Friday, November 30, 2007

Senate Bill 1959 to Criminalize Thoughts, Blogs, Books and Free Speech Across America

Senate Bill 1959 to Criminalize Thoughts, Blogs, Books and Free Speech Across America
Wednesday, November 28, 2007 by: Mike Adams

The end of Free Speech in America has arrived at our doorstep. It's a new law called the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, and it is worded in a clever way that could allow the U.S. government to arrest and incarcerate any individual who speaks out against the Bush Administration, the war on Iraq, the Department of Homeland Security or any government agency (including the FDA). The law has already passed the House on a traitorous vote of 405 to 6, and it is now being considered in the Senate where a vote is imminent. All over the internet, intelligent people who care about freedom are speaking out against this extremely dangerous law: Philip Giraldi at the Huffington Post, Declan McCullagh at CNET's, Kathryn Smith at, and of course Alex Jones at

This bill is the beginning of the end of Free Speech in America. If it passes, all the information sources you know and trust could be shut down and their authors imprisoned. NewsTarget could be taken offline and I could be arrested as a "terrorist." Jeff Rense at could be labeled a "terrorist" and arrested. Byron Richards, Len Horowitz, Paul Craig Roberts, Greg Palast, Ron Paul and even Al Gore could all be arrested, silenced and incarcerated. This is not an exaggeration. It is a literal reading of the law, which you can check yourself here:

The bill states:'...ideologically based violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs...

Note that this means the "planned use of force to promote a political or social belief" would be considered an act of terrorism. This all hinges on the definition of "force," of course. Based on the loose use of logic in Washington these days, and the slippery interpretation of the meaning of words, "force" could mean:
• A grassroots campaign to barrage Congress with faxes
• A non-violent street protest
• A letter-writing campaign that deluges the Senate with too much mail
• A sit-in protest that blocks access to a business or organization
• A grassroots e-mail campaign that overloads the e-mail servers of any government department or agency

You get the idea. "Force" could be defined as practically anything. And since the "planned use of force" would be considered a criminal act of terrorism, anyone who simply thinks about a grassroots action campaign would be engaged in terrorist acts.

If you stopped someone on the street and handed them a Bible, for example, this could be considered an act of terrorism ("...use of force to promote the individual's religious beliefs...")

If you sent a barrage of angry letters to Washington about global warming and the destruction of the environment by the U.S. military, this could also be considered an act of terrorism (" promote the individual's political beliefs...")

If you believe in same-sex marriage and you wrote a letter threatning a sit-in protest in front of your state's capitol building, this could also be considered an act of terrorism, even if you never carried it out! ("...planned use of force to promote a social belief...")

The United States is on the fast track to fascism, and the Congress is working right alongside this nation's traitorous leaders to criminalize any thoughts, words or speeches that disagree with current government policies regarding war, terrorism, domestic surveillance and civil liberties. Simply speaking out against the war on Iraq could soon be labeled a crime. Merely thinking thoughts against the war on Iraq could be considered a criminal act.

Must-see video: Naomi Wolf's lecture on 10 steps to fascism
There's a video lecture you simply MUST watch. It's by Naomi Wolf, author of The End of America. She covers this topic with great elegance and a deep understanding of history. See her video on YouTube at:

In her lecture and book, Naomi reveals the ten steps to fascist, then reveals how the United States of America is pursuing all ten! This S.1959 legislation, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, represents one of the ten steps to achieve a fascist state!

It is designed to squash all opposition to the State's ongoing march towards blatant fascism, where secret police and secret prisons dominate the law enforcement landscape, stripping U.S. citizens of all civil liberties and Constitutional protections.

Thoughtcrimes are about to become a reality in the United States of America, and Congress is pushing this through as quickly as possible so that each individual member of Congress can claim that he or she is "against terrorism." But this bill doesn't merely target terrorism: It targets anyone who speaks or even thinks thoughts against the U.S. federal government.

With this bill, the U.S. government is officially labeling the People of the United States as criminals. It is drawing a line in the sand and stating that from now on, it's the Government vs. the People.

If we don't stop this bill from becoming law, we are lost as a nation.

There is no turning back from tyranny once the government turns its own citizens into criminals, enforcing only the thoughts, ideas, words and speeches that it approves or tolerates. Everything is at stake here!

Stopping this bill from becoming law is the single most important thing all Americans can do right now. If this becomes law, all free speech about health freedom, the crimes of the FDA, the crimes of the Bush Administration, America's role in global warming and any other topics could all be criminalized. YOU could be labeled a terrorist, kidnapped by government thugs, taken from your home, thrown in a secret prison, denied access to legal representation, denied due process and essentially "disappeared" into a system of such corruption and evil that it now begins to blatantly mirror Nazi Germany.

Think it couldn't happen here? It's happening right now! This is exactly how it happened in Nazi Germany. First, burn the Reichstag and blame it on the "enemy." Pass new police state laws. Disarm the people. Spread fear. Erect secret prisons and secret police. Call anyone who disagrees with you a "traitor." Control the mainstream media. Sound familiar? This is all happening right now in the United States of Amerika, and if we don't work to stop it, this nation will rapidly devolve into a fascist police state where no one is truly free.

We are but a few small steps away from it right now. All it would take is one dirty bomb in a major U.S. city. Bush would declare Martial Law and take over the National Guard. Troops on the streets. Anyone who writes a blog against the government would be arrested. Authors of "alternative" books would be kidnapped and have their books burned on the street. It could all happen at the stroke of a pen. The infrastructure for tyranny is in place right now, just waiting to be invoked.

Our best weapons: Non-violent protest and speaking the truth

How can we fight back against this onslaught of tyranny? We must use what remaining free speech freedoms we have right now to alert our fellow citizens to what's happening. We must rise up and tell the truth while urging our representatives in Washington to resist the temptation to vote for more "anti-terrorism" legislation that only works to enslave the American people.

We must use our phones, faxes, emails and blogs to rally our friends, family members and anyone who will listen to oppose these police state laws, and we must organize mass (peaceful) protests against this government that is attempting to marginalize the rights and freedoms of our People.

We must not be lulled into a sense of false security by the purveyors of hatred and fear -- the Sean Hannitys, Rush Limbaughs and Bill O'Reillys of the world. Instead, we must listen to the voices of freedom. In terms of the upcoming election for U.S. President, there is only one candidate that actually believes in freedom: Ron Paul. He needs your support to win:

All the other candidates are nothing more than tyrants of different political affiliations. Ron Paul is the only candidate that truly understands the fundamentals of freedom. That's why he's the only real choice for our next President. Can you imagine what Hillary Clinton would do with the police state powers that Bush has now created? That's the danger of all laws that centralize power in Washington: It's not necessarily what today's President will do with them, but what some future President will do with them.

That's why it's never good enough to say, "Well, we intend to only apply these laws to terrorists and not to U.S. citizens at home." That may be the intention right NOW, but virtually all such laws creep into areas of enforcement for which they were never intended. Just look at the application of RICO laws which were originally designed to fight organized crime operations but are now applied to virtually anyone (and yet they are never applied to Big Pharma, which operates almost exactly like organized crime!). All these anti-terrorism laws run the danger of expanding in enforcement to the point where they are applied against the People of this country. At first, it's only illegal for "terrorists" to think thought crimes, but before long, it's illegal for anyone to think those same thoughts. That when the domestic arrests of authors, journalists, bloggers and thought leaders will kick off, and the country will plunge itself into outright tyrannical fascism.

Again, we're on the track right now. This is happening, folks. You're LIVING through an amazing chapter of history right now. You're actually witnessing the downfall of a free nation and the rise of a superpower fascist state. You're actually part of it.

When it's all over, will you look back and realize you did nothing? Or will you now take a stand against tyranny and oppose these dangerous laws and lawmakers who threaten the Constitutional freedoms of you and your children?

We Need Electric Cars - Where Are They?

Who Killed the Electric Car?

Who Killed the Electric Car? is a 2006 documentary film that explores the birth, limited commercialization, and subsequent death of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1 of the 1990s. The film explores the roles of automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, the US government, batteries, hydrogen vehicles, and consumers in limiting the development and adoption of this technology.
It was released on DVD to the home video market on November 14, 2006 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film deals with the history of the electric car, its development and commercialization, mostly focusing on the General Motors EV1, which was made available for lease in Southern California, after the California Air Resources Board passed the ZEV mandate in 1990, as well as the implications of the events depicted for air pollution, environmentalism, Middle East politics, and global warming.
The film details the California Air Resources Board's reversal of the mandate after suits from automobile manufacturers, the oil industry, and the George W. Bush administration. It points out that Bush's chief influences, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Andrew Card, are all former executives and board members of oil and auto companies.
A large part of the film accounts for GM's efforts to demonstrate to California that there was no demand for their product, and then to take back every EV1 and dispose of them. A few were disabled and given to museums and universities, but almost all were found to have been crushed; GM never responded to the EV drivers' offer to pay the residual lease value ($1.9 million was offered for the remaining 78 cars in Burbank before they were crushed). Several activists are shown being arrested in the protest that attempted to block the GM car carriers taking the remaining EV1s off to be crushed.
The film explores some of the reasons that the auto and oil industries worked to kill off the electric car. Wally Rippel is shown explaining that the oil companies were afraid of losing out on trillions in potential profit from their transportation fuel monopoly over the coming decades, while the auto companies were afraid of losses over the next six months of EV production. Others explained the killing differently. GM spokesman Dave Barthmuss argued it was lack of consumer interest due to the maximum range of 80–100 miles per charge, and the relatively high price.
The film also explores the future of automobile technologies including a deeply critical look at hydrogen vehicles and an upbeat discussion of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle technologies. Similarly to and in conjunction with films such as An Inconvenient Truth, the cinematic value of the film is rapidly becoming eclipsed by its motivational effect on a diverse group of newly activist, environmentally minded supporters.

The film features interviews with celebrities who drove the electric car, such as Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, Alexandra Paul, Peter Horton, Ed Begley, Jr., a bi-partisan selection of prominent political figures including Ralph Nader, Frank Gaffney, Alan Lloyd, Jim Boyd, Alan Lowenthal, S. David Freeman, and ex-CIA head James Woolsey, as well as news footage from the development, launch and marketing of EV's.
The film also features interviews with some of the engineers and technicians who led the development of modern electric vehicles and related technologies such as Wally Rippel, Chelsea Sexton, Alan Cocconi and Stan and Iris Ovshinsky and other experts, such as Joseph J. Romm (author of Hell and High Water and The Hype about Hydrogen). Romm gives a presentation intended to show that the government's "hydrogen car initiative" is a bad policy choice and a distraction that is delaying the exploitation of more promising technologies, like electric and hybrid cars that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase America's energy security. Also featured in the film are spokesmen for the automakers, such as GM's Dave Barthmuss, a vocal opponent of the film and the EV1, and Bill Reinert from Toyota.

The Suspects

The last half hour of the movie is organized around the following hypothesized culprits in the downfall of the electric car:
ConsumersLots of ambivalence to new technology, unwillingness to compromise on decreased range and increased cost for improvements to air quality and reduction of dependence on foreign oil. Although these allegations are made about consumers by industry reps in the film, perhaps explaining the film's "guilty" verdict, the actual consumers interviewed in the film were either unaware an electric car was available, or dismayed that they could no longer obtain one.
BatteriesLimited range (60-70 miles) and reliability in the first EV-1s to ship, but better (110 - 160 miles) later. Research says the average driving in a day is 30 miles or less, though the electric car is not for everyone; that is only 90% of all Americans that can use these in their daily commute. Towards the end of the film, an engineer explains that, as of the interview, lithium ion batteries, the same technology available in laptops would have allowed the EV-1 to be upgraded to a range of 300 miles per charge.
Oil companies
Fearful of losing business to a competing technology, they supported efforts to kill the ZEV mandate. They also bought patents to prevent modern NiMH batteries from being used in US electric cars.
Car companies
Negative marketing, sabotaging their own product program, failure to produce cars to meet existing demand, unusual business practices with regards to leasing versus sales. The film only explains this behavior once, saying that electric cars needed fewer expensive repairs and would hence not make the car companies as much money over the long term as gasoline-powered cars. The film also describes the history of automaker efforts to destroy competing technologies, such as their destruction through front companies of public transit systems in the United States in the early 20th century. It also, in one interview, mentions that automakers introduced important safety and emissions innovations including seat belts, airbags and catalytic converters only when forced by government legislation.
GovernmentThe federal government joined in the auto industry suit against California, has failed to act in the public interest to limit pollution and require increased fuel economy, has promoted the purchase of vehicles with poor fuel efficiency through preferential tax breaks, and has redirected alternative fuel research from electric towards hydrogen.
California Air Resources Board
The CARB, headed by Alan Lloyd, caved to industry pressure and repealed the ZEV mandate. Lloyd was given the directorship of the new fuel cell institute, creating an inherent conflict of interest. Footage shot in the meetings showed how he shut down the ZEV proponents while giving the car makers all the time they wanted to make their points.
Hydrogen fuel cellThe hydrogen fuel cell was presented by the film as an alternative that distracts attention from the real and immediate potential of electric vehicles to an unlikely future possibility embraced by automakers, oil companies and a pro-business administration in order to buy time and profits for the status quo.
The Verdicts
The movie's conclusions:
Consumers — Guilty
Batteries — Not Guilty
Oil companies — Guilty
Car companies — Guilty
Government — Guilty
California Air Resources Board — Guilty
Hydrogen fuel cell — Guilty
CriticismsThe film has been criticized for some of its suggestions.

From General Motors
General Motors (GM) has responded through a blog post entitled Who Ignored the Facts About the Electric Car? by Dave Barthmuss of their communications department. He does not address the movie directly, since he claims not to have seen it, but tells GM's side of the story, about their big investment before and since the EV1, the limited market in spite of their efforts, and how they maybe could have handled the decommissioning better. A quote:
Sadly, despite the substantial investment of money and the enthusiastic fervor of a relatively small number of EV1 drivers — including the filmmaker — the EV1 proved far from a viable commercial success.
He notes investments in electric vehicle technology since the EV1: two-mode hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicle programs. The filmmakers suggested that GM did not immediately channel its technological progress with the EV1 into these projects, and instead let the technology languish while focusing on more immediately profitable enterprises such as SUVs.
Unlike the movie, GM is bullish on hydrogen, according to Barthmuss:
Although hydrogen fuel cell technology was cast as a pie-in-the-sky technology by the moviemakers, GM is making great progress in fuel cell research and development and is on track to achieving its goal to validate and design a fuel cell propulsion system by 2010 that is competitive with current combustion systems on durability and performance, and that ultimately can be built at scale, affordably.
Critical rebuttal of GMThe movie pointed out that General Motors' customer survey may have served to lower demand. GM called interested customers and emphasized drawbacks to the car that were disputed by EV1 drivers. CARB officials have been quoted claiming that they removed their zero emission vehicle quotas in part because such surveys purported to show that no demand existed for the EV1s. Critics interviewed in the movie contend that the cost of batteries and electric vehicles would have been reduced significantly when mass production began, due to economies of scale.

From Edmunds.comKarl Brauer, editor-in-chief of, a popular auto market web site, wrote his own criticism of the movie, contrasting the interpretations in the movie with his own in a rumor/fact format. For example, regarding how GM negatively marketed the car, he said:
Rumor: There were 5,000 people who wanted an EV1, but GM wouldn't let them buy it.
Fact: There were 5,000 people who expressed interest in an EV1, but when GM called them back and explained that the car cost $299-plus a month to lease, went between 60 and 80 miles on a full charge, and took between 45 minutes and 15 hours to re-charge, very few would commit to leasing one (not too surprising, is it?). The film likes to quote a figure of 29 miles as the average American's daily driving needs, but that is a national figure and the EV1 was only sold in California and Arizona, primarily in Los Angeles. Anyone wanna guess what the average L.A. resident's daily driving need is? I'm betting it's higher than that national average ...
Toronto Company Has Electric Car But Our Government Won't Let Them Sell It
June 22, 2007

Toronto-based company, ZENN Motors, has taken the lead in the production of electric cars. Don't believe me? If you too thought the dream of the electric car was dead after watching the excellent (albeit depressing) documentary Who Killer the Electric Car it's time to think different. I took the above photo of the ZENN earlier today outside the Isabel Bader Theatre while attending the ideaCity 2007 conference. This is the real deal friends. The car is slick and I want one. It seemed that everyone else who saw the car today wants one too.
The problem, however, is that we can't buy one. Although the car is now available for sale in 48 US States, no Canadian government has approved it for sale in Canada. In fact, Queens Park refused to even entertain the idea until Al Gore cornered Dalton McGuinty earlier this year and insisted that he make it happen.
The sad fact is although the Premier recently unveiled a number of initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases, he failed to take the lead on the electric car issue, wiltering under pressure (as every other provincial government has done) to the powerful petroleum lobby.
When you consider that motor vehicles contribute somewhere in the neighbourhood of 2/3 of our greenhouse gases, this is simply unacceptable. There is huge pent-up demand for these types of vehicles. Enviro-conscious consumers (growing by the numbers every day) are desperate for a cost-effective, realistic solution to help them curb vehicle emissions and the ZENN electric car, at a retail price of approximately $14,000 has the potential to be it.
Unlike hybrid-vehicles, the ZENN electric car eliminates the need for petroleum completely and outside of high-end, impossible to get models like the Tesla Roadster is the best solution on the market. And from a Toronto-company to-boot! And if that's still not good enough consider the noise reduction that could result if electric cars were widely adopted. These vehicles are essentially silent.
Here's the pitch I found on the company's web site:
The ZENN, a Zero-Emission, No Noise, and 100% electric vehicle travels at a regulated maximum speed of 40 km/hr and provides a range of roughly 60 kilometers on a single charge. In addition to remarkably low operating costs (energy equivalency of .96L/100Km or 245 MPG), using a ZENN in place of a conventional car can eliminate over 6 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere each year.

Some may balk at the fact that the car only goes a max of 40k. But it's important to realize this isn't a shortcoming of the technology. In fact, the ZENN could go a lot faster, but the speed is "regulated" by the government to ensure that it's not widely adopted by consumers. Why? Because that's the way the petroleum lobby wants it. (I wish I could make this stuff up but unfortunately that's the way our world works)
Despite that, there may still be a silver lining. During a morning session today at IdeaCity ZENN Motor Company Founder and CEO Ian Clifford hinted that Al Gore confronting Dalton McGuinty resulted in huge progress and they expect the ZENN could be approved for sale in Ontario before the end of the year. Looking forward to 2008, the company is hard at work on a new model that will come equipped with an even better battery and other significant improvements.

That's not to say that the existing battery or model is deficient by any means. There are over 100 of these cars on the road in the US and it continues to rack up awards. The photo above shows just how easy the charging process is. The car takes a regular plug that simply plugs in to a regular wall socket. Every charge will add only about 35 cents to the average electricity bill so given the high price at the gas pumps these days, the ZENN not only presents obvious environmental benefits but economic ones as well.

For more reading, check ZENN's web site which has lots of links to previous media coverage about their electric car.

Documentary about GM killing of the electric car. (2 min 14 sec)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

American-backed Death Squads in Iraq

The Reagan Era Death Squads Surface Again, This Time In Iraq. Which Ones are on "Our Side"? Good Question.
Submitted by mark karlin on Wed, 11/28/2007 - 6:39am.
Buzzflash Editor's Blog
Mark Karlin, Editor and Publisher, BuzzFlash.comNovember 28, 2007

You can excuse BuzzFlash for being confused sometimes as to what militias in Iraq the Bush Administration is currently backing. After all, Bush reportedly didn’t even know there was a difference between Shiites and Sunnis until well after the Iraq War started, so cut us some slack.
We do know this, as we read about new killings in Iraq, we just have to wonder which death squads the White House is arming and aiding.
That is why we don’t necessarily follow the conventional wisdom that a recent slaughter of 11 family members (including 7 children) of a "troublesome" Iraqi journalist in Jordan was the work of the Muqtada al Sadr Mahdi army.Curiously, McClatchy news service (providing the most reliable mainstream news out of Iraq), notes: "Iraqi police and U.S. military officials said they had no record of the killings. But family members confirmed that the killings took place on Sunday." The news report also notes, "It was the third mass killing reported in Baghdad since Friday, underscoring the fragility of recent declines in violence."
We have to remember that many key members of the Bush Administration past and present – including Elliot Abrams, John Negroponte, and Otto Reich (now a "consultant") – were key advocates and enablers of the Central and South American "death squad" strategy during the Reagan years.
It is more than likely that their views – and the outlook of the Cheney wing -- on such tactics have not changed, and that many of the masked men running around killing targeted Iraqis and family members – as well as pesky journalists -- are being financed and supplied by the United States. The trick is figuring out which ones are "ours," and which ones are home grown insurgents (who are still managing to come up with U.S. weaponry, some speculate supplied by sympathetic members of the Iraqi Police and army.) Giving the shifting alliances of the ever-shifting Bush non-strategy, the death squads that they support today may be the ones that they have our soldiers battling tomorrow – or just killing each other.
The Sunday Times of London took a crack at sorting out the White House backed-mayhem in a November 25th article entitled, "American-backed killer militias strut across Iraq." Right now, The Times speculates, the Petraeus strategy is to back the Sunni militias as a counterweight to the allegedly Iranian aligned Mahdi Army.
But what is curious about that is that in the first Gulf War, Bush the First championed the liberation of the same Shiites that the White House is now demonizing. Of course, a Bush being a Bush, Bush the First urged the Shiites to rise up against the Sunni Saddam rule, only to abandon thousands upon thousands of them to be slaughtered by Hussein as Poppy Bush refused to protect the same people he was exhorting to take on Saddam.
Needless to say, Iraq remains a powder keg, as the Sunday Times article indicates, because the death squad policies of the Bush Administration (which, of course, you don’t hear about at Pentagon or White House briefings) are inevitably setting up all sides against the middle.
Bush is doing what he always does: what is most expedient to save his butt.
In the end, he is creating a Somalia style nation of warlord enclaves, each with their own militias.
The death squad strategy was the pride and joy of the neo-cons who cut their teeth in the Reagan Administration. If Blackwater can get away with murder, don’t you think that death squads operating with U.S. military and CIA support can carry out dirty deeds with impunity?
We just can never figure out, given our government’s deception on this issue, which death squads are on "our side."
You need to know who the "good bad guys" are, right?


American-backed killer militias strut across Iraq
From The Sunday Times
November 25, 2007
Hala Jaber, Baghdad

IT WAS 9.30am when three men entered Haidar Musa’s sweet-shop and shot him repeatedly in the head as his eight-year-old daughter Zainab crouched in terror behind the counter.
By midday his stricken wife Kahiriya had packed Zainab and four other children into a car with a few possessions and fled their home town of Abu Ghraib for a life of penury in Baghdad, 20 miles to the east.
Eighteen months later, the six of them are living in a room that measures 12ft by 12ft, with a concrete floor. Its contents include a cooking pot, a sewing machine and thin sponge mattresses because this is their kitchen, sitting room and bedroom.
Asked when she intended to leave this squalor and return to the comfortable family home, Kahiriya Musa, 30, is emphatic. “Never,” she declares. “They will kill me if I return.”
While one of her husband’s killers has been arrested, she says, the other two have joined the Baghdad Brigade, a Sunni militia funded by the American forces which now holds sway in her old neighbourhood.
Members of the Baghdad Brigade receive $300 a man each month from the Americans, who also provide vehicles, uniforms and flak jackets. In return the brigade keeps out Al-Qaeda, dismantles roadside bombs and patrols the area, a task performed with considerable swagger by many of its 4,000 recruits.
The US military is delighted with the results achieved by the brigade in Abu Ghraib and by similar groups in other former “hot spots” of sectarian conflict that have seen a sharp decline in violence.
For Shi’ites such as Kahiriya Musa, however, a Sunni militia represents another potential source of terror in a country where millions have been traumatised by ethnic cleansing.
A 50% cut in car and roadside bombs, shootings and rocket and mortar attacks since June has brought hope that some of the 5m Iraqis driven from home may soon be able to go back. Yet many – Kahiriya Musa among them – are too frightened of the new militias and the ethnic cleansers in their ranks to risk moving.
Officials in the Shi’ite-led government also fear the burgeoning of fresh forces beyond its control. The question being asked in government circles is: have the Americans achieved a short-term gain in security at a cost of long-term pain that may be inflicted by the Sunni militias, which are already threatening to go to war against their Shi’ite counterparts?
The western province of Anbar first witnessed the phenomenon known as “the awakening” – the turning of Sunni tribes against the largely foreign fighters of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
For General David Petraeus, the American commander, the awakening has proved a powerful force with which to increase the impact of his surge of 30,000 US troops earlier this year.
By allying the US forces with Sunnis opposed to Al-Qaeda, the general has engineered victories over the brutal foreign fighters that seemed almost unimaginable 12 months ago.
US-backed Sunni militias have spread eastwards from Anbar across Baghdad. They already number 77,000, known collectively as “concerned local citizens”. This is more than the Shi’ite Mahdi Army and nearly half the number in the Iraqi army.
Exotically named groups such as the Knights of Ameriya and the Guardians of Ghazaliya strut the streets in camouflage uniforms, brandishing new AK47s that the Americans say they have not supplied.
Last week I entered the western Baghdad district of Ameriya by crossing check-points manned by the eager “knights”. Not only had some of them been members of groups aligned with Al-Qaeda eight weeks ago, but they had now created a virtual enclave surrounded by concrete blast walls.
To be among them without fear of kidnap was to sense the transformation of security in a place that was being torn apart by fighting only last August.
Some wore sinister masks, however, and observers are asking how long it will be before they turn on their Shi’ite counterparts when the Americans start reducing their troops next year.
Sergeant Jack Androski, of the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, sees things differently. “Ameriya is the safest neighbourhood in all of Baghdad,” he said as he chewed on a falafel and gazed up the suburb’s main commercial street.
“This didn’t exist in May, We lost 17 soldiers on this main street. We used to be hit at least twice a day here and a 500lb bomb flipped one of our Bradleys [fighting vehicles] over.”
Androski paid tribute to the “bravery and determination” of the knights who helped to see off Al-Qaeda. But even Sunni residents see trouble ahead.
One pointed out former members of the Islamic Army – a group once closely associated with Al-Qaeda, whose atrocities included the murder of Enzo Baldoni, a kidnapped Italian journalist – among the knights.
In an Ameriya school last week some of the knights showed that although they may have switched allegiances, they still hold the fundamentalist beliefs that drew them to Al-Qaeda in the first place.
Carrying their weapons, they went from one class to the next, looking for mobile phones with “unIslamic” ringtones. One child with a pop music ringtone was slapped and kicked in the legs as a warning to the others.
Meanwhile, the targets of ethnic cleansing continue to suffer. Habib Haji, a 65-year-old widower from Sab al-Boor, north of the capital, received a letter giving him three days to leave with his daughter Salwa, 15, or die.
“I left immediately,” said Haji, whose 18-year-old son Mehdi had already disappeared after going out to buy some cigarettes.
According to Haji, the death threat came from men who used to be Al-Qaeda members but now form part of the awakening. Even the militia commanders confirm that they have the Shi’ites in their long-range sights after a turbulent few months.
First they tired of Al-Qaeda’s beheadings, bombings and strange demands, such as a ban on salads containing (male) cucumbers and (female) tomatoes, and on ice cubes because the Prophet Muhammad never had them.
Then the militias threw in their lot with the Americans to get rid of Al-Qaeda, but without losing their animosity for the occupying forces that many of them had been fighting.
Now they are starting to think about what happens when the Americans leave and how they can counter Iranian-backed Shi’ite forces. Abu Omar, an intelligence officer with the Baghdad Brigade in Abu Ghraib, was candid.
“Of course the coming war is with the [Shi’ite] militias,” he said. “God willing, we will defeat them and get rid of them just as we did Al-Qaeda.”
Abu Maroof, one of the brigade’s commanders, said that he regarded the Shi’ite militias, which include the Mahdi Army of the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, as more dangerous than the United States. But he is also increasingly hostile to the government of Nouri al-Maliki, which is reluctant to absorb militia members into the official Iraqi security forces.
“If the government continues to reject them, let it be clear that this brigade will eventually take its revenge,” he warned.
It is little wonder that Shi’ite sheikhs have been queueing up this month to air their worries about the Sunni militias to Ahmad Chalabi, a former deputy prime minister who is now in charge of reconstruction and who straddles the sectarian divide.
“Many of the groups in the awakening are the same men who used to kill and displace our people,” one protested. “Any return of refugees is near impossible if this is not resolved.”
Chalabi has come to an accommodation with the Sunni sheikhs of Sab al-Boor, where Haji and his daughter lived: they will get better services – electricity, schools, factories reopened to create jobs – if they guarantee security for 100,000 refugees to return home from temporary shelter in Baghdad.
Several hundred families have already trickled back and their fate will be anxiously monitored. If Sab al-Boor seems safe, thousands more will follow.
Many others dread to think what the Sunni militias will do if the government refuses to have them in the security forces and the Americans leave them to their own devices.
Kahiriya Musa, for one, intends to keep her family close by in the hovel with the concrete floor: “I am afraid for my life and the lives of my children.”

The U.S.-backed "dirty war" in Iraq drops its mask
By Swopa
May 1 2005 - 12:41pm

Remember the controversy when Newsweek wrote in January that the U.S. was thinking about supporting a "Salvador option" in Iraq? Remember a month later, when the Wall Street Journal wrote about "pop-up militias" there, which I promptly surmised might be the "Salvador option" put into motion?Well, today Peter Maass has a massive report in the New York Times Magazine that essentially confirms this. Here's his account of visiting the head of the Special Police Commandos death squad militia described by the WSJ as "catching the American military by surprise":
Adnan's office was a hive of conversation, phone calls and tea-drinking. Along with a dozen commandos, there were several American advisers in the room, including James Steele, one of the United States military's top experts on counterinsurgency. Steele honed his tactics leading a Special Forces mission in El Salvador during that country's brutal civil war in the 1980's. Steele's presence was a sign not only of the commandos' crucial role in the American counterinsurgency strategy but also of his close relationship with Adnan. . . . As part of President Reagan's policy of supporting anti-Communist forces [in El Salvador in the 1980s], hundreds of millions of dollars in United States aid was funneled to the Salvadoran Army, and a team of 55 Special Forces advisers, led for several years by Jim Steele, trained front-line battalions that were accused of significant human rights abuses.Maass goes on to describe the U.S. role in the death squad militia's creation:
. . having been a key participant in the Salvador conflict, Steele knows how to organize a counterinsurgency campaign that is led by local forces. He is not the only American in Iraq with such experience: the senior U.S. adviser in the Ministry of Interior, which has operational control over the commandos, is Steve Casteel, a former top official in the Drug Enforcement Administration who spent much of his professional life immersed in the drug wars of Latin America. . . . Last summer, with the security situation deteriorating, some Iraqi and American officials began to argue that the time had passed for a ''clean hands'' policy that rejected most of the experienced people who had fought for Saddam Hussein. The first official to take action was Falah al-Naqib, interior minister under the interim government of Ayad Allawi. In September, Naqib formed his own regiment, the Special Police Commandos, drawn from veterans of Hussein's special forces and the Republican Guard. As its leader, he chose General Adnan, not only because Adnan had a useful collection of colleagues from Iraq's military and security networks, but also because Adnan is Naqib's uncle.. . . The American who was most involved in the commandos' creation was Casteel, Naqib's senior American adviser. Casteel, who previously worked for Paul Bremer in the Coalition Provisional Authority, realized that the de-Baathification policy had to be altered and that Naqib was the person to do it.And just to show how closely tied to the Allawi regime the commandos were, it turns out that Gen. Adnan is the mastermind behind the surreality TV shows that feature "confessions" from torture victims supposed terrorists. Maass also shows us a hint of how complicit the U.S is in the commandos' familiarly Saddam-esque methods, going on a joint raid backed up by American troops led by a captain named Bennett:
The officer in charge of the raid -- a Major Falah -- now made it clear that he believed the detainee had led them on a wild-goose chase. The detainee was sitting at the side of a commando truck; I was 10 feet away, beside Bennett and four G.I.'s. One of Falah's captains began beating the detainee. Instead of a quick hit or slap, we now saw and heard a sustained series of blows. We heard the sound of the captain's fists and boots on the detainee's body, and we heard the detainee's pained grunts as he received his punishment without resistance. It was a dockyard mugging. Bennett turned his back to face away from the violence, joining his soldiers in staring uncomfortably at the ground in silence. The blows continued for a minute or so.A similar situation occurs on another raid that Maass observes:
On March 8, I went on a series of raids with the commandos, traveling in a Humvee with Maj. Robert Rooker, an artillery officer based in Tikrit who was dispatched to Samarra to serve as my escort. . . . The target was a house outside Samarra where Najim al-Takhi, thought to be the leader of an insurgent cell, was believed to be hiding.The commandos reached an isolated farmhouse and detained al-Takhi's son, who looked to be in his early 20's. This was an excellent catch. The son of a suspect usually knows where the suspect is hiding; if not, he can be detained and used as a bargaining chip to persuade the father to surrender. . . . The captain pushed him against a mud wall and told everyone else to move away. Standing less than 10 feet from the young man, the captain aimed his AK-47 at him and clicked off the safety latch. He was threatening to kill him. I was close enough to catch some of the dialogue on my digital recorder. . . . Major Rooker was just a few feet from the angry captain. He moved closer and nudged the captain's AK-47 toward the ground.''You are a professional soldier,'' Rooker told him. ''You know and I know that you need to put the weapon down.''. . . As the commandos pulled their prisoner away, Lieutenant Johansen conferred with Rooker. ''They don't operate the way we do, that's for damn sure,'' Johansen said. ''We have to be nice to people.'' Especially in the aftermath of Abu Ghraib, they both knew that threatening a prisoner with death ... was illegal under the Geneva Conventions.Actually, the bitter punch line here is that taking a wanted man's son hostage is probably a violation of the Geneva Conventions, too -- which just shows how badly our troops' collective sense of right and wrong has been scrambled amid the nightmare they've been forced to endure.Another sign comes when Maass's Dante-esque journey takes him to a "detention center" run by the commandos:
We walked through the entrance gates of the center and stood, briefly, outside the main hall. Looking through the doors, I saw about 100 detainees squatting on the floor, hands bound behind their backs; most were blindfolded. To my right, outside the doors, a leather-jacketed security official was slapping and kicking a detainee who was sitting on the ground. We went to a room adjacent to the main hall, and as we walked in, a detainee was led out with fresh blood around his nose. The room had enough space for a couple of desks and chairs; one desk had bloodstains running down its side. . . .A few minutes after the interview started, a man began screaming in the main hall, drowning out the Saudi's voice. ''Allah!'' he shouted. ''Allah! Allah!'' It was not an ecstatic cry; it was chilling, like the screams of a madman, or of someone being driven mad. ''Allah!'' he yelled again and again. The shouts were too loud to ignore. Steele left the room to find out what was happening. When returned, the shouts had ceased. But soon, through the window behind me, I could hear the sounds of someone vomiting, coming from an area where other detainees were being held, at the side of the building.. . . One afternoon as I was standing near City Hall, I heard a gunshot from within or behind the detention center. In previous days, I saw or heard, on several occasions, accidental shots by commandos -- their weapons discipline was far from perfect -- so I assumed it was another negligent discharge. But within a minute or so, there was another shot from the same place -- inside or behind the detention center.There are caveats throughout the article that, of course, the U.S. isn't really condoning any of this brutality, much less pursuing it as an intentional policy. And yet, all of the above incidents occurred in the presence of American military officers and a U.S. civilian journalist. As Maass notes more than once, the worst atrocities tend to occur out of sight ... and even the Americans who assure Maass that they're doing what they can to restrain the death squad commandos acknowledge that the latter are entirely capable of committing such crimes.Not only that, these are exactly the goons that Donald Rumsfeld flew to Baghdad to personally argue for keeping in the Iraqi military. So, please, spare me the Pollyanna bullshit disingenuous reasoning that we're trying to bring democracy and freedom to the Middle East, with Iraq as a shining example. It never was true, and as our lengthy fight against elections and our current sponsorship of the Special Police Commandos shows, the Bushites would be perfectly happy with a Saddam-free version of Saddamism.

YouTube Videos
Trailer: The Death Squads (Iraq)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Natural Disasters - Sign of the Last Days

Natural disasters have quadrupled in two decades: studySun Nov 25, 9:33 AM ET;_ylt=AkATCiIBDl818usXVIIoXozQOrgF
More than four times the number of natural disasters are occurring now than did two decades ago, British charity Oxfam said in a study Sunday that largely blamed global warming.
"Oxfam... says that rising green house gas emissions are the major cause of weather-related disasters and must be tackled," the organisation said, adding that the world's poorest people were being hit the hardest.
The world suffered about 120 natural disasters per year in the early 1980s, which compared with the current figure of about 500 per year, according to the report.
"This year we have seen floods in South Asia, across the breadth of Africa and Mexico that have affected more than 250 million people," noted Oxfam director Barbara Stocking.
"This is no freak year. It follows a pattern of more frequent, more erratic, more unpredictable and more extreme weather events that are affecting more people."
She added: "Action is needed now to prepare for more disasters otherwise humanitarian assistance will be overwhelmed and recent advances in human development will go into reverse."
The number of people affected by extreme natural disasters, meanwhile, has surged by almost 70 percent, from 174 million a year between 1985 to 1994, to 254 million people a year between 1995 to 2004, Oxfam said.
Floods and wind-storms have increased from 60 events in 1980 to 240 last year, with flooding itself up six-fold.
But the number of geothermal events, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, has barely changed.
Oxfam urged Western governments to push hard for a deal on climate change at a key international meeting that runs December 3-14 on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Rich Western nations and the United Nations must act to "make humanitarian aid faster, fairer and more flexible and to improve ways to prepare for and reduce the risk of disasters," it said.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference in Bali aims to see countries agree to launch a roadmap for negotiating cuts in climate-changing carbon emissions from 2012.
The Oxfam study was compiled using data from the Red Cross, the United Nations and specialist researchers at Louvain University in Belgium.
Copyright © 2007 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

Welcome to Natural Disasters: Destructive Forces of Nature.

This is a fun, interesting, and highly educational resource to learn all about Natural Disasters and the effects that they have on our planet.


Natural Disasters
Key points
On average, an earthquake strikes the British Isles every four days
10% of the world's population live under threat from the 1,511 active volcanoes
There are more tornadoes per square mile each year in Britain than the USA
In Britain, five million people in two million homes live in flood prone areas
Colossal tsunami waves travel across oceans at speeds of up to 500mph (800kmh). Waves hitting coastlines have shifted 20-tonne rocks hundreds of metres inland
Droughts starve the land of nourishment, replacing them with mineral salts
Could natural disasters devastate Britain?
If the volcano on La Palma in the Canaries explodes, a 500m high mega-tsunami could engulf low-lying parts of the UK
Though some scientists believe it will happen, it's unlikely for the next few thousand years
One of Britain's most severe tornadoes destroyed a church and 600 homes in central London in 1091
Most British houses are now built from brick and are much more sturdy
In 1995, a hurricane doubled back from the Caribbean and hit Britain
This UK storm was only the remnants of a hurricane. In order to retain its strength, a hurricane must remain over warm water of 26.5C or above
North-west Wales is one of the most seismically active places in the whole UK. In 1984, a quake registered 5.4 on the Richter scale. Another could hit any day now
An earthquake of this magnitude rarely causes severe damage. Quakes above 5 are exceptional in the UK, and there is no proof that another is due soon
Find out why the movements of the Earth's outer crust can cause earthquakes in our guide.
We look at how many active volcanoes there are around the World and find out why they can have such devastating power.
What is the difference between a tornado and a hurricane, where do they hit and why?
Since 1998, flooding has caused more than 30 deaths in Britain, find out where our bad weather comes from.
The world's biggest earthquake off the coast of Chile in 1960 sent tsunami waves crashing across the Pacific Rim up to 10,000 miles (16,093km) away - check out our guide.


Check out the disaster section at National Geographic
[under construction]

Sunday, November 25, 2007

America & Founding Documents

A 1765 Call to Action -- "Educate Young and Old: For Liberty" -- As Timely Today as When Originally Made
If only a single idea could be said to have been held in common by all of The Founders, none would have a better claim to this distinction than the idea that sound information and education constitute the essential and best foundation upon which to build securely and enduringly--for The Individual and for the people as a whole, for the nation. The writings of The Founders are filled with appeals and admonitions to make sure of a fair future for Liberty in America through widest possible use of sound information and education; and John Adams was second to none in this regard. An especially impressive appeal of this character was made by him as part of a 1765 writing: "A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law" which was first published as a series of essays in the Boston Gazette. Its value lies, in part, in its enduring quality--valuable in every year and generation and as pertinent today as when first published. This is so true, and its message is so important to the well-being of Man's Freedom from Government-over-Man in America today and in the future, that an extended quotation is believed to be justified. First he assumed to be true then a favorable situation which, it must be admitted, does not exist in America today:
"Let us presume, what is in fact true, that the spirit of liberty is as ardent as ever among the body of the nation, though a few individuals may be corrupted. . . ."
True today as to independence from foreign rule, it is not true today regarding Individual Liberty: Freedom from Government-over-Man. This melancholy fact of deterioration of the situation of Free Man in America only serves to make more important the main part of his message:
"Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write. Let every order and degree among the people rouse their attention and animate their resolution. Let them all become attentive to the grounds and principles of government . . ."
After thus expressing the key idea, he continued by directing attention to one of the main areas of knowledge which should be fostered and inculcated:
"Let us read and recollect and impress upon our souls the views and ends of our own more immediate forefathers, in exchanging their native country for a dreary, inhospitable wilderness. Let us examine into the nature of that power, and the cruelty of that oppression, which drove them from their homes. Recollect their amazing fortitude, their bitter sufferings,--the hunger, the nakedness, the cold, which they patiently endured--the severe labors of clearing their grounds, building their houses, raising their provisions, amidst dangers from wild beasts and savage men, before they had time or money or materials for commerce. Recollect the civil and religious principles and hopes and expectations which constantly supported and carried them through all hardships with patience and resignation."
After this invitation to relive the harsh realities of those days in our imaginations, with emphasis however upon the sustaining things of the mind and heart and soul, he reached the key word, "liberty":
"Let us recollect it was liberty, the hope of liberty for themselves and us and ours, which conquered all discouragements, dangers, and trials. In such researches as these, let us all in our several departments cheerfully engage,--but especially the proper patrons and supporters of law, learning, and religion!"
By "learning" he referred not only to formal education but to all knowledge-gaining, in all its facets by all possible means. Then he focused attention upon the group which, in New England especially, was in that time--as before and later--so potently influential in helping to develop, nurture and propagate the ideas of "Liberty and Independence": Independence from foreign rule and Liberty of Man against Government-over-Man. This was the clergy. He appealed to them as follows:
"Let the pulpit resound with the doctrines and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear the danger of thraldom to our consciences from ignorance, extreme poverty, and dependence, in short, from civil and political slavery. Let us see delineated before us the true map of man. Let us hear the dignity of his nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God,--that consenting to slavery is a sacrilegious breach of trust, as offensive in the sight of God as it is derogatory from our own honor or interest or happiness --and that God Almighty has promulgated from heaven, liberty, peace, and good-will to man!"
By "slavery" he of course meant, in part, subjection to tyrannous rule by a British king and Parliament. Here Adams was not urging the clergy to do something new for their group--some of them had been doing this for generations in America. Instead, he was emphasizing the need of more of the clergy to participate in this educational program in support of "Liberty and Independence" and all of them to give more attention to this cause, so crucially important to freedom of religion. He then called upon the Bar--the profession which was expected to take the lead actively in the fight and which, in every generation, is obligated to do so morally as well as otherwise; partly today because every member of the Bar--like every judge and other public official--is sworn to support the Constitution--necessarily in its true and original meaning (per page 194, ante) as intended by those who framed and adopted the initial instrument and later each of its amendments. He continued:
"Let the bar proclaim, 'the laws, the rights, the generous plan of power' delivered down from remote antiquity,--inform the world of the mighty struggles and numberless sacrifices made by our ancestors in defence of freedom . . ."
Next he came to the leading group in the realm of formal education, the colleges:
"Let the colleges join their harmony in the same delightful concert. Let every declamation turn upon the beauty of liberty and virtue, and the deformity, turpitude, and malignity, of slavery and vice [meaning mainly governmental evils from the standpoint of Free Man]. Let the public disputations become researches into the grounds and nature and ends of government, and the means of preserving the good and demolishing the evil. Let the dialogues, and all the exercises, become the instruments of impressing on the tender mind, and of spreading and distributing far and wide, the ideas of right and the sensations of freedom. In a word, let every sluice of knowledge be opened and set a-flowing."
He continued by warning of Britain's plan to enslave American colonists through the Stamp Act and other such measures; then continued:
"These are not the vapors of a melancholy mind, nor the effusions of envy, disappointed ambition, nor of a spirit of opposition to government, but the emanations of a heart that burns for its country's welfare. No one of any feeling, born and educated in this once happy country, can consider the numerous distresses, the gross indignities, the barbarous ignorance, the haughty usurpations, that we have reason to fear are meditating for ourselves, our children, our neighbors, in short, for all our countrymen and all their posterity, without the utmost agonies of heart and many tears."
The distinguished clergyman, Jonathan Mayhew, was mentioned expressly by Adams with praise for his valuable writings in support of the cause of Man's freedom in America.
This message has great significance today for all parts of American society because of the pressing need at present for sound information and education, to the end that Individual Liberty may be made and kept secure under constitutionally limited government--respected in practice and preserved in full integrity for the sake of the present generation as well as for the benefit of Posterity, for whom the present generation is merely temporary trustee.
It is only through living the principles which The Founders lived, and serving the ideals which they served, that in each generation any and every American can, in truth, render all honor to The Founders.
Could they return to the American scene now and speak a word of warning in behalf of the cause of Individual Liberty, they would perhaps be satisfied to repeat the remark of Dr. Joseph Warren--President of the Massachusetts Congress and a Major General, killed in action at Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775--in his oration in Boston on March 5, 1775 (the anniversary of the "Boston Massacre" by British troops). His words were in effect addressed to every American of every generation, faced with the never-ending need for Friends of Liberty to be faithful, vigilant and active in support of the institutions and principles which are essential to Liberty's well-being:
"Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of . . . On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves."
Napolitano at Reason in DC
October 2007
Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is among the fiercest defenders of individual rights. Both in his daily appearances on the country's most-watched cable news network and in a series of books (most recently, A Nation of Sheep), Napolitano consistently and defiantly argues that the only legitimate government is that which respects its citizens rights in all cases.
In late October, Napolitano gave the keynote address at the conference Reason in DC, where he delivered a spellbinding speech that blended a masterful understanding of American history with a blazing outrage at the excesses of the new security state. "Who [is] the greatest violator of the Constitution?" asks Napolitano. "George W. Bush has shown less fidelity to the Constitution than any president since Abraham Lincoln."
Documents Supporting and Establishing the United States of America:Declaration of Independence
Articles of Confederation
Constitution of the United States and subsequent Amendments
Bill of Rights - and Amendments up to XXVII
332 Questions and Answers + Notes and Commentary
Buy It Now
Elementary Catechism on the Constitution of the United States
by Arthur J. Stansbury, 1828
Revised Edition by William H. Huff, 1993
Want to know the Constitution? Then get this book! By 1839 this book was the standard textbook for learning the Constitution in American classrooms.* Written as a "catechism" in question and answer format, this new larger edition is complete with notes and excerpts from Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention.
The Catechism was first used in the early 1800's for school children but should be required reading in every school today. It is an excellent way to re-acquaint yourself with the nature and benefit of strict constitutional government. Those who are discovering their true heritage for the first time have asked for such material to begin their own studies.
"Catechism" defined in Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
"An ignorant people are easily betrayed, and a wicked people can never be ruled by the mild influence of their own laws." - Arthur J. Stansbury
Original Features:Stansbury's original 1828 text of 100 pages with Introduction and Conclusion, including 332 Questions/Answers on the Constitution with step by step commentary on all of the important features of "a government of law and not of men."
Features of the New Edition:Quotes from the Founders and the Framers of the Constitution, Texts of the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights with the Amendments up to the 26th, the Virginia Resolutions of 1798-99, Selections from Madison's Notes on the Federal Convention, and a reading list recommended by Jefferson and Madison of books said to contain the foundational principles "legitimately developed."
Editor's Notes on critical issues, and more ...
Excerpts from Stansbury's Introduction:"...remember that this precious Constitution, thus wise, thus just, is your birth-right. It has been earned for you by your fathers, who counseled much, labored long, and shed their dearest blood, to win it for their children. To them, it was the fruit of toil and danger ---to you, it is a gift. Do not slight it on that account, but prize it as you ought. It is yours, no human power can deprive you of it but your own folly and wickedness. To undervalue, is one of the surest ways to lose it. Take pains to know what the Constitution is ---the more you study, the higher you will esteem it. The better you understand your own rights, the more likely you will be to preserve and guard them. And, in the last place, my beloved young countrymen, your country's hope, her treasure, and one day to be her pride and her defence; remember that a constitution which gives to the people so much freedom, and entrusts them with so much power, rests for its permanency, on their knowledge and virtue...
The virtuous citizen is the true noble. He who enlightens his understanding--controls his passions--feels for his country's honor--rejoices in her prosperity--steps forth to aid her in the hour of danger--devotes to her advancement the fruits of his mind, and consecrates to her cause, his time, his property, and his noblest powers, such a man is one of God's nobility... We have seen such men among us; we hope to see many more."
Sample Questions from the Catechism

Don't forget our companion book: The Bill of Rights - EXPOSED!
Our books can be customized for educators, schools, fundraisers, political campaigns and activist groups. Passivist groups can simply remain passive.
Variously compiled, edited, and written by William H. Huff - 1998

During the years 1787-1789 the States of the Union were considering and Ratifying the Constitution for the United States of America. Each State summoned a convention to ratify the Constitution that would form the government under which the appointed trustees of We the People would perform the limited duties assigned to them by that marvelous document.
The conventions were concerned that it should be made immutably clear that the States and the People were not surrendering any rights or privileges in addition to those explicitly endowed to the new federal government by the Constitution.
A common sense reading of the Bill of Rights would give most citizens a good idea of the great body of rights that were to remain under the inviolable control of the People and the States respectively. Yet, today, many Americans have been so well "educated" that they are easily led astray by charlatans and demagogues who would twist and bend the meanings of words and concepts until they would emasculate our Bill of Rights and leave us as serfs or slaves to a government out of control; a government that now wishes to assert its "rights" to rule OVER the People. The "tail would wag the dog."
The missing component that prevents many of us from understanding the original intent of our Bill of Rights is CONTEXT. If we read the Bill of Rights without being familiar with other contemporary documents, we may, through no fault of our own, be drawn away into an "understanding" of the document that is far removed from the original meaning. But, if we can read the rest of the entire Ratification documents, we are reading a summary of what the States expected of the new Constitution. We are reading precisely what the original intent of the Bill of Rights IS because these are the most succinct expressions or summaries of ideas that were ultimately distilled into that most exquisite product, our Bill of Rights.
After a brief introduction and treatment of the preambles, The Bill of Rights EXPOSED takes the Ratification documents apart and collates them to each of the 10 Articles that became the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution. After reading one of the Articles, the reader finds immediately below it the language from the States that expound upon its concepts and lock it in to its original intent.

An 1828 Websters Dictionary is another indispensable tool that you will want to acquire to assist in understanding these documents. Noah Webster was the Father of American education and a contemporary of the Framers of the Constitution. No other dictionary will do if you want to learn the historical context of this period and comprehend American political philosophy.
In addition to collating the Amendments to the ratification documents, I have taken the remainder of the ratification texts and collated them to important political concepts e.g. treaty law, executive orders, direct taxation etc.
Finally, the book includes a copy of the entire collection of ratification documents for those who want to read them in their entire context.
This text will prove ideal for any citizen who is old enough to start learning how to assert his/her rights under the law and according to our American political philosophy - where the citizen is Sovereign and the government is servant. Children should be introduced to a study of their great American heritage not long after they have started reading. How else will they know all about the great body of God-given rights that We the People reserve to ourselves under the Constitution and Bill of Rights forged on our behalf by our great patriot forefathers? A middle school reading level will suffice in most cases for independent study, provided that the Original 1828 Webster's Dictionary is nearby for reference.
With regard to our servants in government and in those professions who presume they already comprehend the Bill of Rights adequately enough, we challenge them to spar even briefly with the great minds of Jefferson, Madison and others. It’s time we all knew more about our rights as well as how to assert and preserve them. This book is another way for all of us to get up to Constitutional speed. We invite you to come and learn with us.
* Lexrex was recently contacted by a visitor who had purchased the Catechism on the basis of the claim that states the book was a standard in American classrooms by 1839. As far as we know at this time the statement is true. This is based on notes in an earlier 20th Century reprint of the text made the statement in its forward. We have no reason to believe the earlier reprint would misrepresent this fact. However, we have no earlier version to verify the statement. If anyone has authoritative documentation to refute this claim we would want to remove it in the interest of accuracy. In the larger context of more easily documented facts about the period it is safe to say the literacy and common knowledge of the laws and our Constitution far exceeded current levels of awareness and competence in these crucial subjects. We are of the opinion that the text of the Catechism stands on its own merits - even though it has a few errors related to the fact that Madison's Notes on the Constitutional Convention were not made public until seven years after the the Catechism was originally published. The serious student can always read Madison's Notes, Elliot's Debates, and the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers of course. The Catechism is just one of the best tools we have seen to get the dialog started. Modern Q&As on the Constitution tend to be rather insipid by comparison. They range mostly between trivia and brainwashing.

The American Ideal of 1776:
The Twelve Basic American Principles
by Hamilton Abert Long, 1976 - See copyright information.
Intelligent choice--between 1776 Americanism and conflicting Isms (chiefly Socialism in the USA today)--requires primarily thorough knowledge of these Principles.
The book is the essential tool for all who wish to be worthy trustees for today’s children and future generations of their just heritage: this Ideal, its eternal values and the supporting Constitution, as The Founders intended. They believed to default about this is to betray. (emphasis the author's)
- The Author, from his Note About the Book

Author's Introduction and Information regarding the Author
Commendations of the book appearing on the original cover
Author's extensive introductory quotes on the subjects being discussed.

Part I: Twelve Basic American Principles:Author's Prefatory Note regarding the Principles
1. The Spiritual is Supreme
2. Fear of Government-over-Man
3. Unalienable Rights--From God
4. Man Organizes Governments to Be His Tools
5. Limited Government
6. Decentralized Government
7. Equal, By God's Gift, In Sight of God and Law
8. Life and the Pursuit of Happiness
9. Liberty--Against Government-over-Man
10. Private Property--Liberty's Support
11. Taxes--Limited to Safeguard Liberty
12. The Majority--Limited for Liberty

Part II: Some Aspects of the Traditional American PhilosophyAuthor's Preliminary Comment
The Traditional American Philosophy--A Definite, Unique, American Philosophy of Government Does Exist--Composed of a Set of Specific, Fundamental, Traditional Principles
The Two Revolutions of 1776--for Individual Liberty and for Independence
Evolution a Main Part of the Revolution
Uniqueness of the Twin Revolution
Magna Carta's King-granted Rights
Understanding the American Heritage
Comments About A Few of the Sources Consulted Regarding Definition of the American Principles
"The Federalist"--A Rich Source of Sound Knowledge
An Important Distinction: Democracy versus Republic
The Planning in 1776-1788--That the New Government Be a Republic
The Federated System of Republics in America
Representative Government--a Chief Characteristic of a Republic
Limited Government in Relation to the "Bill of Rights" (or Prohibitions)
Limited Government In Relation to Some Fields of Power Prohibited to the Federal Government Limited Government in Relation to The Constitution's Treaty Clause
Limited Government in Relation to the Role of the Supreme Court
Limited Government under the Constitution in Relation to Religious Considerations Which the Declaration of Independence Makes Express
Limited Government and Individual Enterprise and the Profit Motive--Soundness Ethically, Morally, Socially and Otherwise
Concluding Comment as to Background Material

Part III: All Honor to the Founders
Respect Due The Founders
Refutation of the Charge That The Framers Perpetrated a Coup d'etat
The Founders' Concept of "Property"--Embracing All Rights--Not Merely Things Material
The Just Heritage of Posterity Always Uppermost in The Founders' Minds
Samuel Adams' Warning
A 1765 Call to Action--"Educate Young and Old: For Liberty"--As Timely Today as When Originally Made