Friday, December 29, 2006

Gerald Ford: The man who gave America the NeoCons

It contradicts the Rules of common usage to point out the failings of those who have taken that last step from human society into death but reading the many articles on the life of Gerald Ford brought for me, at least, the consciousness of how much he and those in politics have cost all of us; seeing him characterized as 'a man of character,' slapped me into awareness. The rules are wrong when they benefit deceit and injustice, so I am going to ignore them.

As Republican woman and an American I have something to say about Ford, and politics today. The legacy of Gerald Ford is the destruction the vision of America as a place where our inherent, individual rights, were protected and affirmed through a government which remained in the hands of the people. Those rights depend on justice. Ford destroyed the integrity of our political system. He made a choice and it was wrong.

In saying this I do nor forget that he championed the passage of the Alice Paul Amendment to affirm to women their equal rights. He spoke the words, introduced the bill, and failed to see it passed. At death we remember the whole of the life of the deceased, not just those parts that are useful to us politically. All of the acts of Ford's life, the good and the bad together, should be assessed. Death is a summing up of life; a summing up that ignores that whole does a disservice to the deceased and to us as well.

The choice Ford made to pardon Richard M. Nixon set the stage for the excruciating events that put Bush in the White House and have gone so far down the road to destroying America, no matter how affable he was, this cannot be overlooked.

Nixon should have been tried. He was guilty and Americans needed to see their system work as intended. Instead, we have learned not to expect honesty or decency; our system has devolved into a morass that nurtures thieves and scoundrels. We today contend with a political reality that has served to elevate those in positions of 'public service' into a class apart, guaranteeing membership in a club of privilege, an aristocracy without accountability. With those in politics accountability is anathema. Watch how they vote and for whom, it is your rights they are selling piecemeal.

Because of Gerald Ford justice was not done. Everyone in politics, a young Rove, an older Bush Senior, the clueless W, all who were then moving themselves up in government learned the lesson by example. Bush and the NeoConservatives who have been living out their fantasies at our expense saw the opportunity created by the misuse of presidential power by Gerald Ford. They are relying on that power today. They have enough money stolen from us to buy anyone they make president, with few exceptions. Bush expects to cut a deal, walking away with his profits intact.

What we see today is not the vision of America for which patriots have laid down their lives over the last two centuries. It is a congame with us, the American people, cast as the patsies.

Today, the American people hunger for justice and the likelihood they will get that, accountability from those entrusted with power, recedes into the distant haze because of the actions of Gerald Ford, whose death comes like manna from heaven for the Bush Administration at this point in time.

CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush on Wednesday remembered former President Gerald Ford as a "man of complete integrity who led our country with common sense and kind instincts" and helped restore faith in the presidency after the Watergate scandal.”

It is easy to see why someone like George W. Bush would carefully laud the life of a man who took from Americans what was so desperately needed; accountability for the crimes of Richard Nixon translates into accountability for him.

There is no integrity there. No one should have had faith in anyone occupying an office where accountability was sacrificed, thus establishing the precedent that no matter what the president does he will be forgiven. As our children must learn that actions have consequences so must those who offer themselves for public service learn they will be accountable, liable, and that there are teeth in the oaths they take.

America needs honesty; Americans should demand accountability now as it should have been exacted in 1974. The example that any crime could be overlooked, swept under the carpet, has gone a long ways towards destroying what remained as the integrity of American government and ethics.

George W. Bush is guilty of collusion in deceiving the American people for the purpose of carrying out a war in Iraq and on Americans here at home. He carried out these crimes, for they are felonies, to profit those who put him in office, the major corporations who are profiting every day from the life's blood of honest Americans.

An Eagle Scout, Ford dishonored several oaths by failing to do the right thing. They should rescind his membership in that honorable body. That failure on Ford's part is a wrong that opened the flood gates of deception in politics because those in power know that accountability will not be exacted.

Americans must change their national direction. The first step in that direction is to demand and exact accountability from those in public office. Dishonesty must always result in removal and prosecution; justice must be swift, sure and exacting. The means are at our disposal. All professionals are licensed and most must be bonded. Begin demanding that only bonded candidates be elected. Don't wait for politicians to act; it will never happen. We, the people, can do it ourselves. The Honesty Bond Committee is now organizing.

The legacy of Gerald Ford was to compromise the foundations of American justice; we need to rebuild those foundations, placing them on the firm ground of accountability that ignores considerations of party and profit if America is to recover.

When you see the flag at half mast it is America for which you should grieve today.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What James Dean taught me about Christmas

I last saw Jimmy though the front window of our home in West Los Angeles in September of 1955. He looked up and smiled at me, my nose pressed to the glass. In just a few days he would be dead but the ideas and conversations we had lived on in my memory. Eventually, those memories became a family tradition we call The Star for Christmas. It is a tradition that involves finding our way through life and doing the right thing as individuals. Jimmy was someone who thought intensely about who he was and what he should do.

All of my children grew to adulthood stuffing tiny folded and spindled letters of intention and wishes for the year to come into the musty interior of the Star that tops our Christmas Tree. Their tiny fingers were eager and trusting. Every Christmas Eve we gathered to read the last years letters and write anew. A generation of their wishes stretched both the Star’s stitches and the faded yellow felt I had cut it from so many years before. At the end of three decades the Star had become an object notable mostly for its ugliness but remained the most cherished decoration on our tree.

Now all the children have grown up, found their own homes and carried the tradition with them into new families and a new century. As their mother I was glad for that. But over the Thanksgiving table one year, lingering over seconds on everything, my youngest daughter asked me how the custom had begun. Was it a New England custom? Had I filled my own small white paper with intentions and wishes when I was little? Had I folded the paper up small and stuffed it into another older Star, perhaps made by my own mother? None of her friends followed the custom, she knew. No, I told her, I had not. The custom was my own, begun before she was born in honor of a friend who had died when I was just six years old. Then I told them about Jimmy and our conversations.

James Dean has been in his grave for nearly fifty years at that moment but I have never forgotten the many gifts he gave me. Christmas is about gifts of unexpected grace that make us stronger. Jimmy had shared his own wishes and intentions with me in those conversations; each insight was a gift I cherished. Since Christmas is about gifts I came to associate the holiday with him. The gifts that stay with us are not the kind normally found under any evergreen. But they were the kind of gifts that last long after toys are lost and forgotten.

Jimmy gave me gifts of insight; he shared his own confrontations with life. He told me once that in celebrating Christmas we need to remember that Christ was born to live a life that was itself a message. Reverence your life, Jimmy said, by living it honestly, with understanding, and courage.

Truth is where you find it.

Kneeling over the desiccated carcass of a tortoise that I discovered behind a bush in the backyard one golden afternoon Jimmy had explained to me about dying. I was only three then but I can hear his words as clearly as if he was standing here now. Jimmy’s voice told me he did not fear death. He explained that the essence of Tortoise did not die with its body but moved on to someplace else. Nothing really dies, he said. Jimmy accepted mortality as a part of life, believing that spirit would endure. This lesson was also taught by the Man whose birth we celebrate on December 25th.

That was the first lesson Jimmy taught me. Others followed.

Jimmy visited us sometimes in the afternoon, usually around lunchtime. This began, I think, when he was a student at UCLA. He wore thick glasses, just like me. He hunched his shoulders, just a little. He was quiet, sometimes pensive, and sometimes a little crazy. But he talked to me as if I were a grownup who could understand anything.

This taught me that I could do anything.

Over the next three years Jimmy taught me many more things. He taught me to listen to my heart beating as we sat quietly in the back yard. He said that I could hear my heartbeat and my breath as it moved through my throat and into my lungs if I listened and stilled the sounds outside myself. There was much in me to understand, he said. He had heard his own heart and breath and it taught him about himself; Listen to your self always, he said. Know yourself because you are here for a purpose and by listening you will learn that purpose. Jimmy believed he had a purpose and that his life’s work would have meaning. He would do wonderful things, he told me.

Jimmy did amazing things in a life that was far too short.

When I was much older I began attending Quaker Meeting; Jimmy had learned to hear the silence in a Quaker Meeting in Fairmount, Indiana. There, he had found what he needed to fill the emptiness left in the wake of his mother’s death. In the deep silence that healed grief, he had said to me, you touch your own soul and find your truth.

Jimmy taught me both to know myself and to trust myself.

I still have the old stuffed horse that Jimmy gave me when I broke both my arms. It is as dusty and as old as his memory is new. I have a tiny car, smaller than my then five-year-old finger that he flicked across the floor to me one afternoon just after he dropped by. He made the sound of a car, crying, Vroooom, vroooom, as it traveled like a shot into my hands. I carried it around in the pocket of my corduroy jumper for two weeks.

Insignificant material things may carry memories that can be far more precious than diamonds.

To the small child I was then the lessons of Jimmy were magic, magic that the older woman remembered when she placed a Star at the top of a Christmas Tree to carry the intentions of one year into the reality of the next. The ceremony, I told my children, was about gifts that do not fit under the tree, but that have great value.

After our family placed its new intentions in the Star the tradition was to light a candle for remembering and say a prayer. The small folded papers that the children filled up with words remained in the Star from one Christmas Eve until the next when they were taken out and read aloud, each by their author. Confronting yourself can also be a gift of unexpected value because in that you find new direction.

Saving those papers was part of the magic.

1979 Dawn (then four) - “I want to be an angel so I can turn Carolyn into a pumpkin.”

1984 Ayn (then eight) - “I wish that when I grow up I become a witch like Sam on Bewitched.”

1985 Dawn (then ten) - “I wish the Ethiopians stop starving by next year and it’s God damed pres. is assassinated.”

1985 Arthur (then six) - I want every single Transformer in the world.

1988 Dawn - I wish for the advancement of the human race through my genius. I also wish for the dissolution of all governments.

1992 Ayn (then sixteen)

1. To be brave enough to read this in front of the whole family.

2. to be a strong Christian.

3. to be happy at whichever school I go to.

4. that the family will be living anywhere but Burnet.

    5. World Peace (Somalia) NOT!

1993 Dawn (then eighteen) - I wish for whirled pease, Clinton to have been impeached for his various crimes, Hillary to be in prison - nah, she’d enjoy it too much ala “caged fury”

Because I was always involved in politics, first as a Republican, then a Libertarian, and then again as a Republican, what was happening in politics became part of our family culture, working its way into the Intentions we placed in the Star on Christmas Eve. Jimmy would have approved, he always said if you want it to happen you need to start walking in that direction; he was not happy with the direction politics was taking even then. Jimmy believed each of us have inherent freedoms government cannot touch and that the job of government was to protect those rights, not cancel them.

This Christmas Eve we will again gather around the Tree to read wishes and place next year's intentions in the Star. We will light the candle; we will pray for justice and a new direction for America. This year the wishes that go into the Star from our house will be for Impeachment. Doing the right thing matters; Jimmy would agree.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Republicans must speak out for Impeachment: Ron Paul for President

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The murmurs began in the halls of Congress even before legislators and their staffs packed up and left, marking the end of this Congress and the beginning of the holiday season. Those offices will be quiet for the moment; politicians considering how they can benefit from coming out on impeachment or confronting their now receding fears have time to caucus their home districts. The murmurs come in many different cadences and tones. They are marked with anger and elation, ambition and calculation.

Democrats are beginning to listen to the tenor of the country, slowly letting themselves realize just how many Americans view this administration, perhaps more than they did themselves, as a criminal enterprise. Impeachment is becoming a word that speaks not of sleaze and cigars but the promise of a new beginning and, perhaps more important to many of them, political positioning that could take a career all the way to the White House.

Real Republicans, those who watched the NeoCon Nazis smash every tenet on which the Republican Party was founded, also have time to think. Those invested in career quests for power will consider first how they are now viewed. Those Republicans who believe in the principles that made them Republicans must confront another issue. Their party was hijacked, its moral capital used to accrue profits for Bush and his corporate sponsors. In so doing, all Americans lost, some, their lives, others our wealth, and all of as us a sense of trust. Rhetoric replaced truth as the principles long associated with being a Republican were smashed beyond recognition. Small government, individual rights, Constitutional integrity, low taxes, local control, the principles of the Republican Party that those of us who believed the message of Barry Goldwater, stand in stark contrast to how this administration eviscerated the rights and honor with which it was entrusted.

Torture, deceit, spying on Americans, lies told to profit megacorporations and oil interests; before this Congress decamped, they took time to vote in ten billion in incentives for oil companies; nothing for veterans. There was seemingly no limit to what Bush and company would do to line their pockets and live out their fantasies. Sometimes doing the right thing forces us to confront our own souls. It should never have happened. It did. Now America needs justice so that healing can begin. You can bank of the fact that the NeoCons rely on spinning this as a partisan battle. That, Republicans must not allow.

This Republican says that time is now. While the murmurs continue advising that the now ham stringed administration be allowed to sputter into history this Republican says impeach and then indict.

America needs justice like a drowning man needs air. For that justice to be real we need to send a message to anyone who comes after that even for the president there will be absolute accountability. Without that there may be a pause in the growth of power that has taken America into the chilling realm of fascism but it will continue.

Republicans who care about the principles that made them Republicans need to shoot their own dog. That is what real men do. Rumor has it that mixed in with those murmurs in the halls of Congress were the voices of Republican Senators and Congressmen who are considering how the public now views the Republican Party. That this has been a public relations disaster is true; but that is a minor issue. Real men and women do the right thing even when it does not provide better political positioning. In the last two years the Republican Party has lost registrants, respect, credibility, and now teeters on the edge of oblivion. That was just, people were speaking with their hearts and feet. It would be better that the Republican Party cease to exist than that it remain the tool it became. Political parties are the tools we use to move our country towards freedom and justice. They should not be used to steal. Political parties are just tools.

The point of the American Experiment is that people, understanding that their rights come not from government but from God, come together to govern themselves from their own communities.

Republicans must therefore shoot their own dog. It was not a Democrat who delivered the message to Richard Nixon, it was the man that both sides of the Aisle knew would tell the truth. That man was Barry Goldwater. But what Nixon did was a cigar to what Bush has done. This message must come with the hard truth that resigning is not enough. This time we need real, systemic change so that never again will the simple tools of government be used to anoint would-be dictators.

That process must begin with unified efforts from both sides of the aisle.

This impeachment must not be tainted with politics. It is about the survival of America and the vision of possibility that summoned a nation of free people into being.

Cheney must be impeached and replaced with a man of unquestionable integrity, respected by both Republicans and Democrats. That man is Congressman Ron Paul.

Congressman Paul is a man who had the moral integrity to do the right thing when the days were darkest. Paul has withstood the attempts by NeoCons to unseat him many times by redistricting, through Tom Delay, and by funding his opposition. But his constituents know he is to be trusted and have returned the family doctor to office over and over again. He refused to be silenced.

Democrats who have followed the machinations of the NeoCons know Ron Paul is a man who stood up against the War in Iraq, against the Patriot Act, and against torture.

The names championed by the Democrats speak partisanship; none of them spoke out in those darkest days. Paul has demonstrated an ability to work with anyone who is working for the rights of Americans. He understands the Constitution and no one deceived him when the cries of necessity went up after 9/11.

The present sentiment for impeachment could tear America apart – or it could bring us together to start again. America's President is both the CEO of the executive branch and a symbol of forward direction. Ron Paul as President sends a message no one will misunderstand. When he is in office, let Paul choose Dennis Kucinich as his Vice-President.

Impeach Cheney and then Bush and then let Congress put a man in the Oval Office who said yes to honor and truth when doing so made him so often stand alone. It is alone we enter life and alone we die. Those who stand alone when others are silent through fear have passed through a tempering that burns out doubt. We need an individual who has passed through that fire.

Send a message America, and the world, will really hear.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Americans vote NO on Bush and take Impeachment off the table

Mark your calendar. On December 10th, Human Rights Day, Americans from across the country will meet to discuss the Impeachment of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, President and Vice-President of the United States. The congruence of Human Rights Day and consideration of Impeachment is curiously appropriate. What better day to begin the process that is so needed to mend the lives of Americans?

While Nancy Pelosi considers the color of her drapes and tables discussion of an impeachment sentiment that propelled her and other Democrats into office Congresspersons ready themselves for oncoming rounds of business as usual. They expect the voters who put them in office to wait. They will be surprised. Americans are tired of waiting and have grown increasingly cynical about the character of those elected. It is all, too true, that the accumulation of power that now exists in Washington is a powerful incentive to forget that the election was not a popularity contest or a mandate. November 7th was a loud NO to Bush and his NeoConservative administration, nothing else.

On December 10th the people are setting about taking action themselves where normally they simply write letters to their representatives. Trusting those in government has come to be recognized as a chancy policy. David Swanson, an organizer for the December 10th event, said, “the blockages to impeachment we are seeing are from Congress; Republicans who are scared, and from newly elected Democrats who have other priorities.” When those elected fail to carry out the will of the people it is the right of the people to take action directly, according to Thomas Jefferson.

Last November 7th Americans made it clear that they are fed up with the present administration. That did not mean that they were enchanted by the alternative, just that their options were necessarily limited by the nature of the political process. Reports of malfunctioning voting machines that moved votes to Republicans and away from the determined efforts of voters to vote otherwise, were legion. Law suits and investigations are now ongoing but even voter theft estimated by experts, such as David Griscom, of around 3.5 million, was not enough to keep a Republican majority in either House of Senate; a miscalculation on the part of Karl Rove, most probably.

The massive turn out of voters from the left was balanced on the right by voters who stayed home, unable to vote for anyone acceptable. As of today, 51% of Americans want to see articles of impeachment delivered to the White House and they want answers from George Bush and Dick Cheney. That is, perhaps, the largest percentage to ever express the wish to see the President of the United States answer questions that include whether or not he should continue in office.

Americans have their reasons, and they are powerful and compelling.

Every day now American families learn that loved ones have been injured or killed in a war that is now admitted by nearly everyone to have been sought not to ensure the security of Americans but to burnish the bottom line of Bush's core constituents, the oil companies and military contractors who have been intimates of the Bush – Walker family for generations. For at least three generations the Bush family has made its money not from honest commerce but from special favors obtained through the offices of government influence. Former First Lady Barbara Bush unwittingly exposed the attitude of the Bush family when in the wake of Hurricane Katrina she said, “This is working very well for them." Mrs. Bush saw the loss of family and friends, long time homes, neighborhoods, and family possessions are less valuable than the charity on which they were then dependent. No decent person would agree. It is ugly, but when you strip away the pretensions that is who they are. .

In the wake of 9/11 George W. Bush enjoyed unprecedented popularity. His administration used that trust, extended from Americans of all political parties, to procure a war that has lasted longer than World War II, and cost the lives of nearly 3,000 dead American military, if we are to believe the State Department, which is now also questionable. Stories of dying military shipped out to bases away from the hostilities in Iraq have left open the question of how many have actually died and been wounded. In this war, families faced the need to send essential equipment to those they loved who stood in the line of fire, another first for America. Veterans of Iraq come home to neglect and dismissal by those entrusted to care for them.

It is the sense that nothing this administration says can be trusted that has led slowly to the conclusion that it is time for Bush to vacate the Oval Office and Washington D. C. “Stay the Course” has morphed into, “What? I never said that!” so rapidly that it leaves listeners gasping. It is as if they believe they can reinvent reality as needed.

Recently, Bush has found time to buy a new home off shore. Perhaps he plans to take up residence on the massive spread purchased in Paraguay. As we have learned, Paraguay does not honor extradition so that, also might not have been an accident. While there is no exit strategy from Iraq Bush might have had one handed him by Rove for his exit from the White House.

At the same time, in parallel, Americans are contending with assaults on their rights, their pocketbooks, and their persons in ways that would have been unimaginable just a generation ago.

From the takings of the Trans-Texas Corridor to the sell off of assets held by the Federal government for the people of America, to the rescinding of the 4th Amendment and the rampant corruption of our nation's courts, the issues abound. Americans are drowning in issues as the economy goes South and the popping of the real estate bubble threatens to leave Americans tied to homes that are worth far less than they cost. It is as if there was an unannounced going out of business sale and up for purchase is all property held or controlled by the government paid for through the taxes of ordinary Americans.

George W. Bush will doubtless go down in history. It is shaping to be a legacy of greed, avarice, indulgence, and deceit that would make Nero blanch; the actions of George W. Bush follows a logic that is consistent to his family's heritage and to his own well documented, personal values. It is not that the Bush – Walker family does not have values, it is the content of those ideas about themselves, government, and other people's money than has proven to be so toxic to the well being of America.

In the first and last instance, the question always returns to our beliefs and values. Values are the foundations on which America was built.

Our nation was founded by a people who gathered in homes to discuss the issues. The Committees of Correspondence discussed the theory and grounding for government as a tool of human organizing. They discussed the individual, God-given rights, and their freedoms. America was a do it yourself enterprise then. Evidently, it must return to its roots.

On December 10th remember the values than brought America into existence. Remember the many, many individuals who risked everything to make a vision real. Remember the people who will gather across the country to consider the issue of impeachment. From these beginnings much will spring. America renews itself on the courage of its true patriots.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Celebrate an American Anniversary: December 16, 1773 The Boston Tea Party

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On August 14, 1765 a small group of colonists came together to form a secret society in furtherance of independence. They first met in Boston under a tree located at the corner of Essex and Orange Streets near Hanover Square. They had gathered to protest the Stamp Act. When they left they had founded a secret society that would promote independence for the colonies, a front line for action. Effigies of two tax collectors had been hanged from what was ever after known as the Tree of Liberty.

The Sons of Liberty came into existence because awareness was growing that action would soon be necessary. As the 233rd anniversary of the Boston Tea Party approaches all Americans should take a moment to thank those stalwart men who agreed on the need to preserve the autonomy of the colonies and took action. Today we have lost sight of the specific events that motivated the dumping of artificially cheap tea into Boston Harbor. But the reasons went to the insistence of the colonists that they were free, a truth we should never forget.

The colonists in New England had served in the French and Indian Was fought out far to the west of them but since they were not allowed representation in the British Parliament they rejected the idea that they were obliged to pay for that war.

In the wake of the French and Indian Wars the British Crown demanded payment for the expenditure of monies that war had cost the Crown, this despite the fact that the war was the continuation of a territorial conflict between the British Crown, France, and Spain. For Britain, the spoils of war was Canada, ceded to them by France. The colonists saw no reason that they should pay for the adventuring taking place far to the west of their own hard won colonies. But Britain had decided that the independence of those colonies, now developing and profitable, needed to be brought under firm control and used the War, which ended with the Treaty of Paris, February 10, 1763, as their excuse.

The Crown was well aware that the colonists were used to governing themselves; after all, that is why the Puritans had gone there in the first place. But by imposing a tax the Crown hoped to both raise money and at the same time assert the right to impose whatever policies the Crown wished later.

Imposition of the Stamp Act and the Townsend Acts in 1765 and 1767 were, therefore, a strategy aimed at both augmenting income to the Crown and establishing grounds for further control. This was clear to the colonists. Tensions rose, erupting in the Boston Massacre in 1770.

Many Americans could see where the actions of Parliament were taking them and began to prepare for war in their towns. The Committees of Correspondence started meeting to read and discuss the causes in detail. The population as a whole was alive to the issues and well informed.

The Boston Tea Party took place on December 16, 1773, the culmination of that campaign by Parliament to coax colonists into establishing the right to tax. The previous Stamp and Townsend Acts has been rescinded, leaving only that small tax on tea. The Crown put the first part of the agenda, raising money, on the back burner to establish the principle that they could impose control without representation. The colonial leadership in Boston was determined that their plan be thwarted. American freedom was not to be purchased for the cost of cheap tea.

Three East India Company ships entered Boston Harbor. They were confronted with the sight of a crowd of 7,000 colonists, talking and shouting. That morning a group had met at the Old South Church and voted to demand the ships leave the harbor without paying the required duty. A delegation was sent to the Customs House to demand the ships lift anchor and leave the harbor. The Collector of Customs demanded payment; the ships would not leave otherwise.

A cry went up from the milling throng when this news was relayed to them. The response came just a few hours later from the Sons of Liberty.

“It was now evening, and I immediately dressed myself in the costume of an Indian, equipped with a small hatchet, which I and my associates denominated the tomahawk, with which, and a club, after having painted my face and hands with coal dust in the shop of a blacksmith, I repaired to Griffin's wharf, where the ships lay that contained the tea. When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me and marched in order to the place of our destination.”

In 1834 the above report by George Hewes would be published. Hewes, then a very old man and one of the few surviving participants, reported that the group had marched in costume down the nearby hill where they had gathered, two by two dressed in Indian garb. They divided into three groups and made sure that the tea was no longer an issue; rowboats of men later made sure it was unusable. This resulted the next spring in the closing of Boston Harbor by order of Parliament.

The Sons of Liberty had adopted the forms and terms of the Iroquois tribe for their own secret rituals. When the Revolution began they extinguished their camp fire and picked up arms to fight in that war. Uncertain whether or not the new government would be stable they remained a secret society, ready to take action as necessary, until after the War of 1812.

In 1813, at historic Fort Mifflin near Philadelphia, various groups that were descended from the original Sons of Liberty had come together to form the Society of Red Men. In 1847 they would again meet at Baltimore, Maryland and found the national organization called the Grand Council of the United States, the Improved Order of Redmen. The Red Men is one of only three organizations ever chartered by Congress. That bill was passed by the 58th Congress 2D Session. March 15, 1904.

Over the Nineteenth Century their form had changed but they continued to impact the course of American life. The Revolution had been capitalized by the blood, sweat, and tears of ordinary Americans, asserting their right to determine their individual and community direction and culture against the greatest super power in the world as it was then. The America that was coming into existence would confront a series of crises that carried forward the same theme with different players. Will the people govern themselves or will they be subject to the control of others?

At the same time ordinary Americans were confronting the fact that a newly mobile society had needs for social insurance to spread the risk of events in the lives of individuals. In 1867 the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks came into existence to ensure that its members and their families would be cared for in the event of the death of the head of the household. The need for security of this kind resulted in an explosion in fraternal orders and programs aimed at ensuring that disaster would not destroy families. The Masons, the Foresters, the Moose, the Eagles, Woodmen of the World, and the reconstituted order that sprang from the Sons Of Liberty saw the need and began providing social insurance programs for their members. From those programs Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt plucked the plans for such programs as Social Security, transferring these to government to be funded through taxation instead of through membership fees.

The variety in fraternal orders had allowed Americans to choose one that suited their needs providing for their own security while extending the benefits of their efforts into their communities. The take over by government began the slow but steady process that converted control by the people to control of the people.

The purpose of the fraternal orders was to see that Americans had in their own hands control of their security and well being. In the hands of the fraternal orders the costs of maintaining these programs remained low; retired businessmen administered them as volunteers. Since this was money they had raised themselves they counted every penny. With Government in charge costs and administration grew astronomically from then until today. Only when the people are in charge are the rights of individuals protected.

On December 16th America will celebrate the 231st anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. It is an occasion that has been overlooked and neglected for far too long. The date marks the occasion when a small group of people thought through the issues and took action that kept control local, changing the future of the world.

This December 16th many of us will gather to read the account of Hewes, toast the Sons of Liberty in whatever beverage most pleases us, and hold a moment of silence for those who took the actions that lead to Lexington, Concord and finally to the Declaration of Independence, establishing for the first time in human history the principles that each of us possesses our rights directly from God and through no king or government.

By steps we became free; by the same small steps we could return to serfdom; that was the possibility that kept the Sons of Liberty active long past the ratification of the Constitution. The events that set our original course speak a truth we need today to turn America back towards the foundation of God-given rights that changed the course of history. The cost of liberty will ever be eternal vigilance and the willingness to take action.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Make Bush and the NeoCons even unhappier

Ratify Our Rights
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Now is the time to Ratify the ERA

Wording of the Equal Rights Amendment
Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

At the beginning of the next session Senator Ted Kennedy will again introduce a 'start over' Equal Rights Amendment. He has reintroduced the bill every year. We can make it unnecessary for him to do it sooner than most Americans could believe. I am a Republican woman and while there are many points on which I have disagreed with Ted Kennedy on this we are of one mind.

Now that the 109th Congress is fated to fade into a distant nightmare and the 110th Congress will bring to Washington more women than have ever before served it is time to get serious about ratifying the ERA. Make no mistake, the Equal Rights Amendment has never been more essential not just to women but to the entire fabric of our society. Now, we all know the value of freedom because we came so close to losing it.

You may think that women and men are equal under the law. You are wrong; although the American people from both genders, every age group and part of the country overwhelmingly believe in equal rights for male and female citizens, still, the Constitution, the highest law in the land, contains no wording that extends fully equal citizens' rights to women. It should never have been necessary to specify that women are members of humanity, but it is because all past generations have failed to do the right thing. They left that to us.

Equality is nothing more than a provisional privilege conferred by legislation until the ERA, amending to the existing Constitution, is ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures.

A newly passed ERA was sent to the states from Congress in 1972 and everyone believed that it would be ratified by the required 38 states quickly but instead it became a political football linked to issues that have nothing to do with simple equality. Women like Phyllis Schlafly have made careers of opposing the equality that was promised to all Americans in 1776.

What happened instead was a series of laws
that assert 'fairness', many passed on the state level. Women had struggled just to get the vote for 150 years and they compromised. That was a mistake.

Today women hang their trust that their rights are protected on privileges conferred by legislators – but each of these laws can be overturned through the actions of the Supreme Court; Without the clear and specific backing of the federal Constitution all laws improving women's rights and opportunities can be overturned. If you ever doubted the need for ratification the crew just booted from Congress should have demonstrated to you just how fragile these rights can be.

Consider the present make up of the Supreme Court; taking over the institutions of America was far too easy for the Bush NeoCon Administration. Who is to say it cannot happen again? We need to take action now to ensure the rights of women.

A few women continued to work tirelessly.

In 2000 a retired research psychologist in Central New Jersey, was asked to speak to a group of Girl Scouts on equality for women. Jennifer Macleod, the speaker, was still active in the local chapter of NOW she cofounded in 1969. She spoke to the troop and, enthused and ready for more, the girls asked for a project they could undertake related to the ERA. Jennifer, an expert in survey research, made up a short questionnaire and showed the girls how polling must be done to accurately reflect the opinions of those polled.

There were three questions. Jennifer expected the Girl Scouts, polling their classmates, teachers, and parents, to find a range of opinions on equality for women. Instead, they found close to unanimous support for the idea that all of us are born possessed of inherent rights, as recognized in the Declaration of Independence.

Buoyed by this knowledge, Jennifer and a group of associates raised the money to have a national survey professionally conducted in July 2001, among American adults all across the country. The findings? 96% answered "yes" to the question, "In your opinion, should male and female citizens of the United States have equal rights?"; 88% answered "yes" to the question, "In your opinion, should the Constitution make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?"; and, demonstrating a public lack of knowledge, 72% mistakenly answered "yes" to the question, "As far as you know, does the Constitution of the United States make it clear that male and female citizens are supposed to have equal rights?" The results were similar for both men and women, and in all age groups, educational levels, regions of the country, racial categories, and household composition.

The overwhelming majority of Americans believe the ERA has already been ratified. Let's make that a reality now.

Three State Strategy

The Constitution, in setting forth how amendments can be made, said NOTHING about any time limits -- although, as was the case for several amendments, a time limit can if desired be included in the body of a proposed amendment. The 1972 Congress, in passing the ERA -- which, fully intentionally, contains no mention of any time limit -- chose to attach a 7-year ratification time limit
separate from the amendment itself. Then, when the 1979 Congress extended the time limit by 3 years, that set the precedent such that any Congress can legitimately vote to change such a time limit.

How could equality ever fail to be relevant? In an era when women are serving in the military in roles that expose them to combat the arguments that they are frail and must be protected fail to persuade Americans. It was not women's weaknesses that moved men to deny them their inherent rights, it was the habit of control.

In 1999 the ERA Campaign Network went to work to help obtain ratification in at least three more not-yet-ratified states.

Vigorous ratification drives are well underway in Illinois (which came very close to ratification in 2004), Florida and Missouri, with many of the other not-yet-ratified states, including Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, and Georgia are building support for their own ratification
drives. Perhaps the legislators in three of these states now understand ust how important our rights are. Now that we have seen a Congress and President commit the treason of negating the 4th Amendment the time to be patient is over. Now we can demand action from Democrats and the Republicans who are now distancing themselves from the corrupt Bush Administration.

The states that
are not yet ratified are:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

Contact the ERA Campaign Coordinators in the unratified states. They need help lobbying their legislators and money for building media campaigns. They are all veterans who have poured their lives into this issue. Help them so they can ensure the inherent rights of ALL Americans.

Your daughters and grand-daughters will be able to take their freedom for granted, and that is the best legacy anyone can have.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Howie Rich and Ed Crane: Their antics in South Carolina

The Moultrie Law Suit and Campaign

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On October 25st Timothy Moultrie, a candidate for Superintendent of Education for South Carolina, filed a law suit which should disqualify from the ballot the candidates for office presented by both the Republicans and Democrats. Moultrie is a Libertarian.

On Monday, November 6th, the Republican and Democratic parties of North Carolina were compelled to appear in court and respond to their assertion that they are not obligated to follow the law which binds the actions of all other political parties. This step brings the suit closer to the trial which will come soon.

If the Moultrie suit prevails none of the Republican or Democratic candidates elected today, Tuesday, November 7th, will be sworn in and take office.

To the casual onlooker it might appear that this is a grandstanding move taking place at the last minute. That would be inaccurate. The small group that filed the suit have carefully and methodically tried in every way since last March to get both the Republican and Democratic parties to follow the law. At each turn the relief they requested was refused and the law again ignored.

Except for the bland assertion that they are excused from adhering to the law neither major political party has acted to show it respects the law made by Republicans and Democrats.

Moultrie and the other proponents do not seek compensation, only compliance with the statutes which are routinely applied to them.

These requirements are simple and routine, including the obligation to hold county conventionsas provided by Sections 7-9-70 and 7-9-80, and hold a state convention as provided by Section 7-9-100.”

The suit goes on to ask for relief, ”Plaintiffs pray for the court to mandate the defendants to fully enforce the decertification provisions of Section 7-9-10 by issuing its order requiring both the defendants to again review the law, and to report to the court on a joint plan to give proper notice to non-compliant political parties, notice of the Election Commission's intention to decertify certain organizations, and a time frame for the correction of obvious deficiencies prior to the decertification process.”

Decertification of candidates now on the ballot could render those elections invalid and its officials and legislators elect unseated. It would also open up the question of past elections and candidates who were not legally elected and present the complex problems of legislation passed by those who could not legally decide.

South Carolina has long been subject to corruption in government and the entrenched establishment there has long been a friendly environment for those who seek to use government to achieve their own ends. Timothy Moultrie, a long time South Carolinian and a school teacher who has been worried over the educational opportunities offered to young South Carolinians for many years ran this year to promote his proposal for improving those educational opportunities.

His proposal is a tuition voucher that follows the student in the among of $10,000.00 for each student. His proposal would take control from the state government ,which uses the money as a political football and give it to parents who could then choose for their children better alternatives. Moultrie has spoken and promoted his proposal across the state and received favorable responses from teachers and parents alike. His proposals are to the point and well documented.

But there are those who oppose his plan and his candidacy and, surprisingly, a group of these are themselves self identified Libertarians.

Howie Rich and his wife, Andrea Millen Rich, live in a high rise in New York City. Rich, along with Andrea a long time adherent of the philosophy of Ayn Rand, became a millionaire through investments in low end apartment buildings in New York. He is the son of an egg salesman from Brooklyn. His wife is from Johnson City, Tennessee and the couple met during the formation of the Libertarian Party there in the early 1970s. From there they, along with Ed Crane of Cato and a cadre of other associates many of whom they have known for over 30 years, seen to have made it their business to funding and run Initiatives in states where they are not resident and now have begun to fund candidacies in those states as well. The astroturf organizations they start follow the same model of their activism while they were working withing the Libertarian Party, hostility to local organizing and control by anyone but themselves.

The group refuses to answer questions on where the millions of dollars that flood into states originate but it appears that much of the money comes from the same large oil company who funds Cato Institute, Koch Industries.

The Republican candidate for Superintendent of Education in South Carolina, Karen Floyd, had received massive contributions and support from Howie Rich and his friends.

Moultrie noted that South Carolina has had problems with carpet baggers since Reconstruction and they always come with their own agenda and not for the benefit of South Carolina and its people.

Howie and his friends left the Libertarian Party in 1983 because the LP did not nominate their candidate, Earl Ravenal, for president at that convention, held in New York City. Crane, elected as National Chairman of the LP at the Dallas Convention in 1974, had exerted nearly complete control of the LP after the end of the 1976 Presidential campaign by Roger MacBride, who was a supporter of local organizing.

Hart Williams, the blogger who outed the Howie group in his long and detailed articles over the last four months noted that history of the group and the fact that this covert behavior seems to be taking place using money from undisclosed sources from Maine to California. It has been a significant factor in the 2006 elections with its support of Republican candidates and initiatives that simulate local action but include riders that profoundly impact communities in ways the people who live there do not see in advance.

Hart Williams was interviewed on his investigative work by PBS on its show, NOW earlier this summer. The Williams blog published a segment that included the techniques used in South Carolina on Sunday and the long article includes this quote along with a vast amount of other material on how the election there was impacted.

Fast forward to present-day South Carolina. The South Carolina coverage has, naturally focused on the "school choice" aspects of the campaign. But they've also noticed that Howard Rich has been flooding the races with maximum contributions through a DIFFERENT bewildering variety of pseudonymous companies, corporations, and Limited Liability Companies (LLC's).” The question on the legality of using such a plethora of different entities to avoid laws limiting funding donations has yet to be answered.

Timothy Moultrie expressed surprise that any one who called themselves a libertarian would be involved in such a deceitful practice. Those long time Libertarians who have known Howie Rich and Ed Crane for many years were not surprised. In any event, Moultrie said he will continue his battle for the children of South Carolina as he entered the voting booth today. The people, he believes, need to take back their government and ensure that it does their will and does not continue to reduce them to the status of peons, peasants, and serfs.

As Americans brace themselves for the aftermath of today's election the issues raised in South Carolina, issues that clash so resoundingly with the original vision of American government as the tool of the people, will be much on our minds.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Stealing Elections Texas Style: Mrs. Blankenship goes out to vote.

Mrs. Marilyn B. Blankenship noticed what a lovely day it was as she went into vote early at the Renner-Frankford Branch Dallas Public Library at 6400 Frankford Rd. two blocks from her home in Collin County, Texas near Dallas. Mr. Arthur Edwards, the widower of her oldest friend from the 4th grade, accompanied her on the short ride to the Library; he waited in the car for her to finish her brief civic obligation. A native Texan, Mrs. Blankenship appreciated the mild autumn weather. Growing up in Texas, the daughter of two strong parents, had left its mark on her. She had learned self discipline from both of them, along with a strong sense of honesty.

Exercising her civic obligations was something Mrs. Blankenship took very seriously as a Texan and as an American.

After finishing college she had begun teaching school in 1952. Over her career as an educator she had watched the school system of Texas change in troubling ways. Children, she believed, need not just information, they need to acquire inquiring minds so they can think for themselves.

Mrs. Blankenship went into the familiar interior of the Library and picked up her ballot. A long time Republican this time she was determined to vote for change. Taking her ballot she went into the voting booth and inserted her card into the Diebold Voting Machine. Diebold is a local company in Texas; one of their facilities was just down the street.

When she voted for the first couple of candidates the 'X” showed up just where she wanted it. This time she had decided not to vote for any Republicans, even those she had supported in the past. She came to the list of judges. Judges are a partisan position in Texas. Mrs. Blankenship looked at her notes. She had decided that this time her vote would go to the Libertarian candidates and one or two Democrats of whom she approved. One by one she tried to vote for her choice. Each time the machine, moved the vote to the Republican candidate. Mrs. Blankenship exclaimed in exasperation, leaving the booth to complain to one of the several ladies who was working at the polling place. One of the workers came and watched as again the machines changed her votes.

Shaking with distress Mrs. Blankenship left the Library. She could not be sure if her votes had been counted as she wanted. Now she did not notice the nice weather. Mr. Edwards could see she was upset and asked her what had happened; he advised her to call the F. B. I.

Mrs. Blankenship believes in standing up for the right thing. During the Monica Lewinsky scandal she had gone to the Library and copied down the names and addresses of 100 individuals in Congress who she hoped would vote to censure President Clinton for his deceitful behavior in lying to the American people. A trickle of responses has come back to her, mostly advising her to limit her complaints to her own representatives.

Stealing an election – and her own vote - struck her as far more serious than the misbehavior of Bill Clinton.

Mrs. Blankenship's concerns over the moral character and the intentions of those in power had been growing over the decades. She had watched as the quality of education offered to the children she taught had become truncated, the focus moving away from the core of essential literacy and understanding of civics and history to a candy coated curriculum that neither prepared the students for real life or established a life time love of learning. It was not a partisan issue, it went much deeper. The advent of Governor Bush has only accelerated the deterioration of the education offered to the children of Texas. Where would it end? Didn't they want the children to know anything? The question lingered in her mind, worrying her.

And now she was filled with a sense of violation. Did they expect that she would just walk out of the polling place and do nothing? Mrs. Blankenship opened the door of her home, sat down at her desk and began to write letters.

October 24, 2006

I am contacting in writing the Election Bureau of Collin County to continue the paper trail I have created concerning the voting irregularity I experienced on October 23, at 11:45 a. m. at Precinct 74 located at the Renner-Frankford Library in Dallas, Collin County. I filed a complaint by telephone on the day of the irregularity with Jan Lay in McKinney. She suggested I write to my federal representatives who passed the law requiring voting machines to be used which I have done. I have also talked by telephone with the Secretary of State’s office and sent a summary letter along with a copy of my letter to the elected federal persons representing me to Austin.

You will note that I am enclosing two articles of national concern that the Diebold voting machine which I used is not secure. Why are officials dragging their feet on making the computers create a paper trail so that voters like me can be sure that their votes were not stolen by a machine? There is proof that problems in Texas have occurred where votes were added that were never cast and other examples where votes have been credited to candidates not chosen.

The machine I was using recorded a vote for a Republican three times instead of the Libertarian I chose in three cases for individuals.listed in succession on the screen. I was so shocked I spoke out-loud that the machine was not recording my votes, but giving my votes to a candidate I did not choose. I had to make three corrections in successive order to correct these three errors. I was even more shocked when the summary appeared. I saw that Perry, Dewhurst and Combs were being credited with votes I DID NOT CAST FOR ANY OF THEM! I am positive who I chose for those offices and Chris Bell was being denied the vote I cast. These three errors in the summary were corrected by me before the ballot was submitted and my card withdrawn. I will forever believe that the machine I was using was rigged to switch votes to Republicans.

Collin County is known to be a Republican strong-hold , but I do not vote for a party. I vote for each individual candidate. If there is no opposition candidate and I do not want the lone candidate, I do not cast a vote at all in that category. I choose the candidates I support as an independent person who uses my vote as the Constitution intended it to be used. I have been voting regularly since 1952 when I cast my first votes in the presidential election.

Please take seriously my complaint about voting on a rigged Diebold machine and please do not pass this off as a glitch in the machine I was using. I do not think a glitch caused what I experienced in early voting October 23, 2006. I consider the errors as fraud on the part of someone who tampered with the computer in that machine.

Marilyn B. Blankenship

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Get Smart: Texas is determined to get Phil Smart, Libertarian candidate for 22nd State Senate

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You Blog because you are crying to be heard; You are here because what is happening today makes you cry.

Phil Smart is a Certified Public Accountant who runs his own business in a small town in Texas in the Dallas area. He runs his business out of his home, which is out in the country, allowing him the freedom he wants to indulge in his hobbies. In his hours away from the computer and pencil and paper Phil likes to restore old cars, his pride and joy is a Capri from the 60s but he also is proud of owning one of only seven Edsels still in existence.

Phil Smart loves animals and has for years rescued abandoned dogs and cats, feeding them himself and finding loving homes for them. Several years ago his home was ransacked and two of his cats who were declawed escaped. They were killed. Mr. Smart found their bodies when he returned home. Smart's home had been invaded by the police while he was incarcerated on yet another traffic violation. The authorities found nothing illegal but left the Smart home a shambles. They began characterizing Philip Smart as a terrorist.

Smart graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas with degrees in business and psychology, going on to get another degree that allowed him to practice his profession. Phil is a quiet kind of guy except when he attends debates and forums. He started getting interested in politics several years ago and then two years ago decided to run for County Commissioner as a Libertarian.

He was arrested three weeks before that election and not released until after the vote was in. This election season Phil is running for State Senate, again as a Libertarian. The timing for his arrest is similar this time, a strange and unaccountable coincidence.

His interest in politics caused Phil to ask questions for those in charge of the local government. Speaking up is evidently something that upsets the local establishment. Along with asking questions at forums Phil posts signs and bumper stickers declaring his love for freedom and Libertarianism. This tendency to ask questions of persons in positions of authority is, according to his girl friend, Donna Watson, the reason Philip Smart has been arrested six times in the last two years. Donna is a financial counselor at an Oncology facility in a town nearby.

On the first occasion Philip was upset that his bank would not give him cash for his CD. All the rest of the times the cause of his trips to the local jail have been traffic issues. On one of these occasions a female officer stopped him on his motorcycle, demanding his license. She then searched his motorcycle over his objections, also neglecting to note this on her report. But the motorcycle bears her fingerprints.

On this last occasion Philip was stopped for bringing his car to a stop six inches over the line at the stop sign. The arresting officer, a Sargent Rogers, then insisted on searching Smart's car, finding the daytimer that holds his medications. Since he had failed to carry these in the bottles that had the prescriptions included he was arrested. The next day Donna offered to bring down the prescriptions. She was told not to bother. Ms. Watson was told by Lisa Moon, the officer staffing the desk, that it is illegal to carry prescription drugs unless they are in bottles that have the prescribing physician, the pharmacy, and the name of the patient.

Philip Smart has been incarcerated in the Ellis County Correctional Facility located at Wayne McCollum Detention Center, 300 South Jackson, Waxahachie, Texas 75165. He has no blanket and so at nights he is cold. You can write to him care of the above facility in Cell Block S – C.

While you would think that given his good character and the nature of the charges he would be placed with other nonviolent offenders. But instead he is incarcerated with hardened criminals. On at least one of these occasions he was placed in solitary confinement, lights on 24 hours a day for two weeks.

Philip Smart is suffering from the lack of the prescription drugs he needs to survive. His mother, Jesse Smart works at Sak's; His father, Dr. Don Smart, is an Ophthalmologist. No one knows what to tell Phil's 16 year old son, who is asking what happened to his Dad.

Phil Smart lives on a cul de sac street. Last year his beloved dog, Puppy, a Shelty-mix, turned up dead on his lawn, the victim of a hit and run. The neighbors were shocked and believe that Puppy's death was caused by Smart's political activism, the activism that so upsets the powers that be in Ellis County.

Far from being a threat to society Phil attends a tiny local church when he does not attend his girl friend's church. Certainly Phil did not expect that running for office as a Libertarian would prove to be so hazardous to his health. But Donna received a call from a consulting psychiatrist who was allowed to view Philip Smart remotely from his office in Galveston, Texas. The doctor was worried. Philip Smart's physical condition had deteriorating rapidly and he was shaky and disoriented from cold and the lack of his prescriptions. Those concerns evidently forced those in charge to ensure that neglecting to carry his prescription bottles with him did not become a death sentence. His mother received a call on October 25th , demanding she bring down a list of those prescriptions. Today, by indirect report, we have learned that Mr. Smart's condition has improved.

Evidently Texas has different rules than other places in America – or, as some have come to fear, Texas and Homeland Security may be about to declare Mr. Philip Smart, a quiet CPA, a threat to National Security. If that is the case and with Habeas Corpus extinguished Philip Smart may be up for an extended vacation in one of the Homeland Prison Facilities in Texas that are even less attractive that the Ellis County Jail.

In America today there are evidently no rules we recognize. Having canceled the 4th Amendment this government appears ready to view all of us as terrorists. Make sure you carry your prescription bottles with you at all times - and begin working to restore the 4th Amendment. We have never needed it more.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Military Commissions Act: Mary Stromberg, a grandmother from Alabama, asks a question of educators

On October 18th Mary Stromberg, a grandmother from Auburn, Alabama wrote a letter to every educator in her state asking this question. Here is her letter:

Dear Sir,

I have been pondering the signing of the Military Commissions Act all
yesterday and today......I can't imagine what we will tell our school
children about the change in the constitution. I am involved in church
committees that will deal with high school and college aged students and
we will be asked how this new law affects us as a country and as

It occurs to me that whatever wording we choose should be consistent
and clear. This will affect high school and college courses, church
groups, and civic groups who are attempting to pass on high minded civic

Please advise,

Mary Stromberg

Many Americans like Mary are wondering what kind of world we will leave for our children;

if any trace of America's proud tradition of individual rights will remain as a heritage to future generations. These are questions that need asking.

They call it the Military Commissions Act; some whisper that it really should be The Torture Act. It was proposed by George W. Bush to provide a retroactive defense for war crimes carried out against POWs, innocent civilians, and American citizens held without ever having been charged with a crime. What they call it does not matter. The names should not confuse us.

It is wrong;this is an attempt to circumvent the means by which our Constitution is amended. All of those involved know that to be the case. Congress passed two acts, one in the House and one in the Senate, that have rescinded the 4th Amendment of the Bill of Rights. This must not stand because no legitimate American government can rescind the inherent rights of Americans and this is what has been attempted.

America has been a beacon of hope for the entire world since its founding, not because of the economic opportunities found here but because America began with a vision that resonates with what each of us knows is true. We are each born free no matter what others might say or do.

America came into existence as an act of faith in God, through actions undertaken in the face of seeming impossibilities. A small population challenged the most powerful force on Earth and won. Our Founders believed in, lived and died for the idea that each of us is free, not through government but before any government existed, free in the sight of God no matter what their condition might be through the acts of man.

America was founded as the point of light and faith for a humanity who hungered for individual freedom. The Revolution was fought by individuals, men who went to war, women who lived in the line of fire, providing the supplies that kept soldiers from starvation. They left us a legacy for freedom but they could not make us free. We were already free in the eyes of God.

Those who fought the Revolution understood that freedom was something they must affirm for themselves. Those now dead left us that legacy, the memory that we are free but the affirmation of that freedom remains ours to keep. We must do for ourselves.

Government did not make us free. It cannot rescind our freedoms as affirmed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

No one ever said that it was safe to be free or that we might not have to work and fight to maintain that freedom.

Congress voted; George Bush signed a paper. We are still free but government has shown it does not respect the rights given to us by God.

This is not the first time this has happened. During the Civil War the Congress passed a nearly identical law. It was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. But in the interrum people were incarcerated, tortured, and the fabric of trust on which America relies was shredded beyond recognition. That this precedent is well understood by those in power we know. They chose to sign it on the anniversary of the Act that rescinded the rights of Americans during the Civil War. They know. We have no reason to assume that they will stop there.

Mary Stromberg asked what our children be told about their rights as Americans in the schools we pay for that are controlled by the government that has acted as if it could cancel our rights? We know that already. They will be told this has happened before so there is precedent. They will not be told it was found to be unconstitutional. Americans no longer control the schools for which we all pay.

Honest questions deserve honest answers. This morning Mary received one response from an educator in Alabama. This educator is a former instructor on the Constitution who understood. The woman, now in administration, admitted that teachers will be forced to comply with the mandates that are provided by the powers that be. Those powers have already spoken. We know what to expect.

Thomas Jefferson drew from many sources as he considered the substance of individual freedom. One of those sources was the Iroquois Nation. For the Iroquois war was a serious matter. Lives were at risk and could be lost. Therefore those who made the final decision for war were those most invested in the cost that could be exacted. Those were mothers, mothers who would send sons off to fight and to perhaps die.

When you understand the truth of our inherent rights and the founding of America there is nothing you can say to a child or adult that justifies the actions of those in Congress who voted for this act against all Americans. There is no justification, no excuse, no possible explanation. We became a nation by overlooking the impossibility of winning the Revolution. While this Congress is sitting we should not fear terror from afar; the greatest threat to America today is walking the halls of power in Washington D. C.

One grandmother from Alabama has spoken out and taken action. Soon she will be joined by many others, also angry and concerned. It is time for us to come together. This is not a political questions but one that cuts to the heart of all that it means to be an American.

Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Independent. That no longer matters. It will take all of us to enact change.

Mary Stromberg asked a question and has heard one answer. That is a beginning. Ask your own educators what they will say to our children. They need to know we will not be silent. Their answers will tell us what must come next.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Republican Sex scandals old and new: The NeoCons Gaslight America. Why America and journalism needs standards

(The Portraits of Dorian NeoCons)

The Problem: Mark Foley, Republican Congressman from Florida, is a queer who lusts after underage boys. He is outed publicly just weeks before a national election that the NeoCons are hoping to steal.

Strategy: Attack! Muddy the water as needed. Begin disinformation campaign.

Personnel to be activated: Matt Drudge, John Fund, Tony Perkins, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter take point. They will activate the third tier political operatives positioned around the country. Many of these have no idea that their powerful friends are lying to them.

The Line: At the beginning: “Pity poor MARK Foley because he is a victim, having been sexually molested by a Catholic priest as a child. Mark publicly admits to drinking problems and so is a victim himself who is courageously admitting his failings. Bash Bill Clinton, the only Democrat who seems to have had sex with a woman although not his wife. The victims asked for it and enjoyed it.

These 'lines' are now being inserted into the discourse by Matt Drudge and others downstream in their chain of political operatives.

Mark Foley now admits he is gay; so is Drudge. On his radio show Drudge hosted his old friend John Fund.

2nd and 3rd Tier Operatives: The next level takes the Line and feeds it to the mainstream.

As an additional tactic Fox News changed Mark Foley's political affiliation from Republican to Democrat. Then Mark Foley becomes Tom Foley, deceased Democrat. This is now working its way through the layers of media who rarely research anything and the 2nd and 3rd Tiers who take all pronouncements as Gospel.

Two examples of the Tier Operatives are Steve Frank, (, phone number: 805-795-1271) in California who said on his Republican E-Zine a couple of days ago , titled, “Sexual Hypocrisy of Democrats “ To quote: “Jesse Jackson, Mel Reynolds, Tom Foley, Lyndon Johnson, I could go on--the Democrats are filled with current and former leaders, in and out of elective office that abused their position for sex.”

The attempt to confuse one Foley with another is not accidental.

The Passionate American in Oklahoma, outed the identity of the underage victim, taking up one of the points of The Line regurgitated by Drudge.

In each instance we see marching orders, part of the larger disinformation campaign, carried out. Finding out who gives them their Line would be instructive.

The outcome of such disinformation links out to millions. “[Dobson] touched on the uproar over former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, D-Florida, who resigned Friday in a scandal over electronic messages he sent to former teenage male congressional pages, this through AP. ”

Rove and his Political Operatives use a protocol for reformating 'the truth.'

NeoCons have been using these weapons since Clinton entered the White House and Project Arkansas began, funded by Scaife. Those operatives are doing the same work today, John Fund, Matt Drudge among them. Fund and Drudge may well have thought up the name switch, Tom for Mark Foley. That was how they came up with the attack on Sidney Blumenthal. It was another Blumenthal charged with abuse that gave them the idea. What they do politically they also apply to their personal lives. I have had personal experience with their methods.


JOHN FUND: She had a one-night stand from Craig, she had nothing else.


JOHN FUND: You told Craig.

MORGAN: What do you mean, I mean.

MORGAN: That Craig would confirm that I had a relationship with you. Is that odd? (SHORT PAUSE) I'm not the one who picked up the phone in the hotel room John, that was you.

JOHN FUND: I accept responsibility for that. (SHORT PAUSE) Look Morgan you've done your damage and (PAUSE) and go ahead and do what you want to me. I've got a long list of things to anticipate and I am fully expecting that some of it may happen but I think it is very short sighted and very spiteful of you if you do it.

MORGAN: Look, I just told you I wasn't going to do anything. How many times do I have to..

JOHN FUND: You also told me you would never tell on .. (THERE'S A BEEP IN TAPE) and you managed to. (full Transcript)

In 2001 the tape of John Fund scheming to evade the consequences of his personal behavior was aired on the internet. NeoCon ranks hold many nasty individuals like John Fund and Mark Foley. Using power to evade the consequences of behavior viewed as bizarre and deviant is standard for NeoCons, of which Fund is a prominent member. That is not accidental. Deviants are easy to control. They make the NSA wire tapping unnecessary. NeoCons welcome deviants and cover for them as a simple cost of doing business.

The failure to accept the deviant nature of those who call themselves NeoCons is destroying the America we love. Both Democrats and Republicans have failed to effectively respond for two distinct reasons. Some who could act have guilty secrets known to the NeoCons. Others refuse to believe anyone in such positions of respect could protect deviant behavior. Both are problems that need to be solved.

The use of lies, the institutional misuse of power, and the evasive tactics we associate with the NeoCons are intentional. They are taught to those within their ranks, justified by a mythology that uses Evangelical rhetoric and Straussian rationalizations.

Very few decent people will consciously cooperate with this kind of strategy, so useful to Rove and Company. Therefore NeoCon political operatives, working as pundits, journalists, and in other capacities, are likely to be ethically challenged and very possibly deviant themselves.

Foley is just the latest example. There is a long list of NeoCon deviants in power using deceit and manipulation. For the most part onlookers see only parts of the larger strategy and therefore fail to understand how each component works to misdirect and change public perception.

I learned about how they operate by experiencing it, beginning in 1992. Fund, someone I thought was an old friend, began calling me with bizarre sexual stories about Bill Clinton. These included a Black love child, a very strange tattoo, and other malfeasance on the part of both Clintons. I believed it and spread these rumors to fellow members of the National Federation of Republican Women in Santa Barbara. Later I saw the way these were being used.

In 1999 I was living in Santa Barbara recovering from a heart attack and caring for my oldest son who had suffered two major brain injuries, the result first of a motorcycle accident in September of 1997 and then a suicide attempt in March of 1998.

Around March or April of that year I was told that my daughter Morgan was dating John Fund. I knew she had moved to New York. I did not believe the rumor but called Fund to ask. John had told my kids to call him him “Uncle John.” I got John on the phone and repeated the rumor to him. He told me the rumor was entirely untrue but that as Uncle John he was feeding her cat for her while she was out of town. I believed him.

In September of the same year, 1999, I received a call from Morgan. We had not talked in two years. She said she wanted to repair our relationship. I told her that depended on her telling me the truth about what had happened previously. John Fund came up. During the conversation Morgan told me she had aborted John's child. I refused to believe her. We were arguing about that when she received another call and put me on hold. I was on hold for a long time and hung up and called her back several times. That is the BEEPING on the transcript. Morgan did not answer but eventually she called me back and said, “Don't say anything, just listen,” I did.

The Weasel Search Tape is ugly. Ignore the personal implications and look at what Fund is doing. Fund characterizes their relationship as a one-night stand, something that is obviously not true given the duration of the relationship even in 1999.. But Fund knew how to use lies, his political connections and the media to alter public perception. Over the next several years we were subject to ongoing assaults on our character and on every other part of our lives.

The term for this kind of manipulation carried out personally is Gas Lighting. In Effect, the NeoCons are Gas Lighting America.

In 2001 – 2002 Fund battered my daughter, nearly killing her. I was a witness over the phone; I saw her injuries. Silencing us became a political issue using political contacts and the media. Over the next several years period Fund persuaded Eric Alterman to write his attack on Morgan and myself. That appeared in The Nation.Mark Crispin Miller responded. Two other stories that might have told the truth were killed. The reporters received better paid jobs at the Wall Street Journal.

Fund used his influence to get Wendy McElroy, a woman who had made her living defending those guilty of various offenses, including domestic violence, a job at Fox as a columnist. She wrote an article supporting Fund in July of 2003.

Fund used a woman law professor from San Diego with whom he was having an affair to send out a letter, broadcast to journalists. The woman's name is Gail Hariot. Hariot put up a site for Fund as well while they were having an affair. The affair is documented by a letter Fund received on Morgan's computer while she and Fund were still living together.

The Society of Professional Journalists has a list of tenets, outlining the ethical obligations of journalists.

The events above would not have taken place if the tenets for professional journalism had been followed. The same lack of accuracy enables the NeoCons with Foley. None of the journalists involved except Miller followed these protocols outlined for professionals as specified by the Society of Professional Journalists

    - Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
    - Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.

To evade such standards NeoCons brought a constellation of nonprofits into existence, including the Federalist Society and the National Journalism Center. Their think tanks work hand and hand with these. In law, in journalism, and in politics, the NeoCons have worked to build their own institutions that allow them to change the rules of operation that were respected and adhered to by most professionals. They are treated as colleagues even though they distort professional standards. That is a mistake.

The National Journalism Center is the child of M Stanton Evans of Evans and Novak. John Fund was placed at the Wall Street Journal by Robert Novak in 1983, Novak is now generally understood to be a NeoCon himself.

The NJC is a project of the Young Americans Foundation and celebrates its stars, for instance Anne Coulter , David Horowitz and John Fund. On their links page you will find the Society of Professional Journalists. Evidently the standards for ethics are not enforced in journalism today. Each of these prominent graduates engages in the same pattern of unethical behavior.

Understanding the strategy used in Project Arkansas, an operation I first encountered through the lies Fund planted with me, and now with the Mark Foley event, which parallels that used against us, is the first step to enabling change. These are weapons of war, not to be confused with professional associations; their graduates must carefully watched since NeoCon political operatives come, in large part from their ranks.

The next means for countering the assaults on justice and our freedom is objective journalism. On the Internet an alternative media is coalescing and following the standards abandoned by the mainstream media. In the 60s underground papers rose to confront an establishment who had eliminated the voice of dissent and truth. Bloggers have become the first line of defense for the war on truth.

We need to recognize and support those who are doing that essential work.

Hart Williams is a writer who lives in Oregon. He noticed that there were a lot of initiatives making it on the ballot that were having disastrous effects on his local area. He started investigating, uncovering a story that is now being picked up by PBS, the Washington Post , the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Christian Science Monitor. But because he was blogging he was barely credited and his work took a long time to come to public attention. He is still working on the same story. Hart follows the tenets of professional journalism, something more journalists from all mediums must practice.

The Hart Williams story is slowly wakening conventional journalists who are building an org chart of astroturf organizations started by Howie Rich, New York millionaire and Edward H. Crane, III, one of the founders of Cato Institute. The tactics used to avoid notice by Howie and those now being outed depend on deceit, misdirection and money that cannot cannot be traced. They have refused to answer questions about funds, channeling these through 501(C)4s, which do not have to report the source of money. State governments and local activists feel as if was had been declared on them. The Howie techniques are similar to those used by the NeoCons on the National level. Are they using the same rule book written by the NeoCons? This well may be the case.

Journalists such as Hart Williams have become the front line for truth that counters disinformation campaigns like that of Howie Rich for his stealth initiatives and those of Matt Drudge and John Fund on behalf of NeoCons.

Mark Foley, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Matt Drudge, John Fund, Howie Rich, Edward H. Crane,III, Laura Ingraham, Tony Perkins, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, George W. Bush, Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, do they all connect, and if so, how?

This is an investigation too large for any one journalist. It demands cooperation. Such cooperation could provide what we need most, a right - left working coalition.

The truth is coming through as courageous journalists begin to dig. That truth may keep us free despite the NeoCons. Personally, I think it is about time. We need to put away personal agendas and face the enemy together. Read Hart's blog and start connecting the dots.