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11-8-03: The dark matter clump barrier to galactic exploration: Is this why the galaxy hasn't already been colonized?

Ever watch zillions of dust motes floating lazily about in the air currents wafting through a sunbeam? A dark matter analog to this may be a showstopper for galactic exploration or colonization at anything near reasonable physical transport velocities-- at least via technologies currently within our ultimate (and plausible) theoretical reach.

I'd written earlier on-site that there's multiple research hints of big obstacles to high speed travel in deep space. Widespread and sizable clumps of dark matter floating about in deep space could be virtually undetectable prior to collision for several reasons, and yet pose disasterous results for any vessel impacting them.

'Widespread and sizable' may well be real characteristics of such clumps, as there's 25 times more dark matter than visible matter around. Indeed, vast spherical shells of the stuff ten times thicker than the radius of visible matter in galaxies may enclose most or all such bodies, and there could be veritable 'mini-galaxies' of the stuff in intergalactic space.

On the upside, the abundance of dark matter hopefully means that often some of the sparser visible matter has settled near to a dark matter clump by virtue of its gravitational pull, thereby helping reveal the possible presence of the mysterous mass. Unfortunately, the vast majority of blocks of dark matter don't have such neon signs advertising their location, according to the best models scientists possess at the moment.

The reference below is just the latest of several related to dark matter clumps in particular that I've come across.

11.05.2003 - Dark matter forms dense clumps in ghost universe By Robert Sanders, Media Relations | 05 November 2003; UC Berkeley

Two ways a physical entity might overcome this particular barrier include constantly projecting an energy beam of enormous destructive power ahead of its flight path, or having a 'drone' predecessor lead the way far enough ahead that if an impact occurs the real ship following can take evasive action.

But there's severe drawbacks to both these approaches. Just one is the huge increase in associated energy costs for either option used.

Hence, given the already prodigious costs involved in achieving sizable fractions of lightspeed, if dark matter distribution turns out to force us to spend still more huge sums to clear a path ahead of starships, that just might spell the effective end of galactic exploration ambitions via that particular means.

Such a barrier would dramatically raise the technological threshold to practical galactic exploration and colonization. Maybe prevent us from doing very much at all outside our own solar system for centuries to come-- if not millennia. Yes, nanotechnology could still allow us to send out lots of miniscule probes to nearby stars-- enough so that perhaps a few would avoid being destroyed by collisions before accomplishing their missions. But for anything more ambitious we might have to conquer spacetime at the Planck-scale. And doing that could take quite a while, even with the help of advanced artificial intelligences, and a much more rational, prosperous, and less self-destructive humanity than exists at present...

Combine this with the dangerous 600 year gauntlet for all technological civilizations proposed in The rise and fall of star faring civilizations in our own galaxy, and you get closer than ever to a plausible explanation for why the galaxy seems empty of intelligent life, and may always have been this way...

Newz&Viewz Contents

11-7-03: The trials and tribulations of an author wannabe

Well, perhaps this is too personal a revelation to post here, but I'm going to do it anyway.

I've been struggling to write a science fiction novel for more than ten years now. My future timeline on this web site is actually the result of background research initiated to support my novel project.

Alas, I encountered seemingly overwhelming obstacles in my quest to do the novel. The timeline, by comparison, has been a piece of cake.

First off, I'm apparently not a natural story teller like Stephen King and others. Secondly, my long term hermit status has resulted in a stunted ability to easily develop fictional relationships among a large cast of diverse characters, and especially good back and forth dialogue. And lots of dialogue is usually essential to a decent novel. AGH!

Like lots of other folks, my working vocabulary could use some expansion too.

Other problems include chronic time and money shortages.

On the brighter side, I do have a quite decent reference library in hard copy to support such an effort, as well as the internet for an incredible research medium. Too, I possess the wonderful spell checker present in the latest version(s) of MS Works on the PC.

A couple years back I came to the conclusion that the only way I'd be able to get my novel effort off the ground would be by entering into a collaborative effort with a better writer than myself. Make that not only a better writer, but an already established best-selling author as well, and marketing such a manuscript to publishers might be lots easier too.

But such an opportunity never came up. Or if it did, I didn't recognize it.

Now though, I question if that course would be viable either, due to my own personal idiosyncrasies.

In years past I did read some writer's guides and related articles to such matters, but none seemed to help much. They in general seemed more discouraging than encouraging.

Now I'm entertaining a new idea: Actively studying the writing of an existing and successful author that I admire, to learn how to become a novelist.

There's lots of authors whose work I wouldn't mind emulating. But it'd likely be best to pick just one. One with a large body of existing works, in order that I have plenty of study material. An author who's been very successful in global terms, so as to make my own potential financial success much more likely. An author who's novels are consistently technology and adventure oriented, as that's the central thrust I want for my own efforts. An author whose books appear readily accessible and highly entertaining to a wide swath of society, worldwide.

I realized in the past few days which author fits these criteria: Clive Cussler. He's a relatively recent favorite of mine, as I only read my first sample of his works perhaps a handful of years ago.

Since then, I've consistently found his books the best choice around for my own purposes of pure adventure and entertainment, with a bit of potential education thrown in. Few other authors can match Cussler for me today, when I'm trapped in a hospital waiting room, or at the airport, or on a train, etc. Or even for pure pleasure reading at home.

Before all this however, I avoided reading him for years. Why? The blurbs on his book covers seemed too sensationalistic for my tastes. His hero's name "Dirk Pitt" also sounded somewhat contrived. And in those days, I was more into science fiction tales which took place in exotic faraway locales both time and space-wise, and delved deep into cosmology, consciousness, or quantum physics. Cussler's tales pretty much stay firmly anchored to Earth, and either present-day or past scenarios. And seldom dive deeper into human consciousness than juggling the balance between immediate survival and the will mustered for same-- and the general interplay of benevolence and malevolence in the human psyche.

Though lots of folks may disagree with me, I also view Cussler's works as something like comic books for grown ups. That is, more purely entertainment and inspirational than educational or thought-provoking. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just that for most of my life I sought out what I considered more substantial works, in my book selections.

It turns out though that I may have misjudged Cussler's content. For after I finally read a book or two I found them to be more than I expected based on the cover blurbs alone.

But my comic book for grown ups appraisal still stands. I don't mean this as an insult: I LOVE comic books! In my youth I got altogether too attached to my own collection and forced myself to part with it for my own psychological and philosophical good. But should I ever get plenty of free time and sufficient money I'd likely rebuild my collection for reasons of nostalgia and pure enjoyment (as I believe I already accomplished what I set out to with the figurative divorce of decades back).

So what's so comic book-like about Cussler's works? Well, Cussler ranks up there with the very best authors in enabling reader visualization of events. So that aspect invokes the graphic nature of comics.

Cussler's writing is also very accessible: it's rarely hard work to read a passage from a Cussler novel. And it's rarely boring either. Cussler wastes remarkably few words for all the high adventure and stumping mysteries through which he transfixes his readers.

One of these days a mighty corporation will finally perfect an artificial intelligence program to write the optimum literary entertainment fiction possible for readers: and I'd bet its output will be strikingly similar to much of Cussler's writing style (at least if the feat is achieved soon enough that the target audience remains suitably similar to circa 2003 humanity).

This easy going but consistently interesting flow also resembles good comic-book content to me. By comparison, other authors I deeply admire like Vernor Vinge and David Brin can often make some pages hard slogs for their readers, even if they make up for it elsewhere.

And such inviting prose as Cussler's is especially important these days, as folks are increasingly stressed out and time short due to so many factors beyond their control.

So when I compare Cussler's books to comics, I mean it as the sincerest compliment. And hope to learn how to make my own writing work that well for readers.

Naturally, there's no way I can transform myself into a Clive Cussler 'clone'. I'd be amazed if I ever managed to achieve 10% of his writing success, and I see no way to write as entertainingly and engagingly as he. For Cussler has apparently accumulated a body of amazing life experiences which I likely couldn't hope to match even if I could start my whole life over again from scratch: so that supporting aspect of his writing skills will be forever beyond my acquisition. Cussler's amazing creativity in composing plausible and intriguing mysteries to be solved, and devising feasible means of escape or victory for his hero despite overwhelming odds are two other elements I doubt I can ever realistically compete with.

I also have very different story topics and lead characters in mind for my own efforts. But hopefully by studying Cussler's writing style and techniques, I'll be able to finally make a decent stab at bringing my own novel to realization.

What I'm hoping to do is read every one of his novels at least once, hopefully twice or even three times, over the next year or two. During the same period I'll try my hand once again at picking up my novel where I left off, as well as maybe writing some short stories, related or not, to post on my web site.

I already bought every Cussler book I could find at a used bookstore some months back. At that time I was just getting them to satisfy my desperate need for new reading material on airplanes or in waiting rooms of various sorts. But now I'm regarding them as much more.

So was there a particular book of Cussler's which led me to this new tack? Yes. I'm currently reading Shock Wave, copyright 1996. I'm only a third of the way through it, but it's fantastic. The first 30 pages alone would make a fine action-packed feature film all on their own (it's astonishing that none of Cussler's novels have yet been made into films). Prior to that, I spent much time in hospitals, attending to family, reading another of Cussler's books while I waited. A couple years before that, I read Dragon, copyright 1990, while laid up due to illness myself, and Cussler's take on the lost civilization of Atlantis another time in airports and hotels, while on the road (some of these books I no longer own and must buy again to complete my collection: hence my uncertainty on their titles).

As I'm now not only reading for pleasure but learning as well, I'm reading much more slowly than normal. For I need to learn how to handle dialogue and so much else from Cussler. At some point I'll likely have to take notes (AGH!), as the old noodle doesn't quite seem to absorb stuff like it used to.

Will this new project of mine work? The odds and resources on hand may be against it, but I plan on giving it my best shot. If nothing else, hopefully readers of my existing fiction on-site will benefit from my learning something from the man, and applying it to future revisions and expansions.

Newz&Viewz Contents

9-27-03: A personal milestone: Version 1.0 of this site has been achieved

Well, after maybe around 14 years of work, I finally feel that I have the basic outline of the web site I've always wanted to have online. Sure, it's by no means complete or finished, with TONS of future work and new features still highly desirable on the project. But today I feel like I've finally got 'version 1.0' of the site up and running.

One of the last pages to be 'laid' in the foundation was a heavily revamped revision of The immense risks and appalling costs to humanity of excessive military, intelligence, and security expenditures-- and how to reduce both.

Last night I had a dream related to all this, where I was talking to Sarah Michelle Gellar from Buffy the Vampire Slayer about the end of her TV series. As I was a great fan of the show, and thought the series finale wonderful in its fictional magical empowerment of girls everywhere plot point, I suppose my mind was somehow comparing the resolution of the TV series with my feelings about reaching version 1.0 of my site.

To me at least, this marks the end of one stage of my life and the beginning of another. To see the entirety of the site as it stands today, you can refer to the site map.

Newz&Viewz Contents

9-10-03: Abuse of new government powers could easily smear innocent dissenters and destroy the credibility of high profile opposition to those in power

I often come across surprising and even disturbing patterns or possibilities in the reports and articles I collect off the net. Below is one of the latest. I leave it to the readers to consider the implications this might have for anyone who opposes whatever administration rules Washington DC, either now or in the future (Republican, Democrat, or other).

Acquitted Man Says Virus Put Pornography on Computer

Trojan horse found responsible for child porn by Munir Kotadia; ZDNet UK; August 01, 2003

Could your computer be a criminal? By Bob Sullivan MSNBC; July 15, 2003

US court okays malware in hunt for Web paedos By John Leyden; 04/08/2003; theregister.co.uk

Porn-blocking software keeps some cops from doing their jobs

A White House Smear by David Corn; 07/16/2003; thenation.com

Whistleblower on Niger uranium claim accuses White House of launching 'dirty-tricks campaign' By Kim Sengupta 04 August 2003; news.independent.co.uk

"The government could indict a submarine sandwich if it wanted to"

-- defense lawyer David Griem

Defense lawyer builds legacy By Tony Manolatos / The Detroit News; May 15, 2003

Newz&Viewz Contents

9-2-03: Some relatively new pages and/or updates

The super-rich, the 'plain' rich, the 'poorest' rich...and everyone else Life at the top of the human food chain...Everything you might want to know about wealth and the richest among us. This page recently got a major overhaul and was re-titled.

To whom it may concern, part two...David vs. Goliath: How we might fend off or ultimately overcome technologically superior human invaders, conquerors, or dictators in decades to come, with minimal casualties and financial loss on all sides

Why I wrote 'David vs. Goliath' (To whom it may concern, part two)

Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite user's log

Compaq Presario 2170 Laptop user's log

Newz&Viewz Contents

9-2-03 UPDATE of original 8-16-03 item: A reader challenges my recent practice of supporting liberal or progressive ideas on my web site, as well as my general accountability

Below is my response to a recent reader email, which I considered worthwhile to post to Newz&Viewz. The reader seemed a bit distressed that I would take a pro-liberal political stance on some of my web pages (they didn't specify which one(s) out of the hundreds online). They apparently decided it was their duty to 'evangelize' me into the virtues of right-wing conservatism (or at least remove any obvious favoritism for liberal ideas from my pages), but were worried they might be unable to draw me into a debate, due to the caveats listed in IMPORTANT NOTE FROM J.R. REGARDING RESPONSES TO E-MAILS. So they wrote up a pretty good email in the hope to force a response. It worked (though they might be chagrined that I'd post it here). They pointed out my 'accountability' might be put in question if I utterly refused to respond to queries regarding politics-- which I guess I categorically do on the NOTE page, now that they point that out. But gosh, I spent SO MUCH TIME in the past in such debates, I can't often work up the enthusiasm to participate in those anymore, folks-- even if I can find the time required. They also questioned my independence of thought, saying my site content consisted of 'pre-packaged' logic or ideas, and wrote that my proposed solutions were flawed, already being implemented, and causing ever greater harm in the world. Don't get me wrong; they did say a few nice things about my site too, along the way. But the primary message was that I was unnecessarily 'tainting' my site with liberal political views-- and that such ideas (or their influence) are 'evil'. At least that's the gist of what I got from their message, and the word 'evil' was used three times. As usual, I don't post the content of the reader's email here, nor their address, in order to protect their privacy, and for certain legal reasons.


Thanks for the kind words you had for me. As for the others...

Sorry I disturbed you, but I'm just passing along the disturbance others gave me through various events of the last few years.

I can't know exactly which page(s) of mine to which you're referring (I have hundreds). But I believe the most prominent political page on my site today is The enormous costs to society of 'right-wing' political governance. You might check it out if you haven't already seen it.

As for the 'proposed solutions' on my pages that you say are harming and will harm folks so, I would like a little clarification, please. If you're speaking of things like purifying water on my reference page for third world poor, many basic reference books worldwide will back up those recommendations. If you're speaking of the recommendation in 'Civilization's Best Defenses' that women be given the vote and allowed to own property in more Moslem countries, and allowed and encouraged to take more leadership positions worldwide, I must point out all the supporting references provided there which indicate this would be a very good thing, for many reasons.

If the recommendation you take umbrage to is protecting and expanding the middle-class in America and worldwide...well...the best argument I know against making the 'divine right of kings' once again the law of the land (so that a few super wealthy folks are the masters of the rest of us) I present in my page The enormous costs to society of 'right-wing' political governance. Of course, it's probably impossible for me or anyone else to persuade you that the majority of us shouldn't be enslaved by a handful of despots, if that's an important element of your religious faith.

I was forced to warn folks I couldn't necessarily answer every email after I became overwhelmed with the stuff. Plus, lots of it is nowhere near as reasonable sounding as yours, and thus difficult (and perhaps inadvisable) to respond to anyway.

I felt it was only fair to warn folks I might not be able to respond after many instances occurred where I'd discover MONTHS had gone by wherein I'd never gotten the time to reply to some folks that I meant to, and ended up forgetting about them completely(!)

Plus, at times I take jobs far from home that effectively take me 'incommunicado' with regards to my normal internet and email access, and so don't even SEE the incoming email until my contract there is up and I return to HQ, perhaps many months later. You'd be surprised how many folks' email addresses change over a period of just months, thereby making it impossible for me to respond to them, as my eventual replies to them just get 'bounced back' over the net.

Some of my most enjoyable moments over past years have been in lengthy email debates with my readers over various issues. These debates have often taught me something new, and helped me create new content for my site, or otherwise improve it. But I have much less time available today to spend on that, plus with failing eyesight I also can spend less time on the computer in general.

Besides more frequently engaging in email discussions in the past, I used to program as well. I've had to give up programming entirely, due to time and vision constraints. So these are not artificial or arbitrary restrictions on my part. As you get older, you may encounter such limitations yourself (I hope not, of course, as I wouldn't wish them on anyone. But many younger folks gain a better understanding of older ones as they go through the same life trials).

You speak of accountability for me. But isn't it far more important for someone actually in a position of power and influence to be accountable, than an individual web site writer with no significant power or wealth at all? If I or my site dropped off the face of the Earth today-- or completely reversed some view previously published here-- comparatively few people would notice. So I'm surprised that you consider accountability for me to be a major issue. What about accountability for someone like President Bush, with his finger on the nuclear button and his power to take half a million troops to war on a whim? Someone whose words "Bring it on!" resonate worldwide as a call to arms for terrorists to come to Iraq to kill US troops? Even one of our own generals I believe said after that that Iraq has now become 'a magnet for terrorists' hoping to kill our soldiers.

"[when] someone like me makes mistakes you risk destroying nations. Remember, one man still has his finger on the button"

-- Robert McNamara, ex-US defence secretary

-- Warning to Bush from contrite cold war veteran by Fiachra Gibbons; May 23, 2003; The Guardian

-- 'Bring Them On,' Bush Says of Iraq Attacks; Reuters/ABC News; July 2, 2003

-- 'Bring Them On' by Matt Bivens; 07/02/2003; www.thenation.com

-- "Bring 'Em On?" by Stan Goff; July 3, 2003; www.counterpunch.org

""Bring 'em on," the man said. He is not a brave man, but he plays one on television"

-- Saving face, losing a war by Harley Sorensen; SF Gate; August 25, 2003

-- Iraq attacks linked to Bush taunts (July 5, 2003)

-- US troops in Iraq 'are terrorist magnet'; Agencies; July 28, 2003; The Guardian

-- Is The United States "A Terrorist Magnet"?By M. Shahid Alam; Iviews; 8/7/2003 - Political Social - Article Ref: IV0308-2057

-- 'another sign that surly, chaotic postwar Iraq is becoming a magnet for terrorists'

-- Magnet for Evil

We previously impeached presidents for lying about sex and lying about conspiring to break into an office of their political opposition (or planned to, anyway: in the latter case the president resigned first, I believe). But today there's no serious impeachment talk about a president who lied to take us to war.

Isn't something lacking in the accountability department there?

-- The U.S. Government Case for War in Iraq Based on Forgery and Lies by Ronda Hauben; 24.06.2003; Heise Zeitschriften Verlag GmbH & Co.KG

-- 'Why was Bill Clinton impeached for making love, while George Bush goes unpunished for making a war over fake weapons?'

-- The Bush administration's Top 40 Lies about war and terrorism By Steve Perry; City Pages Media, Inc.; 7/30/03

-- Whoppers of Mass Destruction By Dennis Cass; June 23, 2003; www.motherjones.com

-- We owe it to those who died in Iraq to demand accountability; Leonard Pitts; MIAMI HERALD; June 14, 2003

-- The War Built On A Lie by Harley Sorensen, SF Gate; June 16, 2003

-- White House 'lied about Saddam threat' by Julian Borger; July 10, 2003; The Guardian

OK. You want accountability from someone who has negligible responsibility for anything, compared to the president? I do the best I can to offer it up in whopping big servings, with tons of supporting references from multiple sources, for virtually everything I say on pages like The enormous costs to society of 'right-wing' political governance.

Who do you trust? I list sources from all over. I even have a reference or two from Fox News on that page, I believe. Businessweek's definitely there. Christian Science Monitor as well, as I recall. The US federal government's web site. Coming soon may be a reference link to Bush's own White House web site (I believe I have it in a rough draft of future content).

If you don't trust any of those, there's lots of other sources for you to examine.

You do realize, don't you, that part of accountability is properly identifying yourself when you communicate with someone? My name is listed prominently on at least 99% of my web site pages, AND at the bottom of my reply, yet you use an anonymous pseudonym in your email address, and don't include your name in your message either. That's OK with me-- except when someone accuses me of a lack of accountability. At the very least it's rude, don't you think?

But that's OK. We all make mistakes. And I much prefer the tiny ones to the astronomical ones, myself. After all, it's not like you used the national armed forces to invade Iraq based primarily on a personal grudge against its leader, as some said he tried to assassinate your famous father years before. It's also not like you failed to take action when your intelligence agencies warned you during one of your 2001 vacation(s) from the White House that terrorists were planning an imminent strike against famous US landmarks, possibly using air liners as missiles.

Despite repeated denials by President Bush and others in his Administration, evidence was mounting as of mid-2002 that the Bush Administration and/or the various security and intelligence agencies which report to it knew full well a major terrorist attack was imminent prior to 9-11-01, including many details as to how it might be executed, the identities and locations of many of the terrorists likely to participate in the attack (US agents had been closely tracking some of them for years), and what the most likely targets would be (including the World Trade Center and Pentagon). It even turned out the Administration already had the plans for invading Afghanistan in the works for weeks before the attack. They were writing up the infamous US Patriot Act before 9-11-01 as well. Keep in mind that particular legislation had to be rammed through a panicked and timid Congress relatively quickly in the aftermath of the attacks, else it likely would never have passed. Then there's the fact that Bush coincidentally was scheduled to be out of Washington during the attack, the anthrax used in the terror mailings apparently originated from US military stocks, and various White House staffers were put on antibiotics typically prescribed for anthrax on 9-11-01-- well before a single news report of the later anthrax mailings was ever made public.

-- Bush calls Saddam 'the guy who tried to kill my dad' - Sep. 27, 2002 From John King; CNN

-- President's zeal to oust Hussein may be personal

-- Bush planned Iraq 'regime change' before becoming President By Neil Mackay; Sunday Herald; 15 September 2002 (second link to this story)

-- High-Ranking Officials Admit 9-11 Could've Been Prevented by Russ Kick; 22 July 2003; www.thememoryhole.org/

-- Germany Warned CIA About Sept. 11 Terror Pilot, Stern Says; August 13, 2003 datestamp; quote.bloomberg.com

-- Britain warned US to expect September 11 al-Qaeda hijackings By Torcuil Crichton; Sunday Herald; 19 May 2002

-- German Intelligence Says US Knew in Advance About 9-11 by Russ Kick, 2002; www.thememoryhole.org

-- Meacher sparks fury over claims on September 11 and Iraq war by Ewen MacAskill; September 6, 2003; The Guardian

-- This War on Terrorism is Bogus The 9-11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination by Michael Meacher [originally posted September 6, 2003 by the Guardian/UK]

-- Unheeded Warnings

-- Bush 9-11 Scandal for Dummies by Bernard Weiner; June 1, 2002; www.counterpunch.org

-- Intelligence Warned Bush of Hijackings Before Sept. 11; ABC News, May 16, 2002; Terry Moran, Brian Ross and Lisa Sylvester contributors

-- Bush briefed on hijacking threat before September 11 - May 15, 2002 by John King, CNN

-- Bush dumb by choice By RICK SALUTIN; May 24, 2002; The Globe and Mail, Page A19

-- W's Mind Was on Vacation by Michael Daly; From: News and Views | Beyond the City | New York Daily News Online; May 19, 2002

-- The Terrorists Flew and Bush Knew By William Rivers Pitt; t r u t h o u t | 16 May, 2002

President Bush received a report on or around August 6 2001 that specifically mentioned bin Laden-related terrorists might attempt to seize US airliners for attacks on US soil.

A report created in 1999 for the National Intelligence Council specifically contradicts statements by the Bush Administration that US intelligence agencies never considered the possibility of airliners being used by bin Laden terrorists as suicide missiles. The report also specifically mentioned the Pentagon as a potential target.

-- Aug. Memo Focused On Attacks in U.S. (washingtonpost.com) By Bob Woodward and Dan Eggen; Mike Allen, Bill Miller, Dana Priest, and Walter Pincus contributors; May 18, 2002; Page A01

A 1999 Library of Congress report for the CIA offered many details about a possible terrorist attack similar to that of 9-11-01. A couple months before 9-11-01 there was some concern on the part of a FBI agent about the unusual number of Arabs taking flight lessons in the USA, and even the speculation that bin Laden might be linked to the events.

Attorney General John D. Ashcroft made sure to avoid flying on domestic commercial flights beginning in the summer of 2001 due to warnings from his FBI. Unfortunately virtually all other American citizens received no such warning.

Vice-President Cheney repeatedly asked Congress NOT to investigate the events of 9-11-01.

-- Five Questions Bush Must Answer By Richard S. Dunham; Edited by Douglas Harbrecht; MAY 20, 2002; WASHINGTON WATCH; Businessweek

-- Bush Seeks To Restrict Hill Probes Of Sept. 11 (washingtonpost.com) By Mike Allen; January 30, 2002; Page A04

Evidence is appearing that Bush has either made mistakes in his statements about the details of warnings he had of 9-11-01 prior to the event, or he has been deliberately misleading in same. Some of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice's statements regarding the events are also being contradicted by new documents coming to light.

-- Fresh September 11 revelations rock Bush by David Wastell; 19/05/2002; Telegraph Group Limited and What Went Wrong By Michael Hirsh and Michael Isikoff (Daniel Klaidman, Mark Hosenball, Eleanor Clift, John Barry, Colin Soloway, Tamara Lipper, Andy Murr, Jamie Reno, and Christopher Dickey contributors); NEWSWEEK/MSNBC, May 27, 2002

How did the US government allow the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01 to happen?

"There were, in fact, failures at every level that summer...[including]...the fixed strategic mind-set of the Bush administration"

During the transition between the outgoing Clinton and incoming Bush Administrations Clinton national-security adviser Sandy Berger tried mightly to impress upon the Bush Administration's Condoleezza Rice the importance of the terrorist threat, and the need to prepare for it, going so far as to tell her "You will be spending more time on this issue than on any other." Unfortunately, Rice and the rest of the Administration afterwards chose to focus on other issues instead, such as lobbying for a national missile defense system and criticizing Iraq.

Other items on the Administration's preferred agenda included Treasury Department Secretary O'Neill wanting to reduce government financial regulation and oversight over the types of money flows preferred by organized crime and terrorists, and Attorney General Ashcroft's desire to reduce anti-terrorism efforts in favor of stronger actions in the drug war and regulation of internet content. Secretary of Defense Rumsfield personally stopped $800 million from being diverted out of the missile defense system development and into counterterrorism efforts.

-- What Went Wrong By Michael Hirsh and Michael Isikoff (Daniel Klaidman, Mark Hosenball, Eleanor Clift, John Barry, Colin Soloway, Tamara Lipper, Andy Murr, Jamie Reno, and Christopher Dickey contributors); NEWSWEEK/MSNBC, May 27, 2002

-- White House defends reaction to pre-9/11 warnings; CNN; May 18, 2002

-- Bush Fiddled While New York Burned by Michael Colby; Counterpunch.org; May 17, 2002

"The administration has been cynically using its own failure to act on intelligence developed under then-existing laws to justify vastly increasing its own power at the expense of civil freedoms."

-- Patriot Act's supposed justification is gone by Peter Erlinder; May 22, 2002; Star Tribune

-- The USA PATRIOT Act Was Planned Before 9/11 by Jennifer Van Bergen t r u t h o u t | 20 May, 2002

It appears the US legislative process failed during the recent passage of the anti-terror bill. And the nation will probably regret this failure in the long term. Apparently Congress was too fearful of another terrorist strike to adequately perform their legal duties here. Much of the bill was passed without the members even having read it.

The new law throws the judicial system and its oversight out of the loop for many critical procedures, and makes historic changes in other government processes as well. The bill seems to be overzealous in its efforts to combat terrorism, and thereby possibly creates new and unnecessary dangers to society as a byproduct.

-- A Panicky Bill (washingtonpost.com); October 26, 2001; Page A34

The anthrax bacteria which bedeviled the USA on the heels of the 9-11-01 attacks apparently came or was derived from the USA's own original biological weapons stocks from the 1960s (the anthrax development program ended in 1969). The particular type used in the attacks is known as the Ames strain.

The main US stocks were destroyed after 1969, but samples were kept and distributed for various reasons.

-- Anthrax bacteria likely to be US military strain by Debora MacKenzie; 24 October 01; New Scientist; newscientist.com

The conservative organization Judicial Watch has filed a lawsuit against the Bush Administration alleging that some White House staffers began taking Cipro (a preferred antibiotic for anthrax) on 9-11-01, and so apparently had fore-knowledge of the anthrax attacks which came later.

White House spokesperson Gordon Johndroe admitted some staffers had in fact been given Cipro on 9-11-01, but denied the White House knew of the anthrax mailings to come in the days and weeks ahead.

-- White House Faces Disclosure Suit (washingtonpost.com); June 8, 2002; Page A11; Associated Press cited

-- Weenies or Moles? Did the FBI bungle the Moussaoui investigation--or worse? by PEGGY NOONAN; May 31, 2002; Opinion Journal

-- How the FBI Blew the Case; Time.com

-- CIA Gave FBI Warning On Hijacker (washingtonpost.com) By Walter Pincus and Dan Eggen; June 4, 2002; Page A01

-- FBI Warned of Sept. 11 Hijacker By John McWethy; ABC News; May 24, 2002

-- FBI HQ Accused of Quashing Pre-9-11 Probes by Pierre Thomas, Linda Douglass, Aditya Raval, A.B. Stoddard and Michael McAuliff; ABC News; May 28, 2002

-- Mueller: Clues Might Have Led To Sept. 11 Plot (washingtonpost.com) By Dan Eggen and Susan Schmidt; May 30, 2002; Page A01

-- FBI Flaws Alleged by Field Staff (washingtonpost.com) By Dan Eggen and Bill Miller; May 24, 2002; Page A01

-- FBI Memo's Details Raise New Questions (washingtonpost.com) By Dan Eggen and Bill Miller; May 19, 2002; Page A01

-- FBI Pigeonholed Agent's Request (washingtonpost.com) By Dan Eggen; May 22, 2002; Page A01

-- Tearful FBI Agent Apologizes To Sept. 11 Families and Victims -- 05-30-2002 By Jeff Johnson CNSNews.com; May 30, 2002

-- Bin Laden named in overlooked FBI memo by Oliver Burkeman; May 16, 2002; The Guardian

With evidence mounting of government mis-steps (or worse) in regards to the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01, FBI Director Robert Mueller has admitted there was sufficient information available to the US government to possibly have thwarted the attacks altogether.

-- Bush Proposes Cabinet Agency for Security; June 6, 2002; The Associated Press/ABCNews.com

Both President G.W. Bush and his father have had historical business relationships with the bin Laden family and other Saudi Arabian interests. FBI agents investigating some of the bin Laden family members in America for terrorist activities prior to 9-11-01 were ordered off the case by higher ups. The US State Department and CIA seemed to be frequently looking the other way as suspicious Saudi Arabian men traveled to and from the USA with impunity for years. Keep in mind G.W. Bush's father George Bush was CIA Director before he became President. [And the majority of 9-11-01 hijackers were of Saudi origin]

It seems that in the beginning these suspect Saudis were being brought into the US for terrorist training from the CIA, and then shipped out to Afghanistan to bedevil the occupying Soviet army.

The Carlyle Corporation has quickly become one of the USA's biggest defense contractors in recent years. Ex-president Bush is a paid advisor to the firm. Present President Bush previously served as a director of a Carlyle subsidiary. The Bin Laden family were part owners of Carlyle until 9-11-01, when that might have become a liability for the Bushes, at which time they withdrew from the company. As Carlyle is privately owned, it can be highly secretive in its dealings, compared to a public company.

-- Has someone been sitting on the FBI?; BBC News; found on or about 5-24-02

"What is happening in the United States took me by surprise....The United States has drawn a veil of silence over the issue of intelligence failure [in regards to the 9-11-01 terrorist attacks]"

-- Wesley Wark, expert in Canadian intelligence [Globe & Mail, 18 December 2001 cited]

Keep in mind the World Trade Center was bombed in an unsuccessful attempt to bring it down in 1993. The primary planner of the bombing later divulged to authorities alternative plans to pilot airliners into buildings like the CIA headquarters or Pentagon. A report was ordered by the Pentagon in 1993 on the subject of planes being used to attack American landmarks. In 1994 three actual attempts to strike buildings via commandeered planes (two involving airliners) were made, but foiled by various means. By 1995 the FAA and FBI both possessed information on ex-CIA operative bin Laden's plans to use hijacked airliners as weapons against civilian sites, with the World Trade Center mentioned specifically as one possibility in files seized in the Philippines.

Apparently the gist of the 9-11-01 attack plan was originally created by Ramzi Yousef, who was convicted in relation to the 1993 WTC attack on 9-11-96. Terrorists are known to have a fondness for anniversaries, and so the date 9-11 surely was marked on the calendars of some western intelligence agents as a date to watch for in raw intelligence intercepts, and take extra precautions about whenever it rolled by.

Note that as CIA HQ was frequently cited as a potential target by binÊLaden's group, it's logical to assume the CIA would have paid a bit more attention to those particular terrorists than to others with more obscure targets and motivations. And this would have encouraged spending more scrutiny on airliner flight schools.

The FBI began amassing evidence of terrorists training at flight schools in 1996. Suicide flights and the use of crop dusters were also considered by authorities in 1996.

This led to extraordinary security precautions being taken to protect the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta against biochemical agents delivered by crop dusters or hijacked planes being used to crash into athlete dorms or event stadiums. By contrast, virtually nothing was done prior to 9-11-01 to defend against such attacks-- although in August 2001 US intelligence agencies had at least as much in the way of terrorist warning signs as they did in 1996 (indeed, it could be argued they had much more reason to expect an attack was imminent in the summer of 2001 than 1996).

Credible warnings that bin Laden's hijacked airliners cum missile attacks on US soil (possibly against the WTC, Pentagon, or other landmarks) were imminent were received by Israeli and US intelligence six months and three months prior to 9-11-01. By some 60 days before the attack, the entirety of the US intelligence and security agencies were on full alert and expecting the threat of bin Laden's hijacked airliner suicide attacks on US landmarks to materialize within a matter of weeks.

Though warned of the risk in July 2001, an apparently corrupted FAA refused to take additional precautions with airliner flights. In August a flight school instructor notified the FBI of a suspected hijacker taking flight lessons at the school (it was Zacarias Moussaoui). He had to call them several times to get any reaction, and emphasize that a fully fueled 747 could be used as a flying bomb. Various elements of the FBI seemed unusually unwilling to get involved in the matter, or follow it up.

Unusual leniency seemed to be offered by the US INS to the hijacker leader (Mohamed Atta) as well, in his comings and goings over the US border, and his activities on US soil. The FBI was also tracking him as early as 2000. It was known that Atta had acquired materials suitable to make bombs, and possibly participated in an Israeli bombing. It's a mystery as to why Atta was not arrested, and thus the 9-11-01 attacks possibly stopped in their tracks. Similar stories can be told about other participants in the attacks. Nawaq Alhamzi and Khalid Al-Midhar, who later would be onboard the plane striking the Pentagon, were previous to 9-11-01 on a watch list and well known to both the FBI and CIA for various nefarious activities, but allowed none-the-less to come and go as they pleased.

U.S. attorney David Philip Schippers says that certain FBI agents knew months ahead of the attack details like the targets, likely dates attacks could occur, and the identities of the hijackers involved. But they were stopped by higher ups in the FBI from taking further action and even threatened with persecution if they made their information public. At that point the agents contacted Schippers for help, who then warned various members of Congress and the Senate, and tried to warn Attorney General Ashcroft a month before 9-11-01-- but Ashcroft never responded.

-- Did Bush Know Warning Signs of 9-11 and Intelligence Failures by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed - Media Monitors Network; found on or about 5-31-02

Some US military intelligence and FBI personnel say attempts to investigate certain people related to Osama bin Laden prior to 9-11-01 were stymied by higher ups.

-- FBI claims Bin Laden inquiry was frustrated by Greg Palast and David Pallister; Guardian; November 7, 2001

-- Bush took FBI agents off Laden family trail - The Times of India by RASHMEE Z AHMED; NOVEMBER 07, 2001

-- US agents told Back off bin Ladens - smh.com.au - World

-- FBI chiefs so lax agents felt they were spies - smh.com.au By Josh Meyer; May 28 2002

-- Agent blasts FBI over 11 September 'cover-up' by Edward Helmore; May 26, 2002; The Observer

-- Riddle of the Spores by George Monbiot; Counterpunch.org; May 21, 2002

-- Condi Lied - Pentagon Prepared for Civilian Airliner Crash in 2000; Democrats.com, citing Contingency planning Pentagon MASCAL exercise simulates scenarios in preparing for emergencies by Dennis Ryan; MDW News Service; Nov. 3, 2000; found on or about 5-24-02

-- For years, signs suggested 'that something was up'; Washington Times

-- White House given strategy two days before Sept. 11; MSNBC

-- NSA GOT 9-11 WARNING ON 9-10; New York Post

-- CIA admits foreknowledge of 9-11


-- Bush lied; UK Guardian

-- Moroccan secret agent 'predicted New York attack'; Times Online

-- S.F. attorney: Bush allowed 9-11 BY DAVID KIEFER; San Francisco Examiner; 06/11/2002

-- Timeline of Warnings to Feds of Possible Attacks; ABC News; May 16, 2002

-- Bush Aides Seek to Contain Furor (washingtonpost.com) By Dan Eggen and Dana Priest; May 17, 2002; Page A01

-- Before Sept. 11, Unshared Clues and Unshaped Policy (washingtonpost.com) By Barton Gellman; May 17, 2002; Page A01

-- Missed Warnings (washingtonpost.com); May 17, 2002; Page A28

-- Bush faces 11 September fallout by By Jonathan Marcus; BBC News; 17 May, 2002

-- Study Said Hijack - Suicides Possible; New York Times

-- Call for probe into warnings on al-Qaeda By Lydia Adetunji and Edward Alden; May 16 2002; FT.com

-- Bush aides defend handling of terrorist hijack warning; Chicago Tribune

The US and others were alerted in July 2001 that terrorists might crash airliners into the Genoa summit (which President Bush was to attend) in suicide attacks.

A terrorist suicide attack using an airliner was attempted in 1994 by Algerians hoping to explode a plane over the Eiffel Tower, and Philippine police in 1996 learned of an Al Qaeda plot to seize eleven US planes at once for crashing into CIA buildings in the vicinity of Washington DC.

-- Italy Tells of Threat at Genoa Summit; LA Times; September 27 2001

-- Clues Pointed to Changing Terrorist Tactics (washingtonpost.com) By Steve Fainaru; May 19, 2002; Page A09

-- Echelon Gave Authorities Warning Of Attacks; Newsbytes.com


-- Suicide scenario was nothing new; MSNBC

The conservative group Judicial Watch is suing the Bush Administration and its FBI for information regarding why the anthrax treatment Cipro was dispensed to the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney over 3 weeks prior to the first public news of the US anthrax-laden mail attacks.

-- When Conservatives Sue Conservatives by Harley Sorensen; June 17, 2002; SF Gate

"[In regards to the 9-11-01 terrorst attacks]...Bush protected himself and his friends. What he left uncovered was the rest of us. " - James Ridgeway, The Village Voice, 2002

-- Knowing Much, Bush Did Little to Protect America by James Ridgeway; The Village Voice: Nation: Mondo Washington; May 16th, 2002

"Bush has spent 42 percent of his term so far at one of his three leisure destinations"

-- Bush by the Numbers, as Told by a Diligent Scorekeeper By Dana Milbank; Washington Post; September 3, 2002; Page A15

-- Pit-Stop Presidency (washingtonpost.com) By Mary McGrory; October 27, 2002; Page B07

-- Bush held up plan to hit Bin Laden by Julian Borger; August 5, 2002; The Guardian

-- NSA Intercepts On Eve of 9-11 Sent a Warning (washingtonpost.com) By Walter Pincus and Dana Priest; June 20, 2002; Page A01

-- Did Bush Know? Warning Signs of 9-11 and Intelligence Failures by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed - Media Monitors Network; found on or about 5-31-02

-- Armed pilots banned 2 months before 9-11 By Jon Dougherty; WorldNetDaily.com; May 16, 2002

-- Bush's 9-11 Secrets By James Ridgeway; The Village Voice; 31 July 2003

-- German Intelligence Says US Knew in Advance About 9-11 by Russ Kick; 2002; www.thememoryhole.org

"a pattern of Bush administration denials and delaying tactics that prevented a fuller account of national failure before the attack"

"a deeper, darker problem is our own government's refusal to fill in the blanks about itself"

-- U.S. Clamps Secrecy on Warnings Before 9/11 by Marie Cocco; Newsday; August 7, 2003

"the Bush Administration is refusing to tell the public what intelligence the president saw before 9/11 about the threat posed by Al Qaeda"

"Bush has gotten away with concealing from the public what he knew and when, and what he did (or did not do) about a serious threat to the nation"

-- Report Raises More Questions About 9/11 By David Corn, The Nation; July 25, 2003

"President Bush was warned in a more specific way than previously known about intelligence suggesting that al Qaeda terrorists were seeking to attack the United States"

-- White House, CIA Kept Key Portions of Report Classified (washingtonpost.com) By Dana Priest; Washington Post; July 25, 2003; Page A01

The reference links I cite often provide much more detail on many matters than I can offer on my site. So there's quite a bit more 'accountability' to explore in those links in depth, if you wish, without ever resorting to me.

If a link's broken, I even provide information on how you might still find the information that once resided there, on your own. It's a page called 'First Aid for broken links', and is available as a link near the top of almost every page on my site. I also offer up general info on my personal background, education, work experience, etc., on my site, basically leaving out only details a stalker, thief, or hacker might wish to have. I maintain extensive public web logs on a wide variety of subjects too, which in many cases help show how I came to reach certain conclusions, or accomplish certain tasks.

I also do what I can to weed out spelling mistakes or other errors or inaccuracies, and add more supporting references to my content across-the-board, on an ongoing basis. Such new links help make up for older ones which may break over time, and better flesh out a given topic, among other things.

And, of course, I post an email address for contact, else you couldn't have reached me at all. I notice quite a few personal sites or weblogs like mine don't offer such contact possibilities at all any more.

As I say on my site, I try to read as much of my email as possible, but there's definite limits on my capacity. And personal responses are time-intensive, as I don't possess a massive staff of assistants like a President or Senator or corporate exec might. Hence the warnings described earlier.

By contrast, the Bush Administration may well be the most secretive in US history, and is working hard to reduce its own accountability in virtually every way imaginable. But don't take my word for this: check it out on your own. Even some Republican allies of the President have been complaining about this very thing.

"Clearly the Bush Administration is the most secretive administration in decades or longer"

-- Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy, Federation of American Scientists

-- Escalating secrecy wars by Bill Berkowitz; WorkingForChange; 07.09.03

"We have a bloated, corrupt and unaccountable military industrial congressional system that thrives on a policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace"

-- David Theroux, president of The Independent Institute

-- Pork Greases U.S. Weapons Program By Elliot Borin; Jan. 21, 2003; WIRED

"...we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disasterous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower, US Republican President, 1961

-- page 815, Dwight David Eisenhower, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 15th edition, by John Barlett, Little, Brown, and Company, 1980

-- Companies can use new Homeland Security Act to shield their misdeeds

-- Are We Protecting Secrets or Removing Safeguards? (washingtonpost.com) By Gary S. Guzy; November 24, 2002; Page B01

"Is the Bush administration using terrorism fears to shield government -- and business -- from public view?"

-- Official Secrets by Daniel Franklin January/February 2003 Issue; www.motherjones.com

-- The Bush Administration’s Secrecy Policy: A Call to Action to Protect Democratic Values; 10/25/2002; OMB Watch

-- Ashcroft Seeks to Abuse Use of 'Secret Court'

-- Secrets and Lies - Seventy-five little reasons to be terrified of the FISA court. By Dahlia Lithwick; Aug. 29, 2002; slate.msn.com

-- Silence About Secrecy (washingtonpost.com) By Mary McGrory; September 12, 2002; Page A23

-- Members hit White House over secrecy =TheHill.com=

-- 'Homeland Secrecy'; July 30, 2002; San Francisco Chronicle

-- Security, Not Secrecy (washingtonpost.com); July 17, 2002; Page A22

-- Too many secrets

-- The Secret War on Whistle-Blowers Code of Quiet by Geoffrey Gray; June 19 - 25, 2002; www.villagevoice.com

There was even a lot of buzz recently in the news about how it had become far more difficult just to email President Bush than before, with emailers having to complete a bunch of extra online forms and say upfront whether they were for or against Bush's policies, before their email would be accepted (I guess so those 'against' could be immediately discarded (or worse, their senders' names added to Bush's list of suspected terrorists)).

-- To e-mail Bush, follow instructions to the letter

-- E-mailing the president now harder

"Sending e-mail messages to the White House might be getting tougher"

-- White House Site Gets A :( ; July 18, 2003; www.cbsnews.com

So anyway, there's at least a few prominent Republicans who agree with certain points on my web site, based on their public statements. Indeed, I prefer to quote known Republicans more than anyone else in my references, wherever the subject concerns the Bush Administration, or conservative policies in general. For I figure those will be regarded as more credible and believeable for everyone, including Republican voters themselves.

-- Not all conservatives on board on Iraq -- The Washington Times

-- GOP spending bill angers conservatives; Associated Press/The Billings Gazette; February 16, 2003

-- Bush's Tax Cut: Attacked from All Sides; Businessweek; FEBRUARY 14, 2003

-- ANALYSIS: Religion meets environmentalism over energy policy by Brad Knickerbocker; Christian Science Monitor; March 3, 2002; Nando Media/Nando Times

-- Diverse groups oppose security proposal By Declan McCullagh; CNET News.com/ZDNet; March 17, 2003

-- A Far-Right Texan Inspires Antiwar Left; Wall Street Journal

-- Right Joins Left to Criticize Patriot Act By Dean Schabner; ABC News; found on or about 11-7-03

-- "Neo-conned"; Congressman Ron Paul (Republican) addresses the U.S. House of Representatives, July 10, 2003; www.thelibertycommittee.org

"Preventative war ... I don't believe in such a thing, and frankly I wouldn't even listen seriously to anyone that came in and talked about such a thing."

-- US Republican president Dwight Eisenhower, 1954

-- A TIME FOR DISSENT IN AMERICA By Richard Reeves; Jun 29, 2002; Yahoo! Op/Ed

"Preventive war is, very simply, the "supreme crime" condemned at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals."

-- Reasons to fear U.S. by NOAM CHOMSKY; Toronto Star; Sep. 7, 2003

In late 2002, with negligible prior debate, the US Congress created "the biggest new federal bureaucracy since World War II...that will mostly serve to spy on the American people".

-- The Homeland Security Monstrosity by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX); November 19, 2002

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

-- Theodore Roosevelt, US Republican president, 1918

-- http://www.americanpresident.org/kotrain/courses/TR/TR_In_His_Own_Words.htm

My site mostly stayed away from politics until after 9-11-01, doing little more than noting in the timeline remarkable milestones in US political history, and listing which party dominated the presidency and congress at the time. But post 9-11-01, it seemed quite a few US politicians 'ran amok', with little or no opposition, and the mainstream media even encouraged it. This alarmed me personally, as I'm an American citizen and have many loved ones here (including children) that I do not want to see endangered by extremists of any political or religious stripe.

I also don't want to see the whole human race go extinct-- something which is ever more possible each day due to technology advances and humanity's seeming obsession with greed, war, and conquest.

Prior to 9-11-01 I'd done much research regarding the likely future of mankind (the timeline) and along the way noted certain elements in past history which seemed to unnecessarily put the welfare (and very existence) of nations and the world at increased risk. I'd also performed much research regarding the likely 'rise and fall' of technological civilizations throughout our galaxy since its inception. So I'd compiled quite a bit of material regarding dangerous or risky actions by civilizations or nations in general (A great deal of this research is available for public examination on my site).

Then America experienced its political meltdown after 9-11-01-- which looks like is going to vastly accelerate the decline in global American pre-eminence that was likely to take place anyway, as the rest of the world caught up in technology and modern economic policies-- for after that size differences in population alone will come to the fore in determining overall economic and technological power-- which means entities like China and India will eventually overshadow the US in most all ways (barring some sort of catastrophic development in Asia).

But all that just means America would be forced to become a more normal player internationally, like France or Germany or Japan today-- NOT that America would necessarily go down the tubes in wealth and power. We just won't be the world superpower anymore.

"the US has been on its way out for the last decade"

-- The Conceited Empire by Martin A. Senn and Felix Lautenschlager, translated by Andreas Artz; The Dominion; July 26, 2003; interview of French historian Emmanuel Todd.

But the Bush Administration, in my opinion, is making grievous mistakes in just about every arena today, that will almost definitely result in a far less desirable outcome for America than becoming just one more prosperous and peaceful country among many in the decades ahead.

One of America's biggest and most powerful advantages over past decades was our effort to at least keep up a plausible facade of benevolence and desire for peace, justice, freedom, and prosperity worldwide, even if we didn't necessarily feel and act that way in many instances. But maintaining the facade forced us to at least occasionally compromise on some issues, and give away some small things in other cases. And so active, strong resistance to our aims was usually sporadic and short-lived at best, worldwide. This enabled us to hold onto quite a bit more economic and technological dominance than would have otherwise been the case had others held more suspicion of our motives and resisted more strongly our proposals. Remember, at the same time the rest of the world has been gaining in economic and technological prowess, so deepening cooperation and expanding agreements with them helped us hold onto much of the advantages we'd basically gained first because World War II destroyed the economies of most other industrialized nations, forcing them to buy such goods from us for decades as they rebuilt. This circumstance caused boom times for us, and gave us the necessary wealth to build the foundations for most of the economic infrastructure and technology we use today. Then, the closed nature of the USSR empire and its allies helped highlight our own openness and willingness to deal-- which gave us a further edge, up until the Cold War ended.

After the end of the Cold War, we continued to stay engaged and trying to broker new peace, trade, environmental, and anti-proliferation agreements, which on the face of things at least indicated some willingness to consider the needs and wants of others, without too often using our superior resources to force others into doing things our way.

All this contributed to general good will towards America worldwide, and helped us sell our goods and push our agenda further than could have occured in just about any other set of circumstances.

Another advantage we had was our chaotic internal political debate and argument and opposition. The rest of the world worried much less about our military and economic superiority than they otherwise might have, because of our constant internal bickering and obvious checks and balances on government power. So long as we spent so much time and energy arguing amongst ourselves, questioning one another's motives and agendas, and fussing about the regular scandalous uncovering of a pretty hefty fraction of our domestic corruption compared to lots of other countries, we were less likely to abuse our superpower position in the world.

Now both those major advantages are gone, having been ripped to shreds by our reaction to 9-11-01. We have virtually no internal debate about important issues any more, with Congress frequently rubber-stamping whatever the president tells them to. Virtually no one in Congress even read the Patriot Act before passing it-- one of the most alarming and un-American pieces of legislation to ever be created. Even conservative columnist William Safire declared Bush was essentially assuming dictatorial powers via his new measures (http://www.commondreams.org/views01/1115-08.htm). Bush himself has declared his fondness for the idea of dictatorship several times, in several different settings. Meanwhile, Democratic opposition has been reduced to filibustering some judgeships.

"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator"

-- US President-elect George W. Bush, December 2000

-- Bush's Hill tour comes to a close By Mark Sherman/ Cox News Service;12-19-2000

-- BusinessWeek Online: WASHINGTON WATCH A Gentleman's "C" for W By Richard S. Dunham; Edited by Beth Belton; JULY 30, 2001

It appears the US legislative process failed during the recent passage of the anti-terror bill. And the nation will probably regret this failure in the long term. Apparently Congress was too fearful of another terrorist strike to adequately perform their legal duties here. Much of the bill was passed without the members even having read it.

The new law throws the judicial system and its oversight out of the loop for many critical procedures, and makes historic changes in other government processes as well. The bill seems to be overzealous in its efforts to combat terrorism, and thereby possibly creates new and unnecessary dangers to society as a byproduct.

-- A Panicky Bill (washingtonpost.com); October 26, 2001; Page A34

-- Freedom flees in terror from Sept. 11 disaster By Paul McMasters; pmcmasters@freedomforum.org; Ombudsman; First Amendment Center; 09.19.01

-- U.S. On Verge Of 'Electronic Martial Law' - Researcher By Kevin Featherly, Newsbytes; http://www.newsbytes.com; 15 Oct 2001

-- Security vs. Civil Liberties By Mike France, Heather Green, Jim Kerstetter, and Dan Carney; BusinessWeek Online; The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc.; OCTOBER 1, 2001

President Bush is assuming what are essentially dictatorial powers on the advice of his panicked attorney general.

-- Seizing Dictatorial Power by William Safire; www.commondreams.org; December 13, 2001 [November 15, 2001 in the New York Times)

A gargantuan new intelligence collection system is being born from recent passage of the anti-terrorism bill. The FBI's main priority will no longer be bringing criminals to justice, but rather collecting intelligence within the borders of the US. The Treasury Department will collect financial intelligence (like the banking activities of Americans), and provide it to the CIA. The CIA will also now have some say in FBI operations.

The bill looks to remove many of the safeguards put in place after Watergate against abuses of presidential power, in matters like using intelligence resources against political activists.

-- An Intelligence Giant in the Making (washingtonpost.com) By Jim McGee Washington Post; November 4, 2001; Page A04

-- Ashcroft's power grab brings Joe McCarthy to mind By JOEL CONNELLY; May 1, 2002; SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER

-- Patriot Act Called Threat to Democracy (washingtonpost.com); Associated Press; December 22, 2002; Page A09

-- 'Feingold only senator to vote against patriot act'

Bush has also been breaking long held international treaties left and right, even including such things as the Geneva Convention, which means our own soldiers will be paying for that one in future conflicts (for why should other nations conform to the Geneva Convention when we don't?)

-- Bush ready to wreck ozone layer treaty By Geoffrey Lean; Independent Digital 20 July 2003

The whole world is watching all this, and growing increasingly concerned about where the US is heading. In response, Europe is considering starting their own version of NATO-- with the US not invited. Japan is considering a historic expansion of its armed forces and adding nuclear capabilities for the first time. China is accelerating the update and expansion of its military. Popular movements to boycott American products and brand names are springing up in many places. Many surprisingly large protests have been staged worldwide against America in the past year, and America's credibility and popularity have plummetted in foreign nations, virtually across-the-board, to the point that we must usually and overtly bribe or coerce other countries to agree with us on just about anything now.

"international opinion of the United States has plummeted in the last year"

-- White House: Better PR can reverse anti-American sentiment By Michelle Orris; Austin American-Statesman; August 1, 2003

"America’s unprecedented power scares the world, and the Bush administration has only made it worse"

-- The Arrogant Empire By Fareed Zakaria NEWSWEEK; March 24, 2003

"the world is more apprehensive about our leadership"

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Delaware)

-- Security May Not Be Safe Issue for Bush in '04 By Dana Milbank and Mike Allen; Washington Post; August 22, 2003; Page A01

"Only a united Europe can counterbalance an increasingly paranoid and hawkish America"

-- Defending ourselves by Peter Kilfoyle; September 23, 2002; The Guardian

-- Paris and Berlin prepare alliance to rival Nato

-- If forced to choose, Europe will ditch NATO By William Pfaff (International Herald Tribune); August 17, 2002

-- Japan's Military Muscle Is Tipping Asia's Balance of Power Edited by Rose Brady; JULY 14, 2003; Businessweek

Even Bush's own father (the previous President Bush), and his advisors have said the younger Bush is making some grave errors, and urged him to act differently.

"...Bush's...sense of divine purpose scare some of his closest advisors....Even top officials from his father's administration fear the worst, and former President Bush is among them..."

-- White House Insiders: Bush is 'Out of Control' By Mike Hersh; Sep 5, 2002

-- Bush and father at odds over Iraq strike

"Once 'Stormin' Norman,' Gen. Schwarzkopf Is Skeptical About U.S. Action in Iraq"

-- Desert Caution By Thomas E. Ricks; Washington Post; January 28, 2003; Page C01

-- Stormin' Norman: Don't rush into war; BBC; 29 January, 2003

-- Stormin' Norman opposes Iraq war [August 20, 2002]; The Australian

-- Scowcroft sticks to his guns By Jim Lobe; Aug 21, 2002

Stuff like this is what made me turn a research focus onto American politics since 9-11-01. For I'm genuinely worried about where we'll end up if we continue the present course.

But no one's perfect. I have in the works an item tentatively called "The problems with liberal politics" or "What's wrong with liberals" that is to list the problems with entities like the modern US Democratic party and their typical practices and policies (I already list one or two such items where relevant in my online article The enormous costs to society of 'right-wing' political governance).

Of course, as at the moment liberals are practically powerless in the US, the present urgency for posting that item is much less than for others.

It might surprise you to know that in most of the Presidential elections I've participated in, I voted for Republicans. McCain was my favorite in 2000, but didn't get the Republican nomination. I didn't like either Bush or Gore.

I wish US elections offered a 'none of the above' option which would force the parties to nominate all new candidates if 'none' won. We might end up with much higher quality Presidents, Senators, and Congressmen that way.

Since the Republicans took complete control of the Presidency, House, and Senate, I have been thoroughly appalled by their excesses. Examining history, I discovered the last time they had such control for a lengthy period, one result was the Great Depression, which may also have contributed to the rise of Hitler in Germany, and so WWII. The generation of Americans which lived through that never allowed Republicans to have such power again for more than a year or two at a time, up through today. But as that generation has been dying off for quite some time now, and so offers an ever weaker presence at the polls, our own generation might have to learn the lesson anew, for ourselves. Isn't that a scary thought, considering the differences in technology between then and now?

The Republican political party of USAmerica controlled both houses of Congress for the whole decade preceding the Great Depression of the 20th century. They also held the Presidency during these years. They pushed tariffs to an all time high, often looked the other way as big business commited violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and market competition within the USA waned, and made tax cuts which benefited the wealthy.

It was after all this that the Great Depression took place, lasting for many years.

-- Encyclopedia Americana: Republican Party possibly by George H. Mayer, University of South Florida, Grolier Incorporated

Republicans controlled both the Senate and the House in Congress, as well as the Presidency, from 1921 to 1933. After the debacle of the Great Depression, they never again managed to control all three of these positions simultaneously for longer than a year or two at a time, at most (as of mid-2003).

-- The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2002, pages 92 and 545; World Almanac Books

Corruption within the ruling Republican party of 1920s USA was rampant.

-- Welcome to the Machine by Nicholas Confessore; The Washington Monthly; July/August 2003

I'd personally like to see a whole new third political party become viable in the US, as both the Republicans and Democrats seem hopelessly corrupt nowadays. However, I would NOT want to join up with something like what Ross Perot fiddled with for a while, or Ralph Nader's 'Green' party, based on what I know of those groups today.

As for the wealth of research reports which point to failings of many, perhaps most, right-wing conservative policies of the past century...you did notice that I wrote not a single one of them, right? They were all wrote by people I don't know and never met, often researching subjects that, in isolation, couldn't be labeled as a political statement of any kind, but instead purely health related, or concerning some other facet of human experience.

I want to live and prosper. I want others to live and prosper. I'm against war and violence, against nuclear weapons, against biochemical weapons, against corporate welfare, against censorship, secrecy, corruption, and wholesale surveillance of innocent people. I'm against monopolies. Like the founding fathers of America, I'm for separation of church and state. I'm for consumer rights and transparency in government and business. I'm for education and economic opportunities, strengthening the hands of individual inventors, entrepreneurs, activists, whistle-blowers, and the self-employed versus the corporations and government. I'm for much stronger campaign finance reform, and something like the same universal health care all other developed nations use today. I'm for massive cuts in defense and intelligence spending to levels more appropriate to defending our nation rather than policing the world for multi-national corporations. I'm for rebuilding our national infrastructure (i.e., preventing future calamities like the recent northeastern black out) by encouraging 'bottom-up' power generation and conservation, rather than massively expensive centralized projects which won't really increase the system's overall reliability. I'm for bringing our broadband internet access up to par with that of the most advanced nations in that area today. I wouldn't mind at all for America to become more like the most advanced western european nations in certain ways. Why not emulate their best points while avoiding their worst?

"In many instances, they [Asian consumers] get DSL access that's 10 to 20 times as fast as that in the U.S. -- for as little as $20 a month"

-- Eating Asia's Broadband Dust by Alex Salkever; FEBRUARY 4, 2003; Businessweek

So yes, my web site is 'tainted' with these preferences. I honestly don't care which politicians or political party would help further these aims, just so long as they did so. I guess you want something different, and that's your right.

You say sections of my web site are 'pre-packaged'. Wow! I wish I'd known where to find such pre-packaged material before I spent all that effort on research and writing and re-writing my pages! Could you tell me where I can find such material already prepared and ready and available to publish, please?

You do know you can set up your own domain name and web site putting forward your arguments to potentially thousands of folks for around $100 a year don't you? If you want to put up a web site for free, that may be possible too, at places like geocities or tripod.com. To my way of thinking, the more the merrier! So I would encourage you to do so. I believe America has always been strongest the more we debated the issues, not less. And I would love to see someone do a page like my The enormous costs to society of 'right-wing' political governance, only against liberals, rather than conservatives. I'd find fascinating whatever scientific reports might be listed there as supporting references.

Of course, accomplishing such a thing in a credible way might be a heck of a challenge, based on what I've seen in my own efforts. So I wish you luck!

-- J.R. Mooneyham

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8-9-03: Good and bad news on the computer front, as well as the exercise machine experience

Information regarding Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite has been spun off into its own page HERE.

Information about a new Compaq Presario 2170 laptop has been spun off into its own page HERE.

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8-7-03 UPDATE of original 7-17-03 item: How might a poorer, less developed group successfully make themselves more expensive and riskier for a vastly stronger organization to arbitrarily attack or invade militarily?

Leapfrog your more advanced potential foes conceptually, strategically, economically, and technologically wherever possible

This content has been spun off into its own page at To Whom it May Concern: David vs. Goliath; How we might fend off or ultimately overcome technologically superior human invaders, conquerors, or dictators in decades to come, with minimal casualties and financial loss on all sides

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8-7-03 UPDATE of original 7-17-03 item: How might a poorer, less developed group successfully make themselves more expensive and riskier for a vastly stronger organization to arbitrarily attack or invade militarily?

Minimize the use of proprietary, closed source code in your information and financial systems

This content has been spun off into its own page at To Whom it May Concern: David vs. Goliath; How we might fend off or ultimately overcome technologically superior human invaders, conquerors, or dictators in decades to come, with minimal casualties and financial loss on all sides

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8-7-03 UPDATE of original 7-16-03 item: How might a poorer, less developed group successfully make themselves more expensive and riskier for a vastly stronger organization to arbitrarily attack or invade militarily?

Avoid the development or build up of your own nuclear or (deadly or permanently crippling) biochemical weapons

This content has been spun off into its own page at To Whom it May Concern: David vs. Goliath; How we might fend off or ultimately overcome technologically superior human invaders, conquerors, or dictators in decades to come, with minimal casualties and financial loss on all sides

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8-16-03 UPDATE of original 7-13-03 item: How might a poorer, less developed group successfully make themselves more expensive and riskier for a vastly stronger organization to arbitrarily attack or invade militarily?

Playfully but consistently interfere with the gathering of intelligence on your country

This content has been spun off into its own page at To Whom it May Concern: David vs. Goliath; How we might fend off or ultimately overcome technologically superior human invaders, conquerors, or dictators in decades to come, with minimal casualties and financial loss on all sides

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8-7-03 UPDATE of original 7-13-03 item: How might a poorer, less developed group successfully make themselves more expensive and riskier for a vastly stronger organization to arbitrarily attack or invade militarily?

The importance of becoming and staying a free, peaceful, prosperous, and open country

This content has been spun off into its own page at To Whom it May Concern: David vs. Goliath; How we might fend off or ultimately overcome technologically superior human invaders, conquerors, or dictators in decades to come, with minimal casualties and financial loss on all sides

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7-10-03: jrmooneyham.com is back!

At least for the moment. See details in the Low cost web site authoring log.

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7-4-03: New pages and updates on jmooneyham.com and kurellian.tripod.com

The enormous costs to society of 'right-wing' political governance has had a major update and expansion, with some material spun off into its own pages.

Of the new pages, Our once and future(?) kings (the true wealthy and the super-rich) Life at the top of the human food chain is pretty much all new content, while The possible advantages and benefits of right-wing politics is a significant update/expansion of previously existing information, and More references regarding the long term gains in conservative influence upon America and More references regarding the power of the media in America are basically just lists of supporting citations moved to their own page to reduce the clutter on the main 'enormous costs' page.

To whom it may concern, part one: 'A snowball in hell'; How we might fend off or ultimately overcome technologically superior alien invaders in centuries to come has gotten its first significant update/expansion in years. It also got its own all new sequel:

To whom it may concern, part two: 'David vs. Goliath' How we might fend off or ultimately overcome technologically superior human invaders, conquerors, or dictators in decades to come, with minimal casualties and financial loss on all sides.

'David vs. Goliath' is primarily offered as a placeholder page at the moment, so search engines may get an early start on the process of adding it to their databases. I call it a placeholder because the true essence of the page-- tangible ways to possibly thwart the most advanced of military and surveillance technologies, as well as reduce the power of money to undermine or overthrow a given nation-- has not yet been posted. Rather, all that's there at the moment is an introduction to my reasoning for creating such a page. Once readers see the content to come there, they'll fully understand why I consider it vital to explain my purposes for the page (for the content-to-come is bound to be controversial, to say the least).

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6-17-03: My domain drops out of Google due to the extended outage

Besides being an enormous time and energy sink the past month-- and a huge source of anxiety and stress-- the ongoing travesty of my hostage jrmooneyham.com domain name and its host(s) has now resulted in me essentially dropping out of Google entirely, for all practical purposes. Folks, basically if you never appear in the first or second page of Google search results you might as well not appear in it at all. For very very rarely do surfers go much beyond the first few pages. My [expletive-deleted] jrmooneyham.com host(s) have now kept that domain off-line for almost a month now, causing me to lose the spots in Google I worked so hard to get for years. It appears the owner of the original host lost his mind, resulting in a company meltdown. BUT...jrmooneyham.com stayed online until the NEW host, claiming itself to be our savior, came in and took control (so far as I can tell).

And jrmooneyham.com has been dead and impossible to move to a decent host ever since.

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6-16-03: Exercise machine update: Boosts in optimism (and noise)

Information regarding Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite has been spun off into its own page HERE.

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5-31-03: Black holes of information, time, and effort

Man do I miss the Apple Macintosh computers of 1989/1990.

If there were some way to realistically use them today with the internet and other modern functions without an impractical amount of maintenance, set up, and exotic and expensive hardware refits (which all would tend to make them as shakey as modern computers, if not worse), I'd switch back in a heartbeat.

Indeed, up to now I've maintained at least a bit of dependence on ancient Mac wares, for a few limited purposes. But sadly, it's just becoming too difficult and consuming to continue that practice.

I hoped and prayed for years that Apple's transition to OS X would eventually bring back the wonderful computing experience of those 1989/1990 Macs, but with the difference of incorporating the internet and other new technologies into their repertoire.

Alas, that didn't happen. It's been so long now I've totally given up hope on Apple and the Mac.

Now I must live in Microsoft Windows, no matter how many problems I must endure in that environment. Because the circa 2003 Apple version is even worse-- which is an amazing turn of events when you consider how far ahead of Windows Macs were in 1989/1990: much like the present US Presidential Administration, which managed to turn a substantial inherited budget surplus into a jaw droppingly huge deficit, that now reaches as far as the eye can see, Apple squandered its lead over Microsoft in appalling fashion over the last decade plus.

It's been maybe two or three years since I gave up transferring files from my PCs to my Macs, because of the headaches involved. But there's also problems in transferring files from Windows ME to Windows98. Long filename problems.

Some of the very best and information-rich stuff I find on the internet these days are quotes from noteworthy folks or institutions. But in order to best locate them weeks or months after collection among the thousands of total files I accumulate at the same time, I need to make these quotes or some good portion of same the titles of the files themselves-- since all computers across the board frequently present obstacles to reliably searching inside files.

Yes, yes, I know: sometimes Windows and Macs do successfully search the content of files. It's just that they still suffer surprising limitations. For example, I used Apple's Sherlock for quite a while for such duties. Sherlock had plenty of problems. Two off the top of my head include a total inability to search inside web page URLS in a HTML page or list of favorites/bookmarks. This was extremely annoying, and made me unable to locate quite a bit of stuff I knew I had on disk. The other annoyance was having to sit aside a 24 hour period or so to allow Sherlock to update its index of files on disk-- otherwise it couldn't search the content of newly added files whatsoever. As I collect literally hundreds of files a day in many cases, this meant to keep Sherlock up to date I pretty much had to stop using my Mac entirely. For it needed to be indexing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SHEESH!

So this left me with the choice of either going for significant periods without the capability to content search an ever growing amount of freshly collected files, or stop compiling such research altogether, or buy and install new search software, or switch platforms.

As the track record for new software installs is pretty dismal (as well as expensive), I rarely regard that as a viable solution anymore, for ANY platform. Plus, the third party software market for Macs seems pretty pathetic these days. Especially compared to its glory days.

Add the Mac's increasing tendency to crash and require anywhere from 10-20 minutes to recover (sometimes two or three times that long, as multiple restarts easily become necessary), and I was just left with no choice but to move to Windows.

Now though, after growing accustommed to the lower overhead requirements of the PC to Macs these days, like anyone else I've come to take those transition benefits for granted, and want still more.

Although I almost never have to deal with the various Mac-related headaches I did before, I'm starting to find the PC's own idiosyncrasies increasingly annoying. Of course, this is always the case with a computer. It starts out seeming pretty good, but after a while it seems to work more and more slowly, and you become more and more aware of its shortcomings over time, as you build a variety of experiences with the device.

For example, although I no longer have to entirely give up my computer to allow a search index to be built, and can now search inside URL lists, individual searches take a couple extra minutes to work than they would have on Sherlock. Sherlock also had a somewhat better capacity for displaying relevance and coping with multiple search words than Windows98. But overall I still come out ahead on the PC in most cases.

During my transition from the PC to the Mac for quite a while I had horrendous CD compatibility and filename problems with the two platforms. In most cases my long PC filenames (is it 255 characters or so?) would be cut down to eight or so when copied to a CD for transfer to my Mac(!) I also had to go through all sorts of hurdles to finally locate a decent CD driver which would allow my Mac to deal reasonably well with PC CDs, as well as learn how to reconfigure my PC so that it could no longer create decent PC CDs, but it could (on every second or third try) make a CD my Mac might read. GROAN.

But that stuff is behind me now. However, I have been encountering errors relating to excessively long file names, when I transferred files from Windows ME to Windows98.

For many months I'd simply shorten the problematic filename stumbled over in a folder copy, and resume the files transfer from that folder going on the file date information, as that seemed to work well. I did often end up with a few dozen or so fewer files in the destination folder than the origin folder, but dismissed that as being due to the fact I sometimes collect only URLs rather than the HTML page at that link.

Unfortunately, it's turned out I was losing lots more files than that in transfers. I just didn't realize it until lately.

Folks, it appears the only way to insure you're getting all your long named files contained in a single folder transferred from Windows ME to Windows98 is to shorten those original file names which cause errors in copying, then begin the folder copy process from scratch once again. When another error pops up, repeat this maneuver. Yes, this procedure requires you delete the destination folders which had to be aborted so that new destinaton folders can be created, but every other method I've tried resulted in lost information, as large numbers of origin files would simply be skipped over by the copying process, for reasons I don't understand at this time.

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Folks, I may or may not have severe problems with my domain and site jrmooneyham.com for the rest of 2003 and early 2004. For this reason I've recreated the site on jmooneyham.com, and advise everyone to use jmooneyham.com-related URLS from now on, wherever possible.

jrmooneyham.com may go completely off-line indefinitely, or be hijacked for completely unrelated content, or simply suffer a total lack of updates and expansions for a period of months-- I just don't know what will happen to it.

As far as I know right now though, jmooneyham.com and kurellian.tripod.com will continue to be updated and expanded regardless of jrmooneyham.com's fate (my schedule, finances, and some matters beyond my control permitting).

Some further details and ongoing updates about the troubles with jrmooneyham.com are available at my web site authoring log. Thanks to everyone who sticks with me through this!

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5-22-03: A new exercise machine UPDATED

Information regarding Tony Little's Gazelle Freestyle Elite has been spun off into its own page HERE.

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5-7-03: If the USA is effectively ruling the world, shouldn't the world get a chance to help choose the US President? UPDATED

I'd love to know what the founding fathers of the USA like Thomas Jefferson and others would think about this idea. I've thought for a long time now that the USA's system of elected office was getting more and more out of synch with its place in the world, and the fair and just representation of groups like future generations (ala healthcare, military spending, poverty, the environment, and budget deficits), as well as the other folks on the planet at present. Now I've run across some folks proposing one possible solution to this: Global Vote for U.S. President.

Here's their manifesto and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

I've not had time yet to examine the site in detail. But on the face of it, it seems a decent idea to consider.

5-29-03 UPDATE: I still haven't had the chance to read the spiel of the folks linked above. But it strikes me that the world could make it easier for Americans to accept their input into our Presidential elections if the rest of the world agreed to paying some sort of tax to US coffers in return. Even if that tax could only be used to help pay for something non-military in purpose, such as universal healthcare in America. Perhaps this might even make a good plank in the platform of a candidate for President in 2004 or 2008? END UPDATE.

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4-4-03: True American patriotism UPDATED

What is true American patriotism? Is it supporting the American President no matter what he says or does? NO-- at least according to one of the most famous Republican US Presidents from history:

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

-- Theodore Roosevelt, US Republican president, 1918

-- http://www.americanpresident.org/kotrain/courses/TR/TR_In_His_Own_Words.htm

Indeed, if you examine the documents upon which America was founded, you find that a fierce, individual independence, not only willing but eager to question and even actively resist authority where deemed 'the right thing to do', stands at the heart of what America originally stood for.

"Here in America we are descended in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine."

-- US Republican President Dwight Eisenhower

-- Quote of the Day 4.7.03; www.workingforchange.com

"Remember, Franklin is thought of as a traitor in England"

-- John Alviti, collections curator for The Franklin Institute of Pennsylvania

-- Human Bones Beneath Ben Franklin House By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News; Aug. 15, 2003

"Under Bush's definition, the Minute Men at Bunker Hill were terrorists"

-- Bush is a liar By JOE LITTLE; June 27. 2003; Gainesvillesun.com

This uniquely American essence served us well many times in the past, helping us root out many threats to our nation from within, as well as without. It helped us win the Cold War, in large part because our 'whistle-blowers' frequently exposed corruption and fraud in things like defense spending, making us much more efficient and powerful than the USSR-- finally leading to the Soviet Union's capitulation.

-- Advise and Dissent - How anti-war protest movements have made the U.S. stronger. By David Greenberg; March 26, 2003; slate.msn.com

Our tendency to allow more individual initiative than the Russians on the parts of our soldiers made our defensive line in Europe one the Russians dared not cross during the Cold War-- as it effectively multiplied the power inherent in our smaller forces, compared to the Russians' own.

For a large part of our history this notion of encouraging initiative and independent thinking at the low end helped fuel more business competition and entrepreneurial startups than perhaps ever seen before in world history, helping make the USA the biggest and most productive economy in the world.

Our usual resistance to blind obedience to authority looks to have even protected us from experiencing many of the types of government takeovers suffered by others. For instance, rather than experience the awful scenario of a US President declaring martial law in order to escape rightful punishment for illegal actions which threatened our very foundations of government, our Watergate scandal merely led to the peaceful resignation of President Nixon.

Our example may even have helped the stability of some of our democratic allies as well.

But even we Americans are vulnerable to the same instinctive tribal urges which often trip up the people of other countries, leading to catastrophes like world wars, ethnic cleansing, the Holocaust, and Japan's massive biochemical testing on innocent civilians during its darker days.

It's often far easier to turn our fates over to others, rather than assume more responsibilities ourselves. Too, we often may feel some obligation to hold back harsh questioning of our leaders-- to more often give them 'the benefit of the doubt', than not. After all, in our traditional system of values, a citizen is supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty. In like sense, we prefer to think a person is acting with good intent rather than ill, until proven otherwise.

But we must always be aware of the dangers in allowing our leaders to go too far. Especially now that America is the sole superpower in the world. For the more powerful we are relative to others, and the more we seek to use that power over the rest of the world, the more like benevolent stewards of humanity we must become, and the less self-centered we must be in expressing our power, lest we decide that 'might makes right', and so we can treat others as we see fit, to exclusively suit our own ends.

As Lord Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely". Great power is almost always accompanied by great temptation. Just how ethical do you suppose most individuals would be if they possessed absolute power over all around them? Could command anyone to do whatever they wished, with no consequences whatsoever? Today America the nation possesses something very much like that with respect to the rest of the states on Earth.

-- page 615, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett; 15th Edition, 1980; Little, Brown publisher

So today, we no longer enjoy the luxury of being responsible for only ourselves, but must shoulder the rest of the world as well-- at least if we choose to make the rules by which everyone lives.

We Americans have always been against such an arrangement ourselves-- at least when we were on the weaker side of the argument. When we toiled as British colonies and Great Britain was the global superpower, we finally became fed up and revolted against them (If memory serves, France was one of the few world powers of the time which came to our aid, at no small danger to themselves).

Under the yoke of Great Britain, Americans proclaimed "no taxation without representation", among other principles. But today, as we increasingly claim jurisdiction and authority over the rest of the world, we ourselves are pushing folks around who effectively have no meaningful representation in our own halls of government. Is this not hypocritical of us? Is it not dangerous? After all, we've been pushing much of our ideology worldwide in theatrical films and other media for many decades now. Might not the other 95% of humanity decide to copy our own revolution, and throw off our yoke? Even as strong as we are today, could we really forcefully subjugate the rest of humanity, and keep them servile into perpetuity, if it came to that?

The last nations to try that included Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, in World War II. The rest of the world (including America) rallied against them, and won. Thank goodness!

But let us ignore the international ramifications of our actions for now, and focus more on domestic concerns.

What does it mean to be a true American patriot? Where should we look for guidelines?

Where else? The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Using anything else would arguably be wrong.

So what sort of behavior do these documents encourage-- even recommend? And how well is circa 2003 America living up to these principles?

Well, the First Amendment says if we feel like it we should be able to peacefully meet, and say or write anything we want-- as well as worship in whatever way we wish. So technically a Moslem American should be able to travel across country to protest or speak in public against war (or against Israel's treatment of Palestinians) with no problem. It's also fine if lots of other Americans disagree with him or her, and deliver opposing protests/speeches of their own.

Unfortunately, America hasn't been too friendly to 'true patriots' like these, of late.

-- Green Party USA Coordinator Detained at Airport; Prevented by Armed Military Personnel from Flying to Political Meeting in Chicago, CounterPunch Wire; November 2, 2001

In some cases high school students, priests, and nuns who wish to travel to join in peaceful protests are being significantly delayed or prohibited from such activities by government constraints on their freedom to fly to their destinations.

-- Are You on the No Fly List? by Matthew Rothschild; McCarthyism Watch; April 27, 2002; The Progressive

Chicago is initiating a new policy: having reporters fingerprinted.

-- Press Pass? I'll Pass BY WENDY COLE; Currents: Access ; Cjr.org; May/June 2002; found on or about 6-5-02

-- Press freedom being tested by Bush Administration's anti-terrorist policy; 05.23.2002; Reporters Without Borders

"By detaining hundreds of the foreign Muslims it lured into West Coast offices, the agency succeeded only in harming U.S. security"

-- The INS Hurts Uncle Sam Most of All By Alex Salkever; Businessweek; JANUARY 23, 2003

Airline passengers detained for speaking foreign language.

-- Three held after airliner reported concerns; CNN; February 6, 2003

-- Brookings Scholar Is Detained by INS (washingtonpost.com) By George Lardner Jr.; January 30, 2003; Page A01

-- 2,000 Pakistanis in US flee to Canada

-- No more easy time: Peace protesters serving terms alongside hardened criminals

-- ACLU veteran protests her arrest during Bush visit

-- No-fly blacklist snares political activists by Alan Gathright, San Francisco Chronicle; September 27, 2002

-- Three journalists sentenced to preventative detention

-- U.S. watch list has 'taken on life of its own,' FBI says - Nov. 20, 2002 From Kelli Arena; CNN

-- Blacklist Grounds American Passengers By Frederick Sweet; December 29, 2002; www.interventionmag.com

"Is a federal agency systematically harassing travelers for their political beliefs?"

-- The No-Fly List By Dave Lindorff; November 22, 2002; www.inthesetimes.com

-- Nuns sentenced for trespassing during protest

-- Police offering reward to identify anti-war protesters

-- Environmentalists = Terrorists; May 08 2003; www.tompaine.com

-- Conflating protests with terrorism by Bill Berkowitz; 06.13.03; www.workingforchange.com

-- Analysts saw protesters at terrorists

-- Pre-emptive arrests at St. Louis Biodevastation event

-- Canadian Arrested on His Way To Conference Against Genetically Engineered Foods; May 17 '03

"Intelligence agency does not distinguish between terrorism and peace activism"

-- State monitored war protesters By Ian Hoffman, Sean Holstege and Josh Richman; June 01, 2003; www.oaklandtribune.com

YIKES! Seems like we're kind of forgetting ourselves, doesn't it? We've got to remember we're Americans, folks-- not WWII fascists or peasant soldiers spreading empire. Hopefully we'll soon correct mistakes like those listed above.

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3-7-03: Yes, jrmooneyham.com was off-line for almost a week (plus updates)

To see details about how and why we were off-line, please refer to my web site authoring log.

The enormous costs to society of 'right-wing' political governance has been substantially updated and expanded.

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The above article(s) come from and make references to a collection copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 by J.R. Mooneyham (except where otherwise noted in the text). Text here explicitly authored by J.R. Mooneyham may be freely copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes in paper and electronic form without charge if this copyright paragraph and link to jmooneyham.com or jrmooneyham.com are included.

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