Friday, December 21, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR * YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS


It is a spiritual law that in the midst of love, everything that is unlike love, must come up for healing. In other words, all the ugliness we are seeing right now in the world, is erupting in order for it to be purged, healed and done away with.

Despite catastrophic events such as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, civil unrest in nuclear Pakistan and the myriad crimes of the Bush regime — good things are coming, and are actually here. We have to open our eyes and see that in the midst of turmoil, actual change for the good is taking place.

In a diverse society, the only moral tenet we need to practice is the Golden Rule. What if God is simply love and prayer is the invisible transfer of love to another? By taking leaps of faith, I've somehow been able to transform the deadening illusion of "reality" by changing my viewpoint. (Reality is actually beauty, goodness, love, truth, harmony.) We can physically change our experience of the world by changing our view. The key to this is to simply stop rehearsing turbulent thoughts, and to be grateful for the good in our lives. The past two years have been brutal, full of tears and prayers for our dying troops, orphaned Iraqi children, Katrina and Darfur victims. I've succumbed to hopelessness at times. But I've been experimenting with new thought again. For example, whenever I have a fear-based or depressed thought I stop in my tracks and instantly reverse the thought — see the other side. See the beauty in the present moment, relax and realize the sky is not falling. It helps to find humor anywhere you can find it. There is abundant good in the world and it becomes visible the more you choose to see it.

Enigma4Ever at Watergate Summer has an amazing post about Benazir Butto's assassination. What an epic tragedy. Everyone must read Arianna Huffington's post about this amazing woman, head of the debating team at Oxford while Arianna was head of the Cambridge union. Butto managed to be the first woman leader in the Muslim world, while raising three children.

From Arianna at HuffPo:
The world is debating the political fallout from Benazir Bhutto's assassination -- from fear of chaos in Pakistan to the impact of her death in Iowa. There is already no shortage of analysis about the national security implications of her death, but I want to write about the young woman I met in England before she became a player on the world stage.

She was at Oxford. I was at Cambridge. And by a strange coincidence I became president of the Cambridge Union and she became president of the Oxford Union. The anomaly of two foreign women heading the two unions meant that we ended up debating each other around England on topics ranging from British politics to broad generalities about the impact of technological advance on mankind.

When I checked my blackberry this morning at 5:28 am LA time there was an e-mail from our news editor Katherine Zaleski: "Benazir Bhutto killed by bombing." As we found out afterwards she was killed by an assassin's bullet. But just as the news was filled with the details of her death, my mind was filled with how full of life she had been every time I had seen her, including the last time in 1998 when she came to my home in Los Angeles for a dinner (which Harry Shearer, also there, wrote about). She was in exile, her husband in jail, and she was separated from her children. But still, there was an incredible life force about her, a sense that no matter what life brought her way, whether a tough debating argument, or exile, or her father's death by hanging, or the deaths of her two brothers -- she could deal with it, and she would prevail. Until the rally in Rawalpindi.

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Watched SICKO again last night. This should be required watching in all schools and universities and for all Americans. France, England, Canada and all civilized nations take care of their citizens. They have a "we" mentality not a greed-based "I" mentality. They make sure everyone is taken care of no matter what income level, class, race, gender or pre-existing condition. (More on Sicko below.)


May all the gifts hidden inside you make their way into the world and may all your dreams come true.

Christmas was very peaceful at our house — except for the kids who woke us up at 5:30 AM screaming, "Hurry, hurry, the living room is full of presents... come on wake up!" A new puppy (a rescue) literally arrived on our doorstep. This is an adorable 3 month old half Shepherd, half Chihauhau. Wait, this isn't possible. Can you imagine a Chihauhau mating with a German Shepherd? Impossible in either combination. We're having the DNA checked. In any case, now our youngest son has the dog he always wanted. Our other dog Chazzie, an imperial Shih-tzu, is thoroughy appalled by the intruder.

We had family and friends over for roast turkey and mounds of chocolate truffles. Our children still retain the magic of faith because we talk to them about the spiritual power they have inside — how the invisible healing forces of love, hope and charity are more powerful than anything in the material world. We try to teach them that no matter what happens in the outside world, no external circumstance must be allowed to upset their internal harmony, or control their life. We can't let ourselves be blown about by the wind. And of course there are always a few mysterious gifts under the tree. No one knows where these gifts come from, but the tags say "North Pole." We allowed them to open one gift every half hour until 7 AM when we joined them. I took pictures of the front yard, where we threw huge amounts of wrapping paper out the door.
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MORE ON "SICKO": Stress is the number one cause of all illness; in fact, a genetic scientist once told me that stress and worry are the root cause of more disease than any other factor. It seems these civilized, democratic nations make sure their citizens are stress-free in regards to health care, thereby increasing the productivity and good will of the workforce. In these countries the will of the people is more important than the will of the government. They live longer than we do: they are less sick, less obese and less drug-addicted.

What is amazing is that if you are in an accident or sick, you get full pay, time to heal, preventative care - and help with maternity leave. These are truly democratic nations, in which the PEOPLE RUN THE COUNTRY. The government serves the people. THEY ARE NOT RULED BY A PRIVILEGED ELITE. They are patriotic, productive and happy. THeir children are never denied coverage for life-threatening illnesses as our children in America are. What a difference.

In our country, the managed health care system is rewarded for denying claims for life-saving procedures such as MRIs, brain scans, bone-marrow and liver transplants. In other words, in a country of so-called "family values" we throw away our children, deny them life-sustaining coverage and we have a much higher infant mortality rate.

Some CEOs of these managed health care firms like Kaiser and Cigna are speaking out. They can't live with themselves for denying coverage to people and then finding out they actually "killed" people. They are rewarded with huge pay raises and bonuses for denying coverage to desperate people who actually have health insurance but don't qualify for the procedures they need! One child died because Kaiser wouldn't cover her for antibiotics at a different hospital.

I'm beginning to believe that we are very naive when it comes to Washington, and the hidden secrets of what really makes America run. There are entrenched interests that can only be defeated by very smart, savvy politics. These are not normal people — these neocons who have designed the destruction of America and our constitution. Maybe someone who can walk the razor's edge is really the right choice.

I think there are some things that would chill us to the bone if we really knew the truth, and only a small circle of former White House residents knows these truths.

There is something that we do not know. There is some information told to the president when he takes office, and I believe Hilary, as a former wife, knows this.

There is also a reason Balad Air base is so incredibly large, like a small town with restaurants and golf course, movie theaters and over 20,000 troops who have never met an Iraqi.

We might be in Iraq forever.
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HAPPY HOLIDAYS, MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY HANNUKAH, SPLENDID NEW YEAR! Never give up hope. Now is the time to turn it all around.


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Dear Editor:

I am 8 years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says "If you see it in The Sun it's so."
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon

Virginia,

Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.

No Santa Claus! Thank God, he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

The New York Sun
September 21, 1897

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The following is by Regina Brett The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no ide a what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21 Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over-prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life, not suicide.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. BELIEVE IN MIRACLES.
34 God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats th e alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion. (Just cuz it's in the Bible, doesn't mean it's crazy. The Bible has immense, transformational wisdom, but needs a spiritual key. The fundamentalists have misinterpreted it. Just cuz atheism has become the new trend, that doesn't mean God is dead. - Lydia)
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywh ere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46 No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.
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This was our original Christmas photo taken on a trip to Belize last summer. We visited the Mayan ruins and went zip-lining and cave-tubing through the jungle. Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2007

HOPE GARDENS * UNION RESCUE MISSION



Orphans photo www.ameliakunhardt.com

There was an ice storm and massive power outage last weekend, but it's over and our servers are back up. Sorry for being offline for so long.

On Saturday I took my kids and their friends for the second time to volunteer at Hope Gardens, a residence for homeless women and children. It is the partner of the rougher Union Rescue Mission downtown. Hope Gardens is is nestled in the hills, surrounded by trees, flowers and babbling brooks. Bel Air Presbyterian Church has adopted it as a partner, and my kids, who are in middle school, help out and earn community service points. I met two senior citizen women who had been homeless and found themselves living now in paradise. They were so beautiful, maybe in their late 70's or 80's -- but so full of gratitude. You could tell they had suffered major life losses. Maybe the loss of a spouse, a child or job? To be a woman alone with no possibility of making a living, and no family -- is such a tragedy. Women are less employable because an old woman is simply a throw-away. Our society, with its obsessive emphasis on youth, has no use for elderly women or men for that matter. What a world we live in. I pray for the homeless souls on the streets of cities covered in ice and snow this winter. How are people surviving with these power outages?



It is of vital importance that we support comprehensive programs like the Union Rescue Mission’s women and children program in Sylmar. These programs are saving lives....”

–Jan Perry, 9th District Los Angeles Councilwoman

"We won't have to worry about our kids--what they have to see on the street."
-Cheryl, a homeless mother of two

On over 70-acres of land next to the National Forest, Hope Gardens Family Center is a supportive housing
facility where 225 abandoned women and children will get away from the streets of Skid Row.

Families will learn to succeed financially, emotionally, physically, and academically in our 12-36 month program.

Monday, December 10, 2007

OPRAH and OBAMA TOGETHER AGAINST THE WAR!

OUTRAGE! Kucinich, top-rated Democrat, excluded from Des Moines Register debate

DES MOINES, IA – The highest polling Democratic Presidential candidate among the Party’s progressive, grassroots, activist base, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, has been excluded from the Des Moines Register-sponsored Presidential debate here on Thursday because his Iowa field director operates from a home office rather than a rented storefront! PLEASE READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT www.dennis4president.com and call the Des Moines Register to complain: 800-

The dismissive reference was to Kucinich Iowa Field Director and State Coordinator Marcos Rubinstein, who coordinates campaign activities from his home office in Dubuque, bolstered by a dozen-or-so other senior campaign staff who have traveled the state over the past several months.



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Marty Kaplan on HuffPo: Oprah Is to Iraq as Cronkite Was to Vietnam
As I watched Oprah introduce Senator Obama in Iowa, the two-by-four that hit me on the head wasn't: Oprah is for Obama. It was: Oprah is against the war. Maybe, just maybe, Oprah's audience will take from this the message that their own opposition to the war isn't a betrayal of the troops, as the Republicans claim.

From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan
COLUMBIA, SC -- Oprah Winfrey took the stage at William Bryce Football Stadium to deafening cheers. Over 29,000 people filled the risers, some having driven from as far as Savannah, GA, to see her appear with Barack Obama.

At what was the third campaign stop Oprah has made with Obama this weekend, she praised him as an "evolved leader," pinning her desire to support Obama on his ability to inspire people.

"For the first time, I'm stepping out of my pew because I've been inspired. I've been inspired to believe that a new vision is possible for America. Dr King dreamed the dream. But we don't have to just dream the dream anymore. We get to vote that dream into reality," she told the crowd.

*****
SCOOTER LIBBY: GUILTY AS CHARGED!

Open Thread....
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For the holidays, 20% of all purchases on this website go directly to children's charities: Hope Gardens residence for homeless women and children; Feed the Children; Bel Air Presbyterian Church Missions and Imagine L.A.

Purchase photos and receive free gift DVDs of Lydia's original comedy "Relationshop," "Venus Conspiracy" and her funniest moments in TV and film. For a $50 contribution to the Basham and Cornell Radio show, receive a CD of all our top-notch interviews of the presidential candidates, Senators, Congressmen, Valerie Plame, John Dean, Pat Buchanan, Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, etc.

Also you can purchase Kaufman Art here. Proceeds go to "GIVE KIDS A BREAK." Steve Kaufman worked with Andy Warhol and is the preeminent pop artist in America. He just did all the celebrities at the MGM Grand for their hall of fame, and is licensed for the Frank Sinatra estate and the Marilyn Monroe estate. Check out his art at sakart.com



Tuesday, December 04, 2007

GOOD NEWS! IRAN IS NO NUCLEAR THREAT

Dennis4President.com
Here's a photo of Dennis Kucinich and yours truly. Photo by Jane Shirek at http://www.JaneShirek.net


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On Thursday December 6, 2007, Elizabeth Kucinich – wife of Democratic Presidential contender, Dennis Kucinich - was our guest on the Basham and Cornell Radio Show which airs daily at 8 am Pacific Time on AM 1230 KLAV in Las Vegas and is simulcast on the web. You can hear this and other brilliant interviews in the audio archives on our website at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John Edwards, John Dean, Valerie Plame, Dahr Jamail, Elizabeth Edwards, Mike Gravel; Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Mikey Weinstein, Paul Krugman; Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. If you missed any of these shows, check out the archives on our website.

This was Elizabeth’s second appearance on the show - however, her first - by herself.

Elizabeth attended the University of Kent at Canterbury in the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Religious Studies and Theology and a Master's degree in International Conflict Analysis.

Her thesis for her Master's was on "Conflict Resolution in World Politics".

In 1996 she went to Agra, India to volunteer at one of Mother Teresa's homes for India's poorest children. Upon earning her bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Kent, she spent 16 months in a rural Tanzanian village and worked as an advocate for regional development.

After leaving Tanzania, she volunteered with a British Red Cross refugee unit; earned a certificate in Peace Studies from Coventry University; and got a job as a fund-raiser for a seafarer's charity in London.

Her volunteer work often brought her to the House of Lords. At that time she heard financial analyst Stephen Zarlenga speak about monetary reform. She was impressed and soon was hired to become Zarlenga's assistant at the Chicago-based American Monetary Institute. That work took her and Zarlenga to Dennis Kucinich's office. She married Dennis Kucinich, in 2005 in Congressman Kucinich's hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

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The NIE, our very best national intelligence, has finally released a top secret report that states unequivocally that Iran stopped all nuclear weapons aspirations over three years ago. But Bush, ever the optimist, wants to "keep worrying" that Iran might someday think about having the knowledge to one day think about making a nuclear weapon. What are we, the Thought Police? Bush refuses to accept the truth -- and instead opts to live in fear.

Bush lies and says he only got this NIE report last week. Despite this definitive evidence, which might have been leaked by some higher ups in the military, Bush says: "My opinion hasn't changed."

Now should we really trust a man who has been wrong on every single thing he ever said?

Reuters
U.S. Report Contradicts Bush on Iran
By Matt Spetalnick

WASHINGTON (Dec. 3) - A new U.S. intelligence report says Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and it remains on hold, contradicting the Bush administration's earlier assertion that Tehran was intent on developing a bomb.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

A WORLD OF BEAUTY

Life is so magnificent. There is so much beauty everywhere, which to me is evidence of God. Lately I've been starstruck by trees and nature. Here is a photo of an eel my son took while diving in Belize this summer. We all saw it up close. Then we petted nurse sharks. Yesterday, December 1, was the anniversary of my brother Paul's passing. God Bless you Paul, I love you.





I'm not gay, but I think Kristin Kreuk, who plays Clark Kent's star-crossed love Lana Lang on my son's favorite show "Smallville" is among the most beautiful women in television or movies. As far as physical beauty goes, I was also a big fan of Olivia Hussey when she played Juliet in Franco Zefferelli's magnificent production of Romeo and Juliet. Other beauties I love: Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie. I think what is so beautiful about these women is their humility and dignity.



The greatest beauty of all time though, is Mother Theresa. She took a vow of poverty and had absolutely no possessions except the clothes she wore. And yet she was the most generous and famous woman in the world.

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See we are open to all views, even conservative! Last Friday - November 30, 2007 - Pat Buchanan, who blasts Bush in his new book, was our guest on the Basham and Cornell Radio Show at 8 am Pacific Time on AM 1230 KLAV in Las Vegas, and simulcast worldwide on the web.






Doug Basham & Lydia Cornell Your daily alternative to “conservative” talk radio. Weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) On AM 1230 KLAV The Talk of LAS VEGAS!

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. All shows are simulcast worldwide on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, John Dean, Valerie Plame, Dahr Jamail, Elizabeth Edwards, ELizabeth Kucinich, Mike Gravel; Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Mikey Weinstein, Paul Krugman; Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. If you missed any of these shows, check out the archives on our website.

Pat is considered to be America’s leading traditional conservative. He was a senior adviser to three American presidents, ran twice for the Republican presidential nomination, in 1992 and 1996, and was the Reform Party’s candidate in 2000. The author of eight other books, including the bestsellers Right from the Beginning; A Republic, Not an Empire; The Death of the West; Where the Right Went Wrong; and State of Emergency, he is a syndicated columnist and a founding member of three of America’s foremost public affairs shows, NBC’s The McLaughlin Group and CNN’s The Capitol Gang and Crossfire.

America is coming apart at the seams. Forces foreign and domestic seek an end to U.S. sovereignty and independence. Before us looms the prospect of an America breaking up along the lines of race, ethnicity, class and culture. In Day of Reckoning, Pat reveals the true existential crisis of the nation and shows how President Bush’s post-9/11 conversion to an ideology of “democratism” led us to the precipice of strategic disaster abroad and savage division at home.

Ideology, writes Buchanan, is a Golden Calf, a false god, a secular religion that seeks vainly, like Marxism, to create a paradise on earth. To save America the first imperative is to remove from power the ideologues of both parties who have nearly killed our country. In his final chapter, Buchanan lays out ideas to prevent the end of America. He calls for a bottom-up review of all of America’s Cold War commitments, a ten-point program to secure America’s borders, ideas to halt the erosion of our national sovereignty and restore our manufacturing preeminence and economic independence, and a formula for finding the way to a cold peace in the culture wars.

Buchanan offers a radical but necessary program, for neither party is addressing the real crisis of America -- whether we survive as one nation and people, or disintegrate into what Theodore Roosevelt called a “tangle of squabbling nationalities” and not a nation at all.

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The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern). All shows are simulcast on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at www.BashamAndCornell.com

The Basham and Cornell Show
2301 E. Sunset Road #8022 | Las Vegas, NV. 89119
Web Site: http://www.BashamAndCornell.com

Email Address: show@BashamAndCornell.com

Monday, November 19, 2007

GIVE THANKS TO SCOTT McCELLAN: BUSH KNEW

On thanksgiving we were thankful to Scott McClellan, former White House press secretary, for revealing that Bush knew more than we were led to believe he knew ... in his new book "HE KNEW".

Jay Rosen of HuffPo says:
McClellan's specialty was not lying, or the traditional art of spin but what I have called "strategic non-communication." Lying we understand, spin we have to come to grasp. Non-communication we still do not appreciate; its purpose is to make executive power less legible. Only a stooge figure would be willing to suffer the very public humiliations that such a policy requires of the man in the briefing room.

McClellan was often described as "robotic" because he would mindlessly repeat some empty formula he had concocted in anticipation of reporters' questions. The point here was to underline how pointless it was even to ask questions of the Bush White House. And reporters got that point, though they missed the larger picture I am describing. Many times they wondered what they were doing there.

I will tell you: they were a constraint being made more absent with every exchange they had with the thick-headed and graceless McClellan. In this sense they were part of the Terror Presidency. The agenda was not to get the White House message out; it was not to explain the president's policies. At both of these (common sense) tasks McClellan was simply awful, his performance a non-starter. No, he was part of something larger and far more disturbing; and it would have been disturbing even to loyal Republicans if they had bothered to understand it.

The goal, I think, was to make the American presidency more opaque, so that no one could see in. No self-respecting man would take that job aware of what he was going to be asked to do. McClellan was unaware. He remains so. But he's not the only one.



"Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face? If we could only get round in front." — G.K. Chesterton

Regarding prayer: When the tsunami hit, then the Breslan massacre, then Katrina -- not to mention the Iraq war -- I spent weeks praying for the children and innocent people lost. I felt so powerless, just praying. But then the thought came that there has actually been some healing as a result of all of our prayers. I live far away from these tragedies and these poor souls — and couldn't go to them, or abandon my children and join the Red Cross. But I could give, send money and pray. And in my heart I had the sure feeling that someone had been comforted and given hope. Maybe that is what God is – the silent, invisible transfer of love to another."

HOMELESS IN AMERICA
The other day I was walking the dog behind Trader Joe’s and I passed a shady alcove bordering the alley, in the center of which was a large tree. I peeked into the bushes, and saw a grocery bag. I thought this looked like a private place for a homeless person to rest, but just at that moment I glimpsed a pair of shoes, then bruised legs in camouflage pants standing behind the tree, inside the tree, as if they were hoping not to be seen, trying to blend in with the shrubs. I could hear the owner of this pair of legs trying desperately not to breathe. Was it a homeless person, or just someone who was trying to go to the bathroom in the bushes?

As I passed by, I shouted out: “God Bless you.” I kept walking, and then circled back. Realizing that I was holding in my hand two sticks of string cheese, I went back to the bush and offered it to the person hiding in the trees. “Would you like a piece of cheese? It’s wrapped in plastic, it has its own wrapper.” A woman’s voice rang out, “No, no thank you.” Then, the voice said: “You are so sweet.” I could see she was wearing glasses and had dark hair.

I walked away and said, “You are sweet too.”
Then I started crying… again. The same way I cried for our troops dying needlessly in Iraq, or during the Breslan school massacre in Chechnya, or on Sunday when our minister at church talked to us about the homeless people and how desperately sad they are. It has been dawning on me more and more how truly tragic it is to be homeless — and especially to be a homeless child. It is hard to even say this, but there are over one million homeless children in America.
Can you imagine what it’s like to have no place to rest, no privacy for going to the bathroom — no safe, clean place to put one’s head, no soft pillow that is not infested with cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes or rats? Can you imagine what it’s like to have no place to dress, to bathe, to do homework — or to bring friends home for ice cream? No place to sit and look your mother in the eyes while eating dinner or playing Monopoly. No dinner? God bless these poor lost little souls.

Los Angeles Times staff writer Anne-Marie O’Connor reports: Experts say that there are more homeless children in America than at any time since the Great Depression. About 40% of America's homeless are now women and their children - the fastest growing homeless group.

THE TAPESTRY: NEW ORLEANS

Imagine if the human pageant were just a tapestry — and God sees the complete picture on the finished side — but from our vantage point beneath, we only see dangling threads that keep disappearing as they are woven in and out. As people pass on, certain threads disappear because they are part of a grand stitch that completes a beautiful landscape on the other side. We can’t see the whole picture. We don't know the reason for death and suffering; we don't know what's on the other side, but I'm sure there are many mansions and colors — and the weave creates a majestic tapestry.
In this modern age, I still can’t comprehend why we — the most powerful and technologically advanced nation on the planet — could not deliver drinking water to our own suffering people in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina. We couldn’t deliver water to babies and children who were dying of dehydration, heat stroke, hunger and toxic disease. We couldn’t do it on Monday, the day the storm subsided. And on Tuesday, the day the press arrived and showed people stranded on rooftops, President Bush was at an elegant golf resort in Arizona, holding a press conference. A13-year-old girl was found raped to death, her throat slit, inside a ladies room in the Superdome. There was no air conditioning, the sewer system had stopped, the toilets were overflowing, and a man jumped to his death inside the stadium from a second floor tier. What I find strange was that President Bush flew back in the dead of night to intervene in the Terry Schiavo matter, a private family matter that didn’t require government intervention — yet he did not feel the same urgency as he watched the devastating aftermath of Katrina unfold on his television screen. He couldn’t pull himself away from a party to help the dying souls in one of the worst natural disasters in United States history. Later he said, “ “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” He said this, even though a month earlier, he had been vigorously warned and shown footage of the devastating consequences of just such a breach.

I find it so strange that the president of the United States did not respond with any urgency to this tragedy of monumental proportions. He did not order troops or supplies to be sent in right away. Helicopter food drops could have been made immediately. Police and National Guard could have been parachuted in to restore order and protect the innocent. For four days people suffered without water. I don’t understand how we managed to drop thousands of anti-Sadaam pamphlets and parcels of food into Iraq in a matter of hours, but not to our own people in New Orleans. Someone said, “The president doesn’t have a heart for people’s suffering.”

The news footage of looting in New Orleans after Katrina gave certain right-wing pundits fuel for their bigotry. But couldn't they see that the economic system that created such a wide chasm between the "haves and the have-nots” actually created Les Miserables? A culture that constantly advertises salvation through Nintendo, i-Pods and Plasma TVs creates an insatiable craving for stuff. Yes looting is bad, but looting pension funds is worse. Looting votes through gerrymandering is worse. And to think the minimum wage is only $5.75 an hour, while Congress votes lifetime pensions for themselves into the six figures. Reaganomics and the trickle down theory did not work because of the greed of the corporate executives, who continue to take such a large slice of the pie they have to eliminate the actual workers. Ford and GM outsourced thousands of jobs to make their corporate owners wealthier. And churches are not tithing enough to support the needy. A society must take care of the “least among us.” Then we will see amazing things begin to happen. And I'm not talking about a welfare state, by the way.
Helping the poor is Christ’s most vital commandment. He is unequivocal about this. The more you give, the more you are doing the will of God according to Christ’s law to “take care of the least among you” thereby increasing the goodwill of the citizens. And it would actually make our country wealthier, because everyone would prosper. It’s a spiritual principle. It does not make for a stable economy or safe society to have such a large gap between the rich and poor. Tithing is a law of the universe that pays for itself triple-fold. If we are going to mix church and state, at least let it help people, not take away from them and give tax breaks only to the rich.

It’s Sunday and I’m standing in the kitchen peeling garlic for my son’s favorite pot roast. I turn on the radio to NPR and begin chopping onions, celery and carrots. I add the bay leaf to the broth and set it to simmer. As I listen to a broadcast describing the bodies floating in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, I become limp with heartache. I see the faces of these poor souls and the loved ones left behind whose grief is so deep, it seems they will never smile again. They are wading in death’s water or standing on its shore or climbing out of its rooftops. Arms outstretched, their faces frozen in horror and helplessness. They are so tired, trying to save the dead. But the ones drifting by do not fight the tide — for they are peacefully asleep.

The tears burn my eyes. My knees buckle, actually buckle and I slump over the sink. I am crying and praying. It’s a sudden jolt, like an electric shock and even though my eyes are over flowing with tears, I see something. During the Breslan school massacre, the genocide in the Sudan, the tsunami in Indonesia and all the hurricanes, wars and catastrophes — I have been praying without ceasing for weeks at a time. I have cried out to God in my house, silently in my car, until crying and praying have become one. And out of nowhere the thought comes to me that maybe my prayers have not been in vain. The thought comes that there has actually been some degree of healing as a result of all our prayers. I live far away from these dead poor souls — and cannot go to them, can’t abandon my children and join the Red Cross. But I can give. And in my heart I get the peaceful feeling that someone has been comforted, given hope, awakened. Maybe that is what God is – the silent, invisible transfer of love to another.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

DENNIS & ELIZABETH KUCINICH ON OUR SHOW


Today: HOMEWALK Los Angeles. Walk for the homeless at Exposition Park.


There is actually a lot of good news about wonderful people all over the world. The networks won't cover it, but we need it. Check out these GOOD NEWS stories (below) and more from Good News Network.org ... but first, on Friday November 16, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis Kucinich (for the 3rd time) and his goddess wife Elizabeth on our show BASHAM AND CORNELL PROGRESSIVE TALK



The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. All shows are simulcast on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk If you've missed our show, check out the audio archives. We have interviewed John Edwards, John Dean, Valerie Plame, Dahr Jamail, Elizabeth Edwards, Mike Gravel; Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors Greg Palast, Paul Krugman, Greg Anrig, Mikey Weinstein, Paul Krugman; Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. If you missed any of these shows, check out the archives on our website.

Check out these GOOD NEWS stories (below) and more from Good News Network.org

'Anonymous Friend' Gives $100 Million to Town
Written by geri
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
In a beautiful story, an unnamed 'friend' gives $100 million to the struggling old industrial city of Erie, Pennsylvania, to be divided among its 46 charities including the food bank, a women's center, and a group for the blind, and its universities. "What a godsend for some of these agencies," says a resident. (CNN) Thanks for the great link, Han!

***
Volunteers Build 200 Homes in African Slum in One Week
Written by geri
Monday, 12 November 2007
"1,400 Irish workers brought hope to hopelessly misnamed Freedom Park slum. The initiative, now in its fifth year, was organized by Niall Mellon, a Irish millionaire who bought a holiday home near Cape Town but could not accept the squalor in the townships nearby."

***
Teacher "Angel" Donates Kidney to Former Student
Monday, 12 November 2007
"Samantha now can dream about a career, shopping and boys — about life beyond the boundaries of a dialysis machine, thanks to her art teacher who gave the girl one of her kidneys." She was one in a long list of angels Samantha's mother credits with helping her baby of two survive into young adulthood. (Suburban Journals)

***

In Africa, a Papercraft Path Out of Poverty
Written by geri
Wednesday, 14 November 2007
Poor Ugandan women who were living on the streets begging for food, have now turned their lives around after joining BeadForLife, a small Colorado-based nonprofit group dedicated to eliminating poverty through handcrafts. (CS Monitor) Submitted by Steve Ghent!

***

Friday, November 09, 2007

VETERANS DAY * A NEW MISSION

Met Daniel Ellsberg and Seymour Hersh last night after they spoke at the 24th anniversary of the Office of the Americas celebration. They were both amazing. Hersh revealed where he got the Abu Grahib photos. Also ran into the wonderful Paul Haggis (writer/director and Oscar winner of "Crash" and "Million Dollar Baby." Haggis is a tireless peace activist. His wife Deborah is too. More on this evening later.

Today on BASHAM AND CORNELL PROGRESSIVE TALK our guest is Marine Combat Vet John Conley, the amazing Marine who sent me his Purple Heart after the death threats my family received from Ann Coulter's fans...

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) on KLAV 1230 AM Radio live in Las Vegas. All shows are simulcast on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at BASHAM AND CORNELL.COM We have interviewed Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, Valerie Plame, Dahr Jamail, John Dean, Elizabeth Edwards, Mike Gravel; Pulitzer Prize winner Charlie Savage, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Senator Byron Dorgan; bestselling authors like Greg Palast, Mikey Weinstein, Paul Krugman; Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert and Paul Waldman are regular guests. Upcoming: Obama and Hilary. If you missed any of these shows, check out the archives on our website.



In the Screen Actor's Guild Building, there used to be a huge painting of Norma Rae holding the "UNION" sign. When I stepped off the elevator and saw it for the first time, it gave me goosebumps. It reminded me of the common cause we all share, not just as actors but as American citizens and workers.


I met Elizabeth Kucinich last night at a fundraiser for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and after hearing the speakers, it struck me anew that Democrats are desperately in need of hope and inspiration. We are all too mired in negativity, fear and hopelessness.

Elizabeth Kucinich, whom we're having on our show next week, has a positive, exciting new message, that inspired me to remember our true mission. We need to realize we are on the precipice of exciting, catastrophic change. We are on the edge of the NEW ENLIGHTENMENT. Instead of being defeated and pessimistic, we need to see that it's always darkest before the dawn. This is the perfect time to turn it all around. But we can't do it with incessant anger and fear. That's why Obama's message rang so true in the beginning. He was untainted. The naysayers' force of media worship and it's hideous underbelly hadn't gotten to him yet. So far, he seems to have stayed above the fray, but hasn't fulfilled expectations of the Great Colorblind Hope.

The naysayers in the media are trying to splinter us, and it may look like we've lost our balance — but now is the perfect time to see the silver lining in this whole shameful political spectacle.

BEST EXPLANATION OF THE WRITER'S STRIKE:

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Liberals and Democrats are passionate about ending this war and all future wars. Republicans have more cynicism about America's place in the world. Liberals are probably more pure and unjaded. We actually believed the American Dream that we were the peacekeepers of the planet - the good guys. As it turns out, we are the only civilized nation to have ever dropped a nuclear bomb on a civilian population. And now we have a delusional, fear-based president who is instilling terror in us by provoking nuclear conflict with Iran. It's like the Harry Truman quote on my sidebar:

But I no longer want to focus on the bad news. Everyone else is doing that. We need to be constructive and look at the good being created all around us. There is a silver lining to every single "bad" thing happening.

New industry will be created out of the oil and gas crisis. New forms of energy, new ways to save the planet, new jobs created, newfound simplicity and love for our fellow man.

Even the Writers Strike may turn out to be the beginning of a new paradigm — where antiquated corporations no longer have a stranglehold on the true owners of creative content. Who needs corporate bosses any way?

Think about it. See a new way. I will post more later.

**********

Sunday, November 04, 2007

VALERIE PLAME LIVE WEDNESDAY

Quote of the Day: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead (US anthropologist, 1901 - 1978)

Today November 7, 2007, VALERIE PLAME is our guest on the Basham and Cornell Radio Show at 8 am Pacific Time on AM 1230 KLAV in Las Vegas (simulcast worldwide on the web.) And we’ll have her for the entire hour.



Valerie Elise Plame Wilson, known as Valerie Plame, is a former United States CIA officer who worked as a classified covert intelligence agent for over twenty years and the wife of 2-time past guest on the show, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson.

On 14 July 2003 Robert Novak identified "Wilson's wife" publicly as "an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction" named "Valerie Plame" in his syndicated column in The Washington Post. In that column Novak was responding to an "op-ed" entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa," written by former Ambassador Wilson and published in the New York Times the previous week, on July 6, 2003.

In his op-ed, former Ambassador Wilson states that the George W. Bush administration exaggerated unreliable claims that Iraq intended to purchase uranium yellowcake to support the administration's arguments that Iraq was proliferating weapons of mass destruction so as to justify its preemptive war in Iraq.

Novak's public disclosure of Mrs. Wilson's then-still-classified covert CIA identity as "Valerie Plame" led to a CIA leak grand jury investigation, resulting in the indictment and successful prosecution of Lewis Libby in United States v. Libby for perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to federal investigators, in the Wilsons' civil lawsuit (Plame v. Cheney) against current and former government officials (dismissed on July 19, 2007 in U.S. District Court in a decision appealed the next day), and in continuing related controversy.

The controversy related to the leak of Plame's identity and subsequent legal and political action is sometimes referred to as the Plame Affair. Her autobiography, “Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House”, was published on October 22, 2007.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern). All shows are simulcast on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at www.BashamAndCornell.com
_______________________________________________________________________________________
PENCILS DOWN Screen Actors Guild National Board of Directors Issues Statement in Support of Writers Guild of America...(more below)

Going on strike is a very sad thing, but the producers won't budge on the hated DVD issue and the new media downloads. I have something important to post later today on this. As members of AFTRA and SAG, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters of the Writers Guild. Let's pray for a swift resolution.

***************
The National Board of Directors of Screen Actors Guild unanimously approved a statement of support for the Writers Guild of America (WGA) at its plenary meeting in Los Angeles Oct. 27.

Saturday’s resolution, which is included below in full, sounds a resounding note of support for the WGA from the highest elected body of Screen Actors Guild.

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR THE WGA

WHEREAS the advent of digital production and distribution of content through the Internet, cell phones, and other new media platforms has created a moment of historical urgency for the Guilds that represent creative talent;

WHEREAS our employers sought to change the compensation structures fought for by generations of actors, writers and directors by proposing to pay residuals on a profit-only basis across all media;

WHEREAS our employers have thus far been unwilling to counteroffer the reasonable WGA payment proposal for Internet streaming and instead call such use “promotional” even when whole pictures are shown and new revenue is generated;

WHEREAS our employers persist in equating content downloaded over the Internet with the sale of DVDs despite the complete absence of manufacturing costs and the relatively de minimis cost of digital distribution;

WHEREAS our employers have thus far been unwilling to recognize that the wages, working conditions and residuals provided in our basic contracts should govern work made for any platform, new or old;

WHEREAS our employers have had sufficient experience in new media to make confident, public revenue projections to their shareholders, but nevertheless insist that they must study new media for another three years before they can bargain a residuals formula;

WHEREAS any solution devised for payment of residuals in new media must address the problems of monitoring and enforcement;

WHEREAS our employers have been unwilling to improve the unjust home video residuals formula despite record home video revenues they have reaped since convincing the Guilds over 20 years ago to help grown this market by accepting a discounted residual;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the National Board of Directors of Screen Actors Guild that:

1. The current position of the AMPTP and its members referred to above are unreasonable and would set a dangerous precedent for all creative talent.

2. The Guild supports the WGA and any other Guild or union that seeks to resist the employer positions referred to above and fight for fair compensation and protections for creative talent in the motion picture, television, and new media industries.

Adopted unanimously this 27th day of October 2007 by the National Board of Directors of Screen Actors Guild.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

TONIGHT HBO's TO DIE IN JERUSALEM * VALERIE PLAME ON OUR SHOW



YOU MUST SEE THIS FILM TONIGHT WATCH HBO's "To Die in Jerusalem" This is the most incredible, amazing story. The Palestinian mother whose daughter blew herself up in a suicide bombing — who killed another 18-year-old Israeli girl who looked like she could have been her sister -- states her case showing the anguish of what Palestinians go through. The Jewish girl's mother beseeches the Palestinian mother to admit what her daughter did was wrong. I had tears in my eyes watching these two women come face to face. It was riveting. Please go out and rent this DVD or watch it on demand again. Amazing footage of Bethlehem on the West Bank, and the Palestinian encampments.

THis film speaks to everyone who wants to stop all fighting and do everything in our power to achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.

To Die In Jerusalem, Premiering TONIGHT, Thursday, November 1 at 9 p.m.—only on HBO!

Two daughters lost in conflict. Two mothers searching for answers. Two nations divided by the land they share. HBO Documentary Films presents the story of two young casualties of terrorism, and of older wounds that have yet to heal: To Die in Jerusalem

To Die in Jerusalem recounts the heart-wrenching story of two teenaged girls – one a 17-year-old Israeli student named Rachel Levy, the other an 18-year-old Palestinian student/suicide bomber named Ayat al-Akhras – who died together in a Jerusalem market in March 2002. The horrific incident ignited international outrage because of the age and similarities of the two girls, and set in motion a quest on the part of Rachel’s mother, Abigail Levy, to arrange a one-on-one meeting with her counterpart, Um Samir. The result was an underscoring of the tension and resentments that persist among Israelis and Palestinians – and undermine the desire on both sides to find common ground and forge lasting peace.

********


Please listen to our interview this morning with Dahr Jamail, author of “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq.” You can listen in the archives, as he was just on live. Go to: BASHAM & CORNELL RADIO The show airs weekday mornings at 8 a.m. Pacific Time on AM 1230 KLAV in Las Vegas and simulcast on the web.

He is an American hero, he has shown courage way beyond, even unrealistic expectations, he literally risked his life… in the service of the truth. He is an independent journalist who has covered the Middle East for more than four years. He has reported extensively from inside Iraq, and has also reported from Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.

Dahr Jamail, and he writes for the Inter Press Service, Asia Times, and many other outlets. His reports have been published in the Nation, the Sunday Herald, the Guardian, Foreign Policy in Focus, and the Independent, among other publications.




The term New World Order (NWO) has been used by numerous politicians for many years, and is a generic term used to refer to a worldwide conspiracy being created by an extremely powerful and influential group of individuals (at least at the highest levels) which include many of the world's wealthiest people, top political leaders, and corporate elite, as well as members of the so-called whose goal is to create a One World Government, stripped of nationalistic and regional boundaries, that is totally obedient to their agenda.

The corporate alliance of the NWO is dominated by international bankers, oil companies and pharmaceutical cartels, as well as other major multinational corporations. The decision making nerve centers of this effort are in London, Basel Switzerland, and Brussels (NATO headquarters).

The intention of the New World Order is to gain complete control over every person and to eventually reduce the world's population by nearly two-thirds. This would give the ultra elite of the world the opportunity to create the "perfect society" in their minds.

Many see obvious signs within the political realm that point to this becoming a reality, sooner than we think. The bulging Mideast wars, the rapid collapse of the U.S economy, and the reduction of many of the rights and freedoms previously enjoyed in America.

In 1992, Dr John Coleman published Conspirators Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300. With laudable scholarship and meticulous research, Dr Coleman identifies the players and carefully details the New World Order agenda of worldwide domination and control. On page 161 of the Conspirators Hierarchy, Dr Coleman accurately summarizes the intent and purpose of the Committee of 300 as follows:
"A One World Government and one-unit monetary system, under permanent non-elected hereditary oligarchists who self-select from among their numbers in the form of a feudal system as it was in the Middle Ages.

In this One World entity, population will be limited by restrictions on the number of children per family, wars, famines, until 1 billion people who are useful to the ruling class, in areas which will be strictly and clearly defined, remain as the total world population.

There will be no middle class, only the extremely rich and the extremely poor. All laws will be similar under a legal system of world courts practicing the same code of laws, backed up by a One World Government police force and a One World unified military force to enforce laws in all former countries where no national boundaries shall exist.

The system will be on the basis of a welfare state; those who are obedient and subservient to the One World Government will be rewarded with the means to live; those who are rebellious will simply be starved to death or be declared outlaws, thus a target for anyone who wishes to kill them. Privately owned firearms or weapons of any kind will be prohibited."

The NWO conspirators manifest their agenda through the skillful manipulation of human emotions, especially fear. In the past centuries, they have repeatedly utilized a plan that NWO researcher and author David Icke has characterized in his latest book, The Biggest Secret, as Problem, Reaction, and Solution.

According to Icke, NWO strategists create the Problem by funding,assembling, and training an "opposition" group to stimulate turmoil in an established political power (sovereign country, region, continent, etc.) that they wish to impinge upon and thus create opposing factions in a conflict that the NWO themselves maneuvered into existence. In recent decades, so called opposition groups are usually identified in the media as 'freedom fighters' or "liberators."

Meanwhile the leader of the established political power where the war is being orchestrated is demonized and,referred to as "another Hitler" such as they did with Saddam Hussein.

The war is drawn to the world stage by the controlled media outlets with a barrage of photos and video tape reports of bloody deaths suffered by innocent civilians.

The leaders of all major industrial countries like the United States, England, Germany, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, etc. are active participants in this conspiracy.

In this century, the degree of control exerted by the NWO has advanced to the point that only certain hand-picked individuals, who have been specifically chosen, are even eligible to become the Prime Minister or President of countries like England, Germany, or The United States.

It is said that many of the major wars, economic upheavals and political dissension over the past several years was created and instituted by this elitist group. These various tragedies brought profit to those of the corporate powers involved, the greater gain will be the unveiling of the New World Order.

Is there a New World Order? Was the installation of George W Bush into the presidency, the unwarranted attack on Iraq and soon Iran, the coming economic collapse, and the taking of Americans rights and privacy a part of it?

Perhaps the actions of George W Bush and those who appear to enable him, coupled with famous quotes of the past from those in positions to know can answer that very question.

"Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." - Woodrow Wilson


"[The New World Order] cannot happen without U.S. participation, as we are the most
significant single component. Yes, there will be a New World Order, and it will force the United
States to change it's perceptions." -- Henry Kissenger, World Affairs Council Press Conference,
Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel , April 19th 1994

Sunday, October 28, 2007

CELEBRATE PEACE * RUMSFELD FEARS ARREST

THIS STORY IS INCREDIBLE!

Rumsfeld flees France fearing arrest
Sat, 10/27/2007 - 08:45

Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of "ordering and authorizing" torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the US military's detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.

US embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush's "war on terror" for six years.

Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.

According to activists in France, who greeted Rumsfeld shouting "murderer" and "war criminal" at the breakfast meeting venue, US embassy officials remained tight-lipped about the former defense secretary's whereabouts citing "security reasons".

Anti-torture protesters in France believe that the defense secretary fled over the open border to Germany, where a war crimes case against Rumsfeld was dismissed by a federal court. But activists point out that under the Schengen agreement that ended border checkpoints across a large part of the European Union, French law enforcement agents are allowed to cross the border into Germany in pursuit of a fleeing fugitive.

"Rumsfeld must be feeling how Saddam Hussein felt when US forces were hunting him down," activist Tanguy Richard said. "He may never end up being hanged like his old friend, but he must learn that in the civilized world, war crime doesn't pay."

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) along with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), and the French League for Human Rights (LDH) filed the complaint on Thursday after learning that Rumsfeld was scheduled to visit Paris.

Arianna at HuffPo says: "We have a mainstream on the right that supports torture, supports the behavior of Blackwater thugs, supports the gutting of our civil liberties. So, it can no longer be denied: the right wing lunatics are running the Republican asylum.

** Please go to StopIranWar.com and sign the petition for General Wesley Clark.



Time for a break from politics. Last Sunday night, my family attended a lavish Barmitzvah at the Fairmont Hotel for the 13-year-old Iranian (Persian Jewish) friend of my son's. There were two ballrooms: one for the kids and one for the adults. We entered the "appetizer room" which had a bar with a carving table of roast lamb, grilled chops, and a long table of ten different salads, hummus, Middle Eastern empanadas and a Sushi bar. It was a feast. That was just the beginning.

Then the ballroom was opened and at least 500 people sat down to an amazing celebration of a boy entering manhood. They danced around him, threw him up into the air — seated in a chair — and showed slides of his entire childhood set to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake music. Then they showed slides of a family trip to Jerusalem and the Western Wall. there were video crews, photographers, and Espresso machines. This party was more impressive than any wedding I've been to. This photo is just a stock photo, not the actual Barmitzvah we went to.

Another buffet feast was served, but first, fruit, tea and figs. There wree huge crystal vases filled with golden raspberries, cucumbers, apples, grapes, olives, figs, and apricots. Then the main course of sea bass, Osso bucco, and roast beef.

Sometimes I wish we were Jewish. There is such a tight-knit culture and so much celebration of life. The kids turn out so confident after being honored this way.

I am a big fan of the Food Network and the Travel Channel. Just watched Giada in Paris last night as she climbed the Arc du Triomphe and ate amazing Parisian dishes. Paris is one of my favorite cities; I remember climbing the steep spiral steps inside Nortre Dame with my sister years ago, up to the roof full of Gargoyles. We sat there looking over the city, mesmerized. We had the best time in Paris. I wrote a novel which takes place there in 1938.

Also watched Rachel Ray on Martha's Vineyard eating fresh lobster and crusted snapper and organic gazpacho.

Johnny Garlic's Cedar Plank Salmon
Show: Guys Big Bite
Episode: Swim the Plank

2 tablespoons oil
2 jalapenos, cut into rings
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1 cup apricot preserves
4 (4 by 4-inch) pieces parchment paper
4 cedar plank pieces, food service quality
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, skinned and boned
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (3-inch) fresh rosemary sprigs
1 lemon, zested
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small saute pan over medium heat, heat oil. When hot, add jalapenos and saute until caramelized. Add garlic, and before it begins to brown, deglaze with white wine. Next add mustard and apricot preserves and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes and let completely cool.

Place parchment paper on planks, add salmon, lightly salt and pepper, place a rosemary sprig on each fillet, and liberally apply cooled apricot mixture.

Place cedar plank on gas burner. When plank has begun to smoke, place into preheated oven.

Cook salmon until medium-rare; remove from oven and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes until serving. Garnish with lemon zest.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

END WAR IN IRAQ! STOP IRAN WAR and IMPEACH BUSH and CHENEY




VITAL ISSUES:
* StopIranWar.com (read General Wesley Clark's plea below)
* Put Impeachment of Bush and Cheney back on the table by notifying your Senators and Congressmen.
* Right-wing talk radio is so extreme and hateful, it is positively destructive to democracy. Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Michael Savage in particular should all be taken off the air for spreading hatred of their fellow Americans. Glen Beck said, "Some people who hate America are losing their homes in the fires." He meant, of course, Malibu residents who represent "lliberal Hollywood types." I called KABC Talk Radio this morning to protest Glen Beck's hateful statements. This kind of ideology is what is causing the hatred and division in America.
*******

Message from General Wesley Clark:

Please join the Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans at VoteVets.org and me -- sign the petition to President Bush today. Urge him to work with our allies and use every diplomatic, political, and economic option at our disposal to deal with Iran. War is not the answer. StopIranWar.com

Yesterday, the AP reported that the Bush-Cheney Administration has instituted "sweeping new sanctions against Iran Thursday -- the harshest since the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979 -- charging anew that Tehran supports terrorism in the Middle East, exports missiles and is engaging in a nuclear build up."

There are 3 choices in dealing with Iran. You can engage them. You can isolate them. Or you can attack them. These sanctions could be part of any of the 3 strategies. The sanctions themselves can only be evaluated within the context of the overall policy. Currently, the administration has chosen a path of isolation with the threat of an attack.

This is the wrong strategy. The Bush-Cheney Administration's failure to use diplomacy in conjunction with these sanctions is unlikely to change Iran's behavior.

Please join VoteVets.org and me. Send a message to President Bush to use diplomacy to deal with Iran. War is not the answer.

http://StopIranWar.com

The AP reported that Condoleezza Rice says Washington remains committed to "a diplomatic solution" and open to negotiations with Iran. Yet the Bush Administration refuses to speak with Iran unless the Iranians pre-emptively surrender their interests. This is not likely to happen, and the Administration will be left with two options: a nuclear Iran or war.

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) stated yesterday:

"Unilateral sanctions rarely, ever work...I just don't think the unilateral approach and giving war speeches helps the situation. It will just drive the Iranians closer together...It escalates the danger of a military confrontation."

Diplomacy is about carrots and sticks. Unfortunately, the Administration seems to believe it only has sticks. They have continued their saber-rattling, and without diplomacy, the announced sanctions only serve to escalate the tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Tell President Bush it is time to begin direct dialogue without conditions. War with Iran is not the answer.

Send a letter to President Bush. If we want to avoid a military showdown with Iran, we must engage them diplomatically.
http://StopIranWar.com

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,
Wes Clark
VoteVets.org Action Fund

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Kucinich questions Bush's stability, weighs new impeachment effort

At a presidential campaign appearance last Sunday in California, Cleveland Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich said he's considering introducing a new impeachment resolution against President Bush in light of statements the president has made that Kucinich interprets as a prelude to war with Iran.

"This is not a funny thing I am about to say, and I want you to just be with me on it," Kucinich told an audience in Sierra Madre. "It's not funny at all. There's questions about his stability. Because, if he begins to talk openly about World War Three, I don't think anyone in their right mind would want to talk about that. Because we're talking about a nuclear war."

Kucinich's comments were recorded on this video, posted on YouTube. His impeachment remarks are in its final half.

Kucinich introduced a measure to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney in April. That effort has 21 cosponsors, but has not gone anywhere because House Democratic leaders insist impeachment is "off the table." Kucinich suggested impeaching Cheney first to avoid a Cheney presidency if Bush leaves office.

"I actually am going to be talking to the Speaker about this," Kucinich told the California audience. "I tried to reach her and missed connections. I don't think that Congress can any longer say that impeachment is off the table."

Kucinich has also discussed forcing a House floor vote on the Cheney impeachment measure through the use of a privileged resolution. Posted by Sabrina Eaton October 24, 2007 11:51AM

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CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: LITTLE MOUNTAIN TOWN FIGHTS FOR ITS LIFE

Beautiful Rim of the World High School


It's a good thing Blackwater didn't build their massive artillery storage camp in San Diego near Portrero, on 827 acres. Imagine the explosions and KABOOMS that would have gone off during these wildfires.

And since the President was so concerned about "socialized medicine" that he vetoed SCHIP expansion, can we assume that his trip tomorrow is to deliver a lecture about the evils of socialized firefighting? (Greg Saunders at HuffPo)




RUNNING SPRINGS residents flee while firefighters try to slow fiery onslaught. By Ryan Lillis - rlillis@sacbee.com

In the darkness, you feel surrounded. The village's 700 residents fled, but their best escape route – a winding two-lane road – was suddenly blocked by the fire, forcing them onto even more treacherous mountain passes, said Rick Mull, a longtime resident. Firefighters were also forced to retreat, fearing the flames would surround them.

Trees explode, giving off jarring echoes. The heat bears down from every direction, the moon is shrouded in an orange glow. With each gust of wind, another house can be devoured.

This is the battle to save Running Springs. It began Monday morning with 30 local firefighters trying to save their community, and continued through Tuesday night.

Running Springs is a member community of Rim of the World, one of the most beautiful places in America — an inhabited stretch of the San Bernardino Mountains and wholly contained in the San Bernardino National Forest.

With all of the indiscriminate fury of a hurricane, a wild brushfire descended on this isolated mountain village before dawn Monday, forcing the evacuation of every resident.

By nightfall, the fire had made its way to the outskirts of Running Springs, threatening dozens of Alpine-style homes and rustic cabins. With just 75 firefighters on the scene by then, crews had to keep to the roads and were told not to venture into the forest to save homes.

That didn't stop a group of volunteer firefighters from the Wilmar Volunteer Fire Department in Sonoma County who arrived to help the locals Monday afternoon and fought the blaze into the night.

Seeing that a two-story red home with a wrap-around porch was about to be engulfed, they raced a fire hose down a steep driveway. Next to the house the shell of a cabin burned out of control. The wind began to gain strength as the clock rolled past midnight, and spot fires sprouted from the ground, roaring like jet engines. The crew stood guard on the house until being ordered out.

"If we can save the house," Capt. Chris Jacobsen said, "it's worth the risk."

In the end, the house, along with several others on the street, was saved.

But in a briefing of fire officials the next morning, Smith tried to convince his weary staff that "no house is worth jeopardizing your safety."



Seriously I need a technical answer: Why aren't we using more aerial resources? If there is a legitimate answer, such as 'the winds prevent aircraft from large water drops' or some other reason — please let us know by leaving a comment here. And WHY does CANADA have Super Scoopers but we don't? And why so late? "On the fourth day of the fires, helping out that big DC-10 in the aerial attacks is a Martin Mars aircraft from Canada. It's the world's largest scooping water bomber, capable of dropping 7000 gallons."

I am wondering why Canada has the large sooper scooper planes but we don't. Where are the large water dropping aircraft? Apparently we have something called the Evergreen Supertanker but we aren't allowed to use it. Why? Where are the planes that could have saved these 500 homes?

Please call the Red Cross or log on to: redcross.org and see how you can help. Any amount you can send will help. Many senior citizens need help.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

SPY VS. LIE: OUTING VALERIE PLAME AN ACT OF TREASON?

Guest Post by Bartlebee

We hear a lot of talk about patriots these days. In fact the word is literally used "left and right" to describe all sorts of people from politicians to pundits. One person you won't hear the term attributed to however, at least by the right wing in this country, is Valerie Plame

And here's why.

Valerie Plame first entered the world in 1963, the daughter of a Lt. Colonel in the United States Air Force. In fact, she was born on a US Air Force Base — Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage Alaska. Her father was not only a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force, but worked for the National Security Agency for about three years when Valerie was young, giving Valerie her first look at the clandestine world of national intelligence, and no doubt helped shape her future career plans, which involved one thing and one thing only.

Serving her country.

A career choice Ms. Plame was well suited to, given her superior intellect and skills not to mention remarkable good looks which are no doubt an asset in the clandestine world. In 1985 Valerie was accepted into the CIA's Officer training program, and never looked back. She was installed as a Non Official Cover Officer which is the most clandestine role the CIA has to offer. As a covert operative who speaks 4 languages, assignments took her to Greece, Iraq, Turkey and parts of Europe. She worked to protect US officials including George H W Bush during his visit to Greece, whose native tongue is included in her repertoire of languages. Plame was a rising star in the CIA with a BA from Penn State, and not one but two Masters degrees, one from London School of Economics and Political Science, and one from The College of Europe, in Belgium. Plame speaks English, German, French and Greek and is an expert in nuclear anti-proliferation.

Then, in 2003, it all came to a screeching halt.

ry 2002 the CIA asked Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame's husband, to travel to Niger to confirm the validity of a report of that Iraq had an agreement to purchase Uranium from Niger to be used by Saddam Hussein to manufacture nuclear weapons. Wilson traveled to Niger, met with the former Prime Minister who was the one approached by "an Iraqi businessman" who discussed strengthening trade agreements with Niger. Wilson researched the events and concluded there was nothing there and reported back to the Select Committee on Intelligence that the accusations of a sales agreement between Niger and Iraq was clearly false.

However in January 2003, President George W Bush announced in his State of the Union address, the opposite, with these 16 immortal words; "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa". Naturally Wilson was astounded that the President presented this information to the world as fact, even after Wilson had reported almost a year earlier to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee that the story was false.

This bothered Wilson, and on July 6, 2003, Wilson wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed piece that Bush had misrepresented the intelligence and wrongly used it to help justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Although several committees including the Butler Report, the Senate Intelligence Commission and the Senate Select Committee on intelligence at various times attempted to disprove Wilson's conclusions, none were ever able to produce any solid evidence to validate the claims that a sales agreement for Yellow Cake existed between Iraq and Niger, or that it was ever discussed with the former Prime Minister of Niger, Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki. In fact the US State Dept agreed with Wilson, as did the CIA, that the claims were false and thus discredited.

Eight days after writing his Op Ed piece reprimanding the White House for using the discredited information, his wife, and covert CIA operative, Valerie Elise Plame Wilson, was outed as a CIA Covert Operative, in a column in the New York Times titled, "Mission to Niger".

And just like that, her career as a CIA covert operative, was blown.

In Sept 2003, President Bush stated that if there had been a leak, then he would prosecute anyone in his administration found guilty of such a leak. The CIA had already contacted the Justice Dept. to request a formal investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified intelligence in leaking Plames status to the press. Then, in February 2004, Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed as Special Counsel to lead the investigation. During the investigation Fitzgerald filed papers naming Karl Rove and Scooter Libby as the primary leaker's of the information to the press, and not just to Bob Novak. However during the investigation Rove and Libby stonewalled, lied and did whatever they could to obscure and obstruct the facts of the investigation, most often resorting to age old "I don't recall" to avoid prosecution.

Fitzgerald knew Rove had leaked the information, as did Libby, but their diversionary testimonies and stonewalling made it impossible for Fitzgerald to prove it. Then on October 28, 2005, Libby was charged a 5 count indictment for lying to the Special Prosecutor Perjury and Obstruction of Justice. Libby, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, following his indictments, resigned in disgrace, and on March 6, 2007, he was found guilty of all but one of the indictments, and sentenced to 30 months in prison. a 250,000 dollar fine, and 2 years probation. President Bush immediately intervened, and overruled the courts ruling, granting Libby Clemency, and thus discarding the justice process.

Libby never denied that he learned of Plame's identity from Vice President Cheney, and thus while the Grand Jury's commission was expired and Fitzgerald returned to his "day job", the investigation is by no means over. But what we know is this. Rove and Libby leaked Plames identity, to discredit her husband Joe Wilson's report to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee to sell the war in Iraq to the American people and the Congress. This act alone would be enough for all but the most deluded of Bush followers, to abandon him as a traitor to the country. But the right wing has staved off a mass exodus by claiming over and over, that Plame "never was a covert op", which of course is a lie. Court records filed during the Libby hearing, and subsequent CIA information proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Plame was indeed covert and working on several clandestine anti-nuclear proliferation operations, including providing Iran with bogus data on the construction of nuclear weapons. But the right wing ignores this information, and continues to smear Plame, her husband, and her 20 year career as a covert CIA operative.

But tonight, on CBS's 60 Minutes, Katie Couric interviews Valerie Plame for the first time since her cover was blown by the Bush administration. In the interview, Couric will outline some of the actual damage done to the CIA, their long term covert operations, and the absolute danger the outing has placed numerous CIA covert operatives around the Globe. Couric will report how the day the Novak story came out, embassy's all over the world began frantically researching to see if the stealthy Mrs Plame had entered their country, and who she had contacted during her visits. Intelligence agencies began investigations all over the world to determine the extent of Mrs Plames activities and the persons associated with those activities, thus compromising potentially dozens of CIA covert operations and potentially hundreds of CIA covert operatives around the globe. We will hear how the work she performed was actually designed to stop Iran from ever developing nuclear technology, and thus averting the threats that President Bush claims to be so utterly concerned with. We will learn, how a President, and his staff, caused the country to be placed in greater threat from nuclear war, simply because they wanted to invade the nation of Iraq.

So with all the talk of patriotism and patriots that we hear from the right, tonight, CBS news, and Katie Couric, will give the world a birds eye view of an actual Patriot. One who dedicated her entire adult life to her country, and to keeping it safe from nuclear weapons. And we will hear first hand how the President who cries so loudly about his fear of those nuclear weapons in the hands of countries like Iran, destroyed the operations the CIA had worked so hard to develop, to keep those nuclear weapons from countries like Iran. And perhaps more importantly we'll get a keen glimpse into the tactics and strategy of the right wing Bush supporters, and their never ending efforts to provide lies and misdirection to real questions and real issues.

Thanks to Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation we know that both the President's and Vice President's Chiefs of Staff were the source of the leaks, which implicates the President and the Vice President as their source. If it had been just one Chief of Staff working alone, then perhaps one could argue it was a solitary self motivated effort. But both Chiefs of staff along with the White House Press Secretary and the Deputy Secretary of State indicate that it was not a solitary effort, but a combined, decisive attempt to smear two American Patriots, and in doing so, they destroyed years worth of highly classified work that was designed to keep America safe from nuclear threats, something the President claims is his primary goal. And since the right wing knows that most Americans know that Bush and Cheney were the original sources of the leak, their strategy has changed over the last year to discredit the notion that Valerie Plame was a covert operative. But in just one short hour, their collective denial of "Yes they did it, but she wasn't a covert op and her job wasn't classified, so therefore no crime was committed, no harm was done" is about to be dismantled once and for all.

Tonight the entire country will learn what only the educated and informed blogger's and web surfers are currently aware of. That Valerie Plame was indeed a covert operative, and that her work was not only highly classified, but was designed to keep the one thing from happening that George W Bush claims is the primary reason he was willing to invade Iraq and cost us so much in American lives and treasure and commit so much destruction of a people that has never once attacked us, and the reason he is now threatening to attack yet another country, and butcher a few hundred thousand more people and turn the entire global community against us. Her work, was to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of countries like Iran and Iraq. And George W Bush, and Dick Cheney, destroyed that work for their own purposes and ruined the 20 year career of a covert CIA officer who's classified mission was to do precisely what George W Bush claims is his number one goal, and the reason he's using to blow the middle east back to the stone age.

Tonight we'll see a true American Patriot, who works for one of the most patriotic organizations this country has, the unsung heroes of the CIA, who's mission is to stop wars before they get started. Tonight we'll see what the crowd "calling" themselves Patriots, do to the actual Patriots of our country. Tonight we'll see why this Patriot, who dedicated 20 years of her life to serving her country in an organization where accolades are given only in secret, and medals are seen only by the recipient, had her career and work destroyed by the President and Vice President. To sell their lousy war. A war that if they had only let the CIA do their jobs, would never need to have been fought.
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UPDATE: Katie Couric introduced the story this evening by pointing out that Valerie Plame was no "glorified secretary" as the Bush administration and the right wing have falsely labeled her. Couric announced unequivocally that Plame was not only a covert op, but an officer, in charge of "dozens of agents" and a highly classified operation to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
The 60 Minutes Interview has just aired. For those of you who missed it you can catch recaps and excerpts here on CBS's website.