December 31, 2005

Financial Armageddon

I know it's almost New Year's Day, but this year isn't going to be the jolly time being portrayed by the Bush Administration or any of the incumbents running for reelection at any level. If you haven't read about the coming baby boomer bomb, I respectfully urge you to do so:

Here is a small sample of what Congress and the media won't tell you:

International Forecaster [the best]

Train Wreck of the Week
By Bob Chapman

December 18 2005

"George and the neocons believe our Constitution is little more than a piece of toilet paper, as they plunge toward total fascist government in America. Our Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, has said the Constitution is an outdated document. Once this cabal gets their extensions on the Patriot Acts, well be presented with Patriot Act III to further suppress our freedoms. Our Constitution is a living document that our president swears to uphold and defend – you wouldn't think so. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights protect us from our President and Congress. We do not need Patriot Acts to protect us from anything, much less phony terrorism. George and the neocons are undermining our freedom and they must be stopped.

"Most Americans carry cell phones, but most are unaware that government agencies can track their movements through signals emanating from the handset. In the last four months, three federal judges have denied prosecutors the right to get cellphone tracking information from wireless companies without first showing probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. This is the same standard applied to requests for search warrants. Companies that manufacture these devices are marketing services that turn phones into even more precise global positioning devices for driving or allowing parents to track the where abouts of their children through the handsets. Permitting surreptitious conversion of a cellphone into a tracking device without probable cause is in violation of the Fourth Amendment, especially when a phone is monitored in the home or other place where privacy is expected. Prosecutors have unsuccessfully argued that expanded police powers under the USA Patriot Act allow them a standard lower than probable cause. The pursuance of the ability of government to track people by cellphone and to intercept conversations on the cellphone is in violation of our rights, but government will continue to seek the power to execute these actions whether we like it or not.

"They do not represent us – they represent their own interests.

"Hillary Clinton is moving to the right – for political purposes of course. She signed on as a co-sponsor of the Flag Protection Act, which makes it illegal to desecrate the American Flag. This way she can have it both ways. She gets to be pro-flag and anti-constitutional ban at the same time. Moderate Democrats can embrace this as a lesser of two evils.

"Our citizens have a savings rate of minus 1.5%. Less than 20% of US workers have a pension plan and Social Security replaces less than 40% of pre-retirement income. Savings are more important than ever for Americans, yet their savings are at record lows. Thirty-seven percent of households do not own a retirement savings account of any kind. For those who had accounts the median value was $27,000. For workers between 55-64, it was $55,000 in 2001. Only 11% have savings in excess of $250,000. Perhaps now that property prices are falling, Americans will start saving or at least get out of their credit card debt.

"Last quarter household, government and non-financial corporate debt expanded 9.1%, up from 8.1% in the second quarter, and at a y-t-d rate of 8.3%. The last time debt accumulation was this high was in 1986, at 11.9%. 2005 debt growth is running ahead of 2004’s 8.7%, which was the strongest percentage debt expansion since 1988. Household mortgage debt grew 14% in the quarter, the highest expansion since 1988. Government debt overall increased 12.6%, the highest since 1985. Federal government borrowings expanded 5.1%. This is a credit bubble. Net annual credit growth from 2002’s third quarter to 2005’s was almost double, up 86%.

Gold is the antithesis of Wall Street, banking and government, and that is why they so desperately worked to suppress gold’s price.

"The protracted program to sell gold and to have producers such as Barrick hedge to sell future production earlier began in earnest in 1993. They were somewhat successful for 12 years. Its effect was enhanced in recent years by leasing gold. This gold, although sold into the market to suppress prices, still was held on the banks’ books as still being in the vaults, when in fact, it wasn't. Now some of these central bank lenders want their gold back and that is part of the reason gold is on its present tare. Bankers and Wall Street know gold is an early warning system of trouble ahead, so they attempted to suppress the price to lull the unwary into a false sense of comfort and security. In reality it was a lie, by a bunch of crooks that lie about most everything. Millions of citizens have been cheated because of their duplicity. Now most all of their gold has been leased or sold and their disabling of our early warning system is close to an end.

"We have been denigrated for 46 years for having advocated the truth and sound money. Yes, there is a conspiracy and there are elitists who attempt to run our world and these are the same people who have deliberately put us into the fix we are in today. It didn't happen by coincidence, because coincidence doesn't exist. We are going to now reap the financial whirlwind, so you had better have gold and silver assets or your financial future will not exist.

"Whirlpool is laying off 730 workers and shipping their jobs to Mexico, where workers make $2.00 an hour.

"The rising cost of home building materials is putting pressure on builders to choose between earnings, lower profits and charging less for new homes. Unless forced to we donut see builders cutting prices, which means less home will be sold. You can soon expect a drop in interest only and adjustable rate mortgages. Nationwide they have been running at about 33% of the mortgage market. That is about to change very soon. As interest rates rise 30-year fixed rate mortgages will get more and more of the originations. Homeowners who took out ARMS in the last few years are just now seeing their payments start to rise, as interest rates go up and their loans fixed-rate period end. Many refinanced at 3.9%, now the offering is 6.9% just two years later. As refinancing comes due many will slide eventually into bankruptcy."

I highly recommend this site for real analysis on the dead economy:

"Gold doesn't lie, but politicians do. Are you young enough to start all over financially? Don't expect some congress critter to come to the rescue. Get the facts.

December 31, 2005

You will see this more frequently as Americans stand up for their rights

Letter to the editor: Dillon a “police state”
December 22, 2005

To The Editor,

"This is in reference to the letter in last week’s paper about the “Bill of Rights Day” (an article Richard Celata wrote) and the lady arrested for not showing he ID. Well, Dillon is already becoming a “police state”.

"This past Labor Day weekend my three sons, two of my sons friends on leave with him (all Special Operations Airborne Rangers who just came back from their most recent deployment from Iraq encountering situations not seen on TV), and others where arrested.

"There was a peaceful crowd of 20-30 people (even the police reports agree with this) walking from the Melten across the railroad tracks to the parking lot across from Wells Fargo Bank. On that night the roads in town where blocked off from traffic so hundreds of people where walking in the streets.

"The police drove by and told the crowd to get on the sidewalk (no sidewalks on the RR tracks). They (police) got out and started asking for ID’s. My son-in-law (a Marine with two tours in Iraq) was the first on to get out his and he did state that “this is ----- harassment”. He was then handcuffed and arrested.

"My son has his ID out but was asking why his brother was being arrested and was thrown against the cop car, he wouldn't let them handcuff him (resisting arrest) by keeping his hands on the car so he wouldn't get thrown face down on the ground by four cops. He then got pepper sprayed twice and taken down by the four cops and put in the car (where he did become agitated). He then watched his girlfriend being pepper sprayed, his sister being taken down by her throat (she's 5’5” and the cop well over 6 feet) because she looked into the cop car and told her husband and brother that well get them out of this, his first two Ranger friends being taken to the ground by multiple cops because the whole crowd was yelling, and then his younger brother taken down by four cops because he was yelling/asking (from 12 feet away) why his brothers were being arrested-there were a lot of abrasions to clean out when they all got back home.

"There were others in the crowd also being arrested/subdued. My son later told me that he felt like he was in another war-like fire fight watching his buddies and family being taken down and there was nothing he could do about it. The cops at the police station told me that he had become “wild” in the cop car for no apparent reason.

"At the police station I asked on of the cops why they were all arrested and was told “disorderly Conduct”. I re-asked why they where stopped in the first place and was told that they (they cops) can stop anyone and ask for ID even though nothing specific was going on within the crowd. So I asked what Disorderly Conduct was and was told that the first guy swore, so that allowed them to arrest him and then the others in the crowd became loud and there was swearing, “Swearing in Dillon on Labor Day-ever happen before”?

"When all those guys were yelling and asking why they and others were being arrested they weren't told why. Moreover, none of them had their rights read to them. Again, this was a peaceful crowd until the cops arrived.

"The three Rangers are due back to be deployed again (third tour) in a few weeks. We aren't allowed to know where or even what country much less have any contact. But, now they have to worry about this whole stupid situation and their records (all of them had clean records) while they will again be under fire.

"My kids were raised around cops and had a healthy respect for Law Enforcement (their dad is a former LAPD Watts cop, plus a few small towns). Moreover, the son who “resisted” has had 20 years of training and international competition in martial arts besides his extensive military Special Operations Ranger training. If, he really wanted to resist arrest he could have done more than just refusing to take his hands off the car.

"It shouldn't matter what your political views are, in the United States we have certain rights and protections. Most of us have had relatives fight in some war to ensure this."

Brenda Bricker
Dillon Montana

George Bush's agenda is one world government. He is erecting a police state in this country to rival Joseph Stalin. He trashes the constitution and Bill of Rights with ease. Those in denial need to wake up. Do the research:

The letter above is EXACTLY why I did my recent column on law enforcement:

* * * * *

I do not agree with Wayne Madsen on many things, but his research is impeccable. When a person does research or studies an issue or history, you read all points of view - even ones you don't agree with or might find repugnant. A researcher reads books, working papers, reports, essays, publications, legislation, treaties, and pamphlets that cover many positions, opinions and claims.

If a person only reads one side of an issue or one party's position, you only get one view. I, for one, think this is unacceptable and dangerous. Too many Americans simply knee jerk when they read something about their favorite politician or their party that they don't like. I know research takes time, but it's the only way a person can verify information and make an informed decision.

Bush's Alienating US-Loyal Intel Will Be His Undoing

By Wayne Madsen
December 24, 2005

"He who lies most, lies worst. President Bush is contending that a government leak about Osama Bin Laden using his satellite phone in 1998 resulted in the Al Qaeda leader avoiding the phone or "going dark," to use an National Security Agency (NSA) term. That, Bush maintains, resulted in an intelligence failure. Once again, Bush is just plain lying (along with being misinformed).

"It was no secret that Bin Laden stopped using his satellite phone in 1996 after Chechen President Dzhokar Dudayev was killed by a Russian air-to-ground missile as he was talking on his satellite phone. In that case, Dudayev erred by keeping his conversation longer than two minutes, ample time for a joint Russian-US operation to pinpoint his location using an overhead U.S. communications intelligence satellite. The editor reported and spoke in detail on that operation in 1996 ("DID NSA HELP RUSSIA TARGET DUDAYEV?" by Wayne Madsen, Covert Action Quarterly, Summer 1997. Strong evidence suggests that the US, in violation of its ban on assassination, used the world's most sophisticated satellite technology to help Russia target the Chechen leader, and boost both Yeltsin's and Clinton's election chances.) and was once berated by a senior Pentagon officer for referring to the public news reports concerning it in an address to a seminar in Tyson's Corner, Virginia.

"Also, from Wayne Madsen, "Report Alleges US Role in Angola Arms-for-Oil Scandal," CorpWatch, May 17, 2002: "Jardo Muekalia, who headed UNITA's Washington office until it was forced to close in 1997, says that that the military forces that ultimately succeeded in assassinating [Jonas] Savimbi were supported by commercial satellite imagery and other intelligence support provided by Houston-based Brown & Root, Cheney's old outfit. Both the State Department and Pentagon vehemently deny any US government role in the killing of Savimbi. But the US frequently uses such intelligence wizardry to help track down troublesome leaders. In 1996, according to US and British intelligence sources, the NSA may have passed on location data to the Russians on the location of Chechen President Dzhokar Dudayev (he was struck by an air-to-surface missile while talking on his satellite phone).

"In 1999, the New York Times reported that Turkey captured Kurdish Workers' Party leader Abdallah Ocalan after his cell phone location data was tracked by U.S., British, and Israeli intelligence agents." From Network World, "The Terrorist Network," by Sharon Gaudin, Nov. 26, 01: "Chechen leader Dzokhar Dudayev knew he needed to limit the time he spent using the satellite phone given to him by his Islamic allies in Turkey. It was the spring of 1996, and the survivor of two Russian assassination attempts was wary of Russia's ability to home in on his communication signal - and his location. But on the evening of April 21, Dudayev, baited by Russian President Boris Yeltsin's offer of peace talks, called an adviser in Moscow to discuss the impending negotiations. This time, Dudayev stayed on the phone too long.

"American spy satellites, trained on Iraq and Kuwait, were quickly turned north to the Caucasus mountains and Chechnya, according to a former communications specialist with the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The satellites pinpointed the Chechen leader's location to within meters of his satellite phone signal, and the coordinates were sent to a Russian Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet. Dudayev was killed by two laser-guided air-to-surface missiles while still holding the phone that gave him away. This deadly lesson, which the U.S. has never officially confirmed, was not lost on Osama bin Laden, a purported Chechen ally who fed money and weapons to their fight against the Russians. That lesson was complete when bin Laden subsequently received word that U.S. spy satellites, perhaps the very same that located Dudayev, had eavesdropped on his own satellite phone conversations. And members of the NSA played the tapes for visitors.

"'Bin Laden knows what has happened and he's a smart man,' says Wayne Madsen, a security consultant and former communications specialist with the U.S. Navy and the NSA. 'He's learned his lesson... and he knows technology is a double-edged sword so he's using it carefully.' Today bin Laden is believed to school his soldiers in high-tech tools of communication. E-mail, online dead drops, satellite phones, cell phones, encryption and digital camouflage called stenography (see story, next page) are all tools of Al Qaeda, bin Laden's terrorist network.

"Those high-tech tools enable members of Al Qaeda to communicate with terrorist cells (or groups) hidden around the world. But bin Laden himself uses none of it. Instead, he has fallen back on ancient methods of communication, denying the U.S. and its allies the chance to track electronic footprints, satellite signals or even the radiation emissions from cellular phones. A grid of trusted human couriers, foot soldiers melding in with civilians, crisscross Afghanistan and flow into neighboring countries carrying written and whispered messages that are then electronically shot around the world." Bush is actually trying to stop the flood of leaks from NSA and other intelligence agencies by disgruntled analysts and other professionals by making noise about "leaks." It's a desperate move on Bush's part. It was Bush who alienated the US Intelligence Community and now Bush will pay the political price for his arrogance and demoralization of the "INT" agencies: Sigint, Humint, Imint, and Elint. Bin Laden ceased using his sat phone in 1996 after Dudayev's sat phone frequency and location was homed in on by a Russian missile."

December 30, 2005

Blind Loyalty

My new column today on WND about holding Bush accountable for his actions brought the usual mail from conservatives accusing me of all sorts of nasty things:

From: Ed E[xxx]
Sent: 12/30/2005 1:43:21 PM
Subject: Holding Bush responsible.

"You may not belong to any political party, but you are certainly a flaming liberal. The very absence of the man's title, PRESIDENT, is sufficient evidence of the vitriol that lies behind the pseudo and massaged 'history' you speak of."

Yep, I sure am a flaming liberal. I am a Catholic who hates abortion. I have been writing about the dangers of the toxic sodomite deathstyle for a decade. I walked from the Republican party in '96 after listening to their BS and figuring out it was the same as the communists (Democratic Party), they just packaged and sell the same lies under different rhetroic. I finally woke up to the fact that the GOP no longer serves this republic, but the same money masters the democrats grovel to and worship.

I don't call Bush president because I didn't vote for him; I voted for Michael Peroutka of the Constitution Party. I have no respect for George Bush as he continues to trash the Constitiution and Bill of Rights. One of our past presidents had some words for this e-mailer:

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else." ~ Teddy Roosevelt, Kansas City Star, 149 May 7, 1918

Another favorite today:

Sent: 12/30/2005 3:18:37 PM
Subject: prez bush and accountability

"yo piece is about as idiotic as the junior sen. from the great state of mass. when he stated "l voted for it before l voted against it. best." — david brown ft. lauderdale

Notice Mr. Brown doesn't dispute a single fact in my column. Not one of the historical quotes, nothing. Just typical name calling from those who willfully believe lies from their favorite politician because they're in denial. They have done zero research, but they will believe what Bush or Rush tell them without any verification.

The voices of America's destruction.

Then, we have those folks who send out this type of mail:

----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Jean-Pierre
Sent: 12/9/2005 10:03:28 AM


"Where is a service that can tell me how many forms I have to fill out to legally stop withholding from check?"

I receive an average of 15,000 e-mails per month and cannot answer them individually. I simply don't have the luxury of hiring a huge staff to help me. I do use an auto responder to let people know this and that I can't respond individually to hundreds of individual requests every day of the week, seven days a week, 352 days a year. And, what was Mr. Jean-Pierre's response to that?

"No you didn't f**king help me at all. I'm not knocking your mission at all, I give you props for what you are doing. Be real with you, I think you don't want to f**king tell me."


December 20, 2005

Billionaire Warns of 'Economic Tsunami'

Newsmax | December 20 2005

One of America’s richest billionaires, Richard Rainwater, warns in a major Fortune magazine piece that an "economic tsunami” is about to strike the global economy.

Rainwater believes the main worry for the U.S. economy is that the world is running out of oil.

Rainwater is so worried about dwindling oil supplies in the near future that he now has some $500 million of his $2.5 billion fortune in cash – and he advises that the time is coming to invest in oil and gas companies to take advantage of the looming crisis.

See how they spin

It's a no brainer that Bill O'Reilly, FOX's cash cow and constitutionally challenged talk show host does not like Judge Andrew Napolitano. Each time O has Napolitano on his show, he treats him like some wayward child, showing resigned tolerance to having him on the air. On December 18, 2005, O had Napolitano on regarding Bush's eavesdropping and spying on Americans. Predictably, O did his level best to spin illegal into what must be done

BILL O'REILLY [FOX NEWS]: Joining us now from Washington, Dave Rivkin, former White House counsel, Presidents Reagan and Bush the elder. And here in the studio, Fox News senior legal analyst Andrew Napolitano. So you want to send Bush to jail, right?

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO [FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST]: No, I don't want to send him to jail. We haven't seen the so-called secret legal memo on which he relied. But we know the following. Yesterday he admitted to breaking the law--

O'REILLY: No he didn't--

NAPOLITANO: --because authorizing wiretaps without search warrants is against the criminal law.

O'REILLY: He said--but hold it. He said, you just heard him say, within the constitution, within the law.

NAPOLITANO: He's wrong. It's not within the constitution, and it's not within the law.

O'REILLY: He may be wrong, but he did not admit to breaking the law. Let's be precise.

NAPOLITANO: Not per se. He admitted to doing the acts which resulted in authorizing search warrants--excuse me, authorizing wiretaps without search warrants, which is prohibited by the 1952 law that creates the NSA, and is prohibited by at least three statutes written by the Congress since then.

O'REILLY: All right.

NAPOLITANO: The President doesn't write the laws. He has to execute them, whether he agrees with them or not.

O'REILLY: His people, his people, and I don't know, I have to tell the audience I mean don't know. I mean, Napolitano is much smarter than I am. But his people say the War Powers Act gives him the legal authority to do it. And, it's because it's an international taping situation, not domestic. These calls were going all overseas. And the third thing is the national security, which as you know Congress gave him the authority, broad authorities, to fight the war on terror. So he signed an executive order it seems like. And he didn't actually say to the NSA tap this one, that one, and the other one. They just did it, OK, under the authority that he gave them.

NAPOLITANO: He does not have the authority to relieve them of the obligation to obey the criminal laws. NAPOLITANO: When Richard Nixon argued that he could spy on Americans because they were a threat to national security, the Supreme Court rejected it nine to nothing. And said the fourth amendment applies.

O'REILLY: It was a different situation.

RIVKIN: Absolutely true.

NAPOLITANO: Of course it was a different situation. But you can't call someone a terrorist, and thereby authorize people to go above the criminal law just because of what you call them.

O'REILLY: All right, but it's important at this juncture to point out that this wasn't some cherry-picking operation. That the NSA wasn't spying en masse on Americans calling overseas. These were targeted people, suspected, suspected of having--

NAPOLITANO: Americans who have the fourth amendment protection that the President is abrogating. And he can't do that.

O'REILLY: In the War Powers Act, though, he can abrogate it

NAPOLITANO: No, the War Powers Act does not allow him to abrogate the fourth amendment. And when he's the Commander--

O'REILLY: Sure it did. Lincoln did it in the Civil War, you know that.

NAPOLITANO: Lincoln did it in the Civil War, and the Supreme Court condemned it nine to nothing after Lincoln was dead. The case is In Re Milligan.

O'REILLY: All right, OK. We're not going to settle it tonight. But I think it's so complicated that nothing will come of it. Just my prediction. Nothing will come of this.

RIVKIN: But let me just say this--

O'REILLY: Real quick.

RIVKIN: --what's sad is that everybody is jumping to the worst possible interpretation.

O'REILLY: Of course, but that's what everybody does Mr Rivkin. Come on.

NAPOLITANO: Hey, he's the President, he's not a king. He's got to obey the laws like the rest of us.

The King of Bore, Charles Krauthammer, notorious liar, Condi Rice and Rummy Rumsfeld have all defended Bush's spying on Americans since the story broke. Krauthammer actually had the gall to emit such bombastic gas - and I'm paraphrasing here - we all know the average American out there could care less about a few phone calls being tapped. Yes, he actually believes that you and I, the common man, don't care about a sitting president violating federal law because, after all, he's a president during war time and he's saving lives!

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Clank those chains, Charles.

December 19, 2005

The hot topic today remains Bush's admission of spying on Americans and his speech last night. However, there's plenty of time for comment on that, but our soldiers need our help now:

It's not too late to give

Regardless of how you feel about the war in Iraq, our dear freedom fighters are deployed not just in Iraq, but around the globe. Christmas time is especially difficult for them. I know because I am married to a retired U.S. Army Colonel and the loneliness from being so far away from family this time of the year is very difficult. Joe Scarborough and the USO have teamed up to provide Operation Phone Home. Our military desperately need these phone cards and I know every soldier will be very grateful if you can help. Our family pooled together and made one family donation for our military family so they can phone home on Christmas. If you are interested, please click here and God bless you.

I have seen the wounded

A little over two years ago, I visited my dear friend, Brigadier General Ben Partin, U.S.A.F (Ret) at Walter Reed. Ben had serious surgery; his recovery has been successful. This is a huge complex and it took a lot of walking to get to Ben's room. Along the way I saw hundreds of wounded soldiers back from Iraq, mostly young. Some had no limb(s), some just laying in their hospital bed in an empty room. It was all I could do not to bawl my brains out on the way to find Ben's room.

My husband is a retired Army Colonel who came home from war in one piece, although he lost most of the hearing in one ear and has had back problems for 30 years. However, we have not forgotten the sacrifices made by our military and Coast Guard. Last year I sent a DVD to Walter Reed for soldiers in recovery. Time drags by so slowly when you're in pain and all alone. Walter Reed is a wonderful hospital, but not all the wounded have familiy that can afford to travel to the East Coast to visit.

I have received an appeal and I hope you can find time in your busy schedule to send a get well. I'm sending mine today:

A Special Request: I have a special request. I'm sure many of you are currently writing cards to friends and family. If you can, please send an extra one (or 10, or 20) to our American military heroes who are recuperating from wounds this Christmas Season. Please enclose a short note thanking them for their service and personal sacrifice. They are the protectors of our freedom, we must let them know. Your small act of kindness will be greatly appreciated. Here's the address:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

If you would, please forward this message to your email friends.

The second is from John; and, although Marks' message is a little long, I think it is worth reading (as well as
reflecting back upon memories of Christmases of yore).

by Michael Marks

I had no Christmas spirit when I breathed a weary sigh,
And looked across the table where the bills were piled too high.

The laundry wasn't finished and the car I had to fix,
My stocks were down another point, the Chargers lost by six.

And so with only minutes till my son got home from school
I gave up on the drudgery and grabbed a wooden stool.

The burdens that I carried were about all I could take,
And so I flipped the TV on to catch a little break.

I came upon a desert scene in shades of tan and rust,
No snowflakes hung upon the wind, just clouds of swirling dust.

And where the reindeer should have stood before a laden sleigh,
Eight Humvees ran a column right behind an M1A.

A group of boys walked past the tank, not one was past his teens
Their eyes were hard as polished flint, their faces drawn and lean.

They walked the street in armor with their rifles shouldered tight,
Their dearest wish for Christmas, just to have a silent night.

Other soldiers gathered, hunkered down against the wind,
To share a scrap of mail and dreams of going home again.

There wasn't much at all to put their lonely hearts at ease,
They had no Christmas turkey, just a pack of MREs.

They didn't have a garland or a stocking I could see,
They didn't need an ornament--they lacked a Christmas tree.

They didn't have a present even though it was tradition,
The only boxes I could see were labeled "ammunition."

I felt a little tug and found my son now by my side,
He asked me what it was I feared, and why it was I cried.

I swept him up into my arms and held him oh so near
And kissed him on the forehead as I whispered in his ear.

"There's nothing wrong, my little son, for safe we sleep tonight
Our heroes stand on foreign land to give us all the right,

To worry on the things in life that mean nothing at all,
Instead of wondering if we will be the next to fall."

He looked at me as children do and said, "It's always right,
To thank the ones who help us and perhaps that we should write."

And so we pushed aside the bills and sat to draft a note,
To thank the many far from home and this is what we wrote:

"God bless you all and keep you safe and speed your way back home.
Remember that we love you so, and that you're not alone.

The gift you give you share with all, a present every day,
You give the gift of liberty and that we can't repay."

Michael Marks: "I freely submit this poem for reprint without reservation -- this is an open and grateful tribute to the men and women who serve every day to keep our nation safe.

December 17, 2005

Nice work if you can get it

The lawbreakers in Congress are reportedly "working feverishly" over the weekend to wrap up a budget cutting session before they go on a six-week extended vacation. Add up the other "breaks" Congress takes during the year and these scoundrels are "in session" maybe 200 days a year. Let's not forget that they all spend a substantial amount of time fund raising during "working hours." Let's not forget that these incompetent sell outs voted themselves a raise when no one was looking  on November 18, 2005: $3,100. Roughly THREE MONTHS of paid vacation, plus a raise when the U.S. Treasury has no money in it, only a debt of $8.2+ TRILLION dollars. Nice work if you can get it.

Why is anyone surprised?

The hot story over the past 48 hours has been the exposure of Bush stomping on the Constitution (again) by authorizing a secret eavesdropping program in the United States more than three dozen times since October 2001, without any judicial oversight, i.e. court ordered warrants. Why should anyone be surprised? Millions of us have been trying to warn a nation walking around in their self imposed comas that the intentions of the Bush administration are not in the best interests of this republic. Yes, yes, I know, Kerry would have been just as bad, but for now, let's stick to Bush.

After 9/11, the vice grip of totalitarianism went into hyper drive. "Our way of life has forever changed," wrote Sen. John Warner, R-Va., in a letter last month to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "Should this law now be changed to enable our active-duty military to more fully join other domestic assets in this war against terrorism?" Speaking of Posse Comitatus, November 24, 2001 Planting the seed to get Americans to willingly and stupidly give up their God-given rights for the illusion of security. It's been in the works a long time:

Constitutional hawks with long memories are quick to point out that this type of secrecy was deeply ingrained during the Reagan years, specifically back in 1987 when then U.S. Attorney General William French Smith blew the whistle on a fairly low ranking Marine officer by the name of Oliver North.

According to Smith, Lt. Col. Oliver North directly helped draft a plan in 1984 to impose martial law in the United States in the event of an emergency. This secret plan would suspend the U.S. Constitution and turn over control of the government to the little known agency at that time: FEMA. This plan would appoint military commanders to run state and local governments. Implementation of this plan would have been triggered by violent and wise spread internal dissent, disagreement with government policy or national opposition to any U.S. military invasion abroad. Essentially, it amounted to a complete and total suspension of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Investigators who uncovered this plan believe that between 1983 - 1986, North's office was the 'central command center' for this informal secret structure which involved more than the illegal sale of arms to Iran and illegal funding of the underground war in Nicaragua under President Ronald Reagan. "Lifers" in the military were shocked, saying at the time that no Lt. Colonel is ever given the kind of power North was apparently given within this secret structure. So great was his authority, he could have the orbits of sophisticated satellites altered to follow Soviet ships around the world or launch high-flying spy aircraft on secret missions. Some even compared this whole operation as eerily similar to the one portrayed in the movie, Clear and Present Danger starring Harrison Ford (1994).

My full column can be read here.

Americans would do well to remember these words by former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, Associated Press, June 3, 1994: "I think that our American people will welcome a Russian military force for peace-keeping purposes." If that doesn't alarm people, perhaps this will from the Sacramento Bee Forum section, November 30, 1997: Our civilian-military face off - The Bill of Rights no obstacle for Corps:

"Some Marines say they can see the day when the Corps will be required to execute Haiti-like missions, or worse, within the borders of the United States....Because of the rising potential for civil disobedience within the inner cities, it is inevitable the U.S. military will be employed more often within American borders....To enable the Marines to execute these new domestic missions in the same way that they do abroad, Major Reeves calls for major alterations in U.S. laws."

After Katrina, Bush's lackeys began floating the idea of a military first response for any national disaster - in other words, erode Posse Comitatus. Nothing new from our boy in the Oval Office:

"I also want to know all the facts about the government response to Hurricane Katrina. The storm involved a massive flood, a major supply and security operation, and an evacuation order affecting more than a million people. It was not a normal hurricane -- and the normal disaster relief system was not equal to it. Many of the men and women of the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States military, the National Guard, Homeland Security, and state and local governments performed skillfully under the worst conditions. Yet the system, at every level of government, was not well-coordinated, and was overwhelmed in the first few days. It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice." George Bush, September 15, 2005

Don't kid yourself. The trappings for martial law are already in place and functioning. Americans are getting fed up with the destruction of all we hold dear and the Unseen Hand - the shadow government - knows it.