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    Location: Austin, Texas, United States

    Joshua Angell, also known as Josh Angell (born June 3, 1979), is an outspoken Liberal activist who has run a news blog since 2004, entitled "Voice Of The Majority" Angell, a frequent caller to radio shows such as Lynn Samuels, is often outspoken on what he calls "the lies of the Bush Crime Family". Known locally in Austin, Texas to appear at rallies and anti-war demonstrations, Angell is self described as "The most famous gay activist in Austin that everybody knows OF but nobody KNOWS".

    Tuesday, June 28, 2005

    Time to take action!

    Contact info:,
    Reach your Congressman through the Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

    1. Stop John Bolton! Please call and email your Senators TODAY. Especially if you have a Republican Senator. They need to be overcome with the following message to counter their usual rhetoric:

    It is certainly understandable that President Bush wants whom he himself nominated. That certainly is nothing new. It has been made amply clear now to the American people through numerous and detailed broadcasts that he is a thug and a liar. No one in this country wants a liar, a bully, and a dangerous individual to represent them!
    John Bolton has lied and has coerced intelligence officials to twist the truth, putting us ALL in peril. When those whose testimony we count on to defend us from foreign threats use coercive tactics to twist the truth, we will make incorrect and dangerous decisions!!!
    PLEASE do not put the American people in peril.
    PLEASE vote NO on Bolton!
    All Americans count on you and other honorable Senators to vote with integrity.
    Please do not vote the party line. Please do not allow this nomination to go through.
    Please work to block the Bolton nomination.

    2. Back all workers and fellow citizens to oppose the obscene profits and power of corporations over the well-being of us all. Oppose CAFTA now to prevent the loss of yet more jobs, and to prevent the further erosion of worker rights. From now on, make it your goal to add your voice and support to our worker unions- whether you belong to one or not. Please sign this letter:

    3. On Monday, June 20, using the Iraq war as an excuse, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $409 billion Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, which included $45 billion in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby bankrupting you, your parents, your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, etc.. Aren't you tired of being fleeced? Our children's futures have been mortgaged beyond repair and this administration refuses all accountability. Please join Nancy Pelosi's demand for a roadmap to getting our troops home:

    Vote on MSNBC's question of the day. Do you support negotiating with insurgents if it means bringing the troops home?

    4. Don't let them increase the voice of wealth and corporations in our government! Help prevent future CONGRESSMEN FOR SALE: The Ney-Pence-Wynn bill would allow individual donors to give much more money to influence politics in Washington: up to $3 million to a political party and its federal candidates during one two-year election cycle. Fat cats who hedge their bets and give to both parties can give up to $6 million every two years. That's 60 times what the current law allows.We need your help to defeat this pro-corruption legislation today. The Ney-Pence-Wynn bill may be on the House Floor very soon. Please call your Member of Congress today and ask him or her to vote against H.R. 1316, the so-called "527 Fairness Act of 2005". Enter your zip code and send the letter to your Rep. at and follow it up with a call:
    Then call and email the authors of the bill:
    Bob Ney (OH) 202.225.6265
    Mike Pence (IN) (202) 225-3021
    Albert Wynn (MD) (202) 225-8699
    Write up what you said into an opinion editorial for the media and send it to the newpapers in their home states. Click on their states, and send the letters, 5 at a time. Use your back arrow to send to 5 more, etc...

    Tell California Representative Randy Duke Cunningham that his sell-out to war profiteers is not appreciated. Also tell him to stop protecting Tom Delay. Vote the poll at: and CA folks sign the petition:

    5. Those of you who still have jobs- please help the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee with a monetary contribution before June 30- the date when the Republican and the Democrat campaigns must publically disclose their fundraising totals. The DCCC members will double whatever you can donate. Let's show the Republicans the strength of their opposition. Please counter the Bush fund-raising machine. Give $50 today and the Democratic caucus will make it $100:

    Make your commitment monthly to support Howard Dean's Democracy Bonds:

    6. The FDA has become a political arm of the Bush administration. We have already seen the disastrous results in the Bextra, Vioxx, and Celebrex fiasco. Call on your Senators to oppose the Lester Crawford nomination! We need a real protector of the people in the FDA position- not a pharma shill nor a sanctimonious evangelical shill who will give harmful drugs a stamp of approval to enrich their friends at the cost of thousands of citizen lives, or will obstruct communication between us and our doctors:

    7. The Patriot Act’s infamous Section 215 grants the FBI the power to seize a vast array of sensitive personal information and belongings including medical, library and business records using a secret intelligence court that does not require any suspicion of individual criminal activity. The FBI can use this new power to spy on innocent people. Those people forced by the FBI to provide this information -- whether a newspaper editor, librarian or website publisher -- could go to jail if they tell anybody anything about it. Fight back! Tell your Senators to oppose these assaults on our rights as American citizens:

    And tell your Representatives discussions on the Patriot Act must be public:

    Read the details here: and here: and here:

    Call and email Wisconsin Representative Sensenbrenner's office and tell him you object to his totalitarian methods of shutting down the hearings on the Patriot Act on June 10- which he did in an illegal manner: 1-800-242-1119 , (202) 225-5101, and call and email your Congressman and tell him to censure Sensenbrenner:
    More ways to fight Sensenbrenner:
    Click on Wisconsin, compose a letter to the editor, and send to media outlets, 5 at a time. Use your back arrow to send to 5 more, etc...

    Here's one guy who's had it. Let's keep track of his efforts and join!

    8. Stop the attempt to restrict our Bill of Rights! The hypocritical neo-cons have passed the "Flag Desecration Amendment". This is an attempt to further limit our rights and liberties under the "patriotic" ruse of defending the SYMBOL of those liberties! No one wants to burn the flag. But we should not let the neo-cons desecrate our Constitution with restrictions to our rights! We MUST win this battle. We should defend the values our flag stands for- not the cloth- which is now made in Communist China. Please send an urgent message to your Senators now and follow it up with a call demanding that they leave our Constitution and our Bill of RIghts alone:
    Multiply your voice and also sign the Veterans for Common Sense letter of opposition to this Flag Amendment:

    Sign all of the ACLU's petitions to protect and defend our free speech and citizen rights and protections. For example: Defend cable TV and the internet from government control:

    The FBI Witchhunts have begun! Check these 3 links and start adding your voice by notifying your local media and objecting to these witchhunts:

    9. Our world is suffering irreparable harm while we are desperately trying to counter the daily assaults on our freedoms and protections! The rate of destruction by global warming through the unregulated burning of fuels is visible, demonstrable, and REAL. We MUST add our efforts to our environmental associations and lend them support in every way we can. Please support the Union of Concerned Scientists in this battle. Start with this simple "virtual march". With folks already busy with work and daily lives, for many this is the only way to join a march. This is a tactic that helps us show our support for a cause without having to travel to far-away marches. Please add your name and support at:

    Also sign the petition for NO NEW NUKES:

    10. Don't let the Bush administration drug your kids through the federally-mandated "No Child Left Undrugged" program- which they have dishonestly mislabeled in order to further benefit the drug industry. (The presidential initiative calls it The “New Freedom Commission on Mental Health”.) Ask your Congressmen to add their support to the Ron Paul HR 181 Parental Consent Act to oppose this federal drugging of our kids:

    Monday, June 27, 2005

    Dear Friends,
    I have just read and signed the online petition:
    "Repeal the USA Patriot Act" hosted on the web by, the free online petition service, at:
    I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing yourself.
    Best wishes,
    Joshua P. Angell

    Wednesday, June 22, 2005

    Minister Denounces President Bush's 'Compassionate Homophobia'
    'There is nothing Christian about discrimination.'
    - Rev. Steven Baines
    On June 21, President Bush addressed the Southern Baptist Convention at its annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Praising the convention's support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, the president said: "Southern Baptists are practicing compassion by defending the family and the sacred institution of marriage."
    Reverend Steven Baines, an elder in the Disciples of Christ and member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force National Religious Leadership Roundtable responds with the following statement:
    "As an elder in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a former Southern Baptist minister, I am disappointed that the president and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention continue to present their discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans in the guise of compassion."The president's speech failed to explain how a Federal Marriage Amendment that would block thousands of American families from the protections they need for their stability and security can be seen as an act of compassion; just as the Southern Baptist Convention has failed to explain how supporting this discrimination contributes to its Christian witness. There is nothing Christian about discrimination. "Instead of dressing up their bigotry as 'compassionate homophobia' the president and the Southern Baptist Convention can show real compassion by guaranteeing full equality for same-sex couples and their families. This would be more in line with the ethic of compassion for the marginalized and oppressed that is the foundation of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures the president claims to revere so strongly."

    Here is the link for the petition regarding the Rocha shooting.

    Audio Blog comments on Rocha shooting:
    this is an audio post - click to play

    Tuesday, June 21, 2005

    APD answers questions in Rocha's death
    APD answers questions in Rocha's death?
    (Voice Of The Austin Majority will be circulating a petition to demand the resignation of Police Chief Knee.)

    Once again, the police didn't have their camera's on!

    Watch the forum
    The community forum held on the police shooting of Daniel Rocha, 18, at the Dove Springs Recreation Center will be placed on News 8-on-Demand, Time Warner Cable VOD Channel 1308. (News 8-on-Demand moves to channel 1458 on Tuesday, June 21.)
    Exactly one week after 18-year old Daniel Rocha was shot to death by an Austin Police Department officer, a crowd of angry neighbors addressed city leaders.
    The community forum was held at the Dove Springs Recreation Center Thursday night.
    "My stomach turned when I heard about it. The first thing I thought was, 'How could this be?," Yolanda Alvarez, a concerned Austin resident, said.

    In the crowd sat three mothers who've lost children to Austin Police Department shootings.
    "How could you justify taking someone's loved one?" the mother of Sophia King, Brenda Elendu, asked.
    Last Thursday, Officer Julie Schroeder shot Rocha in the back, killing him.The crowd reacted to new information released that says only one of the three responding officers was videotaping the incident that resulted in Rocha's death.
    "Why didn't the two officers have their cameras on?" Daniela Rocha, the victim's mother, asked.
    No cameras
    Many people questioned why police dashboard cameras weren't rolling when three units pulled over a Suburban in which Rocha was riding in last Thursday.
    Officers say they witnessed a drug deal involving the SUV. When Rocha exited the vehicle, police say, he got into a struggle with Officer Julie Schroeder.
    An autopsy shows he was shot in the back. The toxicology report showed Rocha did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system.
    Austin Police Department Chief Stan Knee said Schroeder used deadly force to defend her partner. Rocha appeared ready to fire a Taser at Schroeder's partner, Knee said.
    Knee says cameras should have been rolling, but there were technical problems.
    APD is continuing its internal investigation and Schroeder could still face disciplinary action, Knee said.
    Right now she's on restricted duty, which is standard procedure. The FBI is also investigating.
    "In one of the cars, the officer did not check out a tape. In the second one, she did not entirely turn it on, " APD Assistant Chief Rudy Landeros said.
    "Schroeder? Is that the officer?" Rocha asked.
    "Yes Ma'am," said Landeros. The mother of Jessie Lee Owens, a teenager killed in 2003, called for Police Chief Stan Knee's resignation.
    "I've spent two years paying attention, and I question whether or not you can regain the trust of the community, because you do not have mine," Barbara Shorts, Owens mother, said.
    Knee and other city leaders tried to assure the crowd justice will prevail.
    "We make no decision to say whether this was an appropriate or inappropriate use of force. The Grand Jury will do that. In addition, the finest federal law enforcement in this nation, the FBI, will also look at these facts," Knee said.
    But those words offered no peace for a crowd of neighbors angry and demanding change.
    "It's not about this one night for us, it's about the rest of our lives," Shorts said.
    The meeting wrapped up just after midnight. City leaders said afterwards there's a lot of work ahead.


    Show America the Truth
    In order to get the truth out about Iraq, you and I need to keep pushing our leaders and the media to come clean. That's why we've put together a new Flash movie about the Downing Street Memo—a movie made to help you spread the word.
    In just over a minute, you can show your neighbors, family, co-workers and others why President Bush owes our troops—and every American—an explanation. Watch the video, and then send it to as many people as you can:

    Americans deserve to know the truth about this war. Every day innocent Iraqi civilians and brave American servicemen and women die. The more people we can reach with this movie, the closer we come to the day when we bring our troops home alive.
    If your computer has a hard time handling Flash—or if you want to read the Downing Street Memo in full—you can go right to our petition to "Demand that Congress hold full hearings." Here's the link:

    Perry calls special session on schools
    Governor vetoes school budget;
    Special session started today -- Upping the political ante greatly in the high-stakes struggle over school finance, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed $35.3 billion in funding for public schools Saturday and ordered lawmakers back to Austin for a 30-day special legislative session to fix ...- more -

    Medicare Prescription Drug Bill - Countdown To 2006
    by Evelyn Pringle
    As it stands right now, senior citizens will have a tough choice to make in 2006. Under the new Medicare Prescription Drug law, they can either come up with a $420 annual premium, a $250 deductible, 25% in co-payments on the first $2,250 of costs, and $2,850 to cover the gap in the benefit known as the doughnut hole, or they can quit taking their prescription medications, period.In six months, when the new law goes into full effect, it is estimated that the average senior will have about $3,100 in annual prescription costs and will end up having to pay 66% of that amount, or $2,080. After that, seniors will have to pay 100% of the costs from$2,251 to $5,100. This gap known as the "doughnut hole" comes to $2850 a year. Thanks to Bush and his Republican allies in Congress, the undisputed benefactors of the new bill are Pharma and HMOs. Using our senior citizens as funnels, drug makers will take in over $200 billion in new drug sales; and because the program will be administered by private companies, hundreds of billions more will go to HMOs and private indemnity plans offering drug-only coverage. The industry's preferred version of the bill that passed contains provisions that specifically bar the government from using its bargaining power to negotiate lower prices because according to Bush, negotiating for lowering prescription drug costs might constitute a monopoly. The bill also prohibits the importation of drugs from other countries because Bush says they might not be safe.So how did the industry's version of the bill get passed? Easy answer: money. The pharmaceutical-industrial complex unleashed over 900 lobbyists to do their bidding on the legislation and spent about $141 million on lobbying in Washington in 2003.And even that figure represents only a portion of what was actually spent. The industry is only required to report money spent on lobbying Congress, Bush, and the executive branch. Millions more were spent on other forms of lobbying through print and TV advertising, campaign contributions, direct mailings, and state level lobbying.But then, being the stakes came to over $500 billion, the industry knew an investment of a few hundred million would be money well spent. Mere chickenfeed in comparison.2006 Will Be A Nightmare For SeniorsPeople need to take a closer look at the prescription drug law and see how they will be affected by the provisions in the bill. For instance, there's not been much made of the fact that the new law makes it illegal for insurance companies to provide coverage for the "$2850 doughnut hole" for which Medicare pays nothing. $2850 a year is a lot of money for senior citizens on fixed incomes. This gap will become even more alarming to many seniors when they learn that they are not allowed to buy any supplemental insurance to cover it. In fact, seniors who sign up for the program and already have a policy to cover the gap will not be allowed to renew it.How do Republicans justify these doughnut hole provisions? They claim seniors, as beneficiaries, should pay the $2,850 themselves because, "when beneficiaries are insulated from the costs, they tend to overuse medical services." I'm sure most seniors didn't realize that the new law came with a lesson on how to budget their money so they won't "overuse" their drugs. And to think that this economic course only costs $2850 a year.Another little known fact is that low-income seniors will no longer be allowed to receive drug benefits from Medicaid (state insurance plans for low income people). State officials are worried because even though Medicare will now pay for far fewer drugs than state plans, the new law will bar state agencies from supplementing coverage to close the gap. Retirees To Lose Drug Coverage From Previous EmployersWhen debating on the new bill, Democrats had concerns that companies would cut retiree drug coverage benefits even faster than they already were. Well true to form, they have and it is becoming a very serious problem.In the past two and a half years, 13% of large employers terminated drug coverage benefits for future retirees, and 22% more say they are likely to in the future. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that 23% of the nearly 12 million retirees with employer coverage will lose it when the new Medicare program goes into effect. But here again thanks to Bush, there is no incentive to provide coverage. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Bush and his allies in Congress added a provision to the new bill that rewards companies with a tax subsidy even if they reduce retirees' drug coverage. In effect, it creates a financial incentive to reduce retiree benefits and allows some companies to get subsidies even if they shift part of the cost to retirees. The WSJ says the provision was pushed into the law by the industry front group, Employers' Coalition on Medicare, which just happens to be made up of a group of corporations that gave Bush and the RNC more than$47 million since 2000. Of the large corporations that will benefit from this provision, 10 have either tried to slash retiree coverage benefits in the past, or are trying to slash them now. They include 3M, Verizon, AT&T, IBM, GM, Daimler Chrysler, Bank of America. These 10 companies alone gave more than $17 million to Bush and Republican members of Congress.How much profit will these companies make off their$17 million investment? Plenty. For instance, GM estimates the provision will save the company $4 billion on the overall future cost of retiree care. In March 2004, SBC revealed that it would begin charging retirees monthly premiums and higher fees to save between $300 and $600 million a year. About 90,000 SBC retirees will now pay more for health care coverage. So how much did SBC spend to get the provision passed?$4,087,981 since 2000.Verizon will also save a fortune. It expects to shave retiree costs by $1.3 billion. So how much did Verizon wager? Its contributions totaled $3,882,181, In addition, the situation looks even worse for future retirees. According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, that out of 408 companies surveyed, 71% now require retirees to pay more in premiums, nearly 10% have eliminated the coverage benefit altogether, and 20% said they will probably eliminate it by 2007. 2006 Almost HereSix months from now when 2006 arrives, I urge seniors to remember to be grateful to Bush for including the provisions that made sure the government didn't enter into a monopoly by negotiating affordable drug prices and didn't allow the importation of unsafe drugs from other countries.And, they should be especially grateful for the provision that made sure that they didn't frivolously "overuse" their medications for high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and controlling diabetes
    .By Evelyn Pringle
    (Evelyn Pringle is a columnist for Independent Media TV and an investigative journalist focused on exposing corruption in government)

    Palast for Conyers:
    The OTHER ' Memos' from Downing Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
    by Greg Palast
    Greg Palast, unable to attend hearings in Washington Thursday, has submitted the following testimony:
    Chairman Conyers,It's official: The Downing Street memos, a snooty New York Times "News Analysis" informs us, "are not the Dead Sea Scrolls." You are warned, Congressman, to ignore the clear evidence of official mendacity and bald-faced fibbing by our two nations' leaders because the cry for investigation came from the dark and dangerous world of "blogs" and "opponents" of Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush.On May 5, "blog" site carried my story, IMPEACHMENT TIME: "FACTS WERE FIXED," bringing the London Times report of the Downing Street memo to US media which seemed to be suffering at the time from an attack of NADD -- "news attention deficit disorder."The memo, which contains the ill-making admission that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed" to match the Iraq-crazed fantasies of our President, is sufficient basis for a hearing toward impeachment of the Chief Executive. But to that we must add the other evidence and secret memos and documents still hidden from the American public. Other foreign-based journalists could doubtless add more, including the disclosure that the key inspector of Iraq's biological weapons, the late Dr. David Kelly, found the Bush-Blair analysis of his intelligence was indeed "fixed," as the Downing Street memo puts it, around the war-hawk policy.
    Here is a small timeline of confidential skullduggery dug up and broadcast by my own team for BBC Television and Harper's on the secret plans to seize Iraq's assets and oil.
    February 2001 - Only one month after the first Bush-Cheney inauguration, the State Department's Pam Quanrud organizes a secret confab in California to make plans for the invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam. US oil industry advisor Falah Aljibury and others are asked to interview would-be replacements for a new US-installed dictator. On BBC Television's Newsnight, Aljibury himself explained,"It is an invasion, but it will act like a coup. The original plan was to liberate Iraq from the Saddamists and from the regime."
    March 2001 - Vice-President Dick Cheney meets with oil company executives and reviews oil field maps of Iraq. Cheney refuses to release the names of those attending or their purpose. Harper's has since learned their plan and purpose -- see below.
    October/November 2001 - An easy military victory in Afghanistan emboldens then-Dep. Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to convince the Administration to junk the State Department "coup" plan in favor of an invasion and occupation that could remake the economy of Iraq. And elaborate plan, ultimately summarized in a 101-page document, scopes out the "sale of all state enterprises" -- that is, most of the nation's assets, "… especially in the oil and supporting industries."
    2002 - Grover Norquist and other corporate lobbyists meet secretly with Defense, State and Treasury officials to ensure the invasion plans for Iraq include plans for protecting "property rights." The result was a pre-invasion scheme to sell off Iraq's oil fields, banks, electric systems, and even change the country's copyright laws to the benefit of the lobbyists' clients. Occupation chief Paul Bremer would later order these giveaways into Iraq law.
    Fall 2002 - Philip Carroll, former CEO of Shell Oil USA, is brought in by the Pentagon to plan the management of Iraq's oil fields. He works directly with Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. "There were plans," says Carroll, "maybe even too many plans" -- but none disclosed to the public nor even the US Congress.
    January 2003 - Robert Ebel, former CIA oil analyst, is sent, BBC learns, to London to meet with Fadhil Chalabi to plan terms for taking over Iraq's oil.
    March 2003 - What White House spokesman Ari Fleisher calls "Operations Iraqi Liberation" (OIL) begins. (Invasion is re-christened "OIF" -- Operation Iraqi Freedom.)
    March 2003 - Defense Department is told in confidence by US Energy Information Administrator Guy Caruso that Iraq's fields are incapable of a massive increase in output. Despite this intelligence, Dep. Secretary Wolfowitz testifies to Congress that invasion will be a free ride. He swears, "There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money. …We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon," a deliberate fabrication promoted by the Administration, an insider told BBC, as "part of the sales pitch" for war.
    May 2003 - General Jay Garner, appointed by Bush as viceroy over Iraq, is fired by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The general revealed in an interview for BBC that he resisted White House plans to sell off Iraq's oil and national assets."That's just one fight you don't want to take on," Garner told me. But apparently, the White House wanted that fight.The general also disclosed that these invade-and-grab plans were developed long before the US asserted that Saddam still held WDM: "All I can tell you is the plans were pretty elaborate; they didn't start them in 2002, they were started in 2001."
    November/December 2003 - Secrecy and misinformation continues even after the invasion. The oil industry objects to the State Department plans for Iraq's oil fields and drafts for the Administration a 323-page plan, "Options for [the] Iraqi Oil Industry." Per the industry plan, the US forces Iraq to create an OPEC-friendly state oil company that supports the OPEC cartel's extortionate price for petroleum. The Stone WallHarper's and BBC obtained the plans despite official denial of their existence, then footdragging when confronted with the evidence of the reports' existence.Still today, the State and Defense Departments and White House continue to stonewall our demands for the notes of the meetings between lobbyists, oil industry consultants and key Administration officials that would reveal the hidden economic motives for the war. What are the secret interests behind this occupation? Who benefits? Who met with whom? Why won't this Administration release these documents of the economic blueprint for the war? To date, the State and Defense Department responses to our reports are risible, and their answers to our requests for documents run from evasive to downright misleading. Maybe Congress, with it's power of subpoena, can do better.Blogs, the Media and DemocracyLet me conclude with a comment about those pesky "blogs" that so bother the New York Times. We should stand and offer a moment of quiet gratitude to the electronic swarm of gadfly commentators who make it so much harder for the US media to ignore news not officially blessed. Yes, Judith Miller's breathless reports for The Times that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction may have maintained "access" for the mainstream press to its diet of White House propaganda, but the blogs insure that, whatever nonsense the US press is biting on, the public need not swallow.
    ********This week Greg Palast's investigative team was named winner of a 2004-5 Project Censored award from the California State University at Sonoma Journalism School for their exposé of the secret US plans to seize Iraq's oil assets. Special thanks to the chief investigator on Iraq, Leni von Eckardt, as well as additional support from Matt Pascarella. The investigation was conducted for Harper's Magazine, BBC Television Newsnight and "blog" outlet the BBC television reports and the Harper's and related reports at

    Dean is Doing What We Hired Him To Do;
    and setting an example spine-challenged elected Democrats should be following
    by Rob Kall
    So... Howard is making some of the spine-challenged democrats uncomfortable. That's exactly why we wanted him, because the centrist democrats don't have the balls to say what needs to be said. We knew when Dean was given the job, he'd be pushing the envelope. Now he's doing it. The grousing from a handful of democrats is actually a positive sign. If he was not getting some complaints then he would be failing to meet our expectations for speaking out-- truth to power.
    There are a lot of elected Democrats who failed to vote against the bankruptcy bill and who allowed the compromise that is putting three of the most offensive judges in history into positions of influence. The outrage and outcry should be about those gutless wonder Democrats, not Dean.
    We should use Dean's courage and independence as a kind of litmus test for candidates for office. Will your candidate have the guts to stand up to slimeball right wingers and theofascist right wing fundamentalists, and treat them like the 21st century reincarnations of KKK cretins that they are?
    Will your candidate be willing to break loose from the hive mentality of the congress and stand on his own. Will he be willing to speak for you instead of the DCCC or the DSCC and backroom high powered party operatives? If not, find another candidate. Don't settle for less.
    Here in Pennsylvania, we have a situation where, the word is, Ed Rendell, for DNC chair and current governor, NY Senator Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid and financial heavy hitter Peter Buttonweiser got together in a back room and worked out a deal to coronate Bob Casey, Jr. whose daddy was a governor of PA, to be "the" candidate to run against Rick Santorum. They persuaded two of the highest probability candidates to withdraw fromt he race, probably promising first dibs on Arlen Spector's senate seat if his Cancer gets the best of him. Casey is the same guy who lost the gubernatorial race that he was ahead 17 points a month before the primary. He's won races that didn't require much public face time. He's a party man and its hard to imagine him not making like a Star Trek Borg, wiring his brain so he becomes another Democratic drone with the hive mentality -- just a blue donkey version of the red elephant hive/ obedience in lockstep mentality the Republicans require on their side of the aisle.
    Why would any Pennsylvanian want a guy who is so clearly owing so much to the party? The mantra is that he has good name recognition-- right-- as a daddy's boy and the loser of a gubernatorial election that he had a 17 point lead in. I'm supporting
    Chuck Pennacchio, who is a real independent who has proven his willingness to speak the truth.
    Thank God for Howard Dean and the reminder he provides for us that a strong loud voice will not always be comfortable and cozy, that it WILL make waves and will make the people who have been letting us down with their failure to speak out uncomfortable. We need to hear more of Howard scratching the chalk on the blackboard, calling right wingers names. Each time he stretches the envelope he makes it a little easier for the already elected, spine-challenged democrats to speak out more strongly. Each time he gets flack, he is also cutting through some bruck, opening new trails that the less adventuresome, too comfortable democrats can then, more easily travel.
    When you hear someone complain about Howard Dean, straighten him or her out. It takes guts and smarts to break new ground. He's doing it for us. And if it's a right winger mocking Howard, laugh at him or her and let him know you approve, that Howard's truth shouldn't be comfortable for him.
    Rob Kall is editor/publisher of



    Sunday, June 19, 2005

    Do you believe President Bush misled the nation in order to go to war with Iraq?


    Vote to see results

    Saturday, June 18, 2005

    Former Congressman Pickle dead at 91
    Funeral arrangements pending for longtime Austin representative
    By Bruce Hight
    Saturday, June 18, 2005
    Retired U.S. Rep. Jake Pickle, 91, of Austin died peacefully at 7:35 a.m. today at his home in Westminster Manor. His wife, Beryl, was with him, a family spokesman said.A statement issued by the family said, "Jake Pickle represented the people of Central Texas with integrity for three decades. He was a grassroots politician who made decisions based on the needs of his constituency, not political gain."He was a mentor to many who returned the favor with loyalty and friendship," the statement added. "In addition to a distinguished career, Jake Pickle was dedicated to his family, who will miss him greatly."Funeral arrangements are pending with Weed-Corley-Fish funeral home.

    Friday, June 17, 2005

    Bush's Impeachable Offenses...A COMPLETE LIST
    Below are the links to several offenses that are impeachable under US law.
    US military extends Guantanamo torture probe
    White House plants fake reporter in press room
    FAA had terror warnings before 9/11
    Unqualified Soldiers Amputated Limbs at Abu
    U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings
    U.S. Uses Drones to Probe Iran For Arms
    Paid Pundits: Michael McManus, Maggie Gallagher, Armstrong Williams
    'Enemy combatant' process unconstitutional
    Bush's Drug Videos Broke Law
    Armstrong Williams' Column Axed by TMS
    Backing Gonzales Is Backing Torture
    FBI email embroils Bush in jail abuse
    AIDS Researcher Falsified Report
    Iraqi Boy was Raped, then Murdered by Guardsman
    Focus on real crisis: Tax cuts, not Social Security, are the culprit
    Witnessing Dachau or Auschwitz in Iraq
    Officer Alleges CIA Retaliation
    Seizing dictatorial power
    Navy Probes Photos of Bloodied Iraq Detainees
    Reuters Still Seeking Answers on Alleged Abuse of 3 Staffers
    US eliminating anyone who dares to count the bodies
    Red Cross Cites US for Abuse at Guantanamo
    US admits it used napalm bombs in Iraq
    Cheney Misleads Russert--Threat to Air Force One
    U.N. official denounces Fallujah killings
    Marines will investigate claims of war crimes
    Geneva Conventions/Sick and Wounded
    800 Civilians Feared Dead in Fallujah
    US accused of ‘torture flights’
    Update: Terrorist Theat to Air Force One Was a Lie
    oct_2004/Whistleblower Claims Halliburton Received Illegal Deal
    oct_2004/CIA Moved Prisoners in Iraq and Violated Geneva Conventions
    oct_2004/Threat to Air Force One on 9/11 was a Lie
    sept_2004/UN Leaders Says US War in Iraq was Illegal
    sept_2004/GAO says Scully's Pay Was Illegal
    sept_2004/CBO: US Debt for 2004 over Eight Trillion
    sept_2004/FBI Probes Intelligence Leak (Israel)
    aug_2004/Intelligence Leak: White House Leaks Name of Mohammaad Khan
    aug_2004/Terrorist Alert From Five Year Old Intelligence
    aug_2004/Jurists Condemn Bush Torture Memo
    july_2004/94 Cases of Abuse and 39 Deaths of POW's
    june_2004/Supreme Court Overturns White House Terrorism Tactics
    may_2004/CIA Torture Violates US Law
    may_2004/Iraqi Prison Scandal Involves Rape and Murder
    may_2004/Bush Caused Violation of Geneva Convention
    may_2004/Rumsfeld Caused Violation of Geneva Convention
    april_2004/US Sends Canadian to Syria to be Tortured
    may_2004/Agency Withholding Medicare Data from Congress Was Illegal
    april_2004/9/11 Report: Imminent al-Qa´ida attack
    feb_2004/Bush Ignored CIA Caveats On Iraq Intelligence
    jan_2004/US Accused of War Crimes
    jan_2004/Bush Planned Iraq Invasion Before 9/11
    dec_2003/CBO: Balanced Budgets are Nearly Impossible
    dec_2003/Courts Rules Bush can't Keep Prisoners Indefinitely
    dec_2003/Judge Admonishes Aschcroft for Violating Court Order
    dec_2003/Cheney Bypassed US Intelligence Agencies
    dec_2003/Feds Hyped Terrorism Convictions
    dec_2003/U.S. Air Force: Iraqi Drones Not Usable as Weapons
    dec_2003/Special Prosecutor Appointed: White House CIA Leak
    9/11 report: No Iraq link to al-QaidaThe Associated Press, July 11, 2003
    Bush Uranium Lie Is Tip of the Iceberg
    $7.7 million in personal items bought by Ag. Dept.UPI, July 25, 2003
    CIA: Assessment of Syria's WMD exaggeratedThe Associated Press, July 11, 2003
    GAO: Bush Used HHS Funds for Campaign AppearancesThe Associated Press, July 11, 2003
    U.S. envoy's claims that his findings were misrepresentToronto Star, July 08, 2003
    Coalition troops looted and vandalized the Iraqi, July 06, 2003
    Presidential Records Act of 1978Find Dean, November 09, 2001
    Obey the law and keep Bush off the Illinois ballotLibertarian Party (, 2003
    Gov't Report Backs Detainee Abuse ClaimsThe Associated Press, June 22, 2003
    Rules for Military Terror Trials BlastedThe Associated Press, June 26, 2003
    E.P.A. Leaves Out Data on Climate ChangeThe New York Times, June 19, 2003
    Sgt. David Borell's statement: US treatment of Iraqi InjuredWNWO--Toledo, June 23, 2003
    Bush Violates Patriot, June 06, 2003
    Why Bush Should Be Prepared for Commentary, June 23, 2003
    They impeach murderers, don't they?Japan Times, June 16, 2003
    Missing Weapons May Become Election IssueWashington Post, June 11, 2003
    Bush made claim despite CIA doubtsSeattle Times, June 13, 2003
    Prewar report: No evidence of Iraqi chemical weaponsThe Boston Globe/Orange County Register, June 07, 2003
    Nation misled into war in IraqSeattle Post-Intelligencer, June 11, 2003
    Lying to Congress in the State of the, June 06, 2003
    John Dean: Worse than, June 06, 2003
    Data didn't back Bush's weapons claims, officials sayThe Mercury News/Knight Ridder Newspapers, June 06, 2003
    Pentagon: No Reliable Evidence of Iraqi WeaponsSF, June 06, 2003
    Illegal Immigrants Abused Physically and MentallyMercury News Washington Bureau, June 03, 2003
    Red Cross denied access to POW'sThe Observer, May 25, 2003
    'We were not lying, it was just a matter of emphasis.'New York Times, April 29, 2003
    US military holds Children at Guantanamo Bay in CubaTABC News Online (AU), Apr 22, 2003
    Bush bars UN weapons teams from IraqThe Sydney Morning Herald (AU), Apr 24, 2003
    Ashcroft Creates New Law on Illegal ImmigrantsWashington Post/AP, Apr 24, 2003
    Ashcroft Violates Court Ordered Gag RuleThe Associated Press/Washington Post, Apr 19, 2003
    The Hague Convention and lootingUSA Today, Apr 14, 2003
    National museum plundered by footersSan Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press, Apr 12, 2003
    Weapons Inspectors: US violates UN Resolution 1441The Guardian (UK), Apr 12, 2003
    National Security Costing States PlentyWashington Post, Apr 01, 2003
    US violates Geneva Convention: depleted uranium weaponsSunday Herald, March, 2003
    US violations of Geneva ConventionThe Guardian, Mar 25, 2003
    Bombing Iraqi television violates Geneva ConventionAmnesty International, Mar 26, 2003
    Bush delays release of his father's papersWashington Post/AP, Mar 25, 2003
    US Violates Geneva Convention at Guantanamo BayWorld's Socialist Web Site (WSWS), Mar 11, 2002
    US Steps Up Secret SurveillanceWashington Post Mar 24, 2003
    US Violates Demilitarized Zone: UN Res. 687CNN News Mar 08, 2003
    Swiss Legal Experts: War Violates International LawSwiss Info. com Mar 16, 2003
    Bush to withdraw resolution--a humiliating defeatNew York Times Feb 05, 2003
    Rumsfeld orders freeze on new military constructionWashington Post Mar 17, 2003
    Rumsfeld orders freeze on new military constructionNew York Times Call Mar 16, 2003
    John Conyers Prepares Articles of ImpeachmentWorld Daily News/Roll Call Mar 13, 2003
    CIA believed to be holding children of terroristsWashington Times Feb 09, 2003
    CIA Kills Two POW's--Violates Geneva ConventionJewish World Review Feb 07, 2003
    Schools face loss of federal funds if they bar prayingUSA Today/AP Feb 02, 2003
    Federal Aid for Churches Violates ConstitutionAmericans United Mar 07, 2003
    Mohammed believed to be tortured in AfghanistanABC News Wire Mar 04, 2003
    Pentagon Releases Tribunal Crime ListWashington Post/AP Feb 28, 2003
    Forest Policy Benefits Timber IndustryWashington Post/AP Mar 01, 2003
    FBI Retaliate Against WhistleblowerWashington Post Feb 25, 2003
    US goes to war in the PhilippinesWashington Post Feb 21, 2003
    Bush Asks Court to Violate ConstitutionWashington Post/AP Feb 08, 2003
    Articles Impeaching: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and AshcroftVote to Jan 15, 2003
    Pa. Sues Bush Over New Clean Air RulesWashington Post/AP Jan 28, 2003
    Bush lied about Iraqi Aluminum TubesWashington Post/AP Jan 24, 2003
    Court Orders Bush to appoint nvironmentalistPublic Citizen Jan 21, 2003
    Draft Articles of ImpeachmentHouston Indy Jan 18, 2003
    Israel to kill in U.S., allied nationsUPI Jan 15, 2003
    EPA to Allow Polluters to Buy Clean Water CreditsWashington Post Jan 14, 2003
    Law Professor Ready To Draft Articles Of ImpeachmentOnline Journal
    Majority of Schools Failing--Unfunded MandateWashington Post Jan 02, 2003
    Rove Making PolicyWashington Post/AP Jan 01, 2003
    Bush Relaxes Pollution Rules--Nine States SueWashington Post Jan 01, 2003
    Printing Flap--Impeachable OffenseWashington Post Dec 20, 2002
    Bush Orders Missile DefenseNew York Times/AP Dec 17, 2002
    Court rules against Ashcroft--2nd AmendmentFox News Dec 06, 2002
    Unfunded MandatesWashington Post Dec 06, 2002
    Broken Pledge Undermines New Campaign LawWashington Post Dec 06, 2002
    Court Can Decide Padilla's RightsWashington Post/AP Dec 04, 2002
    US Can Kill American al-Qaida AgentsYahoo News/AP Dec 03, 2002
    'Combatants' Lose Legal ProtectionsReuters Dec 01, 2002
    Bush Asks Court to Seal Vaccine RecordsReuters Nov. 26, 2002
    Bush's Campaign to end the ConstitutionWSJ Online Nov 26, 2002
    Recess Appointees Relinquish Title OnlyWashington Post Nov 23, 2002
    Nepotism--Using Family to Maintain ControlWashington Post Nov 12, 2002
    Republicans kill funding for SEC Accounting BoardReuters Nov 13, 2002
    Bush gives aid to Pakistan, Pakistan aids our enemyReuters Nov 13, 2002
    Bush murders US citizenReuters Nov 10, 2002
    Bush uses White House email to solicit moneyWashington Post Oct 22, 2002
    White House spin doctor works at SECWashington Post Oct 14, 2002
    WH, EPA Clash on Lower Vehicle EmissionReuters Oct 15, 2002
    Appeals Court OKs Secret Deportation HearingsReuters Oct 09, 2002
    Justice Appeals Oregon's Assisted Suicide LawFox News Sept 23, 2002
    Senators Say Bush is impeding investigationReuters Sept 18, 2002
    Jose Padilla denied 2002
    Another Judge Stops Bush--Enemy CombatantReuters Aug 16, 2002
    Bush attempts to undo whistle blower protectionReuters July 30, 2002
    Bush Allows Child Aid AbusesNew York Times
    Rumsfeld Calls for Help on Iraq War Plan LeakReuters July 22, 2002
    US Slashes U.N. Population Fund CashReuters 2002
    Bush Was Warned of Harken Company TroublesReuters 2002
    Bush lets utility companies polluteReuters 2002
    Bush's coup in VenezuelaYahooNews/New York Times 2002
    Bush Pays Ransom to al QaedaABC News/Reuters/MSNBC 2002
    Bush Opposes International LawReuters 2002
    US Deals with TerroristsReuters 2002
    Bush Bans CloningReuters 2002
    Legal Experts Question Military TribunalsReuters 2002
    EPA regulator's resignation letterMSNBC News 2002
    Bush violates anti-nepotism lawsReuters/Find 2002
    Anti-nepotism law--Title 5, Section
    Bush Fills SEC Seats--No Senate ConsentReuters 2002
    Census Secrets-Judge Stops BushNew York Times
    Bush Violates "Advice and Consent"CNN News 2002
    Bush Violates Intelligence Dec 28
    POW/Geneva Convention Project/Geneva Convention/
    Bush Abuses Executive PrivilegeABC News Wire/AP
    Secrets, Yours & The
    Fifth and Sixth Amendment SuspendedABC News
    Military TribunalsABC News 2001
    Ashcroft Ends Lawyer-Client 2001
    Dignity Act (assisted suicide)ABC News
    Presidential PapersABC News 2001

    Yesterday, a House committee slashed half of the federal funding for NPR and PBS, specifically targeting popular children's shows like "Sesame Street" and "Postcards from Buster." These cuts will decimate local stations and undermine quality news reporting. This is nothing less than an effort to kill off NPR and PBS.
    But people like you are fighting back, making the petition to save NPR and PBS one of the most popular we've ever seen—750,000 signers to date! Already, the public outcry has delayed the effort to eliminate funding entirely, but we must fight to restore full funding at once. The House will vote on these massive cuts to NPR and PBS as soon as Tuesday, and representatives are making up their minds right now.
    Make sure Rep. Doggett doesn't take away the programs you love. Call him today at:
    Congressman Lloyd DoggettPhone: 202-225-4865
    Tell the staffer who answers why you feel so strongly about saving NPR and PBS, and ask Rep. Doggett to restore all funding to public broadcasting. A personal story about how you and your family benefit from NPR, PBS or your local stations will have the greatest impact.
    It's important to track our efforts. Please let us know you're calling at:
    The American people trust NPR and PBS for balanced news and quality children's programming. But the House leadership will push hard to ram these cuts through: it's not to save money, it's to cripple public broadcasting.
    Can you call Rep. Doggett today?
    Congressman Lloyd Doggett
    Phone: 202-225-4865
    After you call, please pass this along to others in your area who want to save NPR and PBS.

    Schiavo Autopsy Report Shows Irreversible Brain Damage.
    The Pinellas County, Florida medical examiner's office yesterday released the autopsy report of Terri Schiavo. The report showed that, at the time of her death, Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state, an irreversible state of brain damage. Most of the media coverage of the story reports the autopsy report undercuts claims made by the Schiavo family and the politicians who supported their cause. In particular, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who is a physician, came under criticism from congressional Democrats for his actions in the weeks before Schiavo's death. ABC World News Tonight reported, "The autopsy report...was very direct," stating that "while she could have been kept alive longer, her brain damage was irreversible, that she had no cognitive function. In other words, she could not think or experience emotion." NBC Nightly News reported, "As to whether Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state, the doctors said they found nothing inconsistent with that diagnosis." The CBS Evening News reported, "Terry Schiavo was not aware of what was going on around her and would never improve." USA Today adds the autopsy findings "contradict contentions by Schiavo's parents and members of Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., that she had not been in a vegetative state and could have improved." Democrats, adds USA Today, said "the medical findings confirmed that Congress and Bush should never have tried to get the federal judiciary to overrule state court rulings. 'It's rare that you get such a total repudiation of one side,' said Rep. Barney Frank." The New York Times also reports the case has "given Democrats ammunition to use against" Frist. Further criticizing Frist, ABC medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson said on ABC World News Tonight, "The lesson to be learned is trust expert medical opinion when it is clear and confident. I think politicians who weigh in with medical opinions from a distance set a bad example. I was particularly upset with Senator Frist, who I think, as a physician should have known better." In an editorial, the New York Times says the autopsy results "should embarrass all the opportunistic politicians and agenda-driven agitators who meddled in Terri Schiavo's right-to-die case."

    We've been censored... Gotta love the courts...
    From The email box:
    We've had our first little fight with Mr. Censorship.
    There is a post that you no longer can view due to censorship.. it was meant to inform renters of all the cover- ups at renting facilities regarding problems with mold. Due to having this post removed, please be aware that you should have a ceritified mold inspector look in your apartment if you notice anything funny growing on the walls, floors, etc.
    We'll due our best to keep the public informed about safety issues when they come to our attention... Due to censorship ...You now don't know where the problems are. This is not a retraction, but V.O.T.A.M. apologizes for any problems this post may have caused.

    Thursday, June 16, 2005

    Open Letter To Congressman Doggett
    Dear Sen. Doggett,
    First of all let me say thank you for all that you do. You are truly one of my idols. I live in East Austin, having bought my first home at the age of 25 one year ago. I was truly energized by Howard Dean to become even more politically active, and I am thinking of sitting on a comission for the city. I saw you at John Kerry's Kids First presentation at UT. Thank you for joining him. I have two main issues I would like to address. First, I am asking for your help to stop the killings of minorities by the police here on the East Side. I find it very sad that police use deadly force instead of say, shooting an arm or leg, or using a taser, or handcuffs. It is a real problem, we just had another young hispanic man die at the hands of the police last week. I believe that this issue should be addressed, and I am willing to do anything at all to work on this that it doesn't keep happening. I am a minority myself. I find solidarity in living with other minorities here on this side of town...however, I am deeply frightend by the police that are supposed to keep us safe.
    Secondly, Howard Dean has come under some scrutiny lately for some of his statements. I believe his statements to be not all that far fetched, and I think that it is a true disgrace to our party to have Nancy Pelosi speak out against him, saying that she doesn't support our party chairman. Dean is the energy we need to win back the White house in 2006 and 2008.
    and Third, please consider running as Vice President with whomever the Dem. Nominee is...If you will not consider running for President yourself.You are a true winner- and we in your district appreciate you being our voice.
    and fourth,I am asking for your support to investigate the Downing street memo. Bush must answer to this. I believe the American people were mislead to war- we should have been going after Bin laden first and foremost. Where is the coverage of the memo in the news?
    Thank you sir for all that you do.
    Joshua Angell
    local activist
    Voice Of The Austin Majority

    DemocracyFest 2005 has sold out and registration is closed, but you can still join in the evening celebration at Stubb's! The featured speaker will be DNC Chair Howard Dean, who will be joined by Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., and many others. Music provided by Joe Ely and his band, Doyle Bramhall, and Tish Hinojosa, and emceed by Neal Pollack. For more information, go to Saturday, June 18, 7:30 p.m.
    DemocracyFest 2005,
    "The Progressive Express"
    Stubb's Bar-B-Q,
    801 Red River (Austin, Texas)

    Barry Goldwater and the Bushies are not cut from the same cloth.

    Goldwater once said:
    "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?"

    Terri Schiavo, stem-cells, corporatist judges, purposefully lying "journalists," Downing Street Memos, etc, etc, etc. ENOUGH! Regardless of your party affiliation, how much more are you going to take?! And more importantly, how much more can we afford to take?

    Another Six Americans Died Today in Iraq.


    Wednesday, June 15, 2005

    Iraq as Vietnam
    We've all gone down the rabbit hole in Baghdad and come out in the Saigon of another era.
    by Tom Engelhardt

    If we haven't all gone down the rabbit hole in Baghdad and come out in the Saigon of another era, you can't prove it by recent news from catastrophic Iraq. Eerie doesn't do it justice it. In Washington, our leaders plead for patience; they insist, as they've been doing for a year or more, as the President has done recently, that this -- the latest bad news, whatever it may be, from the urban battlefields and bomb-implanted highways of Iraq -- is "progress." They swear that the most recent upsurge in violence and death (49 dead American soldiers in the first 14 days of this month and scores upon scores of dead Iraqis) represents, in Dick Cheney's recent phrase, "the last throes" of the insurgency which will, the Vice President predicted, end within the President's second term in office.
    Think "light at the end of the tunnel." Think the era of Lyndon Johnson. Think of that flood of positive numbers -- the "metrics" of victory -- that came pouring out of Vietnam and now, in the form of numbers of troops armed and trained for the new Iraqi Army, police, and security forces, is flooding out of Iraq. Top generals back in Washington all lend a helpful hand. (Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers: "Well, first of all, the number of incidents is actually down 25 percent since the highs of last November, during the election period. So, overall, numbers of incidents are down. Lethality, as you mentioned, is up. . . . I think what's causing it is a realization that Iraq is marching inevitably toward democracy.") Hang in there, Condoleezza Rice similarly assured Charlie Rose just the other night, it's like the period after World War II when we occupied Germany and Japan; it takes patience and time to implant democracy in a defeated country. The growing strength of the insurgency, Washington officialdom has been officially saying this last month in all sorts of ways, is but proof of the progress we're making. It's just the "last gasp" of a dying movement.
    Meanwhile, in Iraq, the American officers fighting the war and their troops tell another story to reporters. Senior officials now claim not-so-privately "that there is no long-term military solution to an insurgency that has killed thousands of Iraqis and more than 1,300 U.S. troops during the past two years." Brig. Gen. Donald Alston, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, commented to reporter Tom Lasseter of Knight Ridder, "I think the more accurate way to approach this right now is to concede that ... this insurgency is not going to be settled, the terrorists and the terrorism in Iraq is not going to be settled, through military options or military operations." Lt. Col. Frederick P. Wellman, who works with the task force overseeing the training of Iraqi security troops, told Lasseter (a fine reporter, by the way) that "the insurgency doesn't seem to be running out of new recruits, a dynamic fueled by tribal members seeking revenge for relatives killed in fighting. 'We can't kill them all,' Wellman said. 'When I kill one I create three.'" Gen. George W. Casey, top U.S. commander in Iraq, "called the military's efforts ?the Pillsbury Doughboy idea' -- pressing the insurgency in one area only causes it to rise elsewhere.
    Down even closer to the ground, American soldiers are blunter yet:
    "'I know the party line. You know, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army, five-star generals, four-star generals, President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld: The Iraqis will be ready in whatever time period,' said 1st Lt. Kenrick Cato, 34, of Long Island, N.Y? ?But from the ground, I can say with certainty they won't be ready before I leave. And I know I'll be back in Iraq, probably in three or four years. And I don't think they'll be ready then.'"
    "'I just wish [the Iraqi troops would] start to pull their own weight without us having to come out and baby-sit them all the time,' said Sgt. Joshua Lower, a scout in the Third Brigade of the First Armored Division who has worked with the Iraqis. ?Some Iraqi special forces really know what they are doing, but there are some units that scatter like cockroaches with the lights on when there's an attack.'"
    And in the meantime, in the opinion polls, slowly but inexorably, public support for the war continues to erode. As Susan Page of USA Today reports in a piece ominously headlined, Poll: USA Is Losing Patience on Iraq, "Nearly six in 10 Americans say the United States should withdraw some or all of its troops from Iraq, a new Gallup Poll finds, the most downbeat view of the war since it began in 2003."
    Does no one remember when this was the story of Vietnam? The desperately rosy statements from top officials, military and civilian, in Washington; the grim, earthy statements from U.S. officers and troops in the field in Vietnam; the eroding public support at home; the growth of the famed "credibility gap" between what the government claimed and what was increasingly obvious to all; the first hints of changing minds and mounting opposition to the war in Congress and the first calls for timetables for withdrawal?
    Excuse me if I'm confused, but didn't the men (and one key woman) of the Bush administration pride themselves in having learned "the lessons of Vietnam" (which, as it happens, they played like an opposites game until the pressure began to build when they suddenly began acting and sounding just like Vietnam clones)? Isn't our President the very son of the man who, when himself President and involved in another war in the Gulf, claimed exuberantly, "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all"? Well, here's a news flash then. In Washington today, they're mainlining Vietnam.
    Maybe we should really be examining the later history of the Vietnam War for hints of what to expect next? Certainly, as in Vietnam, we can look forward to withdrawal strategies that don't actually involve leaving Iraq. In Vietnam, "withdrawal" involved endless departure-like maneuvers that only intensified the war -- bombing "pauses" that led to fiercer bombing campaigns, negotiation offers never meant to be taken up. Or how about ever more intense and fear-inducing discussions of the bloodbaths to come in Iraq, should we ever leave? For years in Vietnam, the bloodbath that was Vietnam was partly supplanted by a "bloodbath" the enemy was certain to commence upon as soon as the United States withdrew. This future bloodbath of the imagination appeared in innumerable official speeches and accounts as an explanation for why the United States couldn't consider leaving. In public discourse, this not-yet-atrocity often superseded the only real bloodbath and was an obsessive focus of attention even for some of the war's opponents. In the meantime, the bloodbath that was Vietnam continued week after week, month after month, year after year in all its gore. Or how about the development of right-wing theories that the war in Iraq was won on the battlefield but lost on the home front; that, as in Vietnam, we were militarily victorious but betrayed by a weak American public and stabbed in the back by the liberal media? Watch for all of these, they're soon to come to your TV set.
    Oh, and speaking about Vietnam-era parallels, how about this one: It turns out there are two different races of Iraqis. There are their Iraqis -- jihadis, Baathist bitter-enders, terrorists, Sunni fanatics, and even, as Major General Joseph Taluto, head of the US 42nd Infantry Division, admitted the other day, "good, honest" Iraqis, "offended by our presence." The thing about all of them is, without thousands of foreign military advisors, or a $5.7 billion American-financed program to train and equip their forces, or endless time to get up to speed, they take their rocket-propelled grenades, their IEDs, their mortars, their bomb-laden cars, and they fight. Regularly, fiercely, often well, and no less often to the death. They aren't known for running away, except in the way that guerrillas, faced with overwhelming force, disband and slip off to fight another day.
    American military men, whatever they call these insurgents, have a sneaking respect for them. You can hear it in many of the reports from Iraq. They are -- a typical word used by military officers there -- "resilient." No matter what we throw at them, they come back again. All on their own they develop sophisticated new tactics. Facing terrible odds, when it comes to firepower, they are clever, dangerous, resourceful opponents. The adjectives, even when they go with labels like "terrorists," are strangely respectful.
    Then there's this other race of Iraqis, as if from another planet -- our Iraqis, the ones who scatter "like cockroaches." They are, as several recent articles on the desperately disappointing experience of training an Iraqi Army reveal, not resilient, not resourceful, not up to snuff, not willing to fight, all too ready to flee, and, in the eyes of American military men on the scene, frustrating, cowardly, child-like, and contemptible.
    Compare that, for instance, to the following comment on the enemy: "The ability of the [insurgents] to rebuild their units and to make good their losses is one of the mysteries of this guerrilla war? Not only do [their] units have the recuperative powers of the phoenix, but they have an amazing ability to maintain morale." Oh sorry, that wasn't Iraq at all. That was actually Gen. Maxwell Taylor, American ambassador to South Vietnam, in November 1964.
    Let's face it. This is déjà vu all over again. In Vietnam, their Vietnamese regularly proved so much more admirable -- in the eyes of American military officers -- than ours. America's Vietnamese often seemed like the sorts of thugs white adventurers in Hollywood films had once defeated single-handedly. They were corrupt, cowardly, greedy, and rapacious in relation to their own people, and regularly amazingly unwilling to fight their own war. The enemy, on the other hand, often seemed like "our kind of people." They were courageous, disciplined, willing to endure terrible hardships, and capable of mobilizing genuine support among other Vietnamese. Major Charles Beckwith, the chief American adviser to the Special Forces camp at Plei Me, was not atypical in his reported comment after a siege of the camp was broken, "I'd give anything to have two hundred VC [Vietcong] under my command. They're the finest, most dedicated soldiers I've ever seen? I'd rather not comment on the performance of my Vietnamese forces."
    Below, Jonathan Schell takes a single, remarkable news article, Building Iraq's Army: Mission Improbable by the Washington Post's Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter Anthony Shadid and Steve Fainaru on the disastrous state of our effort to create an Iraqi military and follows it where it leads -- to the catastrophic endpoint we can all see coming somewhere, sometime down the line. As Schell in his reporting from Vietnam and his more recent writings -- including his insightful book about our violent last three centuries, The Unconquerable World -- has made so clear, there was really only one lesson, only one genuine lesson anyway, to be learned from Vietnam: Don't do it.
    This piece first appeared at as an introduction to Jonathan Schell's latest "Letter from Ground Zero".
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