Friday, September 30, 2005

Ben Harper Tells Some Truth

Hey it works. My first multi-media post. Enjoy the video, read some of the posts, check out my links, and please leave a comment or email to a friend with the icons at the bottom of each post. If no one else has told you today, I LOVE YOU.

Peace, Alan

Music Video Codes by

Thursday, September 29, 2005

This is How I Feel Sometimes. Posted by Picasa

If only instructions accomplished what they say.

I've had a night of following instructions only to have them not work. Three different instances. I won't bore you with the details of all. I'm trying to get music and video on this site. I cut the code, pasted it into my site (two different ways). I get the viewer but nothing plays. I sent a help me mail to customer service so maybe tomorrow I will have multi-media here.

I give up. Now I'm trying to upload a picture into this post and it won't do it. I keep getting an error, after acting like it did it and not doing it. I will upload a little humor in the separate pic above.

I love you all. Don't forget to express the love you have.

Peace, Alan

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Def Jam Poet Suheir Hammad Posted by Picasa

Wage Peace not War

I sit with a heavy heart, having just watched Mondays broadcast of Democracy Now. The bulk of the show were excerpts of a cross-section of speakers from Sundays, "Bring the Troops Home" rally in Washington D.C. This was the largest anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. since the Viet Nam war. I cry because the same speeches were being given, only with different names, as were given at the Viet Nam protests that I attended. I cry because people talk as if getting rid of George Bush would solve some problem. The problem is not George Bush. The problem is in each and every one of us. The problem is not being willing to make the sacrifices necessary to foster fundamental political, social, cultural and spiritual change. We in the United States of America are addicted to privilege. We enjoy economic privilege that is available to us as a result of the Imperialist foreign policy that our government has fostered since the first American Indians were driven from their lands and there communities and culture destroyed through our policies of genocide. Our countries history is littered with invasions and covert actions to gain control of sovereign nations to allow multinational corporations to exploit resources and peoples, and as a result to grow more powerful than any nation. We are no longer a nation governed by the people, but a colony to the ruling multi-nationals and there henchmen in the dominate political parties in so called developed countries.

I cry because as a matter of policy and selfishness we turn our backs on the needs of the helpless; the elderly, children, unemployed, disabled and mentally ill. I cry because the recent reports show that the richest individuals in this country just had record increase in their wealth in the last year while over 1900 young U.S. men and women have died in Iraq, most of them from families that did not have the means to provide them with a viable alternative than to serve in the military, with the hope of getting an education and bettering themselves. They grow richer while unemployment increase, while wages decrease, while benefits are cut, while the quality of education declines, while the quality of health care declines, while our environment reels from the excesses. I cry because the people our soldiers kill are their brothers and sisters, caught in the same web of disenfranchisement from the same forces, wearing different clothes and speaking a different language. I scream, because I feel so helpless. I wail because I have been so selfish. I pray to God for guidance to do the right thing. I pray to see how to do my small part to wage peace.

I share this poem that an amazing young woman shared at the rally. You can see her speak it by clicking on the highlighted link. You can go to by clicking this or the link in the right hand column.

Peace, Alan

Suheir Hammad read her poem “Of Refuge and Language” at the pre-march rally:

SUHEIR HAMMAD: I wrote this poem after Hurricane Katrina and the victims of the rescue effort. The rescue effort victims of Hurricane Katrina were viewed on television for all of us, and they were called "refugees." This is a poem for all of the refugees in the world.

"Of Refuge and Language"

I do not wish
To place words in living mouths
Or bury the dead dishonorably

I am not deaf to cries escaping shelters
That citizens are not refugees
Refugees are not Americans

I will not use language
One way or another
To accommodate my comfort

I will not look away

All I know is this

No peoples ever choose to claim status of dispossessed
No peoples want pity above compassion
No enslaved peoples ever called themselves slaves

What do we pledge allegiance to?
A government that leaves its old
To die of thirst surrounded by water
Is a foreign government

People who are streaming
Illiterate into paperwork
Have long ago been abandoned

I think of coded language
And all that words carry on their backs

I think of how it is always the poor
Who are tagged and boxed with labels
Not of their own choosing

I think of my grandparents
And how some called them refugees
Others called them non-existent
They called themselves landless
Which means homeless

Before the hurricane
No tents were prepared for the fleeing
Because Americans do not live in tents
Tents are for Haiti for Bosnia for Rwanda

Refugees are the rest of the world

Those left to defend their human decency
Against conditions the rich keep their animals from
Those who have too many children
Those who always have open hands and empty bellies
Those whose numbers are massive
Those who seek refuge
From nature’s currents and man’s resources

Those who are forgotten in the mean times

Those who remember

Ahmad from Guinea makes my falafel sandwich and says
So this is your country

Yes Amadou this my country
And these my people

Evacuated as if criminal
Rescued by neighbors
Shot by soldiers

Adamant they belong

The rest of the world can now see
What I have seen

Do not look away

The rest of the world lives here too
In America

Saturday, September 24, 2005

What's so Funny 'bout Peace, Love and Understanding

The title of this post is one of my favorite Elvis Costello songs. The following is a response I sent to a dear friend of mine, who I grew up with, after he emailed me with info about his baby grandson's upcoming series of surgeries. I didn't intend to go in to all this, but I did and decided to share it with you:

Hello James,

Christopher will be in my thoughts and prayers. I'm sure that through the anxiety and pain, he is giving his family the gift of experiencing life in perspective. Giving the realization that all is transient and all we have is the moment. The moment is so minuscule in relation to all but contains everything. The opportunity to experience Love in it's living truth is there for you and your loved ones. It's so powerful when it is a baby that carries the message because they are so pure and recently arrived from the spiritual world. At the same time we see an incarnate being so dependent on others for his survival, we can see the immortality of that being making this brief (whether it be a day or 100 years) visit called a lifetime. We each incarnate with a job to do, a destiny developed out of karma and the will of the Spirit. That purpose is much more profound and esoteric than most of us can begin to see in any detail or completeness. But, I know it is real. I know that my fears come from a belief that I have something to lose. That is a belief that this culture hammers into us from birth until we are buried. We have nothing to lose. It is all a gift from something much bigger than us.

I'm not trying to preach, but trying to share with you, in my own feeble way, some perspective. That goofy foursome "The Beatles" said it much more simply: "Love is all we need". The challenge is to discover what Love is.

Later today hundreds of thousands will be marching to end the War in Iraq. I will probably be at the demonstrations here in Sacramento, Gas costs too much to go to San Francisco. Ending the War won't solve much, as we learned with Viet Nam. Fundamental, radical change must take place on a global scale. That begins within. Discovering how to live a life of Peace. If we can't live at peace with ourselves, our gods and our relationships, how can we promote peace on a global scale. George Bush is only an extreme manifestation of an elite of society, that has the privilege of acting out their ambitions and compulsion to control, that lives within each of us. There may be a few incarnate that have transcended that, but if there are it's very few. At the same time I think it is imperative that we speak out and take action to stop the terrorism that is spread through our capitalist, one party-with two faces government. Iraq is not unique, but the continuing philosophy acted out on a larger scale than all of our continuous interventions and attempts to control the people and resources of the planet.

Enough. I didn't plan all that but it came out because of the love, compassion and sacrifice that was expressed in your letters, and my special love of babies and children.

Peace, Alan

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I'm Lost (a free form poem)

I don't know what I'm doing with my life. I'm trying to transcend my compulsions, I'm trying to follow higher spiritual guidance and direction. I'm trying to open up and be genuine and present. I'm trying to connect with people and the world.

Last night I found myself back at that place of wondering what I am doing and why. I felt all alone. I thought of calling one of the three people that I know and trust would understand why I was calling them and why. I was feeling helpless and leaning towards hopeless.

Instead, I prayed and asked for direction. I asked to be given clear evidence that God is working in my life and guiding me. I was in a state of doubt. Doubting the reality of my spiritual experiences. I was wondering if they were true or delusions. The mind is powerful. How do I discern between reality and delusion? The easy way out for "normal" people seems to be to not question, do what is the "normal" thing to do, live life within the accepted, status quo boundaries, and enjoy some sense of entranced peace. That is impossible for me. I have a compulsive drive for truth and enlightenment that doesn't give me peace. At the same time I have been a lazy, self seeking, pleasure driven being. These two drives obviously are in conflict and create turmoil and pain. Pain for myself and those who love me. I envy the person who is driven toward enlightenment and disciplines himself and accepts the sacrifices, and steadily progresses. I am not that way. I am an alcoholic. I am compelled to seek the easier softer way. My most successful means of motivation is pain and despair. I can't imagine anyone knowing that and wanting to live too close to me. There might be a masochist somewhere who would be drawn to that. Or better yet, maybe there is someone spiritually evolved to the point that they can love me and be close to me without being drawn into my chaos.

I just know that I don't know where I am going, but I do know that I am making progress. I know that I am lonely, but developing a relationship with myself and with God that is true and at the core of my purpose. I pray for the patience and strength to stay on the path and to be able to be of service to those who suffer.

Peace, Alan

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

We Have Met the Enemy and it is Us

This article from Monday's Democracy Now broadcast is frightening:

Monday, September 12th, 2005Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New OrleansListen to Segment Download Show mp3 Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript Help Printer-friendly version Email to a friend Purchase Video/CD
In addition to the thousands of military troops patrolling the streets of New Orleans, there are also scores of private soldiers that are now spreading out across the city, like those from the Blackwater Security firm. Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill reports. [includes rush transcript]
Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! producer and correspondent. - Read: "Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans"
This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution. Donate - $25, $50, $100, more...

AMY GOODMAN: Meanwhile, in New Orleans it is a militarized zone. When we came into the French Quarter on Saturday, we met some, well, interesting people.

AMY GOODMAN: Did you just get here?

BLACKWATER MERCENARY 1: We have been here a couple days.

AMY GOODMAN: Yeah? Who are you working for?


AMY GOODMAN: And who are they working for?

BLACKWATER MERCENARY 1: Really don't -- don't have any way to tell you that. You know, we just do our assignments, and we go from there.

AMY GOODMAN: What's your assignment today?

BLACKWATER MERCENARY 1: I'm not at liberty to discuss. I'm sorry.

AMY GOODMAN: Have any of your guys just come back from Iraq, by any chance?


AMY GOODMAN: Have you?

BLACKWATER MERCENARY 2: Last year. Who are you guys with?

AMY GOODMAN: Blackwater. Today we're going to talk about that with Democracy Now! correspondent, Jeremy Scahill. We have been traveling through New Orleans together. Jeremy, you wrote a piece this weekend called “Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans.”

JEREMY SCAHILL: That's right, Amy. And the Blackwater mercenaries became very well known internationally a few years back when four of their men were killed in Fallujah, Iraq. Two of them had their bodied burned and then hung from a bridge. And that resulted in the massive retaliatory onslaught against Fallujah that resulted in tens of thousands of people having to flee the city and scores of people being killed, and now Fallujah has become an international symbol of resistance, and that goes back to those killings of the four Blackwater workers.
Well, as I was walking with Daniela Crespo through the streets of the French Quarter, we were talking to two New York City police officers when an unmarked vehicle pulled up, and there were three heavily armed men inside dressed in khaki outfits, and they asked the New York police officers, “Do you know where the Blackwaters guys are?” And my ears immediately perked up, because, of course, having covered Iraq for a long time, I know well who the Blackwater mercenaries are. And the New York police officer said, “Well, they're down the street that way. There are lots of them around here.” And then I said to the New York police officer, “Blackwater? You mean, like the guys in Iraq?” And he said, “Yeah. They're all over the place.”
And so, we tracked them down, found them down the street, and just approached the Blackwater mercenaries and began talking to them. Two of the guys that we talked to had served on the personal security details of L. Paul Bremer, the American pro-counsel in Iraq originally, the head of the occupation, as well as the U.S. ambassador -- former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte. One of the guys had just gotten back from Iraq two weeks ago. These are some of the most highly trained killers, professional killers in the world. And they had served in Iraq in a number of cities and in a number of capacities.
And one of them was wearing a golden badge, that identified itself as being Louisiana law enforcement, and in fact, one of the Blackwater mercenaries told us that he had been deputized by the governor of Louisiana, and what's interesting is that the federal government and the Department of Homeland Security have denied that they have hired any private security firms, saying that they have enough with government forces. Well, these Blackwater men that we spoke to said that they are actually on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and indeed with the governor of Louisiana. And they said that they're sleeping in camps organized by the Department of Homeland Security.
One of the Blackwater guys said that when he heard New Orleans, he asked, “What country is that in?” And he was bragging to me about how he drives around Iraq in what he called a State Department issued level five explosion-proof BMW. This, as U.S. soldiers don't even have proper armor on their Humvees and other vehicles. And so, we also overheard one of the Blackwater guys talking to, we presume, a colleague, complaining that he was only being paid $350 a day plus his per diem, and that other firms were paying much more. And we're seeing many of these Blackwater mercenaries and other private security agents roaming the streets of New Orleans.
And what's significant is that the way it's being reported and the way the company is presenting it is that they are here to help with the hurricane relief efforts, but they told us clearly that they are engaged in quote, “stopping criminals” and that they're actually patrolling the streets. In fact, we saw them take over a building on Bourbon Street when we were walking around with them. And now they have set up shop there on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. So this is very, very disturbing, I think, for anyone who knows the record of Blackwater. Of course, they do not ask questions first. They shoot first, and that is their reputation in Iraq. And so, Americans should be asking right now what these kinds of trained killers are doing on the streets of New Orleans, apparently on contract from the Department of Homeland Security.

AMY GOODMAN: And Jeremy, as we went around, saw other figures, we didn't know who they worked for, like those in front of Hibernia Bank, as we were driving by and John Hamilton was filming. They flagged down our car. They said, “Stop the filming.” And we said, “Why?” And they said, “We just said ‘stop the filming.’” They said, “These are our streets,” and made clear next to their sports shirt, you could see clearly that they were carrying guns.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Yes, that's right. And they also alleged that they had been deputized. And another key point is that these Blackwater guys said that they were given the authority to use lethal force, as well as the power to make arrests. And when we asked them about this use of them in the United States, they said that they believe that we're going to see a lot more of this and that this is a trend. So, I think that this is a very, very disturbing development that we are seeing here on the streets of New Orleans, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, if you want to read “Overkill” by Jeremy Scahill and Daniela Crespo, go to our website at

To purchase an audio or video copy of this entire program, click here for our new online ordering or call 1 (888) 999-3877.

The Exception to the Rulers
SIGNED EDITIONSHardcover/PaperbackSpanishItalian
Read book excerpt on ”Hiroshima Cover-up“
Watch video of the NYC book tour launch

Amy Goodman's Speaking Events:9/13: New York, NY9/14: New York, NY9/16: Huntsville, AL9/17: Birmingham, ALMore...

Baltimore Sun: Hiroshima Cover-up

TODAY'S STORIES Headlines for September 12 Los Titulares de Hoy: Democracy Now!'s daily news summary translated into Spanish New Orleans Activist Points to Neglected Corpse as U.S. Military Passes Off Blame New Orleans Resident Discusses Race and Looting at Circle K New Orleans "Holdout" Compares U.S. Military Evacuating Residents to Nazi Germany New Orleans Resident Outlines the Seven Betrayals by Government and Rescue Operations New Orleans Evacuee Compares Louisiana Shelter to Jail Overkill: Feared Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans NY Firefighter in New Orleans : "This Is Much Worse, This Dwarfs 9/11"

Monday, September 12, 2005

Baltimore Sun editorial demands Bush resignation

Bush Locks Keys in the Truck.

I was amazed and encouraged to see this editorial in the Baltimore Sun. In one fell swoop, the emperor's clothes have been blown off. Can the populace be rallied to make fundamental changes in the way we are governed?

Follow this link to read the article:,1,1222575.story?ctrack=1&cset=true .

Peace, Alan

By the way, the Pentagon has drafted a recommendation that preemptive nuclear strikes be approved in the case of threats of attacks with weapons of mass destruction. If that policy would have been in place we wouldn't be having all these problems in Iraq. We would have nuked them, no one would know that there were no WMDs because all evidence would have been obliterated, we wouldn't be spending all this money and lives there, turning public support away from the rulers, and we could send in robots to pump out the oil and gas prices would still be below $2.00 and everyone would live happily ever after.

Find your love and share it please,


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Capitalist Hogs at the Trough

This is only the tip of the iceberg but as in Iraq, Bush/Cheney's buddies are going to get filthy rich from the disaster from Hurricane Katrina. Here is an interview from explaining how Fema, run by Bus/Cheney's unqualified friends has listed only three charities as recommended charities:

Soon after Hurricane Katrina crashed onto the Gulf Coast, the Federal Emergency Management Agency promoted a list of charities on its website that were accepting donations for hurricane relief. Dozens of media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN and the Associated Press, duly reprinted FEMA's list. The top three charities listed were: the Red Cross, Operation Second Harvest and Operation Blessing, which was founded by Christian televangelist Pat Robertson. At a news conference Thursday, FEMA chief Michael Brown was questioned about the issue.
In the New York Daily News, Juan Gonzalez provides some background for Pat Robertson and Operations Blessing.
Max Blumenthal, a regular contributor to the Nation magazine. His latest article is called "Pat Robertson's Katrina Cash."
This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution. Donate - $25, $50, $100, more...
AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to an issue, Juan, that you've been covering in the New York Daily News, and that is the issue of who gets their charities on the web pages of the government websites.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes. Well, soon after Hurricane Katrina crashed onto the Gulf Coast, the Federal Emergency Management Agency promoted a list of charities on its website that were accepting donations for hurricane relief. Dozens of media outlets, including the New York Times, CNN and the Associated Press, duly reprinted FEMA's list, as did many local governments, state and local governments. The top three charities listed were the Red Cross, Operation Blessing, and Operation Second Harvest, which, Operation Blessing was founded by Christian televangelist Pat Robertson. At a news conference Thursday, FEMA Chief, Michael Brown, was questioned about this issue.
REPORTER: FEMA has three charities listed on the press release they sent out. One of them is Operation Blessing. Can you tell me why that charity is on the list and who put it there?
MICHAEL BROWN: I'm sure the staff did, and it's there because theyÂ’ve offered to help and are doing good work.
REPORTER: Operation Blessing is a Pat Robertson organization. Should that be on there?
MICHAEL BROWN: If they're willing to work, if they're willing to help, we're not turning help away, we're not turning away help from anybody.
AMY GOODMAN: In the New York Daily News, Juan Gonzalez provides some background for Pat Robertson and Operation Blessing. We're also joined on the phone by Max Blumenthal, a regular contributor to The Nation magazine. His latest article is called "Pat Robertson's Katrina Cash." We welcome Max. Juan, why don't you start. Very interesting piece that you wrote, "Disaster Used as Political Payoff."
JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, Amy. Well, the reality is that Operation Second Blessing has been part of the Robertson empire now for many years. He is the chairman of the board himself. His wife is a vice president. One of his sons is a member of the board of directors. So, it's wholly a non-profit foundation that is controlled by Robertson.
Interestingly enough, when I checked their latest 990 for the fiscal year ending of March of 2004, they give hundreds of grants for a few thousand dollars to churches all around the United States, but the single largest recipient of assistance from Second Blessing is Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. It received $885,000 in grants from the charity. For what purposes, I'm not quite clear.
But the other part of it is also that Second Blessing has had a less than stellar record. Back in the mid-1990s during the Rwandan genocide, Robertson appealed for assistance for Operation Second Blessing on his 700 Club for money to fly relief supplies to the Rwandan refugees in Zaire. What he -- it turns out that an investigation later by the Virginia Attorney General's office revealed that the planes that were bought by the charity were actually ferrying mining equipment for a diamond mining operation, the African Development Corporation, and low-and-behold, who is the principal shareholder of this private corporation? None other than Pat Robertson himself. So, he eventually had to reimburse his own charity $400,000 for the fact that these planes were being used, not for charitable work, but for his own enrichment. Although that might itself -- ended up collapsing.
So Robertson's use of this charity has had problems in the past, and the fact that the federal government listed it among the top three charities before the Catholic charities, before the United Jewish Appeal, before AmeriCares, before all kinds of other charities that have been in existence for decades and decades is quite unusual.
AMY GOODMAN: And let's not forget, this comes right after Pat Robertson says on his 700 Club program, broadcast all over this country, said that, essentially that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should be assassinated. This comes a week or two after that. Max Blumenthal, can you continue along the lines that Juan Gonzalez is talking about, your research into Pat Robertson?
MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, with respect to the case that Juan was talking about, which was in 1994 when Robertson bilked Operation Blessing donors out of money to ferry mining equipment into Zaire, which was a direct partnership with Mobutu Sese Seko, he was actually -- this scheme was actually exposed by a reporter from a small paper in Virginia, and Virginia’s Office of Consumer Affairs initiated an investigation and determined that Robertson “willfully induced contributions from the public through the use of misleading statements and other implications.” That's a direct quote.
So, they determined that he bilked his donors, and the Attorney General at the time, a guy named Mark Earley, agreed, but he overruled the Office of Consumer Affair's recommendation for Robertson's criminal prosecution. This might have put Robertson in jail and ended the whole -- ended his entire ministry. So, who is Mark Earley? Mark Earley, during his campaign for Attorney General, was essentially bought off by Pat Robertson. Pat Robertson donated $35,000 to his campaign. That was his largest contribution. Now, today Mark Earley is the head of Prison Fellowship Ministries. He was appointed by former Richard Nixon dirty trickster, Chuck Colson, and Prison Fellowship Ministries is very similar to Operation Blessing. They're a faith-based social work group that has accepted White House Office of Faith-Based Initiative money to do social work, and they're actually supposedly doing some relief work in Louisiana.
So, I think this reflects, you know, sort of the, you know, the larger hustle going on, which is, you know, being propagated by the White House. In 2001, Joe Allbaugh, who is a former member of Bush's Iron Triangle, you know, with Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, his Texas team, was appointed head of FEMA and he said -- you know, he said before Congress that FEMA was a giant bureaucratic entitlement program and that it should basically be whittled down, and its work should be delegated to faith-based organizations. So we are seeing that being implemented through his successor, Mike Brown, who is his former college roommate and was appointed FEMA head solely because he was Joe Allbaugh's former college roommate.
So we're seeing groups like -- I mean there are only two secular groups on FEMA's list, and currently, I think there's scores of secular groups doing relief work. Pat Robertson's group, Operation Blessing, is not doing relief work in Louisiana. They -- you know, I turned on the 700 Club, which is Pat Robertson's daily TV show where he called for Hugo Chavez's assassination, to get a sense of the kind of work they were doing, and what I saw were profiles of white evangelicals who had suffered as a result of Hurricane Katrina. And undoubtedly, a lot of white evangelicals in the Gulf Coast of Mississippi have suffered, but when it came to covering the plight of people in New Orleans who are largely poor and largely black, I have never -- I haven't witnessed any coverage of this disaster that's so racist as I saw on the 700 Club.
On the September 5th edition of the 700 Club, there was a report from a guy named Gary Lane, a CBN [Christian Broadcasting Network] correspondent from outside the New Orleans Convention Center, which is where, you know, thousands of, you know, impoverished disaster victims were held without food and water for some days in some cases. And Lane declared a number of possessions left behind suggests the mindset of some of the evacuees. They include this voodoo cup with the saying, “May the curse be with you,” and then a picture of a voodoo cup from like a souvenir shop in New Orleans came on the screen. Then he -- you know, he started showing piles of music CDs. It reminded me of, you know, when the U.S. invaded Panama and opened up Manuel Noriega's desk and found, you know, porno magazines. It was almost like a psy-ops operation to discredit the evacuees as people not worthy of aid.
And the 700 Club also featured a reverend named Wellington Boone, whoÂ’s a far right wing black minister, who seemed like he was invited to provide a counterpoint to Jesse Jackson, who had been all over the news. And Boone declared in an interview on CBN's website, separate from his 700 Club appearance, that these people who have gone through slavery, segregation and the Voting Rights Act are doing this to themselves. So what I saw in Pat Robertson's operation was an intentional attempt to demonize the people who had been victimized by Hurricane Katrina and by the response of the government, in order to justify whatever his operation was doing on the ground, which seemed to be directed at helping only a certain subset of the hurricane victims which were in his ministry's network, as it were. And when I say network, I mean within the network of the churches who he is distributing cash grants to.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, if I can -- just to get back to -- also, I think in the coming weeks and months, we're going to have to be very vigilant on the number of groups and organizations that attempt now to feast on the federal aid that will be going into this area, and Robertson clearly seems to be one of them, because remember, he also was involved in Liberia where he was a backer, on the 700 Club, of Charles Taylor, the former thug and dictator, who was later indicted by the United Nations for war crimes. And he was backing Taylor on his 700 Club, visited there several times and at the same time was investing in a gold mine in a franchise that had been given to him by Charles Taylor. So, you have this situation with Pat Robertson actually directly personally profiting from investments in Africa, while at the same time trying to get charity money here and then ignoring the black communities here in the United States.
MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, Charles Taylor had a 10% stake in Robertson's company. I mean, they were literally business partners.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes. But I also wrote this week just briefly about the oil companies, too. Because the Shell Oil Company on September 1 posted on their website a warning against price gouging, gasoline price gouging, to the American Public, and urged Americans to report to their local governments any price gouging. On the same day that Shell posted that announcement on its website, it raised the price of -- wholesale price of gasoline to all its dealers in New York by 20 cents a gallon and has increased the price of -- the wholesale price of its gasoline six times in the last ten days, even though only one of its refineries down there, of the three it has in the Gulf Coast area, is even temporarily down, and of course, all of the oil that they are now charging these extra price for was refined way before the hurricane even occurred. So, you have the oil companies also now feasting on this tragedy, and we're going to be having to watch more and more of these hypocrites who say one thing to the public, but then end up doing another thing in reality.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank Max Blumenthal for joining us, regular contributor to The Nation, author of the recent article, "Pat Robertson's Katrina Cash." And Juan, thanks for investigating this. His piece, Juan's piece, appears in the New York Daily News, "Disaster Used As Political Payoff."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

View of Columbia River From my Trip Posted by Picasa

First Amendment Hit by Hurricane

Here is a report from today's democracy now at

Federal Government Attempts to Block Press Access To New Orleans

"In New Orleans the federal government is being accused of trying to censor the images coming out of the devastated city. The Reuters news agency is reporting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is now rejecting requests by journalists to accompany rescue boats searching for storm victims. In addition journalists are being asked not to photograph any dead bodies in the region. Critics of FEMA's request compared the policy to the Pentagon's policy that bars reporters from taking photographs of the caskets of soldiers killed in Iraq. NBC News Anchor Brian Williams is reporting that police officers have been seen aiming their weapons at members of the media. And a blogger named Bob Brigham has written a widely read dispatch that the National Guard in Jefferson County are under orders to turn all journalists away. Brigham writes QUIOTE "Bush is now censoring all reporting from New Orleans Louisiana. The First Amendment sank with the city." "

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Roll On Columbia Roll On

I am using a friends computer in Hood River, Oregon. I just typed out this entry, hit spell check and lost everything I had typed. I have been here at the confluents of the Hood River and the Columbia River, visiting my friends Randee and Dave. We hiked today through the woods to a beautiful waterfall, the Falls Creek Falls. I hope to post some pictures but haven't been able to transfer my photos from my camera to Dave's computer. I will try to post some tomorrow.

My prayers go out to all those who have suffered as a result of the hurricane. I am surprised we are not invading the Vatican, to stop God in his tracks, to avert further attacks on our country and our lifestyle. After all, who wants to take the time to seek true solutions to the root of our problems, when we can attack phantoms and carry the delusion of freedom and democracy to the oppressed.

I happened across a video on cable today with the Dalai Lama in the US last year, sharing a stage with Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton (what is he doing in discussions of national and international politics anyway?) and a woman who started an organization in Washington D.C. to try to reduce the threat of nuclear contamination. I only caught the tail end, but was impressed by the Dalai Lama's insight into the childlike nature of Americans. He noted that we clap and cheer when we hear things we like, but that we don't think, what that really means and how can I manifest my part in that.

More later.

Peace, Alan