Character Above All, Ford, Bush, Rumsfeld ©

Please Pardon the prologue commercial. 
To view the video Americans’ Goodbye To Ford please click on the title.

Former President Gerald R. Ford was laid in memorial last evening.  The absence of two prominent officials seemed odd, almost foreboding.  Perhaps, something terrible was about to happen, or for President George W. Bush and former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld it had.  Days earlier, after the well-loved Gerald Ford passed the content of embargoed interviews was released.  There was much controversy.  Mister Ford did not approve of the war in Iraq.  Given the same circumstances, Ford would not have gone to war; and he said so.

“I don’t think I would have gone to war.”

The ex-president, he said, “felt strongly” that the administration erred in justifying the war based on a threat of weapons of mass destruction.

The former President was also critical of a staff that was once his.

Ford was considered the “political father” to George W. Bush.  Mister Bush appointed several former-Ford designates to his Cabinet.  President Ford appointed current Vice President Dick Cheney as his chief of staff and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as his defense secretary.  He then, later in life requested that Donald Rumsfeld serve as a designated pallbearer upon his passing.

Prior to the release of the Bob Woodward, Gerald Ford tapes, those documenting the words of the once President during multiple interviews, all was well.  There was no reason to believe that Gerald Ford struggled with the decisions of the current President.  Nor did he seem to have quarrels with advisors that were considered friends of Ford.  However, after the revelations heard on these recordings the world knew this was not true. 

In the sessions, Ford fondly recalled his close working relationship with key Bush advisers Cheney and Rumsfeld while expressing concern about the policies they pursued in more recent years.

“He was an excellent chief of staff.  First class,” Ford said.  “But I think Cheney has become much more pugnacious” as vice president.  He said he agreed with former secretary of state Colin L. Powell’s assertion that Cheney developed a “fever” about the threat of terrorism and Iraq.  “I think that’s probably true.”

Describing his own preferred policy toward Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Ford said he would not have gone to war, based on the publicly available information at the time, and would have worked harder to find an alternative.  “I don’t think, if I had been president, on the basis of the facts as I saw them publicly,” he said, “I don’t think I would have ordered the Iraq war.  I would have maximized our effort through sanctions, through restrictions, whatever, to find another answer.”

Thus, there are reasons for concern.  At the time of the ceremony, we could not know.  We were only left to wonder.  Were Rumsfeld and Bush acting as hurt children might.  Were they formally snubbing the former President, the man that dared to criticize their policies, practices, and philosophical principles?

Donald Rumsfeld, among the chosen pallbearers for the Ford funeral, was nowhere to be found.  The casket was carried and there was much talk; however, nothing was said specifically.  Suppositions were not offered, though many thought aloud, ‘where was the man that once served in the Ford White House?’  Where was the fellow that professed, he remained a friend?  Where might Rumsfeld be?  Former President Ford recently stated Rumsfeld served him and his country well.  Was Mister Rumsfeld unwilling to honor a man that publicly flattered him when others few did?

The nation understood the President was busy.  Mr. Bush thought it vital, he needed to make plans, those he had not made prior to our invasion of Iraq.  The President felt compelled; he must focus on the war in the Middle East.  Bush did say that he would attend the more formal funeral.  However, he could not be bothered by both occasions.  For now, George W. is President and what occurs must fit into his personal schedule.  Everyone would have to understand, the nation’s security was at sake.  One wonders; had it not been for the brutal actions of Bush, post September 11, 2001, would our borders be threatened.  Nevertheless, we cannot go back.  We must move “forward,” or so our current President tells us.

Vice President Dick Cheney, another designate, was in attendance.  Therefore, we could assume the Administration, as a group of neoconservatives was not meaning to snub the moderate Republican President.  However, the possibility still exists.  Might the absence of these individuals be intentional?  Perchance they are retaliating for harsh assessments made by the former President.

It seems former Secretary Rumsfeld had a reason to forego the memorial service.  He was physically unable to be in Washington, District of Colombia. Rumsfeld could not [would not?] lift the body.  He was obviously not preparing for Ford to lie in repose.

Storm prevents Rumsfeld, a pallbearer, from attending service at Capitol
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, 74, who served as Ford’s first chief of staff and later his defense secretary, had been designated by Ford before his death as an honorary pallbearer but was not able to make it to the Capitol ceremony.

Pentagon spokesman Eric Ruff said Rumsfeld couldn’t get a flight out of New Mexico, where he was spending the holidays, because of a winter storm.  Ruff said Rumsfeld was trying to return to Washington today.

Yet, we know Mister Bush is not.  [We might ask what other dignitaries did not attend, even those already in Washington.  How many of esteemed luminaries will do as Mister Bush does.]  He will get there when he gets there.  As in the past, when the country unites in a cause, George W. Bush remains in Crawford.  After all, authoritatively, there are six days allocated for mourning.

One might say, the President did, in his mind, do his duty.  He honored the man and the memory of the former President.

In his weekly radio address, President Bush again eulogized Ford as a “courageous leader, a true gentleman and a loving father and husband.”

“Gerald Ford never lost the spirit that Americans grew to admire so much,” Bush said.

The spirit might be defined as “Character Above All.”  Oh, how this nation, this world longs for a leader of character.

You may wish to read Quotes from first Gerald Ford memorial events.  Associated Press.  Mercury News. December 30, 2006

Gerald R. Ford, the passing of a man of character . . .

  • Ford, in Final Journey, Returns to Washington. By Anne E. Kornblut.  New York Times. December 31, 2006
  • pdf Ford, in Final Journey, Returns to Washington. By Anne E. Kornblut.  New York Times. December 31, 2006
  • Ford funeral honorary pallbearers. Herald-Tribune
  • Ford comments on Iraq add to pressure on Bush. By Caren Bohan.  Reuters News Service. December 30, 2006
  • Former President Ford Defends Rumsfeld, Who Was Chief Aide, By Josh White.  Washington Post.?Saturday, April 22, 2006
  • pdf Former President Ford Defends Rumsfeld, Who Was Chief Aide, By Josh White.  Washington Post.?Saturday, April 22, 2006
  • Ford Disagreed With Bush About Invading Iraq, By Bob Woodward.  Washington Post.?Thursday, December 28, 2006; Page A01
  • pdf Ford Disagreed With Bush About Invading Iraq, By Bob Woodward.  Washington Post.?Thursday, December 28, 2006; Page A01
  • Observances in memory of Ford will halt mail until Wednesday. Indy Star. December 31, 2006
  • Solemn tribute for President Ford, By Jonathan Abrams and Michael Muskal.  Los Angeles Times. December 30, 2006
  • pdf Solemn tribute for President Ford, By Jonathan Abrams and Michael Muskal.  Los Angeles Times. December 30, 2006
  • “Character Above All.” By James Cannon. Public Broadcasting Services.

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  • Open Thread. Sunday Sincerity, Sorrows, Sharing. December 30, 2006

    (Reason to reflect . . . – promoted by Betsy L. Angert)

    “If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
    But make allowance for their doubting too,
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
    If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
    If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;”

    Rudyard Kipling
    Born on this day in 1865

    Saddam Hussein
    Dies on this day 2006.

    “Remember that God has enabled you to become an example of love,
    forgiveness, and brotherly co-existence…
    I call on you not to hate
    because hate does not leave a space for a person to be fair
      and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking
    and keeps away one from balanced thinking
    and making the right choice …”

    There is much to speak of today.
    Please share your thoughts on any topic.

    Ma Bell; She’s Back. Net Neutrality in Jeopardy

    copyright © 2006 Betsy L. Angert.

    The Federal Communications Commission authorizes the buyout of BellSouth.   AT&T Corporation will purchase the fledgling company for $86 billion dollars.   Which aspect of this story is more significant?   The famous or infamous Ma Bell, depending on your point of view, may be returning or Net Neutrality is safe for another two years.

    In March 2006, American Telephone and Telegraph offered to buy BellSouth for $67 billion.   At the time, there was much concern.   Should the two tie the knot, it would appear to reverse a decision made twenty-two years earlier, the breakup of the Ma Bell monopoly.    

    However, in this era of Bush Cheney corporate favors, conglomerate are considered wise and wonderful.

    The new AT&T will be the local phone company in a 22-state territory, and will be a behemoth in wireless, long-haul voice and Internet traffic, and phone directories.

    All those services will operate under the AT&T brand, which SBC took over with its acquisition of AT&T Corp. in November.   The company hopes to save billions in advertising costs simply by consolidating AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular marketing under one brand.

    The merged companies will use the name AT&T; it is familiar and a friendly reminder of the past for many Baby Boomers.   The moniker is expected to increase market share and oh, what a share of the market this “new” firm will have.   Certainly, the association with Ma Bell will not be merely a memory.  

    Oh, I am among those with fond memories; however, what I loved about Ma Bell will not return.   I recall indestructible telephones.   When I think of the old Ma Bell, recollections of equipment that does not fail comes to mind.   In the 1970s, my family went house hunting.   In one glorious, home we discovered a telephone cubbyhole built into the stairwell wall.   Within the hole was a study black rotary telephone, circa 1930.   It still worked.   For me, that was among the deciding factors.   I wanted to live in that dwelling and chatter away on that phone.

    I also embrace the days when the telephone company was efficient.   Repairmen and wiremen came to the home if there were problems with the equipment or the line.   The only need for repairs that I recall was weather related.   Ma did not insist on an additional charge for house calls.   All was included in a nominal bill.  

    Operators, oh, I loved the operators.   I still do on the rare occasions I speak with one.   Not only am I too frugal to call for assistance, if or when I do, I am reminded a human voice is only available during very limited hours .   I crave that former human connection.

    As a child, when I was learning to speak, my Mom would call the ever-running weather recording and I would chat with the mechanical woman.   To assist me in acquiring manners, my parents would have me make information calls.   Do you remember when telephoning information was not a toll call and you could chat with a delightful human being?   Those were the days.   Though the monopoly Ma Bell is returning, none of these lovely features will be forthcoming!

    If there is any similarity between the past and the present it is that, this business will be bulging; it will be all-powerful, formidable, so much so it may be out of control.   The current Federal Communications Commission was barely able to manage it in these recent negotiations.

    The newer AT&T will be much like its mother

    With roots stretching to 1885, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company was split by the government in 1984 into eight regional Bell companies and a long-distance and equipment company that retained the AT&T name.

    The Telecommunications Act of 1996 partly deregulated the industry, enabling a rapid re-consolidation.

    Southwestern Bell, later SBC, proved to be the most aggressive of the Baby Bells.   Under Chief Executive Ed Whitacre Jr., it quickly snapped up its siblings Pacific Telesis and Ameritech, in addition to Southern New England Telecommunications.

    There was even talk in 1997 of SBC buying AT&T, but that idea was shot down by the Federal Communications Commission as soon as it was mentioned in the media.

    AT&T was at the time flailing somewhat for direction.   In its main business, long distance, it was facing nascent competition from the Baby Bells, which were allowed entry into that domain by the Telecommunications Act – as long as they opened their local business to competition.

    But it was much harder for AT&T to break into the local business than it was for the Baby Bells to sign customers up for long-distance.   To get its own lines to homes, AT&T began buying up cable systems, but the massive debt it took later forced it to sell them off at a loss.

    Since SBC was already too large to pass antitrust muster as a buyer of AT&T under the regulatory principles of the time, it fell to BellSouth to come to rescue the old head of the family.   The companies were in advanced merger talks in 2001, but media leaks apparently gave BellSouth cold feet, and the deal was called off.

    With progressively looser regulation, more options opened up for the Bells, and last year, SBC finally did acquire AT&T.

    Although there was some concern and two Democratic Commissioners opposed the amalgamation, ultimately a compromise was reached.  

    On Thursday, December 28, 2006, details were released and the Federal Communications Commission approved the buyout.

    Among the conditions offered by AT&T is a promise to observe ”network neutrality” principles, an offer of $19.95 per month stand-alone digital subscriber line service and a vow to divest some wireless spectrum.

    The FCC’s approval was the last major regulatory hurdle for the proposed deal, which is the largest telecommunications merger in U.S. history.

    AT&T offered the concessions after a little more than a week of marathon negotiations with lawyers who work for the two Democrats on the commission, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein.

    Adelstein said Friday he was pleased with the agreement.

    ”We got substantial concessions that are going to mitigate a lot of the harms that would otherwise have resulted from this merger,” he said.

    The reaction from Commission Chairman Kevin Martin, however, was decidedly negative.   The chairman found some conditions to be ”unnecessary” and said that some ”impose burdens that have nothing to do with the transaction, are discriminatory, and run contrary to commission policy and precedent.”

    Copps was cautiously optimistic, saying that the approval was ”not a triumph for huge corporate mergers but a modest victory for American consumers.”   He added that he was not entirely satisfied with the compromise but believed it is ”a genuine step forward” in several areas.

    Perhaps, I am less so.   There are aspects of the compromise that I favor, somewhat.   If I had a choice, greater provisions would have to be met before the buyout was approved.   However, the Justice Department and the FCC never asked me what I thought.

    The Justice Department approved the merger on Oct. 11, but it attached no conditions, a move that prompted outrage among many Democrats.

    In an effort to gain the support of Copps and Adelstein, AT&T submitted a set of concessions on Oct. 13, but they were rejected.

    In AT&T’s letter committing to the new conditions, the company’s senior vice president in charge of regulatory affairs, Robert W. Quinn Jr., noted that the new concessions were ”significantly more extensive than those submitted on Oct. 13.”

    The new offer extends the lifespan of many conditions from 30 months under the old deal to 42 months or longer in some cases.

    Among the promises made by the company:

    –An offer of stand-alone, DSL Internet service to customers in its service area for $19.95 per month for 30 months.   The ”naked DSL (digital subscriber line)” offer would allow those who live in AT&T and BellSouth’s service areas to sign up for fast Internet access without being required to buy a package of other services.

    –To cap rates for ”special access” customers, usually competitors and large businesses that pay to connect directly to a regional phone company’s central office via a dedicated fiber optic line, for 48 months.

    –To divest all of the 2.5 GHZ spectrum currently licensed to BellSouth within one year of the merger closing date.

    –To ”repatriate” 3,000 jobs that were outsourced by BellSouth outside the U.S. by Dec. 31, 2008, with at least 200 of those jobs to be located in New Orleans.

    I am thankful for extended restraints.   I am grateful for the two Democrats at the door.   I think they did a fine job considering.   Nevertheless, there is still much to fear.   Among the items most worrisome, is the temporary status of net neutrality!   Please allow me to define net neutrality for those unfamiliar with the concept.  

    Network neutrality is a principle analogous to the Bill of Rights.   If the Internet is open, as it currently is, we are all, equally free to speak.   Our access is not based on income, status, or the company we keep.   If the Internet remains neutral, it favors no one, while favoring everyone.   A neutral net is an unbiased avenue for information.   A impartial Internet does not provide privileges for businesses or governments, while restricting rights for the average Jane or John.   We, the people on the worldwide web are all created equal in a neutral cyberspace community.   “Today, the neutrality of the Internet is at stake as the broadband carriers want Congress’s permission to determine what content gets to you first and fastest.   Put simply, this would fundamentally alter the openness of the Internet.”

    Scary; given the opportunity companies and, or Congress can take away our rights to communicate, to access information; they can decrease the speed at which we travel and restrict the hours.   Currently, the people govern the Internet; many want this to change.

    AT&T had clearly drawn a line in the sand on the issue, and was not prepared to offer any promises that would not affect the telecommunications industry as a whole.

    The company’s position has been receiving generally positive reaction from proponents of the concept, but some skepticism from others, who are concerned with the wording of AT&T’s commitment.

    AT&T says it will ”maintain a neutral network and neutral routing in its wireline broadband Internet access service” for two years and that it would not sell services to Internet content providers that ”privileges, degrades or prioritizes” traffic over its wireline broadband service.

    Two short years; how quickly these will pass.   In some respects, the security of the services has already been compromised.

    But it [AT&T]makes an exception to the company’s Internet Protocol television service.

    Martin is unconvinced the network neutrality provisions are necessary.

    ”The conditions regarding net neutrality have very little to do with the merger at hand and very well may cause greater problems than the speculative problems they seek to address,” he wrote.   ”These conditions are simply not warranted by current market conditions and may deter facilities investment.”

    Meanwhile, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., incoming chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, indicated his displeasure in a statement that said the process followed by the FCC may be ”’suitable for committee review.”

    Earl Comstock, president and CEO of Comptel, a group that represents competitors of AT&T, said he would have preferred to see more conditions from AT&T, and questioned why the compromise came so quickly.

    ”Compared to where it was in the fall, there was definite progress,” he said of the deal.   ”But given the negotiating position (of the Democrats) it could be better.”

    So much could be better.   Imagine a world where large corporations do not gobble smaller businesses up.   Ponder a planet where we work together, where the Internet was a tool to connect us in cyberspace, and not a mechanism to bleed us dry.   Ma Bell, please have mercy.   This “new deal” will bring in $117 billion annually.   Is that not enough to satisfy your insatiable appetite?

    Please sign Net Neutrality petition. . .

  • Make Net Neutrality the Law. Free Press Action Fund

    The Bell is Tolling . . .

  • Expectant Excited Public Awaits Execution Saddam Hussein ©

    A pleased public, a joyous Prime Minister, and the President of the United States excitedly prepare to execute their enemy, the former leader of an “evil empire.”  All appears to be accelerated.  The Muslim holidays are only  hours away.  It is illegal to put a person to death during the holy days, though, as we watch the warring tribes and troops we know that this rule is rarely observed. 

    Nevertheless, there is a rush, just as there was a rush to judgment.

    Saddam to Be Hanged ‘Without Delay,’ Iraqi PM Says
    By Patrick Goodenough, Managing Editor?December 29, 2006 

    ( – Saddam Hussein’s execution will be carried out without delay, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was quoted as saying Friday, amid a flurry of speculation about the timing of the hanging. 

    “There will be no review [of the sentence] or delay in carrying out the execution against the criminal Saddam,” said a statement from al-Maliki’s office, reported by Iraqi state television. 

    “Whoever rejects Saddam’s execution would be insulting the martyrs,” he said in the statement, referring to Iraqi victims of the former dictator’s oppressive rule. 

    One of Saddam’s defense lawyers, former Qatari Justice Minister Najib al-Nuaimi, told al-Jazeera television he believed the execution would take place on Saturday, based on a request by the U.S. military for the defense team to collect the prisoner’s personal belongings. 

    Wire services are reporting at midday Friday eastern U.S. time that the U.S. has already handed Saddam over to Iraqi authorities, and the Associated Press quoted an Iraqi judge as saying the execution would take place by Saturday at the latest. 

    Saturday is the first day of the Islamic holiday of Eid ul-Adha, marking the end of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca.

    Saddam Hussein will not be tried for crimes against the Kurds, Shi’ites, and marsh Arabs.  There is no time for what might be juris prudence.  President Bush and those he helped put into office are on a mission.  The neoconservative base, the Religious Right are anxious to kill again in the name of G-d, liberty, justice, and democracy.

    A reason to keep Saddam alive
    December 28, 2006

    THERE ARE DIVERSE reasons for discontent with Tuesday’s decision of an Iraqi appeals court upholding a death sentence for Saddam Hussein for the 1982 massacre of 182 men and boys in the Shi’ite town of Dujail. The independence of the judges who found him guilty of crimes against humanity has been questioned, as has a blatant lack of security for defense lawyers. Human-rights groups have lamented the rapidity of the judicial review conducted by the nine-judge appeals panel. And those who oppose the death penalty in all circumstances would prefer that Saddam serve a life sentence for his crimes.

    But if the work of the Iraqi High Tribunal is viewed as an opportunity to establish historical truth, then the principal objection to carrying out the death sentence within 30 days, as the tribunal’s charter mandates, is of a different order. Once Saddam is hanged for the single circumscribed crime against humanity he perpetrated in Dujail, his other, genocidal crimes against the Kurds, Shi’ites, and marsh Arabs cannot be tried and judged properly in a court of law.

    The current Iraqi government claims that even after Saddam is put to death, his trial for the mass murder of some 180,000 Kurds in what he called the Anfal campaign of the late 1980s will continue. But there can be no true trial if the despot is not present in the courtroom to answer charges for the killing of Kurdish villagers with nerve gas and mustard gas, the executions by firing squads of Kurdish men and boys, and the herding of Kurdish women and children into lethal concentration camps.

    Without a living Saddam to confront his accusers in court — to answer for the slaughters of Shi’ites he commanded in 1991; his assassinations of leading Shi’ite clerics and political figures; and the draining of the southern marshes that destroyed an ancient way of life for 500,000 marsh Arabs — justice will be cheated. Iraqis will lose their best chance to sift, challenge, and judge the evidence of Saddam’s major crimes against humanity. They will lose the only opportunity they will ever have to prove a crucial historical truth by legal means.

    As I have been throughout my life, I am fascinated that we, the human race, never choose to learn from history.

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
    ~ George Santayana

    We journey on, breaching the commandments we profess to believe in.  In our youth we are learn of the Romans and the amphitheatres built to observe killing.

    Servants would duel to the death for the right to provide companionship to their owners in eternity . . . What gladiators did (indeed what they were trained to do) was kill and die well. These were tasks of extraordinary urgency for Romans. . . . as members of a relentlessly militaristic culture, Romans valued the art of killing. . . Gladiatorial games proved immediately and immensely popular within the Roman empire.

    For days we discussed televising the hanging of Saddam Hussein.  Would such an action promote martyrdom?  Would the Iraqi people welcome the viewing or would they react in a manner that might incite riots?  The decision was made.  The execution would be taped for later and repeated viewings. 

    How far has the human race come in the last centuries.  I surmise, not far at all!

    The time is drawing near.  Minutes ago the New York Times reported

    Hussein Turned Over to Iraqis, His Lawyers Say
    By James Glanz
    December 29, 2006

    BAGHDAD, Dec. 29 -United States officials have transferred Saddam Hussein to Iraqi custody, his lawyers said today in statements faxed to The Associated Press and Reuters.

    The physical hand-over of Saddam was believed to be one of the last steps before he was to be hanged.

    “The American side has notified us that they have handed over the president to the Iraqi authorities,” Khalil al-Dulaimi, head of Saddam’s defense team, said in the statement.

    “They told us the president is no longer under the authority of the American forces and they requested us not to go to Baghdad,” he said.

    Munir Haddad, one of the judges on the appeals court that upheld Saddam’s death sentence, told The A.P: “Saddam will be executed today or tomorrow. All the measures have been done.”

    Mr. Haddad is authorized to attend the execution on behalf of the judiciary. “I am ready to attend and there is no reason for delays,” he said.

    After upholding the death sentence against Mr. Hussein on Tuesday for the execution of 148 Shiite men and boys in 1982, an Iraqi appeals court ruled that he must be sent to the gallows within 30 days. In Iraq, where the Constitution requires that the Iraqi president and his two deputies sign all execution orders, officials said it was unlikely that legal formalities would stand in the way. The president, Jalal Talabani, had not received the documents by late Thursday.

    But a government official familiar with the process said that little objection would be raised if the execution took place almost immediately. “Even if it happens tonight, no one is going to make an issue out of the procedure,” the official said.

    Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser, said there would be no advance notice of the execution because of fears that any announcement could set off violence. When asked who would be invited to attend the hanging, Mr. Rubaie said: “No television. No press. Nothing.”

    He said that the execution would be videotaped but that it was unlikely the tape would be released.

    Even with the security fears, there was little appetite among Iraqi officialdom to spare Mr. Hussein for much longer. “I hope the decision should be implemented very soon,” said Qasim Daoud, a former national security adviser. “Sooner is better because it sends a message that we are determined – we want to get ahead step by step to building a new Iraq, and these messages will help.”

    Some rights advocacy groups have criticized the haste of the trial and the appeal. Mr. Hussein was sentenced to death on Nov. 5 by a court set up to judge his years in power, and the appeals court handed down its ruling less than two months later. Mr. Hussein, along with two co-defendants, received his death sentence on a case involving only the killings of the 148 Shiites, in the town of Dujail. More cases were pending.

    Since the appeals court upheld the death sentences, rumors have swept Baghdad that the Iraqi government would move quickly to put Mr. Hussein to death. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has drawn protests of political meddling in recent months by suggesting publicly that the former dictator should die at the earliest possible date.

    Public pronouncements by American officials have been much more muted, as all formal queries have been referred to the government of Iraq, or G.O.I. in Baghdad jargon.

    One American official who works closely with the Iraqi justice system expressed frustration over the criticism that Mr. Hussein’s trial had received. Considering the difficult security situation in a country emerging from a dictatorship – Mr. Hussein’s – the trial has been conducted as fairly as possible by the Iraqis, the official said. “I’m sure they gave it full deliberation and I have full confidence in them,” the official said.

    Might we ask whether mankind understands the concept of “fair” as they gather round, ready up their VCRs and prepare to watch another execution!

    Hang It High Hussein . . .

  • A reason to keep Saddam alive. Boston Globe. December 28, 2006
  • Saddam to Be Hanged ‘Without Delay,’ Iraqi PM Says, By Patrick Goodenough. Cyberspace News. December 29, 2006
  • Justice is Served? Saddam Hussein. Death by Hanging © By Betsy L. Angert. December 28, 2006?
  • Roman Civilization. History and Interpretation of Gladiatorial Games. By Margaret Imber. Bates College.

  • Hussein Turned Over to Iraqis, His Lawyers Say, By James Glanz. New York Times. December 29, 2006
  • pdf Hussein Turned Over to Iraqis, His Lawyers Say, By James Glanz. New York Times. December 29, 2006
  • Justice is Served? Saddam Hussein. Death by Hanging ©

    Saddam Hussein is scheduled to hang.  I heard the verdict and my head hurt; my heart was pained.  I pondered the situation and the sadness, as did the man himself. 

    Former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein speaks of his life and of his probable passing in a letter written more than a month ago.  The text is presented below.  I acknowledge that Saddam Hussein did much harm to his people; however, I cannot ignore that he too is human.  

    Admittedly, there is much evidence.  The former Iraqi leader did not respect the human rights of others.  Nevertheless, can we justify our intent to cruelly kill this tragic tyrant?  Are we able to excuse execution of any being?  Apparently, the human race is infinitely capable of defending what it does; it has for centuries.  I invite each of us to contemplate what we continue to do, kill in the name of righteousness.

    I begin this treatise with the writing of another, Saddam Hussein.

    Saddam letter: Key excerpts

    Saddam Hussein wrote the letter on the day he was sentenced

    A letter, written on 5 November by Saddam Hussein has been released by the former Iraqi leader’s lawyers. Here are some key excerpts . . .

    In the past, I was, as you all know, in the battlefield of jihad and struggle.

    God, exalted by He, wished that I face the same again in the same manner and the same spirit in which we were before the revolution but with a problem that is greater and harsher.

    Oh beloved, this harsh situation, which we and our great Iraq are facing, is a new lesson and a new trial for the people by which to be judged, each depending on their intention, so that it becomes an identifier before God and the people in the present and after our current situation becomes a glorious history.

    It is, above all, the foundation upon which the success of the future phases of history can be built.

    In this situation and in no other, the veritable are the honest and faithful and the opposing are the false.

    When the insignificant people use the power given to them by the foreigners to oppress their own people, they are but worthless and lowly. In our country, only good must result from what we are experiencing.

    To the great nation, to the people of our country, and humanity: Many of you have known the writer of this letter to be faithful, honest, caring for others, wise, of sound judgement, just, decisive, careful with the wealth of the people and the state… and that his heart is big enough to embrace all without discrimination.

    His heart aches for the poor and he does not rest until he helps in improving their condition and attends to their needs.

    His heart contains all his people and his nation, and he craves to be honest and faithful without differentiating between his people except on the basis of their efforts, efficiency, and patriotism.

    Here I am speaking today in your name and for your eyes and the eyes of our nation and the eyes of the just, the people of the truth, wherever their banner is hoisted.

    You have known your brother and leader very well and he never bowed to the despots and, in accordance with the wishes of those who loved him, remained a sword and a banner.

    This is how you want your brother, son or leader to be… and those who will lead you (in the future) should have the same qualifications.

    Here, I offer my soul to God as a sacrifice, and if He wants, He will send it to heaven with the martyrs, or, He will postpone that… so let us be patient and depend on Him against the unjust nations.

    In spite of all the difficulties and the storms which we and Iraq had to face, before and after the revolution, God the Almighty did not want death for Saddam Hussein.

    But if He wants it this time, it (Saddam’s life) is His creation. He created it and He protected it until now.

    Thus, by its martyrdom, He will be bringing glory to a faithful soul, for there were souls that were younger than Saddam Hussein that had departed and had taken this path before him. If He wants it martyred, we thank Him and offer Him gratitude, before and after.

    ‘The enemies’
    The enemies of your country, the invaders and the Persians, found that your unity stands as a barrier between them and your enslavement.

    They planted and grounded their hateful old and new wedge between you.

    The strangers who are carrying the Iraqi citizenship, whose hearts are empty or filled with the hatred that was planted in them by Iran, responded to it, but how wrong they were to think that they could divide the noble among our people, weaken your determination, and fill the hearts of the sons of the nation with hatred against each other, instead of against their true enemies that will lead them in one direction to fight under the banner of God is great: The great flag of the people and the nation.

    Remember that God has enabled you to become an example of love, forgiveness and brotherly co-existence…

    I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave a space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking and keeps away one from balanced thinking and making the right choice …

    I also call on you not to hate the peoples of the other countries that attacked us and differentiate between the decision-makers and peoples…

    Anyone who repents – whether in Iraq or abroad – you must forgive him…

    You should know that among the aggressors, there are people who support your struggle against the invaders, and some of them volunteered for the legal defence of prisoners, including Saddam Hussein…

    Some of these people wept profusely when they said goodbye to me…

    Dear faithful people, I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any faithful, honest believer… God is Great… God is great… Long live our nation… Long live our great struggling people…

    Long live Iraq, long live Iraq… Long live Palestine… Long live jihad and the mujahideen.

    Saddam Hussein
    President and Commander in Chief of the Iraqi Mujahid Armed Forces

    [Additional note:]
    I have written this letter because the lawyers told me that the so-called criminal court – established and named by the invaders – will allow the so-called defendants the chance for a last word.

    But that court and its chief judge did not give us the chance to say a word, and issued its verdict without explanation and read out the sentence – dictated by the invaders – without presenting the evidence.
    I wanted the people to know this.

    People may choose to understand or they may reject what they refuse to believe.  Here is a man, a fellow human, facing his own mortality.  Individuals defend the decision to put this man to death.  They assert he is not human.  He is merely evil, the enemy, and must be executed.

    Persons such as the self-professed Christian leader of a supposed secular country, President George W. Bush thinks the sentence is just.  Iraqi  courts ruled the former Middle Eastern leader quilt of crimes against his people.  Hussein was convicted; they say he killed 148 people.  Perhaps he did, or persons working for the dictator did the deeds.  Those in authority rarely carry out the dirty work.

    As the arrangements are made, attorneys for the condemned are scurrying.

    Hussein is ‘a prisoner of war,’ says chief lawyer
    Christopher Torchia
    Associated Press

    BAGHDAD, Iraq – Saddam Hussein’s chief lawyer implored world leaders Thursday to prevent the United States from handing over the ousted leader to Iraqi authorities for execution, saying he deserves protection as a “prisoner of war.”

    Iraq’s highest court on Tuesday rejected Saddam’s appeal against his conviction and death sentence for the killing of 148 Shiites in the northern city of Dujail in 1982. The court said the former president should be hanged within 30 days.

    “According to the international conventions it is forbidden to hand a prisoner of war to his adversary,” Saddam’s lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, said in Amman, Jordan.

    “I urge all the international and legal organizations, the United Nations secretary general, the Arab League and all the leaders of the world to rapidly prevent the American administration from handing the president to the Iraqi authorities,” he told The Associated Press.

    The death penalty has never made sense to me.  I have tried and tried to understand; yet, I never have.  As a child we are taught to honor the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Quotes from the Bible are offered, “Turn the other check.”  Of course, that pronouncement is quickly followed with the retort, “An eye for an eye . . .” 

    The Ten Commandments no matter which translation you choose state, “Thou shall not kill.”  No religion sanctions the silliness.  Only zealots endorse the option.  Interpretations of text are interesting to say the least. Fortunately, today there is a religious voice that rejects the prospect.

    Renato Cardinal Martino, Pope Benedict’s top prelate for justice issues and a former Vatican envoy to the UN, condemned the death sentence in a newspaper interview published Thursday, saying capital punishment goes against the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

    Still, there are those that think killing one wo/man for killing another wo/man makes sense.  I am fascinated by pro-lifers, anti-abortion fanatics, those that forcefully attack clinics, their physicians, and patients, all in the name of preserving life.  These activists say they love their fellow man as they advocate murder.

    BOSTON — In Norfolk outside the jail where John C. Salvi III was being held for the murder of two women, a pro-Salvi rally was going on. There was applause for the fatal assault on the Brookline, Mass., clinics where abortions are performed. There was talk of “justifiable homicide” and talk of “war.”

    The Rev. Donald Spitz of Pro-Life Virginia bellowed into a megaphone aimed at the prisoner’s cell: “John Salvi, we care about you. We love you. We support you.” He called the murders “a righteous deed.”

    Often emotions govern what we do.  We kill and then justify the reasons why. 

    People ponder possibilities.  Humans value their own lives. thus, they honor all life, except when they do not.
    Money is a motivator.  Many a conflict commenced with dollars as the “root cause.  Dear reader, you might recall, cash was considered grounds for this protracted Middle Eastern conflict.  Some say oil and the financial gain we in the States might reap were reason enough.

    Insiders told Newsnight that planning began “within weeks” of Bush’s first taking office in 2001, long before the September 11th attack on the US.

    An Iraqi-born oil industry consultant, Falah Aljibury, says he took part in the secret meetings in California, Washington, and the Middle East. He described a State Department plan for a forced coup d’etat.

    Mr. Aljibury himself told Newsnight that he interviewed potential successors to Saddam Hussein on behalf of the Bush administration. 

    Secret sell-off plan
    The industry-favoured plan was pushed aside by a secret plan, drafted just before the invasion in 2003, which called for the sell-off of all of Iraq’s oil fields. The new plan was crafted by neo-conservatives intent on using Iraq’s oil to destroy the Opec cartel through massive increases in production above Opec quotas.

    Former Shell Oil USA chief stalled plans to privatise Iraq’s oil industry

    The sell-off was given the green light in a secret meeting in London headed by Fadhil Chalabi shortly after the US entered Baghdad, according to Robert Ebel.

    Mr. Ebel, a former Energy and CIA oil analyst, now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Newsnight he flew to the London meeting at the request of the State Department.

    Mr Aljibury, once Ronald Reagan’s “back-channel” to Saddam, claims that plans to sell off Iraq’s oil, pushed by the US-installed Governing Council in 2003, helped instigate the insurgency and attacks on US and British occupying forces.

    “Insurgents used this, saying, ‘Look, you’re losing your country, you’re losing your resources to a bunch of wealthy billionaires who want to take you over and make your life miserable,'” said Mr Aljibury from his home near San Francisco.

    “We saw an increase in the bombing of oil facilities, pipelines, built on the premise that privatisation is coming.”

    Privatisation blocked by industry

    Philip Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil USA who took control of Iraq’s oil production for the US Government a month after the invasion, stalled the sell-off scheme.

      Our President claims we must save the oil fields; they might fall into enemy hands.

    At the naval base, Bush declared, ”We will not rest until victory is America’s and our freedom is secure” from Al Qaeda and its forces in Iraq led by Abu Musab alZarqawi.

    ”If Zarqawi and [Osama] bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks,” Bush said. ”They’d seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition.”.

    Others offer a different view.  George w. Bush bellowed his rationale in 2002, prior to the falling of the first American bombs.

    if the United Nations fails to adopt a tough resolution, then the “United States will lead a coalition” and confront Iraq and force it to disarm outside of any new U.N. mandate.

    Bush was speaking in Houston at a fund-raiser for Texas Attorney General John Cornyn, the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Phil Gramm.

    Houston is the adopted hometown of the president’s father, former President Bush, and in discussing the threat posed by Saddam, the current president offered his staple list of complaints about Iraq’s defiance of the United Nations and his contention that Iraq is working aggressively on chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. “This is a man who continually lies,” Bush said.

    He said the Iraqi leader’s “hatred” was largely directed at the United States and added: “After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad.”

    I sigh and say, we may never know all of the reasons for this war or that.  I do comprehend to my core, I certainly cannot understand the rationale for killing. I acknowledge that we continue to do as was done.  We have for centuries.  It seems obvious, slaughtering one man does not lessen our loss.  Little if anything is gained by the spilling of blood.  I ask each of us to assess how many more maimings and murders will it take before we realize that killing offers no cure.  Hangings do not bring resolution, though they may provoke a revolution.  Death does not promote peace.  The loss of one will not compensate for the loss of others.

    As I breathe deeply I wonder why; why would we wish to harm another in the name of justice.  I invite you to share your opinions.

    The hanging of a human, Saddam Hussein . . .

  • Saddam Hussein Sentenced to Death by Hanging.  Google Video.
  • Saddam letter: Key excerpts. BBC News. December 28, 2006
  • Death Penalty Information Center.
  • Pro-Death
  • Saddam’s Death To Be Videotaped, CBS News: Final Moments Will Be Recorded, Could Happen By End Of Month. CBS News. December 28, 2006
  • Bush’s support for death penalty opens rift with UK, By Anne Penketh. Independent News December 28, 2006
  • Saddam Hussein: crimes and human rights abuses. A report on the human cost of Saddam’s Policies. By the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. November 2002
  • Brookings Scholar Scores Saddam Hussein’s Human Rights Record War more justified than ever. By David Anthony Denny. Free Republic. March 14, 2003
  • The Line Between Persuasion and Terror, By Ellen Goodman. The Boston Globe Newspaper. Friday, January 6, 1995; Page A21
  • The Ten Commandments By B.A. Robinson. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
  • Bush calls Saddam ‘the guy who tried to kill my dad’. From John King. Cable News Network. Friday, September 27, 2002
  • Bush gives new reason for Iraq war. Says US must prevent oil fields from falling into hands of terrorists, By Jennifer Loven.  Associated Press. Boston Globe.  August 31, 2005
  • Secret US plans for Iraq’s oil, By Greg Palast. Newsnight. BBC News March 17, 2005
  • President Ford Proposes No “Justifying” Iraq War ©

    Please forgive the prologue advertisement.  Please select the link and view President Ford Remembered CBS News.

    Among the present peace activist, we might include former President and World War II veteran, Gerald R. Ford.  Though the words are muffled and very difficult to hear, the transcripts are clear,

    “Rumsfeld and Cheney and the president made a big mistake in justifying going into the war in Iraq.  They put the emphasis on weapons of mass destruction,” Ford said.  “And now, I’ve never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do.”

    Gerald Ford spoke openly with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward in 2004.  The two agreed; the text of this conversation would not be released until esteemed author Bob Woodward released a book he was planning, or perchance upon the former President’s passing. 

    The initial interview took place in 2004.  Conversations continued into the following year.  The irony is not lost on many.  President Bush initiated the invasion; he found support among his advisers, prominent veterans of the Ford administration.

    In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney — Ford’s White House chief of staff — and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford’s chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief.

    The former President stated the conflict and the Administration’s plan to attack was not just; he continued, “”I don’t think I would have gone to war.”  The President, often considered the only Commander-In-Chief to lose a war, an idea that he vehemently disputed, stated, he “very strongly” disagreed with the current administrations “justifications” for battle.  President Ford proclaimed,

    n a conversation that veered between the current realities of a war in the Middle East and the old complexities of the war in Vietnam whose bitter end he presided over as president, Ford took issue with the notion of the United States entering a conflict in service of the idea of spreading democracy.

    “Well, I can understand the theory of wanting to free people,” Ford said, referring to Bush’s assertion that the United States has a “duty to free people.”  But the former president said he was skeptical “whether you can detach that from the obligation number one, of what’s in our national interest.”  He added: “And I just don’t think we should go hellfire damnation around the globe freeing people, unless it is directly related to our own national security.”

    National security, that is another perplexing issue.  Now, even Republicans such as the renowned President Ford seem to accept, we are not safer since President Bush decisively chose to “spread democracy.”  Ford expressed his belief, there were other solutions.  Being a bully is not and would not have been the chosen style of this loving lawman.

    President Ford Proposes Peaceful solutions . . .

  • President Ford Remembered CBS News.
  • Gerald R. Ford, 1913 – 2006. Washington Post. Wednesday, December 27, 2006
  • Ford on Foreign Military Interventions. Audio Recorded by Bob Woodward.  Washington Post. Wednesday, December 27, 2006
  • Ford Disagreed With Bush About Invading Iraq, By Bob Woodward.  Washington Post. Thursday, December 28, 2006; Page A01
  • pdf Ford Disagreed With Bush About Invading Iraq, By Bob Woodward.  Washington Post. Thursday, December 28, 2006; Page A01
  • Excerpts From Bob Woodward’s Interview With President Ford. Audio Recorded by Bob Woodward. Washington Post. Wednesday, December 27, 2006
  • Ford on the Bush White House’s Miscalculation. Audio Recorded by Bob Woodward.  Washington Post. Wednesday, December 27, 2006
  • Gerald R. Ford. Excerpted from an essay by James Cannon.  Public Broadcasting Service.
  • Ford: Iraq war was not justified, By Bob Woodward.  The Washington Post.  Chicago Tribune. Published December 28, 2006
  • No Graceful Exit For The Bully George W. Bush © By Betsy L. Angert.
  • James Brown; Honoring a “Hard Working” Hero ©

    Perhaps, James Brown has a new bag, a new gig.  I trust the world beyond will welcome this “hard working” Grand Papa of soul.  The Earthly presence of Mr. Brown is not as we would wish, still, he draws crowds.  Hordes of people await his appearance at the Apollo theatre in Harlem.  People waited for hours; they hoped to see James Brown one last time.  Many thousands longed to honor a man that gave them hope, heart, and soul.

    In those early years, when segregation was more prominent than it might be now, the Black population responded to Brown’s cry.  “I am Black and I am proud!”  People pleased to be as they are powerful.  The man that reminded individuals of their strength is to be revered today, tomorrow, and eternally.  We thank you James Brown.

    Godfather of Soul James Brown dies
    By Mark Feeney, Globe
    December 26, 2006

    James Brown, whose hit songs such as “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “Cold Sweat” helped make him one of the most influential singers of the second half of the 20th century and an icon of African-American pride, died yesterday in Atlanta. Tagged the “Godfather of Soul,” he was 73.

    Mr. Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died of heart failure around 1:45 a.m. yesterday , his agent, Frank Copsidas, told the Associated Press. He initially seemed fine at the hospital and even told people that he planned to be on stage in New York on New Year’s Eve, Copsidas said.

    Only Elvis Presley had more records make the music charts than Mr. Brown . Ninety-four of Mr. Brown’s recordings reached the Top 100, and he had more Top 20 singles than any other recording artist.

    “He was an innovator, he was an emancipator, he was an originator. Rap music, all that stuff came from James Brown,” entertainer Little Richard, a longtime friend of Mr. Brown’s, told MSNBC.

    Even though Mr. Brown had his last chart single in 1985, his popularity endured. The churning polyrhythms of such songs as “Cold Sweat” and “I Got You (I Feel Good)” imbue them with a freshness that has kept them a mainstay of classic hits radio formats and commercials.

    Mr. Brown received numerous formal honors. Cash Box magazine named him best pop male vocalist in 1969 (the first African-American so honored). The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included him among its inaugural inductees in 1986. He was a Kennedy Center honoree in 2003.

    Yet the greatest tributes to Mr. Brown were and are less conventional. The rhythmic intensity and daring of Mr. Brown’s music made it uniquely influential.

    “JAMES BROWN is a concept, a vibration, a dance,” he declared in the liner notes to his 1991 boxed set, “Star Time.” “It’s not me, the man. JAMES BROWN is a freedom I created for humanity.”
    He had an enormous impact on rhythm and blues and soul. All but single handedly, he created funk. And through his numerous recordings sampled by rap artists, he provided the rhythmic underpinnings for hip-hop.

    “Using Brown’s grooves as the mother lode and Brown’s staccato lyrics as a starting point,” the critic Nelson George has written, “hip-hop embraced his legacy. With the introduction of the sampling machine in the mid-’80s, Brown’s actual recordings became the heart of this sound.”

    His recordings assured Mr. Brown’s success and influence; his live performances made him a legend.

    “When I played, I gave good value for the dollar,” he wrote in his 1986 autobiography, “James Brown: The Godfather of Soul.” It was no idle boast. Mr. Brown danced the way he sang, only more so. His voice was a leathery rasp, with a clenched-fist quality. Mr. Brown’s dancing unclenched the fist — and then some. Impressive as were the grunts, screams, yowls, shrieks, and groans his voice made, they were not as spectacular as the gyrations he put his body through, a collection of spins, splits, slides, twists, jumps, and drops.

    The showman continues to shine.  He left a legacy that will live on.  We are grateful James Brown.  The gifts you gave us, Blacks, whites, and those of every color are innumerable.  You taught us to sing, to dance, and most of all to respect others and ourselves.

    Gerald R. Ford Passes, December 26, 2006

    “Biography” Gerald Ford 4President 1976 TV Ad.

    Former President Gerald Ford passes.  Intensely aware that he was never elected by the people, this President left a powerful legacy.

    Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon’s scandal-shattered White House as the 38th and only president in America’s history never elected to nationwide office, has died, his wife, Betty, said Tuesday. He was 93.

    “My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age,” Mrs. Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband’s office in Rancho Mirage. “His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country.”

    Ford was a family man, a man of faith; he lived the American dream; yet he did this quietly, unexpectedly, and with little fanfare.

    Ford was an accidental president, Nixon’s hand-picked successor, a man of much political experience who had never run on a national ticket. He was as open and straightforward as Nixon was tightly controlled and conspiratorial.

    He took office minutes after Nixon flew off into exile in 1974 and declared “our long national nightmare is over.” But he revived the debate a month later by granting Nixon a pardon for all crimes he committed as president. That single act, it was widely believed, cost Ford election to a term of his own in 1976, but it won praise in later years as a courageous act that allowed the nation to move on.

    The Vietnam War ended in defeat for the U.S. during his presidency with the fall of Saigon in April 1975. In a speech as the end neared, Ford said: “Today, America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. But it cannot be achieved by refighting a war that is finished as far as America is concerned.”

    Evoking Abraham Lincoln, he said it was time to “look forward to an agenda for the future, to unify, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

    Ford also earned a place in the history books as the first unelected vice president, chosen by Nixon to replace Spiro Agnew, also forced from office by scandal.

    He was in the White House only 895 days, but changed it more than it changed him.

    Even after two women tried separately to kill him, the presidency of Jerry Ford remained open and plain, and – to greatest satisfaction to a nation numbed by Watergate – not dishonest.

    Even to millions of Americans who had voted two years earlier for Nixon, the transition to Ford’s leadership was one of the most welcomed in the history of the democratic process – despite the fact that it occurred without an election.

    After the Watergate ordeal, Americans liked their new president – and first lady Betty, whose candor charmed the country.

    They liked her for speaking openly about growing up problems of young people, including her own daughter; they admired her for not hiding that she had a mastectomy – in fact, her example caused thousands of women to seek breast examinations.

    And she remained one of the country’s most admired women even after the Fords left the White House when she was hospitalized in 1978 and admitted to having become addicted to drugs and alcohol she took for painful arthritis and a pinched nerve in her neck. Four years later she founded the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage a substance abuse facility next to Eisenhower Medical Center.

    In a long congressional career in which he rose to be House Republican leader, Ford lit few fires. In the words of Congressional Quarterly, he “built a reputation for being solid, dependable and loyal – a man more comfortable carrying out the programs of others than in initiating things on his own.”

    When Agnew resigned in a bribery scandal in October 1973, Ford was one of four finalists to succeed him: Texan John Connally, New York’s Nelson Rockefeller and California’s Ronald Reagan.

    “Personal factors enter into such a decision,” Nixon recalled for a Ford biographer in 1991. I knew all of the final four personally and had great respect for each one of then, but I had known Jerry Ford longer and better than any of the rest.

    So Ford it was. He became the first vice president appointed under the 25th amendment to the Constitution.

    Gerald Ford was a reserved man, a revered man, a gentle man that will be missed.

    In homage to Gerald R. Ford . . .

  • Gerald R. Ford, led nation after Watergate scandal, dies at 93. By Jeff Wilson Associated Press. The Mercury News. December 27, 2006
  • pdf Gerald R. Ford, led nation after Watergate scandal, dies at 93. By Jeff Wilson Associated Press. The Mercury News. December 27, 2006
  • Gerald Ford dies at 93. MSNBC News.
  • “Biography” Gerald Ford 4President 1976 TV Ad. YouTube.
  • September 11. Deaths and Dots Do Not Connect ©

    8/21/06 Bush says Iraq didn’t attack us

    As I listen to the statistics, stories of death and wrongdoing, I find myself mystified.  September 11, 2001, the Iraqi war, and Saddam Hussein are three distinct topics; yet, today, they are one.

    It has been a long and confusing three and three-quarters years.  Actually, the last six years have been puzzling to me.  We all recall September 11, 2001.  The Twin Towers went up in flames and then tumbled down to the ground.  Hardened steel melted before our eyes.  People plummeted to their death.  Close to three thousand lives were lost.  After the devastating assault, the people of this nation mourned.  Then, they began a feverous search for answers.  Many said Al Queda, a militant Sunni organization, was to blame.  However, the President of the United States thought the tyrant, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was responsible.  Mr. Bush convinced the American public that this was so.

    In September 2003, polls showed that seventy percent of the public believed that the Iraqi despot was involved in the strike against America.  However, the President could not substantiate his claims.  On September 18, 2003, George W. Bush admitted this.  The pompous President sheepishly stated, “We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks.”

    The President’s words were not heard or heeded by a vast majority of the people.  Even after his pronouncement many thought, were it not for the Middle Eastern autocrat the buildings would still be standing.  Blood would not have been spilled on American soil.  A Federal judge in a New York City court agreed.  According to the arbitrator, the dictator sponsored the terrorists.  He helped plan the attacks.  The leader of Iraq was complicit in the “war” crimes.  In effect, the attack on the Towers amounted to a declaration of war, or so said the President and the juris prudent.

    George W. Bush deemed Saddam Hussein must pay for his misdeeds against the United States, perhaps with his life.  Measures were and are being taken.  The once powerful Iraqi leader is scheduled to die.  However, the deaths in America are no longer considered his crime.  The tormenter is being tried for transgressions against his own people.  While this decision is somewhat convoluted, it is much easier to understand than another comparison.

    Today, all day, journalist report a correlation.

    The number of US troops killed in Iraq is now greater than the number of people who died in the terror attack on New York on 11 September 2001, an event unrelated to Saddam Hussein’s regime but which the US and Britain used as justification for the invasion.

    The milestone was passed when three members of a patrol were killed in a bomb explosion south of Baghdad on Monday.  The military announced the death of four more troops yesterday, three in a bombing and a fourth in a vehicle accident.  Combined, the US death toll now stands at 2,978, five more than the number of people killed in the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001.

    Although, there is no connection, September 11, 2001 and the Iraq war are implicitly tied, they are in the minds of Americans.  The media continues to tie the two.  I am perplexed, are you?  Please help me to understand.  Someone please, tell me the truth or tell me if there is one.

  • Iraqi Court Says Hussein Must Die Within 30 Days, By James Glanz. New York Times. December 27, 2006
  • pdf Iraqi Court Says Hussein Must Die Within 30 Days, By James Glanz. New York Times. December 27, 2006
  • Death toll of US troops in Iraq passes September 11, By Andrew Buncombe. The Independent. December 27, 2006
  • Bush rejects Saddam 9/11 link. BBC News September 18, 2006
  • War price on U.S. lives equal to 9/11. USA Today. September 24, 2006
  • 9/11 by the Numbers. New York Magazine.  September 5, 2002
  • Bush rejects Saddam 9/11 link. BBC News.  September 18, 2003
  • New York reduces 9/11 death toll by 40, From Phil Hirschkorn.  Cable News Network.  Wednesday, October 29, 2003
  • Lawsuit ruling finds Iraq partly responsible for 9/11, By Richard Willing. USA Today. May 7, 2003
  • Iraqi appeals court mandates hanging for Saddam Hussein. From Associated Press. Los Angeles Times. December 26, 2006
  • pdf Iraqi appeals court mandates hanging for Saddam Hussein. From Associated Press. Los Angeles Times. December 26, 2006
  • 8/21/06 Bush says Iraq didn’t attack us. YouTube