April 7th, 2006

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Good Morning!!

I am up, and was up late, reading this book on Matisse. I could not stop reading. I was caught up in his exhilaration of painting, of creating. What a life he lived, and what a family he created. His daughter Marquerite is amazing. She suffered from physical problems, and then, worked for the Resistance during WWII and was brutally tortured, and emerged from the experience even more glowing. She felt her father taught her how to survive. She said that the horrors she had gone through "had fallen from her as if she had stepped out of a coat she refused to wear." She wrote her father. "I always wanted to master my body, and the sufferings it imposed on me...." "You have to show yourself in face of everything, and against everything, tough enough to stay upright." Matisse's theme was the plumb line. It seems he and his daughter stand upright. His pursuit of art was spiritual. He was disciplined and like a monk in his work. It is an inspiring story for how we each live our life.

I am off to radiation. I note my breast is turning pink. It is looking a bit sunburned, and so, it is, a bit burned by a man-made sun.

The horse experience will happen rain or shine. I met an "older" woman who has been through it. Tears came to her eyes, and she said she couldn't really talk about it, but it is an amazingly spiritual experience. I am very excited, and now, a hop into the shower, and off, once again, to radiation and Anna and her various helpers, and the computers and the machine. It seems the physicist is always there to care for the machines. He loves them, and I am getting more comfortable with mine, and I am sure one day I will come to view it as a friend. Maybe I will bring it some oil or something machines love, when it is my final visit. WD-40, perhaps. I'm not sure what a machine would like, other than a rest. Because of breakdowns, both machines worked quite late the night before. Ah, the sky is tinging pink. It looks like a lovely day, though I hear the prediction is rain. The "horse whisperer" has planned a way that we can work under cover. I'm glad he didn't cancel. I spoke with a Little League mother yesterday. They haven't even been able to have opening day, yet, because of the continuing rain.

May this day open for you, like a beautiful parasol, rain or shine.
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I have a lot to say, but, first .... Pitt on Bush and Treason!

The Leaker-in-Chief
By William Rivers Pitt

Friday 07 April 2006

Is there not some chosen curse,
Some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven,
Red with uncommon wrath, to blast the man
Who owes his greatness to his country's ruin?

- Joseph Addison

"I don't know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information," said George W. Bush on September 30, 2003. "If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action."

"If someone leaked classified information," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan on October 7, 2003, "the President wants to know. If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that's not the way this White House operates, that's not the way this President expects people in his administration to conduct their business."

"I'd like to know if somebody in my White House did leak sensitive information," said Bush on October 28, 2003. On this same day, Bush said, "I have no idea whether we'll find out who the leaker is, partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers."

On Thursday, we found out who the leaker is.

TruthOut investigative reporter Jason Leopold wrote in the first of two reports that, "Attorneys and current and former White House officials close to the investigation into the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson said Thursday that President Bush gave Vice President Dick Cheney the authorization in mid-June 2003 to disclose a portion of the highly sensitive National Intelligence Estimate to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and former New York Times reporter Judith Miller."

In the second of Leopold's reports, he writes, "Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald stated in a court filing late Wednesday in the CIA leak case that his investigators have obtained evidence during the course of the two-year-old probe that proves several White House officials conspired to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a critic of the administration's pre-war Iraq intelligence. This is the first time the special counsel has acknowledged that White House officials are alleged to have engaged in a coordinated effort to undercut the former ambassador's credibility by disseminating classified intelligence information that would have contradicted Wilson's public statements."

So there it is. We have Bush authorizing the disclosure of classified information, and we have that disclosure taking place for no other reason than to discredit an administration critic. Bush is often fond of defending his wildly inappropriate and often illegal activities by claiming that he has every right to do whatever he wants because America is "at war."

Never mind that no war has actually been declared. If we take his premise that we are in fact at war, than the disclosure of classified information for political gain must be defined simply and directly.

It is treason.

Representative Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, made the following statement on Thursday. "Leaking classified information to the press when you want to get your side out or silence your critics is not appropriate. The reason we classify things is to protect our sources - those who risk their lives to give us secrets. Who knows how many sources were burned by giving Libby this 'license to leak?' If I had leaked the information, I'd be in jail. Why should the President be above the law?"

"The President has the legal authority to declassify information," continued Harman, "but there are normal channels for doing so. Telling an aide to leak classified information to the New York Times is not a normal channel. A normal declassification procedure would involve going back to the originating agency, such as the CIA, and then putting out a public, declassified version of the document. I am stunned that the President won't tell the full the Intelligence Committee about the NSA program because he's allegedly concerned about leaks, when it turns out that he is the Leaker-in-Chief."

We can even take this a step further. The name of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame was all over the classified National Intelligence Estimate Bush ordered to be leaked. The pertinent text of the 1947 National Security Act reads as follows:

SEC. 601. (50 U.S.C. 421) (a) Whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(b) Whoever, as a result of having authorized access to classified information, learns the identity of a covert agent and intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

(c) Whoever, in the course of a pattern of activities intended to identify and expose covert agents and with reason to believe that such activities would impair or impede the foreign intelligence activities of the United States, discloses any information that identifies an individual as a covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such individual and that the United States is taking affirmative measures to conceal such individual's classified intelligence relationship to the United States, shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned not more than three years or both.

George W. Bush and his people lied with their bare faces hanging out about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

They lied about connections between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, lied about Iraqi connections to September 11, and further lied about the threat to America posed by Iraq.

They made a decision to invade that had nothing to do with those weapons, and even conspired with their British counterparts to goad Hussein into a war regardless of whether the weapons were there or not.

They used September 11 against the American people to frighten them into a fearfully subservient acceptance of the invasion.

They bypassed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in order to spy illegally on thousands of American citizens.

They leaked classified intelligence information in order to destroy a political foe, and in the process annihilated an intelligence network run by Valerie Plame. That network, it should be noted, was dedicated to tracking any person, nation or group that would deliver weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

Every time they broke the law, their cronies in Congress manipulated those laws to make the actions taken legal.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians are dead. Tens of thousands more have been maimed. Millions live with the wretched deprivations caused by this war. The new Shia-dominated government wants no part of American involvement in this, and their so-called armed forces are in truth death squads masquerading as police and soldiers.

2,345 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq, with 17 of those deaths coming in the first six days of April alone. Tens of thousands more have been grievously wounded; nearly two thirds of all injuries suffered by American soldiers in Iraq are brain injuries, and amount to permanent debilitation.

We will be generations digging out from under the vomitous refuse left behind by this administration. From this day forward, any politician who claims that censure is not appropriate and impeachment is a waste of time should have their head examined by a whole team of medical experts. Bush and his people have committed treason, and did so for the lowest of reasons: personal gain and political protection.

"The dead cannot cry out for justice," said Lois McMaster Bujold. "It is a duty of the living to do so for them." So very many have died at the hands of this administration, its lies, and its crimes. If there is to be no reckoning for this, even after all this time, there will never again be a person in America who can speak of justice while keeping a straight face.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.
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My day today -

I leave here at 7:30 and arrive at 8, so I have a 20 minute walk and a chance to view the ducks, before I go in and change. The puzzle is out and only needs 20 pieces to complete. Guess who completes it? Me! So, I get to choose the next puzzle. They take a photo of the complete one, and I choose Water Maidens and get it started. They are running a bit late, so I have time. When I see the nurse after radiation, she tells me that some people stay and do an hour on the puzzle after radiation. They find it relaxing. I do see that in my time there, I am better able to match up the pieces. I am seeing colors and shapes differently. My first time in that room I was totally unable to focus on the puzzle. I think chemo mind is evaporating by the day.

It seems a whole bunch of people tried to finish the puzzle last night, and failed. Of course, they were drinking wine and celebrating the new machine. They had a party for the new machine last night. I could have come, though I didn't know about it, and would not have come, but it seems it was quite something with speeches, food, and wine. Soon, each room will be modernized. There is money for cancer in Marin.

So, in this short time, I am comfortable with the radiation world. Everyone is friendly. I actually forget Rilke's Book of Hours and have to return for it. I'm sure Rilke would be appalled at being forgotten like that, for a puzzle and medical friends.

A new person is being trained today, so the breath part is a little more challenging. She isn't as quick on the part where I get to breathe, and she will get there. Anna and I had developed quite the sync.

I have time before the horse experience, so treat myself to a drive to Point Reyes Station, and it is a gorgeous drive as I pass through San Anselmo and Fairfax to the rolling hills and Spirit Rock, and then, up over the hill to the Bolinas Ridge, and a view of the purest beauty. I drop down into Point Reyes Station for a late breakfast at the Station House Cafe. I love that area, and the drive today is exquisite. I parallel a most exuberant stream.

The horse experience is wonderful. There are more mentors than there are us. Jim and Trudy talk and teach. We meet the horses. We, the people take turns being horse and rider and begin to learn how to guide a horse, how to "read" them. They are in the moment. If there is a problem, it is our problem. Jim points out that unlike our government of today, there is no blame game.

How was I most touched? By the number of male mentors who spoke of what their horse means to them, and what they have learned about living and simplicity from their horse and their experiences at this stable. This is only the second cancer group here, but they also work with children.

Also, a minister is part of our group. She is there to pray for us. It is odd because only two of us have no hair. The others are newer to the process, and look fine, and yet, tears came to my eyes when she said she is there to pray for us. I realize now how quickly I was rushed to surgery. I had no time to prepare.

On the other hand, there is the wonderful Beatrice, who went through the first horse group. I am not sure of her age, but she is clearly the oldest, and well-loved. She was treated for breast cancer last year. She will have surgery for lung cancer the day after Easter. I realize that though we may look healthy and fine, there is a lot going on, and that prayer is a good idea. We sit in a circle. Jim believes in an opening and closing circle. He feels there isn't enough closure in this society. People just go off, he says. We won't do that here. I didn't expect all of this. I have sat in many circles, but this one was quite different. We were in a horse arena, fortunately roofed, since it was raining. Jim's wife made chocolate chip cookies for us. Someone else made poppyseed bread. Someone gave me a pair of boots because she noticed we had the same size feet and she had an extra pair. What can I say about this? Do I want to admit that I am a part of a group that needs so much help? And yet, they made it clear. We are the helpers. They learn from us. Anyway, as I sit here, tears come again. I am touched at this experience. One man is there to take pictures and document our progress. I understand this is important. We are not doing this just for ourselves. We do it for the world. Jim says we will be changed by this experience. I believe him. I believe the words of Gandhi. "Be the change you want to see in the world." I know this is another step on that path for me and this group I am fortunate enough to be a part of.

Cindy Cantrell was hired from Montana to come to Marin and set up all this support. I see how hard she works. There is one man in our cancer group. He is surprised to be the only man, but there are so many male mentors that I think he is comfortable, and the horses are a mix of male and female, extrovert and introvert, gentle and rough. We are quite the group.

The stable was built in 1937. It is on Marin Municipal Water District land, and the MMWD can be pills, but it looks like they are renewing the lease for 50 years, and so the horse lovers will start raising money and perk the place up. It is tucked in next to total parkland, so you can get on a horse, and ride up over the mountain and down to Stinson Beach or Tennessee Valley or even Rodeo. I am, of course, a long way from that. This workshop is about communication, intuitive communication, no words. It is gentle guidance. There is no "breaking a horse." If you have read or seen The Horse Whisperer, you know what this is about. Jim trained with the man the book and movie were about. (Of course, there was some fiction going on in the book and movie.) On that note, I notice that Harper Lee and the sons of William Shawn wrote letters to the New Yorker commenting on the portrayal of William Shawn and the "inventions" in the film "Capote."

I am home now, and tucked after quite the day. The nurse today made it clear this weekend is to be about resting. Jim made it clear that we come to our horse experience rested. I understand. I am tired. When I passed the tall trees at Samuel P. Taylor Park, I felt they were wands waving over me telling me to sleep. I felt I was in the poppy fields in the Wizard of Oz. I am feeling my fatigue.

The drive home in the rain was interesting. I remember when I could get from my house to Olema in 30 minutes if I took Sir Francis Drake. Now, with all the traffic lights, and bumper-to-bumper traffic, it took me an hour to get from Fairfax to my home. This is a beautiful place to live, and the rain continues falling down to ensure that this is so. My day was rich. I feel complete.
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The original "Horse Whisperer"

There is a wonderful book by Monty Roberts called "The Man Who Listens to Horses." He is the one who figured out this gentle route to training, this silent communication with a prey animal. That is the book I was thinking of, and the man. The rain is softly falling. It is a gentle April evening. May peace simmer in us all.