Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Money trails lead to Bush judges

Salon story A four-month investigation reveals that dozens of federal judges gave contributions to President Bush and top Republicans who helped place them on the bench. A Salon/CIR exclusive.

Editor's note: This story continues a series by Salon and the Center for Investigative Reporting scrutinizing the federal judiciary under Bush. To learn more about the data and public records cited in this story, and to view CIR's full report, click here.

By Will Evans

At least two dozen federal judges appointed by President Bush since 2001 made political contributions to key Republicans or to the president himself while under consideration for their judgeships, government records show. A four-month investigation of Bush-appointed judges by the Center for Investigative Reporting reveals that six appellate court judges and 18 district court judges contributed a total of more than $44,000 to politicians who were influential in their appointments. Some gave money directly to Bush after he officially nominated them. Other judges contributed to Republican campaign committees while they were under consideration for a judgeship.

Republicans who received money from judges en route to the bench include Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Sens. George Voinovich and Mike DeWine of Ohio, and Gov. George Pataki of New York.

There are no laws or regulations prohibiting political contributions by a candidate for a federal judgeship. But political giving by judicial candidates has been a rarely scrutinized activity amid the process that determines who will receive lifelong jobs on the federal bench. Some ethics experts and Bush-appointed judges say that political giving is inappropriate for those seeking judicial office -- it can appear unethical, they say, and could jeopardize the public's confidence in the impartiality of the nation's courts. Those concerns come as ethics and corruption scandals have roiled Washington, and on the eve of midterm elections whose outcome could influence the makeup of the federal judiciary -- including the Supreme Court -- for decades to come. ...

Inanimate Alice, Episode 1: China

by Kate Pullinger and babel Inanimate Alice depicts the life of a young girl growing up in the early years of the 21st century through her blog and episodic multimedia adventures that span her life from childhood through to her twenties. It has been created to help draw attention to the issue of electro-sensitivity and the potentially harmful pollution resulting from wireless communications. http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/pullinger_babel__inanimate_alice_episode_1_china.html

OCCULTERATI #1… “Foolish Persons”

OCCULT TALK Original Soundtrack Recording, Vol. 1 Running Time :: 35:09 Download :: ZIP Cover Art :: front, reverse

Monday, October 30, 2006

Possessed Demon Cat

Hilarious Cat Sleeping With Tongue Out

Robert Fisk: Mystery of Israel's secret uranium bomb

Alarm over radioactive legacy left by attack on Lebanon

Published: 28 October 2006

Did Israel use a secret new uranium-based weapon in southern Lebanon this summer in the 34-day assault that cost more than 1,300 Lebanese lives, most of them civilians?

We know that the Israelis used American "bunker-buster" bombs on Hizbollah's Beirut headquarters. We know that they drenched southern Lebanon with cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of the war, leaving tens of thousands of bomblets which are still killing Lebanese civilians every week. And we now know - after it first categorically denied using such munitions - that the Israeli army also used phosphorous bombs, weapons which are supposed to be restricted under the third protocol of the Geneva Conventions, which neither Israel nor the United States have signed.

But scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam and At-Tiri, the scene of fierce fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops last July and August, suggests that uranium-based munitions may now also be included in Israel's weapons inventory - and were used against targets in Lebanon. According to Dr Chris Busby, the British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, two soil samples thrown up by Israeli heavy or guided bombs showed "elevated radiation signatures". Both have been forwarded for further examination to the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire for mass spectrometry - used by the Ministry of Defence - which has confirmed the concentration of uranium isotopes in the samples.

Dr Busby's initial report states that there are two possible reasons for the contamination. "The first is that the weapon was some novel small experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation flash ... The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted uranium." A photograph of the explosion of the first bomb shows large clouds of black smoke that might result from burning uranium.

Enriched uranium is produced from natural uranium ore and is used as fuel for nuclear reactors. A waste productof the enrichment process is depleted uranium, it is an extremely hard metal used in anti-tank missiles for penetrating armour. Depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural uranium, which is less radioactive than enriched uranium.

Israel has a poor reputation for telling the truth about its use of weapons in Lebanon. In 1982, it denied using phosphorous munitions on civilian areas - until journalists discovered dying and dead civilians whose wounds caught fire when exposed to air.

I saw two dead babies who, when taken from a mortuary drawer in West Beirut during the Israeli siege of the city, suddenly burst back into flames. Israel officially denied using phosphorous again in Lebanon during the summer - except for "marking" targets - even after civilians were photographed in Lebanese hospitals with burn wounds consistent with phosphorous munitions.

Then on Sunday, Israel suddenly admitted that it had not been telling the truth. Jacob Edery, the Israeli minister in charge of government-parliament relations, confirmed that phosphorous shells were used in direct attacks against Hizbollah, adding that "according to international law, the use of phosphorous munitions is authorised and the (Israeli) army keeps to the rules of international norms".

Asked by The Independent if the Israeli army had been using uranium-based munitions in Lebanon this summer, Mark Regev, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: "Israel does not use any weaponry which is not authorised by international law or international conventions." This, however, begs more questions than it answers. Much international law does not cover modern uranium weapons because they were not invented when humanitarian rules such as the Geneva Conventions were drawn up and because Western governments still refuse to believe that their use can cause long-term damage to the health of thousands of civilians living in the area of the explosions.

American and British forces used hundreds of tons of depleted uranium (DU) shells in Iraq in 1991 - their hardened penetrator warheads manufactured from the waste products of the nuclear industry - and five years later, a plague of cancers emerged across the south of Iraq.

Initial US military assessments warned of grave consequences for public health if such weapons were used against armoured vehicles. But the US administration and the British government later went out of their way to belittle these claims. Yet the cancers continued to spread amid reports that civilians in Bosnia - where DU was also used by Nato aircraft - were suffering new forms of cancer. DU shells were again used in the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq but it is too early to register any health effects.

"When a uranium penetrator hits a hard target, the particles of the explosion are very long-lived in the environment," Dr Busby said yesterday. "They spread over long distances. They can be inhaled into the lungs. The military really seem to believe that this stuff is not as dangerous as it is." Yet why would Israel use such a weapon when its targets - in the case of Khiam, for example - were only two miles from the Israeli border? The dust ignited by DU munitions can be blown across international borders, just as the chlorine gas used in attacks by both sides in the First World War often blew back on its perpetrators.

Chris Bellamy, the professor of military science and doctrine at Cranfield University, who has reviewed the Busby report, said: "At worst it's some sort of experimental weapon with an enriched uranium component the purpose of which we don't yet know. At best - if you can say that - it shows a remarkably cavalier attitude to the use of nuclear waste products."

The soil sample from Khiam - site of a notorious torture prison when Israel occupied southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000, and a frontline Hizbollah stronghold in the summer war - was a piece of impacted red earth from an explosion; the isotope ratio was 108, indicative of the presence of enriched uranium. "The health effects on local civilian populations following the use of large uranium penetrators and the large amounts of respirable uranium oxide particles in the atmosphere," the Busby report says, "are likely to be significant ... we recommend that the area is examined for further traces of these weapons with a view to clean up."

This summer's Lebanon war began after Hizbollah guerrillas crossed the Lebanese frontier into Israel, captured two Israeli soldiers and killed three others, prompting Israel to unleash a massive bombardment of Lebanon's villages, cities, bridges and civilian infrastructure. Human rights groups have said that Israel committed war crimes when it attacked civilians, but that Hizbollah was also guilty of such crimes because it fired missiles into Israel which were also filled with ball-bearings, turning their rockets into primitive one-time-only cluster bombs.

Many Lebanese, however, long ago concluded that the latest Lebanon war was a weapons testing ground for the Americans and Iranians, who respectively supply Israel and Hizbollah with munitions. Just as Israel used hitherto-unproven US missiles in its attacks, so the Iranians were able to test-fire a rocket which hit an Israeli corvette off the Lebanese coast, killing four Israeli sailors and almost sinking the vessel after it suffered a 15-hour on-board fire.

What the weapons manufacturers make of the latest scientific findings of potential uranium weapons use in southern Lebanon is not yet known. Nor is their effect on civilians.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Give Me Strength, by Rabindranath Tagore

This is my prayer to thee, my lord--- strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart. Give me the strength lightly to bear my joys and sorrows. Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service. Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might. Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifles. And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


by FRANK MORALES THE RECENT SIGNING INTO LAW OF 'DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL' MAKES ITS EASIER FOR BUSH TO IMPLEMENT MARTIAL LAW IN AMERICA. In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), “will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law” (1). It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President’s ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 – 335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions. Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007” (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder.” President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home, preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember, the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is "martial law." Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled, “Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies.” Section 333, “Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law” states that “the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of (“refuse” or “fail” in) maintaining public order,” in order to “suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.” For the current President, “enforcement of the laws to restore public order” means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, over the objections of local governmental, military and local police entities; ship them off to another state; conscript them in a law enforcement mode; and set them loose against “disorderly” citizenry—protesters, possibly, or those who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a bio-terror event. The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called “illegal aliens,” “potential terrorists” and other “undesirables” for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. That’s right. Under the cover of a trumped-up “immigration emergency” and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration. An article on “recent contract awards” in a recent issue of the slick, insider “Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International” reported that “global engineering and technical services powerhouse KBR [Kellog, Brown & Root] announced in January 2006 that its Government and Infrastructure division was awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract to support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in the event of an emergency.” “With a maximum total value of $385 million over a five year term,” the report notes, ”the contract is to be executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” “for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) … in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.” The report points out that “KBR is the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton.” (3) So, in addition to authorizing another $532.8 billion for the Pentagon, including a $70-billion “supplemental provision” which covers the cost of the ongoing, mad military maneuvers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places, the new law, signed by the president in a private White House ceremony, further collapses the historic divide between the police and the military: a tell-tale sign of a rapidly consolidating police state in America, all accomplished amidst ongoing U.S. imperial pretensions of global domination, sold to an “emergency managed” and seemingly willfully gullible public as a “global war on terrorism.” Make no mistake about it: the de-facto repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act (PCA) is an ominous assault on American democratic tradition and jurisprudence. The 1878 Act, which reads, "Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both,” is the only U.S. criminal statute that outlaws military operations directed against the American people under the cover of ‘law enforcement.’ As such, it has been the best protection we’ve had against the power-hungry intentions of an unscrupulous and reckless executive, an executive intent on using force to enforce its will. Unfortunately, this past week, the president dealt posse comitatus, along with American democracy, a near fatal blow. Consequently, it will take an aroused citizenry to undo the damage wrought by this horrendous act, part and parcel, as we have seen, of a long train of abuses and outrages perpetrated by this authoritarian administration. Despite the unprecedented and shocking nature of this act, there has been no outcry in the American media, and little reaction from our elected officials in Congress. On September 19th, a lone Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) noted that 2007s Defense Authorization Act contained a “widely opposed provision to allow the President more control over the National Guard…[adopting] changes to the Insurrection Act, which will make it easier for this or any future President to use the military to restore domestic order WITHOUT the consent of the nation’s governors.” Senator Leahy went on to stress that, “we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law. Invoking the Insurrection Act and using the military for law enforcement activities goes against some of the central tenets of our democracy… One can easily envision governors and mayors in charge of an emergency having to constantly look over their shoulders while someone who has never visited their communities gives the orders.” A few weeks later, on the 29th of September, Leahy entered into the Congressional Record that he had “grave reservations about certain provisions of the fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Bill Conference Report,” the language of which, he said, “subverts solid, longstanding posse comitatus statutes that limit the military’s involvement in law enforcement, thereby making it easier for the President to declare martial law.” This had been “slipped in,” Leahy said, “as a rider with little study,” while “other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals.” In a telling bit of understatement, the Senator from Vermont noted that “the implications of changing the (Posse Comitatus) Act are enormous…. There is good reason,” he said, “for the constructive friction in existing law when it comes to martial law declarations… Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy… We fail our Constitution, neglecting the rights of the States, when we make it easier for the President to declare martial law and trample on local and state sovereignty.” Senator Leahy’s final ruminations: “Since hearing word a couple of weeks ago that this outcome was likely, I have wondered how Congress could have gotten to this point… It seems the changes to the Insurrection Act have survived the Conference because the Pentagon and the White House want it.” The historic and ominous re-writing of the Insurrection Act, accomplished in the dead of night, which gives Bush the legal authority to declare martial law, is now an accomplished fact. The Pentagon, as one might expect, plays an even more direct role in martial law operations. Title XIV of the new law, entitled, “Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Legislative Provisions,” authorizes “the Secretary of Defense to create a Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Consortium to improve the effectiveness of the Department of Defense (DOD) processes for identifying and deploying relevant DOD technology to federal, State, and local first responders.” In other words, the law facilitates the “transfer” of the newest in so-called “crowd control” technology and other weaponry designed to suppress dissent from the Pentagon to local militarized police units. The new law builds on and further codifies earlier “technology transfer” agreements, specifically the 1995 DOD-Justice Department memorandum of agreement achieved back during the Clinton-Reno regime. (4) It has become clear in recent months that a critical mass of the American people have seen through the lies of the Bush administration; with the president’s polls at an historic low, growing resistance to the war Iraq, and the Democrats likely to take back the Congress in mid-term elections, the Bush administration is on the ropes. And so it is particularly worrying that President Bush has seen fit, at this juncture to, in effect, declare himself dictator. (1) http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200609/091906a.html http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200609/092906b.html See also, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, “The Use of Federal Troops for Disaster Assistance: Legal Issues,” by Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney, August 14, 2006 (2) http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill+h109-5122 (3) Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International, “Recent Contract Awards”, Summer 2006, Vol.12, No.2, pg.8; See also, Peter Dale Scott, “Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps,” New American Media, January 31, 2006. (4) “Technology Transfer from defense: Concealed Weapons Detection:, National Institute of Justice Journal, No 229, August 1995, pp.42-43.

Friday, October 27, 2006

No to Angelides and Schwarzenegger! Yes to Janice Jordan!

by Steven Argue Sunday Oct 8th, 2006 2:44 PM
Angelides criticized Schwarzenegger for his praise for the racist anti-immigrant vigilantes called the “Minutemen” while in the same breath calling for a "guest worker" program that would create a new class of super-exploited worker with no political rights. Under the same type of program in the past U.S. bosses often failed to even pay Mexican workers for their hard labor. The fact that Angelides and the Democrat Party are now calling for this kind of legalization of indentured servitude place them firmly in the same racist camp as Schwarzenegger.
640_j4gov-chicanopark.jpg original image ( 1799x1203) 640_j4gov-chicanopark.jpg original image ( 1799x1203)
No to Angelides and Schwarzenegger! Critical Support For Janice Jordan, Peace and Freedom Party Candidate For Governor By Steven Argue Last night’s debate between Phil Angelides and Arnold Schwarzenegger was a grueling hour of corporate politics. Angelides leveled criticisms against Schwarzenegger for cuts to education under his governorship. Schwarzenegger countered by asking where Angelides was when Democrat governor Gray Davis was making cuts to education and asked why Angelides supported those cuts under Davis. Schwarzenegger went so far as to ask why Angelides didn’t join in the student protests for education that had marched by his office under Davis. It was a valid criticism, yet Schwarzenegger never supported those student protests either and as Angelides pointed out, he has made his own cuts to education. On a similar note Angelides criticized Schwarzenegger for his praise for the racist anti-immigrant vigilantes called the “Minutemen” while in the same breath calling for a "guest worker" program that would create a new class of super-exploited worker with no political rights. Under the same type of program in the past U.S. bosses often failed to even pay Mexican workers for their hard labor. The fact that Angelides and the Democrat Party are now calling for this kind of legalization of indentured servitude place them firmly in the same racist camp as Schwarzenegger. What was missing from the debate was the voice of an official candidate that will be on the ballot in November, but was excluded from the debate by the California Broadcasters Association. This candidate, Janice Jordan of the Peace and Freedom Party, could have chimed in that she did in fact support the protests against the cuts of both Davis and Schwarzenegger and that she opposes both the racist Minutemen and the racist guest worker program. But she was excluded from the debates, showing once again the bias of the corporate media as a pillar in preventing true democracy in America. A truly democratic society would eliminate corporate control of the elections by nationalizing the corporate media and allowing all candidates equal access to the airwaves, cable, and print. Likewise a truly democratic society would carry out a sweeping “campaign finance reform” through the nationalization of the means of production (using that wealth for human and environmental needs rather than decadence and deception). It will take a socialist revolution to bring democracy to America. Liberation News sees the participation of socialists in the corrupted electoral politics of America as a critical platform in explaining how we differ from the capitalist Democrat and Republican parties. Likewise all of the undemocratic measures that are used against us, which will only intensify as we grow stronger, expose the parallel need for a revolutionary program to accompany any socialist electoral activity. The Peace and Freedom Party is primarily an electoral party that speaks of the need for socialism, but generally avoids talk of the only step that will bring socialism, a step that can be summed up in one word: revolution. Revolution is about abolishing the current racist anti-worker and anti-poor police, military, and judicial system and carrying out a sweeping redistribution of the wealth. Likewise the campaign literature the Peace and Freedom Party hand out at demonstrations often contain good criticisms of the Democrats and Republicans and outline a good platform for social and economic emancipation, but are usually missing another key component that will make putting human and environmental needs before profits possible in a socialist society. That being the nationalization of industry including oil (and other energy), “defense”, auto, the banks, the railroads, chemical, and the agricultural monopolies. It is due to this lack of a true socialist program in the Peace and Freedom Party, and lack of any campaign statements from Janice Jordan countering it, that Liberation News can only give critical support to the campaign of Janice Jordan. In giving this critical support to Janice Jordan we recognize that the social reforms called for by the Peace and Freedom Party do still have a revolutionary component in that they go far beyond anything that the capitalist class of the United States will ever allow short of their total overthrow. In giving critical support we intervene to denounce the undemocratic actions of the corporate media and capitalist campaign financing used against the campaign of Janice Jordan, but unlike the Peace and Freedom Party, we take those undemocratic actions to their logical conclusion: the ultimate need for socialist revolution. While giving critical support to Janice Jordan’s campaign for governor, Liberation News is withholding support for the Peace and Freedom Party’s candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Stewart Alexander. Alexander’s campaign is spreading illusions in the Democrat Party. In his campaign statements Alexander pretends that the Republicans represent corporate interests and that the Democrats do not, their problems being "sitting on the fence" and an unwillingness to spend "political capital". This is nonsense; the Democrat Party is just as much a corporate party as the Republican, both in its financing and in its program. In another campaign statement Stewart Alexander opposes the Peace and Freedom Party’s platform that calls for immediate withdrawal from Iraq from the right. In the statement he claims that the Peace and Freedom Party needs to draw up an exit strategy from Iraq. Yet immediate withdrawal is an exit strategy. It is an exit strategy that takes no consideration of continuing to prop up the undemocratic puppet death squad government the U.S. established, nor does it consider the logistical needs of keeping troops fighting and dying in Iraq to defend military hardware as it is evacuated. Troops are to be evacuated immediately by air, sea, and land the same way they were sent in; and the biggest cause of the bloodshed in Iraq will be gone. This is the exit strategy. Liberation News calls for U.S. troops out now! Build the mass movement! For the labor movement to break from the Democrat Party of war and exploitation and to end the war through building the mass movement in the streets; striking against arms producers; hot cargoing war materials on the docks, trains, and trucks; and building towards a general strike against the war. For the right of military personal to refuse orders and resist this war. For student actions against recruiters, such as those at UC Santa Cruz that have repeatedly driven military recruiters off campus. For building the socialist movement as part of the anti-war resistance today and to ultimately end U.S. imperialism through socialist revolution. While Phil Angelides and Arnold Schwarzenegger will carry out austerity connected to the U.S. war in Iraq and the economic problems of capitalism, neither the Democrats nor Republicans offer any solutions to the problems of war and capitalism because they support both. Vote Janice Jordan for governor! Money for social and environmental needs, not for war and capitalist profit! For socialist revolution to end imperialism and establish democracy in the United States! On other state offices Liberation News critical support to the following Peace and Freedom Party candidates: Gerald Sanders for State Treasurer Margie Akin for Secretary of State Liz Barron for Controller Jack Harison for Attorney General Tom Condit for Insurance Commissioner

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Secret Preview Authorized

The Secret Preview 4 Authorized

The Secret Preview 3 Authorized

The Secret Preview 2 Authorized

The Secret

Peace from the Quantum Level

Sonnet XXVI: I Ever Love, by Michael Drayton

To Despair I ever love where never hope appears, Yet hope draws on my never-hoping care, And my life's hope would die, but for despair; My never-certain joy breeds ever-certain fears; Uncertain dread gives wings unto my hope, Yet my hope's wings are laden so with fear As they cannot ascend to my hope's sphere; Though fear gives them more than a heav'nly scope, Yet this large room is bounded with despair; So my love is still fetter'd with vain hope, And liberty deprives him of his scope, And thus am I imprison'd in the air. Then, sweet despair, awhile hold up thy head, Or all my hope for sorrow will be dead.

Poet, painter love captured in words

By Ananya Datta

Nearly a year after Amrita Pritam’s death Uma Trilok’s book Amrita-Imroz: A Love Story presents a first-hand account of the magical relationship between the legendary poet and the one man she loved enough to rebel against the society.

Much may have been written about the doyenne of Punjabi literature Amrita Pritam and her writings but her unique relation with the famous artist Imroz has been sensitively explored for the first time by Uma.

Uma first encountered their love even before she met Amrita and Imroz. During her first trip to meet Amrita at her Hauz Khas residence in Delhi, Uma had noticed a chail kari (a plant with bright red flowers). In one of her books Amrita had narrated a Gujrati song about a girl asking her lover to plant a chail kari in her lane. And here, in Amrita’s own courtyard and terrace her lover had planted the same plant. On some days Amrita would hold Imroz’s hand and touch the chail kari with her lips, writes Uma.

In Amrita-Imroz Uma Trilok captures the special bond between the two. Though she first met Amrita and Imroz in the mid 90s, she has been able to trace their time together over the past four decades often through conversations, anecdotes, pieces of poetry and even paintings.

More than 40 years ago when Amrita had decided to live with her lover Imroz it was not easy. Such relations were not accepted then. They still are frowned upon now. But Amrita, married and with two children, decided to put her faith in love. Along with Imroz, she has had to pay for it all her life but without any repentance or remorse. During a conversation with Uma, Amrita mentions how she suffered the suffering of her children. She had to explain it to them that an unhappy mother could not give them anything better that what she had.

Imroz’s position was no easier. Some unkindly even termed him a "kept man" despite the fact that in the beginning of their relationship Imroz was far more successful than Amrita. But such labels do not bother Imroz. To remarks like: Log kehte hai ke aap sari zindagi Amrita ko pankha karte karte hi guzar dee (People say you have spent all your life fanning [cheering] Amrita, Imroz’s typical response is: Woh nahi jante ki pankha karte karte hawa mujhe bhi to aayee (They do not know that while fanning her, I too received the breeze.)

Imroz’s love for Amrita needed no societal sanction. In one chapter Uma explores Imroz’s reaction to the other men Amrita was emotionally attached to – Sahir Ludhianwi and Sajjad Haider– and finds that Imroz was all accepting. He knew that he loved Amrita and Amrita loved him.

Amrita-Imroz packs together many such, intimate conversations in the lives of the poet-artist duo.

Uma Trilok has had the benefit of being an intimate witness of the Amrita-Imroz friendship, their unconditional love and their togetherness. Right at the beginning Uma writes that the book is not based on research nor does it boast of a structure. It, in Uma’s own words, is a random collection of annotations about two unconventional people. "It is a short collection of indulgent smiles, hearty laughter, physical suffering, emotional agony, social defiance and some more."

To her credit Uma was able to win their trust. So much trust Amrita and Imroz shared their deepest emotions with her. And Uma Trilok has efficiently captured that trust and love in Amrita-Imroz: A Love Story.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

An Eastern Ballad, by Allen Ginsberg

* I speak of love that comes to mind: The moon is faithful, although blind; She moves in thought she cannot speak. Perfect care has made her bleak. I never dreamed the sea so deep, The earth so dark; so long my sleep, I have become another child. I wake to see the world go wild.

Poetry Notes: Poets raising funds for Darfur

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 A Pittsburgh poets organization will hold a program of poetry and music to raise funds for relief efforts in Darfur, western Sudan, at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Carnegie Mellon University. Judith Robinson, member of Poets for Humanity, said that a video appeal by Simon Deng, a refugee from the turmoil in his native Sudan, will also be shown. New York Daily News columnist Heather Robinson will introduce the video. The scheduled poets are Richard St. John, whose work has appeared in the Post-Gazette, Anthony Butts, CMU writing professor, and Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, a native of Liberia. UMOJA African Arts Company provides the music. Tickets are $10. The program will be in the Adamson Wing of Baker Hall. For details and reservations, call 412-681-3018. Point Park University inaugurates a new poetry reading series Nov. 1 with Christopher Bakken, author of "Goat Funeral." He teaches English at Allegheny College, Meadville. The reading will be at 4:30 p.m. in the JVH Auditorium, Thayer Hall, Downtown. It's free. "The Marriage Bed," a poem by Michael Sims, head of Autumn House Press based in Mount Washington, will be read by Garrison Keillor Nov. 1 on his NPR show "The Writers Almanac." It's a great boost for Sims, but not in his hometown. None of the city's three NPR stations carries the program. -- Bob Hoover, Post-Gazette book critic

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Crafty Crimson Cats Carefully Catching Crusty Crayfish

Was Mark Foley Blackmailed to Secure His Vote on CAFTA?

[From the lovely & talented ANARCHIST JESUS blog] What does Mark Foley's vote on CAFTA have to do with his no longer secret sex life? In late July of 2005, Congressman Foley suddenly reversed his position and cast the key swing vote which led to the passage of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). On the night of the vote, President Bush had called Foley to pressure him to change his anti-CAFTA position. The South Florida Congressman was not only under pressure from the White House, but also from the House Republican Leadership to support the bill. But Foley received huge campaign contributions from the Florida sugar lobby, which bitterly opposed CAFTA and Foley had loyally followed his benefactor's wishes in previous votes. That he would flip his position under pressure raises some serious questions. The sugar lobby abhorred CAFTA because it would expose them to competition from Central American sugar imports. Foley, the single largest House recipient of sugar industry contributions during the 2004 election cycle, represented the third largest sugar producing district in the US. Just a month before the vote, he told the House Ways and Means Committee, "I have heard some of my colleagues say we can't turn our backs on people in Guatemala. "Well, I can't turn my back on people in South Bay and Canal Point, Lewiston, and LaBelle, whose lives are closely linked to this industry. "Not the big growers, not the thousand-acre plantations, but the mom and pop [growers] who have 50 acres, 100 acres in production. That is all they have." So why did the Republican leadership think it could pressure Foley to betray his constituents and how did they persuade him to change his position? The day after the vote, Foley said the Republican leadership had threatened reprisals against the sugar lobby if they were thought to be a major factor in killing CAFTA, but this defies logic. According to the New York Times the day after the vote (July 29, 2005): "It was difficult, a gut-wrenching night," Mr. Foley said on Thursday. President Bush called him about 8:20 p.m. Wednesday to plead for his vote, he said, and Republican leaders had already made it clear that they would punish the sugar industry in the next farm bill if they managed to defeat the trade pact. What could the Republican party possibly gain by throwing a tantrum against such a powerful lobby in an all important battleground state like Florida? Such reprisals would only help drive the sugar industry's campaign contributions to Democrats, so Foley's public explanation for his vote seems highly questionable. How could the Republican leadership have gotten Foley to betray his "sugar daddy" and support his district's loss of countless jobs? Since it was widely known on Capitol Hill that Foley was a closeted homosexual, he was never going to rise above the "lavender ceiling" in the Republican party leadership. Moreover, he had raised prodigious amounts of campaign money, so what other kinds of leverage did they have against him other than his sex scandals simmering beneath the surface? For the White House and the Republican Congressional Leadership the CAFTA was a signature issue that year. The telephone calls between the two ends of Pennsylvania Avenue must have been frantic and the logs of such calls should be preserved. But who could they flip? What leverage or sweeteners did they have? Did they attempt to blackmail him by letting political rivals "out" him? Or did they "greymail" him by promising to help Foley sweep these emerging scandals under the rug? Or did they promise to try to give him a "soft landing" in the event the allegations should become public? If Foley's sexcapades were even whispered in this political context that day, then this scandal could lead right in to the White House and possibly even to the Oval Office. Is this another smoking gun which will emerge when House Members and staff are put under oath? Whatever the truth is, the official rational behind Mr. Foley's vote switch has never made much sense. He and the Republican Leadership should be asked to explain his shifting position on the CAFTA vote. Sanho Tree/Counterpunch

Monday, October 23, 2006

NY times: Ex-Enron Chief Is Sentenced to 24 Years

Published: October 23, 2006 HOUSTON, Oct. 24

Jeffrey K. Skilling, the former chief executive of Enron, was sentenced this afternoon to more than 24 years in prison for his role in the energy giant’s collapse.

Michael Stravato for NYT

Jeffrey K. Skilling, center, and his lawyer left federal court in Houston after Mr. Skilling was sentenced.

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Jeffrey Skilling, center right, arrived at the federal courthouse today where he was sentenced to 24 years, four months in the harshest sentence yet in the case that came to symbolize corporate fraud in America.

He will be forced to forfeit $45 million, which prosecutors said would effectively wipe out his fortune.

At a hearing here in United States District Court, Judge Simeon T. Lake III said of Mr. Skilling, “His crimes have imposed on hundreds, if not thousands of victims a life sentence of poverty.”

Throughout the hearing, Mr. Skilling reacted impassively. His wife sobbed uncontrollably and hid her face in her hands.

He will be allowed to remain in his home under electronic surveillance until a federal prison is selected to house him, but the judge denied his request to be released on bond pending appeal.

Mr. Skilling was convicted in May of heading a conspiracy to defraud Enron’s investors.

While the sentence of 24 years and four months was the lengthiest yet in the Enron case, it did not surpass the 25-year term that WorldCom’s former chief executive, Bernard J. Ebbers, received for being head of an $11 billion fraud that led to the bankruptcy of the long-distance company.

Mr. Ebbers’s sentence was less than the 30 years to life imprisonment called for in the sentencing guidelines.

Mr. Skilling’s prospects reflect how tough the federal guidelines have become for those convicted of white-collar crimes in the wake of the huge-scale frauds at companies including Enron, WorldCom and Adelphia.

Some legal experts have begun to question the sentences that federal judges are handing down in these cases.

“You can certainly make the case that things have gotten too harsh,” said Samuel W. Buell, a former Enron prosecutor who now teaches law at Washington University in St. Louis. “But the reason why things have gotten so harsh is we went through these years when sentences were too light. Maybe we need a correction in the other direction to get a happy medium.”

Enron was the company that first imploded in the years of corporate scandal, leading to a wave of investigations and calls for tougher regulations and accountability. The sentence to be handed down Monday is likely to underscore that message of deterrence, legal specialists said.

“Enron still stands alone as a brand name of corporate fraud,” said Robert Mintz, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor, “and this judge is not going to hesitate to hand down a lengthy sentence in this case.”

Mr. Skilling faced the judge alone, without Kenneth L. Lay, Enron’s founder and Mr. Skilling’s co-defendant in his criminal trial, who died of heart problems in July. His guilty verdict was vacated last week.

Missing, too, was Andrew S. Fastow, the former chief financial officer who pleaded guilty to fraud and stealing from the company. He was sentenced last month to six years in prison, less than the 10 years he could have received as part of his deal to cooperate with prosecutors.

All of that leaves Mr. Skilling as the only top executive through whom Enron’s ultimate punishment will be remembered, Mr. Mintz said.

For Mr. Skilling, this summer was about coping. After the verdict in May, he spent significant time with his three children, traveling to California with his daughter and to a dude ranch with his youngest son, said friends, family members and his lead lawyer, Daniel Petrocelli. Neighbors in Houston said they saw little of Mr. Skilling, although he occasionally rented videos from a store near his home.

Virtually all Mr. Skilling’s net worth, around $55 million, is frozen by the government. He owes O’Melveny & Myers, the law firm that handled his defense, more than $30 million, Mr. Petrocelli said.

Mr. Skilling seemed to stay out of Houston as much as possible, spending time at a condominium he owns in Dallas, where his daughter had been a student at Southern Methodist University. But Mr. Skilling’s coping also meant drinking again, despite a court order that forbade him to do so after a much-publicized night of drunkenness in April 2004 at a Manhattan cigar bar, when Mr. Skilling scuffled with some other patrons.

His summer travel ended after he was arrested in Dallas last month for public intoxication. He pleaded no contest and paid a fine. That night, he was out with his brother Mark and his daughter at a Mexican restaurant and had some margaritas, which did not mix well with his prescription medicine, Mr. Petrocelli said. He was walking home to the condo when he was stopped by a police officer; he spent a night in jail.

Mr. Skilling has said he took solace in the bottle to cope with depression. Not being allowed to have an occasional drink “is unreasonable, considering the stresses he is under,” Mr. Petrocelli said.

But the incident is one more reason, outside lawyers say, why Judge Lake rejected Mr. Skilling’s request to remain free pending appeal.

Supporters of Mr. Skilling have recently reached out, trying to help him. In August, two friends of the Skilling and Lay families, Beth Stier and Terrie James, sent a letter to supporters, urging them to pass along “a pleasant memory, a thoughtful wish or a fond goodbye” to Mr. Skilling and Mr. Lay’s family, according to a person who reviewed a copy of the letter. The thoughts were to be collected into books to be given to Mr. Lay’s family and to Mr. Skilling before his sentencing. Ms. Stier declined to say if the Lay and Skilling families had received the books.

Since the Dallas incident, Mr. Skilling has primarily spent time with his family in Houston. On Thursday afternoon, Mr. Skilling — wearing jeans, hiking boots and a small waist bag — walked with his brother near Mr. Skilling’s home in the upscale River Oaks neighborhood of Houston.

“Jeff is sorry for the consequences of Enron’s failure, but he doesn’t believe he committed any crimes,” Mr. Petrocelli said. “And our view is that many of the people that pleaded guilty to crimes at Enron were not guilty.”

For some former Enron employees, that message will not make them feel any sympathy for Mr. Skilling.

“All we ever wanted was for him to take responsibility, and he never did that,” said Deborah DeFforge, who worked at Enron for five years and said she lost about $100,000 in retirement savings. “Until he does that, I could never show him any mercy.”

The Long Tail

Buy the Book Five things about me that may or may not be relevant

Img2_1 As I do more and more press interviews for the book, I'm starting to get requests for a more personal history. My potted professional background is here, but it's pretty dry. My family history, fortunately, is not. Here are five things about my background that may or may not have made me what I am today.

  1. My great-grandfather, Jo Labadie, helped found the American anarchist movment in the late 1800s (that's him at right). His story is told in All-American Anarchist, a biography by his granddaughter, my mother. His writings and library became the foundation of the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan, which is now a major collection of radical literature, from civil liberties to sexual freedom. It's also the repository for letters to and from Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, while he is in prison.
  2. My grandfather, Fred Hauser, invented the automatic sprinkler system, the source of a very modest family fortune (here's a later patent; the online patent database only starts in 1976). I spent some blissful summers with him in his workshop in Los Angeles, where we would make a two-stroke engine out of solid blocks of steel and crude castings. Metal lathes are amazing, and the crunchy feel of steel curlicues and shavings underfoot at the end of a good day of machining is something I'll never forget.
  3. My father, Jim Anderson, was a Wisconsin telegraph operator's son who just happened to luck out in the draft and get an assignment to work on the Army newspaper in La Rochelle, France during the Korean War (I know, it's unbelievable). He stayed in Europe after the war, ending up working for a newspaper in Berlin at the height of the Cold War and, very John le Carré-like, hanging out with Eastern Bloc "diplomats". In 1960, when CIA U2 pilot Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union, those friendships paid off when he was one of a small handful of western reporters allowed in to cover the trial. It put him in the international spotlight, and led to a distinguished career in journalism that still continues today, albeit from semi-retirement.
  4. I was born in London in 1961 and had a cute British accent until we moved to the US when I was five. I've still got dual citizenship, which came in handy when I lived in Hong Kong in the 1990s and needed to enter mainland China regularly without using my US passport, which had a dreaded "journalist" stamp in it. (People may tell you that ethnic minorities and Falun Gong practitioners are the most persecuted people in China, but journalists are certainly up there).
  5. Finally, there's that whole punk/new wave band thing. Yes, I really did fail out of college, work as a messenger and otherwise spend a good chunk of my twenties working hard at being a slacker. But I eventually turned the corner, went back to university and did the proper hardcore physics thing, which is where my professional bio above begins.

Modern consciousness research, World War II lessons combine to win hearts and minds, war and peace

by Steve Hammons, October 12, 2006 Breakthrough research and discoveries in human psychology and consciousness might be successfully applied to U.S. efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and globally to decrease violence and accomplish worthwhile objectives. Personnel using the conventional military and intelligence tools of psychological operations and information operations might find new opportunities by using knowledge developed from other intelligence efforts such as research into “anomalous cognition,” “remote viewing” and related fields. Additional insight might be gained from careful study of the human assets in past U.S. intelligence operations during World War II such as the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service (MIS) and the U.S. Marine Corps Code Talkers. Combining state-of-the-art consciousness understanding with awareness of the successes of the MIS and Code Talkers, as well as using other resources, can allow U.S. “soft power” to succeed where bullets, bombs, imprisonment and torture have failed. Effective information operations using films, books, stories and articles, fiction and nonfiction, can all provide valuable perspectives for Americans and for peoples we are dealing with around the world. For example, the new film FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Clint Eastwood, explores the psychological factors of not only our troops in the Pacific during World War II, but also the persuasion operations by the U.S. Government to influence the American people. SOFT POWER, SMART POWER Recent assessments by elements of the U.S. military have concluded that sheer military force, “hard power,” when dealing with an indigenous insurgency can often be counterproductive. This is probably true of many situations. A new Army-Marine Corps field manual focuses on the limits of hard power and the advantages of soft power. Killing innocent civilians including women and children, securing geographic areas only to lose them again to adversaries and creating more violence and hostility in an area of operations can simply make matters worse. Making enemies instead of friends is not useful. These factors, along with many other widely-recognized mistakes in the Iraq and Afghanistan situations, have created and are currently creating increasingly difficult and tragic consequences for the people of these regions, U.S. forces and Americans at home. The view internationally and here at home that American forces around the world are the “good guys” has been seriously damaged by the invasion and occupation of Iraq. To try to improve this perception and the underlying realities, significant changes on many levels seem to be indicated. As far as the actions and decisions of U.S. national leaders that began the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the American people and our system of democracy and justice will hopefully resolve some of these problems. And people around the world will watch and judge what America does and whether the U.S. is an asset for or danger to world peace. In the specific challenges facing U.S. and NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, human psychology and human behavior come into play. This is true for our own forces and for the indigenous people. Both can be positively affected by intelligent and appropriate awareness and understanding of human consciousness research. What are these specifics and how can they be utilized in successful psychological, information and persuasion operations? WORLD WAR II AND TODAY In the Spielberg and Eastwood film, we can get some useful information and viewpoints because there seem to be both similarities and differences regarding World War II and the situation we find ourselves in today. Media platforms such as this movie teach us, and our friends and adversaries around the world, about the complexities of American society and American history, which also continue now. Both in World War II and currently, Pearl Harbor and the “new Pearl Harbor” (the 9/11 attacks) triggered the fear and anger in Americans that led to significant militarization of the U.S. and widespread military operations. In both cases, suspicions arose about whether these Pearl Harbors were allowed to happen on purpose, or even if they were desired to accomplish the aims of U.S. administrations in office. Some people wanted us to get into World War II just as some now want us to fight a World War III. And as with most wars and human endeavors, there are many different motivations in these situations that may be honorable or dishonorable. This is more of the complexity that is useful to try to understand. In FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, one character is the famous and tragic Marine Ira Hayes. He was a Pima Indian from southern Arizona. The complex factors of his combat service in the Pacific (when “post-traumatic stress disorder” was not fully understood), the pressures on him and others to become public relations figures for the war effort and aspects of his Pima heritage are parts of this new movie. The 2002 film WINDTALKERS starring Nicholas Cage also examined battles in the Pacific in World War II and told part of the story of the Navajo Code Talkers. Now widely known, the Code Talkers were a top-secret project that used Navajos from northeastern Arizona and the Four Corners area and their native language to convey American military radio communications in code. It was a code the Japanese military was never able to break. The Navajos used native words for animals to represent certain military terms. For example, a fighter plane was the Navajo word for a hummingbird, “da-he-tih-hi.” A submarine was an iron fish, “besh-lo”. A tank was a tortoise, a “chay-da-gahi.” When they had to spell out a word, they also used Navajo that meant an English word that began with letters of the alphabet. In this case, the letter “a” was the Navajo word for ant, “wol-la-chee.” The letter “b” was the word for bear, “shush.” The letter “c” was cat, or “moasi,” and so forth. Another much less known group of Americans in the Pacific was the Army Military Intelligence Service, the MIS. This top-secret group was composed of Americans of Japanese ancestry. They were recruited primarily from California, Hawaii and even from the detention camps in the U.S. where their families were forced to spend the war years, behind barbed wire and armed guards. Like the Navajo Code Talkers, MIS personnel were also involved in intelligence and communications. MIS men translated captured Japanese documents, intercepted Japanese radio transmissions, tried to break codes, interrogated prisoners and conducted behind-the-lines and deception operations. Interestingly, in contrast to recent and current infamous U.S. interrogation and torture activities, MIS men treated captured Japanese prisoners with decency and dignity, according to many accounts. MIS interrogators used psychological understanding to help Japanese prisoners cope with the indoctrination they had received at home. MIS men used mutual respect and effective communication to persuade the Japanese prisoners of war to provide useful information to the Americans. The MIS reportedly used their knowledge of Japanese culture and psychology to work with the prisoners in a humane way and this reportedly yielded sound military intelligence results. This kind of approach is, of course, in stark contrast to recent U.S. approaches that include torture, degradation, sexual humiliation and other techniques which some experts say constitute severe violations of the Geneva Conventions, international law and U.S. law – war crimes. In addition, these activities may be counterproductive in the short-run – not getting valid intelligence, and in the long-run – making enemies for the U.S. instead of friends. In the case of the MIS, during the occupation of Japan, they were instrumental in rebuilding that country and cementing long-term positive relations between Japan and the U.S. There are many different kinds of lessons to be learned from the Code Talkers and the MIS. The way they used their ethnic psychology and communications in accomplishing crucial intelligence missions are part of the importance of human assets and human consciousness. HEARTS, MINDS AND CONSCIOUSNESS Navajos and other Native American Indian tribes also had a long history of exploring different kinds of consciousness, as have other cultures. “Vision quests,” fasting, dreams and in some cases the use of certain plants, mushrooms or cacti were seen as legitimate methods for information gathering, spiritual development and insight, and to contact the Great Spirit, departed loved ones and ancestors. Now, various research efforts over the past few decades have discovered that human psychology is far more complex and interesting than many believed. The human brain, mind and emotional heart are linked to a larger field of consciousness in ways not completely understood. Some people suspect that the human spirit and soul are also involved. Normal, everyday consciousness is only a limited wavelength or channel, much like a channel or frequency on a radio or TV. There are other levels and modes of using our consciousness, many of which can be valuable. For example, well-known health and wellness expert Andrew Weil, M.D., wrote a book called THE NATURAL MIND, published in 1972. In the book, Weil proposed that human consciousness not only has the capability of moving into different states, but that humans actually have a natural tendency to do this. Examples he cites include children who spin in circles or roll down hills to experience dizziness, and people who enjoy the adrenalin rush of dangerous or exciting activities. Skydiving, rock-climbing, roller coaster-riding, sexual activity and lovemaking, fighting and warfare, prayer and meditation, coffee, tobacco, alcohol and certain plants, mushrooms, cacti and medications can all change human consciousness. Even sleep is a form of “altered consciousness.” With some, but not all, of these consciousness-adjusting methods, positive results can occur. For example, in the case of one well-known plant, cannabis, testosterone levels are said to be affected in ways that can reduce the violent tendencies in men. Along these same lines, it is generally accepted that healthy and frequent sexual activity among men may also reduce violent and anti-social behavior in many cases. In situations or cultures where normal and natural sexual activity is limited, increased violence can result. Weil also pointed out that the human race has been doing things to explore inner consciousness for thousands of years. In fact, he indicates that maybe human development and even spiritual development might be linked to this inborn inclination to change the channels, the wavelengths of our awareness. Also in the 70s, 80s and early 90s, the CIA, Army Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) were conducting research into the ability of U.S. military personnel and civilians to move their consciousness into a mode that allowed them to perceive things, people and activities at a distance, without any direct sight or other information coming through their five senses. They soon found that valuable intelligence information could be accessed. The U.S. efforts were originally begun as a counterintelligence program, to understand and keep up with similar “psychic spy” research and operations in the Soviet Union. Since that time, other intelligence services around the world have also reportedly conducted similar activities regarding these kinds of phenomena. Remote viewing was a term used to describe the specific techniques used by the U.S. military and intelligence personnel involved in these operations. The specific parameters of remote viewing are just one part of a much larger aspect of human consciousness commonly called anomalous cognition. This phrase refers to the wide range of interesting phenomena such as telepathy, telekinesis (affecting physical objects with one’s mind) and other abilities. This kind of research was quite different from the “mind control” experiments that U.S. intelligence conducted post-World War II, such as the MK-ULTRA projects. Reportedly drawing on some Nazi research and using techniques and mind-altering drugs, many objectionable and unethical activities were allegedly conducted. In contrast, remote viewing looked at some of the best and most promising aspects of the human mind, freeing the consciousness of these U.S. personnel to explore the far reaches of human capability and even human spirituality. Today, taking these kinds of consciousness studies as a whole, there seems to be an emerging consensus that there exists a kind of “psychic internet.” Famous psychologist Carl Jung called this idea the “collective unconscious.” Others prefer the physics-oriented term “zero-point field.” Whatever words are used, these ideas propose that consciousness of individual human beings, groups of people and larger psychological, natural and metaphysical elements and forces are connected. Understanding and utilizing these connections in ways that achieve positive outcomes in international efforts and relations are something that our intelligence personnel could be, and probably are, pursuing. Research into all of these areas and then applying the resulting knowledge to achieve positive goals are missions that are not just optional and desirable, they are absolutely necessary if we are to live in a peaceful world and help the human race advance as an intelligent species. In fact, our very survival may depend on it. Using human assets, human psychology and human consciousness will help us win the war, and the peace. The veteran MIS men, many of whom are alive and well, can help us learn how to deal with an adversary to gather information and persuade the opponent to join us as friends and allies. The Code Talker vets can teach us about applying Native American wisdom from the ancient ones to successfully resolve current challenges. They can help us protect “Ne-he-mah,” the Navajo word for “our mother,” which in Code Talker code meant … America.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A Pig's-Eye View Of Literature , by Dorothy Parker

The Lives and Times of John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and George Gordon Noel, Lord Byron Byron and Shelley and Keats Were a trio of Lyrical treats. The forehead of Shelley was cluttered with curls, And Keats never was a descendant of earls, And Byron walked out with a number of girls, But it didn't impair the poetical feats Of Byron and Shelley, Of Byron and Shelley, Of Byron and Shelley and Keats. Daffodils, mp3

From Sir Real..cuz I'm out of ideas today...

Rock Star I'm through with standing in line To clubs we'll never get in It's like the bottom of the ninth And I'm never gonna win This life hasn't turned out Quite the way I want it to be (Tell me what you want) I want a brand new house On an episode of Cribs And a bathroom I can play baseball in And a king size tub big enough For ten plus me (So what you need?) I'll need a credit card that's got no limit And a big black jet with a bedroom in it Gonna join the mile high club At thirty-seven thousand feet (Been there, done that) I want a new tour bus full of old guitars My own star on Hollywood Boulevard Somewhere between Cher and James Dean is fine for me (So how you gonna do it?) I'm gonna trade this life for fortune and fame I'd even cut my hair and change my name [Chorus:] 'Cause we all just wanna be big rock stars And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap We'll all stay skinny 'cause we just won't eat And we'll hang out in the coolest bars In the VIP with the movie stars Every good gold digger's Gonna wind up there Every Playboy bunny With her bleach blonde hair Hey hey I wanna be a rock star Hey hey I wanna be a rock star I wanna be great like Elvis without the tassels Hire eight body guards that love to beat up assholes Sign a couple autographs So I can eat my meals for free (I'll have the quesadilla, uh huh) I think I'm gonna dress my ass With the latest fashion Get a front door key to the Playboy mansion Gonna date a centerfold that loves to Blow my money for me (So how you gonna do it?) I'm gonna trade this life for fortune and fame I'd even cut my hair and change my name [Chorus] And we'll hide out in the private rooms With the latest dictionary and today's who's who They'll get you anything with that evil smile Everybody's got a drug dealer on speed dial Hey hey I wanna be a rock star Hey hey I wanna be a rock star I'm gonna sing those songs That offend the censors Gonna pop my pills from a pez dispenser I'll get washed-up singers writing all my songs Lip sync em every night so I don't get 'em wrong [Chorus] And we'll hide out in the private rooms With the latest dictionary and today's who's who They'll get you anything with that evil smile Everybody's got a drug dealer on speed dial Hey hey I wanna be a rock star Hey hey I wanna be a rock star

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Viewing the 2006 Orionid Meteor Shower

Depiction of Orionid radiant

This represents the view from mid-northern latitudes at about 1:00 a.m. local daylight time around October 21. The red line across the bottom of the image represents the horizon. (Image produced by Gary Kronk using SkyChart III 3.5 and Adobe Photoshop 5.5.)

The Orionid meteor shower is active throughout October and the first week of November. This shower is produced by the inbound particles of the famous Halley's Comet, which last passed through the inner solar system in 1986. The Earth passes closest to the comet's orbit on October 21. At this time the Earth actually only skims the outer fringes of the debris field produced by Halley's Comet. The Orionids can still produce a very entertaining display of celestial fireworks, especially when viewed from rural locations. When seen near maximum activity, an observer from a rural location can count 15 to 25 Orionid meteors per hour.

As October arrives, the first of the Orionid meteors may be noticed. At this time the radiant (the area of the sky where the Orionids seem to originate) is located in northern Orion, just a few degrees north of the tight little group of stars formed by Lambda and Phi Orionis. As the month progresses the radiant travels slightly less than one degree toward the northeast each night. On the morning of maximum activity, October 21, the radiant is then located on the Orion/Gemini border, three degrees west of the bright star Alhena (Gamma Geminorum). As we pass into November the radiant has moved well within the constellation of Gemini. The last traces of the Orionid meteor shower may be seen near November 7 when the radiant lies in south-central Gemini near the faint star Lambda Geminorum.

In mid-October the constellation of Orion rises near 2300 (11pm) local daylight time. LDT is your time local regardless of location. You may see meteor activity during the early evening hours, but they will certainly not be Orionids! The Orionids (like all meteors) cannot be seen until they strike that portion of the atmosphere that is visible from your observing site. This can only occur when the radiant has an elevation of -5 degrees or higher. Minus 5? Yes, meteors can actually be seen when their radiant is slightly below the horizon. At this altitude meteors are able to just skim the upper regions of the atmosphere that is visible from your observing site. These meteors are rare and best seen during the strongest showers. You may get lucky and actually see an Orionid "earthgrazer" during the late evening hours. These meteors are different than your average "shooting star" in that they are very long and also long-lasting. The brightest ones can stretch from horizon to horizon, lasting five seconds or more (an eternity compared to the average duration of 0.3 seconds).

As the night progresses the constellation of Orion and the Orionid radiant will climb higher into the sky. The average Orionid meteor will become appear progressively shorter and faster as they strike the dense portions of the upper atmosphere. The radiant will culminate near 0500 LDT, when it lies on the meridian. This will be the best time to see Orionid activity as the radiant will then be located highest above your horizon. To best view Orionid activity look in the general direction of the radiant with the bottom of your field of view situated just above the horizon. Avoid looking straight up as this direction has the thinnest slice of atmosphere. That's great for telescopic work but not for viewing meteor activity. Aim your view a bit closer to the horizon and you will be viewing though a much thicker slice of the atmosphere, allowing you to see more meteor activity. I would also recommend that you not look directly at the radiant as the meteors seen there are short and easily missed. Keep the radiant off to one side of your field of view, but close enough easily tell the meteor came from Orion. Looking in this direction will also help you see the slow Taurid meteors coming from the west and the swift meteors from Leo Minor, coming from the east. Besides these radiants one can also expect up to fifteen random meteors occurring each hour. This offers a good opportunity to see a wide variety of celestial fireworks, if one can stay awake during the early morning hours. ...

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