Monday, September 24, 2007

A Chance for False Flags to Fly

(originally published at Op Ed News)

I was watching C-Span this morning, before the Congressional theatrics begin. They carry a call in show at that time.

One of the guests was John H. Coatsworth, the acting Dean of Columbia University .

I’m a lousy gambler. I’ve done it a couple of times and I’ve failed miserably. So, I’m not making any outright predictions here.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, is scheduled to speak at Columbia this afternoon at 1:30 PM, ET.

Maybe I’m the only one, but I see an opportunity to goad Iran into retaliating against the FUSA, hence giving The Regime the excuse it needs to finally carry out that ill fated invasion of Iran.

Coatsworth, who isn’t happy about Ahmadinejad’s appearance but opted for free speech, said that Ahmadinejad will be protected “just like any other head of state”. If those who are protecting him “fail” and some “patriotic American” breaks through with a gun, will anyone be surprised?

Americans, as usual, will say that he had it coming. After Iran retaliates, not by outright attempting to attack the American mainland, but in some obvious way somewhere in the world, Americans will support The Regime. After all, Iranians should be happy that Ahmadinejad was taken out. Now maybe we can install a government that will be more FUSA friendly.

Not only will Americans support The Regime, but they’ll support the assassin because, in this case, he would not be an assassin but a brave executioner.

They’ll compare any military action initiated by The Regime with what that “coward” Jimmy Carter didn’t do when Iraq held American hostages for over 400 days. They’ll say that Bush is once again showing the courage to do what his predecessors, especially Carter, would/could not do.

The “lily livered liberals” won’t be able to claim that this is a preemptive strike, so that excuse “for being cowards” will not exist.

Finally, this will be the event which will allow National Security Presidential Directive 51 to be launched.

I know better than to predict anything. It seems I’ve never been right yet. I hope that I’m wrong this time as well.

All I’m saying is that the opportunity is palpable.

To friendship,

“Laws are silent in time of war.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

OpEdNews Interviews Greg Gerritt, America’s “Buy Nothing Day” Pioneer

(originally published at OpEdNews)

Every year for the past eleven years, Greg Gerritt, member of the Rhode Island Green Party and the Rhode Island delegate to the Green Party National Committee, organizes what has become the annual “Buy Nothing Day” in Rhode Island. The message of “Buy Nothing Day” surrounds the consumerism that seems to have overtaken Americans.

Gerritt has combined “Buy Nothing Day” with a “coat exchange”, an effort to help the needy make it through the rough New England winters. Michael Bonanno, assistant editor for OpEdNews, caught up with the busy Green on Sunday, April 16, and interviewed him. Bonanno wanted to learn more about the origins of this Green Rhode Island tradition and where its green (Green) pioneer would like to see it go.

Bonanno: Greg, who’s idea was “Buy Nothing Day” and what inspired it?

Gerritt: “Buy Nothing Day” originally comes out of Adbusters in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Basically, Adbusters focuses on consumer culture and I think they just really got tired of watching ads.

Bonanno: Which is why this day falls on the day after Thanksgiving, which, annually, is the busiest shopping and sales day in America.

Gerritt: Right. So, in Rhode Island, we looked at this and said, “We ought to do something for this event.” We wanted something that not only had the political message but also was a way to give back to the community.

Bonanno: You sort of answered my next question which was going to be when did “Buy Nothing Day” turn into, for lack of a better phrase, “coat donation day”?

Gerritt: We call it “The Winter Coat Exchange” because it’s exchanging them between members of the community who have them and members of the community who don’t. Some people need to clean out their closets and some people need to fill their closets. It’s a good swap.

We started it in 1997, so this is going to be our eleventh year

We had a meeting – The Green Party of Rhode Island – and we were wondering what would be a great way to do this, to do something for “Buy Nothing Day” and this is what we came up with.
Bonanno: It sounds as if “Buy Nothing Day” has turned into a two-parter. Which is the most important part of “Buy Nothing Day”?

Gerritt: You’re right, it is a two-parter and they’re equally important. We definitely are very committed to the message of reducing consumption, making people think about the issues of poverty in America, issues of the environment. Over-consumption is an environmental disaster and then there’s the issue of poverty verses wealth.

Then comes the moving of coats from one part of the community to the other.

Bonanno: I know that “Buy Nothing Day” has spread from Rhode Island. How did that happen and how’s that going?

Gerritt: I’ve put the word out. In Utah, they’ve started doing an event in Salt Lake City and somebody who worked with us here in Rhode Island moved to Kentucky and I think they’re doing one in Louisville. There’s been some talk about it elsewhere, but nobody else has really done it yet.

Bonanno: Do you think that consumerist Americans and/or corporations are getting the message?

Gerritt: The corporations aren’t paying any attention whatsoever.

Many, many Americans, millions of Americans, are reducing their consumption, focusing on consuming locally, sustainably. I don’t know if that’s going as fast as we would like, but it is happening. Will it all come through an event like “Buy Nothing Day”? No.

The place where it’s most noticeable now is in local food. That’s probably the leading edge.

I think Global Warming, greenhouse gasses, are helping to drive a lot of things. I think the local food is very much part of that. We were talking about Global Warming being a part of “Buy Nothing Day” ten years ago.

Bonanno: This is a pragmatic question and I hope you don’t mind me asking, but how do you guard against those who might take advantage of what you’re doing? Are there people who are so dishonest that…

Gerritt: …they take extra coats?

Bonanno:…yeah, and sell them or something.

Gerritt: Yes, we’ve had that. We haven’t done much about it. We are thinking about it, though, because it’s getting a little bit out of hand.

Not everybody gets to our event. Somebody taking a few extra coats and making a few extra bucks hasn’t really bothered us much, but it’s gotten to the point where it may affect the ability to get the coats to the people who really need coats. We may need to have the recipients form a line or something as opposed to just placing the coats on a table.

Bonanno: It probably hasn’t gotten to the point where there’s an organized effort to rip you off, like some local retailer stocking up or something. I imagine you don’t deal in a large enough quantity of coats to interest anyone like that.

Gerritt: We give away two thousand coats in a day. But if there’s somebody taking them, it’s usually somebody doing it on their own; maybe they have a second hand shop or something.

Bonanno: And, of course, if the needy are taking them and selling them, they’re probably just prioritizing what they need more and selling them for something that they do need more at that particular time.

Gerritt: That’s true, but when people start taking fifty or sixty to sell, that becomes an issue. We’re going to start to try to deal with that this year.

Bonanno: What can people do to help “Buy Nothing Day” spread nationally?

Gerritt: As an individual, you can actually do an event. That may be the most effective thing.

I’m always happy to consult with anybody around the country who wants to set up one of these events. I’d be more than happy to explain what we’ve done and how to do it.

We work very closely with agencies in the area such as The Road Island Coalition for the Homeless, Crossroads Rhode Island, which is one of the shelters, People to End Homelessness.

Bonanno: It doesn’t seem, from where I’m sitting, that The Green Party of The United States has really picked up on what you’re doing.

Gerritt: This is the kind of thing where each local group has to figure out how it fits in with what they do. You can’t mandate this from up above. It’s got to be done locally.

Those Greens who want to do it in their neighborhood have. For those who haven’t figured out how to do this…you know…for eleven years I haven’t been able to go away for Thanksgiving. If people have family obligations or have to go out of town, well, it makes it really difficult.

It’s one of those things where, if the right people pull together, it’s going to happen.

Bonanno: Yes, but it seems as if the national party made “Buy Nothing Day” part of their platform, it would help immensely. If this went national, then corporations would take note, don’t you think?

Gerritt: The odds are that, as much or as big as we could get, it wouldn’t have a whole lot of effect on corporations.

The people it effects are the people in the community who get coats as well as all of the people who donate coats.

Rhode Island has three sites that operate each year and we’re still looking for more.

Bonanno: You said that this has begun to happen in Utah and Kentucky, but what about right there in New England? Do you know of anywhere else in New England where this is happening?

Gerritt: No, I haven’t heard of any place other than right here in Rhode Island, the places that we’ve helped. We’ve written letters to the editor and other articles and it’s well received here. Right now it’s hit or miss elsewhere.

It has to be presented right, the timing has to be right and you can make this somebody’s day. There’s nothing you can do to force these things, though.

Bonanno: Is there anything else you’d like to add, Greg?

Gerritt: No, I think I’m pretty well talked out.

Bonanno: Greg, I admire what you’re doing. It truly is grassroots. You’re in the local trenches.

I know that you’d like to see “Buy Nothing Day” become nationally recognized…

Gerritt: Adbusters has a web site where they list lots of events, including “Buy Nothing Day”.

Bonanno: Thanks for taking time out to talk to me and maybe you’ll see “Buy Nothing Day” in other American communities soon.

Gerritt: Let's hope so.

If you're interested in initiating a "Buy Nothing Day" in your community, email Greg Gerritt.

To friendship,

“I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.” - Terry Pratchett

Friday, September 14, 2007

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Is it Time to Give Up?

(originally published at OpEdNews)

9/11 Truthers, I’m going to write something that may make many or some of you angry. I ask that you “hear me out” or “read me out” before passing judgment.

I think that we should give up.

I consider myself a 9/11 Truther and I don’t believe any less that the horrible crime was made even more unconscionable by the fact that the government of The FUSA committed the crime. I know as well as any of you that The Regime did it, that 9/11 was an inside job.

When I say I know as well as any of you, I mean that on more than one level. I truly believe that most 9/11 Truthers don’t want a brand new investigation in order to find The Regime guilty, imprison them and throw away the key. I believe most 9/11 Truthers want a transparent investigation in which anybody and everybody whom the defense or prosecution thinks may have been involved can be called to testify, must testify and must testify at the hearing/trial under oath. There should be no exemptions for anyone.

9/11 Truthers want all questions asked concerning the most horrible crime committed in the history of the USA (now The FUSA). All of the questions that have been asked in books such as “The New Pearl Harbor”, all of the questions asked by Truthers online, all questions should be allowed.

I believe that 9/11 Truthers would be satisfied if they could be convinced that the hearing was honest, open, impartial and unbiased at all levels, that all who should be called are called and are forced to testify under oath and that all evidence is presented.

If those judging this hearing adjudicated in favor of The Regime, Truthers would be extremely disappointed, but could accept the judgment. This is what I believe. I believe that Truthers want the truth, they don’t want to find The Regime guilty unless it is guilty. Let them and their representatives present whatever facts and witnesses that they are allowed to legally present.

Having said all of that, it’s obvious that this will never happen.

I’ve never done much deep research into the attack at Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK or the Oklahoma City bombing. 9/11 is the first time I’ve ever become intently serious about the possibility that those in high places, those who one is raised to believe are almost perfect, could conspire to accomplish something as grand as 9/11.

In truth, when my wife watched 9/11 unfold on television, her first words were, “Bush did this.”

I didn’t think much of Bush, especially after the 2000 election. I guess that was a conspiracy in which I believed, wasn’t it? So I didn’t respond to her comment. We didn’t have an argument. I didn’t respond with an automatic, “That’s ridiculous.” It’s difficult how I felt about it. I listened and waited for our president to lead us in defense of our nation.

I gave up on Bush very quickly because he began talking about invading Iraq very quickly. I joined protests against a war that had nothing to do with what happened on September of 2001.

I then saw David Ray Griffin on C-Span. That was the first I heard any of the arguments for the case that 9/11 didn’t happen the way The Regime said it happened. It was the first time I heard any of the arguments for making our government complicit in the “attack”.

I’ve seen and heard the evidence that could prove that our government planned and carried out 9/11. I’ve seen and heard those arguments rebuffed.

On Friday, August 31, I was listening to “Brunch With Bernie”, a segment which Thom Hartmann broadcasts on his radio show every Friday. The segment presents Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont giving his opinion on many of the issues of the day and, in many cases, interacting with those who call into The Thom Hartmann Show.

I don’t know what this particular caller was referring to. I either didn’t hear it well or I’ve forgotten. It may or may not have had anything to do with 9/11 conspiracies. I did hear the words that exited from Senator Sanders’ mouth. Those words were, “I don’t believe in conspiracy theories.”

Up until that moment, if I heard someone who could help Truthers in their quest for a real hearing about what happened on 9/11 say those words, I would have become angry enough to spit nails.

In fact, I’d recently seen a History Channel presentation entitled “9/11 Conspiracy Theories: Fact or Fiction.”

The show was a debate between the two sides. The trouble with that is we’re already there! We’ve been there for a long time. Not much was covered that hasn’t already been covered and debated. Showing it on The History Channel didn’t solve anything. It just served to make people on either side angrier.

However, in defense of The History Channel, at least it showed the alternative arguments.

What made me angry was, if one thought that those holding alternate theories were wrong, the show merely reinforced their opinion.

One procedure that was used is as follows:

(Written on the TV screen) “Conspiracy Theorists: The hole in the pentagon wall did not match up with a hole that would have been made by a Boeing 757.”

THC would then have “conspiracy theorists” like Griffin, Meyson, Tarpley, the makers of “Loose Change” or other “conspiracy theorists” explain their position. Once they explained their position, the next thing on the screen was:

“Expert Response”

And they’d have the “experts” explain the other side of the argument.

Need they go any further?

“Conspiracy theorists?

“Expert Response”?

There were other skewed activities, but I’ll point out just one more.

When the “conspiracy theorists” gave their responses, they didn’t personally attack people who defended the government’s position.

However, many times when the “experts” responded, they used descriptors.

A couple of examples (paraphrased):

“You see, conspiracy theorists love a vacuum” or “conspiracy theories are sexy” or “conspiracy theorists tend to leave out important facts”. They didn’t respond to all of the issues using these descriptors, but they used them far too often. This further reinforced the conclusion of many who were watching that, yes, conspiracy theorists are not only not experts, but also make stuff up to manipulate the facts.

Let’s review.

Did FDR allow Pearl Harbor to happen? If he did, he purposely allowed Americans to die at the hands of the Japanese.

FDR died in office in 1945 of what appeared to be a stroke.

Lyndon Johnson has been implicated in everything from being the catalyst for the deaths of 58,000 American military personnel to the murder of President John F. Kennedy.

Johnson could not be elected to a second full term because of his sinking popularity. He retired to his Texas home where he died of a heart attack at the age of 64.

I’m pretty unfamiliar with what many say really happened in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, but I do know that 163 innocent people died because of a premeditated action.

Timothy McVeigh was put to death for what happened in Oklahoma City, but many believe that Bill Clinton and Janet Reno were involved.

Bill Clinton completed two full terms as president and has retired. His wife was elected to the US Senate and is now a leading candidate for president.

As far as I know, Janet Reno is not in prison.

FDR, as leader of the United States government, basically murdered people at Pearl Harbor if he knew it was going to happen and didn’t stop it.

Johnson murdered millions of people via The Vietnam War, including 58,000 American soldiers and was complicit in the assassination of an American president, if what is believed by some is true.

Clinton, Reno and others were complicit in killing 163 Americans.

If these people did what they’re accused of doing, the conspiracy theorists have wasted lots of time. Roosevelt and Johnson can no longer be punished for mass murder.

People may still be calling for the heads of Clinton and Reno, yet their lives seems to be quite safe and they continue to gain from their previous positions in government.

Millions of people have been trying for a very long time to get those in power, who aren’t, themselves, working on conspiracies, tried and arrested. The death penalty exists throughout much of The FUSA and, if important people still living worked on any of the aforementioned mass murder conspiracies, they should be tried and put to death.

Have they been? Has justice been served? Have any of these conspiracies ever faced the kind of investigation that Truthers want to see regarding 9/11? No.

Look how much time, energy and money has been spent to bring these criminals to justice and it’s never happened.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont says the he has the crimes of “The Bush Administration” in his sites. He says that we’re going to catch up to some of the things that “the Bush Administration” has done and reverse the worse of them. He says that this will happen slowly but surely.

He “doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories”, however. So, as far as he’s concerned, the worse, most unforgivable crime The Regime may have committed should never be tried.

I read 9/11 Truth literature and I read about the growing number of Americans who believe that 9/11 was an “inside job”. I don’t doubt the claim, but I haven’t run into many people who’ve bought into it.

I’ve never heard anyone in the US Congress say, in plain English, that 9/11 was an inside job. I know that some members of Congress supposedly support Truthers, but where are the members of Congress who believe that 9/11 was an inside job? How far are they getting in convincing other members of Congress that 9/11 was an inside job.

The government of The FUSA purposely had 3,000 of its citizens killed in order to start a war in which 4,000 more Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died and whatever members of Congress believe this aren’t doing any more than they’re doing to convene a real investigation into what happened on September 11, 2001. Let’s not forget that whoever they are, they’re getting no help from the lamestream media.

How much money and how much time is going to be wasted by people intent on following through with this pursuit over the next 10, 20, 30 or more years? George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and those we think were involved will retire and live a comfortable life. Then they’ll die. They won’t be punished anymore than any of the others who supposedly committed unconscionable crimes.

One problem with those who believe in alternative explanations for events such as 9/11 is that they become divided, many adding to the original alternative explanations. Many of the additions are based upon innate prejudiced, which may be why many people want to blame 9/11 on Israel. Other explanations which split from the original involve activities or mechanisms that at least seem to have been born in the imagination of those presenting them.

Consequently, since I’ve heard Griffin for the first time and read The New Pearl Harbor, explanations which all seemed, and still seem, legitimate, I’ve heard and read explanations that lessen the credibility of the original arguments.

I believe that 9/11 was an inside job and I believe that those responsible should be identified, tried and, if found guilty, punished to the fullest extent of the law.

What we’ve learned over the years and what we’re learning in this pursuit is that it ain’t gonna happen. People who can really do something about such a crime will never undertake the momentous task needed to convene a real investigation which will produce legitimate results.

A final self defeating phenomenon about conspiracy theories are conspiracy theories. To those who feel that conspiracy theorists are out orbiting another planet it appears that nothing negative has ever happened in The FUSA as presented by the media and/or the government. Can we blame people for doubting that everything that has gone wrong in The FUSA has been the result of a conspiracy by wealthy and powerful people?

I’m not absolutely certain of what fighting the fights that we can win means, but, if I was a betting man, I’d bet that proving that The Regime was behind 9/11 isn’t one of those fights.

Do I believe that The Regime very well could be found guilty? Absolutely.

Do I believe that, if they’re found guilty, they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law? Absolutely.

Do I believe that, given the mindset of most people in the world concerning conspiracy theories, someone will actually ever take on such a fight? Never, never and never.

In some cases, horrible crimes can be committed and those who commit them will never be tried, let alone found guilty. 9/11 is one crime that will never be tried. Like wealthy and powerful people who came before them, the 9/11 criminals will live out their lives as they wish.

Before we exit this life, we should have tried to make the world a better place than we found it. Trying to prove that the American government was complicit in 9/11, even if it was, only interferes with doing other things that can make the world a better place.

Will I maintain this position for the rest of my life; the rest of the year; the rest of the month? Almost surely not.

In fact, talk me out of giving up.

To friendship,

“I am struggling to maintain the government, not to overthrow it. I am struggling especially to prevent others from overthrowing it.” - Abraham Lincoln

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