Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Iraq, Afghan vets at risk for suicides

I post this article (please click through and read the entire article) out of concern for my brothers and sisters returning home from combat service,

If you have experience or insights that can help analyze and hopefully recommend solutions, I hope you will find ways to support.

Thank you

Iraq, Afghan vets at risk for suicides

WASHINGTON - Mary Gallagher did not get a knock at the door from a military chaplain with news of her Marine husband's death in a faraway place. Instead, the Iraq war veteran committed suicide eight months after returning home.

She is left wondering why.

It's a question shared by hundreds of families of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have taken their own lives in a homecoming suicide pattern of a magnitude that is just starting to emerge.

Preliminary Veterans Affairs Department research obtained by The Associated Press reveals for the first time that there were at least 283 suicides among veterans who left the military between the start of the war in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001 and the end of 2005.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Help without frontiers - Help Burmese monks

This is a reprint of the October newsletter of Help Without Froniers

The last weeks were quite exhausting. We thank for all the sympathy and solidarity and beg your pardon, if lately we did not post messages on our blackboard. We will do retroactive. Please help the people in Burma and the refugees NOW! They need your help and support more than ever. We registered in the US, American donors can donate with full tax benefits. Thanks also for your encouragement and all the blessings. A ray of sunshine, a ray of hope, your HELP WITHOUT FRONTIERS team

1. BURMA: This time there is hope
2. IN THE MEDIA: Help Without Frontiers was a demanded interlocutor
3. NEVERTHLESS: A party celebrating 5 years of Help Without Frontiers
4. CHARITY EXHIBITION: The art of the refugees
5. MONKS HELP: Showtime and the Shaolin monks donate
6. VISIT: Fondazione San Zeno visits Hsa Htoo Lei school
7. REGISTERED IN USA: Tax benefits for US based donors
8. MEMBERS: 225 - and counting

1. BURMA: This time there is hope

The past weeks were quite hard for all of us. Together with our friends and staff we followed anxiously the developments of the Burmese protest movement. At the beginning we were full of hope, but soon anger and tears followed. We knew that the situation in Burma was worse than reported in the media. We were sad when we acknowledged, that the media reproduced the official lies of the regime non mentioning the truth declaring these news as from a "non verified source".

From our friends and contacts we knew from the beginning, what was really happening. We knew that monks and civilians were not only arrested for interrogation, but killed brutally or tortured until death. We knew that many innocent people were arrested and the families of the protesters held joint liable. We knew, that the real number of victims was closer to 1.000. It is so easy to make people disappear in Burma. Truckloads full of corpses (and not only corpses) were brought to the cremation sites. All news which are not official, but true.

But still there is hope. China cannot afford that the positive image it is buying with such huge amounts of money in occasion of the 2008 Olympic Games is affected and damaged. Killing fields in a neighboring country and closest ally of China would be the worst case scenario for this future global power. Therefore China is pressuring the generals, in the background as it is the Asian customs. We firmly believe, that soon the reformists among the generals will take power and start a serious reconciliation process with Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition and the ethnic minorities. We only can hope that the world, the media and the global players will continue pressuring that this process will lead to a good result.

2. IN THE MEDIA: Help Without Frontiers was a demanded interlocutor

As soon as the monks went on the streets the phones in our Mae Sot office started ringing without interruption. Journalists from all over Europe called to ask for information and interviews. In those days we hardly could find the time even to eat. But for us it was important to forward all information and to tell the truth about the situation inside Burma and of the refugees. The tragedy of many people ended in an opportunity for Help Without Frontiers.

The result were many articles, interviews and reports about Help Without Frontiers in the most popular media in Germany, Austria and Italy. Benno Röggla was also in touch with BBC World and the Guardian. Via Live-Satellite connection Benno was guest in a well known German TV Show.

3. NEVERTHLESS: A party celebrating 5 years of Help Without Frontiers

We pondered and weighed quite a while on if we should cancel the planned celebration in occasion of our 5 years anniversary. But our friends and partner encouraged us to not do so. Especially in such painful moments it is important to gather all together, exchange information and keep mood and hope high. The party turned into a big success.

Here you find the short report of Lena and the pictures of the celebration: 5 years Help Without Frontiers. The party..

4. CHARITY EXHIBITION: The art of the refugees

Some refugees from Burma have chosen the art to elaborate their traumas and have developed impressive skills and talents. Successful Art exhibitions in Vancouver, Seattle, Washington, Tokyo, Bruxelles and Florence, just to name a few stations, were the consequence.

Now, for the first time in Northern Italy, a wonderful selection of the paintings of Maung Maung Tinn, Saw Kennedy, Saw Win Tun, Chu Cil, Thut Aung and Nyan Soe will be exposed in an Art Gallery close to Bolzano/Bozen. The proceeds of the sales will be donated to Help without Frontiers.

6. MONKS HELP: Showtime and the Shaolin monks donate

The Shaolin Monks are touring our Province. Moved by the recent events in Burma, the tour organizers, Roland Barbacovi and its agency Showtime, decided together with the monks to donate part of the entrance fees to Help Without Frontiers. Furthermore, during the shows the audience will be invited to pass at our information booth in the atrium to collect our brochures and to donate directly. A very special way of helping. We thank from the bottom of our hearts.

6. VISIT: Fondazione San Zeno visits Hsa Htoo LEi school

Since 2 years the Fondazione San Zeno of Verona/Italy is partner of Help Without Frontiers and funding the Hsa Htoo Lei primary and high school. The foundation is funded itself by the international fashion company Calzedonia - Intimissimi and is supporting educational projects worldwide.

The responsible of San Zeno, Mrs. Rita Ruffoli, came to visit us and the school in October together with Father Pietro who lives since 30 years in Bangladesh. There he implements development and aid projects with the support of San Zeno, some are for refugees from Burma.

The welcome provided by all 500 students of Hsa Htoo Lei was moving. They performed dances, songs and speeches. At one point they invited Mrs. Rita and Padre Pietro to step up the stage to dress them in a traditional Karen costume. At the end of the very warm ceremony they had to shake the hands of all 500 students and all teachers (Pictures). Then they visited the school and all the classes and admired the school bus bought recently with San Zeno's funds. They were very impressed of what they saw and the progress made by the school.

Mrs. Ruffoli welcomed the fact that Hsa Htoo Lei is collecting small school fees in order to allow parents to participate more actively. After the visit we eat together with Paw Ray, the school headmistress, and some of the teachers.

In the following 3 days Mrs. Rita and Padre Pietro visited some of our other projects and had the chance to talk with some of our partners about the situation along the border and about their activities.

We are confident that this cooperation between San Zeno, Help Without Frontiers and Hsa Htoo Lei will endure, bringing good results also in future.

7. REGISTERED IN USA: Tax benefits for US based donors

Help without Frontiers has registered in the United States in order to allow American donors to benefit of tax advantages.

U.S.-based donors can now support our activities in a tax-efficient way through a contribution to the Help without Frontiers US Fund at the King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS). Because KBFUS is a public charity, within the meaning of Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) of the IRC, donors may claim the maximum tax benefits allowed by U.S. tax law for their contributions.

American donors who do not require a tax receipt are kindly advised to support us directly and not via KBFUS.

For further information or for donating to HWF US Fund please click here.

8. MEMBERS: 225 - and counting

Now we are 225 members, a big family. Lately we received applications from Canada, Japan, England and Finland. For us each member is important as it gives voice to the people in Burma and the refugees. But it boosts also our own motivation, with its ideas and tips and by donating sometimes a bit of its time to help us in our work. The membership fee is used to cover part of our running costs, as we do not touch the donations we receive, they are invested without any deduction in our projects.

If you want to associate, here is the link: New members welcome!

Help without Frontiers
Registered in the Public Index of voluntary organisations of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, Italy, L.D. 20/ 1.1. of February 4, 2003

Friday, October 26, 2007

Cuba broadcasts large segment of Bush's critical speech

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MIAMI — In a highly unusual move, the Cuban government media Thursday published an entire page of excerpts from President Bush's speech on the island, and earlier broadcast some 15 minutes of his address on television.

The transcript also included the parts where Bush directly addressed Cuban people, including the military.

"I think U.S. policy is like any horror movie monster," Hernandez said. "It's enough to show it on TV. Display it under the light of the moon like the Wolf Man; anyone with the most minimal capacity for observation — eyes — can see the nature of that policy for themselves."

Bush's words to the military also makes him seem interventionist and even plays to the fears many Cubans have of change.

Philip Peters, of the Lexington Institute think tank in Alexandria, Va. "What helps the Cuban government immensely is that many Cubans fear change, and there are many things in this speech that feed that fear."

Pakistani militant cleric

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Fighting Escalates Near Stronghold of Pakistani Cleric

The sharp rise in violence in the area, Swat Valley, which is relatively isolated from the lawless tribal areas on the Afghan border, demonstrates the growing strength of Islamists.

Leading the wave of militancy is the cleric, Maulana Fazlullah, who is also known as Maulana Radio for his illegal broadcasts calling for Taliban-like Islamic law, and who is thought to have some 4,500 followers.

He is the son-in-law of Sufi Muhammad, the founder of Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, the Movement for the Implementation of Muhammad’s Law, who has been in prison since 2001 after sending Pakistanis into Afghanistan to support the Taliban in fighting American forces.

Danish election ad reignites Muhammad cartoon controversy

Any group that deliberately offends, stirs controversy, or purposely chooses to offend the religious beliefs of citizens should not receive support from voters

Danish election ad reignites Muhammad cartoon controversy

A Danish political party is using a drawing of the prophet Muhammad on election material, in a move described as a “provocation” by at least one local Muslim organisation.

The far-right Danish People’s party today unveiled an election advertisement showing a hand-drawn picture of the Islamic prophet under the slogan “Freedom of speech is Danish, censorship is not”, followed by the words “We defend Danish values”.

The Danish general election will take place on November 13.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Civilian deaths. second time this week

Very hard to wage war in a pleasant manner

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Helicopter Fire Kills Iraqis, Days After Sadr City Battle

BAGHDAD, Oct. 23 — Gunfire from an American helicopter killed 11 people, including women and children, after it came under fire north of Baghdad on Tuesday, according to a statement by the military. The episode was the second this week in which multiple Iraqi deaths resulted from a United States combat action.

The Iraqi police and witnesses put the toll higher, at 16 dead, and recounted a confusing scene in which local people were trying to help a wounded man who was apparently an insurgent as an American helicopter buzzed overhead.

“The locals went to check if he was dead and gathered around him,” Mohanad said of the insurgent, “but the helicopter opened fire again and killed some of the locals and wounded others.” When another group tried to carry the wounded and dead to houses to provide first aid, Mohanad said, the helicopter shot at four houses, killing and wounding more people.

Uneasy Days for Monks in Myanmar

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Uneasy Days for Monks in Myanmar

For decades, two powerful institutions have shaped Burmese life: the 500,000-member Buddhist clergy, which commands a moral authority over the population, and Senior Gen. Than Shwe’s junta, whose 450,000-strong military controls the population through intimidation.

Their uneasy coexistence has shattered. After scattered demonstrations erupted against sharp increases in fuel prices in August, thousands of monks protested the junta’s economic mismanagement and political repression. The military responded with batons and bullets.

The guns have prevailed over mantras, at least for now.

“They took away truckloads of monks and laypeople,” said the deputy leader of a monastery in Yangon, the country’s most populous city. “They had the monks kneel down, with their hands on the back of their heads. Anyone who raised his head was beaten.”

Bush to Warn Cuba on Plan for Transition

Can someone help me here?

Was I not paying attention when the US was assigned to run other countries?

Published: October 24, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23 — President Bush is planning to issue a stern warning Wednesday that the United States will not accept a political transition in Cuba in which power changes from one Castro brother to another, rather than to the Cuban people.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bush Asks Congress For $46B More for Wars


Associated Press

October 23, 2007

WASHINGTON — The war in Iraq is costing about $10billion a month — more than $455 billion over more than four years of fighting. President Bush, setting the stage for another bruising battle with Congress, asked lawmakers yesterday to keep bankrolling the war in Iraq and the fighting in Afghanistan with a request for $46 billion. He pressed Congress to approve the money by Christmas.

"The colossal cost of this war grows every day — in lives lost, dollars spent, and to our reputation around the world," the House speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, said. "The American people long ago rejected the president's planned 10-year occupation of Iraq and want the administration to provide a concrete plan to bring our troops home.

Announcing his latest request, Mr. Bush alluded to the nation's disenchantment with the war, which has claimed the lives of more than 3,830 members of the American military and more than 73,000 Iraqi civilians.

Yesterday's proposal brings to $196.4 billion the total requested for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere for the budget year that started October 1. It includes $189.3 billion for the Defense Department, $6.9 billion for the State Department and $200 million for other agencies. The White House originally sought $141.7 billion for the Pentagon to prosecute the Iraq and Afghanistan missions, then asked for $5.3 billion more in July. Mr. Bush's latest request includes another $42.3billion for the Pentagon.

For the State Department, Mr. Bush more than doubled his initial $3.3 billion request, adding $3.6 billion for a total of $6.9 billion. The updated request includes money for peacekeeping efforts in Darfur, battling drug trafficking in Latin America, fighting famine in Africa, assisting Iraqi refugees, and the Palestinian Arabs.

His Holiness as Emory professor

at Emory University October 20-22, 2007
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Emory University was greatly honored to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama for a three-day visit to the university from October 20-22, 2007. His Holiness accepted Emory's offer of a Presidential Distinguished Professorship, and his visit to the university included his installment in this position and his inaugural lecture.

Dutchman Levitates At Whitehouse

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Criminal probe into U.S. Embassy in Iraq construction

This is a fairly long and complex article
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Criminal probe into U.S. Embassy in Iraq construction

U.S. Embassy Complex under construction in Baghdad's Green Zone

WASHINGTON — A mortar shell smashed into the hulking new U.S. Embassy that's under construction in Baghdad last May, damaging a wall and causing minor injuries to people inside the building. It also exposed enormous problems in the management of what's become a $592 million government construction project.

The State Department contractor in charge of the project, James L. Golden, attempted to alter the scene of the blast, according to government officials familiar with the incident. The State Department inspector general prevented Department officials from investigating the incident, according to interviews and documents.

Report: Police surround monks celebrating Dalai Lama honor

BEIJING — Police in the capital of Tibet clashed for four days with Buddhist monks trying to celebrate the awarding of a congressional honor to the Dalai Lama, a Hong Kong newspaper reported today.

It said that after the clash, the monastery was surrounded by 3,000 armed police who refused to allow more than 1,000 monks to leave. It gave no other details and did not say if there were any injuries.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Religion and State

The following two articles are worthy of our attention for several reasons:
  1. The degree to which religion effectively can contribute to the ideal of peace is largely linked to political context in which religious life is lived and advanced
  2. Much of today's global conflict has religious undertones, and is extended by means of state instruments (including violent means).
  3. The US so far has shone as one of the better environments in terms of its devotion to the UN sanctioned requirement for religious freedom (even significantly in advance of other Western democracies (such as France and Germany).
For this reason, when religion and state issues come to the fore, It is important for interfaith and peace activists to pay close attention.

Here are two articles very different in nature, yet ones which proved the reader with keen issues about which to ponder in the arena of religion and state:

From the Washington Post

October 19, 2007

State Dept. Urged to Shut Saudi School in Fairfax

by Jacqueline L. Salmon and Valerie Strauss
The Washington Post

A federal panel yesterday urged the State Department to shut down a Saudi government-supported private school in Northern Virginia unless it can prove it is not teaching religious intolerance.

In a report released yesterday, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom criticized what it called the promotion of religious extremism in Saudi-run schools around the world, including in the kingdom. It leveled particular criticism at the Islamic Saudi Academy, which operates two campuses in Fairfax County, expressing "significant concerns" that the school is promoting a brand of religious intolerance that could prove a danger to the United States.

The commission does not specifically criticize the school's teaching materials; it said Saudi officials would not make them available. But it said it is concerned about the textbooks used in the school because those used by schools in Saudi Arabia promote violence against Christians, Jews, Shias and polytheists.

The panel's recommendations prompted a sharp response from school administrators and a Saudi government representative yesterday. They angrily denied that they are teaching radical Islam and said that the commission never asked to speak with any school staff members and never asked to see any materials.

"I think they went to Saudi Arabia and saw some curriculum there and thought we are teaching the same curriculum," said Acting Director-General Abdulrahman Alghofaili, who also is principal of the boys' high school. "And the fact is that we are teaching another curriculum. We are teaching an American curriculum."

Panel members said they attempted to get access to the school's textbooks and curriculum through the Saudi government but were unsuccessful.

"We've made every effort to get this information," commission member Felice D. Gaer said.

As evidence of the type of material it believes is being taught at the school, it cited a 2006 analysis of Saudi textbooks by the Center for Religious Freedom and Institute for Gulf Affairs. One ninth-grade textbook taught teenagers that violence toward Jews, Christians and others is sanctioned by God. A 12th-grade textbook, the 2006 report says, reads "the hour [of judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them."

And from RN S

Senator Cuts $100,000 From Religious Group

by Bill Walsh
Religion News Service

(RNS) Bowing to pressure, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has backed off an attempt to steer $100,000 to a Christian group that supports teaching religious and alternative theories of creation alongside evolution in science classrooms.

Vitter has taken heat from educational, religious and civil rights groups for earmarking money in a fiscal 2008 spending bill for the Louisiana Family Forum, "to develop a plan to promote better science education."

The group has long challenged Darwinian theories explaining the origins of life, and the earmark was seen by some as an attempt to inject Christian religious doctrine into the classroom.

Vitter went to the Senate floor Wednesday (Oct. 17) and announced that "to avoid more hysterics," he wanted to shift the money to science and computer labs in schools in Ouachita Parish. He said the earmark had been misconstrued.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Verizon provided data to Feds 720 times without court order or determining its legality

Verizon, the nations second-largest telecommunications firm, said it has provided telephone and Internet records to federal investigators hundreds of times since 2005.

Verizon has provided data to federal authorities on an emergency basis without a court order -- and without determining the requests' legality -- 720 times between January 2005 and September of this year. The company's revelation came in a 13-page letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee released Monday.

Article here

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Oil futures highest ever - related to Turkey

Oil futures rose above $88 a barrel in New York trading today, their highest level ever, because of unrest in the Middle East.

This week’s surge is being fueled by the threat of a Turkish military incursion in northern Iraq. The sudden tensions in a highly volatile region gave rise to fresh concerns about further instability in the oil-rich Middle East. Iraq is the third-largest holder of known oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Iran. Turkey is a key passage for oil exports from Iraq and the Caspian Sea.

Article in New York Times

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Turkey, a key miliatay ally, outraged

The non-binding resolution, approved by Congress's Foreign Relations Committee last week and expected to be endorsed in November by the House of Representatives, brands as genocide the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

NATO member Turkey has recalled its envoy to Washington for consultations and has hinted it might halt logistical support to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan if the bill passes. It may also deny U.S. firms lucrative defense contracts.

Article in Reuters

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Putin's Tehran Trip

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Vladimir Putin Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad greets Vladimir Putin in Tehran, 16 October 2007

Putin withdrew Russia from a Cold War-era treaty governing the size of conventional military forces in Europe, and ordered its old turbo-prop Bear bombers out of mothballs to fly nuclear patrols along old Cold War frontiers. Last week in Russia, he made the U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense wait 45 minutes for him before delivering them a tongue-lashing over the missile defense plan.

Tuesday, Putin becomes the first occupant of the Kremlin since Stalin to visit Tehran, a capital Washington would very much prefer to keep isolated. The Russian leader's message is plain: If the U.S. continues, as he sees it, to tread on Russia's toes, Russia has little interest in helping Washington achieve its strategic goals.

Article in Time magazine

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China Warns U.S. on Dalai Lama Trip

New York Times article here

BEIJING, Oct. 16 — Chinese officials warned the United States today not to honor the Dalai Lama, saying a planned award ceremony in Washington for the Tibetan spiritual leader would have “an extremely serious impact” on relations between the countries.
Tibet’s Communist Party boss, Zhang Qingli, told reporters during the congress.

“We are furious,” Mr. Zhang said. “If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world.”

China also recently canceled its annual human rights dialogue with Germany to protest Chancellor Angela Merkel’s September meeting with the Dalai Lama.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Israel Struck Syrian Nuclear Project, Analysts Say

Published: October 14, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 — Israel’s air attack on Syria last month was directed against a site that Israeli and American intelligence analysts judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor,
apparently modeled on one North Korea has used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel, according to American and foreign officials with access to the intelligence reports.

By contrast, the facility that the Israelis struck in Syria appears to have been much further from completion, the American and foreign officials said. They said it would have been years before the Syrians could have used the reactor to produce the spent nuclear fuel that could, through a series of additional steps, be reprocessed into bomb-grade plutonium.

Many details remain unclear, most notably how much progress the Syrians had made in construction before the Israelis struck, the role of any assistance provided by North Korea, and whether the Syrians could make a plausible case that the reactor was intended to produce electricity. In Washington and Israel, information about the raid has been wrapped in extraordinary secrecy and restricted to just a handful of officials, while the Israeli press has been prohibited from publishing information about the attack.

Article here

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Massive US Intelligence Gaffe - Leak destroys access

This article is mind-numbing. Please be absolutely sure to read this entire New York Sun article!!

Qaeda Goes Dark After a U.S. Slip

Enemy Vanishes From Its Web Sites


Staff Reporter of the Sun
October 9, 2007

"One intelligence officer who requested anonymity said in an interview last week that the intelligence community watched in real time the shutdown of the Obelisk system. America's Obelisk watchers even saw the order to shut down the system delivered from Qaeda's internal security to a team of technical workers in Malaysia. That was the last internal message America's intelligence community saw. "We saw the whole thing shut down because of this leak," the official said. "We lost an important keyhole into the enemy.

""It was both unprecedented and chilling from the perspective of a Web techie. The discipline and coordination to take the entire system down involving multiple Web servers, hundreds of user names and passwords, is an astounding feat, especially that it was done within minutes," Mr. Grace said yesterday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dalai Lama to Visit D.C. Next Week

by Michelle Boorstein
The Washington Post

Thousands of Buddhists from around the world are expected in Washington next week, including some of the most senior teachers in Tibetan Buddhism as well as devotees arriving on all-night buses, to see the Dalai Lama receive the Congressional Gold Medal, the United States' highest civilian honor.

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Myanmar Threatened With Sanctions Amid Global Protest

By Bill Varner and Laura Cochrane

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. said it may seek United Nations sanctions against Myanmar as a worldwide show of support for pro-democracy demonstrators got under way.

Campaigners in countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, South Korea, the U.K. and Ireland planned to march at noon local time, wearing red headbands in support of Buddhist monks who've been arrested, the Burma Campaign U.K. said on its Web site.

``This day of action is to show that the crisis has not gone away. The UN Security Council must act now to end the crackdown and they must keep focused on this crisis until we know the people of Burma are safe,'' said Ko Aung, a Burmese refugee in the U.K.

Article here

How it is sometimes

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Mike Huckabee of Arkansas

America's conservatives are in dire straits, and its presidential field in the primary season has generated only begrudging enthusiasm.

What would be pleasant about a viable Huckabee run would be not only the man as a candidate, but the blow against retail politics that such a campaign would represent.

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BY NICHOLAS WAPSHOTT - Staff Reporter of the Sun
October 3, 2007

Leaders of the Christian conservative movement who are

considering fielding a third-party candidate rather than

backing any of the top four contenders for the Republican

presidential nomination are overlooking a GOP hopeful who

is steadily gaining support in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses,

Mike Huckabee.

A Baptist minister who opposes abortion and gay marriage,

Mr. Huckabee so far has failed to attract sufficient funds or

support to hike him into the top tier of Republican candidates

nationally. But growing evidence that conservatives are

concerned about the choice shaping up in the Republican

primary race, and his increasing popularity among voters

in caucus states, offers the former Arkansas governor

a rare opportunity to become a serious contender.

Mr. Huckabee is the "only dark horse that's got any kind of

chance. … He's the best speaker they've got," Mr. Clinton,

a fellow former governor of Arkansas, told George

Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. Mr. Gingrich

described the candidate on the same show as "very effective. …

If Huckabee can find money, he will be dramatically

competitive almost overnight. You have to like Mike."

James Dobson, founder of one of the largest Christian

ministries, Focus on the Family; Tony Perkins of the

Family Research Council; a direct mail pioneer, Richard

Viguerie; and dozens of other prominent conservative

Christian activists issued a resolution declaring that

"if the Republican Party nominates a pro-abortion candidate,

we will consider running a third-party candidate."

Mr. Dobson said in June: "I cannot, and will not, vote for

Rudy Giuliani in 2008. It is an irrevocable decision. If given

a Hobson's — Dobson's? — choice between him and Senators

Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I will either cast my ballot

for an also-ran or if worse comes to worst not vote in a

presidential election for the first time in my adult life.

My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to

do nothing else."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Petition to protest Burma massacre

This is the site where you can sign a petition to stand with the Burmese protestors.

This is the site where you can sign a petition to stand with the Burmese protestors.

Salon artcile on Bush administration ties to Blackwater

The ties between State and Blackwater are only part of a web of relationships that Blackwater has maintained with the Bush administration and with prominent Republicans. From 2001 to 2007, the firm has increased its annual federal contracts from less than $1 million to more than $1 billion, all while employees passed through a turnstile between Blackwater and the administration, several leaving important posts in the Pentagon and the CIA to take jobs at the security company. Below is a list of some of Blackwater's luminaries with their professional -- and political -- resumes.

Article here