The Friends of California Libre...

31 July 2008

Freedom of Choice Is What You Got, Freedom from Choice Is What You Want

Greetings, friends,
Just in case you forgot, I want to remind you what this country is all about:
In Congress, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
WHEN IN the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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Talk talk talk.  I am becoming cynical enough to wonder if, even 232 years ago, our "founding fathers" were only looking for an angle to make more money, and let Thomas Jefferson find one.  Down the British, and more money!  So much of the screaming and crying I hear about lately in the news or in the presidential campaign is about money.  Am I going to lose any money?  You mean I'm not getting MORE money?  You want some of MY money?

Be glad that you have your "freedom", which I know must exist in some form, because I keep running my mouth and the only thing that's happened to me was losing my job and some of my friends.  But I can still get up, walk to the bank, take out $40 and spend it on WHATEVER I WANT.

And I have been taking advantage of my freedom.  To digress, Monday and Tuesday were the birthdays of my two favorite "jazz babies", the actresses Barbara La Marr (28 July 1896) and Clara Bow (29 July 1907).  I've always been intrigued by La Marr (birth name - Reatha Watson), who was a huge star in the early 1920s and became infamous after the publication of Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon.  Besides burning out on five husbands, cocaine and morphine by the age of 30, I researched La Marr's life for years in hopes of writing her biography, and learned more interesting facts about her.  She was among the first (and as far as I can tell, one of the only) actors to start her career as a screenwriter (another was Jack Nicholson.)  She was one of the first locals (she lived in my hometown of Burbank from the age of 15) to "make it" in Hollywood, and her best friend was the talented Santa Cruz actress ZaSu Pitts.  I also discovered that she wrote her own articles for the fan magazines (rare) and dabbled in poetry.  I was never able to put together the biography (there was a vast amount of misinformation and sensational gossip in the newspapers even then), but someday I plan to get a novel out of it.  As to Clara Bow, she's just a great character...the "Brooklyn Bonfire" who supposedly slept with most of the USC football team (including John "Marion Morrison" Wayne), had an affair with Bela Lugosi, and was the model for the Boop.  I've always enjoyed the naturalism she brought to the stiff acting of the time, and since she died right before my birthday, there's the possibility I might be reincarnated from the "It" girl.

If so, it hasn't helped me these last few weeks, where more than once I've found myself in a room full of twenty-somethings, to whom I'm as invisible as a screaming homeless person on the subway.  I think I broke a personal record at my last Mandrake party, walking in, gliding through to the back, and then walking out so quickly the bouncers laughed at me.  When I was in my twenties, was I that rude?  Probably, but I wasn't hanging out at bars like the Mandrake.  I was in somebody's house or apartment, holding court until the stars started fading out in the east.  Even in the dark ages of Reagan, life was more tolerant; you could get away with "it".  Now the kids hang out in snotty bars, giggling if they smell pot on the breeze.  And what happened to all my comrades-in-arms?  Did you ALL have kids and retreat indoors forever, leaving me and a few brave others to stay out late?  I wonder.

Someday you will get yours:
Firefighters Turned Away from Exclusive Nightclub Blaze

On 4 July I was far away from the explosions, hiding in the Boulder Creek redwoods above Santa Cruz.  Two days later I was enjoying the wreckage up in Oakland.  No offense to my friends up there, but I'm pretty glad now I didn't get that job.  Check out this map, which shows the crime in Oakland...and folks this is just for the four days I was up there.  Holy shit!,Mu,Ro,SA,Th,VT,Va,Bu,Ar&zoom=13&dtend=2008-07-07T01:18:44-07:00&lat=37.796&dtstart=2008-07-03T02:43:45-07:00

So July is almost over and the Dog Days are upon us again.  It has not been too unbearable in Los Angeles, and while the rest of the state burns, we've only had a few small fires here.  But summer has a long way to go.  I want to give you the bad news that Acres of Books in Long Beach is closing, as reported by Mr. Beckman.  I'm amazed they made it this long...that bookstore, so large the staff will loan you a flashlight to explore their more distant corners, is smack dab in the middle of a major gentrification area.  I'm also not completely sympathetic, as a librarian, to buildings full of mouldering crap.

Speaking of that, I'm pleased to announce that my first book, Scream at the Librarian, is now officially "sold out", so if you got one, hug it and treasure it.  I don't even know where my copy is.  If you MUST have one, please go get yourself the last copy in LA (signed) for $20 at Kreiling & Dodd in Echo Park.  Call ahead to Christopher Kreiling at (213) 884 8950.  Thank you for all your previous and future support!

Anyway, I've been getting my ya-yas out, as usual, by going to the movies alone.  I've been lucky recently to see two of my favorite films about Paris, Night on Earth and 2 ou 3 Choses Que Je Sais d'Elle, and then got pretty drunk at a Topanga party full of Frenchies.  Sigh, can't one of you marry me and get me OUT of this dump?

Time for an intermission:
John Lennon - Yer Blues

Your mission, should you choose to accept:  outlive all these rockers.  Seriously, it's Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell (Hendrix' drummer), and then Yoko starts her weird shit in the second vid.  It's only 40 years ago.  WOW.

I guess I should say something about the fact that George Carlin is no longer "with us".  What can I say about the man who, thanks to my older cousin's albums, taught me most of my best curse words?  "You motherfather, your mom sews socks that smell..."  Well, that's another joke.  (Thanks, Miles):

One place I know I ain't meeting Mr. Carlin is in "heaven":
George Carlin on Religion

While we're digging up bodies, I want to mention this lady, who had the most wonderful fucking legs, as Mr. Carlin might say:
Cyd Charisse, 86, silken dancer of the movies, dies
By Robert Berkvist The New York Times
Cyd Charisse, the leggy beauty whose balletic grace made her a memorable partner for Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in classic MGM musicals like "Singin' in the Rain," "The Band Wagon" and "Brigadoon," died on Tuesday in Los Angeles. She was believed to be 86.

And how about this awesome young Polish woman:

Irena Sendler

About Irena Sendler, who is credited with saving 2,500 Polish Jews from the Holocaust.

Of course, I must also honor the idiots of the world:

Lava Lamp Death

The case of a man killed by an exploding lava lamp.


A golfer angered by a bad shot is killed by the club he threw in frustration.

On that note, here's another intermission, this one dedicated to all my scorned female friends out there, presented by fellow Southern Californian Diamanda Galás:
Do You Take This Man (1994)

C'mon girls, how can you NOT like that..."and the sun went up and down, and your rod went in and out, and the buzzards and the vultures hollered DO YOU TAKE THIS MAN..."  Atta girl.  Our own Diamanda, Mrs. Soriano-Lightwood, recently made an appearance in Variety:
The Supreme martini band returns
Supreme Beings of Leisure talk up '11i'
 After a nearly five-year hiatus, the loungetronica band Supreme Beings of Leisure return with "11i." SBL frontwoman Geri Soriano-Lightwood shares some of her opinions with Variety about iPods, her crush on Anthony Bourdain and her new obsession with sake.
Read the full article at:

Hmmm...something about Variety makes me feel like a SCREED might be coming on.  First of all, it's time again for my monthly summary of why John McCain is a PRICK:
The Real McCain
To his fans he's a lovable patriot with a maverick streak. But to his critics he's an anti-abortion Creationist who surrounds himself with religious extremists. Paul Harris uncovers the dark side of John McCain.
It is a vintage John McCain performance. Standing in a light-filled atrium at the University of Denver, McCain is espousing his vision for America's future relations with the world. He hits all the right notes, citing liberal icon John F Kennedy and conservative hero Ronald Reagan.
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McCain: I'd Spy on Americans Secretly, Too
If elected president, Senator John McCain would reserve the right to run his own warrantless wiretapping program against Americans, based on the theory that the president's wartime powers trump federal criminal statutes and court oversight, according to a statement released by his campaign Monday.
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Worst of all, the guy can't use a computer:
Mac or PC?

Maybe it might do all these war-mongering bastards a little good to remember that 4 July is not a WAR holiday, it's celebrating our freedom with huge doses of alcohol and barbecued meat.  The same is true of Memorial Day:
War Immemorial Day
Memorial Day is not actually a day to pray for US troops who died in action, but rather a day set aside by Congress to pray for peace. The 1950 Joint Resolution of Congress, which created Memorial Day, says, "Requesting the President to issue a proclamation designating May 30, Memorial Day, as a day for a Nation-wide prayer for peace." (64 Stat.158).
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Instead, when you read the news lately, it's almost hard to remember a time when we weren't all about killing and flexing our muscle across the world, while at home it won't be long before we start putting people in prison just for THOUGHTCRIME:
A Litany of Horrors: America's University of Imperialism
By Chalmers Johnson
Leaving Cheyenne Mountain:  How I Learned to Start Worrying and Loathe the Bomb
By William Astore
President Weakens Espionage Oversight
By Charlie Savage
The Boston Globe
Supreme Court to Review "Exclusionary Rule" on Evidence
By David G. Savage
The Los Angeles Times
Weaponizing the Pentagon's Cyborg Insects:  A Futuristic Nightmare That Just Might Come True
By Nick Turse
UN Weighs a Ban on Weapons in Space, but US Still Objects
By Nick Cumming-Bruce
The New York Times

I mean, here we are talking about torture...and it all started over a century ago, in the most brutal war we ever fought...guess where?
The Water Cure
By Paul Kramer
The New Yorker

I hope that taught you something.  This next one personally hurt, because one of my relatives, Thomas Champion, died in the cause of liberty on a British prison ship; and now he's buried with thousands of other patriots in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn:
US Accused of Holding Terror Suspects on Prison Ships
The United States is operating "floating prisons" to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees.
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Yeah, and that torture every innocent person we locked up wants to kill us too:
Wrongly Jailed Detainees Found Militancy at Guantanamo
Gardez, Afghanistan - Mohammed Naim Farouq was a thug in the lawless Zormat district of eastern Afghanistan. He ran a kidnapping and extortion racket, and he controlled his turf with a band of gunmen who rode around in trucks with AK-47 rifles.  U.S. troops detained him in 2002, although he had no clear ties to the Taliban or al Qaida.
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Our definition of "terrorist" has always been a bit broad:
For the United States Government, Nelson Mandela is Still a Terrorist
You can access it at the following URL:

This rather embarrassing situation was reversed on 1 July:

But still, the attitude is, lock them up...
US Prison Population Dwarfs That of Other Nations
By Adam Liptak
International Herald Tribune

Wherever they may be...
US Planning Big New Prison in Afghanistan
By Eric Schmitt and Tim Golden
The New York Times

Or just kill them, wherever they may be.  But first, another intermission...
The Cure - A forest

Have we really been wasting our time in Iraq for five years?  Even our best allies are finished:
Australia Ends Iraq Combat Operations
Sydney, Australia - Australia, a staunch U.S. ally and one of the first countries to commit troops to the war in Iraq five years ago, ended combat operations there June 1.  Soldiers lowered the Australian flag that had flown over Camp Terendak in the southern Iraqi city of Talil. The combat troops are expected to return to Australia over the next few weeks.
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Even the last lies have been exposed:
Former White House Press Aide: Bush Misled US on Iraq
Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan writes in a new memoir that the Iraq war was sold to the American people with a sophisticated "political propaganda campaign" led by President Bush and aimed at "manipulating sources of public opinion" and "downplaying the major reason for going to war."
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McClellan Blames Bush, Not Aides, for Disillusionment
The Woman Who Nearly Stopped the War
By Martin Bright
The New Statesman

And what did we get?  Some bad jokes:

How To Make Iraq War More Eco-Friendly

And the ruin of the United States for years to come:
Iraq War's Cost: Loss of US Power, Prestige and Influence
By Warren P. Strobel
McClatchy Newspapers
River of Resistance: How the American Imperial Dream Foundered in Iraq
On February 15, 2003, ordinary citizens around the world poured into the streets to protest George W. Bush's onrushing invasion of Iraq. Demonstrations took place in large cities and small towns globally, including a small but spirited protest at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
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US Pushed Allies on Iraq, Diplomat Writes
By Colum Lynch
The Washington Post

But wait, surprise surprise, the puppets have started pulling the strings...
Maliki Stunner: He Wants US Pullout Timetable
The long-running showdown over the proposed US-Iraq treaty, aimed at legitimizing the American occupation of Iraq, is coming to a head, and it doesn't look good for the United States. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tossed a bombshell today. In a news conference about the still-secret US-Iraqi talks, which began in March, Maliki for the first time said that the chances of securing the pact are just about nil, and instead he said Iraq will seek a limited, ad hoc renewal of the US authority to remain in Iraq, rather than a broad-based accord.
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Bush Forced to Rethink Plan to Keep Iraq Bases
President offers concessions after furious reaction in Baghdad to American "colonialism."
Washington - Faced with Iraqi anger over a US plan to enable Washington to keep military forces in the country indefinitely, George Bush is offering concessions to the government of Nouri al-Maliki in an effort to salvage an agreement, it emerged yesterday.
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Former "Bush Puppet" Iraqi PM Calls for US Withdrawal
Dr. Ayad Allawi, the former interim Iraqi prime minister previously referred to even by US Congress members as a "Bush puppet," voiced his strong support for a US withdrawal timeline during a Wednesday Congressional hearing.  During his term in office, from June 2004 to April 2005, Allawi endorsed the US's controversial bombings of Fallujah and echoed Bush's speeches almost word for word in many of his own statements
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Iraq Says Talks With US on Pact Deadlocked
Amman - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Friday talks with the United States on a new long-term security pact were deadlocked because of U.S. demands that infringed Iraq's sovereignty.  "We have reached a deadlock, because when we started the talks, we found that the U.S. demands hugely infringe on the sovereignty of Iraq, and this we can never accept," Maliki said, speaking in Arabic to journalists during a visit to Jordan.
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Iraqis Wary of US Security Agreement
Iraqi lawmakers told Congress on Wednesday that they have serious misgivings about a long-term security agreement being negotiated this year with President Bush, putting themselves squarely in line with Democrats who say hashing out a deal before Bush leaves office is bad timing.
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Iraq Lawmakers Want US Forces Out as Part of Deal
Washington - A majority of the Iraqi parliament has written to Congress rejecting a long-term security deal with Washington if it is not linked to a requirement that U.S. forces leave, a U.S. lawmaker said on Wednesday.  Rep. William Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat and Iraq war opponent, released excerpts from a letter he was handed by Iraqi parliamentarians laying down conditions for the security pact that the Bush administration seeks with Iraq.
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Iraqi Parliament's Push for Sovereignty
Truthout discusses Iraq's future and the politics of US influence with two visiting Iraqi Parliamentarians.
Last week, for the first time, two Iraqi members of Parliament (MPs) testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. They spoke bluntly.  "The anarchy and chaos in Iraq is linked to the presence of the occupation, not withdrawal from Iraq," Nadeem Al-Jaberi, an MP and co-founder of the Al-Fadhila party, testified.
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Iraq's Falling Fig Leaf
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's call for a timetable on American troop withdrawals has touched off a dramatic change in the debate over the future U.S. engagement in Iraq - essentially, it marks a falling away of the fig-leaf rationales for the five-plus years of occupation.
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And you wonder why?
US-Allied Iraqi Politician Kills Two US Troops, Wounds Four
Madain, Iraq - A U.S.-allied Iraqi council member sprayed American troops with gunfire Monday, killing two soldiers and wounding three and an interpreter, Iraqi authorities and witnesses said. The attack occurred minutes after they emerged from a weekly joint meeting on reconstruction in this volatile town southeast of Baghdad.
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US Raid Kills Maliki Relative; Crisis Grows Over US-Iraq Agreement
Baghdad, Iraq - Senior Iraqi government officials said Saturday that a U.S. Special Forces counterterrorism unit conducted the raid that reportedly killed a relative of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, touching off a high-stakes diplomatic crisis between the United States and Iraq.  U.S. military officials in Baghdad had no comment for the second day in a row, an unusual position for a command that typically releases information on combat operations within 24 hours.
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US Issues Threat to Iraq's $50 Billion Foreign Reserve
The US is holding hostage some $50bn (£25bn) of Iraq's money in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to pressure the Iraqi government into signing an agreement seen by many Iraqis as prolonging the US occupation indefinitely, according to information leaked to The Independent.
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The Greatest Story Never Told: Finally, the US Mega-Bases in Iraq Make the News
It's just a $5,812,353 contract - chump change for the Pentagon - and not even one of those notorious "no-bid" contracts either. Ninety-eight bids were solicited by the Army Corps of Engineers and 12 were received before the contract was awarded this May 28th to Wintara, Inc. of Fort Washington, Maryland, for "replacement facilities for Forward Operating Base Speicher, Iraq." According to a Department of Defense
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US Seeking 58 Bases in Iraq, Shiite Lawmakers Say
Baghdad - Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed "status of forces" agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.  Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq.
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Revealed: Secret Plan to Keep Iraq Under US Control
Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors.
A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.
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Ironically, all of our blundering might have united the Arab world in a way they could never unite themselves:
Amman - The city of Amman, Jordan, is awash with numerous colorful signs that proclaim independence, "Istiklal." The word is found on posters and placards in store windows. It names a major thoroughfare, a hospital and a shopping center. Appreciation for independence is palpable, and this could be said for numerous cities and towns throughout the region, including Iraq, where past struggles for independence are commemorated by naming buildings and streets "Istiklal." It reflects the love of independence and the longing for it.
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Maybe all our money bought those people a little freedom.  But not as long as gasoline is over $4 a gallon in this country:
Maliki Concedes: No US Withdrawal Deadline
Editor's Note: For perspective on Nouri al-Maliki's call for a timetable on American troop withdrawal, see the editorial, " Iraq's Falling Fig Leaf," by CIA political military analyst Peter W. Dickson.  Tucson - US President George W. Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have agreed to set a "time horizon" for US troop withdrawals as part of a long-term security pact, the White House said Friday.
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Controlling Iraqi Oil
"Americans remain optimistic that a last minute deal can be reached," reported The Wall Street Journal in its June 14-15, 2008 edition, describing an impasse over an extraordinary long-term "security" deal between the United States and Iraqi governments that would keep U.S. troops in Iraq for many, many years.
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No Blood for... er... um...
More than five years after the invasion of Iraq - just in case you were still waiting - the oil giants finally hit the front page.
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Frankly, we should hope that Exxon gets enough bread so maybe, just maybe, they can chip it a few million more to clean up Alaska.  Because this little war of George Bush has cost us dearly in many other ways:
$736 Million US Embassy in Iraq to Open
The Associated Press
The $2 Trillion Nightmare
By Bob Herbert
The New York Times
Nobel Laureate Estimates Wars' Cost at More Than $3 Trillion
By Kevin G. Hall
McClatchy Newspapers

And I mean ALL of us:
The Iraq War, for $100 Month
By Bill Adair
The St. Petersburg Times

The damage to our economy might last years:
Iraq War "Caused Slowdown in the US"
By Peter Wilson
The Australian
Huge Job Losses Set Off Recession Alarms
The Associated Press

The damage to our military WILL last years:
US Military Stretched Dangerously Thin by War: Poll
Military Tells Bush of Troop Strains
The Associated Press
Army Worried by Rising Stress of Return Tours to Iraq
By Thom Shanker
The Washington Post
300,000 Vets Have Mental Problems, 320,000 Had Brain Injuries
By Pauline Jelinek
The Associated Press
Fuel-Cost Worries Extend to Pentagon
By William H. McMichael and Rick Maze
Army Times

These are just kids, of course, not the generals and contractors and politicians getting rich off the carnage we're paying for:
The Military-Industrial Complex: It's Much Later Than You Think
Most Americans have a rough idea what the term "military-industrial complex" means when they come across it in a newspaper or hear a politician mention it. President Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the idea to the public in his farewell address of January 17, 1961. "Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime," he said, "or indeed by the fighting men of World War II and Korea...
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The Military-Leisure Golf Complex
By Nick Turse
Metropolitan Books

Kids that aren't even worth ten cents worth of respect:
Despite Alert, Flawed Wiring Still Kills GI's
By James Risen
The New York Times
Electrical Risks at Bases in Iraq Worse Than Previously Said
Washington - Shoddy electrical work by private contractors on United States military bases in Iraq is widespread and dangerous, causing more deaths and injuries from fires and shocks than the Pentagon has acknowledged, according to internal Army documents.
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We can always get more kids, right?  Just offer them free video games:
US Military Recruits Children
In May of 2002, the United States Army invaded E3, the annual video game convention held in Los Angeles. At the city's Convention Center, young game enthusiasts mixed with camouflaged soldiers, Humvees and a small tank parked near the entrance. Thundering helicopter sound effects drew the curious to the Army's interactive display, where a giant video screen flashed the words "Empower yourself. Defend America ... You will be a soldier."(1)
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Attention Geeks and Hackers
Recently, while I was on a visit to, my computer screen momentarily went black. A glitch? A power surge? No, it was a pop-up ad for the U.S. Air Force, warning me that an enemy cyber-attack could come at any moment - with dire consequences for my ability to connect to the Internet. It was an Outer Limits moment. Remember that eerie sci-fi show from the early 1960s?
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They'll have trouble finding many more kids like this:

Medal of Honor - Mike Monsoor

Account describes Navy SEALs' funereal tribute to Medal of Honor recipient Mike Monsoor.

Here's a game for grown-ups...try to save this country from going broke in twenty years.  I did it with a few clicks (thanks, Mrs. Chance):
Try repairing the National Budget!!!!

We can save some money by paying the "wogs" to do our dirty work, right?
Pentagon Seeks Authority to Train and Equip Foreign Militaries
By Thom Shanker
The International Herald Tribune

By the way, if you study what brought down the British Empire at its peak, it was partly this reliance on foreign troops.  The British did a bang-up job of training the "natives" in places like India and Kenya, not expecting that within a few decades these people would turn on them, looking for a little "freedom".

This situation also precipitated the downfall of the Republic and rise of the Empire in "Star Wars".  I have to confess that I watched the first three movies of this series a few months back.  I was a little taken aback by the blatant racism of the trilogy, some slightly mediocre acting (Hayden Christensen hissing "Don't make me hate you"), but on the whole this was a slick criticism of the weakness of mob democracy.  The Jedi stoop to using clone armies against their enemies, and rightly get stabbed in the back by a few power-hungry Sith with a plan.  The same thing happened to the Knights Templar, and to the Sturmabteilung in 1934.

Our little puppet army in Iraq seems to be playing the same games with us.
More Than 1,000 in Iraq's Forces Quit Basra Fight
By Stephen Farrell and James Glanz
The New York Times
1,300 Iraqi Troops, Police Dismissed
By Slobodan Lekic
The Associated Press

Then we still have to deal with the real war, the one that started on 11 September 2001:
Busy in Iraq, US Also Faces Surging Violence in Afghanistan
By Jonathan S. Landay
McClatchy Newspapers
US, NATO Deaths in Afghanistan Pass Iraq Toll
Kabul, Afghanistan - Militants killed more U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan in June than in Iraq for the second straight month, a grim milestone capping a run of headline-grabbing insurgent attacks that analysts say underscore the Taliban's growing strength.  The fundamentalist militia in June staged a sophisticated jailbreak that freed 886 prisoners, then briefly infiltrated a strategic valley outside Kandahar.
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From Afghanistan, NATO Shells Militants in Pakistan
Kabul, Afghanistan - NATO forces in Afghanistan shelled guerrillas in Pakistan in two separate episodes on Sunday, as escalating insurgent violence appeared to be eroding the alliance's restraint along the border.
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Not to mention the real problems of the world we've left ignored and untended:
Japan's Okinawans Rally Against US Military Crimes
By Linda Sieg
UN Says Darfur Conflict Worsening, With Perhaps 300,000 Dead
By Edith M. Lederer
The Associated Press

The Iraqis even "presume" now to lecture us about starting a war with their largest rival and neighbor:
Iraq Jumps Into US-Iran Tussle
By Tina Susman
The Los Angeles Times

But nobody with any brain is going to let that war start:
Top US Officer Says Would Prefer No War on Iran
US and Iran Holding "Secret" Talks on Nuclear Programme
By Anne Penketh
The Independent UK

You're assuming that this country is being run by people with brains.
Rice Calls Dialogue With Iran Pointless
Washington - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice escalated the Bush administration's anti-Iran rhetoric on Tuesday, accusing its government of pursuing nuclear weapons and calling any dialogue with its leaders pointless until they suspend the country's enrichment of uranium.
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Preparing the Battlefield
The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran.
Late last year, Congress agreed to a request from President Bush to fund a major escalation of covert operations against Iran, according to current and former military, intelligence, and congressional sources. These operations, for which the President sought up to four hundred million dollars, were described in a Presidential Finding signed by Bush, and are designed to destabilize the country's religious leadership.
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Gates: New US Carrier in Gulf a "Reminder" to Iran
By David Morgan
Strike on Iran Nuclear Sites Under Discussion Again
Jerusalem - Six months ago, after American intelligence agencies declared that Iran had shelved its nuclear-weapons program, the chances of a U.S. or Israeli military strike on Iran before President Bush left office seemed remote.  Now, thanks to persistent pressure from Israeli hawks and newly stated concerns by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the idea of a targeted strike meant to cripple Iran's nuclear program is getting a new hearing.
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Bomb Bomb Iran by Summer's End?
By Steve Weissman
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Bush 'plans Iran air strike by August'
By Muhammad Cohen
Read This News:
Iran Complains to UN About Clinton Comment
By Claudia Parsons
Joint Chiefs Chairman Says US Preparing Military Options Against Iran
By Ann Scott Tyson
The Washington Post
Strike on Iran Still Possible, US Tells Israel
Washington - Bush administration officials reassured Israel's defense minister this week that the United States has not abandoned all possibility of a military attack on Iran, despite widespread Israeli concern that Washington has begun softening its position toward Tehran.  In meetings Monday and Tuesday, administration officials told Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the option of attacking Iran over its nuclear program remains on the table, though U.S. officials are primarily seeking a diplomatic solution.
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But really, we have crippled our military too much to even dream about the next war:
George W. Bush's About-Face on Iran
The United States is taking a very important step in Iran's direction by involving itself directly in negotiations over nuclear issues.  Saturday, the State Department's No. 3, William Burns, will participate in the meeting in Switzerland between Javier Solana and Iranian negotiator, Saed Jalili.
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Reality Bites Back: Why the US Won't Attack Iran
It's been on the minds of antiwar activists and war critics since 2003. And little wonder. If you don't remember the pre-invasion of Iraq neocon quip, "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran..." -- then take notice. Even before American troops entered Iraq, knocking off Iran was already "Regime Change: The Sequel." It was always on the Bush agenda and, for a faction
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The Persians, of course, will keep planning for it:
The Iranian Chessboard: Five Ways to Think About Iran Under the Gun
By Pepe Escobar
Iran Threatens to Shut Down Persian Gulf Oil Lanes if Attacked
A military official is quoted as saying Tehran would respond to a confrontation over its nuclear program.
Beirut - The commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said the government might shut down vital oil lanes through the Persian Gulf if the country were attacked by the United States or Israel, according to a newspaper report Saturday.
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And so will the Israelis:
US Says Exercise by Israel Seemed Directed at Iran
Washington - Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.  Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military's capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran's nuclear program.
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Israel to attack Iran unless enrichment stops: minister
Minister: Israel Would Destroy Iran if Attacked
Agence France-Presse
Israel Hints at Pre-Emptive Attack on Iran
The sabre-rattling over Iran's nuclear progamme has grown louder as a defiant Tehran claimed to have conducted missile tests for a second day running, the US warned that it would defend its interests and its allies in the region, and Israel hinted it was ready to stage a preventive attack to destroy Iranian nuclear installations.
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On that happy note, enjoy your freedom,
Mismarriage of Convenience
Iran and Israel are stuck in a dysfunctional relationship that neither party can escape on its own. Here's how to break up their fight.
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Vive le screed!

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