The Execution of Private Slovik: War is a brutal business, and people are going to die. But to execute anyone, for simply not wanting to kill or be killed to me is outright murder. I could understand sending him to the stockades for a few months, but to out and out order his murder just to make an example is wrong on so many levels. Personally forcing anyone to kill or be killed is way more cowardly than what Eddie Slovik did. Slovik, at least as far as the way the movie presented him, while not being an angel, was a man of principals after he left the reformatory. He never lied about his intentions, all he wanted was a discharge. He was willing to spend time in the stockades and face contempt most likely when he got back to the states. I liked at the end of the movie after he was pronounced dead where Ned Beatty's charachter said "the bravest man here today was Eddie Slovik". War is a horrible thing that has been going on for around 5000 years, and probably will keep on for another 5000, if we as a people don't kill ourselves and our planet first.  
Robert Fisk: Unflinching, provocative, brilliantly written–a work of major importance for today’s world.  
Tickling the Body Politic: Swami Beyondananda   Swami's hilarious and pertinent live performance DVD, where he manages to touch the body politic -- appropriately -- in all its sensitive spots, and still leave 'em laughing. Perfect for in home parties for voter registration, education and inspiration - and it will still be funny long after Election Day.  
RFID, which stands for Radio Frequency IDentification, is a technology that uses computer chips smaller than a grain of sand to track items from a distance. And as this mind-blowing book explains, plans and efforts are being made now by global corporations and the U.S government to turn this advanced technology, these spychips, into a way to track our daily activities-and keep us all on Big Brother's short leash. Compiling massive amounts of research with firsthand knowledge, Spychips explains RFID technology and reveals the history and future of the master planners' strategies to imbed these trackers on everything-from postage stamps to shoes to people themselves-and spy on Americans without our knowledge or consent. It also urgently encourages consumers to take action now-to protect their privacy and civil liberties before it's too late.  
Part family comedy and part horrifying investigative reportage, Blue Vinyl can make one simultaneously laugh and shiver with fear in the same, deceptively low-key moments. Documentary filmmaker Judith Helfand, upset that her parents are re-siding their house with blue vinyl, sets out (with co-director Daniel B. Gold) to discover how vinyl is made and why, according to some scientists, it is the most hazardous of synthetic materials. Along the way, she meets industry representatives who tell her the key chemical ingredient in vinyl, chloride, is no more toxic than table salt. She also travels to Venice, Italy, to meet with families of vinyl factory workers dead or dying from chemical exposure, and she visits an intrepid, Louisiana attorney who has sued American vinyl manufacturers on behalf of severely injured former employees. The tale is grim, yet the often on-screen Helfand's approach is folksy and calm--less so when her skeptical parents reject, in several funny scenes, even empirical data about a product they find so convenient. --Tom Keogh  
The Boy with Green Hair. This movie should be seen by all, young and old, alike. Let There Be Peace!  
Fundamentalism has gotten America into a mess, but religion can once again help the country finds its soul. The Republican version of Jimmy Carter, former Missouri senator John Danforth, started an important national discussion when he criticized right-wing extremists in his party for their certainty that God was on their side. By adding his own voice to the discussion, Carter reminds us of a time when religion was tied to such virtues as humility and to such practices as soul-searching. He may not have been one of our best presidents, but he is undoubtedly one of our finest human beings.  
In their eye-opening, soul-prodding look at the excess of American society, the authors of Affluenza include two quotations that encapsulate much of the book: T.S. Eliot's line "We are the hollow men / We are the stuffed men," which opens one of this book's chapters, and a quote from a newspaper article that notes "We are a nation that shouts at a microwave oven to hurry up." If these observations make you grimace at your own ruthless consumption or sigh at the hurried pace of your life, you may already be ill. Read on.  
Although "the purchase of African Americans was outlawed many years ago," ayo writes, "black people are once again a valued and popular commodity." In her view, they appeal especially to whites who rely on their relationships with blacks as evidence of their own progressive politics or simply to inject some sorely needed "cool" into their lives. Ayo has in mind real-life versions of George Costanza, the "Seinfeld" sidekick who spent an entire episode in search of a black person whom he could pass off as his friend.  
"It is a fascinating story and a deeply moving one. And it is a story that should make people pause and think--think not only about the Germans, but also about themselves."--Ernest S. Pisko, Christian Science Monitor  
The most brilliant Action Figure ever! What better way to celebrate the man who is probably the most important thinker of the 20th century than with an action figure? Dressed for intense classroom action, this 5" tall, hard plastic Einstein Action Figure stands with a piece of chalk in his hand, poised to explain relativity or do battle with the forces of entropy. Some quality time with Albert might just inspire you and your other action figures to think a little bit more deeply. Features realistic disheveled hair.  
The basis of human nourishment is obvious: it is raw plant foods. And Nature presents this to us in abundance. Raw plant foods are simple, easy to find, fun to eat, enjoyable, contain thousands of health-giving nutrients, and conform to the biological design of the human digestive system. The sun is the source of all life and raw plant foods represent the purest form of transformed sun energy.  
Sacred cows make the best hamburger. Mark Twain Reality's Bitch, Doomsday's Child: Subscribe to Rb's Newsletter
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Florida GOP Thanks God for Diebold/ESS and Endorses Katherine Harris  22nd JANUARY 2006

If there was any doubt that Florida's Republican leaders weren't behind Katherine Harris' run for U.S. Senate, those leaders did their best Saturday to cast it aside. At the state GOP's quarterly meeting, Jeb Bush said he would campaign for Harris and encouraged a crowded room of Republican activists to do the same. At a separate rally following his speech, Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings gave strong praise to Harris and told her "Go, run and win." "We know that when we hack into the voting machines, we'll be victorious," crowed Harris.

Republican Linked to Consiglieri Abramoff Is No Stranger to Graft  22nd JANUARY 2006

Greedy republican congressman Bob Ney was a long way from the cracked brick streets and ragged neighborhoods of his Rust Belt hometown when he teed off on the fabled golf course at St. Andrews, Scotland, in the summer of 2002. But there was nothing unusual about his cozy ties with Washington lobbyist [Uber-republican jack abramoff] who helped arrange his tee time. The Ohio republican has a history of close relations with lobbyists and special interests that predate golf partner republican lobbyist jack abramoff. In his quarter-century as a [thieving republican (but I repeat myself)] state legislator and U.S. representative, typical republican ney, 51, has demonstrated a talent for turning such unethical political connections into opportunities for gifts, travel and other forms of personal gain, records and interviews show. Republicans fear ney's behavior "may" prove problematic.

How Close Are We to the End of Democracy?  21st JANUARY 2006

We have seen resident Bush's legal defense for the surveillance program. There is, he tells us, an unparalled crisis. It reminds me of the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, stating they had to interfere with the election and overrule the Florida Supreme Court because we were in a national crisis -- we couldn't have a president elected. Bush's cry of "crisis" is as false as Rehnquist's (and four other Justices) cry of crisis. Each time Rehnquist and Bush tried to set aside the Constitution to get an illegal result. That is truly what a "unitary" president means. If America did not pay attention before, it must now.

Evidence of Yet Another Stolen Election  21st JANUARY 2006

The statement by Diebold's CEO that he would deliver the election to Bush was apparently no idle boast. In five states where the new "foolproof" electronic voting machines were used, the vote tallies differed substantially from the exit polls. Such a disparity is unusual. The chances of exit polls in five states being wrong are one in one million. Miller describes considerably more election fraud than voting machines programmed to count a proportion of Kerry votes as Bush votes. Some evidence is circumstantial. However, he documents widespread Republican dirty tricks and foul play. Media's indifference to a stolen election burns Miller as much as the stolen election itself. Miller directs our attention to Bush's high-handed treatment of dissenters. If electronic voting machines programmed by private Republican firms remain in our future, dissent will become pointless unless it boils over into revolution. Power-mad Republicans need to consider the result when democracy loses its legitimacy and only the rich have anything to lose.

Republicans Gone Wild  21st JANUARY 2006

Obscene ethics reform gestures, suddenly hazy memories, and a kegger in the Oval Office can't hide the fugly truth:  Abramoff is an integral part of the GOP machinations that revved up with the '94 "revolution." After Republican began sweeping their dirt under our rug, Sonny Bono, who had fallen from grace as a celebrity, warned Gingrich to guard against hubris. The failed professor and soon-to-be-failed speaker sent aides and followers for training to U.S. Army training and doctrine centers at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Monroe, and called himself CEO. He suffered mood swings of extreme highs and lows, bouncing from grandiose schemes to uncontrollable sobbing. He instructed aides, "You guys have to tell reporters if they're going to cover Republicans now, they need a romantic view of history," and his massive porn collection reflected this sensibility.

Sickness in the Static  21st JANUARY 2006

You know they lied to you, but you’re too scared to admit it. The facts are there — why isn't the public responding to them? "This phenomenon seems to reflect a disturbing reality that most people refuse to believe anything not "officially" reported! "Denial" doesn't seem powerful enough to be causing this, given that a multitude of seemingly obvious facts belie the official stories. So there is the reason the people of America won’t see what is staring them in the face. They’re simply too stupid to admit they’ve been duped, even though their survival depends on it. The American public, shamed by its sick support for colossal crimes against humanity, remains silently glued to poisoned airwaves that offer only tempestuous titillation that cover up the sound we all try to ignore — the sound of people dying over lies we fail to challenge.

Homeland Security to Launch Propaganda Program for Kids  21st JANUARY 2006

After more than a year of delays, the Department of Homeland Security says it plans to launch a preparedness program aimed at alerting and preparing children for terror attacks and natural disasters. Both Martinez and Gonzalez said they had no concerns the program might frighten children. The program is part of the Department of Homeland Security's $100 million campaign to prepare American citizens for terrorism disasters.

Erasing America  20th JANUARY 2006

The United States of America, once a Constitutional republic, is being erased. The erasure of America isn’t reported on the 6 o’clock news, of course. It isn’t much noticed, because it is happening too slowly — although the pace has increased over the decades. There is no need to speak of “conspiracy theories.” For one thing, it isn’t a theory. It is as much a fact as gravity. It is being carried out in plain sight, not behind closed doors. Anyone with Web access can follow the process. Those in the business of erasing America know, however, that they are operating in a culture whose educational system has been strip-mined, so to speak. America’s masses by and large don’t know what a Constitutional republic is, and use the Web the same way they use television — for entertainment.

Wayward Christian Soldiers  20th JANUARY 2006

In the past several years, American evangelicals have amassed greater political power than at any time in our history. But at what cost to our witness and the integrity of our message? Many of the most respected voices in evangelical circles blessed the resident's war plans, even when doing so required them to recast Christian doctrine. Jerry Falwell boasted that "God is pro-war" in the title of an essay. War sermons rallied the evangelical congregations behind the invasion of Iraq. An astonishing 87% of all white evangelical Christians in the US supported the resident's decision in April 2003. Recent polls indicate that 68% of white evangelicals continue to support the war. But what surprised me, looking at these sermons nearly three years later, was how little attention they paid to actual Christian moral doctrine.

It's What We Do  19th JANUARY 2006

The administration says terrorists hate us for who we are. But that isn't what the terrorists say - or what the record shows. Bush, in his war on terror, avoided the clash of civilizations hypothesis, holding that the US is not waging war against Islam. However, the resident has backed into saying terrorists “hate us because we are free.” [Bush] made the argument that they hate America for “what it is.” We are not, Bush said, “facing a set of grievances that can be soothed or addressed.” The argument is wrong.

George W. Bush Explains National Healthcare  19th JANUARY 2006

"Because the - all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculated, for example, is on the table. Whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those - changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be - or closer delivered to that has been promised. Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the - like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate - the benefits will rise based upon inflation, supposed [as opposed?] to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those - if that growth is affected, it will help on the red."

Attacks on Homeless Reported Nationwide  19th JANUARY 2006

A string of beatings of three homeless men in Fort Lauderdale in a single night last week has cast a spotlight on a brand of crime activists say has practically become sport among young people around the country. Police say the attacks were carried out by a group of teenagers who piled into a car with baseball bats, a golf club and a paintball gun and went looking for homeless people to beat up. From Florida to Alaska, dozens of homeless people are attacked each year, most often by white men under 20, according to the Washington-based National Coalition for the Homeless. Baseball bats are a favored weapon, as well as rocks, bricks, fists and feet, pellet guns and knives.  [I'd say, "send 'em to Iraq!" But, who'd wish them on the Iraqis. So, let's store them on an Arctic shelf...Rb]

Study:  Most College Students Lack Basic Skills  19th JANUARY 2006

Most college students cannot handle many complex but common tasks, from understanding credit card offers to comparing the cost per ounce of food. More than 50% of students at four-year schools and more than 75% at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks. They could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey.

Roberts Reneges on Pledge to Respect Assisted Suicide Law  18th JANUARY 2006

The Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 to block "the Bush administration's attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die, protecting Oregon's one-of-a-kind assisted-suicide law." Justices Scalia and Thomas joined Chief Justice Roberts in the dissent. But before Roberts was confirmed to the Supreme Court, he declared to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) that on end-of-life issues he would "start with the supposition that one has the right to be left alone." "Roberts told Wyden that he would look closely at the legislative history of federal laws and would be careful not to strip states of powers they traditionally have held -- such as regulating the practice of medicine." If Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who ruled to uphold Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, is replaced with Samuel Alito, the Court would likely rule 5 to 4 on end-of-life issues.

We Get the Leaders We Deserve [Ha Ha, Hee Hee, and Ho Ho.]  18th JANUARY 2006

When the stress of the war in Iraq becomes too severe, the Pentagon has a suggestion for military families: Learn how to laugh. With help from the Pentagon's chief laughter instructor, families of National Guard members are learning to walk like a penguin, laugh like a lion and blurt "ha, ha, hee, hee and ho, ho." "We believe our program prevents hardening of the attitudes," says Scott, in one of his wordplay aphorisms that beg for a rimshot. The founder and chief executive of the World Laughter Tour is psychologist Steve Wilson, who calls himself "Cheerman of the Bored." "The guiding principle is to laugh for no reason. And that's one of the reasons it works so well for military families," Scott says. "There's a lot they have to be stressed over, a lot of worries, a lot of concerns." As foolish as students might feel, Scott says he's lost only one participant: a Marine sergeant major who, Scott says, fled the room with a bad case of the giggles. [So funny Rb forgets to laugh.]

Renewed Doomsday Debate Abroad   18th JANUARY 2006

It is hard to imagine any American news organization doing what The Independent of London did this week:  give top billing to a dire global warming scenario from a leading environmental scientist. "The world has already passed the point of no return for climate change, and civilisation as we know it is now unlikely to survive, according to James Lovelock, the scientist and green guru who conceived the idea of Gaia -- the Earth which keeps itself fit for life." Lovelock’s comments drew virtually no news coverage among the U.S. media.

The American Terror: from Hope of the World to Enemy of Mankind   17th JANUARY 2006

Yesterday was another day like all others recently around the globe. The American people sent their greetings of death from the skies to the poor women and children of a remote Pakistani village, the second American Happy New Year to the poor children of Pakistan in one week. America was once the hope of mankind for a freer world. Today America is the scourge of mankind who rains death down upon their children in the middle of the night. A nation that routinely murders innocent children and supplies and supports the murderous secret police of scores of nations around the world sending out Death Squads trained by the Americans is seen by the world as the Enemy of Mankind.

Military Intelligence:  The Sorry Sods of Empire   17th JANUARY 2006

Way too many American youth can't even speak English well enough to graduate from high school. It's cool, though, they can still get a job in the military where they can burn things and blow stuff up. Awright! The US military is now a boarding home for delinquents. It is an escape from prison for hoodlums and criminals. The US court system sends monsters into the military so that they can avoid jail time; so what do you expect? America’s finest! Sir, yes sir. America’s military only gets the best and the brightest. Sir, yes sir.

Bush Uses Bully Pulpit to Speak Out Against Speaking Out   17th JANUARY 2006

Along with the torture, spying, and perpetual claims of executive privilege, Bush uses his bully pulpit to lie. Constantly. Whatever issue Bush discusses, he lies. Lying is the lynchpin of this administration's strategy. And yet, five years into [this] malfeasant administration, reporters, columnists, and even the so-called opposition party still can't describe Bush or Cheney with the word "liar" unless it's followed by a question mark. As in, "Surely you're not saying the President is a liar?"

The Godly Must Be Crazy   17th JANUARY 2006

Opposing abortion and stem-cell research is consistent with religious right's belief that life begins at conception. Opposing gay marriage is consistent with its claim that homosexual activity is proscribed by the Bible. Both beliefs are a familiar staple of today's political discourse. But a scripture-based justification for anti-environmentalism? People under the spell of prophecies cannot be expected to worry about the environment. Why care about the earth when droughts, floods, and pestilence brought by ecological collapse are signs of the Apocalypse? Why care about climate change when you and yours will be rescued in the Rapture? And why care about converting from oil to solar when the God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up barrels of crude with a Word?

Army Orders Soldiers to Shed Protective Armor or Lose Death Benefits   16th JANUARY 2006

The U.S. Army appears to be  singling out soldiers who purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations, reported their commander told them if they were wearing Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive death benefits from their SGLI insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action.

Fly Boys, Lie Boys: Smart-Bombing Iraqi Families While They Sleep   16th JANUARY 2006

The children you killed have no worries anymore, nor do their parents, because you killed them, too. Of course you were immediately defended by the mouthpieces of the US military machine, whose first reaction is to lie, just like their president, when faced with evidence atrocities have been committed. And you, the strutting, Mission-Accomplished fly-boys, the cream of the cream and the most marvelous of marvelous -- you are casual murderers.

CNN Banned: President Misquoted As Saying Iran Wants Nuclear Weapons   16th JANUARY 2006

Iran banned CNN journalists from working there after the broadcaster misquoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying Iran wanted nuclear weapons. In fact, what the Iranian president said was that "Iran has the right to nuclear energy."

War Waged Without Obligation   16th JANUARY 2006

There is a disconnect from war that our countryfolk have become comfortable with as our leaders who promote and prosecute the violence separate us from the bloody realities of the mindless destructive power of our weaponry, and the dangerous contradictions that undermine the premise of our military interventions. Apart from dehumanizing the targets of our aggression with the taunts, name-calling, and pistol-packing cowboy 'dead or alive' rhetoric thrown out like red meat to the cowed masses, Bush and his cabal are content to ignore the humanity of the inhabitants of whatever lands they choose as the whipping post for their contrived retribution.


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