Sunday, December 23, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Well, one thing is for certain, the leadership is totally inept! I can't understand why the few representatives that were in favor of and openly advocating for impeachment hearings have stopped since the Democrats have taken the majority - unless it's due to the leadership somehow clamping down on them.
I might add that Reid & Peloser have recently decided that they will not even try to remove our troops from Iraq by way of legislation either, and have instead opted to support yet ANOTHER unconditional blank check for Bush's war-profiteering machine!
Below is a petition to remove some of the blockage of justice, please sign it.
Online Petition to Remove Pelosi as Speaker of the House of Representatives
CLICK HERE For The Petition
Please watch this video of my latest poli-crush ♥ Congressman Wexler - and sign his petition to hold impeachment hearings too. He is determined to do his congressional duty of oversight of the administrative branch, and we need to support his motion! Allow the hearings to determine the truth, and make way for justice to be served as was intended to be in America.
Sign Congressman Wexler's petition.
AT&T engineer says Bush Administration sought to implement domestic spying within two weeks of taking office
Published: Sunday December 16, 2007
Nearly 1,300 words into Sunday's New York Times article revealing new details of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program, the lawyer for an AT&T engineer alleges that "within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.”
In a New Jersey federal court case, the engineer claims that AT&T sought to create a phone center that would give the NSA access to "all the global phone and e-mail traffic that ran through" a New Jersey network hub.
The former AT&T employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity to the Times said he took part in several discussions with agency officials about the plan.
"The officials, he said, discussed ways to duplicate the Bedminster system in Maryland so the agency “could listen in” with unfettered access to communications that it believed had intelligence value and store them for later review," Times reporters Eric Lichtblau, James Risen and Scott Shane wrote. "There was no discussion of limiting the monitoring to international communications, he said."
“At some point,” he told the paper, “I started feeling something isn’t right.”
"Two other AT&T employees who worked on the proposal discounted his claims, saying in interviews that the project had simply sought to improve the N.S.A.’s internal communications systems and was never designed to allow the agency access to outside communications."
AT&T's spokesman said they didn't comment on national security matters, as did a spokesman for Qwest, which was also approached but apparently rebuffed the plan. The lawyer for the engineer and others in the New Jersey case says AT&T's internal documents would vindicate his clients.
“What he saw,” Bruce Afran, a New Jersey lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told the Times, “was decisive evidence that within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.”
I must add that Qwest was severely sought after by government officials, due to what I believe was revenge for non-compliance to the illegal request to wiretap millions of innocent Americans! The owner of Qwest currently sits in prison for some sort of business fraud charges, that were surely trumped up in order to set an example to other companies that might consider not complying. Tyranny at it's worst.
Are we also going to let the administration bully Congress and the people into giving them a free pass for their illegal activities? Perhaps the legality point could be considered arguable after 9/11, but Congress has absolutely NO EXCUSE for not going after the administration for their egregious actions prior to the attack! This sole act sits near the very top of the long list of impeachable offenses, and I say that's exactly why Congress has proven grossly negligent in their duties of oversight in this case.
Since this article was in today's New York times, this presents the perfect opportunity to remind our congressional members that we will not condone their giving a free pass to the companies that chose to violate our rights! Send them a link to this article, and let them know you have not forgotten about it, nor do you think it is appropriate for them to continue to ignore this serious violation that is clearly known to exist.
UPDATE: Chris Dodd is filibustering the retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies RIGHT NOW! Support Dodd's filibuster!!! Contact your member of Congress to implore them to support the filibuster.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
In light of the recent discovery of the CIA agents that were willing to go to jail if that was what it took to get that NIE released, perhaps we should be thinking about just how close the US was to another unwarranted preemptive attack on a sovereign nation! I can't think of another reason for those agents to go to such extremes, can you?
Below is Olbermann's commentary on this whole Bush fiasco on Iran, and his insistence that Iran is still a threat in spite of the reports. Mind you, it wasn't so long ago that the IAEA report was released, and that report's conclusion wasn't much different from the NIE. What I find most interesting in this clip is the spotlight on the Washington Post article that showed a slight shift in Bush's language, which clearly indicates he had some knowledge of the information in the NIE long before he claims he did. But then, he's so forgetful that we should just chalk it up to that and move along, right? WRONG!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
As was well explained in the video below, the US' latest NIE on Iran's nuclear program was released today...ONE YEAR after it was completed!
In this video you will also hear about something that is getting little to no attention whatsoever, but I personally find it VERY disturbing: Wolfowitz may be BACK, as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB). The ISAB is the board that advises the president on international proliferation matters, and that would certainly include Iran. Who better to decide whether Iran has weapons than the man that falsely accused Iraq, right? Could the rotten pattern be any more apparent people?!?!? I mean REALLY!!!
When Bush finally came to the press room today (video here), he still asserts that Iran is a threat. I must commend some of the reporters in this clip that kept at Bush too, asking about his credibility in regards to accusing Iran of having WMD. I sincerely hope this means that the media will not allow Bush get away with using the media as his war-tool again! However, Bush answered that line of questioning with praise for the improvements in the Intelligence community - almost taking credit for it too. Since most of the world now knows that the attack on Iraq was based on some very selective cherry picking of Intel info, and NOT due to bad Intel itself, then I would think this praise wasn't taken so kindly by the Intelligence community.
Another interesting point that is being asked about is what Hadley had initially said for Bush (and he reiterated in the press conference); that Bush was not briefed on the NIE until last week. As seen in the video above, Bush had said that Iran had weapons capabilities as recently as six weeks ago, and even used the words "World War Three." What I find fascinating is that if the president of the US doesn't have the benefit of being briefed on Intel reports when completed, then WHO DOES? Why did the Intel community purportedly wait an entire year to brief the president on their findings? Bush also said when asked about it, that he was not ever advised to "tone it down" in light of their findings either. These two things I find incredibly difficult to believe! In fact, it is most unlikely to be the case. I suspect that it was the administration that denied the Intelligence community their release of the report, and that we should be thankful to them for releasing it no matter how late. Perhaps the Intel community felt it was necessary in order to prevent another unnecessary war? THAT seems far more likely to be the case to me!!!
Another frightening thing about the White House press conference today was that Bush uses the same terminology that Hillary has, about "sticks and carrots" having a positive effect in regards to "diplomatic measures." Now if that was meant to harm Hillary or not, nobody really knows I suppose. I tend to think that it's more of a sign that Hillary is VERY like-minded to Bush policies, and there is plenty of evidence prior in my mind. The Democratic debate in Iowa today was just another example of how like-minded she really IS too. She also used the same language as Bush did in his conference today in regards to Iran, about how pressure on Iran has shown results. Since the NIE reported that Iran halted its program in 2003; I would argue that it may have been the attack on Iraq that year, and not the pressure that was applied to Iran long after we invaded Iraq that may have actually influenced their decision to halt their nuclear program.
What do you think?
Saturday, November 17, 2007
There are people within our community that bless us with their charity and good will towards humanity regularly, and Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to give them thanks. Rarely do they get their just recognition, but I'm happy to say that a dear friend of mine has received exactly that. I'm thankful that she was not only recognized, but she was empowered to continue her mission as well.
Wendi is actually my oldest friend, and I have known her for almost twenty years now. Since the moment I met her I thought she was very talented, and her skills with a paintbrush and color quite remarkable. As a person that grew up with a painter for a mother, I think I've had more exposure to art than most in the US - so I dare say that my opinion of Wendi's work carries some weight. I clearly recall art and music gradually leaving public education and my mother's concern about that. She sent my brother and I to art camps in the summertime because she firmly believed that the arts were an important part of education, regardless of whether or not we pursued it career wise - and I'd agree. When Wendi was in college she had an assignment that I believe was centered around bring art awareness. And although I can't remember the exact assignment, I will never forget what she did with it. She decided that since she had to go without art education in elementary school (we attended in different states, and she's a bit younger than I), that she would set about getting it into school somehow. She found out that teachers have a small amount of funds that they can work with, to take the kids on field trips or other activities they thought relevant or necessary. So she arranged a meeting with several teachers from a particular school and offered them an art class. All the teachers had to do was provide the art supplies, and Wendi went in there on a weekly basis to teach things as simple as the color wheel and how to mix colors. She made sure that the funds went far, and that they could get a fairly practical education in the arts as well - keeping in mind that it may be the only one they would ever have. Maybe I'm wrong, but I seriously doubt there was anybody in Wendi's class that dedicated that much time or put that kind of thoughtful effort into their assignments. The kids were grateful and had a great time with it. I thought it was pure brilliance, and a priceless gift. Now fast forward a few years...
Last year Wendi told me she was going to start her own charity called "The Giving Tree" - yep, after the book. When she told me that it was going to involve art, I was thrilled because I'd been wishing that her life would simply revolve around her talents for quite a while. I didn't understand it thoroughly at that time, but it's pretty diverse (and too much for me to keep up with!). It evolved out of a job she held with a charity just prior, where she created artistic projects for disabled and/or disadvantaged people (young and old). What I do understand about it is that she was empowering homeless graffiti-artists to turn their work into a career. She arranged art shows that would feature a known artist to draw a decent crowd, then helped the kids get their works together to show with that artist in the same gallery. That way they can share the success of having their work seen by the public, while having an opportunity to meet a real working artist. It not only helps bolster their self-esteem; but it also lets them see for themselves that using the talents they already have, they can create a legitimate career for themselves. Wendi is providing inspiration and hope by setting an example for these kids, while giving them the education and tools they need to make it actually happen.
Just a couple weeks ago, Wendi wrote to tell me about an award her charity had received. She won a bit of funds to further her cause, which was a relief after practically going into poverty in order to get it up and running. Better yet, she has gotten quite a bit of publicity on a local level, and we are hoping that will help too. There is a great organization in Portland Oregon (where she lives) that is dedicated to helping these types of charities along through recognition, and that is exactly who gave her the award. Part of what they do is give all kinds of incentives to the public to donate to the various organizations they represent. As an extension of the award that Wendi has received, came an extra bonus; if she can receive enough donations via this organization by the end of the year, she will be rewarded with even more funds for her charity. There is a list of things we can win when we donate that is practically endless too, most are for people living in Portland Oregon where she lives, but as you will see in her letter (below) she has figured out a beautiful way to give thanks to those that live outside Oregon as well:
My name is Wendi, and I run a nonprofit organization here in Portland, Oregon called The Giving Tree. The Giving Tree was born out of my job at a property management company working with low-income housing residents. When I saw that there was a steep drop off in services once an individual was housed off the streets and provided with the basic necessities to survive, I knew that I had to take action. You and I wouldn't be happy sitting in a tiny room wearing second-hand clothes and eating a can of peaches from a food box. Nobody would. Just because people are poor does not mean they can't lead rich lives. The Giving Tree helps people lead fuller lives by bringing them direct access to the arts (through trips to galleries, conversations with artists, and art classes), education (we run after school homework clubs at two low-income housing sites and a computer lab that is open to everyone), and recreation (imagine taking a group of kids from the city camping for the first time in their lives!).
I'm very excited to announce that on November 9 I was awarded the 2007 Skidmore Prize in the Community category for my work through The Giving Tree. As part of the prize, The Giving Tree is featured in this year's Willamette Week Give! Guide, which offers a number of incentives to donors. This is a huge opportunity for us, as we are a very new organization and are just now building our capacity and raising awareness about our programs.
It would be so wonderful if you could help me help others by donating to The Giving Tree through the Give! Guide. Donations can be as small as $10, and any donation of $25 and above will be handsomely rewarded with fabulous gifts and coupons. And, if you are capable of donating $250 or more (you rule!), there are even more delights in store. You can read about all of the sweet incentives at the Give! Guide website.
Your generous contribution through the Give! Guide will go toward our purchase of a 15 passenger van, which we will use for fun activities such as taking our young clients to Mt. Hood to go sledding (some of them for their very first time!), and our older clients to the Japanese Gardens to experience the cherry blossoms in the springtime. Even if you can only donate $25, if you can get three friends to each also donate the same amount, that's $100 toward enriching people's lives in ways they've never even dreamed of. That's pretty powerful.
As an added bonus to us, if we raise the most money we get an extra thousand dollars straight from the folks at Willamette Week There’s also $500 for the group in second place, and $300 and $200 for third and fourth, respectively. The same holds true if we are the organization that raises the greatest number of donations from people 35 and under! How awesome is that? So you win because you know you donated to an awesome cause and you get a fantastic packages of prizes in return, we win because we get the funds we need to run our programs, and our clients win because they get to participate in more creative, fun, educational activities!
If money is tight and you can't spare even $10 to help, please pass the word along to your friends and family by talking about The Giving Tree and the Give! Guide with them, emailing them and posting bulletins and blogs about us, and introducing as many people as you can to the work that I am doing through family newsletters etc. If you can reach just one person and influence them to give to the Giving Tree, you’ve made a positive impact!
Thanks so much for all of your help! You rock.
President and Founder
The Giving Tree
PS - I've come up with a cool incentive for out of state donors, too, since they probably won't really care much about all of those Portland-centric coupons. Any out of state folks who donate over $50 will be entered into a drawing to win art by amazing Portlanders such as Kim Hutchins (to view her work please go to http://www.genuineimitation.com/past.html), Barry Mack, and Troy Briggs. So go ahead and pass this on to your old college roommate in Moosejaw or your sister in Kalamazoo, because they too can be in the running for sweet prizes!
Sites you can access to learn more about The Giving Tree and to DONATE!
The Giving Tree website
Give! Guide website: www.wweek.com/giveguide
Give! Guide donation page
With every new day we are given an opportunity to right our wrongs, and it's good to give thanks to those that help make that possible, encourage us, or enable us to do so in some way. One of the greatest examples I know of on how just one person can make a real difference is the story of Cole Miller, who founded the non-profit "No More Victims.org" If you go to the "about Us page you won't see his name, but scroll all the way to the bottom and you will find a YouTube video where he introduces himself. The premise is so simple, yet very powerful and meaningful. Please visit the site to be inspired and maybe even take action yourself, that is precisely what this organization can help you do.
Another thing that I'm grateful for is the recent increase in service members that have decided to go AWOL, rather than serve a never ending and illegal war (IMO). Of course I cannot speak to their individual reasons, but I'm thankful nonetheless.
I wanted to refresh people's memory about a truly great patriot, one that we should be sincerely thankful for for. Please read about Lt. Ehren Watada's story if you are not already familiar with it.
Towards the end of this video below, Lt. Watada tells us we are needed by those that have chosen to refuse further service, and exactly how we can support them too; so I hope you will listen to his entire speech here.
On the same website I provided to read about this incredible patriot's story (above), they give an email address where you can write him a letter of thanks. I did just that, as I did last year. I invite you to read my letter below, and I hope it inspires you to do the same.
My letter to Lt. Watada:
Subject: Most honorable Lt. Ehren Watada...
Body: ...you have held my attention since you took your stance against the war. I'm hopeful that in light of the current reports of steep increases in AWOLs, that your fellow service members and Americans alike will turn to your story for strength if and when they have moments of weakness. Surely this is no easy task, no matter how right. I'm thankful that your story is there for all to turn to when faced with such difficult decisions, and the even more difficult challenge to follow through with them as honorably as you have. As having only lived a civilian life myself, I look to those with military experience to inform me. I know you are far from alone when it comes to officers that felt the need to leave their military career in order to get their message to us. I want you to know that I'm listening, and that I believe you have provided endless inspiration for all of us in this time of need.
Bless you for being a true leader; not as one that served under obligation, but with a real sense of duty to the troops that looked to you for leadership they knew they could trust. The fact that you were so close to being released from your contractual duties and chose this path instead, says volumes to me. To know that you would sooner spend six years in prison than bring dishonor to your service and leadership is just incredible. You have my deepest respects. Not only was your service distinguished, but your personal integrity is rare and practically unheard of within our civilian leadership in America today. I understand and know how you do your family proud too (all parents should be so lucky).
Person to person, you are simply my hero!
I think of you often, and I'm so grateful for your patriotism and your fearless fight for what is right. This Thanksgiving I give thanks for people like you; who provide honorable leadership, and have shown limitless conviction, strength and bravery when standing up for what you believe to be truly right. Most people learn best when solid examples are set, and I'm very thankful for the one you have set for our nation and for those looking to the US from abroad. When it comes to the appreciation that I have for your ability to speak so clearly about the illegality and unconstitutionality of the war, I just can't thank you enough. I have like-minded thoughts that I express and fight for regularly, but it would almost be meaningless or powerless if I didn't have people like you to point to with your kind of experience, expertise and excellence.
Thank you Lt. Ehren Watada.
I hope you have just as much to be thankful for (if not more) over the holidays. May you be blessed with the honor and justice you deserve.
Monday, November 5, 2007
If you are seriously interested in the issue, and have little knowledge about it (like me), then go get your comprehensive education here:
Part One "Burma? What About Burma?"
Part Two "Some Basics"
Part Three "History 1"
Part Four "History 2"
Part Five "Colonial Rule, Buddhist Monks, and World War"
Part Six "Democratic Republic"
Thanks to my friend Maggie that has done a tremendous job at putting this very informative series together. Bravo Maggie Mou!!!
Monday, October 29, 2007
Monday, October 8, 2007
Another way we could stop the war profiteering is to remove the members of Congress that are appropriating unethically in their OWN FAVOR! Take Senator Dianne Feinstein for example. Not only has she voted in favor of no-bid contracts for her husband's company (working in Iraq & Afghanistan, just to name a few places), but she is also sitting on the Ethics Committee now, where she can legally ensure her immoral deeds remain "ethical" in the eyes of Congress. She may have quit the appropriations committee that gave the contracts, but...come on southern California, are you seriously going to continue to allow that war-profiteering criminal to also be her OWN police enforcement too? GET HER OUTA THERE! As well as the many, many others in Congress that have clearly chosen profiteering over precious life. I'm a giant advocate for contacting Congress for any reason; whether it be to express dismay over lack of support or bad vote, as well as congratulating on a good vote (the latter is not as often done, but just as important!). We cannot depend on the next president alone to fix this giant mess, and I implore you to keep an eye on Congress before casting congressional votes in '08 for this reason too.
What has happened with the contractors in Iraq is just one of MANY things that happens in unfettered and radically free markets. In fact, Iraq was a dream guinea pig for the radical free market yea-sayers, implemented by Paul Bremer, and based upon an economic plan that was originally born out of a desire to put an end to The New Deal. Naomi Klein has dubbed it: THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, but it's more commonly known as "Economic Shock Treatment" or as the "Chicago School of Economics." It has been followed by people such as Rumsfeld, and the economic puppets for Pinochet - who were trained to do their part by the same (and probably most notorious) economist who had created this theory, Milton Friedman. The premise stems from the CIA's use of shock, as a means of reducing prisoners to a child-like state so they may wield power over them. Friedman wanted free markets in a time that they were very unpopular, and he realized the same practice the CIA was using could be applied to the masses in cases of natural disaster, war, or any other shocking event. Today we see the Shock Doctrine in play here in the US, after the attacks on 9/11 where Bush manipulated our shock to get all kinds of policies we would otherwise be opposed to into law, as he promised to protect us. There is a short film about the whole concept that is very well done on Naomi's website as well.
i think they are perpetuating the fear and shock with the endless war, and the supposed "threats" from Iran. In order for the Shock Doctrine to keep its grip, people must remain paralyzed by fear, and Iran is just the next tool for these means. A reminder that Iran poses NO THREAT (a short, narrated by Arron Russo):
Since there is so little real understanding in the US of the Iranian people, I think it's important that we make an effort to go beyond what we are force-fed or limited to by our media. I don't think it is any accident that the media has made this war faceless and that we have not heard reports on any individual Iraqis since the war began; because if we do not feel connected to the human lives there, then it's easier for us to support their deaths - so I want to put a face and real people in the place we have labeled "our enemies." In this video below you will see what everyday life is like for Iranians; it's produced by the BBC. I think most will be surprised and even intrigued, as I was. It's beautifully done and focuses solely on their culture, different areas of Tehran, various lifestyles there, and simply based on the people overall - no politicians were interviewed for this piece.
Now, every time somebody ventures into a discussion on Iran in the US, it invariably leads to Israel, and then to accusations of Antisemitism. So I want to remind everybody (as I so frequently do), that the cabal seeking to squash Iran are the Zionists, NOT Jews. Sure, some Zionists are Jews (but certainly not all), there are also Christian Zionists, and other organizations that work in concert with them; but the fact remains that it's so far from just being Jewish people behind the Zionist movement.
It's of vast importance to differentiate between the two in order to understand what is behind, and truly motivates this verbal attack on Iran. We must not allow the Zionists hide behind their accusations of prejudice! I recently discovered this great website via the picture above on another website, the website I'm speaking of is on the sign the Rabbis are holding in the picture above. Within that site you'll find this insightful article about their visit with the Iranian president, and the following counter-protests they held in response to the ones against Ahmadinejad's visit to the US. The press release at the bottom of this article includes a speech given the night before that meeting, and it explains extremely well why Jews are opposed to Zionism. I will gladly give numerous resources to anybody that wants to read more about this too, just ask. To accept this vicious rhetoric about antisemitism, is to allow these immoral wars to continue. For those of you that still think it's a good idea to attack Iran, I ask you to please seriously consider this:
Also, this is just one tragedy that awaits our attack. Another (in brief) is that Iran could simply chose to shut-down the Straights of Hormuz by whatever means necessary; and that would seriously and so easily crush America. Not only by way of our troops, but also because it's the passage that MUCH of our energy resources travel though - amongst other things. Honestly, Iran is NOT a war the US has ANY chance of "winning."
It's not my intention to condone any beliefs held by Iranians here that are considered controversial; but I think it's important to recognize that judging another country's religion, beliefs, or lifestyle is no place for a democracy! To consider ourselves the world's "cultural police" or the ones on some sort of "moral high-ground" is a very dangerous position to take; and it's in fact, quite the opposite action of said intentions behind this stance. Please consider how long it took for you to understand your own faith, and that most devout followers of any religion believe that they may never fully understand their God or It's divine intent. So how can people be so comfortable judging another's faith with so little understanding? Almost all faiths preach that it is only for God to judge, and teach love and respect for all life. Sadly it seems that many faithful have forgotten, or chosen to ignore these very valuable principles. Most faiths believe that if you life by good example, there will be no reason to seek converting anybody because they will desire what you have and ask of you what led you there; and I suggest that to developing a desire for democracy, will work in like fashion. We as Americans are for the most part, not setting a good example in either arena.
On our side of the border, we can continue to blame the administration, and that wouldn't be so far off base, however...When are we the people going to stand up against what we know is wrong, and have known has gone on for so long?
This is a democracy after all, meaning that everything this administration does is ultimately on our hands. It's sad to hear anybody say that they still believe Bush actually intends to protect Americans from harm, especially when there seems to be evidence to the contrary popping up almost everyday! Bush's promises of protection are empty, and he's not listening to commanders on the ground, or anybody else but himself. It's time we forgive those that were blinded by shock, and time for all of us to come out of our shock so we can make way for some badly needed change! I'm thinking that perhaps what I've thought up until now was just apathy, was really just a result of shock; and I have The Shock Doctrine to thank for opening my eyes to that possibility. I really want to forgive too, so we can move on from that stand-still. As Naomi Klein surmised from her research, it's only when we are aware of what is happening to us, and when we have access to knowledge that we can resist the power that shock has over us. Part of informing ourselves involves taking responsibility for all that has passed, and actually doing something to change it.
In this New York Times OP-ED piece that was published yesterday, it so precisely lays out as to how we the people are now equally responsible for the atrocities that have followed the criminality and negligence that the administration, the media, and the Congress were initially responsible for. I was glad to see such an accurate account of so many of the things we've been told about listed in one place and yet, not resolved even one of those things - it should shame the best of us to recall it. I recommend you "get it while it's hot" too (this OP-ED article), since this publication archives fairly quick and then you have to be a member to access it. That is why I have posted it in full below. However, there are several great links within the original article, so PLEASE go read it now.
I wonder when Americans are going to stop allowing these entities to hold the power of shock over us, to let the press turn the page for us so that we forget without resolving anything, and to accept their reasoning for turning a blind eye to profiteering and violations of our rights and freedoms, and all in the name of hate?
I know now, that it will only happen, and we will only be able to have some peace, when we decide not to allow ourselves to remain in a state of shock.
PS - I'd like to thank numerous friends that are also dedicated to spreading information and offering truth. There are truly too many to name here but I think you know who you are, and I wanted to let you know that I cannot do this sort of thing without you. You also work very hard to shake-off the shock! Thank you.
The ‘Good Germans’ Among Us
By FRANK RICH
Published: October 14, 2007
“BUSH lies” doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves.
Ten days ago The Times unearthed yet another round of secret Department of Justice memos countenancing torture. President Bush gave his standard response: “This government does not torture people.” Of course, it all depends on what the meaning of “torture” is. The whole point of these memos is to repeatedly recalibrate the definition so Mr. Bush can keep pleading innocent.
By any legal standards except those rubber-stamped by Alberto Gonzales, we are practicing torture, and we have known we are doing so ever since photographic proof emerged from Abu Ghraib more than three years ago. As Andrew Sullivan, once a Bush cheerleader, observed last weekend in The Sunday Times of London, America’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques have a grotesque provenance: “Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the ‘third degree.’ It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.”
Still, the drill remains the same. The administration gives its alibi (Abu Ghraib was just a few bad apples). A few members of Congress squawk. The debate is labeled “politics.” We turn the page.
There has been scarcely more response to the similarly recurrent story of apparent war crimes committed by our contractors in Iraq. Call me cynical, but when Laura Bush spoke up last week about the human rights atrocities in Burma, it seemed less an act of selfless humanitarianism than another administration maneuver to change the subject from its own abuses.
As Mrs. Bush spoke, two women, both Armenian Christians, were gunned down in Baghdad by contractors underwritten by American taxpayers. On this matter, the White House has been silent. That incident followed the Sept. 16 massacre in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, where 17 Iraqis were killed by security forces from Blackwater USA, which had already been implicated in nearly 200 other shooting incidents since 2005. There has been no accountability. The State Department, Blackwater’s sugar daddy for most of its billion dollars in contracts, won’t even share its investigative findings with the United States military and the Iraqi government, both of which have deemed the killings criminal.
The gunmen who mowed down the two Christian women worked for a Dubai-based company managed by Australians, registered in Singapore and enlisted as a subcontractor by an American contractor headquartered in North Carolina. This is a plot out of “Syriana” by way of “Chinatown.” There will be no trial. We will never find out what happened. A new bill passed by the House to regulate contractor behavior will have little effect, even if it becomes law in its current form.
We can continue to blame the Bush administration for the horrors of Iraq — and should. Paul Bremer, our post-invasion viceroy and the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts, issued the order that allows contractors to elude Iraqi law, a folly second only to his disbanding of the Iraqi Army. But we must also examine our own responsibility for the hideous acts committed in our name in a war where we have now fought longer than we did in the one that put Verschärfte Vernehmung on the map.
I have always maintained that the American public was the least culpable of the players during the run-up to Iraq. The war was sold by a brilliant and fear-fueled White House propaganda campaign designed to stampede a nation still shellshocked by 9/11. Both Congress and the press — the powerful institutions that should have provided the checks, balances and due diligence of the administration’s case — failed to do their job. Had they done so, more Americans might have raised more objections. This perfect storm of democratic failure began at the top.
As the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin.
In April 2004, Stars and Stripes first reported that our troops were using makeshift vehicle armor fashioned out of sandbags, yet when a soldier complained to Donald Rumsfeld at a town meeting in Kuwait eight months later, he was successfully pilloried by the right. Proper armor procurement lagged for months more to come. Not until early this year, four years after the war’s first casualties, did a Washington Post investigation finally focus the country’s attention on the shoddy treatment of veterans, many of them victims of inadequate armor, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals.
We first learned of the use of contractors as mercenaries when four Blackwater employees were strung up in Falluja in March 2004, just weeks before the first torture photos emerged from Abu Ghraib. We asked few questions. When reports surfaced early this summer that our contractors in Iraq (180,000, of whom some 48,000 are believed to be security personnel) now outnumber our postsurge troop strength, we yawned. Contractor casualties and contractor-inflicted casualties are kept off the books.
It was always the White House’s plan to coax us into a blissful ignorance about the war. Part of this was achieved with the usual Bush-Cheney secretiveness, from the torture memos to the prohibition of photos of military coffins. But the administration also invited our passive complicity by requiring no shared sacrifice. A country that knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch was all too easily persuaded there could be a free war.
Instead of taxing us for Iraq, the White House bought us off with tax cuts.
Instead of mobilizing the needed troops, it kept a draft off the table by quietly purchasing its auxiliary army of contractors to finesse the overstretched military’s holes. With the war’s entire weight falling on a small voluntary force, amounting to less than 1 percent of the population, the rest of us were free to look the other way at whatever went down in Iraq.
We ignored the contractor scandal to our own peril. Ever since Falluja this auxiliary army has been a leading indicator of every element of the war’s failure: not only our inadequate troop strength but also our alienation of Iraqi hearts and minds and our rampant outsourcing to contractors rife with Bush-Cheney cronies and campaign contributors. Contractors remain a bellwether of the war’s progress today. When Blackwater was briefly suspended after the Nisour Square catastrophe, American diplomats were flatly forbidden from leaving the fortified Green Zone. So much for the surge’s great “success” in bringing security to Baghdad.
Last week Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq war combat veteran who directs Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, sketched for me the apocalypse to come. Should Baghdad implode, our contractors, not having to answer to the military chain of command, can simply “drop their guns and go home.” Vulnerable American troops could be deserted by those “who deliver their bullets and beans.”
This potential scenario is just one example of why it’s in our national self-interest to attend to Iraq policy the White House counts on us to ignore. Our national character is on the line too. The extralegal contractors are both a slap at the sovereignty of the self-governing Iraq we supposedly support and an insult to those in uniform receiving as little as one-sixth the pay. Yet it took mass death in Nisour Square to fix even our fleeting attention on this long-metastasizing cancer in our battle plan.
Similarly, it took until December 2005, two and a half years after “Mission Accomplished,” for Mr. Bush to feel sufficient public pressure to acknowledge the large number of Iraqi casualties in the war. Even now, despite his repeated declaration that “America will not abandon the Iraqi people,” he has yet to address or intervene decisively in the tragedy of four million-plus Iraqi refugees, a disproportionate number of them children. He feels no pressure from the American public to do so, but hey, he pays lip service to Darfur.
Our moral trajectory over the Bush years could not be better dramatized than it was by a reunion of an elite group of two dozen World War II veterans in Washington this month. They were participants in a top-secret operation to interrogate some 4,000 Nazi prisoners of war. Until now, they have kept silent, but America’s recent record prompted them to talk to The Washington Post.
“We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture,” said Henry Kolm, 90, an M.I.T. physicist whose interrogation of Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, took place over a chessboard. George Frenkel, 87, recalled that he “never laid hands on anyone” in his many interrogations, adding, “I’m proud to say I never compromised my humanity.”
Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
In the Democratic debates that were recently on MSNBC, Senator Mike Gravel, Rep. Kucinich, as well as Senator Edwards called out those that voted in favor of the amendment against Iran. I think Edwards may have said it best when he offered that he learned a very different lesson about giving this administration any wiggle-room whatsoever for war - that they can't be trusted. The way Hillary laughed when Senator Gravel said she should be ashamed of her vote (video below), and it should have made it very clear to everybody exactly why she is the darling of Israel and has the support of the largest lobbyist in the US, AIPAC (also an Israeli entity). Her excuse for allowing the administration a crack to squeeze through and attack Iran? So that we can sanction them. Must I really point out that we have already sanctioned Iran TWICE in the last eight months, without ever passing any such resolution? Sanctions before diplomacy huh? Am I the only one that hasn't forgotten that the sanctions placed on Iraq killed over 1.5 million Iraqis, and that half a million of those were children, due to lack of clean drinking water? Even though the sanctions clearly "worked" to keep Saddam from obtaining WMD, that didn't stop us from initiating a war with them and occupying Iraq in the end - so what's the purpose of the sanctions again?!?!?
Hillary's assertion that Iran is responsible for US troops deaths is also absurd. All NIE and other Intel reports indicate that whether it be by weapons support or insurgent, Iranian involvement accounts for less than 5% of US troop deaths. The same reports indicate that the threats coming from outside Iraq, the ones that are MOST responsible for US troop deaths, are the Saudi Arabians. But hey, if we're going to look the other way when we knew their citizens were 90% of those responsible for 9/11, then why would we come after them now? The other country that is reported to be enabling terrorism and largely contributing to US troop deaths in the Middle East, is our other ally, Pakistan!
Must every day be "Opposite Day" with this administration at the helm? For Bush, the friend of our enemy, is also our friend! The enemy of our enemy is again, our friend; and if they are a signatory of the non-proliferation act, that may disqualify them from being an ally too (i.e. India & Israel: get lots of weaponry, and are not signatories). And if a country isn't a dictatorship, a theocracy, nor refuses to suppress a nation of peoples...then they are most likely NOT our friends (i.e. France). So why get your feathers ruffled-up when one of our largest military contractors (Halliburton), relocates their headquarters to Dubai, of the United Arab Emirates? Just because they were the ones that allowed all the funding for 9/11 to be transfered through their government owned banks and into the hands of the terrorists in the US, then refused to allow us to follow the money...and just because they are the ONLY country in the region that allows flights from Afghanistan to land, which enables the Taliban to travel...well, those things shouldn't be any cause for alarm - right? Hell no, those things suggest friendship to our president; because war is quite profitable, and business is GOOD! "Money trumps peace...sometimes" - right Shrub? I think he could have left the "sometimes" out, in an effort for him to be truly honest...
However, without the ability to throw the terrorist label around so liberally, there wouldn't be any good targets for the Military Industrial Complex, and business wouldn't be so good. The word terrorist has been used so often and inappropriately so many times, that I seriously doubt anybody knows what the true meaning of the word is anymore. That's why I was especially pleased to see one of our finest, a marine in the al Anbar province, author this article about this very issue. Apparently, our troops are concerned about our understanding of what a terrorist actually is, and suspect that there are political aims behind such sloppy use of the word as well. I was compelled to write him and thank him for doing this, since there really is no better authority on the matter and he aptly points out that we should be careful when applying this term to people because, "Words still mean things."
Even if Bush can't annunciate or spell them, I think he also knows that words mean something. Which is why I feel compelled to remind you all that he has essentially given himself the absolute authority to label anybody a terrorist, or label almost any event (domestic or international) a threat to national security or an act of terrorism; and then lock whomever he deems responsible away indefinitely, without ever giving them their day in court - even Americans. However, this directive (NSPD 51 or HSPD 20) basically castrates congressional powers and will allow Bush to attack Iran anyway, no matter what our Congress does or doesn't vote for.
Let's pretend for a moment, that Bush won't attack Iran before he leaves office: With Hillary admitting that she doesn't want to guarantee that our troops will be out of Iraq by 2013, and her recent vote in favor of labeling Iran's military a terrorist group; what makes you think that if she becomes president that she wouldn't use that directive to attack Iran herself?
Monday, September 24, 2007
Those of you that have been reading me know that I have been on a mission to shut-down private contractors for some time now. Those of you that are new readers, I invite you to take a look at some of my prior entries here on the subject, which includes some very telling videos as well. perhaps the best known and well done film on the subject is called, "Iraq for Sale" and you can find a link to the full length film viewable online in my links-list, just to your right--->
Prior blogs here include; Privatized War and To the "Victor" Goes the Spoils....
I've also touched on the topic in the following articles (as well as many others) within my column on "Who is Isabella?": Profits Trump Rights (half way down this page), and in my very first article there in August 2005, "Heroes Treated Badly".
With the latest Blackwater scandal, I take small comfort in that a little light was shed on this LONG TIME problem. The only thing that I find disturbing is that Americans are not more outraged. How could America forget so quickly about the private contractors that were hung from the bridge in Iraq? Are we really stupid enough to think that was without provocation?!?!? How is it that people here seem to have little to no understanding whatsoever that these kinds of lawless and immoral activities that private contractors are engaged in are endangering our troops? The Iraqis can't tell the difference between the contractors and our troops; and even if they can, they see them as part of the same force. When they do bad things, they do them in the name of the US. For our "leaders" not to have reacted to this incident immediately and properly, is an extremely bad reflection on the US as well. Removing Blackwater from Iraq is a minimal move, that should be followed by the removal of ALL private contractors in Iraq.
Last year there was a privately contracted security member that decided to kill a security guard for an Iraqi official, mainly because he was drunk while having an argument with the guy - but also just because he could! He even announced he was going out to kill somebody to his drinking buddies, just before he did it. What happened to him? Nothing; he was sent home, and faced no punishment whatsoever for committing that senseless murder. It's no wonder that after this latest episode of killing at least 11 Iraqi civilians - without provocation - that the Iraqi officials want these guys removed from their country. If we won't hold these guys accountable for such deplorable actions, and the Iraqis are unable to do it, then we should expect this evil crap to continue. The fact that the Iraqi parliament is trying to ban Blackwater and revoke their license, by utilizing their newly formed democracy, and our administration is basically telling them to "stick it" is vile! "HERE! Have a democracy, US style...just don't USE it!!!" Bush says we're there to give them the power and freedom that a democracy affords; but when they use it for what they consider to be best in their best interests, Bush practically laughs in their face by sending Blackwater right back in to work, against their will. I guess if Bush allowed their democracy to function and get the results they're entitled to, then it would expose our democracy for the SHAM it's been over the last several years - and we can't have THAT, now can we?
Since Congress can't even mange to vote in favor of our troops having proper recuperation time in between multiple tours in the Middle East, then I think the least we can do is encourage volunteers to enlist in the service - instead of signing up with the contractors. The contractors pay multitudes more for the very same jobs, and are taking away from our reenlistment potential as well. Not only are they better paid, but it's our volunteer army that is put into the most dangerous positions, without proper armaments, nor end in sight for their service. I just don't understand how those that say they support the troops are OK with all this preference given to contractors! After all, BOTH contractors and the military are paid for by our tax dollars. Which would you rather be paying for? Neither I'm sure and I don't want to be paying for an occupation either, but since we haven't the choice to end it (yet), I'd rather our money didn't go to the immoral, indiscriminate, unaccountable, completely lawless, murderers - especially not when it's at such a great cost to our troops! They are literally getting our military killed.
Thanks to a friend of a friend on My Space, Jesus †J for putting this together!!!
Top ten war profiteers (annotated)
4. BKSH & ASSOCIATES
5. CACI AND TITAN
6. CUSTER BATTLES
8. LOCKHEED MARTIN
9. LORAL SATELLITE
Here lies 33 days of research. Here you have every location, all executives, lobbyists and profiles of the top ten war profiteers. We must shut them down, let them know they are not welcome in our country, state, county, city or town.
We will discuss all legal tactics for doing this elsewhere. This is strictly a directory containing links to all applicable information that I deemed necessary in shutting them down and taking our country and army back from these corporations.
Notice: profit incline exactly the same as soldier's deaths!
Figures are much higher now
Friday, September 21, 2007
A vote came up to restore Habeas Corpus, but that didn't pass - forget about treating human beings with such dignity. Our representatives apparently think that imprisoning people without them knowing why, for indefinite periods of time without ever telling them why, nor giving them a chance to refute it, that's plenty OK by them. What's in a name? Well, if the name is "terrorist," what's in it is; guilty without an opportunity to prove innocence.
A vote came up for our troops to have equal time at home as they serve overseas, but that didn't pass either. Congress thinks that redeploying our troops for multiple tours in the Middle East, one after the other, without a recuperative break, that's perfectly fine by them. They don't care if it undermines the effectiveness of their work, nor if it means a continuation of the highest rates of divorce and suicide our military has ever seen. They don't care if repetitive tours dramatically increases their chances of being killed. What's apparently far more important to Congress is that they can keep the bodies there like Bush wants - far beyond his presidency. Congress wants Bush to have his occupation at all costs; no matter that the mission isn't defined, regardless of the fact that there is absolutely NO PLAN for them to ever leave, and even though it spits in the face of the newly formed democracy in Iraq (they have voted against continued presence, and in favor of US troops withdrawal). We don't really have a democracy anymore, so why should Iraqis enjoy one?
What DID pass a congressional vote this week? Condemnation of Free Speech! Yes sir, Congress doesn't think that the three million Americans (including many vets & their loved ones) have the right to express their concerns about our military leadership in the New York Times. Countless smear campaigns for Democrats and those that want an end to the occupation, that's perfectly fine; just don't share your disagreement with Bush and his cabal, or you will cause Congress to spend their time & efforts condemning you (in a "time of war" nonetheless). If this isn't clear evidence that dissent and freedom of speech has become illegal in the US, then I don't know what is!
To say that I'm dismayed at our current session of Congress' inability to do the people's will, and honor the very reason why they were put into office in the first place (to end the war), is a severely gross understatement. I hope America will join me in a campaign to flush-out our halls of Congress and rid ourselves of these anti-patriotic, inhumane, spineless losers in the next election! In the meantime, call your representatives to ask them things like, "Did you vote FOR or AGAINST freedom of speech?" Or, "Why do you think detainees should be locked away indefinitely, assumed guilty, and without explanation?" And, "Why don't you want our troops to be able to hold their marriages together, nor be capable of effectively doing their job in the Middle East?"
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
"An illegal arrest is an assault and battery. The person so attempted to be restrained of his liberty has the same right to use force in defending himself as he would in repelling any other assault and battery." State v. Robinson, 145 ME. 77, 72 ATL. 260
"Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer's life if necessary." Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306."
Being obnoxious is not a crime, and over zealousness is not legally punishable by brute-force or law. Therefore, I post again the quote from Albert Einstein that I think is most pertinent to this matter:
"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."
My man told me that if he'd been there, he'd most likely have been keeping that guy company in jail that night. Neither one of us could live with ourselves, allowing that to happen right in front of us and I certainly would've ended up in jail with them both. We are by no stretch of the imagination violent people, but when it comes to police brutality that violates constitutional rights - forget about it, we hate bullies! It's seriously shameful and even frightening how the people there not only allowed, but actually cheered this fascist reaction right before their eyes. No matter what "side" you're on politically, this should have been seen as a total affront to our freedom of speech. The Constitution and our First Amendment right is far from a partisan issue! If we don't defend everybody's right, then soon enough we'll find that NOBODY will be able to exorcise it. You can't support the right to be extended ONLY to those you agree with - that's 100% anti-patriotic. Whatever happened to "Sticks & stones..." people?
Remember, "First they came for the Jews..." and I seriously doubt that any American wants to find themselves with nobody left to speak out for them, when they want to express themselves - WAKE UP SHEEPLE!
So here are a few examples of how our rights to peacefully assemble and speak our minds are being violated by our system and it's officials:
Last year posted on You Tube, another student being Tasered inside the UCLA library. The main difference between what happened a few days ago and this episode from last year is that the students witnessing this atrocity were vigilant citizens. They asked for badge numbers and tried to ask why this was happening. How did we go from that to now? Is it really just a matter of it happening in California as opposed to happening in Florida? Or is it a result of another year since, of desensitization and growing acceptance of such treatment of Americans?
In an effort to lawfully post notice of the march protesting the occupation, set for September 15th, police came to arrest and harass the people from the ANSWER coalition. Say what you will about the organization itself; I've worked with them and they are extremely careful to obey all laws and regulations. Watch the video, there was no violence or even civil disobedience going on. Of the 192 people arrested at the occupation protest on the 15th, only five or so still remain in jail (in correlation to prior charges). Can anybody tell me why they needed to be arrested in the first place? Crossing the police lines was the official explanation, but that obviously didn't hold water or I'd think they would've remained in jail or been released on bail until trial - but no, they were simply released. Eerily this echoes of the thousands of "terror suspects" released without any explanation from Guantanamo, doesn't it? Even more disturbing was that a few people were sprayed with chemicals, and that detail is barely visible or rarely reported in the news.
During the Petraeus hearing, a Reverend was jumped on and forced to the ground by at least five officers and thrown to the ground so hard that his f'in leg was broken! Come on, you can't tell me that a clergyman was so out of line, or doing something so offensive in the halls of Congress that it warranted arrest and putting him in the hospital. This is completely obscene. Here is the Reverend Yearwood telling his side of that story.
Almost a year ago one of Code Pink's members was banned from DC for an entire year, or she faced six months jail time. This is just another ludicrous absurdity! At least the incident with the student a couple days ago got one of the co-founders of Code Pink into the mainstream!
If you are unaware of the abuses and incredible acts of brutality perpetrated on the victims of Katrina, then you need only Google it to get thousands of results for that as well.
There is a great book that was released last spring that chronicles the rights violations that have occurred to ordinary people since 9/11, some for the most benign acts. It's called, "You Have No Rights; Stories of America in an Age of Repression" by Mathew Rothschild.
So where does this end, and how?
I say it ends in fascism if we don't act to prevent it from continuing, and that it can only be cured by exorcising the rights afforded us by our beloved Constitution. The ability to exorcise our civil rights is literally the foundation that our democracy depends upon for its very existence.
Now being that almost all Iraqi oil is in the northern (Kurdistan) and southern regions, I guess it's fairly safe to assume that they'd rather sell it off than share the profits with their fellow Iraqis.
I personally think it's completely ludicrous to force Iraq to sell one of the only forms of revenue they have to fund their own reconstruction. To say that this is a "benchmark" for them to meet or face being abandoned by the US, and to use their compliance as a measure of their success - that's absolutely F*@CKED UP.
To pinch Iraqis and put them in a corner that they are helpless to get out of on their own, this reminds me of the book called, "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man." The premise is exactly about how the US has forced countries to sell-off their revenues to US companies for their interests (without any real benefit to the countries they are stealing from) and the only real difference is this one is being played-out right under our noses, as opposed to in coordination with Black-Ops (or covert missions). Worse yet, these hit men pretend as if they are doing these desperate people some kind of favor, while typically giving them no other choice.
It totally sickens me that US politicians have become these hit men, by threatening to abandon all efforts to repair damage done if Iraqis don't comply to selling their only hope to the ones that raped them in the first place.
(Kudos to a family member that tipped me off about Hunt Oil Inc., and to a fellow blogger that inspired me to write about this)
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
~ Albert Einstein
On another scary Gestapo-like note...
The protest against the Iraq war/occupation last Saturday, there were 190 people arrested and chemical spray was used on a few people too! As I searched for a link that included the mention of the chemical spray, MANY articles that came up in Google have since been erased - nor was there even a single large publication still running that part of the story. I bet you're just as shocked as I am about the lack of accurate media coverage...NOT. If you are surprised, I suppose no flags went up for you about Fox censoring the celebrities that attended the Emmy's and commented on the occupation the other night either. Fox? Censor? NO WAY!!!
I guess free speech is crime, unless you parrot Bush that is. Is it absolutely clear now that the peace movement is considered a serious threat to this administration?
God help us; She may be the only one left that can save our right to free speech.
"First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me."
Pastor Martin Niemöller
Friday, September 14, 2007
Saturday, September 8, 2007
But then again, in the words of Senator Gravel (recently on Bill Maher), "What do you expect when you have a mental midget for a president?" Napoleon complex? Perhaps...
Still, I wasn't feeling well at all the last few days, and then I was hipped to this bit of news from Australia about the Bums for Bush:
BLESS THOSE BUMS!!!
Saturday, September 1, 2007
However, time is of the essence in this matter, as there is about to be a GIANT propaganda effort taking-off. No time to read books before attending to this matter, we already know we don't want to go to war with Iran!
If you've been reading me, you know I have been expecting this to happen for quite some time now, and I'm still a little leery about an attack on US soil being within our immediate future. Now I think that the administration is backed into the corner far enough that if they are going to do this (as they've wanted to since the beginning), now is about the only chance they have left to pull it off. There's extra pressure to get it started quick too; with the progress report for the surge being due on September 11 (even though the White House was able to edit it), and the vast majority of Americans now agree that it's time to end US involvement in Iraq - we're weary from war & occupation already! So this effort for public support of another war won't be as easy as it was the first time.
The problem is that the warmongers don't care if they are able to gain as little as 30-40% support from the public, because that's plenty enough to go ahead with it in their book. Our only hope of preventing this catastrophe is by pushing for the legislation already introduced against funding for an attack on Iran, and let's not forget that this administration doesn't think they need congressional approval to do it - so passing a law forbidding funds for military action against Iran is absolutely necessary for prevention. Unfortunately, even if everybody is successful in doing these things, it may only hold it off temporarily - but that could be enough time to take other preventative measures thereafter.
Please everybody, do your part to end this mindless destruction of life everywhere, just for the sake of financial profit - it has got to end!
May we all take action, and may the powers that be have mercy on us all...
Friday, August 31, 2007
I'm plenty good with the gay part, it's the self-loathing hypocrisy that I find most disturbing.
Once again' Palast has aptly identified the target of such inhumanities, as people who are guilty of being just two things: poor & black.
This problem is nothing short of outrageous insanity, and this vile treatment of human life is absolutely shameful (if not criminal).
Still think it's more important for our National Guard to be in Iraq; as opposed to in the US, attending to natural disaster relief efforts? Between the multiplying infrastructure failures across the nation and the increasing intensity of damaging storms and other freaks of nature, we are in for some serious suffering as it is. "Not in America," right? Wrong. Without a proper security infrastructure at home, we have far more pressing issues than terrorism on our plate. Just because you may not be black or poor, don't fool yourself into thinking that it won't happen to you. The vast majority that are hurting (and will be hurting)come from our middle class - the largest growing demographic sinking into poverty.
I never thought this would be the situation in New Orleans two years after Katrina hit. It's almost too unbelievable for me, but it should be a screaming signal for Americans everywhere to get mad as hell! Which reminds me...
Across the nation, at every Federal Building of every city, during the lunch hour (12-1), on the 19th of every month: Bring some pots & pans and...
RAISE HELL FOR MOLLY IVINS!!!
The only purpose of this gathering is to let our representatives hear first-hand that we want an end to the war/occupation - NOW. Pure and simple. Brilliant journalist Molly Ivins, passed away a about six months ago. In her last article she talked about Bush's "surge plan." Ivins said that Bush claiming that as an actual plan should've had Americans out in the streets mad as hell, banging pots & pans, and demanding that the war come to an end right now. In loving memory...
Monday, August 27, 2007
When Gonzales announced he wasn't going to resign he said he needed to get about his business of "good work," and claimed the courts were impeding him to do so. All the sudden, I think he realized that he was merely a "common mortal" and it was only getting caught in criminal/immoral activities that revealed this harsh reality to himself - nauseatingly pathetic. Then there's Rove, leaving to supposedly "spend time with his family" does he really have one? That just creeps me out... I expect that they'll be seen very soon at the pulpit, giving their public confessional. You know, the one where they lay all their sins in God's lap? If it weren't for confession, I doubt any of Bush's cronies would ever know what it feels like to be "clean," not even momentarily.
Of course, Bush will just open his back-door for another crony to be seated without question. I heard that Homeland Security Dept. failure, Michael Chertoff may be in line for Gonzales' seat. People are already talking about Chertoff's recess appointment meaning he will remain until the end of 2007 (without congressional questioning/confirmation required). How disgusting is it that because of the administration's repeated and abusive pattern of recess appointments, that before it even happens people are just expecting it? What was once fairly rare, became the norm and nobody in Congress has ever really said much about it, if anything at all. Bush the a back-door man, adores his recess appointments and opens the back-door wide for cronies that wouldn't be able to pass the congressional sniff-test. I would be all for Chertoff's appointment - IF it meant we had an opportunity to get him under oath about his disastrous Katrina-recovery "efforts"!
Bush said that Gonzales was "impeding from doing good work" - and even though he meant impeded, he spoke more truth than he will ever understand (which might bring his total less than ten times that he did tell the truth about anything...inadvertently). Bush also claimed that Gonzales' name was being "dragged through the mud...over politics," but I'd say that Gonzales had clearly decided to bathe in mud regularly, and all on his own. After all, nothing besmirches reputation or name as effectively as just being a liar does!
I obviously wanted these two thorns removed, but I have to admit that allowing them to work in stealth is more concerning in some regards. Just look at Rumsfeld: He proved to be a miserable failure, and he may have resigned; but he was never held accountable for anything whatsoever, and then he was given his very own little staff as a consultant, for the Pentagon. Just because he isn't Sec. of Defense anymore doesn't mean he stopped applying his failing policies to our military. On the contrary, Rumsfeld now has a kind of immunity and anonymity to hide behind while doing it.
Just because we no longer see the thorns in our sides, doesn't mean they aren't still there. Keep your eyes on these guys, they will not be disappearing anytime soon. Don't let "out of sight" become "out of mind."
- ▼ December (5)
- ► September (10)
- ► August (8)
- "Oh Lucy! You Gotta Lotta 'Splainin To Do" 9/11 Timeline
- 14 Characteristics of Fascism / Corporatism
- Contact Congress
- Downing Street Memo Timeline
- Freedom to Fascism
- From the Wilderness Timelines
- GovTrack.us - Track Legislation!
- Impeachment Evidence Files
- Iraq for Sale
- Peace, Propoganda, & The Promised Land
- The Power of Nightmares
- Truth & Lies of 9/11
Been there, Listen to, Support that
- BRAD BLOG
- Center for Constitutional Rights
- Common Dreams
- CROOKS & LIARS
- EAT THE PRESS
- Editor & Publisher
- Fair Vote
- FROM THE WILDERNESS
- Greg Palast
- Guardian Unlimited
- Harrison on the Edge
- Media Matters
- RAW STORY
- Ry's Anti-Neocons
- Sign of the Times
- Thom Hartmann
- TPM MUCKRAKER
- What Really Happened
- the Left Paw
- I had been writing a News & Politics column for an online magazine for a little over three years, and just last fall opened this blog to continue publication. I also had the pleasure of being the associate producer for a progressive talk radio host for about a year. Alittle of everything... I've advised small businesses, and I paint all kinds of things (boxes, figurines, greeting cards, personalized children's and other dish-wares, decor...). I still paint when I can, but mainly I'm manage a wholesale company for a Fair Trade, eco-friendly Jewelry & Homewares designer/producer out of Bali called, Verlu. You can see a full catalog of our line on the website, and there is now a list of our retailers for you to visit too. "Wear in everybody's Good Health!"