Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Price For Exposing Corruption in Iraq

There are brave soldiers and Americans who step forward on occasion to report abuse, corruption, fraud and an assortment of other activities that would land most Americans in jail for their crimes.

There brave individuals are seldom rewarded for their honesty and loyalty to the country they serve. Instead many find themselves in more trouble than any criminal would ever go through.

Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods. He was told very little about why he was there.

There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.

Vance thought he was doing his Patriotic duty when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees.

So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn’t know whom to trust in Iraq.

For his efforts, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam Hussein, and he was classified a security detainee.

Corruption has often occurred in Iraq reconstruction. Hundreds of projects will never be finished, including repairs to the country’s oil pipelines and electricity system. Congress gave more than $30 billion to rebuild Iraq, and at least $8.8 billion of it has disappeared, according to a government reconstruction audit.

The Project on Government Oversight says they will never find out what corruption is going on if people fail to come forward and reveal such abuses. The problem is the U.S government is sending a message to anyone involved, if you tell you will pay dearly.

The highest-ranking civilian contracting officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bunny Greenhouse testified before a congressional committee in 2005 that she found widespread fraud in multi billion-dollar rebuilding contracts awarded to former Halliburton subsidiary KBR.

Greenhouse was quickly demoted after she told of her findings of corruption. She now sits isolated in a small area for a workstation waiting for the other shoe to drop, all because she revealed what any good American should if they found such illegalities.

Julie McBride worked as a “morale, welfare and recreation coordinator” at Camp Fallujah, she saw KBR inflate costs by double and triple counting the number of soldiers who used recreational facilities.She also said the company took supplies destined for a Super Bowl party for U.S. troops and instead used them to stage a celebration for themselves.

McBride voiced her concerns about what she believed to be accounting fraud, Halliburton placed her under guard and kept her in seclusion,” she told the committee. Her property was searched, and she was told that she was not allowed to speak to any member of the U.S. military. She remained under guard until she was flown out of the country. Halliburton and KBR denied her testimony in court.

The Bush administration was quick to give many no bid contracts to Halliburton, KBR, Blackwater and many other corporations loyal to the Bush/Cheney conglomerate of business elite.

The U.S government either fails or refuses to monitor where taxpayer dollars go involving the Iraqi reconstruction. Bush regularly seeks and receives billions of dollars from Congress to supposedly rebuild the country he has completely destroyed.

These are a few of the countless stories coming to light of what innocent people go through if they expose corruption inside George W Bush's war in Iraq. Each story is similar in nature and telling about why the U.S is really in Iraq.

As thousands of American and Iraqi lives are taken as a results of Bush's onslaught of destruction, the rebuilding is continually being delayed, more U.S funds are filtered into the hands of corporate allies of Bush.

How long will the war in Iraq last? It will last as long as Congress sits idly by and allows American citizens to be thrown in prison, demoted from their jobs and financially destroyed for doing what Congress should do.

If honest Americans are punished and abused for revealing massive corruption within the Bush administration and their corporate allies, what does that say about our government?

Image by Stephen Pitt Cartoons

Monday, August 27, 2007


Force always attracts men of low morality.
Albert Einstein

Why isn't Ted Nugent in jail? He should be arrested for threatening the lives of public servants, and he should be fined for waving automatic weapons around in a public place, advocating killing humans for sport, as a form of pornographic violence. We need to make sure people like this are held responsible for their anti-American unpatriotic, treasonous behavior. Are our children feel safe with this monster loose on the streets? He is the male Ann Coulter, but with even more testosterone. And SHAME on Sean Hannity for not condemning these remarks.

Warning: the language in the article below is not appropriate for children or any living, moral creature.

Gonzo is gone, and if you don't know why, I'll list some of his crimes at the end of this article tomorrow. But not enough attention has been paid to Ted Nugent, a true representative of the Bush-Cheney administration. I know it's sort of taboo to write about such a sad joke as Nugent -- but he so perfectly represents the extreme right-wingers who have taken over our civilized society.

Study history Ted: when man enjoys killing animals for sport (as Cheney does, and Bush did as a child) society begins to die. It's not a good sign.

Facing a draft, Nugent bravely wet his pants
Rocker is all talk as he calls Obama, Hillary vile names

August 27, 2007
BY RICHARD ROEPER Sun-Times Columnist
So Ted Nugent roams a concert stage while toting automatic weapons, calls Barack Obama "a piece of -----" and says he told Obama to suck on one of his machine-guns. He also calls Hillary Clinton a "worthless bitch" and Dianne Feinstein a "worthless whore."

That Nugent, he's a man's man. He talks the talk and walks the walk, right?

Except when it was time to register for the draft during the Vietnam era. By his own admission, Nugent stopped all forms of personal hygiene for a month and showed up for his draft board physical in pants caked with his own urine and feces, winning a deferment. Creative!

Ah, but that was a long time ago. Nugent isn't just a washed-up rocker -- he's a right-wing madman who's not afraid to call out some of the leading Democrats in language so vile it makes the Dixie Chick Natalie Maines' comments about President Bush sound like a love poem.

You'd think even someone such as Sean Hannity would dismiss Nugent as a macho clown, desperate for attention.

Yeah, right.

In a discussion on his show last week, Hannity refused to condemn Nugent's remarks, saying, "I like Ted Nugent . . . he's a friend of mine," and even laughing loudly as Alan Colmes read the transcript of some of Nugent's remarks.

Funny. I don't remember Hannity being so cavalier about the Dixie Chicks went they criticized Bush.

Not that he's operating under a double standard or anything.,CST-NWS-roep27.article

I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war. -Albert Einstein

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Rest in peace Teddi Winograd (Nov. 24, 1919 – August 21, 2007) Today Teddi will be laid to rest at 1 p.m. Teddi Winograd, 88 years old, was one of the sweetest, most courageous souls on the planet and I will miss her so much. As a supremely moral, ethical, humble, loving mother and patriotic American peace activist, she would appreciate this picture of Bush and the Impeach Bush banner in the sidebar. God Bless you Teddi and God Bless Marcy and the family. We will carry your mission of restoring Democracy to America - onward!

THE WHITE HOUSE: If they have nothing to cover up, why are they covering everything up? Read more below, but first, this:

Peace activist extraordinaire, the inimitable Teddi Winograd — one of my heroes, mother of the amazing Marcy Winograd who ran for Congress last fall -- and one of the greatest women in America, passed on Tuesday. "During her final hours, my mother took great pleasure in seeing me in my Impeach Bush and Cheney t-shirt. When I changed clothes, she said, 'Where's the Impeach t-shirt? I like to look at it.' Wanting to please my mother, I wore the shirt and read to her about Karl Rove's resignation. Rove's exit made her feel good when her health failed. For more on my fabulous mother, please read on" ... Warm regards, Marcy

Linda Milazzo writes: "What most amazed me about Teddi is how much more stoic she was than those of us who are decades her junior. She never complained. In fact, she wore the rest of us out. But I understand the source of her strength. She was, as Tom Brokaw would come to say, part of the "Greatest Generation." She gave birth to her son Barry while Sam was away in the Second World War. She fended for herself with dignity and strength. Barry was twelve months old the first time he saw his father.

If you want to know how a woman can go from being a millinery worker at thirteen to owning a home on Rodeo Drive, you have to read Teddi's autobiography, "Chit Chat This 'n That." If you want to understand how a woman can know EVERYTHING about owning and operating a multi-million dollar business, how a woman who never went to college self-educated herself to grasp the innermost workings of the stock market, you must read this book. If you want to understand the depth of undying love and devotion to a spouse, how deeply a parent loves her children, how much she'll do for her grandchildren, how she weathers great tragedy with dignity and grace — and how one lives with endless enthusiasm, read it.

If you want to see how Teddi and Sam Winograd dedicated their entire lives to the cause of peace, read it and you will understand why the door to Teddi's home was always open to anyone with a commitment to bettering our world.

What is left for us ... are the very same orders Sam gave Teddi in 1998 when Parkinsons took him away: "CONTINUE TO WORK FOR PEACE."

Teddi, we will!!

For many of us, the only good that has come out of the downfall of our democracy over the past seven years has been the creation of our own progressive community that embraces Teddi's passion for peace. In Los Angeles, Marcy and Teddi have been leaders in the progressive community. Teddi's lovely home has been a welcoming hub for democratic activism, intellectual stimulation, and political and social education for countless guest speakers and eager attendees.

The maternal heart of The Progressive Democrats of America, Teddi hosted the Great Minds Series at her home in Beverly Hills, where she welcomed authors and speakers Gore Vidal, John Dean, Elizabeth de la Vega, John Nichols, Cynthia McKinney, Syd Blumenthal, Cindy Sheehan, Tim Carpenter, Mimi Kennedy, Lila Garrett, Danny Schector, Harvey Wasserman, Joy Horowitz, Joe Mealey, Michael Shoob and others. She was waiting for my book to come out and had invited me to be part of the Great Mind series. I now feel Teddi is sitting on my shoulder, giving me the courage to go forward without fear.

A week before she died of cancer, she enjoyed an anti-war serenade in her peach bedroom, then courageously went to the window to wave to Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich addressing a fundraiser in her backyard garden. (Marcy Winograd: winogradblog

Teddi ready to hit the streets with her placard opposing Schwarzenegger's special election ballot measures.
Photos by Margery Epstein.


If they have nothing to cover up, why are they covering everything up? Not only are they trying to prevent the people from knowing what was contained in the 5 million missing e-mails, but Dick Cheney's lawyer instructed the Secret Service that it "shall not retain any copy" of material identifying visitors to the vice president's official residence. Why? Isn't the government in our country, THE PEOPLE? This administration is the most dishonest bunch of crooks in the history of our nation. Even Nixon didn't go this far.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Tuesday that records about missing White House e-mails are not subject to public disclosure, the latest effort by the Bush administration to expand the boundaries of government secrecy.

Administration lawyers detailed the legal position in a lawsuit trying to force the White House Office of Administration to reveal what it knows about the disappearance of White House e-mails.

The Office of Administration provides administrative services, including information technology support, to the Executive Office of the President.

The office has prepared estimates that there are at least 5 million missing White House e-mails from March 2003 to October 2005, according to the lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a private advocacy group.


In court papers seeking to end the case, the Justice Department said the White House Office of Administration has no substantial authority independent of President Bush and therefore is not subject to the disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.The issue came into focus early this year amid the uproar over the firing of U.S. attorneys. It turned out that aides to Bush improperly used Republican Party-sponsored e-mail accounts for official business and that an undetermined number of e-mails had been lost in the process.

The Justice Department Web site, which lists all FOIA contacts inside the government, identifies seven units inside the Executive Office of the President as responding to FOIA requests, including the Office of Administration.

The Office of Administration "has certainly acted like an agency in the past," said Meredith Fuchs, general counsel to the National Security Archive, a private group advocating public disclosure of government secrets.

Fuchs' organization filed a request in February 2006 after Fitzgerald revealed that e-mails might be missing. When the Office of Administration finally denied the private group's request in June of this year, the office said it was not an "agency" as defined by the Freedom of Information Act and was therefore not subject to the law's requirements.

The administration has been resisting disclosure of information on an array of fronts.

In September 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney's lawyer instructed the Secret Service that it "shall not retain any copy" of material identifying visitors to the vice president's official residence. The lawyer, Shannen Coffin, wrote the letter as The Washington Post sought copies of Cheney's visitors.

The letter regarding the vice president's residence was in addition to an agreement quietly signed between the White House and the Secret Service when questions were raised about visits to the executive compound by convicted influence peddler Jack Abramoff.

That agreement, which didn't surface publicly until late last year, said White House entry and exit logs were presidential records not subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

When the agreement was signed in May 2006, a number of private groups and news organizations had filed FOIA requests with the Secret Service in an effort to identify how many times Abramoff or members of his lobbying team visited the White House.

(read the entire article at


Sunday, August 19, 2007


GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS. Please contact your local USO and send CARE packages and letters to our troops as often as you can. They need our love and support and chocolate. Or Rice Krispie Treats, as one Marine told me. Also, Sgt. Timothy Deane is back home safely. Welcome home!!

God Bless miners who are trapped and the rescue workers who have died. It's odd that the news networks cover the mine tragedy 24/7, but never profile a single soldier who has died. We should at least have news coverage of the families of soldiers and how they cope with their losses.

This just added! IMPORTANT ITEMS from my friend Brad Friedman, investigative journalist of "There are -- far too quietly -- some of the most important decisions of our generation now being made in states and counties around the country. Again, over the past few days, we have been focusing on them at The BRAD BLOG. Here are links to some of our most notable reports from the last day or two, leading off with one stunning revelation concerning the 2000 Election...believe it or not...and how we got to this mess in the place.... -- Brad

DAN RATHER REPORTS VIDEO: 'The Trouble with Touch Screens' Will be HUGE Trouble for Sequoia, ES&S and Maybe the Republicans from the 2000 Election! Complete, Disturbing Investigative Exposé, Featuring Troubling New Revelations About America's E-Voting

NOTE: The original Google video of this report has been taken down for some reason, so we are making it available in full, in three easy to watch segments. FULL STORY, VIDEO OF RATHER'S COMPLETE INVESTIGATIVE REPORT:

Holy Cow! If you haven't seen this report's enormous news concerning Sequoia's apparent effort to create havoc with Florida's punch-cards in 2000, you must do so immediately.

Seven company whistleblowers, all interviewed on camera, and by name, reveal their repeated objections to the company's use of faulty paper and purposeful misalignment of chads -- specifically for Democratic Palm Beach County, FL only -- in the 2000 Presidential Election.

"Someone" at the company okayed the faulty ballots despite the objections of the employees, including the Quality Control manager at the factor who is also interviewed. Sequoia has yet to admit who that "someone" was.

The revelations here are remarkable and breathtaking, should earn "Dan Rather Reports" an award for investigative journalism, and have already led to a call for a full Congression Investigation... Companies, Now Available in Full Online... FULL STORY, VIDEO OF RATHER'S COMPLETE INVESTIGATIVE REPORT:

Good news! According to the new book "Richistan" many of the new billionaires, the younger ones, are Democrats, eager to do good things in the world. There is nothing wrong with wealth or the American spirit of the entrepreneur. But as Hilary Clinton stated, the old Republican idea that "You're on your own" does not work in any society. As Hilary so brilliantly stated, "You're On You're Own" stands for "Yo-Yo". Think about it: someone is pulling the strings of the middle class, just like a yo-yo. Boy is she right. Kudos to Hilary for this great metaphor.

To repeat: the old Republican idea that "You're on your own" does not work in any society. The term "society" means we are social beings, interdependent, interconnected -- and we can not do it alone. No one does it alone. And it's our societal obligation to take care of widows, orphans, the elderly, the lame and the poor. Public education is in society's best interest. Most of these unfortunate people do not have equal opportunities in this new America, called "Richistan" by Robert Frank in his bestselling new book.

By raising the standards of the poor and middle class, we create goodwill and harmony, thereby uniting America.

Andrew Carnegie, the wealthiest man in America at one time, wrote "The Gospel of Wealth," in which he stated his belief that the rich should use their wealth to help enrich society. In fact, he basically said that the rich have an obligation to help society with their wealth, which does not really belong to them, it belongs to the community which helped him get rich. In other words, 'you can't take it with you' as Shakespear said, so it's important for the mega-wealthy to teach their children good values of charity and generosity -- that no one can do it alone.

Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish industrialist, businessman, a major philanthropist, and the founder of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Steel Company which later became U.S. Steel. Carnegie is known for having built one of the most powerful and influential corporations in United States history, and, later in his life, giving away most of his riches to fund the establishment of many libraries, schools, and universities in America, Scotland and other countries throughout the world.

The following is taken from one of Carnegie's memos to himself:

"Man does not live by bread alone. I have known millionaires starving for lack of the nutriment which alone can sustain all that is human in man, and I know workmen, and many so-called poor men, who revel in luxuries beyond the power of those millionaires to reach. It is the mind that makes the body rich. There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else. Money can only be the useful drudge of things immeasurably higher than itself. Exalted beyond this, as it sometimes is, it remains Caliban still and still plays the beast. My aspirations take a higher flight. Mine be it to have contributed to the enlightenment and the joys of the mind, to the things of the spirit, to all that tends to bring into the lives of the toilers of Pittsburgh sweetness and light. I hold this the noblest possible use of wealth. ”
Carnegie believed that achievement of financial success could be reduced to a simple formula, which could be duplicated by the average person. In 1908, he commissioned (at no pay) Napoleon Hill, then a journalist, to interview more than 500 high and wealthy achievers to find out the common threads of their success. Hill eventually became a Carnegie collaborator, and their work was published in 1928, after Carnegie's death, in Hill's book The Law of Success (ISBN 0-87980-447-5) and in 1937, Think and Grow Rich (ISBN 1-59330-200-2). The latter has not been out of print since it was first published and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. In 1960, Hill published an abridged version of the book containing the Andrew Carnegie formula for wealth creation. For years it was the only version generally available. In 2004, Ross Cornwell published Think and Grow Rich!: The Original Version, Restored and Revised, which restored the book to its original content, with slight revisions, and added comprehensive endnotes, an index, and an appendix.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

When a U.S Soldier In Iraq Won't Soldier

Please read the following article from the Christian Science Monitor on what a soldier goes through when he doesn't agree with the war.

What does the Army do with a private who can't be persuaded to load his gun?
By Mary Wiltenburg | Correspondent of Christian Science Monitor

No one looked comfortable at the sentencing hearing. Not family and friends who packed the US military courtroom's straight-backed benches. Not the rookie Army prosecutor in stiff dress greens who flushed with every "Your Honor." Not Judge R. Peter Masterton, whose usually animated face was now grave.

And not the convicted deserter – Army medic Agustín Aguayo – on the stand in a US military court in central Germany last March, pleading for understanding.
"I'm sorry for the trouble my conscience has caused my unit," Private 1st Class Aguayo said, his voice thick with emotion. "I tried to obey the rules, but in the end the problem was at the very core of my being."

Colonel Masterton, a veteran military judge, stared down at his bench. The defense wanted him to free this man of conscience. The prosecution asked that he put the coward away for two years to show other soldiers that "they are not fools for fulfilling their obligation."

Aguayo craned to face the judge. "When I hear my sergeants talking about slashing people's throats," he said, crying openly, "if I'm not a conscientious objector, what am I when I'm feeling all this pain when people talk about violence?"
Next door in the press room, where reporters crowded to watch the proceedings on bleached, closed-circuit TVs, a soldier guarding the door wiped tears from his face.

Every war has its deserters, troops who abandon their posts. And every war has its converts to pacifism. The Defense Department reports that 5,361 active-duty service members deserted the US Armed Forces last year; nearly 37,000 since October 2001. In today's all-volunteer force, that means a desertion rate of less than half a percent – much lower than the Vietnam War draft era, when it reached a 1971 high of 7.4 percent. In the past six years, 325 Army soldiers have applied to be recognized as conscientious objectors (COs), soldiers who no longer believe in war; 58 percent were accepted.

Still, Aguayo's story is revealing of the mental battles of these thousands who change their minds during a bloody war – and, arguably, of many who don't.
Struggling to support a young family in the patriotic months after 9/11, Aguayo chose to serve a nation heading into a long fight. War made a man of the naive private – but not in the way his officers intended. While his struggle to believe in his mission probably resembled that of many young recruits, no one imagined how it would end.

Aguayo is a small, soft-spoken man, tentative but quick to smile. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, he immigrated legally to Los Angeles with his parents when he was 4. At 19, he became a citizen and married a girl he'd met at church, the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants. He worked a dead-end bank job; for his twin daughters' sake, he wanted more. So he got second and third jobs and enrolled in community college. At Home Depot, where he worked in the fall of 2002, the radio blared through his shift with Army Reserve ads promising he could stay with his family and get a four-year degree.

On the way to renew his driver's license, Aguayo saw a recruiting station and stopped in. "No, you don't want the Army Reserve," he recalls the recruiter saying, "have a seat." Two weeks later, Aguayo joined the active-duty Army. His wife didn't want him to – the Afghan war had subsided and the Iraq invasion was imminent. "But he was so excited and so sure that the future would hold great things," Helga Aguayo says, that she supported his decision. She recalls asking him what he'd do if he had to go to war. "He kind of laughed and said, 'They train you for that. I'll be a different person."

But in basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., Aguayo couldn't adjust like other recruits did. It pained him to march to "Left, right, kill!" and to chant "We are not men. We are beasts." He stumbled out of gas-mask training crying, and wrote to Helga that the sting of the gas made him think of Nazi gas chambers. "The point is for you to learn how to use the mask," he says, "but [the gas] hurts, and I'd never want to hurt anyone like that." He hoped his qualms were normal, that he'd master them.

In August 2003, five months after the US invaded Iraq, Aguayo's unit was sent to a base in Schweinfurt, Germany. There they received orders to deploy to Iraq in the new year. His roommate assured Aguayo that the war was over and they would be peacekeepers. Aguayo, who rarely followed the news, felt better.
Then their training changed. "It wasn't targets anymore. It wasn't about me getting a badge. It wasn't about me getting a pat on the back," he says, "It was about me getting ready to take someone down."

In February 2004, on the eve of his Iraq deployment, Aguayo confided to Helga, who had joined him in Germany with their 8-year-old daughters, that he wasn't willing to kill, even in self-defense. She was alarmed. She searched for help online, and found a story about a marine who had refused to serve in Iraq. They read it together; some of the words were new to them.

"I had never heard the term 'conscientious objector,' which is embarrassing," she says. They Googled it, and called the hot-line number that came up. Volunteers explained the application process, and Aguayo, deploying in two days, hurried one together.

In Iraq a week later, he woke to the sound of shouting. Near his Tikrit aid station, a US military truck with five passengers had hit a roadside bomb. Aguayo zipped two officers up in body bags. His horrified expression caught the attention of a physician's assistant who took him aside. "You have to understand, there is a bigger picture," Aguayo remembers him saying, "God has a bigger plan."

"I couldn't reason like that," Aguayo says. "I thought, 'How can God have anything to do with this?' To me it was ignorance: on our side and on the guys that put the bomb out there."

Aguayo never got used to the routine cruelties of war: The men in US uniform he heard speak lewdly to veiled women, the American squads that cut clotheslines on Fridays while families were at prayer. "When someone sees me on a corner, then sees this guy next to me," he says of these soldiers, "he thinks we're the same."
Despite his misgivings, Aguayo developed a reputation in his unit as a mature presence and a diligent worker. He was promoted to the rank of specialist and recommended for another promotion to noncommissioned officer status, which he refused. Friends who served with him say that although they didn't share his beliefs, they respected his growing pacifism.

For his 12-month tour, Aguayo refused to carry a loaded weapon. His medical duties didn't require one, but dangerous patrols in Saddam Hussein's hometown did. Out of consideration for his beliefs, superiors looked the other way as he hoisted an empty rifle. When he told Helga, she was appalled at the danger he was putting himself – and others – in. "I said: You can't do this. You have a family. You have to come back," she says.

In August 2004, Aguayo's CO application was denied. The decision was divided: Aguayo's company commander and investigating officer called him "absolutely sincere" and said he had a "legitimate concern with being a soldier." The next four levels of command recommended rejection; one called Aguayo's application "an attempt to remedy [the] anxiety all soldiers face during an extended deployment in a combat theater."
Aguayo knew there were other ways out: A friend used illegal drugs to get discharged; others went AWOL. But he hated the idea of breaking the law. So the Aguayos threw themselves into challenging the decision when he returned to Germany in February 2005. Superiors decided that whatever the result, he didn't belong in the Army. A sergeant took him aside and promised to "paper" him out: charge him with enough small defiances to disqualify him from service.

But with only one infraction on record – failing to raise his M-16 in a training exercise – and another pending, his unit got word. They were going back to Iraq.

Read the rest of this chilling story here:

When a Soldier Won't Soldier

Monday, August 13, 2007


TODAY on Basham and Cornell Progressive Talk we'll be discussing Rove's resignation as well as other juicy politcal news.

The Basham and Cornell Show broadcasts weekday mornings at 8 am Pacific Time on AM 1230 KLAV in Las Vegasat 8 am Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern). All shows are simulcast on the Internet (and archived) and can be listened to at BASHAM AND CORNELL.COM

If you missed it, you can listen in the archives. This past Friday August 10th, Senator John Edwards was our guest, and Tomorrow, Tuesday August 14, we are having Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan, author of "Take This Job and Ship it: How Corporate Greed and Brain Dead Politics Are Selling Out America."

Open Thread.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I heard Nancy Pelosi this morning. 'She said that the whole point of the military surge, is to bring forth a peaceful political process. But the Iraqi government seems to be disbanding, desite reports that the military part of the surge is having some success. We can't just stay indefinitely using only military means, since the whole point of the surge was to bring the Democratic government to the table. Are we supposed to stay there forever, providing a virtual police state? The cost to our troops and to our nation is too great.

The following two articles will blow you away. I am a symphony lover and grew up in a family of musicians. I wanted to see if Iraq had a symphony and if there were any signs of hope in Iraq at all. So I Googled "Symphony in Iraq: and here's what I found from this amazing journalist embedded in Iraq. God Bless Terry McCarthy. He also wrote a bizarre and astounding article below called "Prints of War" You will not believe it. In addition, he did an interview last week with Iraq's Prime Minister Maliki, and was shocked at how "dead" Maliki's spirit seems to be.

SYMPHONY OF HOPE by Terry McCarthy of ABC News

July 26, 2007 6:23 PM

We look hard for signs of hope in Iraq. And so we were pleasantly surprised when we went to a music festival in Erbil -- about 300 Iraqi musicians and dancers had been flown in to the northern city, and were given the run of an enormous performing arts center, courtesy of a grant from the US government. On hand were nine American music and dance teachers, who were giving classes on such subjects as Baroque keyboard technique, hip hop dancing and contemporary jazz. It was fun to see the Iraqi musicians soaking it all in. For 10 days, in the relative safety of Kurdistan, they got to act like most musicians in the rest of the world who don’t have car bombs and gunshots constantly disturbing their sense of harmony.

Michael, the hip-hop teacher, was from Texas and very extroverted -- the young Kurds who wanted to learn hip-hop quickly lost all their shyness and inhibitions in the face of his antics. His first task -- to update their musical knowledge. They had been downloading most of their music on their cell phones, which Michael thought was cool -- until he heard it. “There is a definite time lag,” he said. “I had an argument about it yesterday. They still feel Michael Jackson is the King of Pop.” Once that issue was settled, he began teaching them a robocop dance routine. They loved it.

Other inhibitions melted away. Iraq is in the midst of a bitter sectarian conflict, and today people are usually very slow to socialize outside their own group -- it is a simple matter of safety. At the festival there were Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Kurds and Arabs, flown or driven in from all over the country. On the first day the organizers noted that people pretty much stuck to their own cliques when they sat down for lunch or gathered in the hallways. But after about 24 hours thrown together in class rooms and the concert hall, religious and ethnic differences began to be pushed aside, as the musicians and dancers found common interest in their craft.

By the end of the festival they had put together what they called a “Unity Orchestra”, made up of musicians from various cities around Iraq, who were to give a performance on the final evening to an invited audience. A conductor from Baghdad, Mohammed Amin, said the whole point was “to show that we are still here, that there is still hope for Iraq”.

The music festival in Erbil reinforced my sense that, if they are given a modicum of security, Iraqis can lay aside their differences fairly quickly. In the context of today’s violence, provoked by some very vicious extremists, that is a pretty massive “if”. But as the conductor says, the moderate, non-extremist, non-sectarian majority of Iraqis is still here. And so, there is still hope.


July 31, 2007 2:30 PM

Some time ago a good friend, Chris Morris, a photographer for TIME magazine, told me how he had been traveling through Somalia during the bad days there and had come across a makeshift medical station in an abandoned house north of the capital Mogadishu. There was one doctor, an English-speaking Somali surgeon, who was dealing with a large number of wounded civilians and soldiers who had been brought there from the fighting further south. His equipment was rudimentary – a small number of scalpels and forceps, not many drugs, a wooden table on which he was operating.

Chris, with a photographer’s eye, noticed that the whitewashed walls of the room where the operations were carried out had been decorated with red palm prints. He shot a few frames, and asked about the significance of the designs. The doctor was blunt. There was no water in the building, and he had no latex gloves, so the only way to get the blood off his hands after each operation was to slap them against the wall, before moving on to the next patient.

That image stayed with me, and it popped back into my mind today during a conversation I had with an Iraqi surgeon who has become a good friend to the ABC bureau here, Dr Jamal Taha. Dr Jamal works in the ER of Yarmuk Hospital, one of the busiest in Baghdad, and over the last four years he has seen an unimaginable array of human suffering – gunshot victims, carbomb survivors, victims of torture – and many dead bodies. We talk to him frequently, and he has become a bellwether for us on the level of violence on the streets. He sees the effects first.

I asked him today about supplies of drugs and medical equipment for his hospital – there has been some news recently about how corrupt officials in the ministry of health here have been diverting drugs from hospitals onto the black market to make profit for themselves. Dr Jamal said yes, there was a shortage of drugs, but that wasn’t the worst of his problems. “Many times,” he said, “we have to delay our operations because there is no tap water to wash our hands.”

History repeats itself, often for the worse. The movie “Blackhawk Down” about the war in Somalia starts with a quote from the Greek philosopher, Plato: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Iraqis understand that with a tragic sense of the inevitable.

And they desperately need running water in Yarmuk hospital.

ABC News' Terry McCarthy has been reporting on war, peace, and everything in between from all around the world for 20 years. He writes about daily life in the areas he is reporting from.ABC News

"No water, no eat, no everything," Symphony conductor al-Ghazali says. "And we think it's the end of life on the Earth. But we say, 'Hamdallah, we can do the new life.'"

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

JOHN EDWARDS on BASHAM & CORNELL RADIO SHOW FRIDAY On Friday August 10th, Senator John Edwards will be the guest on the Basham and Cornell Radio Show at 8 am Pacific Time on AM 1230 KLAV in Las Vegas. 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 BASHAM AND CORNELL.COM

John has dedicated his career to representing families and children just like the families he grew up with in Robbins, North Carolina. Standing up against the powerful insurance industry and their armies of lawyers, John helped these families through the darkest moments of their lives to overcome tremendous challenges. His passionate advocacy for people like the folks who worked in the mill with his father earned him respect and recognition across the country. In 1998, John took this commitment into politics to give a voice in the United States Senate to the people he had represented throughout his career. He ran for the Senate and won, defeating an incumbent Senator.

Senator Edwards brought a positive message of change to the 2004 presidential primaries. During the primary season he spoke about the two Americas that exist in our country today: one for people at the top who have everything they need and one for everybody else who struggle to get by. This powerful message resonated with voters all across America. After the Democratic primaries, Senator John Kerry picked Senator Edwards to serve as his running mate in the 2004 general election, and Senator Edwards crisscrossed the country and campaigned tirelessly on Senator Kerry's behalf.

Senator Edwards will be in Las Vegas on Friday August 10, for a Town Hall meeting. It will be held at the Laborers International Union Local 872 - 4201 East Bonanza Road #101. The event gets started at 4:45 p.m. Some of the topics Senator Edwards will discuss will be trade, keeping jobs in America, getting real universal healthcare for all Americans and stopping the threat of global warming.

Attendance to this Town Hall meeting is free, but the Edwards campaign would like you to at least RSVP if you will be attending. You can go to their web site, at; you can email them at; or call 434-3978 here in Las Vegas.

Nevada is a red state, but we have the ONLY Progressive Talk-radio show in Las Vegas! Basham and Cornell Show is now a DAILY SHOW! Tune in LIVE FROM 8-9 a.m. Monday thru Friday online or live from LAS VEGAS (KLAV 1230) BASHAM AND CORNELL PROGRESSIVE TALK


Before we get into the sex lives of the presidential candidates, I want to mention how important it is for our coal miners to unionize. In Canada, during a recent miner's catastrophe, all the miners walked out alive. Why? They were unionized. Their safety came first. The coal companies built underground "safe rooms" stocked with water, food and enough air to be able to live for a month. The miners demanded this and of course they are all alive.

If our coal miners were unionized, they wouldn't be trapped underground facing death. The greed of coal mining companies has prevented safe guards which could save lives. The owners brag that they prevent their workers from unionizing, thereby saving money — and their stock rises!


Republicans, the party of so-called "family values" has none. Guiliani is on his third wife, Fred Thompson is on his second, and she is 30 years younger. And we all know about Newt Gingrich, Ted Haggart, Rep. Bob Allen, Mark Foley and all the right-wingers who preach family values but are closet cases...

Democrats stay married. John Edwards is still married to Elizabeth and sticks by her through her cancer treatments (remember Newt Gingrich forced his ailing wife to sign divorce papers on her cancer bed, so he could marry a younger model); Hillary stuck with Bill through devastating trials as their vows and Biblical principles prove in "For better or for worse;" and Obama is married happily to his first and only wife Michelle. Al Franken also is still married to Frannie for over 30 years.

Democrats care about health insurance for children.
Republicans don't.

Democrats care about labor unions. In fact, if the coal miners had a union, they wouldn't be trapped underground facing death. Republicans brag that they prevented their workers from unionizing, so their stock could rise.

In Canada, during a recent miner's catastrophe, all the miners walked out alive. Why? They were unionized and insisted on building underground "safe rooms" stocked with water, food and enough air to be able to live for a month. The miners demanded this and of course they are all alive

The greed of coal mining companies has prevented safe guards which could save lives.

This is the American dream?

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I am out of town and can only leave short posts until August 10. Meanwhile Larry is holding down the fort, and doing a great job. I was going to write a post about the Bush administration called "If They Have Nothing to Cover Up, Why are they Covering Everything Up?"

THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is a terrific spy-thriller, but if this is the way the NSA is spying on us, then we don't stand a chance of ever getting our "freedoms" back. It also closely parallels what is going on in the Bush administration today. It's a socio-political parable. I got goosebumps at the chilling way it mimics exactly what is going on right now in America, in the CIA and with our troops. Watch the ending. Let me know what you think. - Lydia

More on that later...

Where Have All Our Freedoms Gone?
Guest Blog by Larry

On a balmy day many decades ago, the Senate of Rome voted overwhelmingly to make Ceasar their Emperor. It was also a balmy day in America, as the U.S Senate voted 60-28 to violate the constitution and allow George W Bush the freedom to spy without warrant on any American he may choose.

The Senate, who is controlled by the Democratic majority was told by George W Bush, that they couldn't go on their month long summer vacation until they agreed on his desire to spy on every American.

This is another freedom that has been taken away by those we elect to protect our interests. The Congress has already allowed Mr. Bush to send the FBI to enter your house without a warrant and without your permission, did you know that?

The government can read your postal mail without your permission, do you realize that? The National Security Agency can read your e-mail and listen to your private phone conversations, are you aware of that?

Congress gave Mr. Bush the right to install the "Patriot Act" which in essence allows the government to arrest anyone they "suspect" may commit a crime in the future. This act requires no warrant.

The entire Congress gave Mr. Bush the right to institute Martial Law on the citizens of the U.S, for any reason, any time he so chooses. This act was done, by Executive order, with little opposition from Congress.

Where have our other freedoms gone? Our assets can now be seized by the government if it is decided a citizen may be interfering with Bush's duties as President by protesting the Iraq war.

George W. Bush was demanding that Congress rewrite the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), so that the U.S. government can more easily spy, not on terrorists, but rather on innocent Americans. Bush has his wish and each American will pay the price.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Americans overwhelmingly oppose giving Bush the right to spy on each of us without warrant and without cause. What about the rights of "We the People" or does it really matter.

It doesn't matter because, if these past six-plus years have taught "We the People" anything, it has taught us that America can survive terrorist attacks, but can it survive the threat posed by the extremist agenda espoused and practiced by the dictatorship of George W Bush and today's Republican Party.

This morning from 8-9 a.m. PST Basham and Cornell discuss the new law Bush signed giving himself unlimited spying powers and condoning all the laws he broke the past 6 years.

If you're in Vegas, tune in to: KLAV 1230 to listen live or on the interent BASHAM AND CORNELL PROGRESSIVE TALK

Nevada is a red state, but we have the ONLY Progressive Talk-radio show in Las Vegas! Basham and Cornell Show is now a DAILY SHOW! Tune in LIVE FROM 8-9 a.m. Monday thru Friday online or live from LAS VEGAS (KLAV 1230) BASHAM AND CORNELL PROGRESSIVE TALK

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Murdoch and the Media of Propaganda

CONGRATULATIONS! This blog is a 2006 triple Koufax nominee: Best Writing, Best Post (for Lydia's "Bush's Last Will and Testicle," and More Deserving of Wider Recognition. Also, Clif was nominated for "Best Commenter." Worf was nominated for Best Commenter for two other blogs, but his nomination for Sutton Records was supposed to be for this blog. (Michael Sutton, CEO of Sutton Records is a friend.)

PLEASE Vote in the finals by registering and emailing your vote — although I have no idea when voting closes, as everyone is on hiatus. Please go to KOUFAX AWARDS
and click on Best Writing, Best Post and vote for "Lydia Cornell Blog." Thank you very much.

Nevada is a red state, but we have the ONLY Progressive Talk-radio show in Las Vegas! Basham and Cornell Show is now a DAILY SHOW! Tune in LIVE FROM 8-9 a.m. Monday thru Friday online or live from LAS VEGAS (KLAV 1230) BASHAM AND CORNELL PROGRESSIVE TALK


Rupert Murdoch has just bought the Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones and Co. The purchase of this media long-stay will cost Murdoch nearly $6 billion. The takeover ends a century of family ownership by the Bancroft family, and adds a new resource to his global media empire, News Corp.

Rupert & Homer

Murdoch has grown his mammoth media company, "News" Corp. into one of the largest and most influential media groups in the world from a small town newspaper in Australia.

Murdoch wields considerable power with his global media company and is often wooed by politicians to persuade him to favorably cover their campaigns. His empire covers television, filmed entertainment, cable network programming, book publishing, direct broadcast satellite television, magazines and newspapers operating in the United States, Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia and the Pacific.

As Murdoch acquired many widely read newspapers in Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. he brought much controversy with his ruthless and aggressive management style. Murdoch once remarked “I’m a catalyst for change, You can’t be an outsider and be successful for more than 30 years without leaving a certain amount of scar tissue around the place.”

Murdoch developed Fox News channel, with red, white and blue colors flowing throughout the set. He hired anchors from rival news channels, many being attractive women who always wore short skirts to attract male viewers.

He hired Roger Ailes to run his cable news venture, who like Murdoch has always had leanings of being ultra conservative. The slogan “Fair and Balanced” was used throughout each Fox News interview and segment.

As Murdoch and Fox News now had the appeal factor ready for viewers, they often twist conservative views into each news broadcast and interview. A daily log of conservative guests gave Fox anchors hourly opportunities to spread the conservative message, and attack the “Liberal” views of the opposition.

Murdoch and his media outlets worked tirelessly trying to destroy Bill Clinton. They often shattered the truth to spread their propaganda against Presidential candidates Al Gore and John Kerry during their run for the White House.

Murdoch used Fox News to promote Bush’s twisted reasons for war. They tend to twist the mounting toll of deaths in Iraq, into attacking the “liberal media” for not covering the truth.

Murdoch and the Fox propaganda helped bring the Republicans and George W Bush into power, and now they feverishly try to spin the war, although their propaganda message has turned the public away, due to the increasing costs of war.

Since Rupert Murdoch’s offer was made public, volumes have been written on what this historic deal might mean to journalism in America. A fair bit of the criticism and concern surrounding News Corp.’s bid for Dow Jones has focused on Murdoch himself and his well-documented penchant for employing his media outlets to advance his political and business interests.

Maybe we ought to be most concerned with the health of our media system. Media consolidation, by its nature, diminishes the variey of voices represented in our media. With fewer points of view available, those select few with an outlet increase their capacity to shape public opinion, politics and daily life.

Today’s media system isn’t simply the evolving result of capitalism at it’s best,
it is the result of policies created by Congress and enforced by the FCC. Without those policies, Murdoch couldn't have built his media empire. Only by restoring public input in the policymaking process, can we reverse this trend and make America’s media a healthier place where a variety of ideas and the free market can co-exist.

When Adolph Hitler took power in Germany he also took over the media, and he used it to shape a modern, civilized country to his ends. With full control of the national press his propaganda minister Paul Josef Goebbels developed sophisticated and very effective tools of propaganda to control public opinion in Germany, and even in other countries. He proved that if you repeat a lie often enough in mass media, most people will accept it as the truth.

This is very powerful, and propaganda may be the most dangerous weapon developed in the Second World War. The atom bomb scared so many people that we had mass movements trying to control it, but the general public seems to have missed the significance of the power of propaganda.

As media conglomerates like Murdoch and News Corp continue to be allowed to buy up every means of information resources, the propaganda of conservatism will continue to give the public a pre-arranged slant of reality.

Hitler took over the media and he used it to further his own goals of hate and power, while the current spread of conservative propaganda in the media is being used to place political parties into power, start wars and silence the critics.

The conservatives with their media conglomerates like News Corp and others, are practicing the same philosophy used by Hitler during his reign of terror. If we the public sit idly by while media giants control our flow of information, then we will fare worse than Hitler's Germany.