that Lena Horne's segment, for example, was snipped completely out of the 1946 picture Ziegfield Follies, as was Pearl Bailey's role in the 1947 Variety Girl.

~ Full article ~


U.S. Iraq deserter loses bid to stay

After a 22-month battle to earn a home in Toronto, a former American soldier was told yesterday he will become the first Iraq War resister to be deported from Canadian soil after his application to stay in the country was rejected.

A dejected Corey Glass, 25, stared blankly at the floor of a tiny room in Trinity-St. Paul's United Church as members of the War Resisters Support Campaign informed media and other U.S. war resisters of his failed bid to remain in the country and the consequences he now faces.

"He's supposed to leave on his own by June 12," said the group's co-ordinator, Lee Zaslofsky, who came to Canada after fleeing enlistment in the American military during the Vietnam War. "After that, he's subject to deportation."

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Military desertion prosecutions increase, cost taxpayers millions

U.S. military deserters are costing taxpayers a lot of money, according to military officials.

The Army Public Affairs office reported that it costs an average of $50,000 to $64,000 to train a soldier from the recruiting station to first unit station. Between 2002 and 2007, there were at least 2,400 soldiers each year who deserted duty sometime after training.

About 60 percent of deserters have served less than 12 months, while more than 80 percent served less than three years, according to data.

Army Lt. Col. Anne Edgecomb said most of the deserters have historically been first-term, junior enlisted soldiers who leave the Army for personal, family or financial problems.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice defines a deserter as one who remains "absent without leave" (AWOL) for at least 30 days.

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"Can brain scans be used to determine whether a person is inclined toward criminality or violent behavior?”

This question, asked by Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware at the hearing considering the nomination of John Roberts to be Chief Justice of the United States, illustrates the extent to which cognitive neuroscience—increasingly augmented by the growing powers of neuroimaging, the use of various technologies to directly or indirectly observe the structure and function of the brain—has captured the imagination of those who make, enforce, interpret, and study the law. Judges, both state and federal, have convened conferences to discuss the legal ramifications of developments in cognitive neuroscience. Numerous scholarly volumes have been devoted to the subject. The President's Council on Bioethics convened several sessions to discuss cognitive neuroscience and its potential impact on theories of moral and legal responsibility. Civil libertarians have expressed suspicion and concern that the United States government is using various neuroimaging techniques in the war on terrorism. Personal injury lawyers have urged the use of functional neuroimaging to make "mild to moderate brain [and nervous] injuries ... visible [to] jurors"—and members of the civil defense bar have, not surprisingly, published articles criticizing the reliability of such evidence and arguing that it should be inadmissible. Criminal defense attorneys have likewise expressed a strong interest in using neuroimaging evidence to help their clients.

The attraction of the legal community to cognitive neuroscience is by no means unreciprocated. Cognitive neuroscientists have expressed profound interest in how their work might impact the law. Michael Gazzaniga, one of the field's leading lights—and in fact the man who coined the term "cognitive neuroscience"—predicted in his 2005 book The Ethical Brain that advances in neuroscience will someday "dominate the entire legal system."

Practitioners of cognitive neuroscience seem particularly drawn to the criminal law; more specifically, they have evinced an interest in the death penalty. Indeed, a well-formed cognitive neuroscience project to reform capital sentencing has emerged from their work in the courtroom and their arguments in the public square. In the short term, cognitive neuroscientists seek to invoke cutting-edge brain imaging research to bolster defendants' claims that, although legally guilty, they do not deserve to die because brain abnormalities diminish their culpability. In the long term, cognitive neuroscientists aim to draw upon the tools of their discipline to embarrass, discredit, and ultimately overthrow retribution as a distributive justification for punishment. The architects of this effort regard retribution as the root cause of the brutality and inhumanity of the American criminal justice system, generally, and the institution of capital punishment, in particular. To replace retribution, they argue for the adoption of a criminal law regime animated solely by the forward-looking (consequentialist) aim of avoiding social harms. This new framework, they hope, will usher in a new era of what some have referred to as "therapeutic justice" for capital defendants, which is meant to be more humane and compassionate. But in fact, despite these humanitarian intentions, the project's aspirations for capital sentencing reform would more likely exacerbate the draconian and brutal features of the present capital sentencing regime.


US "bullying" hurts cluster bomb ban work-activists

The United States is trying to bully its allies into weakening a treaty banning cluster bombs, Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for leading a campaign against landmines, said on Friday.

Representatives of more than 100 nations are working on an agreement against the use of cluster munitions, although the United States, China and Russia are not participating. Opponents say cluster bombs are unreliable and indiscriminate.

The United States said on Wednesday the treaty could jeopardise U.S. participation in joint peacekeeping and disaster relief operations by "criminalising" military operations between countries that signed the ban and those that did not.

Jody Williams, who won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize together with her International Campaign to Ban Landmines, said genuine peacekeeping operations backed by the United Nations would not be affected by a global ban on cluster bombs.

'You should know that the space created in your mind is like a wisp of cloud that dots the vast sky'

"How much smaller must all the worlds within that space be! If even one person among you finds the truth and returns to the source, then all the space in the ten directions is obliterated. How could the worlds within that space fail to be destroyed as well?

"When you cultivate Dhyana and attain samadhi, your mind tallies with the minds of the Bodhisattvas and the great Arhats of the ten directions who are free of outflows, and you abide in a state of profound purity. All the kings of demons, the ghosts and spirits, and the ordinary gods see their palaces collapse for no apparent reason. The earth quakes, and all the creatures in the water, on the land, and in the air, without exception, are frightened. Yet ordinary people who are sunk in dim confusion remain unaware of these changes. All these beings have five kinds of spiritual powers; they still lack the elimination of outflows because they are still attached to worldly passions. How could they allow you to destroy their palaces? That is why the ghosts, spirits, celestial demons, sprites, and goblins come to disturb you when you are in samadhi.

"Although these demons possess tremendous enmity, they are in the grip of their worldly passions, while you are within wonderful enlightenment. They cannot affect you any more than a blowing wind can affect light or a knife can cut through water. You are like boiling water, while the demons are like solid ice which, in the presence of heat, soon melts away. Since they rely exclusively on spiritual powers, they are like mere guests. They can succeed in their destructiveness through your mind, which is the host of the five skandhas. If the host becomes confused, the guests will be able to do as they please. When you are in Dhyana, awakened, aware, and free of delusion, their demonic deeds can do nothing to you. As the skandhas dissolve, you enter the light. All those deviant hordes depend upon dark energy. Since light can destroy darkness, they would be destroyed if they drew near you. How could they dare linger and try to disrupt your Dhyana-samadhi?

"If you were not clear and aware, but were confused by the skandhas, then you, Ananda, would surely become one of the demons. You would turn into a demonic being. Your encounter with Matangi's daughter was a minor incident. She cast a spell on you to make you break the Buddha's moral precepts. Still, among the eighty thousand modes of conduct, you violated only one precept. Because your mind was pure, all was not lost. That would be an attempt to completely destroy your precious enlightenment. Had it succeeded, you would have become like the family of a senior government official who is suddenly exiled; his family wanders, bereft and alone, with no one to pity or rescue them.

"Ananda, you should know that as a cultivator sits in the Bodhimanda, he is doing away with all thoughts. When his thoughts come to an end, there will be nothing on his mind. This state of pure clarity will stay the same whether in movement or stillness, in remembrance or forgetfulness. When he dwells in this place and enters samadhi, he is like a person with clear vision who finds himself in total darkness. Although his nature is wonderfully pure, his mind is not yet illuminated. This is the region of the form skandha. If his eyes become clear, he will then experience the ten directions as an open expanse, and the darkness will be gone. This is the end of the form skandha. He will then be able to transcend the turbidity of time. Contemplating the cause of the form skandha, one sees that false thoughts of solidity are its source.

"Ananda, at this point, as the person intently investigates that wondrous brightness, the four elements will no longer function together, and soon the body will be able to transcend obstructions. This state is called 'the pure brightness merging into the environment'. It is a temporary state in the course of cultivation and does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons' influence."

~ From : Shurangama Sutra

“A torture debate among healers”

By Amy Goodman

Imagine, a candidate for president who, a year or so ago, no one would have considered electable. Now the person is the front-runner, with a groundswell of grass-roots support, threatening the sense of inevitability of the Establishment candidates. No, I'm not talking about the U.S. presidential race, but the race for president of the largest association of psychologists in the world, the American Psychological Association (APA). At the heart of the election is a raging debate over torture and interrogations. While the other healing professions, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, bar their members from participating in interrogations, the APA leadership has fought against such a restriction.

Frustrated with the APA, a New York psychoanalyst, Dr. Steven Reisner, has thrown his hat into the ring. Last year, Reisner and other dissident psychologists formed the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology in an attempt to force a moratorium against participation by APA members in harsh interrogations. During the initial phase of this year's selection process, Reisner received the most nominating votes. He is running on a platform opposing the use of psychologists to oversee abusive and coercive interrogations of prisoners at Guantanamo, secret CIA black sites or anywhere else international law or the Geneva Conventions are said not to apply.

The issue came to a head at the 2007 APA annual convention. After days of late-night negotiations, the moratorium came up for a climactic vote. We saw a surreal scene on the convention floor: Uniformed military were out in force. Men and women in desert camo and Navy whites worked the APA Council of Representatives, and officers in crisp dress uniforms stepped to the microphones.

Military psychologists insisted that they help make interrogations safe, ethical and legal, and cited instances where psychologists allegedly intervened to stop abuse. "If we remove psychologists from these facilities, people are going to die!" boomed Col. Larry James of the U.S. Army, chief psychologist at Guantanamo Bay and a member of the APA governing body. Dr. Laurie Wagner, a Dallas psychologist, shot back, "If psychologists have to be there in order to keep detainees from being killed, then those conditions are so horrendous that the only moral and ethical thing to do is to protest by leaving."

The moratorium failed, and instead a watered-down resolution passed, outlining 19 harsh interrogation techniques that were banned, but only if "used in a manner that represents significant pain or suffering or in a manner that a reasonable person would judge to cause lasting harm." In other words, this loophole allowed, you can rough people up, just don't do permanent harm.

Immediately after the vote, Reisner spoke out at a packed town hall meeting: "If we cannot say, 'No, we will not participate in enhanced interrogations at CIA black sites,' I think we have to seriously question what we are as an organization and, for me, what my allegiance is to this organization, or whether we might have to criticize it from outside the organization at this point."

Reisner and others began withholding dues. Prominent APA members resigned, and the best-selling author of "Reviving Ophelia," Mary Pipher, returned her APA Presidential Citation award. After several months of bad publicity and internal negotiations, an emergency committee redrafted that resolution, removing the loopholes and affirming the outright prohibition of 19 techniques, like mock executions and waterboarding.

When I asked Dr. Reisner, the son of Holocaust survivors, why he would want to head the organization that he has battled for several years, he told me: "If I have this opportunity to make a change, I have a responsibility to do it. I never had the intention of being involved, but the only way to ensure this be changed was by claiming the democratic process in the name of human rights and social-justice issues. I was hoping that mass withholding of dues and mass resignations would shame the APA to come to its senses. It made them take a big step but didn't go far enough."

He expanded: "American people are sick of the reputation of the United States as torturers, as people who abuse prisoners. American people want to see a restoration of values from war to health care. I think what happens in the APA should point to a direction for the whole country."

The APA's annual meeting is this summer, in Boston. Expect interrogation to be the major issue confronting the members gathered there. Final voting for the APA president starts in October. The APA and the United States will determine their next presidents at about the same time. In both elections, a thorough debate on torture should be central.

[ Source: ]

Finkelstein faces Israeli deportation

Outspoken academic Norman Finkelstein has been denied entry to the Israel and later whisked away to a prison awaiting deportation.

Finkelstein arrived in Tel Aviv earlier on Friday on his way to the Occupied Territories.

He was immediately detained and told he is banned from Israel for 10 years. Finkelstein is one of the most prominent academic critics of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Finkelstein, who is Jewish and the son of Holocaust survivors, has written critical books on Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories and on what he called 'exploitation' of the Jewish tragedy during World War II.

Beginning with his doctoral thesis at Princeton , Finkelstein's career has been marked by controversy. A self-described 'forensic scholar,' he has written sharply critical academic reviews of several prominent writers and scholars whom he accuses of misrepresenting the documentary record in order to defend Israel's policies and practices.

His writings, noted for their support of the Palestinian cause have dealt with politically-charged topics such as Zionism , the demographic history of Palestine and his allegations of the existence of a "Holocaust industry" that exploits the memory of the Holocaust to further Israeli and financial interests.
[ Source: Press TV.iran ]

George W Bush authorized 911 attacks says government insider

SH: Our case is alleging that Bush and his puppets Rice and Cheney and Mueller and Rumsfeld and so forth, Tenet, were all involved not only in aiding and abetting and allowing 9/11 to happen but in actually ordering it to happen. Bush personally ordered it to happen. We have some very incriminating documents as well as eye-witnesses, that Bush personally ordered this event to happen in order to gain political advantage, to pursue a bogus political agenda on behalf of the neocons and their deluded thinking in the Middle East. I also wanted to point out that, just quickly, I went to school with some of these neocons. At the University of Chicago, in the late 60s with Wolfowitz and Feith and several of the others and so I know these people personally. And we used to talk about this stuff all of the time. And I did my senior thesis on this very subject - how to turn the U.S. into a presidential dictatorship by manufacturing a bogus Pearl Harbor event. So, technically this has been in the planning at least 35 years.

AJ: That's right. They were all Straussian followers of a Nazi-like professor. And now they are setting it up here in America. Stanley, I know you deposed a lot of people and you've got your $7 million dollar lawsuit with hundreds of the victim's families involved.

SH: 7 billion, 7 billion

AJ: Yeah, 7 billion. Can you go over some of the new and incriminating evidence you've got of them ordering the attack?

SH: Yes, let me just say that this is a taxpayers' class action lawsuit as well as a suit on behalf of the families and the basic three arguments are they violated the Constitution by ordering this event. And secondly that they [garbled] fraudulent Federal Claims Act, Title 31 of the U.S. Code in which Bush presented false and fraudulent evidence to Congress to get the Iraq war authorization. And, of course, he related it to 9/11 and claimed that Saddam was involved with that, and all these lies.

AJ: Tell you what, stay there. Stanley, we've got to break. Let's come back and get into the evidence. BREAK

AJ: All right my friends, second hour, the anniversary of the globalist attack coming up. It's an amazing individual we have on the line. Bob Dole's former chief of staff, political scientist, a lawyer, he went to school with Rumsfeld and others, he wrote his thesis about how to turn America into a dictatorship using a fake Pearl Harbor attack. He's suing the U.S. government for carrying out 9/11. He has hundreds of the victims' families signing onto it - it's a $7 billion lawsuit. And he is Stanley Hilton. I know that a lot of stations just joined us in Los Angeles and Rhode Island and Missouri and Florida and all over. Please sir, recap what you were just stating and then let's get into the new evidence. And then we'll get into why you are being harassed by the FBI, as other FBI people are being harassed who have been blowing the whistle on this. So, this is really getting serious. Stanley, tell us all about it.

SH: Yeah, we are suing Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Mueller, etc. for complicity in personally not only allowing 9/11 to happen but in ordering it. The hijackers we retained and we had a witness who is married to one of them. The hijackers were U.S. undercover agents. They were double agents, paid by the FBI and the CIA to spy on Arab groups in this country. They were controlled. Their landlord was an FBI informant in San Diego and other places. And this was a direct, covert operation ordered, personally ordered by George W. Bush. Personally ordered. We have incriminating evidence, documents as well as witnesses, to this effect. It's not just incompetence - in spite of the fact that he is incompetent. The fact is he personally ordered this, knew about it. He, at one point, there were rehearsals of this. The reason why he appeared to be uninterested and nonchalant on September 11th - when those videos showed that Andrew Card whispered in his ear the [garbled] words about this he listened to kids reading the pet goat story, is that he thought this was another rehearsal. These people had dress-rehearsed this many times. He had seen simulated videos of this. In fact, he even made a Freudian slip a few months later at a California press conference when he said he had, quote, "seen on television the first plane attack the first tower." And that could not be possible because there was no video. What it was was the simulated video that he had gone over. So this was a personally government-ordered thing. We are suing them under the Constitution for violating Americans' rights, as well as under the federal Fraudulent Claims Act, for presenting a fraudulent claim to Congress to justify the bogus Iraq boondoggle war, for political gains. And also, under the RICO statute, under the Racketeering Corrupt Organization Act, for being a corrupt entity. And I've been harassed personally by the chief judge of the federal court who is instructing me personally to drop this suit, threatened to kick me off the court, after 30 years on the court. I've been harassed by the FBI. My staff has been harassed and threatened. My office has been broken into and this is the kind of government we are dealing with.

The 'poisonous diet of overpopulation propaganda'

The numbers show that the world is not, has never been, nor ever shall be, overpopulated. In fact, according to the world's experts -- even the ones advocating population control -- birthrates around the world are dropping at a precipitous rate.

The book thus torpedoes the lifeboat scenario, which argued that in order to survive, we had to throw some of the earth's passengers overboard.

But it is much more than this. The history of the population control movement is replete with human rights abuses. Those who were made to walk the plank of abortion, sterilization, and contraception -- all for the supposed good of humanity -- have some horrific tales to tell.

The first chapters of Mosher's book describe the history of the population control movement, and how it is has never been the scientific, intelligent or cultural phenomenon it styles itself to be.

Rather, this movement was started and sustained by figures like Thomas Malthus, Margaret Sanger, John D. Rockefeller, and Hugh Moore, who led a contentious movement dominated by cultural elitism, racial hysteria and ignorance. As Mosher pointedly argues, their legacy has cost millions their lives and tens of millions more their basic rights.

"Human rights are nonnegotiable, or they are not rights at all," contends Mosher. "Abuses of basic rights, such as the right to bear children, cannot be expunged by reference to any calculus of costs versus benefits, any more than comparable violations of other basic human rights can be explained away, excused, or justified by reference to a supposedly larger social good."

The book explains exactly how the population control movement continues to violate these basic rights, in the pursuit for a false "good" -- fewer children.

Population Control-Real Costs, Illusory Benefits is, first and foremost, an answer to the allegation that the human race is inexorably multiplying.

Mosher lays out the China Model, based on China's one-child policy, and how population programs everywhere draw on its tactics. Nigeria provides an apt case study of how Western population controllers continue to strong-arm national governments into implementing abusive policies, policies that undermine the basic rights and freedoms of their people.

But the population controllers not only run roughshod over human rights for the sake of the supposed "greater good" of population decline (the chapter "Human Rights and Reproductive Wrongs includes a detailed, annotated list of human rights abuses perpetuated in the name of population control), they also sap primary health care programs and marginalize real health needs.

For example, because of the time and money wasted on unwanted and unnecessary contraceptives and abortifacient devices, malaria runs rampant in Africa. Developing countries end up with thousands of health clinics that literally carry nothing but contraceptives while people die from treatable diseases.

~ more... ~


The anti-cancer effect of cannabis

In fact, the first experiment documenting pot's anti-tumor effects took place in 1974 at the Medical College of Virginia at the behest of the U.S. government. The results of that study, reported in an Aug. 18, 1974, Washington Post newspaper feature, were that marijuana's psychoactive component, THC, "slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent."

Despite these favorable preliminary findings, U.S. government officials banished the study and refused to fund any follow-up research until conducting a similar -- though secret -- clinical trial in the mid-1990s. That study, conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program to the tune of $2 million, concluded that mice and rats administered high doses of THC over long periods had greater protection against malignant tumors than untreated controls.

However, rather than publicize their findings, government researchers shelved the results, which only became public after a draft copy of its findings were leaked in 1997 to a medical journal which in turn forwarded the story to the national media.

~ more... ~


On the level

At the advent of the American Revolution, Masons were so common in the English-speaking world that it should come as no shock that a good percentage of our founding fathers—John Hancock, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton, to name but a few—all belonged to the fraternity. Yet generations of historians, as well as generations of conspiracy seekers, have been intrigued with the possibility that the order's basic idealism—or covert intrigue, depending on one's view of Masonry—was inspiration for the direction our young country took.

Emily Peeso, curatorial registrar and event organizer of the Idaho Historical Museum Masonic exhibit, understands it as an unspecific relationship. "Those ideas of everybody being 'on the level' and being free from religion inside that structure, those were established in 1717," she said. "For their time, they were truly revolutionary, and they drew in like-minded people."

Others have detected more explicit, and sinister, agendas in play, far beyond the all-seeing Masonic eye that graces our dollar bill. Dan Brown, of The Da Vinci Code fame, is said to be capitalizing on the centuries of paranoia and will soon release a new novel about the Masons' influence on the U.S. government. He certainly won't be the first. It has even been suggested that the layout of the streets in Washington, D.C., are arcane Masonic signs and tributes to Lucifer himself. Persistent charges of occultism have dogged the Masons almost from their beginning.

In 1828, after an upstate New York Mason was allegedly kidnapped by brother Masons and thrown into the Niagara River to drown for exposing the order's secrets, a national political force arose with only one purpose, defined by the title they adopted—the "Anti-Masonic Party." John Quincy Adams (president from 1825 to 1829), not a member of that short-lived party but nevertheless an ally, was outspoken and ardent in his view that Freemasonry was "antithetical to the ideals of the United States."

Still, 14 U.S. presidents—most notably Washington, Monroe, Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman and Ford—were tried-and-true Masons. (It had long been thought that the man who penned the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, was a Mason, but no evidence has been found to confirm this.)

~ more... ~


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