Five Fold Today The Prince of Muddy Waters - Sell-Out Democrats Have Walked into a Bush Trap on Iraq - Clueless in America - Rivers Flow - Fear Not For I Have Redeemed You - History Will Not Treat Us Kindly - Annan Blasts U.S. In Farewell - Democrats Expected to Increase U.S. Military Spending - We Are the Message - Remembering Pinochet - My Terms

December 21st, 2006

The Prince of Muddy Waters

Jim Grayson

Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’ John 8:42-44 (NIV)

He leadeth me beside still waters…’ Psalm 23:2 (KJV)

Jesus had the enemy´s number…and it was up. He knew who he was and what he was. He knew where he came from, where he was currently at the time and where he would ultimately find his end. He said the enemy is a murderer and a liar, never speaking the truth because he is the father of lies.

What does this have to do with us right now? Because there are some people who need to take to heart what I am about to write, including me; people who have been hurt deeply; people who are disabled and sick, some for a very long time; some who are dying; and some who just plain have come to the end of themselves for one reason or another and they don´t know where to turn at this point because the enemy has shaken them to their very spiritual foundations and they do not know where to turn right now. Many are so tied up by chronic sin they are sick to death of it but don´t know how to gain freedom from it, even if they know Jesus as their Savior. The enemy has drawn a veil over their eyes, as he has over nearly every eye in the Body of Christ at this time. He has very expertly taken what God made plain and has spread his lies through false, denominational doctrines of men, and, like a child takes a stick and stirs a puddle until the water is muddy and no longer clear, the enemy has done the same to nearly every life in the Body of Christ and, beloved of God, it´s time to make some changes because it´s so bad that some are wishing for death; some wish they had never been born; and some wish they could work up the courage (is that what it takes? I think not) to take their own life.

Beloved, please listen to me: I am nothing…nothing at all…but the One Whom I serve is Everything and has all the answers and because He says we have the Mind of Christ, His Everything is available to those of His children who care to listen to what He has to say and, consequently, have the divine ability to change the lives of those with whom they come into contact. That is what those who belong to God are supposed to do: fill in where Jesus left off when He left this world to go Home to His Father´s right side to sit enthroned as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus said in John 14:12 those who believed in Him would do the works He did, and even greater works, because He was going to the Father. He said if we ask anything…anything…in His Name, He would do it, so the Father would be glorified by the Son. If we are not doing that, nor seeing it done, it´s not the fault of the Father but, just as Jesus told His disciples when they could not cast out the demon from the earthly father´s son, they problem was a lack of faith, pure and simple and, oh, so tragic because what we are or are not tremendously affects those around us. If we receive not, James wrote through the guidance of our Holy Spirit we have somehow asked amiss. What that is, is between our Father and each of us but if we ask with true humility, He will give us the wisdom we need, without disapproval or scolding. If I am not all I can be in God, then I am not only selling the Father and myself short but also those He places in my path of life. We live but once and each second passes but once so it´s vital we place ourselves in our Father´s will, which means we do not have to strain or worry but, simply, be available to Him to be of use in helping others in whatever way He leads as we meet people, or animals, along the way.

Here is where the Prince of Muddy Waters comes in: he will do everything possible to deter you from being available to your Father for personal ministry (we all have a ministry of some kind in this life) and one of the chief ways he achieves this, if he does so at all, is by muddying the waters in your spiritual life by placing a multitude of distractions in your mind and heart´s way, to keep your mind off God and His plan for you. For instance, without going into it, I have several health problems right now, some of which are painful and/or have caused me to lose quite a bit of dignity. I know it is God´s will to heal me and I am ever-ready to receive it but until I do, He has turned it all to my good. Still, as it is right now, some of the problems affect my body chemistry, thereby deeply affecting my emotions, and with it comes the muddy waters.

I know in my heart some of you can fully relate to what I´m writing here. It is vital we do not allow the enemy to steal our peace and joy through these trials but, instead, allow our Lord to turn them to our good, and to the good of others. Many of the people our Lord places in my path to be touched are at or on the way to doctor´s offices or even in emergency rooms of hospitals or after being admitted. I will not go into what our Lord does but I can say He makes it worth my while, and to the good of others, when I release my problems to Him and stay focused on Him when everything around me and in me is screaming for attention. The enemy is always trying to turn our eyes away from our Father to ourselves or others but, usually, ourselves. He desires to make us “self conscious’ in the sense that we spend our time thinking of our problems or pain rather than being at peace with our Lord and resting in Him; and it´s so easy to be diverted away from our Lord´s loving arms to ourselves and our multitudes of problems. We cannot defeat this alone but with our Savior, we can do all things through God Who gives us strength…and wisdom. If the enemy is the Prince of Muddy Waters, our Savior is the King of Still Waters, sweet and clear. Praise His Holy Name!

I pray this has given you some insight into things which may be bothering you right now. I will not pretend to be a man of wisdom, for I am not. It has taken me years to come to the understanding I have now of certain spiritual things but if by chance my years of muddy waters can help you, through Jesus, to clear your waters up, then it will surely have been worth it. I am not important in this world but YOU are, and so is God´s will for you. I am not saying I´m worthless, for our Father says I am not but I´m simply saying, it´s not about me but about you and my Father´s will; and it´s the same with you, as time and our blessed Holy Spirit reveals to you the true importance of things in your life with Christ Jesus, our Lord.

I don´t know for sure if I will write again before Christmas but if not, I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and joyful Christmas and, no matter what is going on in your life, I pray you walk with your Savior beside the still waters of life, teaching you gently of the ways of the Father, in Whom and with Whom we are one.

You have my heart, beloved of God, always. Peace be with you, with wisdom and love. I pray our Lord shows you some deep and wonderful truths of the Kingdom over this Christmas season and all through the rest of your time here on this earth. Just think: some day, you and I will meet at a place of great beauty, where there are no enemies nor muddy waters. I look forward to meeting you then…

My love to all,

Your brother,

Jim Grayson

Sell-Out Democrats Have Walked into a Bush Trap on Iraq

Dave Lindorff

The Democratic Party and its feckless leaders in Congress are about to fall into a trap. The trap is being sprung by President Bush and his too clever brain trust, but the sad fact is that it was actually laid by the Democrats themselves.

Taking over the Congress on a wave of popular revulsion at the twin catastrophes in Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats could have issued immediate calls for an end to those wars, a return of the troops, and investigations into the criminal causes of those costly fiascos. They could have initiated efforts to halt funding for further war and foreign occupation. Of course, taking such stands and actions would have opened them to charges of being "soft on terror," but the public clearly isn't buying that crap any more. With a little courage and leadership they could have handled it, and come out winners.

Instead, they took what they thought was the easy road, condemning not the criminal policies themselves, but only the administration's handling of the wars. This led some to call not for an end to the wars, but for more troops.

Now, Bush has called their bluff by proposing just that: more troops for Iraq (the so-called "surge" option), and a major expansion of the army over the longer term--the better to allow the president to invade other countries even as the nation is already mired in two losing wars.

And what are the Democrats in Congress going to do? Devoid of any principles, their chance to demand an end to reckless imperialist military adventures squandered, they are likely to fall in line and vote to fund both an escalation of the Iraq War and an expansion of the military.

It's a double win for Bush. He gets the funding for more war right through the end of his second term of office, allowing him to hand the Iraq quagmire to the next president, making it someone else's job to take the blame for the eventually unavoidable loss. And he gets a bigger defense budget and more troops to play with--perhaps as much as a 10 percent increase in total combat troops.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the allegedly liberal, allegedly anti-war incoming speaker of the House, and incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry "send-in-the-cavalry" Reid can kiss their much touted "First 100 Hours" progressive agenda goodbye. With all the new money that will have to be thrown into the Pentagon sinkhole, there won't be a dime for domestic spending.

The Pentagon budgeters claim deceptively that every increase of 10,000 new troops adds another $1.5 billion in defense costs, which makes a 50,000 increase in troop strength sound like a manageable $7.5 billion extra--a drop in the bucket of a $500-billion defense budget. But this figure is grossly misleading. First of all it doesn't include the back-end costs of pensions, benefits and support costs, and the interest on the debt, which taken together at least double the figure to over $15 billion a year. But more importantly, it doesn't factor in the costs when those extra troops are actually sent into battle, where the costs of support, equipment, equipment replacement, medical and long-term care can explode. And make no mistake, the purpose of adding troops to the U.S. active-duty roster is to use them for further war-mongering and further imperial adventurism.

Singer John Fogerty had it right: this is déjà vu all over again.

When President Lyndon Johnson saw that the Vietnam War was being lost, he over-rode the best advice he was getting that the war was a lost cause, and escalated the fighting with a massive infusion of troops and an expansion of the U.S. military. The only result was more killing of Vietnamese and Laotians, and more dying of American troops. President Nixon did the same thing. Instead of ending the war when he took over the presidency in 1968, he upped the ante again, eventually raising the number of US troops in Indochina to over half a million, doubling the number of Southeast Asians killed to over two million, and more than doubling U.S. casualties to an eventual 58,000 before the U.S. finally had to admit defeat.

"Surge" is the new escalation, and we're set to repeat this tragedy, with Democrats (the new "sucker"), who had a chance to call a halt to the nonsense, instead stupidly joining the mad charge.

The end result of this betrayal of the electorate, which has made it clear it wants an end to the Iraq War, will be a collapse of the Democrats in 2008, with the party losing both houses of Congress and probably the White House too. It will be a richly deserved collapse.

While the hour is late, there is yet a slim chance for the public to rescue the Democrats from this course of political suicide and the nation from disaster. If masses of committed people from all walks of life take to the streets on January 27, when United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ) and Impeach for Change are planning a major demonstration against war and against the crimes of the Bush administration, maybe enough Democrats in Congress will realize the intensity of public opposition to further pointless mayhem and slaughter in the Middle East, and will realize the only option is to pull the plug on the president´s imperialist megalomania--and to initiate impeachment hearings against the president.

I realize counting on Democrats to do the right thing, even in their own self-interest, is a thin reed on which to rest hopes for a return to national sanity, but we need to grasp it.

Clueless in America:

Feeding the Tape Worms of Desire

By Charles Sullivan

It may well be that there is no hope for the American republic, that we are by choice beyond reclamation. Much of the world sees the average American as detached from reality, isolated from the suffering of others. They see us as self-absorbed, over indulgent, willfully ignorant, and imbued with enormous hubris--characterizations that are difficult to argue against. Unfortunately, I am well acquainted with the type.

Most Americans somehow believe that we are an exceptional people--God's chosen few. It would not be the first time in history this has occurred. The world is our oyster and it is our's to use as we see fit, even if it does not belong to us. To the physically strongest and morally depraved, to the wealthiest, go the spoils.

Deep down, Americans may reason that if we are to continue our lives of excess, if we are to carry on driving our Hummers and other inefficient motorized polluting obscenities, we need an inexhaustible supply of oil. As keepers of the world's strongest military, we have the means of procuring oil anywhere in the world, and that makes it ours. Might makes right in capitalist America and we have the weaponry to get whatever we want. That is exactly how the west was won--it was stolen at gun point and driven by religious fervor. We must feed the insatiable tape worms of our desires right up to the moment of the Apocalypse.

That kind of thinking, if such mediocrity and willful ignorance can be called thought, is an oft repeated strand that runs through the tapestry of the American psyche. It is one of those strains of fabulous mythology that makes America a difficult place for some of us to live. From the moment of birth onward Americans are conditioned to think that we are not only special, but are superior to everyone else; that we are somehow entitled not only to our share of the world's wealth, but to everyone else's share as well. Thus we remain primitive Conquistadors in our thinking. We believe that we are the truly enlightened, the envy of the world, and everyone aspires to emulate our shining example.

Americans also believe that they are the greatest democracy to emerge from the birthing mists of history. The idea was drummed into our heads since we could talk, even in the absence of any supporting evidence and is continued through a fairy tale presentation of history, and perpetuated daily in the corporate media. Critical thinking is not one of our strong suits, as exemplified by the sitting president.

Whatever the origins of the grossly inflated American self image, it is, in part, the paradigm behind the ideology of Manifest Destiny--a force that continues rampaging and pillaging most of the world in its quest for markets and wealth. Thus we witness the tragic consequences of the preservation of the American Way--a wrath the rest of the world is expected to incur with gratitude. We cannot recognize that the American Dream is the world's nightmare. Our gluttonous wants, we think, supersede the right of other people to exist. The gilded highway is built upon the bones of the victims of genocide and empire, and that is what makes our ride into oblivion so smooth.

What can be said about a culture that is willing to destroy the biosphere, to create irreversible global climate change for the sake of private profit, and a few short decades of drunken exuberance and intemperance? In what kind of value system can the acquisition of material goods and services really outweigh the right of others to exist, including our own children and their children, not to mention more than thirty million species of flora and fauna that have as much right to live, if not more, than we do?

What global good could possibly come from an economic system predicated upon selfishness and waste and foisted upon the world with carpet bombs? What common good can stem from a belief system that places greater value on profits than on life itself? How can spiritual health be expected from a system that embraces spiritual emptiness and depravity as virtuous?

The enormous weight of conscience and awareness can be quite demoralizing at times; a heavy burden to bear. Even my own family is without social scruples. Some of them are as addicted to shopping as a cocaine user seeking a chemical fix in a dimly lit alley at two o'clock in the morning somewhere in the metropolis. They have no control over the addiction and go forth into the crowded malls night after night with vacant stares and minds programmed to consume. They are suffocating under mountains of debt but the addiction must be satisfied at all costs.

It can be seen that Americans are a spiritually starved people, despite bold proclamations of religiosity and faith. But at some level we must intuit that we have few freedoms and are slaves in an economic system that dehumanizes us into mere commodities and turns us into voracious consumers. We are not the free and fulfilled people we claim to be; we are the property of our employers, objects to be used for purposes not of our own choosing.

Industrialized religion did not save America from capitalism and the endless barrage of advertisements that constantly assail our senses and shape our perceptions; it gave the appearance of moral credence to untenable ideas that are at odds with the teachings of the world's great religions, as well as the natural rhythms of earth and sky.

This explains the bizarre sociopathic behavior induced by Black Friday and other strange phenomenon fostered by capitalism. It can also explain America's world leading per capita rate of incarceration and our pervasive addiction to drugs and alcohol in this way. It neatly explains our persistent cultural violence. Let us recognize that these are not symptoms of social or economic health; they are indisputable evidence of debilitating, life threatening disease and spiritual death.

Material goods and services are a poor substitute for inner tranquility and global community. We are a people bombarded by commercial media every waking hour of our lives. Our troubled existence is a matrix of distracting white noise from which the only escape is the calm slumber of death. The result is that few of us have ever had a true waking moment in our lives. We have replaced wild nature with Disney World and have forgotten which is real and which is bogus. We have recreated god in the image of capital and put him on our currency.

Even so, despite the dominant paradigm of capitalism, there are Americans who have escaped the fate of excess to which so many others have fallen prey. There are millions who were not caught in the web of commercialism, who have maintained a spiritual connection to the earth and to the greater biological community, and to the unfathomable cosmos beyond. There are millions of people who still consider a long walk in unbroken wilderness their greatest blessing--as something beyond valuation by capital.

Despite pervasive cultural brainwashing, there are millions of Americans who still care about the health of the planet and the rights of other people, and they struggle to be heard above the din of excessive commercialism that overwhelms the senses and causes us to behave like caged rats in a laboratory. They are not members of any particular nation--they are world citizens; plain members of Aldo Leopold's biotic community.

America is a land of baffling contradictions and contrasts that will not be easily understood by future historians. So it may be unwise to judge all by the deeds of the debased majority. It is the conscientious ethical fringe that keeps us afloat and provides hope for a better future by operating outside of the mainstream.

Thus for every war mongering president and gluttonous corporate executive born here there is also his/her opposite: the Henry Thoreau's, Harriett Tubman's, and Howard Zinn's of this world. For every Donald Trump and David Rockefeller America spawns, there stands a Mark Twain and a Martin Luther King or a Sitting Bull to counter him. It is the voices of conscience and reason that tends to be drowned out by corporate media. There is one additional problem with being heard: progressives tend to be assassinated or imprisoned in America and our detractors celebrated as models for success.

Charles Sullivan is a photographer and free-lance writer living in the hinterland of West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at

Rivers Flow

Suzanne Cantrelle

The Lord spoke to my spirit about all of us who walk around mountains. We go around that mountain over and over again, until we dig a trench.

Now in that trench is an anointing. This anointing might be for a job we have or a ministry. The trench is flowing with rivers of anointing. Everything is there to supply that job or ministry.

Then one day it is time to get up and trust God, and move out of that place. But we are so comfortable in that place that we do not want to leave it.  But with the Lord's urging, we start digging our way out. We start going out of our way to look at a new thing. And soon we are digging and digging and the way starts opening up.

So I asked the Lord, "What happens to the anointing????"  He said that it follows you. He will be with us where ever we go. In fact, His word declares that He will go before us. Not only that, but the anointing will be stronger than it has ever been.

Fear Not For I Have Redeemed You

Dorothea Montague

My beloved people...

I grieve when I see fear upon you when you contemplate the future. You are forgetting My great and precious promises contained in My Word. Have I not said...

Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you, for I am the Lord your God. ( Isa. 43: 1b-3a)

I say unto you, My precious people, does not this Scripture indicate My total protection for you? Is not the fire and the water indicative of any disaster that might come upon you? Yes, My people, every word contained in My Scriptures shall come into being but do not think that I cannot protect you in days of tribulation. Do not think that I cannot raise you up, strong and mighty to serve Me in these latter days. My precious children, I tell you, in these latter days I shall use you as vessels through whom to manifest great signs and wonders and miracles and you shall win countless souls for My kingdom.

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also, and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12)

My people, these are My words and shall surely come to pass. Study t he Scriptures pertaining to the works that I did when I walked upom earth and watch them come true in your works today. You, My people shall do greater works than I did.

I see you considering these words and thinking, 'But I cannot do that.' I tell you, My people, I shall strengthen you and you shall do My works in spite of your negative thoughts. You will have command of Scriptures that you have never learned and they shall come forth from your mouths as I send you forth to minister. You will win the hardest of souls for My kingdom as you speak forth My words. You shall pray for the sick and see ALL recover. You shall preach and teach words that I shall give you and that you have never learned...powerful words that will touch the hearts of everyone who hears.

I am moving by My Spirit in these last days and giving My people the power and the glory to accomplish what I desire for them. In the midst of the tribulation of the world be in remembrance to seek My direction for what I would desire you to do in preparation for whatever shall come upon the world. Especially be prepared to help unbelievers who cross your path and thus draw them to Me. I tell you, My precious people, it is in the midst of disasters that multitudes shall seek Me as their Lord and Savior.

Arise, shine, for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people, but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isa. 60:1-3)


History Will Not Treat Us Kindly

By Tim Andersen

Most Americans are hiding. We are like the good Germans of 1933 who knew an authoritarian regime was consolidating its power, but thought we could avoid personal consequences if we kept quiet. We remained silent as enemies of the State were rounded up, and everyones' liberties curtailed. It did not happen all at once. It was a process of conditioning.

The TSA cops at US airports were initially intended to create the perception of eminent threat: America under attack by evildoers! That perception has largely given way to weary travelers offended by the intrusive and slow inspections. I don´t fly that often, but last weekend at the airport it was clear TSA had adopted a new tact. Now they are the authoritarians. While we were trapped in the winding queue they yelled at us to listen up and follow their precise instructions. All liquids and gels (toothpaste!) must be in quantities of 3.4 ounces, or less, grouped together in a single, clear one liter bag. The yelling cop invited us to show our displeasure to any passenger who did not follow instructions, and held up the line. As I was inspected, the TSA cop took my shaving cream from the bag. The tube read 3.6 oz. She asked me what the maximum allowable size was. I told her that´s the only size it came in. She said she would allow it through this time only.

Who could have imagined ten years ago that Congress would permit the Bush regime to eliminate habeas corpus? Our founders understood this was the bedrock fundamental principle of a free people. No political opponents could be rounded up and jailed by a tyrant. No one could presume to be above the law. Yet there was hardly a peep from blasé American consumers. The mainstream press reassured us that good Americans had nothing to worry about.

Many people refuse to recognize the corruption and evil of our government, because the thought is simply intolerable. It undermines their fundamental beliefs and trust, and makes most of what occupies their days utterly trivial. The “solution’ for these people is to tune-out any potentially upsetting epiphany. They welcome reassuring propaganda that reinforces our noble purposes in the Middle East and elsewhere. They do not care to investigate personally, or even listen to, the evidence of our considerable crimes.

So, it´s strange to realize we have no real representation in Congress or control over America´s future. Millions of Americans see the ship of state headed straight for an iceberg, and despite our protests the course will not change. It´s a classic nightmare.

History will not treat us kindly. We will be remembered as the Americans who insulated themselves from reality and remained self-absorbed, concerned with their own personal comfort and privilege while our government wrecked havoc on the world and destroyed our own culture. It will not be difficult for future generations to understand what happened and the sequence of events. The evidence is abundantly clear. The only question will be why Americans didn´t rise up and save themselves.

Annan Blasts U.S. In Farewell

Barbara Slavin, USA TODAY

In a farewell speech on U.S. soil today, retiring United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivered a tough critique of President Bush's policies. He accused the administration of trying to secure the United States from terrorism in part by dominating other nations through force, committing what he termed human rights abuses and taking military action without broad international support.

Though Annan has long been a critic of the war in Iraq and other Bush foreign policies, the speech, delivered at the presidential library of the late Harry Truman in Independence, Mo., was among his toughest and was unusual for a U.N. secretary-general concluding his tenure.

Annan's remarks listed principles for international relations, among them "respect for human rights and the rule of law."

These ideas can be advanced only "if America remains true to its principles, including in the struggle against terrorism," Annan said. "When it appears to abandon its own ideals and objectives, its friends abroad are naturally troubled and confused."

In the 61-year history of the U.N., no secretary-general has ended his tenure by criticizing U.S. policies so sharply, said Stanley Meisler, a historian of the United Nations and author of a new biography of Annan.

In his speech, Annan referred to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. When "military force is used, the world at large will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose … in accordance with broadly accepted norms."

Annan continued that "governments must be accountable for their actions in the international arena, as well as in the domestic one."

The speech contrasted Truman's support for the United Nations with the Bush administration's unilateral actions.

Annan acknowledged terrorism and other global threats but cautions against nations acting alone. "Against such threats as these, no nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others," he said.

Annan leaves office Dec. 31 and will be replaced by former South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki Moon.

Annan's predecessor, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, developed a personal hostility toward then-U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright, but saved his anger for a book after he left office, Meisler said.

The United States supported Annan for the job 10 years ago, when it blocked Boutros-Ghali from serving a second five-year term. Annan has worked with the United States on a number of issues, including U.N. reform, said Lee Feinstein, a U.N. expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Critics of Annan in Congress, including Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., faulted the Ghana-born, U.S.-educated diplomat for lax management of the $64 billion U.N. oil-for-food program. The 1996-2003 effort was tainted by $1.5 billion in kickbacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein.

"Annan's legacy will be one of missed opportunity and failed leadership," said Coleman, who urged Annan to resign last year.

Democrats Expected to Increase U.S. Military Spending

by Aaron Glantz

Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress are likely to drive U.S. military budgets even higher in 2007, experts say.

This year's Pentagon budget is $436 billion. That amount does not include more than $140 billion that's being spent this year alone on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"If you think a new wind is blowing in Washington in terms of security issues because the Democrats are going to take over Congress, you probably have another thing coming," Christopher Hellman of the Washington, DC-based Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation told OneWorld.

Hellman said that because Democrats are afraid to appear weak on national security, they are likely to continue funding Cold War weapons systems like the F-22 fighter plane, which was designed to address projected Soviet capabilities that no longer exist.

This year, the Pentagon requested no F-22 fighters, but Congress added $1.4 billion to purchase 20 of the aircraft.

The House of Representatives passed the annual defense authorization bill 396-31, with only 30 Democrats voting against it. The same bill passed 96-0 in the Senate.

"The issue is jobs, pure and simple," Hellman said. "The F-22, as its builders will proudly tell you, represents 1,000 corporations in 42 states around the country. That represents a huge number of jobs."

Democrats also have specific areas where they want to expand military spending after they assume Congressional leadership positions in January.

"America needs a bigger and better military," reads an October report by Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute, the policy arm of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council that counts Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) among its members.

"Escalating conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched the all-volunteer force to the breaking point," the report says. "Democrats should step forward with a plan to repair the damage, by adding more troops, replenishing depleted stocks of equipment, and reorganizing the force around the new missions of unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, and civil reconstruction."

William Hartung, an arms control expert at the New York-based World Policy Institute, believes the Democrats will most closely adhere to a March 2006 plan called "Real Security," which has been endorsed by both the incoming Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

That plan stresses energy efficiency and the use of alternative fuels as well as securing "loose nuclear materials that terrorists could use to build nuclear weapons." Hartung likes those promises but is unhappy the Democrats appear unwilling to stop production of Cold War weapons, reduce the size of America's 10,000-warhead-strong nuclear arsenal, or scrap development of the Pentagon's still unworkable missile defense system, which Hartung says has consumed over $130 billion of taxpayer money since Ronald Reagan's 1983 "Star Wars" speech.

Col. Dan Smith (ret.) of the Friends Committee on National Legislation cautions that military spending is rising so fast that it threatens to overwhelm every other aspect of American government.

In addition to the Pentagon's $436 billion regular budget and the $140 billion spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Smith writes on his blog, "The Quakers' Colonel," taxpayers will be coughing up $11 billion authorized in prior years to cover the costs of retiree health costs. Military construction and "quality of life" issues for the current forces have grown to $59.8 billion, he says. Military nuclear weapons programs that are funded in the Department of Energy budget add $17 billion more.

In addition, Smith says, "the nation is still paying for past wars. The Veterans Administration is slated to receive $76 billion. The interest on the money borrowed to finance past wars is conservatively estimated at $169.4 billion."

None of that even counts money spent on the Department of Homeland Security.

Putting it all together, according to Smith, the 2007 costs for past, current, and future wars comes to more than $900 billion--"within hailing distance of the $1 trillion mark."

This type of spending concerns the World Policy Institute's William Hartung too. "I would like to see bolder Democratic positions," he says, "particularly on the war in Iraq and using the power of the purse to move towards withdrawal from Iraq [and] cutting unnecessary military spending.

"But despite that there will be hearings and some accountability," he adds. "At least the terrain on which the debate will take place will be different."

Copyright © 2006

HEBRON REFLECTION:  We are the message

by Jerry Levin

I recently received a question from a reader who wanted to know, "What is CPT doing over there to share the Gospel of Jesus?" The following was my answer.

"I'm not sure exactly what you mean.  I thought our reports made it clear that we share the Gospel of Christ by trying to exemplify its meaning.  It's something we do every day.  By our actions, CPTers witness [to] what kind of followers of Jesus we are trying to be.  In so doing, we demonstrate, we hope, the power of nonviolence, the power of Gospel love, sacrifice, and hope to the terribly oppressed Palestinians, as well as our solidarity with and thanks to the many Jewish Israelis with whom we work who are standing up along with us in the West Bank for their Palestinian neighbors.  They too are demonstrating that they understand His message.

"But that's only part of what we do.  Through our reports we hope that fellow followers of Jesus elsewhere in the world will take seriously to heart the words and pictures we send back of the desperate conditions under which Palestinians are obliged to live debilitating minute by debilitating minute.  We hope that these readers in turn will be encouraged to take part in the struggle in their home countries to influence an end to the oppressive occupation that is tragically so similar to the Roman occupation two thousand years ago and the Crusader conquest a thousand years after that.

"Some of the Palestinians we are trying to stand with, by the way, are Christian.  But can you imagine?  Where Muslims with whom we interact daily are concerned, we don't have to say a thing about the Gospels.  By our willingness to risk standing with them, they get the message powerful and clear.

"Here's something else that may be difficult to imagine; but it's true. Many many of the Muslims whom we try to help are already living the kind of life that Jesus taught.  They put their trust in God [Allah] unhesitatingly. They admire, respect, and love Jesus greatly (They call him Issa.)  They pray much more often and regularly than many Christians do.  And when they do pray, they seem to be far less interested in what God can do for them and much more in what they can do for God.  Powerful sentiments for a people in the Holy Land from whom much has been taken with nothing given back in return.

"Finally our experience here and what we know is taking place in the United States convinces us that an extremely fertile ground for sharing the Gospel of love is back home amongst millions of Christians, some of whom are the nation's most powerful political and religious leaders.  By their actions, they are tragically complicating the lives dangerously of the very people here in Palestine and Israel whom they would like to see become followers of Jesus too.  Clearly a self-defeating process.

"I hope this explanation helps."

Remembering Pinochet

by Ericka Verba  

I spent 1992 living in Santiago. At the time, Chile was two-years into its democratización, and Pinochet was still a general and commander of the army. While there, I attended a concert by the Cuban musician Silvio Rodriguez in the stadium in Santiago, now renamed the Victor Jara stadium. It was a stirring concert. The audience seemed to know the words of every song he sang. But the song that evoked the strongest response was Ojalá, which translates roughly to “Let it be so.’ According to Silvio, he wrote the song to his first love in anger after she left him. Like the Medieval songs of a mundo al revés or an upside-down world, a younger generation of Chileans who had grown up under dictatorship turned a song about unrequited love into an anthem of hatred against a dictator. In one voice, they sang out:

Ojalá se te acabé la mirada constante
la palabra precisa, la sonrisa perfecta.
Ojalá pase algo que te borre de pronto:
una luz cegadora, un disparo de nieve.
Ojalá por lo menos que me lleve la muerte,
para no verte tanto, para no verte siempre
en todos los segundos, en todas las visiones:
ojalá que no pueda tocarte ni en canciones.

[May it be so that your constant gaze finally comes to an end,
Along with your precise words and your perfect smile
May it be so that something happens to suddenly erase you:
A blinding light, a blast of snow.
May it be so, at the very least, that death comes and takes me
So that I don´t have to see you so much, so that I don´t have to see you always
In every instant, in all of my visions
May it be so that I not be able to play/touch you even in song.]

In an era of censorship and political repression, those who sang Ojalá had endowed its lyrics with opposite meanings. The song was no longer dedicated to a beautiful young woman, but to an aging dictator. And those singing it were not hoping for their own death, but for his. They wanted to be rid of him once and for all. And now they are. And now the whole world is. And Santiago ran out of champagne last Sunday…

As so many have noted, Pinochet´s death is bitter sweet. He was never brought to justice for the crimes he committed, and the pending court cases against him will most likely end with his death. Already his many mourners and defenders are claiming that “time’ will set the record straight and restore his good name to history. And a new generation is growing up that has never known dictatorship. I am reminded of another song that was popular the year I spent in Santiago: Prohibido olvidar, by Ruben Blades. Whenever that particular song played at the salsa club I used to go to, people would sing along to it as they danced. The verses were composed of a long list of things that were prohibited under the dictatorship – constitutional guarantees, freedom of the press, strikes, reality, etc. The chorus stated simply: “Prohibido olividar,’ “It is forbidden to forget.’ Ojalá. May it be so.

Ericka Verba is assistant professor of Latin American history at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in Carson, California. She is also a musician, and was a founding member of Sabiá and Desborde, both Los Angeles-based nueva canción groups. Her current research project is a biography of Chilean artist and musician, Violeta Parra.

My Terms

Teresa Seputis

Child of Mine, you must come to Me on My terms.  My terms are that you do not try to conceal or justify your sin, but that you turn from it and live in a manner that is pleasing to Me.  I am not asking you to be perfect, I am merely asking you to be truthful about your need for My help, and then to come to Me to be cleansed of all unrighteousness.

I am not going to push you away because you are too dirty. My intent is to draw you closer. I am not looking to condemn you for your weaknesses and indiscretions ; My desire is to strengthen you and empower you to walk in holiness before Me. I want to transform you from within, so that you will be more like Me, and so that sin and your carnal nature will have less of a hold over you.

Do not fear to come to Me on My terms, for they are not harsh or unreasonable. I am a loving God. I am not going to punish you by taking away everything you like, nor I am going to choose some sort of horrible destiny for you to make you miserable.  That is not My way, nor has it ever been, for I am a God of love.  If you knew what I am really like, you would know that My arms are open wide to receive you and I desire that you would run into My embrace.  I do not require you to be perfect before you come to Me--come to Me as you are and allow Me to perfect you. I will transform you and I will cause you to walk in joy and victory.

But, dear child, where you run to Me, you have to come on My terms. You must be willing to turns aside from all sin and unholiness in your life; you must be willing to live for Me and to walk in My ways. Allow Me to transform you from within, for I will cause you to grow and mature in holiness and perfection.

I will remove those things from your life that torment you, and I will give you peace.  But in order to do that, I will have to remove certain things from your life--I will have to take away those things that drag you down, and I must remove the things that are destroying you.  Some of them may seem like treasures to you at the moment, but in reality they are not, for they are causing you great harm.

You must give up the "pleasures of the flesh" that are sin to Me, but in so doing, you will gain much more than you had to give up.  I will open My treasure house and give you new pleasures that make the joy of the flesh pale in comparison.  I will bless you both in this life and in the life to come. My plans for you are good; they are intended to cause you much joy. But in order for you to enter into that joy, you must yield to My plans and submit to Me.  I will teach you to walk in holiness before Me, so that you can abide in My loving embrace.

I want you to come to Me, no matter what you have done or how dirty you may feel--but you must come on My terms.  You must not try to hide your imperfections from Me and pretend to be something you are not. Instead you must confess your need for Me to help you. I am willing to cleanse you up and I am willing to transform you. Don't be afraid of Me, for My arms are open wide to receive you and if you come to Me, I will not cast you aside.

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