Monday, June 07, 2004

adventures/confessions saint augustine bear

See the Venus Transit tomorrow!

See the Venus Transit tomorrow!

"There will be no other till the twenty-first century of our era has dawned upon the Earth and the June flowers are blooming in 2004. What will be the state of science - God only knows."

1882 -- William Harkness, U.S. Naval Observatory


A rare celestial event, one not seen by any person now alive. On June 8, the planet Venus will appear to cross in front of the Sun as seen from Earth. The last "Venus transit" occurred more than a century ago, in 1882, and was used to compute the distance from the Earth to the Sun.


Predictions/times to witness the transit in your city

Time To Leave Iraq - from The Nation

Time to Leave

Listen to what the Iraqis are telling us---give them back their country... and leave.

Reagan, Terror, and Bush

Reagan, terror, and Bush

With Ronald Reagan as President, America felt optimistically safe to see the world in black and white. These days, as a New York Times editorial stated, "gray is beginning to look a lot more attractive".

Reminiscing with my own mother, she recalled one of the darker moments of the Reagan presidency...his decision to send our Marines to Lebanon. I recall my mother weeping that morning in October, 1983 when she learned over 240 Marines were killed by Middle-eastern terrorists.

the Reagan era brought its share of terror victims.

I also recall having Syracuse University basketball game tickets in my hand for a game to be played in late December, 1988. Just before the game came the news that terrorists connected with Libya had blown up a jet over Lockerbie, Scotland..killing 35 Syracuse University students who were coming home for the holidays. I attended that basketball game and will never forget the solemn silence which subdued the crowd that night. The terrorist bombing of Flight 103 was unquestionably an attack on the United States.*15 active-duty U.S. military members and at least 10 veterans of the United States Armed Forces and members of their families were among those who lost their lives in this tragedy.*

I implore you, dear readers, to research how President Reagan (and Bush 41 directly after him) responded to these acts of terror. I assure you that you'll find little prescience in the wisdom of whatever retaliatory moves were made by our then-President. Why did it take almost 20 years to do anything? Why was terror allowed to build up rather than to be broken down?

These acts of terror during the Reagan era were just a beginning. When I think back, I truly do not think our nation's response to these acts of terror were sufficient. Perhaps, if we'd acted with full responsibility in the 80's, there would have been no strong Osama Bin Laden to lead in 2001.

While I highly respected and liked President Reagan and trusted he was sincere in his motives, I think we should be careful in making a saint of this wonderful human being. In our big fears about Communism, I believe we fully missed the boat on the murderous treachery that would follow on the heels of its demise.

Perhaps President Reagan made us all a bit too optimistic. We went into a dreamful and exuberant "Me-decade" sleep.

Realism is criticized by some of today's NeoConservatives, but I've got to say, my dear readers, there is no more important time in American history than right here..right now for a realist to take the reins. Visionary speeches do no good when the facts on the ground are constantly working against you.

Gazing upon Utopia and shining cities on hills are lovely when the murderer isn't breathing down your neck.

I think Bush is a super-dumbed-down version of a Reagan-wannabe (without Reagan's natural gift of humor). Bush tries to imitate and emulate Reagan's historical successes. We need a clear-eyed realist who is his own man. (A man---or woman---who doesn't have to read from cue-cards and sound like a second-grader when he does). I'm sick of being faked out by cheap (and often seemingly-learning-disabled) imitations.

I believe that a good portion of the reason so many Americans have a visceral dislike for Bush is primarily due to the fact that they suspect they are far more intelligent than he is. It's frustrating when you don't share a man's ideology and you observe that he can barely squeeze three or four properly-pronounced words into one flowing sentence. Another reason for the Bush-disconnect is that so many Americans do not trust that Bush's motives are genuine. He's been caught lying to Americans too many times.

You didn't see the same distaste for Reagan, even though his ideology was oppositional to many.

We trusted Ronnie. He had a genuine-looking smile. He told us to be proud and we found something in his words to believe. He was witty..charming. He had many friends in this world..outside the borders of America. People in Europe tore down a wall with the help of his optimism. What a wonderful time for America...what a decent man.

He wasn't perfect, though. As many Christians joke, there was only one perfect man...and look what they did to him.

There were boats Reagan missed.

Ask the familes of any of these Americans and they'll tell you.

*Matthew Gross has some interesting commentary on Bush/Reagan and what Reagan's death might mean to the upcoming Presidential election.*

*There's a roundup of Reagan commentaries and farewells at Mahablog.

President Reagan: A poetic expression of love

President Reagan: A poetic expression of love

I don't think I have to repeat the news that he's gone.

What I choose to recall this morning is a part of what was President Reagan's heart..a part with which we can all identify.

He wrote this letter to Nancy on a Sunday..March 20, 1955.

Sunday, March 20, 1955

"My darling, here it is, our day. If we were home, we would have a fire and funnies. And we would hate anybody who called or dropped in.

As it is, I'm sitting here on the top of the sixth floor, beside a phony fireplace, looking out at a gray, wet sky, and listening to a radio play music not intended for one person alone.

"Nevertheless, I wouldn't trade the way I feel for the loneliness of those days when one place was like another, and it didn't matter how long I stayed away... with all the missing you there is still such a wonderful warmth in this loneliness.

Like looking forward to a bright, warm room, no matter how dark and cold it is at the moment, you know the room is there and waiting.

I love you so very much.

I don't want--I don't even mind that life made me wait so long to find you.

The waiting only made the finding sweeter.

I love you,


Godspeed, Dutch.

Who was Elie Hobeika? Ask Karl Rove.

Who was Elie Hobeika?
Ask Karl Rove.

On September 15, 2001, just four days after the 9-11 attacks, CIA Director George Tenet provided President Bush with a Top Secret "Worldwide Attack Matrix"—a virtual license to kill targets deemed to be a threat to the United States in some 80 countries around the world. The Tenet plan, which was subsequently approved by Bush, essentially reversed the executive orders of four previous U.S. administrations that expressly prohibited political assassinations.

According to high level European intelligence officials, Bush's counselor, Karl Rove, used the new presidential authority to silence a popular Lebanese Christian politician [Elie Hobeika], who was planning to offer irrefutable evidence that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon authorized the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian men, women, and children in the Beirut refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla in 1982. In addition, Sharon provided the Lebanese forces who carried out the grisly task.

After announcing he was willing to testify against Sharon, Hobeika became fearful for his safety and began moves to leave Lebanon. Hobeika was not aware that his threats to testify against Sharon had triggered a series of fateful events that reached well into the White House and Sharon's office.

On January 24, 2002, Hobeika's car was blown up by a remote controlled bomb placed in a parked Mercedes along a street in the Hazmieh section of Beirut.....

It is noteworthy that the State Department's list of global terrorist incidents for 2002 worldwide failed to list the car bombing attack on Hobeika and his party. The White House wanted to ensure the attack was censored from the report. The reason was simple: the attack ultimately had Washington's fingerprints on it.

High level European intelligence sources now report that Karl Rove personally coordinated Hobeika's assassination. The hit on Hobeika employed Syrian intelligence agents. Syrian President Bashar Assad was trying to curry favor with the Bush administration in the aftermath of 9-11 and was more than willing to help the White House. In addition, Assad's father, Hafez Assad, had been an ally of Bush's father during Desert Storm, a period that saw Washington give a "wink and a nod" to Syria's occupation of Lebanon. Rove wanted to help Sharon avoid any political embarrassment from an in absentia trial in Brussels where Hobeika would be a star witness. Rove and Sharon agreed on the plan to use Syrian Military Intelligence agents to assassinate Hobeika. Rove saw Sharon as an indispensable ally of Bush in ensuring the loyalty of the Christian evangelical and Jewish voting blocs in the United States....

[LINK-Online Journal]

Prior thought about Hobieika:

--The Assassination of Elie Hobeika

--Elie Hobeika's Assassination: Covering Up the Secrets of Sabra and Shatilla

--BBC Profile

--Robert Fisk- The Man Who Would Testify Against Sharon Is Blown Up

--Michael Young commentary

--Stark Portrait of Sabra & Shatila & Sharon depicted in World Premier Film "2000 TERRORISTS".. Info on Kahan Commission

Iraq hostage Matt Maupin family statement

Iraq hostage Matt Maupin family statement

Where is Pfc. Keith Matthew Maupin?

I would hope none of us have forgotten that Pfc. Keith Matthew (Matt) Maupin, a 20-year-old Army reservist, has been held hostage by insurgents since April 9 somewhere in Iraq.

I don't see very much about Matt in the mainstream news.

The silence is absolutely deafening.

For those who haven't forgotten, a recent statement from Keith & Carolyn Maupin (parents of Matt):

The Maupin family would like to thank everyone for supporting all soldiers as well as our son, Spc. Matt Maupin. The Yellow Ribbon campaign for our soldiers has been truly amazing and our spirits are lifted each time we see a new yellow ribbon displayed. Please continue to keep the yellow ribbons flying and candles lit to light their way home. A special thanks to the many people who have brought meals, provided religious support, established websites and for the many campaigns and vigils throughout the community and country. The outpouring of support and sentiment towards our family has been incredible, from both the military and civilian community. The emails, letters, cards, and prayers continue to arrive daily with well wishes for the safety of our son. Each one has touched our heart deeply during this difficult time. Although Matt has been captured for some time, we continue to pray daily for his safe return and the safe return of all soldiers to their loved ones. Our faith will never diminish and we ask that you keep all soldiers in your prayers and wish them a safe and speedy return.

Keith and Carolyn Maupin