IRAQ Baghdad is under siege + njw comments 11-04-06

Newsflash: Humanity, like water, seeks its own level. The artificial boundaries created by outside meddlers (Sykes & Picot, this last go-round), in Mesopotamia, over millennia, sooner or later, reshape themselves to their original and natural tribal and regional suzerainties. The Anglo-Franco lot appears to have lasted right around a tad over ¾ of a century; not bad, but certainly no record-breaker. Let’s see what kind of a job the “citizens” of the made-up-country of “Iraq” can make of it.


It won’t be pretty as they go about the business of sorting it all out, while we watch from the sidelines (as always, glued to the vicareality of our electronic interlocutors – can’t get too close, can we?) as they clean up the mess we have made in our apparently never-ending compulsion to impose our hypocritical and faux-omniscient “values” on every damn person on the planet. Dubya’s right on this one; imposing one’s will on those weaker than oneself, really is “hard work.”



The one bright star in this otherwise dismal landscape is that Iraq is so obvious a “catastrophically successful” disaster to even the most bemused and distracted member of the American citizenry, that we will, in all likelihood witness a boatload of legislation (a la post –Vietnam) forfending a repeat performance. The trick will be to reign in the excesses exhibited by the Bush/Rove/Cheney administration without castrating the Executive branch’s ability to perform its constitutional duties. A weak Executive would prove as destructive to our national interests as the Incredible Hulk version has. Like porridge, it has to be “just right.”



Artificial, self-serving lines on a map; created by two fading empires, destroyed by another, having learned sweet fanny nothing from the folly of its predecessors – Santayana, unlike all of them, got it “just right.”


P.S. the price of our latest folly has been dear. The recent Amnesty International/Brookings report of 650,000 Iraqi dead comes with abundant documentation, including copies of the death certificates for more than 80% of the deceased. U.S. “casualties” number between 20,000 and 25,000, not, as the American press would have it, 2,800. One wonders if the 7 media sisters are merely dissembling by sleight-of-journalistic-hand, or, if the American public schools system has finally managed to produce editors unaware of the actual meaning of the term “casualty.” Actual U.S. combat-related deaths are simply unknown as the Army considers only those dead at the scene, not those who die en route to hospital, in surgery, or post-operation. Guesstimates are that our actual dead number between two and three times the oft-published count.



From: Debby Bolen [mailto:dkbolen@worldnet.att.net]

Baghdad is under siege

By Patrick Cockburn in Arbil, Northern Iraq

01 November 2006

Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital.

As American and British political leaders argue over responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, the country has taken another lurch towards disintegration.

Well-armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement.

The Sunni insurgents seem to be following a plan to control all the approaches to Baghdad. They have long held the highway leading west to the Jordanian border and east into Diyala province. Now they seem to be systematically taking over routes leading north and south.

Dusty truck-stop and market towns such as Mahmoudiyah, Balad and Baquba all lie on important roads out of Baghdad. In each case Sunni fighters are driving out the Shia and tightening their grip on the capital. Shias may be in a strong position within Baghdad but they risk their lives when they take to the roads. Some 30 Shias were dragged off a bus yesterday after being stopped at a fake checkpoint south of Balad.

In some isolated neighbourhoods in Baghdad, food shortages are becoming severe. Shops are open for only a few hours a day. "People have been living off water melon and bread for the past few weeks," said one Iraqi from the capital. The city itself has broken up into a dozen or more hostile districts, the majority of which are controlled by the main Shia militia, the Mehdi Army.

The scale of killing is already as bad as Bosnia at the height of the Balkans conflict. An apocalyptic scenario could well emerge - with slaughter on a massive scale. As America prepares its exit strategy, the fear in Iraq is of a genocidal conflict between the Sunni minority and the Shias in which an entire society implodes. Individual atrocities often obscure the bigger picture where:

* upwards of 1,000 Iraqis are dying violently every week;

* Shia fighters have taken over much of Baghdad; the Sunni encircle the capital;

* the Iraqi Red Crescent says 1.5 million people have fled their homes within the country;

* the Shia and Sunni militias control Iraq, not the enfeebled army or police.

No target is too innocent. Yesterday a bomb tore through a party of wedding guests in Ur, on the outskirts of Sadr City, killing 15 people, including four children. Iraqi wedding parties are very identifiable, with coloured streamers attached to the cars and cheering relatives hanging out the windows.

Amid all this, Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, has sought to turn the fiasco of Iraq into a vote-winner with his claim that the Iraqi insurgents have upped their attacks on US forces in a bid to influence the mid-term elections. There is little evidence to support this. In fact, the number of American dead has risen steadily this year from 353 in January to 847 in September and will be close to one thousand in October.

And there is growing confusion over the role of the US military. In Sadr City, the sprawling slum in the east of the capital that is home to 2.5 million people, American soldiers have been setting up barriers of cement blocks and sandbags after a US soldier was abducted, supposedly by the Mehdi Army. The US also closed several of the bridges across the Tigris river making it almost impossible to move between east and west Baghdad. Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, added to the sense of chaos yesterday when he ordered the US army to end its Sadr City siege.

Mr Maliki has recently criticised the US for the failure of its security policy in Iraq and resisted American pressure to eliminate the militias. Although President Bush and Tony Blair publicly handed back sovereignty to Iraq in June 2004, Mr Maliki said: "I am now Prime Minister and overall commander of the armed forces yet I cannot move a single company without Coalition [US and British] approval."

In reality the militias are growing stronger by the day because the Shia and Sunni communities feel threatened and do not trust the army and police to defend them. US forces have been moving against the Mehdi Army, which follows the nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, but he is an essential prop to Mr Maliki's government. Almost all the main players in Iraqi politics maintain their own militias. The impotence of US forces to prevent civil war is underlined by the fact that the intense fighting between Sunni and Shia around Balad, north of Baghdad, has raged for a month, although the town is beside one of Iraq's largest American bases. The US forces have done little and when they do act they are seen by the Shia as pursuing a feud against the Mehdi Army.

One eyewitness in Balad said two US gunships had attacked Shia positions on Sunday killing 11 people and seriously wounding six more, several of whom lost legs and arms. He added that later two Iraqi regular army platoons turned up in Balad with little military equipment. When they were asked by locals why their arms were so poor "the reply was that they were under strict orders by the US commander from the [nearby] Taji camp not to intervene and they were stripped of their rocket-propelled grenade launchers".

Another ominous development is that Iraqi tribes that often used to have both Sunni and Shia members are now splitting along sectarian lines.

In Baghdad it has become lethally dangerous for a Sunni to wander into a Shia neighbourhood and vice versa. In one middle-class district called al-Khudat, in west Baghdad, once favoured by lawyers and judges, the remaining Shia families recently found a cross in red paint on their doors. Sometimes there is also a note saying "leave without furniture and without renting your house". Few disobey.

The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq by Patrick Cockburn is published this month by Verso



Re: NADER's ROLE IN dEMOCRACY anti-dem Dems & reductionist Repugs NjW 10-22-06

2000 Election Facts:

* Nader got less than 100,000 votes in Florida in the 2000 election.

* Al Gore put Joe Lieberman on the ticket, alienating many progressive Dems.

* More than 250,000 registered Democrats in Florida voted for George W. Bush, despite Gore's gesture to the right wing..

* The Supreme Court voted 5-4 to validate a bogus election in Florida. 

 Now, tell me again which group helped Bush become president?

Nigel j Watson wrote:

From: Allan Richardson [mailto:jallan32@tampabay.rr.com]
Subject: Re: FLORIDA SENATE Nader Endorses Anti-War Candidate


Nader helped Bush become president in 2000.


NADER's ROLE IN dEMOCRACY anti-dem Dems & reductionist Repugs NjW 10-22-06

From: Allan Richardson [mailto:jallan32@tampabay.rr.com]
Subject: Re: FLORIDA SENATE Nader Endorses Anti-War Candidate


Nader helped Bush become president in 2000.




I respectfully disagree, Allan.


Ralph was simply exercising his right, as would any other American citizen, to strive for public office in a political environment wholly owned by two branches of the same kleptocracy that currently mismanage this country; primarily for their own needs and benefit. That the Dems actually fought Cousin Ralphie’s access to the ballot tooth & nail (in Florida and across the nation), based on the canard that he would be “stealing” votes from them, and that the Repugs actually encouraged Nader’s efforts (the enemy of my enemy..) via surreptitious funding of sham “Let’s all get Ralph on the ballot”-type fronts, simply turns the point into an exclamation point!


I also think it strange that I have seldom heard a discouraging word from Dems cursing Perot because he “stole” enough votes to allow Clinton to win in ’92. Damn that Perot and the 8 boffo years he ushered in for the country anyway!! What a disgrace! I mean, the man (Bill) could actually compose sentence fragments into…………………………………..… COMPLETE SENTENCES!


As for the anti-dem Dems notion that “A vote for Ralph is a vote for Bush”: it is absurd on its face. How can a vote be “stolen” by the mere act of providing greater choice and more options? From whom is it stolen? From the one who prefers it not be cast counter to her/his own liking? Would such a person remain uninterested if the prospective voter whose choice has now been stolen, simply sat out the election, or is the now-disenfranchised Nader voter expected to throw up her/his hands and run down to the poll and vote for the lesser of two evils (as in the Dem)? Would this person even bother to block Ralph if s/he knew beforehand that no Nader voter would vote for the Dem? And would this point of view be nearly as prevalent if s/he were to be denied the opportunity to freely vote for the Democrat of her/his choice?


I figure it would take one such instance of such outrageous interference in their right to vote for whom they chose, to make converts of them all.


Wasn’t this approach a Stalin thing (his Naders ended up in gulags – our Dems and Repugs would relegate them to the gulag of non-participation)? I won’t utter the oft misused “f” word, but isn’t that just a more concise term for “greater choice and more options”? Wouldn’t the term “stolen,” in this case, more aptly describe the one who would deny those with whom s/he disagrees the right - equal to her/his own - to choose the candidate of their choice?


And to what end is this purloined vote to be allegedly misused? The inescapable and logical premise of the “a vote for Nader…” canard is that Nader’s gain can come only at the unfair and unjust expense of another. Such a dictum further presupposes ownership of the vote by party or parties unknown, doesn’t it? Of course, someone as uncomplicated as me might traitorously think that a vote for Nader was, well, a vote for Nader. But, I could be mistaken.


Could the Dems really believe that to allow free citizens in a free country to cast their votes freely for a party and philosophy reflecting their values which, dare I say it, may not comport with those currently in vogue in our nation’s capitol – Left or Right - would not be in their best interests? This assumes, of course, that the Dems’ “interests” were those of the nation’s. Why, of course! Pardon me for mentioning it. What other interest would ever come before their country’s?


Instead of killing the messenger (I agree, Ralph’s worse than your mother – sort of like a super-Cassandra), why wasn’t all that “Stop Ralph!” energy and angst directed to ferreting out what he was on about. Is there nothing that the Dems need to do to get their own house in order?


Like pregnancy, true representational democracy knows no nuance; you’re for it - warts and all - or you’re not. Any attempt to rig the results simply robs the rigger of the intellectual honesty to take an unequivocal stand for democracy.


If you really want a boogeyman, there are plenty of others out there besides a guy merely practicing good citizenship (unless you agree that fewer voices are better).


You might want to start with Jeb, who, from the moment he assumed the gubernatorial mantle of the Sunshine State, made it his single mission to “fix” Florida for Dubya. That Jeb’s dark spirit (he is the intelligent Dubya) was able to get our current pimple on the presidency within even shouting distance of his opponent – the triangulating, but good-hearted Mr. Gore – speaks volumes for the man’s oppressive talents. Shame on him, eh?


But even then, old Jeb needed help from a higher power to finish the job, eh?


And those 5 “higher powers” should also be among the prime targets of your calumny, especially Ms. O’Conner who proved over two decades on the high bench that she knew a thing or two about using her independent thinker to come down on the right side of an issue. Shame on her, right?


And finally, you might want to Google one Donna Brazile; Al Gore’s alleged “campaign manager.” Ms. Brazile, for all her other laudatory work in civil rights and other areas, was the reason Florida mattered in the first place. Had she done her job competently, Ole’ Al would have won his home state of Tennessee, our future would have been hoedowns in Nashville, not camp-outs in Crawford. That Gore failed to secure those crucial 11 electoral votes can be lain directly at the feet of Ms. Brazile who failed utterly to understand the effectiveness of the negative Rove ads in Tennessee (and throughout the old Confederacy) - naked plays for the dark, racist hearts of all too many white, disaffected, Southern (and mostly poor) males – until it was far too late. Pathetic.


This then is my rogues’ gallery of Bush 43 “enablers”. There are many other handmaidens and subalterns, but these are, IMHO, the main players.


To prevent Ralph from stealing any votes in future, Allen, I suggest we encourage both major political parties to get behind IRV, public campaign funding, non-partisan redistricting commissions and state oversight offices, and… oh, never mind.


A few final questions:


If Barack Obama runs in 2008, would you vote for him?


How about if Hill’s millions buy her pride of post and Obama – denied by his own party, but bowing to popular acclaim – runs as an Independent? Is his vote still yours?


If yes, how would you feel if Hill’s mills brought Obama to a standstill, rendering nil his best efforts to get onto the ballot? How then would you decide whose vote had been stolen?


P.S. If the above candidate’s names don’t get you upset, feel free to throw in the name of anyone you like who has been prevented, by unfair means, from playing on a level field. If any of you worked for Eugene McCarthy or John Anderson, you’ll know what I mean.


Now that I’ve finished my rant, I’d be interested to know how you all feel about this issue. Send me your thoughts and I’ll share them with the group.


NjW 10-22-06


From: Allan Richardson [mailto:jallan32@tampabay.rr.com]
Sent: Sunday, October 22, 2006 8:57 AM
To: Nigel j Watson
Subject: Re: FLORIDA SENATE Nader Endorses Anti-War Candidate


Nader helped Bush become president in 2000.


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Saturday, October 21, 2006 12:56

Subject: FLORIDA SENATE Nader Endorses Anti-War Candidate


From: Brian Moore [mailto:brianmor@tampabay.rr.com]



Effective: Immediately

Saturday  October 21st,, 2006

For more information, please contact:

Brian Moore (352) 686-9936 -- (352) 585-2907;

Faith Carr, Press Secretary, 352-335-0771

Darcy Richardson, Campaign Manager,  (904) 765-5871








GLOBALISM 'Applebee's America' - Sosnik-Dowd-Fournier + njw comments 10-15-06

A hopeful read...         (and another reason there’s more than one of us)                 NjW 10-15-06


These fellas may be on to something… In the hysteria of an overweening federal government, fixated on completing its bloody-minded mission to divide us and conquer, we tend to forget the immutability of the human spirit; the relatively brief span of history is against these creeps. The authors of this book gently remind us, again, as to where the true power lies in any society; at any point in time: the people. All that needs to happen is that “the people” get fed up enough with the current faux-discussion to want to change it. Left to our own devices we will seek out our commonalities, not our differences.


Our alleged leaders have – for the past quarter-century – essentially ignored and “played” us all. The Dems have played blacks and gays; the Republicans the Religious Right and economic conservatives. The one thing they have failed to do, Dem and Rep alike, is the will of the people. Can anyone reading these words disagree? Has any administration really done your will since you’ve been alive? Did any of you knowingly vote for a government that would run up our total of nuclear warheads to over 16,000 (we’re currently down to about 8,000) by the early ‘80s? I trust none of you felt too good when you realized you had voted for the pandemic corruption and consequent cover-ups of the past 4 administrations and congresses. But, at least, until the early ‘90s, we were on a general upwards path that bespoke the good of the country. Since the onset of Krugman’s “unraveling,” (from Reagan on) we have all watched in dismay as, one after another, the building blocks so painstakingly won – and that made this nation a more civilized place – were deconstructed and willfully ignored via such specious and self-serving logic that would have humbled even Socrates himself.


Had they actually been representing our interests and concerns, by now we would have: universal, single-payer, health care (some 70% want this); a half-dozen fewer wars (80%+ want this, after the fact); a healthier environment (90%); meaningful government oversight of business; schools that work (100%); an affordable higher education system (100%); enlightened globalization policies that extended our progressive labor policies outward even as we retrained those displaced by such ineluctable realities (too few understand this issue well enough – if they did, they’d go looking for a rope, or ten), and an open and verifiable election process that actually encouraged participation and imposed harsh penalties for those caught trying to jimmy the system (most acts of malfeasance in this area are misdemeanors).


Had they actually been representing our interests and concerns, by now would not have: a military-industrial complex running the place (indeed, our economy would be on the rocks without it); a government for sale to the highest bidder – in a sane world, campaigns would be fully funded by the people, and the first exception to the First Amendment would ensure that even those of us with modest means could still have our voices heard (it’s that or repeal the canard of corporate “personhood”); an insane war on drugs that is creating a prison nation comprised mainly of (very, very angry) black and Hispanic males, even while sending the price of a nickel bag spiraling down to a tenth of its ‘80s price and 20 times its potency; an equally insane war on terror playing into the hands of precisely those without sufficient power to destroy us on their own; and politicians pandering to our worst racist and nativist instincts.


The above just hits a few high spots of how ill-serving and out-of-touch our government has become. Some of this is systemic; some migrational (Tricky Dick led us into the brambled thicket of this gang’s “unitary executive”) and opportunistic. All of it must stop, and it will. Sooner or later, all outrages against the people become too great; injuries inflicted can no longer be ignored. What these guys are saying is they think we are nearing Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point on the issue of governance in America. I would add that the world is watching and waiting for us to stop being part of the problem.


It can’t happen soon enough for me.


ABOUT 50 MINUTES http://www.booktv.org/General/index.asp?segID=7445&schedID=454



“I think it would be a good idea.” – Mahatma Gandhi

  (when asked what he thought of Western civilization)


Nigel J Watson  think@ij.net  727 822-9290 Real Estate Broker


to get on FreeThinkers: 1reply  2type add in Subject  3send




CIVIL LIBS-CHURCH & STATE selective persecution

Beware when state oppresses church, even if it’s not your church; it soon will be.


Isn’t it interesting that a liberal, Episcopal church has run afoul of the IRS?


It is an outrageous use of government power to go after this particular church, as it represents the first action taken by the IRS, in this regard, since the Bush administration assumed office. This is the very same IRS that has studiously ignored some 100 cases – every one, save this one, involving a fundamentalist church – under investigation by the Clinton administration at the time they left office – guess they couldn’t put any of those cases together, eh?


Since 2000, there have been numerous and well-documented instances of fundamentalist churches becoming intimately involved in the election process; many to the point of handing out brochures, as parishioners exited the church after service, with the results of questionnaires and a not-subtle plea to vote for the candidates who “reflect our values.” Other records show clear use of church facilities and resources, on a consistent and sustained basis, for this or that political purpose. This IRS has failed to file against a single right-of-center church.


The record on this type of abuse by church, of state, is clear as a bell: one can count on the fingers of one hand the more liberal churches which have engaged in this unconstitutional behaviour over the past 30 years. In contrast, fundamentalist churches, since the mid 70s, have a rich history of separation-type transgressions; occasionally inadvertent, but mostly with plenty of proof of attempts to cover up their activities.


This action by the Bush IRS (they have politicized and cronyized all but a very few oversight agencies) is nothing less than police-state oppression of protected speech; and pretty damned obvious, at that.


NjW 09-23-06





Common Dreams News Center

Published on Friday, September 22, 2006 by the Los Angeles Times
All Saints Episcopal Church Won't Comply With IRS Probe
Pasadena's All Saints Episcopal parish board challenges a request to turn over documents in a case over a 2004 antiwar sermon.
by Louis Sahagun

A liberal Pasadena church on Thursday declared that it will refuse to comply with an IRS investigation into its tax-exemption status launched after a guest speaker was critical of President Bush in a sermon.

At a news conference attended by 50 cheering supporters gathered before the marble altar at All Saints Episcopal Church, the Rev. Ed Bacon said his 3,500-member congregation did not violate tax regulations barring tax-exempt organizations from endorsing or opposing candidates when a former rector, George F. Regas, criticized the Bush administration two days before the 2004 presidential election.

The Episcopal faith, the 58-year-old rector said, "calls us to speak to the issues of war and poverty, bigotry, torture, and all forms of terrorism … always stopping short of supporting or opposing political parties or candidates for public office."

Joined by members of other faiths, he added, "We are also not here for ourselves alone but to defend the freedom of pulpits in faith communities throughout our land."…




“I think it would be a good idea.” – Mahatma Gandhi

  (when asked what he thought of Western civilization)


Nigel J Watson  think@ij.net  727 822-9290 Real Estate Broker


to get on FreeThinkers: 1reply  2type add in Subject  3send




BUSH-WAR POWERS can Bush just bomb Iran?

To: think@ij.net
Subject: can Bush just bomb Iran?


 If you have time, could you please answer this question for me.  As a person of average intelligence, I once thought I knew the answer to this question.  Now, I have no idea.


Can Bush bomb Iran without permission from Congress?  Can Bush continue to increase this insanity any old way he pleases?


Of the people sending E-mails, I trust your opinion most. (thank you)  Is it possible this man can just go bomb more people?




Dear ______;


The short and pathetic answer is, yes. Bush’s powers as Commander-in-Chief are derived from Article II of the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973. I include the relevant portions below. What makes this president different is that he feels that God has placed him at America’s helm in its hour of need. Karl Rove is Bush’s equal in terms of Protestant fundamentalism. In Old Karl’s case, he sees himself as Bush’s guiding hand. While it’s not yet megalomania, it’s getting there.


Add to this Bush’s knowledge that, even if the GOP retains the Presidency in 2008, the man who replaces him will not be a Neocon. Even Condi, absent the religious fervor, will not summarily bomb Iran without legitimate cause (there is none - Iran was fully in compliance with the Arms Limitation Treaty at the time it kicked out the UN inspectors). Bush pretty much knows it must happen on his watch, or probably not at all.


As to how far Bush can take all this – he’s a zealot; and sublime in his ignorance – my guess is only Karl and Dick have much say anymore – I am most concerned about the interregnum from the time the 44th President is determined to Inauguration Day, 2009


This is not a happy time for the world.



Article I. - The Legislative Branch

Section 1 - The Legislature

Section 8 - Powers of Congress (all require legislation before action may occur)

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies,  ….

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia (National Guard) to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, ….

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.


Article II. - The Executive Branch

Section 1 - The President

Section 2 - Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices


WAR POWERS ACT of 1973 explained 09-13-01 http://www.slate.com/id/1008290


WAR POWERS ACT Google links http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=RNWE,RNWE:2005-49,RNWE:en&q=war+powers+act



Wish the news was better


Take care







NEOCON VOTING TRICKS TAKE ACTION! the voter 'ID' bill njw 09-19-06

This bastard piece of legislation (below) seeks to take back a key feature of the Voting Rights Act, so recently renewed with typical populist flourish by our alleged Federalist and Misleader-In-Chief. This measure is, in fact, a poll tax of a different kind. The vast majority of folks who do not drive, don’t have credit cards, don’t have employee I.D., and usually don’t have the types of identification listed in this bill, tend to be black or brown; and/or poor; and/or undereducated; and/or elderly; and/or disabled. Add to this that the incidence of voter fraud is virtually nil, one wonders why we are not requiring election officials to produce these damn things on demand; that and wear bells around their necks. The past three election cycles have shown conclusively that these folks are where the problem lies, not with the poor bastards trying – against all odds, in many cases – to exercise their right to have a say in who governs them badly for the next 2 or 4 years.


And, oh yes, over 80% tend to resemble Democrats; but that wouldn’t have anything to do with anything, would it? Sorry I mentioned it.


One thing that has become increasingly clear to me, over the past 35 years, is that the Republican Party has transmogrified from a force that was just ho-hum, antediluvian, garden-variety, elitist and exclusionary in its view of people, the world – not to mention its pinched and stingy vision of what this grand experiment known as America is all about - to a party that is, today, willing to do whatever, say whatever, break or ignore or temporize whatever laws of the land, traduce whomever, rig however many elections, and take whatever increasingly outrageous steps (up to, and most likely including, a select, few key assassinations) it must, in order to have its megalomaniacal way.


Once its leaders came to the conclusion that the party could never return to its profligate, cavalier, and oppressive ways (Goldwater’s 1964 defeat) by honest means, via open combat in the marketplace of intellectually-honest ideas (“Extremism in the defense of liberty…”), on a level field of play (Liberalism has its faults, but Conservative “ideals” should play no role in any humane vision of the future for our species), the die was cast; even though most involved in this paradigm shift had failed to give a particle of thought as to which particular road to hell such a philosophical “take” might lead (like Iraq redux).


For me, this deal was sealed, not when Bill Buckley founded National Review; nor when the lush Mr. Mellon-Scaife funded the American Enterprise Institute (and later, ditto for the Heritage Foundation); nor any number of other seminal events in the 40s, 50s, and 60s; but, rather, when Nixon’s election minions betrayed the nation – and the loved ones of some 20,000 more, mostly needless, additional American casualties* - with their Faustian, back-channel bargain with then South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu. Such grand betrayal of principle of any kind puts the relatively penny-ante bads of the Neocons in perspective, doesn’t it? Scale matters. To my own way of thinking, and besides the sheer bodybag count, Nixon’s is still the greater treason; he interfered with an ongoing peace process that was making progress until his interference prevented same – all for petty political aggrandizement. Team Bush’s bads, while equally scurrilous acts, were only partially driven by pure partisan political gain. Nixon’s actions had absolutely no redeemable value; even the Neocons’ fantasy-based one.


Of course, 99.5% of all Americans were not made aware of Nixon’s monstrous 1968 efforts, until this century, in his maniacal reach for the Tolkien ring of ineluctable power that temporarily resides in the U.S. Presidency. Even then, this offshore item was picked up by few in the mainstream American press; old news – shit, that’s a million years ago; who really cares? That’s like reporting – 40 years on - that Ringo preferred camels.


But the dark lessons learned from the Nixon era informed the sinister aspirations of the Karl Roves, Dick Cheneys, and a host of others, that winning was the only thing; trumping even treason and betrayal in order to achieve. No doubt, most of you reading this will cringe at the almost uncanny similarity of purpose and actions exhibited in the events of the 1968 election and by those of the President’s men, as compared to those in this century.


It instructs us how close we are to the knife’s-edge of despotism and how truly fragile our freedoms:

“… Nixon had asked (on the run-up to impeachment) the Joint Chiefs ''whether in a crunch there was support (as in, a military coup) to keep him in power,''


“… Nixon might have been intoxicated; it took very little alcohol to make him belligerent, and he became even more thuggish and incoherent when he threw in a few sleeping pills as well. He might have been hypermedicated, and he may have helped himself to a very volatile anticonvulsant called Dilantin, given to him by a campaign donor rather than prescribed by a physician. He might have been in a depressive or psychotic state; for three decades and in great secrecy he consulted a psychotherapist named Dr. Arnold A. Hutschnecker. He may even have believed the Jews were after him; on numberless occasions he used his dirtiest mouth to curse at Jewish plots and individuals.”


“… Nixon's illegal and surreptitious conduct not only prolonged an awful war but also corrupted and subverted a crucial presidential election: the combination must make it the most wicked action in American history.” And more; much bloody more. (though I differ with Chris that this was “…a nation founded on law and right.”)


Will anyone reading this deny that our current Oval dry-drunk could probably match Tricky Dick and raise him by a nutcase, or two?


The upshot was that Thieu agreed to delay (by withdrawing) the start of incipient (Paris) peace talks until after the 1968 U.S. election. In return, Nixon’s emissaries agreed to provide more military support for Thieu - on the ground - than Humphrey had already told Thieu he would (also giving Thieu more time to line his own pockets). Nixon’s victory over Humphrey was razor-thin. Most historians give credit for putting Nixon “over the top” (he had been trailing in many polls as few as two weeks before the election) to the Democrats inability - despite promises to do so - to actually have peace negotiations underway by Election Day. Given the mood of the country, it served as a forerunner to Bush 41’s “Read my lips…” moment.


Despite the political chaos that began with the fractious, bumptious, and uproarious election campaign of 1968, and continued through the 70s with such nadirs for the Republicans as the impeachment and hounding from office of both a sitting GOP Vice-President and President, 1968 was indeed the turning of the screw as to which of the two major competing ideologies would propel the American hegemon through to century’s end.


In the three-and-a-half decades since Reagan took office, the “Republican” Party has left behind any and all claim to the salutary values (there are a few) it may have once possessed; most notably, that of intellectual honesty and fidelity to its principles and ideals - in all those principles’ wrong-headed, counterintuitive; muddled, misanthropic, myopic, mean-spirited; and miscreant glory.


As Sy Hirsch so succinctly phrased it, “We’ve been taken over by a cult (Neocon).” Well, I say we’ve been betrayed by a party. The Bush administration is the most logical continuum of the path the GOP has trod since 1980; when it finally regained some real say in the country’s governance. Why should anyone be surprised at our present low state? Gilded Age anyone?


Given the apparently endless parlous state of the affairs of men, boy, did Old Ben have it right, on the steps of Independence Hall, not so long ago.


Rigged elections may be the least of our problems. Make the call anyway.


NjW 09-19-06


*Estimates of upwards of 200,000 additional Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians may also have perished in vain, during the extra 2-3 years of prolonged conflict, borne as a direct result of the Nixonista’s unforgivable and traitorous duplicity on the eve of election in 1968.



From: Elaine Patton [mailto:epsunshine2@yahoo.com]

League of Women Voters of the United States <lobbying@lwv.org> wrote:

Subject: Action Alert: Don't Let Congress Shut Out Voters



Take Action. Now!




Action Alert: Don't Let Congress Shut Out Voters


The House could vote as early as this Wednesday, September 20, on a bill that would disenfranchise large numbers of legal voters.  The so-called “Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006,” H.R. 4844, would create new barriers to voting by requiring every voter to provide government-issued, current and valid photo identification at the polling place in 2008.  By 2010 every voter would have to provide ID that includes proof of citizenship.

Photo ID requirements discourage voting and discriminate against certain voters. Photo ID requirements disproportionately impact those who are least likely to have current photo ID:  the elderly, young people, people of color, rural voters, the homeless, low-income people, individuals with disabilities, frequent movers and persons in large households.  The expense involved in obtaining photo ID is an economic burden and has a real discriminatory effect. 

At the polls, acceptance of the ID would be determined by poll workers and election officials.  Such tests and devices have historically resulted in discrimination and disenfranchisement of eligible voters.

Voter fraud addressed in H.R. 4844 is a rare problem.  There is no question that election misconduct exists, but the lack of evidence of instances in which voters misrepresent their identity at the polls suggests that the kind of voter fraud ameliorated by a photo ID requirement is an oddity.

Congress is using the pretext of voter fraud as a means to manipulate the voting process.  If there is little misrepresentation at the polls, why is Congress insisting on passing more restrictions on voting?  Congress should not be playing politics with the right to vote.  Voter participation should be increased, not blocked by unnecessary barriers.  

Proof of citizenship required by H.R. 4844 is like a 21st Century poll tax.  H.R. 4844 calls for every voter by 2010 to provide a government-issued, current and valid photo ID that proves citizenship.  A newly issued U.S. passport currently costs $97 plus postage, and requires supporting documentation.  Obtaining proof of citizenship imposes real costs in both time and money.  If H.R. 4844 were enacted, many Americans would have to pay to obtain proof of their citizenship.  This amounts to a 21st Century poll tax.

Voting is the most fundamental expression of citizenship.  Much of the last century was spent breaking down barriers to citizen voter participation – from literacy tests to the poll tax.   We must continue to protect eligible voters from discrimination, and must not allow new barriers to be erected in the 21st Century.


1. Contact your Representative in the House now, by phone and by email, and urge her/him to oppose H.R. 4844 and the barriers to voting it creates.  Tell your Representative that H.R. 4844 discriminates against legal voters and discourages voter participation.  Congress must not manipulate the voting process by blocking voters from participating in elections.   

Phone calls are helpful and can be made through the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121.  Click here to enter your zip code and send an instant message to your Member of Congress now!

2. Send this alert to other concerned citizens — your grassroots network, your friends and coworkers.  Encourage them to contact their representative today!

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Action Alerts directly by email. Don't miss an opportunity to take action! It’s easy to sign up and the League will never share your email with others: http://takeaction.lwv.org/lwv/mlm/signup/.

Action Alert #109-37, ID, House, GLC, 9/18/06


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