November 30, 2005

Come to Washington to pray for a moral budget
by Jim Wallis

"Woe to you legislators of infamous laws...who refuse justice to the unfortunate, who cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey and rob the orphan" (Isaiah 10:1-2, Jerusalem Bible).

There are moments in every generation when a society must decide on its real moral principles. This is one of those moments in history: When our legislators put ideology over principle, it is time to sound the trumpets of justice and tell the truth.

In the early hours of the morning before leaving for their Thanksgiving break, the House of Representatives passed a budget bill that cuts $50 billion, including essential services for low-income families. Funding for health care, food stamps, foster care for neglected children, student loans, enforcing child support orders - all fell to the ax. If the House bill prevails, more than 200,000 people will lose food stamps, people already struggling to make ends meet will have to pay more for health care, and low-income students will find it harder to pay for college loans. When they return, the House also plans to pass a tax cut bill benefiting the wealthiest people in America.

Let's be clear. It is a moral disgrace to take food from the mouths of hungry children to increase the luxuries of those feasting at a table overflowing with plenty. There is no moral path our legislators can take to defend a reckless, mean-spirited budget bill that diminishes our compassion. It is dishonest to stake proud claims to deficit reduction when tax cuts for the wealthy that increase the deficit are the next order of business. It is one more example of an absence of morality in our political leadership. "Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself, and giving to the rich, will lead only to loss" (Proverbs 22:16).

The religious community has already helped influence the Senate - its version of the budget cut about $35 billion, with virtually no cuts in services to low-income people.

The decision to protect low-income families in the Senate was a bipartisan decision - supported by both Republicans and Democrats.

The House decision to sacrifice the poor was a victory of the extreme Republican leadership over all the Democrats and moderate Republicans who voted against the harsh and punitive House bill.

Congress now faces a stark choice that requires moral clarity and outrage. The differences between the House and Senate bills have to be resolved in a joint conference committee, and the result brought back to each body for a final vote in mid-December.

The convictions of the religious community must be brought to bear in these next few weeks - a final bill containing the House cuts that are an assault on poor families and children must not be passed. Budgets are moral documents that reflect our priorities. The choice to cut supports that help people make it day to day in order to pay for tax cuts for those with plenty goes against everything our religious and moral principles teach us. It is a blatant reversal of biblical values. It's time to act.

Contact your legislators.

Call your senators and representative during their recess and
over the next two weeks and demand they refuse to pass a budget
cutting services for low-income people.

<<>> <<>> <<>>

Let's be clear. It is a moral disgrace to take food from the mouths of hungry children to increase the luxuries of those feasting at a table overflowing with plenty.

There is no moral path our legislators can take to defend a reckless, mean-spirited budget bill that diminishes our compassion. It is dishonest to stake proud claims to deficit reduction when tax cuts for the wealthy that increase the deficit are the next order of business. It is one more example of an absence of morality in our political leadership. "Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself, and giving to the rich, will lead only to loss" (Proverbs 22:16).

The religious community has already helped influence the Senate - its version of the budget cut about $35 billion, with virtually no cuts in services to low-income people.

The decision to protect low-income families in the Senate was a bipartisan decision - supported by both Republicans and Democrats. The House decision to sacrifice the poor was a victory of the extreme Republican leadership over all the Democrats and moderate Republicans who voted against the harsh and punitive House bill.

Congress now faces a stark choice that requires moral clarity and outrage. The differences between the House and Senate bills have to be resolved in a joint conference committee, and the result brought back to each body for a final vote in mid-December.

The convictions of the religious community must be brought to bear in these next few weeks - a final bill containing the House cuts that are an assault on poor families and children must not be passed.

Budgets are moral documents that reflect our priorities. The choice to cut supports that help people make it day to day in order to pay for tax cuts for those with plenty goes against everything our religious and moral principles teach us. It is a blatant reversal of biblical values.

It's time to act.

Contact your legislators Call your senators and representative during their recess and over the next two weeks and demand they refuse to pass a budget cutting services for low-income people.

And it's time for an altar call to Washington, D.C.

Come to Washington: On Tuesday evening, Dec. 13 - as the budget
bill is being debated in Congress - religious leaders, pastors,
and church workers from around the country who serve the poor
day after day will gather for a worship service and training
session. The next morning, Dec. 14, we will kneel in the U.S.
Capitol Rotunda to proclaim the Word of God and to pray for
people in poverty. We will pray for those in our own
neighborhoods who are under assault, and we will call our
nation's political leaders to repentance - recognizing the
Bible's insistence that the best test of a nation's
righteousness is how it treats the most vulnerable among us. We
will pray for poor families and children and for the courage of
our political representatives to protect them from the budget
assault. And we also hope our prayers will shame those who would
sacrifice the poor for political gain and the benefit of the
wealthy - and hope to change their minds. Specifically, we will
pray that the principle of the Senate's bipartisan bill to
protect low-income people will prevail and the efforts of an
ideological House leadership to neglect the poor will fail. This
act of prayer is likely to result in peaceful arrests for those
who are willing. Our prayer will be an act of nonviolent civil
disobedience in the tradition of the civil rights movement led
by black churches. We believe that this moral battle over the
budget can still be won. The punitive House bill passed by only
two votes: Hearts can still be changed. We must lift up another
voice - a voice in prayer that speaks the truth of God's Word.

"But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you
and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find
your welfare" (Jeremiah 29:7).

We urge you to prayerfully consider joining us.
. If you plan to participate, you must sign up on the Web site. If you cannot join us in Washington, I urge you to plan and join vigils at local congressional offices across the country in order to magnify our prophetic voice, and to send representatives or a delegation of faith leaders, service providers, and low-income people to join us in Washington. See tomorrow's e-mail for more details about how to organize a vigil near you.

Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 6:31 AM
Subject: Village Voice: Who's the Bigger Dick?,sutton,70434,9.htmlSutton ImpactWho's the Bigger Dick?Nixon vs. Cheneyby Ward SuttonNovember 28th, 2005 4:42 PM


I'll bet he is going to operate on Jason!!! I knew Robin would screw up!!! I KNEW IT!!! This General Hospital's way of trying to get the spot light off of their mess up in firing Jennifer Branston.

November 30, 2005
Prepare the O.R. (and A.A.): Dr. Drake Is Back

When it comes to getting viewers' attention, soap operas have always favored the spectacular over the subtle.

And that big-splash approach definitely extends to casting: on Friday's episode of "General Hospital" on ABC, Rick Springfield will begin to reprise his role as Dr. Noah Drake - after a 22-year absence from the show. Dr. Drake may not be the flirty heartbreaker he once was, but his return is sure to shake up the series's fictional town, Port Charles.

Few prime-time shows last 10 years, let alone more than 20, but soaps are an unusual entertainment universe, where stories never end, and beloved characters always have a place in the hearts of lifelong fans. A single portrayal can last more than a generation: in 1970 on "All My Children," Ruth Warrick originated the role of Phoebe Tyler Wallingford; she made a final appearance in the part not long before her death in January.

Stunts, moreover, are standard. Last summer a tsunami engulfed the entire cast of NBC's "Passions." More recently, "The Young and the Restless" on CBS shocked fans by killing off an adored teenage character in a brutally filmed car accident.

Back in November 1981, "General Hospital" featured what is probably the most famous soap stunt: Elizabeth Taylor played a guest role on the show as the evil Helena Cassadine. When Ms. Taylor's Helena cursed the marriage of Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis) before an audience of more than 30 million viewers, "General Hospital" went from a popular daytime drama to a genre-busting pop culture wonder.

But Mr. Springfield, 56, returns to a profoundly different television landscape. At the popular height of "General Hospital" in 1981, 14 million viewers watched it each day. Soap opera ratings today are vastly diminished: though this 42-year-old series is still one of the top-rated daytime dramas, its average audience is now 3.5 million.

In the 21st century, network soap operas compete for daytime viewers with cable channels and digital recording devices. More women - always the sought-after audience during the day - work outside the home. To keep the fans they do have, soap opera producers are intent on pleasing them.

"We have audience members who remember characters who were here 20 years ago, as well as some that were here five years ago," said Jill Farren Phelps, executive producer of "General Hospital." "These are their stories, and they go into their living rooms. They feel a kindred association with the characters on the show."

Characters that move the story forward and resonate with viewers usually take precedence over the people who play them: recasting a character when an actor chooses to leave is a common tactic on soap operas. "But Rick is a special kind of a character, because he has this other career," Ms. Phelps said. "There's a tremendous amount of nostalgia that surrounds Noah Drake and Rick Springfield."

Mr. Springfield, who lives in Los Angeles, was receptive to the offer. "I got a call from my agent one day, saying, 'Would you be interested in recreating your role for four days on 'General Hospital?' " he said. "I'm busy enough that I don't need to go back to work there, but I enjoy acting, and it certainly would work within what I want to do with music."

He began shooting his episodes at the beginning of November. The plot: Dr. Drake, who left Port Charles to become a neurosurgeon in Atlanta, is urgently needed at General Hospital to operate on a patient with severe brain damage. Unfortunately, Dr. Drake is less sober than he once was. "Things haven't gone well for Noah," Mr. Springfield said with a laugh.

The four days have turned into a longer storyline. "I think we all need to see how it pans out," Mr. Springfield said. "No one's going, 'Where do I sign?' or 'We're done.'
And how does it feel to be back? "It's freaky," he said.

Because actors on soap operas often have long careers there, many of Mr. Springfield's 1980's colleagues are still on the show. Most relevant to Dr. Drake, Bobbie Spencer, the love of his life, is still in Port Charles - Jacklyn Zeman has played Bobbie since 1977. "There will be a connection between them," Ms. Phelps said. "Yes, you will see Bobbie and Noah together. We're not going to play out a full-on - well, I'm not going to tell you what we're going to do."

Betsy Knapp, who runs the Web site, said viewers had been buzzing about Mr. Springfield's return. "The rumor mill runs like a well-oiled machine," she said. "They get really excited."

On the message boards, one fan, anticipating Mr. Springfield's reappearance, wrote, "Have the smelling salt or nitroglyceride prepared for me on Friday."

Two decades ago, "General Hospital" turned Mr. Springfield's career around. An Australian actor and singer, he had not had an acting job in nine months when he joined the cast in 1981 and had not released a record in years. Bolstered by his new popularity, his song "Jessie's Girl" went to No. 1, and later won a Grammy Award. Mr. Springfield left "General Hospital" in 1983 to devote himself to touring, recording and a movie career.

While his film aspirations were dashed after the 1984 bomb "Hard to Hold," Mr. Springfield has acted sporadically on television, released albums and performed regularly, including a yearlong stint at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 2001.

In a twist that will undoubtedly delight the audience further, the character who goes looking for Dr. Drake is Dr. Robin Scorpio, played by Kimberly McCullough. "The good news is, she finds him," Mr. Springfield said. "The bad news is, she finds him drunk in a bar."

While she was not gone as long as Mr. Springfield, Ms. McCullough is a "General Hospital" alumna who has recently come back; she reappeared on Oct. 12 after a six-year absence.

Ms. McCullough initially joined the cast as Robin in 1985 when she was 7. She won a Daytime Emmy at 11.

Ms. McCullough was the rare child soap star whose part was never recast to make her character older, another bizarre tactic daytime dramas often use to increase a show's romance quotient.

"They always used to make fun of it, and say, 'Oh, you're going to go up the stairs and come down 10 years older,' " Ms. McCullough said. "But it never happened to me."

Ms. McCullough's return is far more typical than Mr. Springfield's. She left in 1999, after which she directed short films and had recurring roles on the nighttime series "Once and Again," "The Shield" and "Joan of Arcadia." But it wasn't easy. "I did three pilots while I was gone, and none of them got picked up," Ms. McCullough said. "At this point in my life, I kind of needed the structure of working every day. I missed it."

Ms. Phelps said "General Hospital" did not have an open-door policy for returning stars; Mr. Springfield and Ms. McCullough are exceptions. "I don't want to be a day care center for actors who want to stay here for a little while, go out, and then come back," she said.

"If the writers determine that a character is needed for a story they're telling, then we will look into that," she continued. "Because always, the fans will miss anyone who leaves."
And they will certainly scrutinize that actor upon his or her return.

Luckily, Ms. Phelps, along with the head writers, were with "General Hospital" 22 years ago, so, she said, "We knew the Gestalt completely of who Noah Drake was, who his relationships were with." But even if that weren't the case, it would be easy to research. Ms. Phelps said: "Everything is documented. Every script, every day, every storyline is somewhere."

Demi Moore, John Stamos and Ricky Martin all appeared on "General Hospital" in the early stages of their careers. If Ms. Phelps could have her way, was there one adored character closely associated with a specific actor that she would bring back to the show? She hesitated and then said, "In a million years, I would not touch that."

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

"Stephen Calkins"
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2005 05:08:27 -0500 (GMT-05:00)
American Hiroshima “ the next 9/11?

Steve Calkin's Note: I recently received the following article entitled: "American Hiroshima - the next 9/11?", 'supposedly' written by the Arab web site 'Al Jazeera'. Al Jazerra is supposedly a Middle Eastern 'Arab' news source, thus its stories are generally perceived to 'favor the viewpoints of Arab citizens'. However this article is very dangerous propaganda, designed to prepare Americans and the world public for a nuclear attack on America from Iran, followed by a US retaliation against Iran.
The article's title: "American Hiroshima - the next 911?" is clearly implying that: "another '911', (this time using nukes), is on its way." In fact the person being interviewed for this article, 'David Dionsi', is quoted as saying: "(he) is convinced that plans for a nuclear attack are under way."
David Dionisi is supposedly a 'former' intelligence officer, with direct personal connections to current and former CIA officers, according to the article. He claims to have been working as: "a business executive doing international volunteer work," in Liberia, (an oil rich country in West Africa, currently being sought out by American oil corporations for its mineral wealth. His connections to present and past CIA is highly suspicious, as well as his 'volunteer work' in Liberia.) The CIA often times uses charities, and non profit organizations as 'fronts' for their covert operations in foreign countries.
Prior to his 'volunteer' work, Dionisi says he: "was assigned to a unit focusing on implementing US foreign policy in central America. I was part of a rapid deployment team designed to go in and suppress forces working for social justice in places such as Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala." In other words, his job was to install dictatorships in Latin America!!
The article even contains a statement that: (The current), 'Bush administration attorneys concluded 'it', ('a prior treaty with Iran during the Reagan Administration'), was signed 'under duress' and therefore (is) 'not binding]. (Thus implying that it is legally O.K, for the US to attack Iran!!!) So it is obvious that the intent of this article is to prepare America's and others for a potential nuclear attack on America, as well as a suggestion that attacking Iran is legal.
I find it interesting that 'Warren Buffet' is quoted in this article, stating: 'the US can expect to be nuked'...
Warren Buffet has numerous connections to the events of 911. See :

(The webfairy article mentions that: Buffet's bank 'Sun Trust' is where 'most the Islamic 'hijackers' had their bank accounts'; and that, 'two of the flight schools that 'hijackers' attended were owned by Buffet'; and that, 'a jet owned by Buffet, was seen at the crash site of Flight 93 on 9/11, etc.) In order to open up bank accounts at Buffet's bank, the hijackers had to produce social security numbers that were valid. Where did they get them, or did someone at the bank let them register without this, and if so, why? (Over a third of a million dollars went through these SunTrust accounts to these 'hijackers'.)
So why is Warren Buffet, the world's second richest man, and 911 connected person, being quoted as suggesting a nuclear attack on America?
It is evident that, 911 was a covert intelligence operation, carried out by people located within the structure of the US government. (Countless firemen, policemen, reporters and WTC employees all witnessed demolitions going off in the WTC prior to their collapse: Video link: WTC Cutter Charges Clearly Visible

That Osama could have gotten by the US air defenses for close to 2 hours, unobstructed, is unlikely enough; let alone, getting into the WTC complex long enough to plant building wide demolitions, in three separate buildings, and not get caught. (WTC 7 was the FBI CIA headquarters in NYC, and was heavily guarded 24/7. The only people that could have gotten in that building had to be people that the CIA and FBI wanted to be in there, and for that purpose.)
The article below is to prepare America to be nuked and is suggesting the likely party. However, the people that are most likely to nuke us, are the ones that we know currently possess nukes, (the US government), and the ones with the open access to the American people. (Again the US government); and, are the same people that did the most recent 'terrorist' attack on America, on 911, (ie a covert intelligence operation.) Here is your daily dose of propaganda, (the following article), factually from the covert government, but hidden under the guise of 'Al Jazerra!', no less. Is Al Jazerra just being manipulated, or is the media that controlled?!!

Lady Broadoak's comments:

  • Always keep your eyes on Israel. This article looks like a Mosad plant. Yes, Americans, Canadians and all sorts of "unlikely" people are in their service.
  • The US is really building for a war in China. But they will try out any military tactics wherever, even if it means a bankrupt US treasury.
  • The US military does not do well in desert combat, which they could have avoided, but there was no commitment on the part of Donald Rumsfield (for which he is pointing the finger at Bush (info on that from Washington Post) to win but now they are bogged down in it.
  • The US IS pissed with Iran for starting the new oil Bourse, based on the Eurodollar.
  • It seems as though the US would actually rather have a nice fiasco down in Venezuela and Columbia, as it is less expensive, easier to control and gives them more access to other valuable commodities besides oil.
  • Warren Buffet (ditto: Bill Gates) is a big proponent of reducing the earth's population. Why not take everyone out real quick? Only he doesn't seem to grok the fact, his billions will not keep him alive after a nuclear confligration.
  • US billionaires have already transferred "their" money into Eurodollars.
  • Warmongers just love to divide people up and ignore that we are, literally, all ONE.
  • I'd love to know where Dionisi went to school. It would be very revealing. School of the Americas, anyone?
  • War, all war, sucks the Big One.
  • We are going to need some Big Time extra-terristral help, angels and God to get out of the mess that's being set up!
  • There is a war between the CIA and Bush that's been going on for a long time. They would love to discredit and humiliate him.
  • The US has a dreadful history of knowing NUFFIN' about the Middle East and virtually no one in their employ who speaks Arabic. This is not true of the UK, so watch what THEY say and do.
  • The long term security of the Middle East is the last concern of neocons. But they do get jumpy about all the prophecy stuff about Jerusalem.
  • Federal US policians often get elected to office by using donations from Zionists. To expect that to change any time soon, is a form of DENIAL.
  • If you still believe 9/11 wasn't an inside job, WAKE UP! I know it's hard, but pay attention.
  • Holding the US government to account is part of the OLD paradigm. Just a waste of time at this point. It's "GO TIME" to plan our next (truly global) society.
  • Who knows Al Jazeera's agenda?
  • Stay tuned ....

American Hiroshima “ the next 9/11?
Author David Dionisi says the US faces a nuclear threat
By Shaheen Chughtai in London
27 November 2005
When Australian police announced recently that eight men arrested on terrorism charges were planning a bomb attack against a nuclear reactor near Sydney, many security observers elsewhere were not surprised.
Officials and analysts in the United States have been warning that al-Qaida or associated groups are planning such attacks on American soil. Dubbed American Hiroshima, the plan apparently targets New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Boston and Washington, DC. Former US Defence Secretary William Perry says there is an even chance of a nuclear attack on the US this decade. Renowned investor Warren Buffet has predicted "a nuclear terrorist attack ... is inevitable". David Dionisi, a former US army intelligence officer, is convinced that plans for a nuclear attack are under way.
Once a conservative Republican, Dionisi enjoyed success as a Fortune 500 business executive after leaving the army. But he later rejected his political beliefs and now advocates peace, social justice and humanitarianism. In his new book, American Hiroshima, Dionisi argues decades of unjust US foreign policies will be largely to blame for sowing the seeds of hostility and vengeance which could lead to a nuclear catastrophe. Aljazeera's Shaheen Chughtai caught up with Dionisi in London.
Dionisi had just flown from Liberia where he helps run a Catholic orphanage. You were once a conservative Republican. What made you change your beliefs?

Dionisi: The transformation was a discovery process. When I joined the military, I had a very limited view of what the US was doing around the world. Through my experiences as a military intelligence officer and later as a business executive doing international volunteer work, I started to see our foreign policies were often hurting people and making the world more dangerous. One of the more dramatic moments in this process was when I was assigned to a unit focusing on implementing US foreign policy in central America. I was part of a rapid deployment team designed to go in and suppress forces working for social justice in places such as Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.
You describe the US public as uninformed - why?
The major media outlets are owned by a handful of corporations interested in promoting advertising and pro-government messages. Anything that challenges the existing power structure very often fails to receive air time. I highlight Fox as an extreme example of the Republican propaganda machine.
But when your country is fighting a war, you have an obligation to understand what's really going on. If you don't, you can become an agent of injustice. If people can find the time to watch baseball or soccer etc, they can make an effort to read, travel, talk and not be limited to the messages of fear.
They also need to understand their history. In 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff presented a plan called Operation Northwood, which is now declassified. It proposed conducting mass casualty attacks on American targets and blaming it on Cuba to rally public support for war against Fidel Castro. President Kennedy rejected the plan. So we shouldn't just assume any future attack on our soil is the work of al-Qaida.
Your book condemns alliances with repressive regimes. Can't these be justified if they serve a greater cause?
History teaches us that when you form alliances that promote injustice, you can only expect injustice in the future. Kindness begets kindness and the inverse is also true.
The US fought the largest secret war in its history during the 1980s in Afghanistan - over $6bn was funnelled into that war. As a result, US collaboration with and responsibility for al-Qaida goes well beyond what most even informed Americans understand.
If you consider that there are over 500 prisoners in Guantanamo Bay from over 40 countries - though not a single one is from Iraq - and that the CIA recruited thousands of people from over 40 countries to be part of that war - none from Iraq - you can better understand how the US played a direct role in creating what became the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Bush supporters argue the removal of Saddam and the Taliban was beneficial and therefore justified military action.
That starts from an artificial premise. When the Bush administration says, "Well, it's great that Saddam's gone," it fails to acknowledge that Bush's father and President Ronald Reagan were key forces that helped create Saddam Hussein.
Looking at what happened in 1979 it can put a lot of this in perspective. As Reagan came into office, the US embassy hostages in Iran were released after 444 days in captivity. Americans don't know this wasn't a coincidence. The US had agreed in writing not to attack Iran and also paid Tehran $8bn. That's why that media event (of the hostages' release during Reagan's inauguration ceremony) occurred with such precise timing.
How do you know this?
These are facts that were subsequently published. The agreement with Iran was submitted for review by the current administration, (George W. Bush), to see if it would be binding and prevent an attack in the near future. (The current),Bush administration attorneys concluded it was signed under duress and therefore not binding. I know this from a former senior member of the Bush administration, a seasoned CIA officer named Ray Flynn.
The US felt humiliated; the Reagan administration wanted to hurt the Iranians but its hands were tied. So Saddam Hussein was used as the agent for that. He ended up invading Iran ... and you had this brutal war from 1980 to 1988 that killed over a million people.
What was the US role in that war?
By 1982, Iran had recaptured lost territory and Saddam asked the US for help. So President Reagan signed a National Security Decision Directive - NSDD 114 - to provide all means of support to Saddam Hussein. Donald Rumsfeld then went on a very sensitive mission to deliver satellite intelligence, other forms of intelligence and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). That's why the current Bush administration was so confident Saddam had chemical and biological weapons; they knew the US had supplied the ingredients in the 1980s.
Saddam broke with the US, however, when he found out we were selling weapons to Iran in the mid-1980s - the Iran-Contra affair. All this puts the invasion of Kuwait into perspective. Saddam got clear messages from the US saying he could invade; plus he felt the US owed him one after betraying him over Iran.
All these wars form a continuum of injustice. Look at the UN economic sanctions in the 1990s that the US and UK refused to lift: over a million Iraqis died, including 500,000 children. That's more than the number who died from the Nagasaki and Hiroshima atomic bombings.
You list numerous "unjust" actions that led to attacks on US targets - isn't that justifying terrorism?
I talked to the CIA's Michael Scheuer, head of the "find Bin Ladin" team, and he stresses that people in the Muslim world are not fighting us because of our freedoms or elections but our foreign policy. This is something the Bush administration constantly twists.
The basic principle is: if you hurt someone, they're going to want to hurt you. We need to ask questions like: Why did 9/11 happen? Bin Ladin has a very clear articulation of why he's at war with the US, Britain, Israel and others. If Americans read it, they'll see it's very clear about things such as US forces on Arab land.
And it's not just an Arab or Muslim issue. I learnt this in South Korea where the US has had troops since 1950. When you're there that long, it sends a powerful message that you're not there to liberate, you're there to occupy.
You describe the US as the biggest WMD proliferator. Why?
The US has spent $5 trillion on 70,000 nuclear weapons since 1945 - more than the rest of the world combined. A Congressional report in 1999 found the designs for every deployed nuclear warhead - and for some not built yet - had been stolen and passed to China. Israel acquired its programme from the US too.
Despite this, ordinary Americans are more concerned about the Bush administration's lies and hyped-up warnings about WMD in places such as Iraq.
Is Iran really a threat to the US? An alliance between Shia Iran and Sunni-led al-Qaida seems far fetched.
Iran will not attack the US if the US does not attack Iran. Congressman Curt Weldon (who accuses Tehran of plotting to attack the States) talks about attacking Iran but such talk makes the world more dangerous. If we were Iran, we'd develop nuclear weapons simply because Israel has them. So the US should facilitate a process whereby Israel eliminates its nuclear weapons.
As for the religious differences between Iran and al-Qaida, yes, that's been true - but Bush's War on Terror has been pushing the sects together. Intelligence reports indicate Bin Ladin's son Saad has been based in Iran. No, we can't be certain they're helping each other. But in any case, the Bush administration does not want peace with Iran.
You say "kindness begets kindness". What's your evidence?
After the first world war, the Treaty of Versailles punished Germany harshly, producing hardship and hostility that the Nazis exploited. But after the second world war, when the Marshall Plan helped rebuild Germany and Japan, the US did more to promote democracy than at any time during the Cold war.
To make the world a safer place, we must aggressively attack the causes of suffering and hostility. Imagine if Bush had said after 9/11: "People are capitalising on our mistakes in the Middle East. So, let's ensure there is no hunger, lack of clean water, lack of education etc in the Muslim world." We would have made more friends and drained support for our enemies.
If we can't expect US foreign policy to change soon, isn't it too late to stop an American Hiroshima?
It's not too late although your point is realistic. But we can still influence the US response. Far more people will die in the retaliation and the counter-retaliation.
If the US had the wisdom, we could make the world safer. The US military budget was over $420 billion in 2005. We could split that three ways: a third on economic development in the Middle East, especially Iraq; a third on tackling injustice at home, such as providing universal healthcare - and that would still leave us with the world's biggest military budget.
People have to become more involved. The anti-Vietnam war movement is an example - but it failed to hold government to account. If we had tried (former Defence Secretary) Robert McNamara or (former Secretary of State) Henry Kissinger for crimes such as the illegal bombing of Cambodia, it would have sent a powerful message to future leaders. The Bush government today wouldn't have been so bold.
Ultimately, Americans need to understand many of them will die and parts of their country will become uninhabitable unless they hold their government to account.

Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 22:00:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Virginia's Test, I'm a 47
To: Esteemed Reader
Note: forwarded message attached.

From: D
To: Subject: I'm Gene - 44
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 21:07:08 -0800

Interesting, Eugene

Dr Phil's Test:
Here you go. Try this!

Below is Dr Phil's test. (Dr. Phil scored 55; he did this test on Oprah - she got a 38.)

Some folks pay a lot of money to find this stuff out!

Read on, this is very interesting! Don't be overly sensitive!

The following is pretty accurate and it only takes 2 minutes.

Take this test for yourself and send it to your friends. The person who sent it placed their score in the e-mail subject box. Please do the same before forwarding to your friends (send it back to the person who Sent it to you.)

Don't peek, but begin the test as you scroll down and answer. Answers are for who you are now...... not who you were in the past.

Have pen or pencil and paper ready.

This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept. at many of the major corporations today. It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and prospective employees. It's only 10 Simple questions, so...grab a pencil and paper, keeping track of your letter answers to each question.

Make sure to change the subject of the e-mail to read YOUR total.

When you are finished, forward this to friends/family, and also send it to the person who sent this to you. Make sure to put YOUR score in the subject box.

Ready?? Begin...

When do you feel your best?
a) in the morning
b) during the afternoon &and early evening
c) late at night
You usually walk...
a) fairly fast, with long steps
b) fairly fast, with little steps
c) less fast head up, looking the world in the face
d) less fast, head down
e) very slowly
When talking to people you..
a) stand with your arms folded
b) have your hands clasped
c) have one or both your hands on your hips
d) touch or push the person to whom you are talking
e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair
When relaxing, you sit with..
a) your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side
b) your legs crossed
c) your legs stretched out or straight
d) one leg curled under you
When something really amuses you, you react with...
a) big appreciated laugh
b) a laugh, but not a loud one
c) a quiet chuckle
d) a sheepish smile
When you go to a party or social gathering you...
a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you
b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know
c) make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed
You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're interrupted......
a) welcome the break
b) feel extremely irritated
c) vary between these two extremes
Which of the following colors do you like most?
a) Red or orange
b) black
c) yellow or light blue
d) green
e) dark blue or purple
f) white
g) brown or gray
When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are..
a) stretched out on your back
b) stretched out face down on your stomach
c) on your side, slightly curled
d) with your head on one arm
e) with your head under the covers
You often dream that you are...
a) falling
b) fighting or struggling
c) searching for something or somebody
d) flying or floating
e) you usually have dreamless sleep
f) your dreams are always pleasant

POINTS: 1. (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 6
2. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 7 (d) 2 (e) 1
3. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 5 (d) 7 (e) 6
4. (a) 4 (b) 6 (c) 2 (d) 1
5. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 2
6. (a) 6 (b) 4 (c) 2
7. (a) 6 (b) 2 (c) 4
8. (a) 6 (b) 7 (c) 5 (d) 4 (e) 3 (f) 2 (g) 1
9. (a) 7 (b) 6 (c) 4 (d) 2 (e) 1
10. (a) 4 (b) 2 (c) 3 (d) 5 (e) 6 (f) 1

Now add up the total number of points.

OVER 60 POINTS: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

51 TO 60 POINTS: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate.

41 TO 50 POINTS: Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.

31 TO 40 POINTS: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the ame loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust In your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21 TO 30 POINTS: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

UNDER 21 POINTS: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some people think you're boring. Only those who know you well know that you aren't.

Now forward this to others, and put your score in the subject box of your e-mail, like this: "Dr.Phil's Test, I'm a 45

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye

~ Antoine de Sainte-Exubery in "The Little Prince"

Starving The Beast
By Jennifer Moses
Tuesday, November 29, 2005;
Page A21

BATON ROUGE, La. -- A primary goal of many Republicans is to "starve the beast" of federal government, the theory being that states and private enterprise, better equipped to respond to local needs than Washington ever could be, will at the very least take up the slack. So let's give credit where credit is due.

I don't know how things are going in Fairfax County, Va., or Prince George's County, Md., but here in East Baton Rouge Parish, La., the beast is dead.

Even before hurricanes Katrina and Rita exposed the Bush administration's cynical callousness toward our most vulnerable citizens, Louisiana in general and East Baton Rouge Parish in particular were home to some of the most profound poverty in the nation, along with all the social ills that poverty breeds.

Where does one begin? With the staggeringly high rate of HIV transmission? The fact that Louisiana public school teachers are ranked 46th in the nation for average teacher pay? Our dismal high school graduation rates? Our soaring teenage pregnancy rates? Or the public schools, which on the whole are such a disaster that they can only be compared to a war zone?

Meanwhile, such glimmers of hope as after-school and job-training programs have largely disappeared. The fact of the matter is that here in East Baton Rouge Parish, we've never managed to take care of our own, and now, in the wake of the storms, we're barely keeping our collective heads above water.

Not surprisingly, in a state that's always scrambled to get by, the financial picture isn't rosy, either, with the storms having ripped a hole in the state's ledger the size of Mars. It's a dicey little problem, too, because unlike Washington, Louisiana is obligated by law to balance its books. Ergo, the governor has had to slash nearly $1 billion out of a total (pathetically small) budget of about $18 billion.

In keeping with Washington's own philosophy of hurting the hurting, the poor are bearing the brunt of it, with deep cuts in Medicaid, hospitals, nursing homes and health care for the indigent, and additional cuts in education and social services.

As for the evacuees -- with tens of thousands still living in hotel rooms, it's only the lucky ones who are being housed in those spiffy new FEMA travel trailers, all of which are miles from bus lines, services, schools and jobs. Welcome to the bayou's own version of the Gaza Strip.

But not to worry just because Congress is set to slash billions from Medicaid, food stamps and student loan programs to finance billions in tax cuts for people who can afford to buy private jets. We in Louisiana know that reconstruction money is coming. Eventually. And when such money does begin to pour in, there's no doubt that good stuff will happen: jobs for carpenters and other skilled workers, the return of tourism, the resumption of normal life.

As for finding an affordable rental in what's left of New Orleans: Good luck. Contractors and FEMA have bid up rents an average of 100 percent.

In the meantime, there are bills to pay. Just for starters, Louisiana owes FEMA $3.7 billion.

Local governments with no tax base (their tax bases having been wiped out) are being forced to repay disaster-relief loans. The U.S. House of Representatives recently removed a provision from a bill that would have given Louisiana the opportunity to obtain federal bridge loans. New bankruptcy law makes no provision for victims of the storms. Not to mention the staggeringly high cost of electricity.

But do you know what the real kicker is? It's that even if the Bush administration comes through with adequate funding for rebuilding, it's not going to make a bit of difference without a reasonable policy to protect the wetlands, which are nature's shield against flooding. In a recent panel discussion on the subject, experts announced that it would take some $14 billion over the next 30 years to restore Louisiana's wetlands, which have been disappearing at the rate of 50 acres a day -- and that to ignore this looming environmental crisis is tantamount to "an act of mass homicide." The federal government has so far coughed up $250 million, or enough to buy some Band-Aids and bottled water when the next storm blows ashore.

Unfortunately, the people of Louisiana can't make up the shortfall. And the beast, as the poor and the struggling in Baton Rouge have known for a long time, is pushing up daisies.

November 29, 2005

Well, here's one point of view. I have my doubts Shrub had democracy on his mind.

November 28, 2005

It's All in the Execution
Steve Pizzo

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Success is the rare commodity. What separates successful ideas from unsuccessful ideas is execution. Bad ideas fail on their own.

Good ideas, to fail, must be executed poorly.

Democratizing the Arab world is a good idea. Hundreds of millions of men and women – particularly women – are living in conditions not much different from their ancestors a thousand years ago.

In most of the Middle East Arab women can be beaten, raped even murdered, not just with impunity, but under protection of Islamic law. Children go to schools that teach racial and religious hatred instead of the Three R's. And their self-appointed leaders keep it that way so they can treat their national treasuries like personal checking accounts.
So it's would be a good idea that Arab nations should be forced to get with the program and join the here and now. But what's the best way to take that idea from concept to success? How best to execute this idea?

One way would have been for the US and EU to use their considerable economic power to force change by refusing to trade with undemocratic nations in the region. Oil rich kingdoms, like Saudi Arabia, pose a special problem since we are dependent on their oil. But they in turn need the West. They need places outside their own corrupt and underdeveloped countries to hide and invest the enormous wealth they loot every year from their own people. They need western banks, investment houses, real estate, etc. Without access to these repositories their money is just so much paper.

It could work -- depending of course that the plan is well executed.
George W. Bush liked the democracy idea too. He would be Moses to the Arabs, leading them from slavery to freedom. He would give them Democracy.
Then he took this good idea and executed it about as badly as a good idea has ever been executed.

Instead of democracy what George has brought the Middle East is more of the same... violence, torture, poverty, corruption.

Oh, and
He brought them intifada too – and not just to Iraq, but Afghanistan as well.

But wait there's more.

This new intifada is now spreading to Jordan and Lebanon as well. Poorly executed, indeed. Fools rush in where angles fear to tread and George rushed in, guns blaring. Damn fine idea, he figured. Folks there are gonna roll out the red carpet for the Bush cavalry. He was sure they wanted democracy. Who wouldn't?
And that they'd know what to do with once he gave it to them.

George decided that the Iraqis and Afghans needed a example of democracy close to home. So he told Egypt they had to get with the program too. And, since we give Egypt about as much money every year as we give Israel, it was an offer Egypt could not refuse. President Mubarak tried to warn Bush that it was a bit soon to being giving Egyptians the right to vote for anyone they wanted. But Bush would not hear any of it. So, Egypt just had it's first democratic elections. How did they go?

CAIRO, Nov. 27 - The Muslim Brotherhood may be banned, but it has demonstrated in the latest parliamentary elections that it is by far the strongest Egyptian opposition group, trouncing the secular political opposition and weakening the governing party's power monopoly....The Brotherhood has been outlawed since the early 1950's, when some of its members tried to assassinate Prime Minister Gamal Abdel Nasser, who went on to become president."
(Full Story)


The Muslim Brotherhood is listed as a terrorist organization by American intelligence. Nicely done, Mr. Bush. You just got the first terrorist group democratically elected to public office. Do you have a Plan B? I didn't think so.Bush has also been executing his democracy idea in Afghanistan. So, how it going there?

KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 27 -- An onslaught of grisly and sophisticated attacks since parliamentary elections in September has left Afghan and international officials concerned that Taliban guerrillas are obtaining support from abroad to carry out strikes that increasingly mimic insurgent tactics in Iraq...

The recent attacks -- including at least nine suicide bombings -- have shown unusual levels of coordination, technological knowledge and blood lust, according to officials...
The attacks have been particularly noteworthy for their use of suicide bombers. Some have struck in waves, with one explosive-laden car following the next in an effort to maximize casualties. That sort of attack has been a hallmark of al Qaeda and a regular occurrence in Iraq. But in Afghanistan, suicide attacks of any kind have been relatively rare, despite a quarter-century of warfare. Attackers have also shown a growing appetite for strikes in cities, particularly Kabul.
(Full Story)

D'oh! Not so good. That's too bad because Bush executed the first part of the Democracy to Afghanistan idea pretty well. The cruel and backward Taliban were removed from power and on the run. And he had virtually the entire band of al Queda members, including their leader, trapped and on the verge of extermination.
Then Bush's attention deficit disorder kicked in. He was distracted by a nearby shiny object -- Iraq -- and the whole Afghanistan idea went straight to hell. The Taliban survived and the viral al Queda movement escaped containment and spread.
Today al Queda has opened franchises throughout the Middle East. Al Queda has now super-sized it's products. Instead of a democratized Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush created a full-blown and expanding intifada.
Democracy can compete with a lot of problems, but it cannot compete with chaos. Chaos will trump democracy every time.
Democracies require certain conditions to function; adherence to the rule of law, orderly procedures and public confidence those procedures can and will run their course. Chaos assures they won't. (Look no further than the on-again, off-again trial of Saddam.)
Now what? Ask the Israelis. Ask them how it could be that, with all their military superiority, western know-how and their own democracy as a side-by-side comparison, they could not defeat the Palestinian intifadas?
Lord knows they tried. They tried bombing, tear gassing, shooting, assassinating and imprisoning the intifadas to death. But none of it worked. Which is why they left Gaza and now know they will eventually have to leave most of the West Bank..
Because until they do, things just keep blowing up. Not only could the Israelis not defeat intifada but the chaos it fostered had begun to unravel Israel's own democracy.
Maybe George really wanted to democratize the Middle East. Or maybe all he wanted was the oil. Likely he wanted both. He got neither.
Instead he created a burgeoning intifada.
Instead of democracy he brought the long-suffering Arabs more suffering.

Instead of candidates for public office, he brought them suicide bombers and assassins.
Instead of the rule of law he invigorated the already well entrenched rule of brute force, tribal hatred and the endless cycle of an eye-for-an-eye violence.
Instead of bringing democracy to the long-suffering Arab street, he brought them intifada.

November 28, 2005

As of November 22 2005
Latest Release: - Featured On History Channel Nov 28, 2005

Revised 2006 Edition of the "Return of the Phoenix"


available December 2, 2005 in Ebook Open PDF
December 14, 2005 in Paperback
January 15, 2005 in Hardcover
Here is THE ONLY complete anthology of the prophecies of Edgar Cayce about the 20th and 21st Centuries. No work comes close to presenting the real Edgar Cayce, his life, his work, his detailed predictions, and why this psychic is the most important prophet of our times.

Unmatched anywhere, here is an extraordinary vision of the future, including the "Great Leveling" of the "classes and masses" which must occur to create true justice and democracy, the advent of spiritual values which will transform the Earth, the catastrophic Earth Changes which will culminate in geological upheavals and a catastrophic shifting of the Earth's Spin Axis, the opening of the "Hall of Records" which will reveal the true origin and history of humanity, the Destiny of America, Russia, Japan, and China, and much much more.

Through the 3 books of the Trilogy, Cayce's observations, teachings, and predictions are brought together into a story line of the "World Epic" which defines the looming Change In The Earth which has been and will transform all aspects of the environment and human civilization between 1936 and 2030.

Since doing an interview on Edgar Cayce for the History Channel in August 2005, Mandeville prepared a Revised Edition to correct some technical errors and to update Cayce's predictions in light of the profoundly disturbing historical changes of the past five years. Some of Cayce's most profoundly important prophecies could not be properly understood in the 20th Century, Mandeville claims, not even in 2000 when the first edition was published. But Mandeville is convinced that most of them are now fairly clear.

"The years ahead will be rocky indeed with Global Warming and other upheavals in the "Earth Changes", but during the next several years these may pale in comparison to the economic collapse, wars and revolutions which Cayce tried to warn us about".


See the Author being interviewed on the
History Channel
November 28th at 9 PM and 1 AM.
Check back here for additional airings in December and during 2006

Decoding The Past: The Other Nostradamus. Monday, November 28 @ 9pm ET

Decoding The Past: The Other Nostradamus. Tuesday, November 29 @ 1am ET

Decoding The Past: The Other Nostradamus. Saturday, December 03 @ 3pm ET

BULLETIN ITEM: History Channel to air the prophecies of Edgar Cayce, titled "The Other Nostradamus"
[ECB, Black Canyon City Arizona, November 22 2005, 11:30:00 UTC]

An hour long documentary video on the life and prophecies of world famous psychic Edgar Cayce will be aired for the first time on the History Channel on November 28 at 9 PM and 1 AM, (EST).

Titled "The Other Nostradamus", this documentary will feature interviews with a half dozen researchers and scientists who have studied aspects of Edgar Cayce's work, many of whose 1930's predictions are highly relevant and pending for the 21st Century.

One of the featured interviewees is Michael Mandeville, who is one of the most knowledgeable experts on the life and predictions of the phenomenally accurate Cayce. Mandeville helped established Cayce's accuracy with a trilogy of three books he published in 2000 under the title "Return of the Phoenix".

He scientifically established Cayce's accuracy at 84% to 96%, depending on the type of prediction.

Since doing the interview in August, Mandeville has been preparing a revised edition of the trilogy to update Cayce's predictions in light of the profoundly disturbing historical changes of the past five year.

The Revised Edition 2006 of the "Return of the Phoenix" will be available at the beginning of December 2005 in e-book form and by mid-December 2005 in print form.

The History Channel will likely air this program a few more times during the year, which is its practice with documentaries.

Entrepreneur Taps Mistrust of Media for New Venture
by David Usborne

The internet entrepreneur Craig Newmark, whose Craigslist site provided a hugely successful free alternative to classified advertising, has trained his sights on the old-fashioned newspaper industry.

Mr Newmark - whose is the seventh-most visited internet site in America, just after eBay - has diverted millions of dollars of advertising revenue away from newspapers.

At a seminar at the Said Business School at Oxford University this week, Mr Newmark rehearsed his new media paradigm: the combination of improving Web technology and a popular groundswell of distrust for reporters - especially, he says, because of ill- informed reporting of the Iraq war and its build-up - means that ordinary people are ready to take over the newsroom.

Mr Newmark said that he expects to launch a project in the coming weeks to harness the "wisdom of the masses" that has fuelled his advertising site and apply it to daily journalism.

The success of Craigslist means that when Mr Newmark talks, the newspaper business would do well to listen. In the San Francisco area alone, it is reckoned he has denied local newspapers about $50m (£29m) in classified advertising revenue annually. The site makes a modest income, charging only for recruitment ads in big markets like New York. Everything else is free. There are sites for almost every major US city and 35 international cities including London.

While he has yet to discuss the specifics of his next venture, he has hinted at an interactive website on which users could decide which parts of the news really matter to them and even report some of it themselves.

"Things need to change," he said. "The big issue in the US is that newspapers are afraid to talk truth to power. The White House press corps don't speak the truth to power - they are frightened to lose access they don't have anyway."

Some observers expect Mr Newmark to make a bid for, an encyclopedia site that explicitly invites users to contribute with their own definitions and descriptions. Mr Newmark may have it in mind to transform the site into a huge cyber-based community news forum. "I do think professional and citizen journalism will blur together," he predicts, "because we will find that some amateurs are as talented as a professional journalist."

The White House press corps seems to enrage him especially. "No one is taking their job seriously there," he recently remarked. "Now it could be that they could be under a directive to not do so. We don't know. I've spoken to a lot of journalists who are very frustrated."

Part of the problem lies with the newspapers themselves. The race for dollars, he insists, has obscured the race for truth. "They're being run as profit centres, and they're trying to get pretty high profit margins. As a result, investigative reporting has been seen as a problem."

Colin Powell's Former Chief of Staff Col. Wilkerson on Prewar Intel, Murder and Torture How a White House "Cabal" Hijacked U.S. Foreign Policy
video & transcript

Room for Christ
Dorothy Day

Woodcut by Fritz Eichenberg, "Christ of the Breadlines"

It is no use saying that we are born two thousand years too late to give room to Christ. Nor will those who live at the end of the world have been born too late. Christ is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts.

But now it is with the voice of our contemporaries that he speaks, with the eyes of store clerks, factory workers, and children that he gazes; with the hands of office workers, slum dwellers, and suburban housewives that he gives. It is with the feet of soldiers and tramps that he walks, and with the heart of anyone in need that he longs for shelter. And giving shelter or food to anyone who asks for it, or needs it, is giving it to Christ.

We can do now what those who knew him in the days of his flesh did. I am sure that the shepherds did not adore and then go away to leave Mary and her Child in the stable, but somehow found them room, even though what they had to offer might have been primitive enough. All that the friends of Christ did for him in his lifetime, we can do. Peter’s mother-in-law hastened to cook a meal for him, and if anything in the Gospels can be inferred, it surely is that she gave the very best she had, with no thought of extravagance. Matthew made a feast for him, inviting the whole town, so that the house was in an uproar of enjoyment, and the straitlaced Pharisees – the good people – were scandalized.

The people of Samaria, despised and isolated, were overjoyed to give him hospitality, and for days he walked and ate and slept among them. And the loveliest of all relationships in Christ’s life, after his relationship with his Mother, is his friendship with Martha, Mary, and Lazarus and the continual hospitality he found with them. It is a staggering thought that there were once two sisters and a brother whom Jesus looked on almost as his family and where he found a second home, where Martha got on with her work, bustling around in her house-proud way, and Mary simply sat in silence with him.

If we hadn’t got Christ’s own words for it, it would seem raving lunacy to believe that if I offer a bed and food and hospitality to some man or woman or child, I am replaying the part of Lazarus or Martha or Mary, and that my guest is Christ. There is nothing to show it, perhaps. There are no halos already glowing round their heads – at least none that human eyes can see. It is not likely that I shall be vouchsafed the vision of Elizabeth of Hungary, who put the leper in her bed and later, going to tend him, saw no longer the leper’s stricken face, but the face of Christ. The part of a Peter Claver, who gave a stricken Black man his bed and slept on the floor at his side, is more likely ours. For Peter Claver never saw anything with his bodily eyes except the exhausted faces of the Blacks; he had only faith in Christ’s own words that these people were Christ. And when on one occasion the Blacks he had induced to help him ran from the room, panic-stricken before the disgusting sight of some sickness, he was astonished. “You mustn’t go,” he said, and you can still hear his surprise that anyone could forget such a truth: “You mustn’t leave him – it is Christ.”

Some time ago I saw the death notice of a sergeant-pilot who had been killed on active service. After the usual information, a message was added which, I imagine, is likely to be imitated. It said that anyone who had ever known the dead boy would always be sure of a welcome at his parents’ home. So, even now that the war is over, the father and mother will go on taking in strangers for the simple reason that they will be reminded of their dead son by the friends he made.

That is rather like the custom that existed among the first generations of Christians, when faith was a bright fire that warmed more than those who kept it burning. In every house then, a room was kept ready for any stranger who might ask for shelter; it was even called “the stranger’s room”; and this not because these people, like the parents of the dead airman, thought they could trace something of someone they loved in the stranger who used it, not because the man or woman to whom they gave shelter reminded them of Christ, but because – plain and simple and stupendous fact – he was Christ.

It would be foolish to pretend that it is always easy to remember this. If everyone were holy and handsome, with alter Christus shining in neon lighting from them, it would be easy to see Christ in everyone. If Mary had appeared in Bethlehem clothed, as St. John says, with the sun, a crown of twelve stars on her head, and the moon under her feet, then people would have fought to make room for her. But that was not God’s way for her, nor is it Christ’s way for himself, now when he is disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth.

To see how far one realizes this, it is a good thing to ask honestly what you would do, or have done, when a beggar asked at your house for food. Would you – or did you – give it on an old cracked plate, thinking that was good enough? Do you think that Martha and Mary thought that the old and chipped dish was good enough for their guest?

In Christ’s human life, there were always a few who made up for the neglect of the crowd. The shepherds did it; their hurrying to the crib atoned for the people who would flee from Christ. The wise men did it; their journey across the world made up for those who refused to stir one hand’s breadth from the routine of their lives to go to Christ. Even the gifts the wise men brought have in themselves an obscure recompense and atonement for what would follow later in this Child’s life. For they brought gold, the king’s emblem, to make up for the crown of thorns that he would wear; they offered incense, the symbol of praise, to make up for the mockery and the spitting; they gave him myrrh, to heal and soothe, and he was wounded from head to foot and no one bathed his wounds. The women at the foot of the Cross did it too, making up for the crowd who stood by and sneered.

We can do it too, exactly as they did. We are not born too late. We do it by seeing Christ and serving Christ in friends and strangers, in everyone we come in contact with.

All this can be proved, if proof is needed, by the doctrines of the Church. We can talk about Christ’s Mystical Body, about the vine and the branches, about the Communion of Saints. But Christ himself has proved it for us, and no one has to go further than that. For he said that a glass of water given to a beggar was given to him. He made heaven hinge on the way we act toward him in his disguise of commonplace, frail, ordinary humanity.

Did you give me food when I was hungry?

Did you give me to drink when I was thirsty?

Did you give me clothes when my own were rags?

Did you come to see me when I was sick, or in prison or in trouble?

And to those who say, aghast, that they never had a chance to do such a thing, that they lived two thousand years too late, he will say again what they had the chance of knowing all their lives, that if these things were done for the very least of his brethren they were done to him.
For a total Christian, the goad of duty is not needed – always prodding one to perform this or that good deed. It is not a duty to help Christ, it is a privilege. Is it likely that Martha and Mary sat back and considered that they had done all that was expected of them – is it likely that Peter’s mother-in-law grudgingly served the chicken she had meant to keep till Sunday because she thought it was her “duty”? She did it gladly; she would have served ten chickens if she had had them.

If that is the way they gave hospitality to Christ, then certainly it is the way it should still be given. Not for the sake of humanity. Not because it might be Christ who stays with us, comes to see us, takes up our time. Not because these people remind us of Christ, as those soldiers and airmen remind the parents of their son, but because they are Christ, asking us to find room for him, exactly as he did at the first Christmas.

Reprinted from Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas.

Thanksgiving at Camp Casey
By Leigh Saavedra
Online Journal
Contributing Writer
Nov 25, 2005, 15:08

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In the three months since we fought the heat and crowds, watching a bit of history being made by the presence of Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, Texas, a lot has changed.

We drove into town late yesterday morning, noting the landmarks of last summer, Rattlesnake Hill Road, the Yellow Rose (where pro-Bush people hang out), the Crawford Peace Center. It was a completely different scene from the one that started a firestorm of adamant opposition to Bush's war last August.

Wednesday, there was a show of disobedience when 12 persons peacefully protested by refusing to leave the ditch where Cindy Sheehan and her supporters had pitched their camps last summer. Approximately 24 persons camped in the ditch for a few hours, but when the police arrived to arrest anyone who wouldn't leave, half the number bowed out.

To those 12 willing to be arrested, the Crawford police asked if they wanted to walk out or be carried. Among the 12 was Daniel Ellsberg, famous for leaking the Pentagon Papers. The 12 were kept for about four hours, charged, and told to return for trial.

A movement is already underway to have the county ordinances that now prevent any kind of protest along the road to George Bush's ranch rendered unconstitutional. If the ordinances hold, the tenacious activists who allowed themselves to be arrested instead of giving up their rights to protest will be fined up to $2,500.

The "ditch" as it is so often called was made famous last August when Cindy Sheehan parked her tent and camping supplies there, saying she would not leave until Bush answered her question: "Why did my son Casey have to die in your war in Iraq? What is the 'noble cause' you say he and the other 2000 have given their lives for?"

They didn't leave until Bush ended his nearly five-week vacation at his ranch down the road, and by then Cindy was a household word, an icon for those who draw strength from seeing an ordinary person do extraordinary things. Cindy's stand was probably the largest shot of adrenalin the peace movement has received. She gave us the image the movement needed, a mother's pain brought about by greed of a few, and America embraced the image.

Yesterday, the plan was for a simple meal at Camp Casey in solidarity with the people of Iraq who want freedom, peace, and the end of the U.S. occupation. Iraqi women cooked up a wide variety of Middle Eastern dishes, mostly spicy, all good. We counted roughly 200 people in the large tent where we ate, a much smaller number than the thousands who were going daily to Camp Casey in its final days last August.

I moved from table to table, talking and trying to assess the mood of our movement. The anger that was there last summer has been replaced with the encouragement of believing, finally, that we are making headway in a country that fought hard to keep from facing the truth.

Before the meal, we all formed a huge circle and held hands. A member of the Lakota Tribe read, then sang chants to us, a Lakota prayer translated as "Thank you." We were read a section from the Koran, and then another speaker talked of shamanism in both Christianity and Judaism. At the end, one young woman told me she had been hesitant to miss Thanksgiving with her husband and son as it seemed a time to be with family. "Then," she concluded, "I arrived here and I know I am with family here, too."

As I sat, I found myself looking carefully at a large poster of Casey Sheehan, who died in Iraq at age 24. I'd looked at the poster many times last summer. I'd seen Cindy hug my son and tried over and over to understand how she fought the blackness of losing a child and then finding out that his death had been only for the material gain of a few.

While she has become a hero, greatly admired for her unpretentious courage, she has also been treated badly by those Bush loyalists who feel threatened when confronted by a peace sticker or sign. I remembered hearing the vulgar names shouted out from people in pickup trucks last summer, usually referring to Cindy. And, looking at Casey's photo, the freezing of a young man to be eternally 24 years old, I recalled that some had taunted Cindy with reminders that Casey joined the military willingly.

Yes, Casey, like many others, joined on his own, believing he was needed to protect our country, believing -- as did Cindy at the time -- that our president was a man of honor, a man to be believed. Surely, they reasoned, our leaders know more than we could ever hope to understand.
I don't know if Casey learned any part of the big lie while he was in Iraq, but I look at his youthful face and am overcome with the knowledge of all that he never knew.

He never knew that it was pointless to search for weapons of mass destruction, because such weapons didn't exist. He never knew that some reputable people would later say that the Bush crowd never believed such weapons existed, but used the threat only to force the American people to support the conquest. He never knew that even after some of Bush's "evidence" was disproved and reported to Bush as false that he would still go on to use it in a State of the Union Address 15 months before Casey's life would be extinguished.

He couldn't have known that one leak after another would finally bring two-thirds of the United States, now with a large number of its leaders, to admit that it had been wrong to invade Iraq. Probably he never for a moment knew that much of the world today considers George Bush to be the most dangerous person on earth, many calling him the greatest of all terrorists.

The saddest thing about Cindy's question, for what noble cause did Casy die, is that there is no answer. There never was a noble cause. Casey was used, along with well over 2,000 other young people who believed what they were told, who listened to a corporate-controlled media that reported what Power wanted them to report and withheld what Power wanted withheld, all exacerbated by a gullible public with a short memory, narrow minds, and a great lack of inclination to do research.

And he never knew, of course, that it would take a single person, his mother, to take a stand watched all around the world, to become the child who questions the emperor's new clothes.

Today, our battle is far from over, but we have leaped mountains since the worldwide protests in February 2003, when most of the American people refused to accept that we could be making a mistake to invade Iraq. At that time, the majority of Americans believed that there was a connection between Iraq and 9-ll, or Iraq and al-Qaeda.

Today we can say that many in our country have awakened.

Whether it is in shock at the discoveries that our country does indeed support torture and whether it is the photos of such horrible lawlessness as seen in Abu Ghraib or whether it is the slow, sometimes barely audible whistleblowing that is coming to us weekly now, we won't know for some time. But what we do know is that a short time ago, Americans in general believed their president. That is no longer the case.

Many people will never be able to feel the same pride and trust in their country that they remember from only a few years ago.

I saw, in the gentleness of the people who preferred sharing a simple Iraqi meal in Crawford to a huge turkey dinner, both a gratitude that we are finally being heard and a determination to persist.

A group of people were discussing the need for a referendum in Iraq, where the Iraqis themselves would choose whether the U.S. leaves their country within a short time or not. Someone then commented that no, such a hope was not possible, that the U.S. would never leave Iraq. With all the talk of cutting forces, hoping to let the Iraqis govern themselves, and being the bearers of democracy to the nearly destroyed land, there are those huge air bases being built in Iraq. We can pretend that they are temporary, but such pretense runs a close second to believing Santa is going to bring us back the bodies of children caught in "Shock and Awe" or that he's going to bring back the missing father of an American child facing a cold Christmas this year.

Even now, when some categories of lies have been stopped in their tracks, the lie machine never sleeps.

The big one to watch this month is the bidding being done by our national media to the Bush people's propaganda about the threat posed to us all by Venezuela's President Chavez.

Slowly, desperately, the Bush people have changed the costumes involved and replaced the use of Osama bin Laden as global boogeyman with false accusations of the popular Venezuelan president who dares direct oil revenues to the poorest of his constituency. That they can't catch Osama doesn't seem to be high on the list of things that keep this White House awake at night.

The point, as I sadly see it, is that there are those in power who have no intention of giving up.

If they can't force war with Syria, they'll put both Syria and Iran on a back burner, and turn to South America. Always, it seems, toward a place where the earth is soaked in oil. So they lie, and somewhere out there a young Casey Sheehan, too young to be skeptical, will be pulled into the madness.

We returned from Camp Casey, where the meal was served, to the Peace Center in a shuttle van, and about halfway there, we were stopped as we approached one of the turns to the Bush's ranch. We got out and were told not to go any farther than the front of our shuttle. There were four or five other vehicles stopped with us. We all assumed that Bush himself had dared leave the ranch and was being returned. We were reminded that we were silent protesters and while we could hold up the famous "V" sign of peace, we could not act like the hecklers of last summer had acted as they shouted and screamed at us. The police refused to tell us anything about why we were stopped.

Suddenly another vehicle drove up next to ours, inside were a man, a woman, and two children. The woman got out and in a dramatic outpouring, began to shout of her love for Bush. After a couple of rather theatrical, "Go, George. We love you George," statements, one of our group asked her if she was serious.

Some of us thought it must be a moment of silliness, of misplaced sarcasm. No, she insisted, her eyes looking glazed over with the same look I've seen in those who were "born again." "No, I LOVE this president!" she shouted.

"What about all the dead?" someone quietly asked her, and she threw out her arms and said, "If you only knew how many lives our president has SAVED. Look at France and serve your president. He has saved thousands of lives. What if you were in France?"

Sometimes it's hard to be gentle, dignified and non-confrontational. I did a fairly unimpressive job of doing any of the three, but she left before I lost my cool completely. Returning to the shuttle, we all reminded each other that there's a world of people out there still standing between us and the peace and understanding we advocate. Most demoralizing was that whoever had caused us to stop was not even recognizable to any of us. They were whisked down the road to the ranch, and we were free to move on without a clue of the their identities.

Back at the Peace Center before going to our car and heading home, I talked to some others about expectations. I learned that the space on which Camp Casey 2 is located has been rented for a year, so we will always have a place for events in this area.

I learned that even in our small turnout, people today were from as far away as Maine and Oregon. The Crawford Peace House itself has been transformed. One man I met had created a large, flat area covered with smooth stones in the front of the house, a sort of patio. Leading from this new area toward the side and back are new paths lined with large rocks and filled with crushed stone. A picket fence has been built, with lattice-work archways. The entire yard has winding paths and inviting spots to stop and meditate. In total it is a memorial.

I drove out of Crawford more confident than I ever was last summer.

All over the country people were doing what I would have been doing had it not been for Cindy Sheehan. They were stuffing themselves with turkey and dressing, yams and pies, thinking the borders of the world were within eyeshot, and lamenting loudly an hour later that they had eaten too much. I thought of the crumbled feta, steamed fish, and casseroles of rice and vegetables, the figs and dates and oranges that we had all shared today. No one, as far as I know, overate.

And in summary, I dared to hope: It's getting better.

Leigh Saavedra has been writing for years as Lisa Walsh Thomas, and as Leigh Saavedra since May 2005. A former arts columnist and gifted education specialist, she has a collection of essays available in her book "The Girl with Yellow Flowers in Her Hair",
available from What I Did in the

Comments are welcome; email her at

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