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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fascinating, "The administration has withheld the official English translation of the agreement in an effort to suppress a public dispute with the Iraqis until after the Iraqi parliament votes."

If I read this correctly, it seems the U.S. intends fully to continue to operate covertly in Iraq for an indefinite period, and somehow weasel its way into using the country to launch attacks on others, as it arrogantly and brazenly did in Syria a few weeks ago.

Also, if anyone wants to read the Treaty"Agreement," McClatchy does have it. Raed Jarrar had posted a translation a couple of weeks ago.

For his part, Obama has decided that Robert Gates is just the guy for managing the continuity at the Pentagon.

I may have to rip up my "I Voted for Change" stickers from three weeks ago. Except the little devils are wicked difficult to tear off the jacket I wore during canvassing.
Lock in was a bad deal:

Buyer?s Remorse Chills New Englanders Who Locked in Oil Prices
By Tom Moroney and Brian K. Sullivan - Nov. 26 (Bloomberg)
Buyer's remorse is afflicting tens of thousands of customers in New England, where heating oil is used more than in any other U.S. region. Their eagerness to nail down a guaranteed rate backfired when oil prices fell.

"There was a belief that heating oil could rise to $6 or $7 a gallon," based partly on predictions by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens, said Matt Cota, executive director of the 120-member Vermont Fuel Dealers Association in Montpelier.

"Some dealers had lines out the door," Cota said. "People were coming in with their checkbooks to sign contracts. There was a palpable panic in the cold-weather states."
The term "suckered" is used by people who lost this bet.

Along about June, time comes to decide about oil price lock in. Yes, we heat the Maine Owl residence with no. 2 fuel oil. This year caused a bit of a panic because the price had skyrocketed to about $4.70/gal by June. In April we had filled at the astonishing price of $4.05/gal, causing a surprise $600 budget shortfall. Should we now lock in $4.80 in anticipation of $6 or $7 prices by heating season?

My strategy was not to lock. I told the oil dealer to stop automatic fills and that I would be buying oil on the open market from the cheapest dealer at the cash price when I choose to fill. This was precisely the right call this year. Coupled with strong conservation measures, I'm now forecasting that we will end up buying about 575 gallons at $2.50 or less per gallon. The bill for this year will be more like $1400, rather than the $3000 it might have been under a lock.

Since 2003, I've made this call six times and only locked once for 2005-6. That was a good call, saving about $300. Last year, I did not lock and that was the wrong call. That $600 could have been saved. Other years I have not analyzed but my sense is locking would have been a wash to costing slightly more.

I'd like to say I foresaw the early-fall financial crash. But this is not the case. It was more a sense that with all the fuel switching going on in the spring and summer, demand would be suppressed, and it would be hard for prices to maintain. My break point was like $4, at or below which I probably would have locked. When the crash came, the floor on the oil price was pulled out and lock in became moot.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Maine senator has 'em wrapped

Collins Watch opens the pathology lab, dissecting local news coverage of Senator Susan Collins during the recent Maine campaign for U.S. Senate. The results aren't pretty.
Constrained energy flow

World crude oil production
Halting growth past 74 million barrels per day

A few days ago The Oil Drum carried an interesting article explaining the association of energy and resource constraints with the current financial and economic crisis.

An Overlooked Detail - Finite Resources Explain the Financial Crisis
Posted by Gail the Actuary on November 21, 2008 - 8:43am
We are reaching limits
No matter what kind of resources we are working with, they don?t simply ?run out?, as we use more and more of them. Instead, they become more and more difficult to extract. In the case of minerals, the ore concentrations become lower and lower. Mines need to be built deeper and deeper. Fossil fuels become of lower quality and more difficult to extract quickly.

For many years, depletion was not really an issue. Resources were so vast, and the leverage provided by energy from fossil fuels was so great, that we could extract as much of almost anything we wanted (oil, natural gas, coal, uranium, copper, phosphorous, gold, platinum, indium, gallium, fresh water, and many other things) very cheaply, in the quantities needed for whatever use was desired.

What has happened in the last few years is that we have started reaching the point where extraction of many of these resources is becoming much more difficult. In April, 2007, the CEOs of Royal Dutch Shell and of French oil company Total SA were quoted as saying that the days of "easy oil" are gone. Just this past week, the International Energy Agency released a report whose executive summary begins, "The world?s energy system is at a crossroads. Current global trends in energy supply and consumption are patently unsustainable environmentally, economically, socially.?
One of the links in this item points to a paper (pdf) that "tests several related hypothesis for explaining US economic growth since 1900."

This paper "begins from the belief that consumption of natural resources ? especially energy (or, more precisely, exergy) ? has been, and still is, an important factor of production and driver of economic growth."

The experience of the last year suggests a fundamental instability in the economy. Wild oscillations have become typical. Hardly a day passes without the Dow Jones Industrial average experiencing a triple-digit swing. Oil has swung +100% and back -2/3 in less than two years. Capitalist business and finance is in pitched crisis and would collapse without immediate socialization of its debts. Is something very wrong here? The system seems to be blinking red.

Underlying that instability is the energy situation. Energy is not a paper asset that is manipulable by phony accounting. I believe we are beginning to see the systemic response to a situation where the rug has been pulled out from fundamental economic assumption that energy growth, hence economic growth, is limitless.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's not so much public "protection" of the horrible Citibank to the tune of $300 billion as it is a privatization of public assets.

For next months bills, I think I'll just print up some stock certificates and send them to the government. The TARP will take care of them. Who needs money anymore?

Funny how these things always seem to happen on a Sunday night.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Status of forces agreement seen by "progressives" as a U.S. "blink"

Last night, Rachel Maddow had THIS interview with a McClatchy reporter who yesterday filed a story, "Why the U.S. blinked on its troop agreement with Iraq."



The idea is that "U.S. negotiators had failed to understand how the two countries' political timetables would force the U.S. to make major concessions that relinquish much of the control over U.S. forces in Iraq."

I just read THIS from an interesting "progressive" site that I've never heard of before:

Did the Bush Administration blink when negotiating the Iraq SOFA?
November 20, 2:37 PM - by Jay McDonough, Progressive Politics Examiner
Did the U.S. get the best deal with the recently completed status of forces agreement (SOFA) with Iraq? The agreement has been finalized and accepted by Prime Minister Maliki's cabinet and is now being debated in Iraq's Parliament. But some U.S. military personnel are privately criticizing the Bush Administration for giving Iraq too much control over U.S. forces.

This SOFA, once approved, will provide Iraq authority over Iraqi airspace, give Iraq potential authority over U.S. military operations and intelligence activities in Iraq, forbid the U.S. from using Iraq as a launchpad to attack Iraq's neighbors, and allow Iraq jurisdiction over U.S. troops for crimes committed outside the U.S. bases.

This is a radically different SOFA from the one the U.S. pressed for at the onset of the negotiations. At that time, the U.S. had wanted an open ended agreement that would allow U.S. forces in Iraq for an indefinite period, the establishment of semi-permanent U.S. military bases, U.S. control of Iraq's airspace and no Iraqi jurisdiction over American military forces or subcontractors.

So, how did the U.S. get so snookered?
I think "blinked" or "snookered" are the wrong terms. It's more like cutting losses. The U.S. did not receive the earlier brazenly arrogant terms first floated because its power over the Iraqi political process is much diminished. Also, go to afsc.org HERE and read Raed Jarrar's translation of the actual thing. While it does contain hedge language that the U.S. could use to try to extend its stay or challenge Iraqi jurisdiction, the Iraqis have managed to set forth a 3-year timetable for complete withdrawal.

"Complete" is key for the Iraqis, who are fearful of U.S. continuing covert control. Patrick Cockburn has been writing consistently about how the Iraqis are driving that hard bargain out of these genuine concerns, especially about intelligence forces. See THIS recent Cockburn piece for more.

Can you blame the Iraqis for driving a tough bargain after almost six years of their doors being kicked in, millions killed or displaced, their sewers flowing in the streets, and their country in general being laid to waste?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crazy weeks. More frequent posts will resume soon. Meanwhile, please read about the IEA 2008 World Energy Outlook HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Also, Maine has entered state budget meltdown mode while a worldwide "uproar" has ensued over a local wingnut's Obama assassination pool.

Talk amongst yourselves, all zeroone of you...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hardliner


2006 devastation of Lebanon by Israeli bombardment... The shoe was on which foot, Hillary?

Some reports say it's happening while others are more concerned that Bill's finances might be a roadblock.

My question right now is, Does the potential for one of the hardest of the hard-line Israel hawks becoming Secretary of State tick up currency of the notion of a policy "signal" to major campaign funders? It seems to me that at least some people will rest easier that they are getting from Obama what they paid for over so many months:

Clinton, Edwards Will Square Off At Aipac Tonight
By JILL GARDINER, Staff Reporter of the Sun | February 1, 2007
Two of the leading Democratic candidates for president will compete head-to-head tonight for money and support from the same pro-Israel group. A Democratic political consultant who worked on President Clinton's re-election campaign, Hank Sheinkopf, noted that the Aipac dinner always draws a parade of politicians.

"New York is the ATM for American politicians. Large amounts of money come from the Jewish community," he said. "If you're running for president and you want dollars from that group, you need to show that you're interested in the issue that matters most to them."

Mrs. Clinton, who has opted out of the public campaign financing system, has tapped into the circuit of influential Jewish donors for years and has strong support in the community. A spokesman for Aipac, Joshua Block, said yesterday that the senator and former first lady has "an extremely consistent and strong record of support on issues that are important to the pro-Israel community."

"She is an extraordinary leader on those issues in the United States Senate," he said.
More on Hillary as THE biggest U.S. cheerleader for Lebanon bombardment during Summer 2006 HERE.

I'm not saying this is the ONLY reason Obama is moving in this direction. But surely it figures significantly in the calculations, no?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Will Albright receive the same hostility from Obama Jimmy Carter did when Carter dared to mention Israel has nuclear weapons?

U.S. study urges Obama to press Israel over nuclear program
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
Last update - 09:12 16/11/2008
The Middle East is in danger of accumulating large stocks of nuclear material over the next decade that could be used to produce over 1,700 nuclear bombs, a U.S. research center has projected in a newly released report.

The Institute for Science and International Security, headed by David Albright, one the world's top experts on nuclear weapons and the prevention of nuclear proliferation, recently released its report urging president-elect Barack Obama to take a number of measures to avoid such an outcome, including convincing Israel to halt production of its nuclear weapons.

"The Obama administration should make a key priority of persuading Israel to join the negotiations for a universal, verified treaty that bans the production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium for nuclear explosives, commonly called the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT)," the institute argued. "As an interim step, the United States should press Israel to suspend any production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. Toward this goal, the United States should change its relatively new policy of seeking a cutoff treaty that does not include verification. The Bush administration's rejection of the long-standing U.S. policy of requiring verification was a mistake that the incoming administration needs to rectify."
This is wishful thinking though I am very glad it is being said by the highly respected David Albright. But I fear that instead what we are likely to see orchestrated from the Obama White House is a constant drumbeat on Iran. Albright wants to make it clear there is a lot more danger than just Iran as far as Middle East nukes go. But that position is a non-starter for the U.S. Israel Lobby.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ever wonder how "flat" the world could get for NY Times columnist Tom Friedman?

Here's a fascinating Maine connection to the global panic that seems to be impinging on the family fortune of the smarmy writer:
the author?s wife, Ann (n?e Bucksbaum), is an heir to the General Growth fortune. In the past year, the couple?who live in an 11,400-square-foot mansion in Bethesda, Maryland?have watched helplessly as General Growth stock has fallen 99 percent, from a high of $51 to a recent 35 cents a share.
General Growth is the owner of the Maine Mall in South Portland, recently reported to be facing bankruptcy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fit to print

Saturday July 4th, 2009
Click above for "change"

Update: Please post your favorite short quotes from the YesMen NY Times in the comments below.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

They need more than prayer.

Maybe you've seen the forwarded email going around that starts
The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's, but he has never collected unemployment either. ...
It goes on to mention, "He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation," and "He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding."

The closing is a prayer,
Prayer wheel for our military...

'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts
they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.'
The last line is, "Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marine, or Airman, prayer is the very best one."

I won't debate the prayer for now, though THIS adds some alternate impressions. No, what I'd like to challenge head on is the notion that prayer is the "best" gift for our troops.

Let's start with this continuing shocking story of rising suicide rate amongst military personnel, covered yesterday on the PBS News Hour:
BETTY ANN BOWSER, NewsHour Correspondent: By most accounts, specialist Scott Eiswert was a happy, outgoing father of three when he was deployed to Iraq in 2004 as a driver for the Tennessee Army National Guard.

TRACY EISWERT, Widow of Iraq Veteran: Before he went, oh, my gosh, he was fun, and caring, and giving, and loved people. He was just a big kid.

BETTY ANN BOWSER: But during his one year in the war zone, he experienced a lot of stress. There were close calls with roadside bombs. On one occasion, he saw three of his friends blown up.

TRACY EISWERT: I was not prepared for the man that came home. No one told me what to prepare for, what to look for. No one said he would be different. No one said he'd be angry. Nobody told me how different he would be when he got home.

BETTY ANN BOWSER: When Eiswert came home in December of 2005, he was different, radically different.

TRACY EISWERT: He was very angry. One of the girls said, "I want my daddy back." That hurt him really, really bad. They said, "You're not my daddy."
Over the past year, CBS News also has reported on this tragic issue. But see Maine Owl HERE for a troubling example of reduced priority in local coverage. What our veterans need is for their problems to be taken seriously, for hard-dick attitudes stopping people from getting the help they need to be eliminated, and above all, vastly increased funding for mental health services.

Furthermore, THIS is shameful: Our veterans organizations are forced to sue in order to get the attention of the war-crazy Bush Administration on the crying needs of veterans:

Suit Asks VA to Expedite Benefit Claims Handling
By Ann Scott Tyson - Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 11, 2008; Page A08
Two groups representing about 60,000 military veterans filed a lawsuit yesterday seeking to force the Department of Veterans Affairs to speed up its handling of disability claims or provide interim financial relief for applicants.

The lawsuit demands that the VA make an initial decision within 90 days on all claims for disability benefits and resolve any appeals within 180 days. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, further requests that the court grant interim benefits to veterans if the VA is unable to resolve their claims under the deadlines. ...

Chase McCombs, a 26-year-old Navy veteran from Phoenix, said he suffered several injuries and eyesight deterioration during a stint as a Navy mechanic that lasted more than three years, including a deployment on an aircraft carrier during the early phase of the Iraq war.

After his discharge, private doctors gave him a diagnosis of optical nerve deterioration as a result of exposure to a harmful substance or head injury, and he is legally blind, he said in an interview. But he said his application for benefits related to his blindness has been denied twice since he first filed in December, and he is still awaiting a response to his appeal. ...
No, the "best" gift for our troops is not just a prayer. It is real pressure on our government to fund and resolve the issues that threaten to rob them of the decent, respected post-war lives they deserve.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Portland, Maine

Back Cove trail, Portland, Maine
Trail around Back Cove

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron in Back Cove

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Monster slaying

Krugman calls the monsters of the last eight years by their names: Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney.

For now, "they?ve been banished to the wilderness."
The Angry Arab wrote THIS yesterday, after text mocking some Obama supporters:
Those who supported Obama: you will be disappointed and you will remember my caution. Remember me when Obama will endorse an Israeli war on a refugee camp and on a Lebanese village, and he will call that justified self-defense. Remember me when Obama will mourn the deaths of Israelis and will celebrate the deaths of Arabs and Muslims. Remember me when he orders his first bombing campaign on some remote area of Pakistan. Remember me when he betrays the poor in favor of Wall Street. Remember me when he will betray the aspirations of black people in favor of the white middle class that is now the headline of the Democratic Party. Remember me when Obama will not fight for his health reform plan, and will he not deliver on many of his promises. Remember me when Obama will stick to his campaign promise of opposing gay marriage. Remember me when when Obama will continue to blame the failure of the American occupation of Iraq on the Iraqi people themselves. On Angry Arab: the Obama bashing has just begun and will continue unabated.
I suppose it's possible to say that the Angry Arab is, you know, angry. But doesn't the offer to Rahm Emanuel of White House Chief of Staff signal the Obama Administration will be extremely hard-line pro-Israel? Ali Abunimah wrote yesterday,
In Congress, Emanuel has been a consistent and vocal pro-Israel hardliner, sometimes more so than President Bush. In June 2003, for example, he signed a letter criticizing Bush for being insufficiently supportive of Israel. "We were deeply dismayed to hear your criticism of Israel for fighting acts of terror," Emanuel, along with 33 other Democrats wrote to Bush. The letter said that Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian political leaders "was clearly justified as an application of Israel's right to self-defense."
I'm afraid I must take seriously cautions from the Angry Arab that it is not so clear Obama would end Bush's aggressive policies.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the Obama victory speech and savored my very tiny roll in trying to help make it happen. It was deeply inspiring. My best election night since 1992, and maybe ever.

Honeymoon's over.

I do not believe this was a throw-away line:
President-elect Obama: To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you.
Note that was the first thing he said after "a new dawn of American leadership is at hand"! I just want to remind everyone that this is a peace blog. So it's my job to wonder if that was a call to arms in the sense of the Bush Doctrine.

Obama also did make noises suggesting America was going to be back in the business of diplomacy. I hope so. But the choice of Rahm Emanuel as the first major appointment would signal a hard line. Ick.
Ick.

The tone setting represented by Obama considering for a top job this abrasive, unsympathetic, blindly pro-Israel and pro-war operative really stops my optimism in its tracks. How far will Obama have to go in providing "salve to Jewish voters"?
President we can believe in
Presidente Compa?ero
It is good to win.












Now it's up to us.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I will now walk over to my town office and spend five minutes voting. This will be a pleasant walk in splendidly warm & dry November weather. I think I even see the sun peeking out. I feel the horror that would be McCain/Palin riding off on a cloud.
John McCain supports Obama-like tax concepts in response to anti-tax student:


c. 2000

That totally speaks for itself.

Someone with wingnut tendencies sent this to me with a big "HA! HA!" in the subject line. (Click to reach the larger original.)


Rick McKee/augustachronicle.com

I actually take a point from this for which I give Obama a demerit. He broke the public presidential campaign finance system. In fact the wealth of presidential campaigns should evenly be shared! Even expenditure was the case for eight campaigns until Obama ended it.

Beyond that, I have a big problem with the projection of deep ego attachment to wealth that McCain has peddled in his anti-share campaign. It's not in fact the American way of government.

There was a time in this country when everyone agreed that for the good of "country first" as McCain likes to say, everyone has SHARED responsibility, like financing campaigns, or seeing to it that old people are taken care of (thanks to the sharing spirit of this country, my own mother was able to make up the nearly $100,000 she was short for her final illness out of her originally quite substantially-sized pocket), or that babies get nutrition, or that or that we have National Wildlife Refuges, or bomber pilots, or walled-in places we call prisons where those of us who are socially dangerously out-of-sync may be kept.

Therefore, the basis of the Republican campaign is in large part bullshit. McCain/Palin does not even resemble what McCain used to be. The Republican's are just egging on an emotional reaction, with no reference to real American values.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Ben Cohen: a demonstration of bloat


U.S. military budget is the cookie-eating elephant in the room (from TrueMajority.org)

The podcast for the peacecast.us/WERU Weekend Voices election special featuring the University of Maine panel presentation, "What are the Key Issues in the Nov. 4th Election?", is now up at peacecast.us.

This radio special/podcast was recorded at the University of Maine on Thursday October 30, 2008 and broadcast on WERU Weekend Voices for November 1. Panelists include U Maine faculty and Bangor/Orono area community organizers. They are
  • Professor Amy Fried, Political Science
  • Professor Michael Howard, Philosophy
  • Ilze Petersons, Program Coordinator, Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine
  • Professor Doug Allen, Philosophy

The event was part of the Fall 2008 Socialist & Marxist Studies Thursday Controversy series.

The program explores some big ideas that ought to be part of our national discussion--if we think we have a democratic society--even if they seem to be missing or distorted in major party campaigns.

Among the most distorted ideas now running wild in the campaign is that of socialism. While this term is almost universally batted around as a pejorative, our panel make a powerful case in favor of democratic socialism--for the weakened forms we already have, for the stronger forms found in other developed countries, and for comprehensive democratic socialism that would be of great benefit to the American people.

Included too is discussion of militarism and the bloated U.S. military budget. I'm not sanguine about either McCain or Obama acting in any meaningful way to reduce U.S. war activities. But I'll defer to subsequent posts further discussion. Meanwhile, please visit peacecast.us to play/download and enjoy the program.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The U Maine - Iraq Business Conference

Click for larger screenshot image
"Postponed" on November 11, 2003 but never actually canceled, the original agenda still is posted HERE! We're still waiting for a new date for the Conference.

More than any other event around which we have organized against the Iraq invasion, conquest, and occupation, none hit home harder than the University of Maine School of Business / Iraq Business Alliance conference which was scheduled for Scarborough, Maine on November 13, 2003.

It's agenda was extremely revealing of reasons for the invasion other than "weapons of mass destruction." The keynote speaker was to have been the late Casper Weinberger Sr., the former Secretary of Defense in the Reagan Administration. Rumors flew that the Dark Lord himself, Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney, would drop in for a secret slot on the agenda. This is a partial listing of people and presentations that were to be included.
The Future of Economic Development for Iraq
Moderator: Ambassador Frank Wisner, Vice Chairman, AIG

Panel: Mr. Ross J. Connelly, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of OPIC; Mr. Don DeMarino, National Chairman of the U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, and Member of Executive Committee and Founding Director of U.S.-Iraq Business Alliance; Mr. Rubar Sandi, Chairman of Corporate Bank, Chairman of Al Katin Group, and Founding Director of U.S.-Iraq Business Alliance; Mr. Richard Greco Jr., Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Special Projects, Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance

Priority Sectors for Development
Moderator: Ambassador William Walker, Managing Director of Millenium Capital Consultants

Panel: Mr. Don DeMarino ? Banking; Mr. Dennis A. Sokol ? Healthcare; Mr. Rubar Sandi ? Development Construction; Mr. Bob Barnett ? Communications...
So what went wrong that stopped all these serious people from having their Conference? First, Iraqis objected and an insurgency was just getting into full swing. Evidently, some Iraqis felt that the program these business people had in mind represented plunder of their country, and they were not having any of it. I believe that to be one of two real reasons the Conference did not happen.

The second was that the plan for "rapid" privatization of Iraq's economy and Iraqi industry (including oil) ran seriously afoul of 100 years of international law. Of course concepts like limits on "usurfruct rights" meant absolutely nothing in the Cheney system. A Mount Desert Island resident and close friend of the late Mr. Weinberger, Denis Sokol, put this unconcern for international law on full display in an interview with the Bangor Daily News, published in a front-page article, provocatively titled "Gold Rush," on November 1, 2003.

Because this piece is no longer available online, I have posted it in its entirety below the jump. It's a stunning piece of capitalist arrogance that should be a key chapter in the book of failures of the Bush Administration.

A few days after the Conference was "postponed," the Americans totally shifted gears and instituted the new "sovereignty" plan, about which at the time I posted very extensively in the original Deep Blade Journal, still in the archives HERE. The horrors that followed are almost too terrible to reflect on right now.

Here are archive links on this period that reveal crucial history of the real reasons behind the invasion of Iraq and the role played by the University of Maine along with how our protest of the business conference put that truth into sharp focus.

Contemporaneous blog postings in the original Deep Blade Journal: HERE.

My Reference Article containing many links for original documents and news stories, HERE.

Our November 8, 2003 op-ed in the Bangor Daily News, U Maine and war profiteering, HERE.

Post discussing what the BDN Sokol interview reveals about secret pre-war decisions and planning during mid 2002, in light of the contents of the "Downing Street memo" first publicly seen in May 2005, HERE.

Below is the November 1, 2003 article from the BDN, "Gold Rush."
Mythology busted

Just about everyone across the spectrum when speaking about John McCain will genuflect about his status as a "war hero" largely due to his five-year stint as a POW in North Vietnam. This myth deserves a look it will never get from craven Democrats and media.

But HERE is a piece that bares everything.

John McCain's 14th Amendment Problem
Giving Aid and Comfort to the Enemy
By DOUGLAS VALENTINE
It is also a fact that, in 1967, Lieutenant Commander John McCain was shot out of the sky while dropping bombs on North Vietnamese civilians. McCain's plane crashed in a lake, and he suffered some broken bones and was slapped around after he was rescued. And all of that hurt, but none of it reached the Rumsfeld-Bush-Cheney standard for torture. Yet after a mere four days, McCain cracked like a robin's egg. He told his captors, "I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital."

In his autobiography McCain elaborated, saying, "I gave them my ship's name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant."

It is alleged that McCain gave the numbers of aircraft in his flight formation, information about location of rescue ships, and the order of which his attack was supposed to take place. According to retired Army Colonel Earl Hopper, McCain divulged classified information North Vietnam used to hone their air defense system, including "the package routes, which were routes used to bomb North Vietnam. He gave in detail the altitude they were flying, the direction, if they made a turn ? he gave them what primary targets the United States was interested in." As result, Hopper claims, the U.S. lost 60 per cent more aircraft, and in 1968 "called off the bombing of North Vietnam, because of the information McCain had given to them." ...

No Republican hack is ever going to mention that a guilty conscience is the true source of McCain's "irrational behavior," or that, on June 2, 1969, McCain earned a reputation as the "POW Songbird." On that day, McCain featured on a radio broadcast from Hanoi, aimed at U.S. servicemen in South Vietnam, praising his captors for their excellent medical treatment ("which allowed me to walk again") and admitting he committed "crimes against the Vietnamese country and people. I bombed their cities, towns and villages and caused more injury and death for the Vietnamese people."

"The Vietnamese Communists called him the Songbird," Jack McLamb says. "That?s his code name, Songbird McCain, because he just came into the camp singing and telling them everything they wanted to know." According to McLamb, "McCain made 32 propaganda videos for the communist North Vietnamese in which he denounced America for what they were doing in Vietnam."
Shocking, isn't it? As Sarah Palin would put it if she knew these facts, McCain "is not a man who sees America as you and I do -- as the greatest force for good in the world."