Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

We wish everyone a prosperous and safe New Year.

2014 looks to be one of those important and eventful years in history.

2013 was a mile-marker year for me. Another life's anniversary - It's great to be alive!

To all our readers, I'd like to thank you for your support and understanding. The plan is to keep things interesting and divergent. 1914 was a history changing year. It is 100 years in the future for some, it is a new a modern day for others. For me each day is a new challenge. I wonder what challenges face the world and this country starting tomorrow. Will it be ushering a new day of peace? One can only hope. I, personally see the peaceful becoming more peaceful and the hateful warmongers becoming more belligerent. There is a distinct difference between the living and the dead.

So, lets all toast in a shinny new 2014 with courageous optimism and hope for some serious positive changes for our prospective future on this planet.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


More than 150 years after brutal slaughter, a small tribe returns home

by  December 25, 2013 5:00AM ET
After losing much of their ancestry, the Wiyots are learning their traditions in preparation for a renewal ceremony

The dancers will endeavor, as Hernandez put it, “to heal the world of all the wars we’re having now, all the atrocities — to make everything fall into place.” 
The dances won’t be based strictly on Wiyot tradition. 
 “No one knows what the Wiyot dances were like,” Hernandez said. “We’ve lost that memory. So we are learning from a Yurok dancer. We’re figuring out how to do it.” 
 None of this will ruin the ceremony for Seidner, however. 
“The world has changed,” Seidner said, “and the Wiyot have changed with it. We don’t live in redwood slab houses anymore, but we still need our traditions. We need something to hold on to. And when we gather on Indian Island, we’ll be saying, ‘We’re here, and we’re trying to put the pieces of our culture together.’”
Read the rest of the article on Al Jazeera.

In truth, we all suffer the same 150 year old loss. We should join them in this much needed time of of renewal. Perhaps we can achieve the standing we need to make and be at peace with all peoples of this Earth. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Queen of the Forest and Hopeful Holidays

Occasionally you come across a little pearl that is worth highlighting. This exchange between the infamous demigod jon and his nemesis Forest Queen, recently on the Humboldt Herald, is one of these pearls.

jon makes the following statement:
"Thanks for the heads up fair wage folks! I swear I will make a meeting in 2014. Good luck on your efforts they are an important first step toward rebuilding our middle class despite every effort of the 1% to have a feudal class for some unknown reason."

The pearl is Forest Queen's response:

"Well Jon, at least you always offer up a perfect segway – “ . . .despite every effort of the 1% to have a feudal class for ‘some Unknown Reason.” “Unknown reason?” This ‘moral superiority’ of yours is a great impediment to momentum for those who are pushing and pulling humanity forward ~from the individual to the collective. You are implying Jon that our localized consciousness is lacking, and that we are globally ignorant. Your stance is invalid. [Emphasis mine]
“To know nothing of the past is to understand little of the present, and to have no conception of the future.” Nothing has changed Jon. The NWO/OWN has been around for thousands of centuries. It’s the same as it ever was . . .the Comfortably Numb slave/Master relationship that many ‘will’ not relinquish to make a stand. 
The NWO advances different ways, at different speeds, in different countries . . . but we are all marching steadily towards total domination by our rulers. REMEMBER, there is no such thing as an arms race between China or Russia and the U.S. There is no competition between those countries against each other. They are all working to advance the use of drones to CONTROL THEIR OWN PEOPLE. The race to build drones is a race to control people, waged by corporate governments on their own people in the common cause of world domination. This is NOT an arms race by governments to protect their own people against other ‘hostile’ countries. China is now referred to as the ‘Middle Empire.’ 
~i regard politicians as frauds and liars. Imagining the overthrow of the current political system is the only way i can be enthused about politics. One free thinking man, Buckmaster Fuller said; “Humanity now faces a choice: oblivion or utopia.” 
We need more critical thinkers. Critical thinking is important because it is logical, therefore includes self-defense, personal empowerment, liberal democracy in civic duty, philosophy, and the search for wisdom. ‘Valid’ vs ‘Invalid’, ‘Strong’ vs ‘Weak.’ Every field has its own specialized terminology and logic is no exception. Gun control, for example, isn’t over what “Policies” will best reduce gun violence, or how to interpret the Second Amendment. The level of resistance is rooted in “fear of government power and control.” The issue then is whether (1) it’s reasonable to think that the Federal Government poses a threat to the American people, and (2) whether private gun ownership has an important role to play in mitigating or neutralizing that threat. 
Edward Snowden vindicated, NSA to shut down in six months. Bless up the Constitution!"

If anyone bothered to follow these exchanges on other blogs, SoHum Parlance II for example, I'm afraid you would find what Forest Queen said here and elsewhere was totally lost on this guy. Instead, unfortunately, what you hear is the loud and heavy sucking sound of a large parasite drowning in all that energy, recognition and acknowledgment.

Whenever it looks like the darkness is about to overcome the light, the light shines a little brighter. Here is my raised cup to all the enduring bright lights.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Stacked Deck Works for Some

Albin appointed to 5th Ward seatTimes-Standard, Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Nominators pick the person they want and the City Council rubber-stamps their selection. All nice, neat and tidy. This is the Democratic System at its optimum best. If you believe you have some say with your vote, better think again.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Killers On The Road

Reprinted from CounterPunch

Killers on the Road

The Whack ‘Em and Stack ‘Em Mentality of American Cops

Police work continues to be a relatively safe occupation. In the 1970s, an average of 220 officers died each year. In the 1980s, 185 officers were killed on average, with the average number dropping to 155 in the 1990s. The number of police deaths continues to decline, year by year. According to the publication Officer Down, there were only 95 “duty related” officer deaths in 2013. Forty-two of these fatalities were vehicle related. Another 14 deaths resulted from heart attacks while on the clock. Only 27 cops died from gunfire last year and several of those were shot by other cops.
Craig Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, contends that “law enforcement remains the most dangerous occupation in America today, and those who serve and make the ultimate sacrifice are true portraits in courage.”
This is nonsense. Compared to the daily perils of being a retail clerk in a 7-Eleven or toiling on a construction site, let alone working on a trawler in the Gulf of Alaska, logging in the Pacific Northwest or working in a deep mine, policing is a fairly invulnerable trade.
But as vividly recounted by James Bovard in a piece for CounterPunch this week, it has probably never been riskier to be pulled over by a cop on one of America’s roads. Bovard writes:
“Killings by police are not a negligible proportion of the nation’s firearms death toll. Shootings by police accounted for almost 10 percent of the homicides in Los Angeles County in 2010, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Jim Fisher, a former FBI agent and criminal law professor, compiled a database of police shootings and estimated that in the United States in 2011 police shot more than 1,100 people, killing 607.”
The public apprehension that cops are often borderline psychotic, hair-trigger-ready to open fire on the slightest pretext, virtually immune from serious sanction, is growing apace, fueled by such incidents as the dog slaughter on an interstate in Tennessee. CNN featured grainy film of the episode taken from one of the police cruisers.
James Smoak plus wife Pamela and son Brandon were traveling from Nashville along Interstate 40 to their Saluda, NC, home on New Year’s Day when they noticed a trooper following them. In Cookeville, about 90 miles east of Nashville, the Smoaks were pulled over by the trooper and three local police cars. The cops ordered them out of the car, made them kneel and then handcuffed them.
At this point the Smoaks family implored the police to shut the doors of their car so the two family dogs couldn’t jump out. The cops did nothing. Out hopped Patton the bulldog. A cop promptly raised his shotgun and blew its head off, amid the horrified screams of the Smoaks family.
Of course, the cops later said Patton was acting in a threatening manner and that the uniformed shot-gunner “took the only action he could to protect himself and gain control of the situation,” but the film seems to show Patton wagging his tail the moment before he was blown away.
Why were the Smoaks stopped by the four-car posse? Mr. Smoaks had left his wallet on the roof of his car at the filling station, and someone phoned in a report that he’d seen the wallet fly off of a car and fall onto the highway with money spilling out. Well, Mr. Smoaks won’t make that silly mistake again.
Scroll through some Middle America websites and you’ll find much fury about what happened to Patton, as an episode ripely indicative of how cops carry on these days. Here’s “Police State in Progress,” by Dorothy Anne Seese writing in the sparky Sierra Times. The Times bills itself as “An Internet Publication for Real Americans.”
After relating the death of Patton, Seese brought up other recent police rampages:
“A couple of months ago, a woman was shot to death in her car at a drive-through Walgreens pharmacy for trying to get Soma by a forged prescription. The officer who shot the woman—who had a 14-month old baby with her in the car—claimed self-defense because the woman was trying to run over him. However, the medical examiner found she had been shot from an angle to the left and rear of her position in the driver’s seat. Self defense? The officer is under investigation for second-degree murder and has been fired from the Chandler police department. However, a child is motherless, a man has been deprived of his wife and companion, the mother of his child, because his wife tried to get a drug with a phony prescription. Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s daughter did the same thing and got a slap on the wrist. It seems the law now considers everyone guilty until proven innocent, with people in high places excepted. The number of horror stories increases daily in Amerika.”
There was a time when “Amerika” was a word solely in left currency. Not anymore, if the conservative, populist Sierra Times is any guide. Check out its Whack’em & Stack’em feature about killings by cops and you’ll sense the temperature of outrage.
This is a revised version of a story that originally ran in the January 2003 print edition of CounterPunch.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

You Are Being Watched...

[UPDATE :: December 9, 2013]

Local Law Enforcement Using NSA Methods To Spy On Cellphones

Juan Cole posted this:

FBi Laptop Camera Snooping and Orwell’s 1984: Side by Side ComparisonBy  | Dec. 7, 2013 |Jon Schwartz ( @tinyrevolution ) posted this to Twitter. It is a side by side comparison of a passage from “1984″ to the news report from a former senior FBI official that the FBI can turn on the laptop cameras of individuals without activating the red light that shows the camera is operating.

The Washington Post broke the story. If the FBI is doing this without a warrant it is yet another nail in the coffin of the US 4th Amendment, which guarantees people the right not to have government snoop through their personal effects without evidence of wrongdoing and a judge’s permission.

Obama continues to shred the U. S. Constitution and the American people cheer him on.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Howling Hypocrites

Here's an excerpt from The Black Agenda Report well worth reading:

Obama & Holder Win Court Case, Keep Thouands in Prison Under Unfair 80s Crack Sentencing Laws
"On mass incarceration in general and the reduction of these unfair, unjust sentences, our first black president and attorney general are howling hypocrites, saying one thing and doing another. Their hypocrisy is enabled by traditional black civil rights organizations like the NAACP-LDF, who refuse to make a political issue out of Obama's and Holder's hypocrisy. The “civil rights” establishment is in a bind. They claim to oppose mass incarceration and the prison state, although they've only just learned the phrase “mass incarceration” and cannot fix their lips to say “prison state.”
 But since their first priority is boosting the political fortunes and careers of their peers in the black political elite, who we affectionately call our black misleadership class, they are unable to call the devil in charge of mass incarceration by his name, if that devil has a black face."

Pretty much says it all. Click here to continue reading the complete article.

Monday, December 2, 2013

An Act of War?

I've been waiting for this to happen.

China plan to quit dollar infuriates US

The decision by the Central Bank of China to no longer accumulate foreign exchange reserves in dollar has infuriated the United States, an analyst says.

Finian Cunningham made the remark in a Sunday column for Press TV amid escalation of tensions between US and China over Beijing's enforcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). 

“The escalation of military tensions between Washington and Beijing in the East China Sea is superficially over China’s unilateral declaration of an air defense zone. But the real reason for Washington’s ire is the recent Chinese announcement that it is planning to reduce its holdings of the US dollar,” he wrote.

Cunningham said China “move to offload some of its 3.5 trillion in US dollar reserves” poses “a mortal threat to the American petrodollar and the entire American economy.” 

“China - the second biggest economy in the world and a top importer of oil - has or is seeking oil trading arrangements with its major suppliers, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, which will involve the exchange of national currencies,” he wrote, warning that the development threatens “the petrodollar and its global reserve status.”

Cunningham said Beijing’s November 20 notice about plan to “shift its risky foreign exchange holdings” in US dollars for other currencies “is a harbinger that the American economy’s days are numbered.” 

“But, in the imperialist, megalomaniac mindset of Washington, the ‘threat’ to the US economy and indebted way of life is perceived as a tacit act of war. That is why Washington is reacting so furiously and desperately to China’s newly declared air corridor. It is a pretext for the US to clench an iron fist,” concluded the analyst. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013


What does it mean to be thankful – thankful to whom?

Did it not come out of the deeply held religious belief that we should regularly express our appreciation and grateful thanks to Almighty God for all of His rich blessings we enjoy in this life?

As someone that has had more close calls with death than I care to think about, I never, upon awakening, get out of bed without giving thanks for being alive. Second to being alive, is the gift of truly being free. Such freedom is what fully allows thanksgiving, giving thanks, to be meaningful in all aspects of life.

In time, I can affirm, one becomes a living gift of thanksgiving, of giving thanks, that is shared with everyone and in behalf of all peace-loving gracious people.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What Does it Mean to Be Machiavellian?

If any of the readers happened to be following some of the thread conversations conducted in these past weeks with a couple of characters, democratic Jon and bolithio to be specific, on Eric Kirk's SoHum Parlance II, they run across several threads, you can well understand why this article in The Atlantic caught my attention:

 Machiavelli Was Right - The shocking lesson of The Prince isn’t that politics demands dirty hands, but that politicians shouldn’t care.

Once you read this article, you can fairly well see why their wanton bankrupt moral, ethical and spiritual assaults, they dissimulate so well, are justified in their minds and belief structures. Unfortunately, their way of thinking and believing are so well ensconced into the fabric of American society it leaves little hope for the people to right themselves. What's more, this all happens on a practicing lawyer's website without a word from him.

Here are two excerpts, one from the beginning and one from the end - hopefully enough to get you to read the whole article.
Machiavelli Was Right
The shocking lesson of The Prince isn’t that politics demands dirty hands, but that politicians shouldn’t care. 

You remember the photograph: President Obama hunched in a corner of the Situation Room with his national-security staff, including Hillary Clinton with a hand over her mouth, watching the live feed from the compound in Pakistan where the killing of Osama bin Laden is under way. This is a Machiavellian moment: a political leader taking the ultimate risks that go with the exercise of power, now awaiting the judgment of fate. He knows that if the mission fails, his presidency is over, while if it succeeds, no one should ever again question his willingness to risk all.

It’s a Machiavellian moment in a second sense: an instance when public necessity requires actions that private ethics and religious values might condemn as unjust and immoral. We call these moments Machiavellian because it was Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince, written in 1513, that first laid bare the moral world of politics and the gulf between private conscience and the demands of public action.

The Prince’s blunt candor has been a scandal for 500 years. The book was placed on the Papal Index of banned books in 1559, and its author was denounced on the Elizabethan stages of London as the “Evil Machiavel.” The outrage has not dimmed with time. The greatest modern conservative political theorist, Leo Strauss, taught his students at the University of Chicago in the 1950s to regard Machiavelli as “a teacher of evil.” Machiavelli’s enduring provocation is to baldly maintain that in politics, evil deeds cease to be evil if urgent public interest makes them necessary.


He insisted that when tough or risky political decisions have to be made, Christian charity or private empathy simply will not serve. In politics, the polestar must be the health of the republic alone. Following the querulous inner voice or tacking to and fro when moralizers on the sidelines object is just weakness, and if your hesitations put the republic at risk, it is contemptible weakness. Machiavelli’s ethics valued judicious decisiveness in politics over the anguished search for rectitude.

So if we return to the Situation Room and to the decisions presidents make there, Machiavelli’s The Prince tells us the question is not whether one human being should have the right to make such terrifying determinations. The essence of power, even in a democracy, is to use violence to protect the republic. It matters to the very soul of a republic, however, that the violence used in its defense never be gratuitous. His is not an ethic that values action for its own sake. Machiavelli praises restraint when it serves the republic. It may even be advisable, for example, for the president to stay the order to dispatch cruise missiles to Syria if he cannot discern a clear target or a defensible strategic objective.

What he refuses to praise is people who value their conscience and their soul more than the interests of the state. What he will not pardon is public displays of indecision. We should not choose leaders who agonize, worrying about the moral hazards of the power they exercise in the people’s name. We should choose leaders who sleep soundly after taking ultimate risks with their own virtue. They are doing what must be done. The Prince’s question about the current president would be: Is he Machiavellian enough?

"Is he Machiavellian enough?" We know democratic Jon, Eric and bolithio are.

Friday, November 22, 2013

What Showed Up on the Internet Today.

This is from The Patriot Post:
'I Will Obey the Constitution'
and this is what turned up about the same time on Firedoglake:
Obama Admin Claims to Support Cellphone Unlocking but TPP Leak Shows Opposite

Here's an excerpt of both pages, first The Patriot Post:
“This is part of the theory of George Bush, that he can make laws as he goes along. I disagree with that. I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution. I will obey the Constitution of the United States.” In case you needed a reminder, these words were spoken by none-other than then-Senator Barack Obama in May of 2008.
and from Firedoglake:

When you buy something from someone you own it, right? Not if President Obama has his way on cellphones. And by his way, I mean the telecom monopolies that pull his strings’ way. Cellphone unlocking, which allows owners to alter the phone they purchased and use it with other carriers should they so desire, is a front line issue on the fight for rational copyright laws. Telecom companies want the practice of unlocking a cellphone to lead to prosecutions and imprisonment because free competition somehow means government granted monopolies.

While the Obama Administration has publicly backed cellphone users rights to unlock their cellphones  – the information published by Wikileaks on the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP) tells a different story.
The leaked treaty draft shows that while the White House was championing restoring free market principles to phones, the U.S. proposed that the TPP lock in the process that allowed the Librarian of Congress to rule this technology as illegal through international law. This would make potential reforms like H.R. 1892 impossible.* It should be noted that Canada did submit an amendment proposal that could allow unlocking, but neither the United States nor any other country supported it.
Surprise. The reason the Obama Administration wanted its TPP positions to be a secret is because they are lying to the public about them. The Most Transparent Administration in History© strikes again.

For the rest of the article continue here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Not Our Country Anymore

This is a reprint of a letter written to the Times-Standard and published as a My Word on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by Eureka resident Robert Barker:

Our new ways in the right-wing USA nothing to feel patriotic about

That little chapel down the street is replaced by a megachurch. That small hardware store is now closed due to Home Depot or Lowes. That grocery store that was called a mom and pop place is gone and now stands a supermarket from some famous chain, Kroger, Safeway, Albertsons, Ralph's, or Piggly Wiggly. 
That shoe repair shop we once went to, is replaced by shoes made cheap enough in China to buy new ones rather than re-sole. That small electronics store is replaced by a Radio Shack. The milkman and bread man, we had in the past is replaced by Stop and Go or convenience stores.

That policeman we once trusted to serve the nation kills first and asks why later.

Our “National Guard” that once defended the nation at home is now deployed with regularity.

Our beloved Postal Service has been put under the gun by right-wing conservatives that hate anything once or currently connected to the government even if it's been reliable for hundreds of years.

Our public school system, once the envy of the globe, is now rated low and unappreciated and underfunded by the right-wingers.

That trickle down we were told would occur to offset the wage freeze never trickled down and the middle class shrinks from that joke of an economic idea.

Racism is still with us even though the Supreme Court struck down much of the Voting Rights Act because they said there was no longer racism. They just needed to show up at a Tea Party rally and see the signs and racism is apparent. The experts said “Head Start” was the best program ever for poor children, but the right killed it or most of it, and the rest is set to die.

Private for-profit prisons where citizens are targeted and sent to jail for lower level crimes are now in vogue. We no longer claim to rehabilitate, we just incarcerate, due to the death of inmate rehabilitation, because the right says “punish, not rehabilitate.”

Our media -- which once held down the lies and propaganda through the “Fairness Doctrine”-- is now allowed to lie and keep us down through false information made to increase controls. Once a citizen was human and many died for this country but with the “Citizens United” decision corporations are considered human even though one has never died for this land in our history.

Welcome to the right-wing America, where billion dollar jets are built for wars, needed or not, but food stamps denied to hungry kids like it's the right thing to do.

Our world, at least here in America, has lost its philanthropic ways and has become more about right-wing religiosity, more about corporate gains and less about people gains, more cruel, stark and hateful.

We are not that country any longer, perhaps we never were, but our fascist, corporate ways are driving us to hell in a social sense faster than a speeding bullet.

We are willing to drone or bomb anyone we see as in our way. This is the New USA, the Koch Brothers' vision, becoming true -- and our populace's vision sinks into oblivion.

Robert Barker resides in Eureka.

This is about a well said as you can get. In view of the above, it begs the question, what now? More of the same certainly is not the solution. Maybe it's time to innovate.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Time for a Drone Moratorium in Eureka

This is what other cities and localities are doing about drones:

All Drone Politics Is Local
By: David Swanson Thursday November 14, 2013
What Localities and States Can Do About Drones

I'd say our time has come to move on this issue.
[Picture source]

Friday, November 15, 2013

Police War on the People Runs Full-Bore

I was greeted this morning, Friday, November 15, 2013 with following Times-Standard front page headline: Local law cheers feds' focus on Humboldt - Officials: 'High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area' designation to boost shared intel, resources

Thadeus Greenson/The Times-Standard - The Office of National Drug Control Policy on Thursday designated Humboldt County as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, opening the door for more federal dollars and officers.

Once more the "Feds" co-opt the local police by handing out free money and god only knows what else.

Eureka is a town rife with people that, by the most part, drive like they live in a third-world country. And the EPD? Where are they? Call on the EPD for assistance, NOT a 911, call and what do you get? One friendly police officer ready to respond? Hardly. You get two in two patrol cars. Why two? Well, one is there to protect the other, they call it backup. Do they bring a friendly helpful presence with the implied threat? Not hardly. Consistently, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman says:
 "The situation in Humboldt County is critical and this designation will bring federal resources and expertise to the table to help safeguard the safety and welfare of Humboldt County residents." 
In reality, it will bring more violence. Notice this little blurb in the paper: "Officials seem to agree that when it comes to marijuana grows, it's the large-scale operations involving environmental violations and threats of violence that are the enforcement priority." What establishes a viable "threat of violence"? The fact the "Officials" attack these locations like a military special forces unit? That's bringing violence that actually threatens the safety and welfare of Humboldt County residents.
[Picture Source]

Friday, November 8, 2013

Passing the Baton

[UPDATE Below]

The Rest of the Story...

That's what I'd like to know.

All that was in the Thursday, November 7, 2013, Times-Standard newspaper was this picture and it's caption. Here's what it says:
New Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills, left, and outgoing Chief Murl Harpham smile after Mills  was sworn in at the Adorni Center on Wednesday afternoon. Nearly all EPD officers and staff were on hand while Humboldt County Sheriff's deputies patrolled the city during the short event Mills thanked Harpham and the city officials and addressed his assembled force. (Emphasis mine)
There he stands, all spiffy in his new uniform. Actually he has about as much authority and legitimacy as Chief Garr Nielsen had as long as Murl Harpham and David Tyson are still around.

What did he say to his assembled force? Knowing what he had to say, should give everyone a fair idea what kind of a police force we should expect. Is he going to carry on enforcing Harpham's policies? The way he's grinning, I wonder if he hasn't already stacked the deck. There's blood on that baton.

So, how about it Times-Standard, what did  he say?

[UPDATE: Saturday, November 9, 2013] 
 It looks like I'm not the only one interested in more information about what we can expect from the EPD. More of the same or something new?

Here's a Letter to the Editor:
New chief warrants more coverage
Thank you for publishing a front page picture of the police chief change of command ceremony ("Passing the baton," Times-Standard, Nov. 7, Page A1). I was very disappointed that you did not have an accompanying story, including the script of the new police chief's remarks. It was an important ceremony for our community and I am sure your readers would have appreciated more coverage of the ceremony. -Minnie Wolf, Eureka

I know I would.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NSA Hammer?

UPDATE:  The link is now up and running. Very interesting article. Barack Obama's future may take a different sense of justice, rather than the "look forward, not backward" kind. He may very well wish he'd look "backward."

Under My Reader Blogs this popped-up:

When you click on the link or try to go to FireDogLake.com this what you get:

Error establishing a database connection

and this:

Error 503 Service Unavailable

Service Unavailable

Guru Meditation:

XID: 576600309

Varnish cache server

I'm guessing we know why?

Heretics and the Liberal

My thoughts...

I found this on truthdigChris Hedges on Christian Heretics
Sometimes some things are just worth repeating.


Robert Scheer: We had a debate at UCLA with you and Sam Harris and you’ve debated my old friend Christopher Hitchens on this question. And there’s a complexity to your view. You come out of the mainstream Protestant Church. Your father, who is a minister, is a man you had enormous respect for, championed gay rights, civil rights when it was not popular. And I just wonder, and I know you resent when I say you have a prophetic voice, since I know nothing about scripture I probably don’t know anything about prophetic voices, but nonetheless it does seem to me your strength and clarity comes out of your Christian background.

Chris Hedges: Yeah, without question. And what I’m willing to do, which the mainstream church is not, is to denounce the Christian right as Christian heretics [applause]. You don’t have to, as I did, spend three years at Harvard Divinity School to realize that Jesus didn’t come to make us rich [laughter]. And he certainly didn’t come to make Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen rich. And what they have done is acculturate the worst aspects of American imperialism, capitalism, chauvinism, and violence and bigotry into the Christian religion. And again let’s go back to Weimar and the rise of Nazism. We saw the same thing in the so-called German Christian Church, which fused the iconography and language of Christianity with Nazism. It’s not a new phenomenon. It was the minority within that church, Bonhoeffer, Niemoller, Karl Barth, Schweizer who created the underground Confessing Church. And my great mentor at Harvard Divinity School, James Luther Adams [applause], was at the University of Heidelberg in 1935 and 1936 and dropped out and joined the Confessing Church. And when I had him in the early ’80s at Harvard, he used to tell us, he was certainly one of the most brilliant scholars I’ve ever studied with, that when we were his age we would all be fighting the Christian fascists. Because, he understood that the Weimarization of the American working class, essentially pushing your working population into utter despair and hopelessness, coupled with a religious movement that fused national and religious symbols, was a recipe for fascism. And I think the great failure of the liberal tradition that I come out of is they were too frightened and too timid to stand up. I don’t know why they spent all the years in seminary if they didn’t realize that when they walked out the door they were going to have to fight for it. And they didn’t fight for it. (Emphasis mine)


Saturday, November 2, 2013

The City of Eureka and Your Vote

On Friday, November 1, the Times-Standard front page was "Trick or Treat" -- "New chief in town" (Change of command ceremony for Mills slated for Wednesday)

On Saturday, November 2, the Times-Standard front page was "Dia De Los Muertos" -- "A different approach" (As Eureka searches for a new manager, some hope for more thorough vetting)

I thought both title pages were extremely appropriate for what's going on in Eureka. In Mills case as the new "vetted" police chief everyone can fully expect that they are "treat(ed)" to a bonafide "trick". The selection of these two important people for Eureka is proving to be quite appropriate for a Day of the Dead. As I recall after former City Manager David Tyson, EPD Murl Harpham and his cadre of supporting officers managed to get a majority, if not all of the City Council to agree, after a successful campaign, got rid of Police Chief Garr Nielsen we, the citizens of Eureka, were fed a trough of soul-satisfying pablum.  Couple that with the abrupt resignation of the City Manager Bill Panos, leaving no one accountable for the hiring of Andy Mills, another big city cop for Police Chief.

The pablum? Definition: "trite, naive, or simplistic ideas or writings; intellectual pap." That's what we were all fed when the City Council offered to have meetings where we could have some meaningful input about the quality, qualifications and type of new chief. Andy Mills was vetted alright, by Murl Harpham. I think everyone knows what we can expect from Andy Mill, not withstanding all the hype -- status quo.

Same thing goes for the new City Manager. So, Voters, how much say did you have in the selection or future selection of these very important people? Has the City Council demonstrate in any way shape or form to the people of Eureka that they met their concerns in Andy Mills. So he walks the streets, so what? When I call for assistance from the EPD and I'm not talking about a 911 call either I certainly do not want to bring violence to my door and be threatened. But, that's exactly what happens.

I'd say you all had quite a lot of say when you voted in the current crop of council members. You can be sure they all will tell us what to do and how to do it.

So, buckle up! It looks like Eureka is in for quite a ride.

About the picture? I found it on the Humboldt Sentinel - DEA Arrogance and Stupidity. I thought it appropriate for this article, and the current state of affairs.

Friday, October 25, 2013

America's New Reality - An Imaginary Constitution

The article needs to be repeated. Juan Cole writes on his blog October 25, 2013, How the US Government Betrayed the Constitution and invented an Imaginary Fascist One

[Fascism: a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power,forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.] -Dictionary.com

How the US Government Betrayed the Constitution and invented an Imaginary Fascist One

Posted on 10/24/2013 by Juan Cole
The idea of having a strong Federal government was controversial in the early United States, and one of the ways Federalists reassured Americans that it wouldn’t become tyrannical was to append a Bill of Rights to the Constitution.
That attempt to prevent despotism has failed, because the Federal government and its various agencies have set aside the Bill of Rights as a dead letter, substituted for them a bizarre set of interpretations of law, and either avoid having the courts adjudicate their fascist fantasies or managed to have appointed to the bench unethical or authoritarian judges that will uphold virtually anything they do.
‘in Weems v. United States it was concluded that the framers had not merely intended to bar the reinstitution of procedures and techniques condemned in 1789, but had intended to prevent the authorization of “a coercive cruelty being exercised through other forms of punishment.” The Amendment therefore was of an “expansive and vital character”41 and, in the words of a later Court, “must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” ‘
If a sheriff in a small town arrested a shoplifter and waterboarded him 54 times, the sheriff would go to jail. Federal officials? Not so much.
Let us just underline the Supreme Court’s diction here in Weems. The Framers had sought, they said, to forestall “a coercive cruelty being exercised through other forms of punishment.”
Coercive cruelty. Coercive cruelty was the hallmark of treatment of Federal detainees in the Bush era. That was what Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo were about. Some prisoners were likely victims of manslaughter by coercive cruelty (it is hard to know when to stop).
Waterboarding is illegal (not to mention setting German shepherds on people to viciously bite them). Professor of Law Wilson R. Huhn writes:
“Three major treaties that the United States has signed and unambiguously ratified prohibit the United States from subjecting prisoners in the War on Terror to this kind of treatment. First, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, which the Senate unanimously ratified in 1955, prohibits the parties to the treaty from acts upon prisoners including “violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; . . . outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.”[18] Second, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Senate ratified in 1992, states that “[n]o one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”[19] Third, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, which the Senate ratified in 1994, provides that “[e]ach State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction,”[20] and that “[e]ach State Party shall undertake to prevent in any territory under its jurisdiction other acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which do not amount to torture . . . .”
The United States has enacted statutes prohibiting torture and cruel or inhuman treatment. It is these statutes which make waterboarding illegal… The four principal statutes which Congress has adopted to implement the provisions of the foregoing treaties are the Torture Act,… the War Crimes Act…,and the laws entitled “Prohibition on Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of Persons Under Custody or Control of the United States Government”… and “Additional Prohibition on Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.”… The first two statutes are criminal laws while the latter two statutes extend civil rights to any person in the custody of the United States anywhere in the world.
The Torture Act makes it a felony for any person, acting under color of law, to commit an act of torture upon any person within the defendant’s custody or control outside the United States…. Torture is defined as the intentional infliction of “severe physical or mental pain or suffering” upon a person within the defendant’s custody or control… To be “severe,” any mental pain or suffering resulting from torture must be “prolonged.”[29] Under this law, torture is punishable by up to twenty years imprisonment unless the victim dies as a result of the torture, in which case the penalty is death or life in prison.”
But somehow employees of the US military, the CIA and other Federal agencies managed to ignore all that. So yes, unnecessary and ineffective. But also, illegal and unconstitutional and treasonous.
Then of course there is the National Security Agency’s gutting of the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable search and seizure. As long as the unreasonable search and seizure happens on the internet, apparently that is all right. What arrogance, what hypocrisy, what fascism.
An honest appeals court just ruled that the government needs a warrant to put a tracking device on your car and follow you around by GPS. But your cell phone metadata also reveals your movements, and the NSA is scooping that information up, effectively following you around without a warrant, exactly what the court just found unjustified. But the Federal government (yes, the Obama administration) has succeeded in keeping NSA practices out of the courts.
While few Americans care that the NSA was intensively spying on the Mexicans, French and Germans, even on German chancellor Angela Merkel’s private cell phone, they should. The Bill of Rights were once a point of inspiration for human rights activists around the world. Much of what the youth who led the Arab upheavals of 2011 wanted was enshrined in the Bill of Rights. American ideals and rule of law were part of America’s soft power in the world. The European Union is suddenly less cooperative because of our allies’ outrage at being spied on. No one wants to be like creepy peeping toms or vicious torturers, and that is what Americans have become.
Moreover, the NSA foreign spying is racist. Yes, on top of everything else, it involves a racist hierarchy. The US doesn’t intensively spy on Canadians, British and Australians, i.e. on what were called in the 19th century ‘Anglo-Saxons.’ It is only the inferior races that Washington subjects to surveillance.
But all that is crashing and burning as the US government has betrayed those ideals over and over again. We’re being massively spied on by our government, our location, the people we call, the websites we visit, all being monitored constantly. And if the government decides we are terrorism suspects, we could well be tortured. Martin Luther King’s principle of civil disobedience would be categorized as terrorism today, and if he were active in our time, instead of naming a Federal holiday after him, the government would have MLK waterboarded by police dressed up as military commandos.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sobering Assessment of America's Future

If you want a sobering assessment of America's future take the time to read this article written by Paul Craig Roberts, who is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal posted on CounterPunch October 23, 2013, No Way Out.

I've posted the complete article here as well.

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap
No Way Out
The year 2014 could be shaping up as the year that the chickens come home to roost.

Americans, even well-informed ones, don’t know all of the mistakes made by neoconized and corrupted Washington in the past two decades.  However, enough is known to see that the US has lost economic and political power, and that the loss is irreversible.

The economic cost of this lost will be born by what remains of the middle class and the increasingly poverty-stricken lower class.  The one percent will have offshore gold holdings and large sums of money in foreign currencies and other foreign assets to see them through.

In the political arena, the collapse of the Soviet Union presented Washington with the grand opportunity to reallocate the Pentagon budget to other uses. Part of the reduction could have been returned to taxpayers for their own use. Another part could have been used to improve worn out infrastructure.  And another part could have been used to repair and improve the social safety net, thus insuring domestic tranquility.  A final, but perhaps most important part, could have been used to begin repaying the Treasury IOUs in the Social Security Trust Fund from which Washington has borrowed and spent $2 trillion, leaving non-marketable IOUs in the place of the Social Security payroll tax revenues that Washington raided in order to fund its wars and current operations.

Instead, influenced by neoconservative warmongers who advocated America using its “sole superpower” status to establish hegemony over the world, Washington let hubris and arrogance run away with it.  The consequence was that Washington destroyed its soft power with lies and war crimes, only to find that its military power was insufficient to support its occupation of Iraq, its conquest of Afghanistan, and its financial imperialism.

Now seen universally as a lawless warmonger and a nuisance, Washington’s  soft power has been squandered. With its influence on the wane, Washington has become more of a bully.  In response, the rest of the world is isolating Washington.

The prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, recently declared China and Russia to be India’s “most important partners” with whom India shares “common strategic interests.” Prime Minister Singh said: “ India and Russia have always had a convergence of views on global and regional issues, and we value Russia’s perspective on international developments of mutual interest.”

India joined China in expressing concerns about the Federal Reserve’s practice of printing money in order to cover Washington’s vast red ink.  The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) are taking steps to create their own method of settling trade accounts in order to protect themselves from the looming dollar implosion, China has forcefully called for a “de-Americanized world.” After watching the “superpower” offshore a large part of its GDP to China and then add to the diminished tax base the burden of $6 trillion in wars that brought no booty and served no US interest, China has concluded that American power is spent.  The London Telegraph thinks “it is only a matter of time before the renminbi replaces the dollar as the primary currency for trading commodities and resources.”

The Obama regime attempted to attack Syria based on the sort of lies that the Bush regime used to invade Iraq, only to be slapped down by the British Parliament and Russian government. This rebuke was followed by the childishness of the government shutdown and threat of default. Consequently, the Washington morons have lost their monopoly on economic and political leadership. A few days ago the British government announced a historic agreement that permits British investors direct access to China’s markets and allows Chinese banks to expand their operations in Great Britain.

In Australia, the US dollar will no longer be used as the currency in which to settle the Australian trade accounts with China.  Instead of dollars, trade will be settled in the Chinese currency.

Washington served as cheerleader, as did most economists and libertarians, while US corporations, greedy for short-term profits and executive bonuses, offshored US industry and manufacturing, calling it free trade. The obvious and predicted result is that China’s demand for resources needed to fuel its industrial and manufacturing power now dominates markets. This means that the US dollar is being displaced as world currency.  The only market that America dominates is the market for financial fraud.

When industrial, manufacturing, and tradeable professional service jobs are offshored, they take US GDP and tax base with them. The foreign country gets the benefit of the relocated economic activity. Due to the revenues lost from jobs offshoring, there is a large gap between federal revenues and federal expenditures. As Washington’s irresponsible behavior has raised so many doubts about the dollar’s value and the government’s commitment to stand behind its massive debt, foreign countries with trade surpluses with the US are less and less willing to recycle those surpluses into the purchase of US Treasury debt.

Today the two largest holders of US Treasury debt are not investors or even foreign central banks. The two largest holders are the Federal Reserve and the Social Security Trust Fund.

As for those $6 trillion wars, that’s to pay for national defense to protect us from women, children, and village elders in far away countries devoid of air forces and navies, and to provide those recycled taxpayer monies from the military/security complex that find their way into political contributions.

The Wall Street gangsters sighed for relief over the last minute debt ceiling agreement.

This shows how short-term Wall Street’s outlook is. All the October agreement did was to push off the crisis to January and February. The “debt ceiling agreement” did not produce a new debt ceiling that would last beyond February, and it did not resolve the large difference between federal revenues and expenditures.  In other words, the can was again kicked down the road. A repeat of the October fiasco won’t play well.

Obamacare is causing the premiums on private insurance polices to rise substantially, almost doubling in some situations unless people move to the uncertain exchanges, and Obamacare’s raid on Medicare payroll tax revenues has resulted in a cut in Medicare payments to health care providers. The result is a further reduction in consumer discretionary income and a further drop in the economy.

This in turn means a larger federal budget deficit and the need for the Federal Reserve to purchase more debt.

Another reason the Federal Reserve is faced with increasing, not tapering, quantitative easing (money printing) is the decline in foreign purchases of US Treasury bills, notes, and bonds.  As the instruments pay interest that is less than the rate of inflation, holding Treasury debt makes no sense when the dollar’s value and the potential of default are open questions.

According to reports, not only are foreign governments, such as China, ceasing to buy US Treasury debt, China has started to sell off its holdings, substituting gold in the place of US Treasury debt.

This means that the bonds must be purchased by the Fed or interest rates will rise as the increased supply of bonds on the market drives down bond prices.  The only way the Fed can purchase a larger supply of bonds is by printing more money, that is, by more quantitative easing.

With the world moving away from using the dollar to settle international accounts, as the Fed prints more dollars the rate at which foreign holders of dollar assets sell off their holdings will rise.

To get out of dollars requires that the dollar proceeds from selling Treasuries, US stocks and US real estate be sold in the currency markets.  The selling of dollars drives down the exchange value of the US dollar and results in rising US inflation. The Fed can print money with which to purchase Treasury debt, but it cannot print foreign currencies with which to purchase dollars.

The decline in the dollar’s exchange value and the domestic inflation that results will force the Fed to stop printing.  What then covers the gap between revenues and expenditures? The likely answer is private pensions and any other asset that Washington can get its hands on.

Initially, private pensions will be taxed at a rate to recover the tax-free accumulation in the pensions. The second year a national emergency will be used to confiscate some share of pensions.  Those relying on the pensions will find themselves with less income. Consumer spending will decline. The economy will worsen. The deficit will widen.

You can see where this is going, and there seems to be no way out.  Policymakers, economists, and corporation executives are in denial about the adverse effects of offshoring, which they still, despite all the evidence, maintain is good for the economy.  So nothing will be done about offshoring. Republicans will blame the budget deficit on welfare and entitlements, and if those are cut consumer spending will decline further, widening the budget deficit. Inflation will rise as incomes fall, and social cohesion will break down.

Now you know why Homeland Security purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition, enough ammunition to fight the Iraq war for 12 years, has its own para-military force and 2,700 tanks.  If you think the “terrorist threat” in America warrants a domestic armed force of this size, you are out of your mind. This force has been assembled to deal with starving and homeless people in the streets of America.

September employment report:  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), September brought 148,000 new jobs, enough to keep up with population growth but not reduce the unemployment rate.  Moreover, John Williams (shadowstats.com) says that one-third of these jobs, or 50,000 per month on average, are phantom jobs produced by the birth-death model that during difficult economic times overestimates the number of new jobs from business startups and underestimates job losses from business failures.

The BLS reports that 22,000 of September’s jobs were new hires by state governments, which seems odd in view of the ongoing state budgetary difficulties.

In the private sector, wholesale and retail trade produced 36,900 new jobs, which seems odd in light of the absence of growth in real median family income and real retail sales.

Transportation and warehousing produced 23,400 new jobs, concentrated in transit and ground passenger transportation.  This also seems odd unless the price of gasoline and pinched budgets are forcing people onto public transportation.

Professional and business services accounted for 32,000 jobs of which 63% are  temporary help jobs.

So here you have the job picture that the presstitutes, hyping “the jobs gain,” don’t tell you.  The scary part of the September job report is that the usual standby, the category of waitresses and bartenders, which has accounted for a large part of every reported jobs gain since I began reporting the monthly statistics, shows job loss. Seven thousand one hundred waitresses and bartenders lost their jobs in September.  If this figure is not a fluke, it is bad news.  It signals that fewer Americans can afford to eat and drink out.

The unemployment rate that is reported is the rate that does not count as unemployed discouraged workers who are unable to find jobs and cease to look. This favored rate,
the darling of the regime in power, the presstitutes, and Wall Street, also is not adjusted for the category of “involuntary part-time workers,” those whose hours have been cut back or because they are unable to find a full-time job.  Obamacare, as is widely reported, is causing employers to shift their work forces from full time to part time in order to avoid costs associated with Obamacare. The BLS places the number of involuntary part-time workers at 7,900,000.

The announced 7.2% unemployment rate is a meaningless number.  The rate can decline for no other reason than people unable to find jobs drop out of the work force. You are not counted in the work force if you are discouraged about finding a job and no longer look for a job.

The phenomena of discouraged workers shows up in the measure of the labor force participation rate, which has declined in the 21st century.  The opportunities for American labor are so restricted that a rising percentage of the working age population have given up looking for jobs.

Yet, the Obama regime, the Wall Street gangsters, and the pressitute media tell us how much better the economic situation is becoming as more small businesses close, as memberships decline in golf clubs, as more university graduates return home to live with their parents, who are drawing down their savings to live, as Fed Chairman Bernanke has made it impossible for them to live on interest payments on their savings.

According to the US census bureau, real median household income in 2012 was $51,017, down 9% from $56,080 in 1999, 13 years ago. In contrast, annual compensation in 2012 for US CEOs broke all records.  Two CEOs were paid more than $1 billion, and the worst paid among the top ten took home $100 million. When the presstitutes speak of economic recovery, they mean recovery for the one percent.

America is in the toilet, and the rest of the world knows it.  But the neocons who rule in Washington and their Israeli ally are determined that Washington start yet more wars to create lebensraum for Israel.

Early in the 21st century the liberal Democrat Senator from New York, Chuck Schumer, and I coauthored an article in the New York Times about the adverse effects on the US economy of jobs offshoring. The article caused a sensation.  The Brookings Institution in Washington quickly convened a conference which was covered by C-SPAN.  C-SPAN rebroadcast the conference several times. During the conference I said that if jobs offshoring continued, the US would be a third world economy in 20 years.

Wall Street quickly shut up Senator Schumer, but I am sticking by my forecast.  Indeed, I think we are already there.

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book The Failure of Laissez-Faire Capitalism. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format.

"As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap"

Friday, October 18, 2013

Accountable - One and All

That's right. All Americans are accountable and answerable for what George W. Bush did.
Juan Cole lays it out in spades in his post today October 17, 2013.
This is worth posting and repeating. (I hope Juan Cole doesn't mind.)

The American Genocide Against Iraq: 4% of Population Dead as result of US sanctions, wars  Posted on 10/17/2013 by Juan Cole
A new household survey of Iraqis has projected the civilian death toll from the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq at roughly 450,000. Passive information-gathering techniques like logging deaths in the Western press have produced estimates closer to 150,000, but such techniques have been proven to miss a lot of people. (To my knowledge no one was counting all the deaths reported in the some 200 Arabic-language Iraqi newspapers in the 2000s, so even the passive information-gathering was limited. And, the Wikileaks US military log of civilian deaths did not overlap very much with e.g. Iraq Body Count, so both of them were missing things the other caught.) 
Of those extra deaths beyond those who would have died if the US had never invaded, some 270,000 died violently, with US troops responsible for about 90,000 civilian deaths and militias for another 90,000. Of those killed violently, 60 percent were shot, and 12 percent died from car bombs. Some 180,000 died because of the destruction of the public health infrastructure (lack of access to hospital treatment, e.g.). 
Despite the horrific total, this estimate for 2003-2011 is smaller than the Lancet study of some years ago, which was done under wartime conditions. The authors admit, however, that the death toll could have been even higher; this total is a projection based on 2000 interviews. 
The US/ UN sanctions on Iraq of the 1990s, which interdicted chlorine for much of that decade and so made water purification impossible, are estimated to have killed another 500,000 Iraqis, mainly children. (Infants and toddlers die easily from diarrhea caused by gastroenteritis, which causes fatal dehydration). 
So the US polished off about a million Iraqis from 1991 through 2011, large numbers of them children. The Iraqi population in that period was roughly 25 million, so the US killed or created the conditions for the killing of 4% of the Iraqi population. 
If Iraq had killed 4% of Americans, it would be 12 million people dead. 
Iraq did not attack the United States. It did attack Iran in 1980, but by 1983 the US was an ally in Iraq’s war against Iran. It also attacked Kuwait, which it occupied quite bestially, but it was out by spring 1991. There was no casus belli or legitimate legal cause of war in 2003. Iraq’s main crime appears to have been to be an oil state not compliant with US demands. 
All this is horrible enough. Even more horrible is that the US occupation of Iraq sparked a Sunni Arab insurgency, which is still vigorous. Insurgencies typically take 10 to 15 years to subside. Some 5000 Iraqi civilians have been killed so far this year by that insurgency. US occupation is the gift that goes on giving. 
Despite the Bush administration’s violation of the UN charter and its war crimes in Iraq, none of its high officials has faced prosecution. Some of them even have the gall to come on television from time to time to urge more killing.
I would point out one problem I have with a lot of these kinds of reports from people like Juan Cole is their reluctance to actually call a spade a spade. Point of fact:  "civilian death toll from the Bush administration’s invasion and occupation of Iraq" and continues, "Despite the Bush administration’s violation of the UN charter and its war crimes in Iraq".  The person responsible for the deaths, invasion, occupation, violations and war crimes was specifically President George W. Bush. Justice demands the same accountability that Saddam Hussein got.