30 November 2006

Liberty in the Middle East

From the Guardian:
He [Bush] rejected any notion of a "graceful exit" as unrealistic: "It's in our interests to help liberty prevail in the Middle East, starting with Iraq. And that's why this business about graceful exit simply has no realism to it at all."
When Bush speaks of the prevalence of liberty in the Middle East, all I can think of is liberty for him and his oil industry cronies to further exploit the oil wealth of the region for their own interests.

I say no to you, Bush. Am I totally off my rocker, or what?

Here's a link to the article from The Guardian, which describes Bush's continued support for Nouri al-Maliki, and occupation: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1961618,00.html

A Strategy to Deceive Congress and the American People

This is from Elizabeth de la Vega's indictment of Bush et al., Conspiracy to Defraud the United States:
the defendants and WHIG executed a calculated and wide-ranging strategy to deceive Congress and the American people by making hundreds of false and fraudulent representations that were only half-true, or literally true but misleading; by concealing material facts; and by making statements without a reasonable basis and with reckless indifference to their truth, regarding, among other things:

(a) their true intent to invade Iraq;
(b) the extent of military buildup and force used against Iraq without notice to or approval by Congress;
(c) their true purpose in seeking a Congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq;
(d) their true intent to use their involvement in seeking a UN resolution requiring Iraq to cooperate with weapons inspectors as a sham; and
(e) their claimed justifications for invading Iraq, including but not limited to:
* The alleged connection between Saddam Hussein and the attacks of September 11, 2001;
* The alleged connection between Iraq and al Qaeda;
* The alleged connection between Saddam Hussein and any terrorists whose primary animus was directed towards the United States;
* Saddam Hussein's alleged intent to attack the United States in any way;
• Saddam Hussein's possession of nuclear weapons and the status of any alleged ongoing nuclear weapons programs;
* The lack of any reasonable basis for asserting with certainty that Saddam Hussein was actively manufacturing chemical and biological weapons; and
*The alleged urgency of any threat posed to the United States by Saddam Hussein.
read more: Bush Administration Conspiracy to Defraud the United States.

29 November 2006

Mayfield to be Compensated $2M

This is a pretty amazing case of FBI wrong doing. The Spanish authorities told the FBI repeatedly that Mayfield's prints did not match. FBI computer analysis confirmed this. But they arrested him anyway. And now they claim that it wasn't because Mayfield had recently converted to Islam:

U.S. Settles Suit Filed by Ore. Lawyer
$2 Million Will Be Paid For Wrongful Arrest After Madrid Attack

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, November 30, 2006; Page A03

The U.S. government agreed yesterday to pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by an Oregon lawyer who was arrested and jailed for two weeks in 2004 after the FBI bungled a fingerprint match and mistakenly linked him to a terrorist attack in Spain.

Under the terms of the settlement filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Portland, the government also issued an unusual apology to Brandon Mayfield for the "suffering" caused by his wrongful arrest and imprisonment. It acknowledged that the ordeal was "deeply upsetting" to Mayfield and his family.

Mayfield will be able to continue pursuing his legal challenge to the constitutionality of the USA Patriot Act anti-terrorism law, which was used to obtain his personal records while he was under investigation.



Mist and Smoke

28 November 2006

Democracy in Iraq

Click on images for links to full resolution versions.

Tree and Blue Sky

view toward library and red square:

Tree and Blue Sky

Letter to the "Prez"

"Prez" in quotes because his official election status is dubious.

I just sent this email off to the #1 and #2. I don't think they'll like it very much. But I don't like what they are doing to the USA, to the people, to the world, to humanity in general.

Without further ado:
Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney,

It is obvious that the situation in Iraq is dire and that it is only getting worse. The vast majority of Iraqis want the US military to withdraw. The Iraqis further believe that sectarian violence and tensions will actually be reduced if the USA leaves Iraq alone. It seems that, at the very least, setting an timetable for withdrawal deserves to be on the table for discussion.

Your invasion and occupation of Iraq has the appearance of a project in venture capitalism gone drastically awry. But, as obvious as the failure is to the rest of the world, you are still wedded to your notions of success. Your belief in success is delusional. What will it take to bring disillusion to the White House?

Only the introduction of an international consortium, founded in genuine altruistic intentions, can restore true stability and security to Iraq.

In order to achieve true and lasting security in Iraq and the region, the USA (and other Western Interests with an eye for exploitation) must rescind all economic ties to the oil wealth of Iraq. That is, American and other Western business interests must not be allowed to profit any further from the disaster in Iraq, or from the eventual development of the petroleum extraction industry there.

The conduct of your administration regarding the invasion and occupation of Iraq brings shame to the USA. Shame on you. Americans know that justification for the invasion was based on lies and deliberate falsehoods. You are under investigation by the American people for prewar intelligence fraud.

It's time to think, and then think again.


Robert Whitlock

27 November 2006

Bush Administration to Receive Indictment for Prewar Planning Fraud

How timely for this book to be published now, as a newly elected congress is preparing inhabit the Capitol building in D.C. And just in time for the holiday season.

What would really be appropriate during this bleak time in the USA would be to make this indictment real. Let's follow through with a real hearing in a Court of Law with Subpoena Power. Let the accused stand trial. No?

Have a good week:
[from tomdispatch.com]

...De la Vega has drawn up that indictment -- a "hypothetical" one, she hastens to add -- convened that grand jury, and held seven days of testimony. Yes, it's a grand jury directly out of her fertile brain and the federal agents who testify are fictional, but all the facts are true. She understands the case against the Bush administration down to the last detail; and she's produced, to my mind, the book of the post-election, investigative season: United States v. George W. Bush et al.

It's a Tomdispatch.com book project, produced in conjunction with Seven Stories Press, a superb independent publisher, and officially published on December 1st. I think it's simply sensational. It makes a "slam dunk" case for the way we were defrauded into war; despite the grim subject matter, it's a beautifully designed little book, a pleasure to hold in your hand; and, because de la Vega is a natural as a writer, it's also thoroughly enjoyable reading...
Today, United States v. George W. Bush et al remains in the realm of fiction, but tomorrow, if you lend a hand… who knows? Tom

A Fraud Worse than Enron
By Elizabeth de la Vega

Elizabeth de la Vega, appearing on behalf of the United States. That is a phrase I've uttered hundreds of times in twenty years as a federal prosecutor. I retired two years ago. So, obviously, I do not now speak for any U.S. Attorney's Office, nor do I represent the federal government. This should be apparent from the fact that I am proposing a hypothetical indictment of the President and his senior advisers -- not a smart move for any federal employee who wishes to remain employed. Lest anyone miss the import of this paragraph, let me emphasize that it is a DISCLAIMER: I am writing as a private citizen.

Obviously, as a private citizen, I cannot simply draft and file an indictment. Nor can I convene a grand jury. Instead, in the following pages I intend to present a hypothetical indictment to a hypothetical grand jury. The defendants are President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The crime is tricking the nation into war--in legal terms, conspiracy to defraud the United States. And all of you are invited to join the grand jury.
link to original: http://tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=142875

26 November 2006

Mark Danner: Fantasies, Delusions and Faulty Imaginations of Success in Iraq

Here is a short excerpt from an article by Mark Danner. It can be found in several locations on the Internet, but I will link to a copy posted by Tom Englehardt at Tomdispatch.com.

The machinations of the war industry have led America down a cruel and disparaging road. The war machine has decimated Iraq. Where once there was stability and civil discourse, now there is chaos and violence. Where once families felt secure in their neighborhoods and livelihoods, now thousands of Iraqis flee their homeland daily. They flee Iraq because the US occupation of Iraq has brought, instead of liberation, intolerable chaos, violence, and an environment where destitution and criminality prevail:
Anyone seeking to understand what has become the central conundrum of the Iraq war -- how it is that so many highly accomplished, experienced, and intelligent officials came together to make such monumental, consequential, and, above all, obvious mistakes, mistakes that much of the government knew very well at the time were mistakes -- must see beyond what seems to be a simple rhetoric of self-justification and follow it where it leads: toward the War of Imagination that senior officials decided to fight in the spring and summer of 2002 and to whose image they clung long after reality had taken a sharply separate turn.
Since the first thrilling night of shock and awe, reported with breathless enthusiasm by the American television networks, the Iraq war has had at least two histories, that of the war itself and that of the American perception of it. As the months passed and the number of attacks in Iraq grew, the gap between those two histories opened wider and wider. And finally, for most Americans, the War of Imagination -- built of nationalistic excitement and ideological hubris and administration pronouncements about "spreading democracy" and "greetings with sweets and flowers," and then about "dead-enders" and "turning points," and finally about "staying the course" and refusing "to cut and run" -- began, under the pressure of nearly three thousand American dead and perhaps a hundred thousand or more dead Iraqis, to give way to grim reality.

The election of November 7, 2006, marks the moment when the War of Imagination decisively gave way to the war on the ground and when officials throughout the American government, not least the President himself, were forced to recognize and acknowledge a reality that much of the American public had discerned months or years before. The ideological canopy now has lifted. The study groups are at their work. Americans have come to know what they do not know. If confronted with that simple question the smiling President Ahmadinejad of Iran put to Mike Wallace last August -- "I ask you, sir, what is the American Army doing inside Iraq?" -- how many Americans could offer a clear and convincing answer?

25 November 2006

Rumsfeld in Trouble

Reuters photo©: "torturer in chief?"
Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former U.S. general
Sat Nov 25, 2006 11:45 AM ET

MADRID (Reuters) - Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison's former U.S. commander said in an interview on Saturday.

Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.

Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods.

"The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished"," she told Saturday's El Pais.

"The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorized these specific techniques."

The Geneva Convention says prisoners of war should suffer "no physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion" to secure information.
read the whole thing

"Pottery Barn Rule" in Iraq is Moot

Rosa Brooks argues against Colin Powell's assertion that, as far as Iraq goes, if you break it, you buy it. And I tend to agree with her. Though I do think in general the USA is not doing enough to reach out to the world community to ask for help in solving the Iraq crisis:
Rosa Brooks: Iraq is broke beyond repair
The Pottery Barn rule won't cut it any more -- we have to get out before more damage is done.
Rosa Brooks

November 24, 2006

IN 1789, GEORGE Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving proclamation. After giving "sincere and humble thanks" for the many blessings our young country had enjoyed, he urged Americans to "unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions."

If Washington were alive to express those sentiments today, he'd be pilloried by Bill O'Reilly as a member of the "Blame America First Club." National transgressions? Who, us?

But, yes, even the U.S.A. screws up sometimes. The invasion of Iraq, for instance, will go down in history as a national transgression of epic proportions — and our original screw-up (an unjustified invasion based on cooked intelligence books) was compounded many times over by our failure to plan for the reconstruction of post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.

I visited Iraq in August 2003, back when it was still possible to believe that some good would come out of the U.S. invasion. True, we hadn't found any weapons of mass destruction — but Hussein was out, and ordinary Iraqis were eager to embark on a freer and more prosperous future. On the pedestal that had once supported the famous statue of Hussein (toppled in April 2003 by jubilant Iraqis, with a little help from U.S. troops), an Iraqi graffiti artist left the Americans a pointed message, written in blood-red paint: "ALL DONNE GO HOME."

We should have done just that.


But at this point, our presence is manifestly making things worse. Ask the Iraqis, who ought to know. In a poll released this week, 78% of Iraqis told researchers that the U.S. military presence is "provoking more conflict than it is preventing"; 71% said they want U.S. troops out within a year; 58% said they think inter-ethnic violence will diminish if the U.S. withdraws; and 61% think that a U.S. withdrawal will improve day-to-day security for average Iraqis. We should listen to them, this time.

And no, adding another 20,000 or 30,000 troops won't magically turn the tide. It's too little, too late. Adding another 200,000 to 300,000 troops might make a difference, but troops don't grow on trees. They grow in families, and this war has already damaged thousands of those.

We can withdraw quickly or slowly, all at once or in stages, but we should withdraw. If it makes anyone feel better, we can call it "strategic redeployment," and we can and should look for ongoing ways to use our financial resources and our technical expertise to help ordinary Iraqis and any legitimate, nonaggressive Iraqi government.

Before the war, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell told President Bush of the so-called Pottery Barn rule: "You break it, you own it." But Iraq is not a decorative dinner plate. We broke it, but we can't fix it, and we can never own it. All we can do now is leave and apologize for the terrible damage we've done.

It's hard to imagine our current president asking anyone's forgiveness for our "national transgressions," but this Thanksgiving season would be a pretty good time for him to start.
link http://fairuse.100webcustomers.com/fairenough/latimes578.html

Major Hostilities Rage in Iraq

It seems that a full blown sectarian conflict has broken out between the Sunni and the Shi'a in Iraq. Here's a story from McClatchy. We need to put more pressure on D.C. to end this occupation. We need to bring in a consortium of credible parties to restore stability to Iraq. The onus is on our government:

Al-Sadr loyalists take over Iraqi television station By Hannah Allam and Mohamed al Dulaimy McClatchy Newspapers

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Followers of the militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took over state-run television Saturday to denounce the Iraqi government, label Sunnis "terrorists" and issue what appeared to many viewers as a call to arms.

The two-hour broadcast from a community gathering in the heart of the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City included three members of al-Sadr's parliamentary bloc, who took questions from outraged residents demanding revenge for a series of car bombings that killed some 200 people Thursday.

With Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki relegated to the sidelines, brazen Sunni-Shiite attacks continue unchecked despite a 24-hour curfew over Baghdad. Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia now controls wide swaths of the capital, his politicians are the backbone of the Cabinet, and his followers deeply entrenched in the Iraqi security forces. Sectarian violence has spun so rapidly out of control since the Sadr City blasts, however, that it's not clear whether even al-Sadr has the authority - or the will - to stop the cycle of bloodshed.


read more: http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/16092045.htm

Harnessing the Power of the Stars

A new multinational project is being developed in order to explore the possibility of developing an Earth bound source of thermo-nuclear fusion energy. The ITER project will culminate in the construction and testing of the ITER machine, which will be built in France.

The goal is to produce thermonuclear fusion plasma in about 10 years time. The research from ITER will then be used to guide the development of full-scale, serviceable fusion energy plants. Contributions to the project will be made by a seven member consortium.

I don't know of the possibility for detriment from this type of technology. It seems like an awful lot of heat, for one thing. But burning coal as well as other fossil fuels, and present day nuclear fission, are currently producing great amounts of heat, which are affecting ecosystems.

As with anything, common sense dictates that there will be positive and negative aspects. But this technology of fusion power does seem promising, and if it is ever made functional, it has the potential to provide energy on a much more sustainable basis than any type of production currently in practice.

The ITER experiment seeks to generate
usable power from thermonuclear fusion
by about 2016.

Please navigate to the ITER website for more information.

24 November 2006

Don't Be Afraid to Die on the Battlefield

link to full resolution original

Death Toll in Iraq Increasing Rapidly

I blogged a story about this already, but I think it deserves more attention, given the recent spike in violent deaths in Iraq. We need to remember that the United States of America (the government of the Bush Administration at least) is responsible for the situation in Iraq. Had not the Bush Administration pushed for a flagrantly illegal invasion (by means of fraud), the people of Iraq, as well as the US uniformed service men and women (and their families), would not be suffering as they are currently.

Really, we are all suffering because of this war. We all reap the emotional consequences of the violence of war. And these fruits are made all the more rotten and distasteful, all the more putrid and vile, because of the illegal, immoral, unjustified nature of the US military action in Iraq. Read more about the recent rise in violence from Mohammed A. Salih:
ARBIL, Nov 23 (IPS) - More than 150 people died in the Shia Sadr area of Baghdad in a spate of car bombings and mortar attacks Thursday morning.

The toll has been rising dramatically already. A United Nations report indicates that violence hit a new high during October. November looks certain to be worse, with preliminary figures indicating a higher toll in November even before the Thursday bombings.

In its report released Nov. 22, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said that during September and October of this year 7,054 civilians were killed. Of this, 3,709 deaths came in October, marking the highest monthly death toll since the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In July and August, 6,599 Iraqis were killed. Relative to that the violence in September and October showed significant increase.

"Iraq's security situation is critically dangerous," Bassam Ali, a political analyst from Arbil told IPS. "There is a full-scale sectarian war in the country that the media has not been able to fully project to the world."

23 November 2006

Voting Irregularities / Happy Thanksgiving

When the Democrats take over congress, I think one of the most important first steps to take is a thorough investigation of the various sundry voting irregularities that have been exposed in all of the elections since the 2000 presidential election.

It's pretty bad. When American's don't trust the voting system, when the voting system is shown to have flaws, the fundamental basic right of the American citizen has been rendered obsolete. American Citizens have become disenfranchised from the political process.

Democrats need to address this issue first and foremost, even before investigations into the Bush Administration's malfeasance.

On another note, Happy Thanksgiving. It's raining here, and very dark for 10:30 in the morning, but - the show must go on. Good morning, good afternoon, and goodnight.

22 November 2006

Media Poisoning of American Minds

How are we going to stop Bill O'Reilly, FOXnews, Rush Limbaugh et al. from poisoning the minds of so many American people? These manipulators are having a truly harmful effect on life in America (and the world.)

Deadliest Month Yet For Iraqis

There is news that October was the deadliest month since the United States' pre-emptive attack and invasion. And according to this, November's total is likely to pose an even larger number:
By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - At least 101 Iraqis died in the country's unending sectarian slaughter Wednesday, and the U.N. reported that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly toll of the war and one that is sure to be eclipsed when November's dead are counted.
Here is another interesting story for juxtaposition. American soldiers allegedly opened tank cannon fire on a group of homes in Ramadhi, killing 35 people:
Dahr Jamail and Ali al-Fadhily

RAMADI, Nov 17 (IPS) - U.S. military tank fire killed scores of civilians in Ramadi, capital of Al-Anbar province, late Monday night, according to witnesses and doctors. Anger and frustration were evident at the hospitals and during the funerals in the following days.

Iraqi doctors and witnesses at the scene of the attack said U.S. tanks killed 35 civilians when they shelled several homes in the Al-Dhubat area of the city.
... [http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=35515]
So, Iraq is in a state of living hell, and America is neck deep in it. This is truly a terrible situation that we are in. The US government must be forced to do what it can to repair the nation of Iraq. How can we make it up to the Iraqi people? Maybe it's not possible. But the government, under the Bush administration, must be forced to reckon for its wrongs and address these issues in a direct and meaningful manner.

21 November 2006

Bush Administration War on America

The Bush Administration War on America rages on, checked only by a recent gain by democrats in the mid-term election. But the real substance of the Democratic gains are yet to be proven. And the "majority" in the Senate isn't real, because it counts on psuedoDemocrats like Lieberman (CT).

The War on America, that is being waged by the Bush Administration is multi-faceted. They are systematically weakening the domestic economy, decreasing safety and security in the face of threats from terrorism (in a number of ways, not the least of which is by inciting - by provoking terrorists into action...), they are weakening the nets of social protection like access to health care, they are making access to education more difficult, as well as access to gainful opportunities for employment.

The Bush Administration War on America has many accomplices. Most notably Congress. But the judiciary is on track to become a major player in this assault as well.

The recent election is comforting. The American people are not totally asleep. But there is so much more to be done. The road to political and governmental sanity in America appears to be steep and long. But the task can be reduced to a simple operation. Many hands make light work. What needs to happen? Citizen involvement needs to happen. Somehow, the people must be encouraged to raise their voices and call for the better world that they can imagine. I can imagine a better world, and a better America within that world. Can you?

20 November 2006

Unconstitutional - The War on Civil Liberties

Kissinger Rejects Iraq War!

Developing story: many prominent Republicans and Neo-conservatives are speaking out in regard to their estimation of a failed mission in Iraq. Of course, the mission was destined to fail from the outset. The war planners thought that the ends might justify the means and decided it was worth committing various acts of fraud in order to promote the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Now, after hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on the debacle, we learn that Iraq is only worse off, we in America are no safer from terrorism (indeed we are less safe than we were pre-invasion.)

Unfortunately, it looks as if there are still some in the administration who see Iran as a way out of the failure in Iraq. Hopefully, whoever takes over at the Pentagon from Rumsfeld will have the intellectual sanity and courage to realize the disaster that would come from a unilateral preemptive assault on Iran.

Read more about Kissinger and Iraq:
Kissinger Says Victory in Iraq Is Not Possible


Published: November 19, 2006

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 — Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, who regularly advises President Bush on Iraq, said today that a full military victory was no longer possible there. He thus joined a growing number of leading conservatives openly challenging the administration’s conduct of the war and positive forecasts for it.

“If you mean, by ‘military victory,’ an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don’t believe that is possible,” Mr. Kissinger told BBC News.

In Washington, a leading Republican supporter of the war, Senator John McCain of Arizona, said American troops in Iraq were “fighting and dying for a failed policy.”

This still isn't great news, because, for some reason, the policy makers don't see this as an opportunity to make a wholesale exit from Iraq.

What needs to happen is an unconditional and total American withdrawl (economic as well as military). Of course, leaving a "security vacuum" (any more than the one that currently exists) would be unacceptable. The USA must call on the neighbors of Iraq, from Iran, to Russian, to Saudi Arabia, etc. and call upon the UN; first for forgiveness, and secondly to provide the types of resources and credibility necessary to establish stability in Iraq.

19 November 2006

Election Abnormalities

Clear Evidence 2006 Congressional Elections Hacked
By Rob Kall
OpEd News

Friday 17 November 2006

Results skewed nationwide in favor of Republicans by 4 percent, 3 million votes.

A major undercount of Democratic votes and an overcount of Republican votes in US House and Senate races across the country is indicated by an analysis of national exit polling data, by the Election Defense Alliance (EDA), a national election integrity organization.

These findings have led EDA to issue an urgent call for further investigation into the 2006 election results and a moratorium on deployment of all electronic election equipment.

"We see evidence of pervasive fraud, but apparently calibrated to political conditions existing before recent developments shifted the political landscape," said attorney Jonathan Simon, co-founder of Election Defense Alliance, "so 'the fix' turned out not to be sufficient for the actual circumstances." Explained Simon, "When you set out to rig an election, you want to do just enough to win. The greater the shift from expectations, (from exit polling, pre-election polling, demographics) the greater the risk of exposure--of provoking investigation. What was plenty to win on October 1 fell short on November 7.

read more: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/111806B.shtml

This is deeply troubling information. Although the Democrats took a majority of congress, there were many close races. How many more seats would the opposition party picked up had voter fraud been absent? According to this information, the Democrats stood to take much larger gains than, in fact, they did.

This problem is urgent: It needs to be addressed.

18 November 2006

Good Question, Vietnam (from Harper's Magazine)

Posted on Wednesday, November 15, 2006. From questions submitted by Vietnamese people to the U.S.-Indochina Educational Foundation for its “FAQ About America” project. Originally from Harper's Magazine, January 2005.

When did your culture form?

What does a typical American look like? Do actors and actresses in Hollywood movies possess characteristics of a typical American?

What is Hollywood?

There are many sexy scenes in American movies. Does that reflect the daily lives of Americans?

How many people in the U.S.A. like to drink Coke?

Why are American presidents so bellicose?

Does the U.S. really wish for peace and happiness for other countries, as they always announce in public?

What do Americans think about Communists?

People say that Americans look down on people of color and people from Third World countries. Is that true?

Are Americans extravagant?

Americans are very combative, aren’t they?

Why do many Americans like to be single nowadays?

Americans seem to be superficial and not sincere. What do you think about this?

Do you think using an excessive amount of slang will gradually destroy the beauty of the English language?

What will happen if the American president doesn’t carry out the promises that he made in the campaign?

What percentage of the U.S. population wants to be a good friend of Vietnam in all fields?

How can the post-traumatic stress disorder be solved? What are the U.S. responsibilities in solving it?

Why does America appear to be the major factor of almost every war?

Which aspects of life are American people most interested in?

I have learned America is a free country; what is the real freedom in this country?

Link to original: http://www.harpers.org/GoodQuestionVietnam.html

Bush in Trouble

Embittered Insiders Turn Against Bush

Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 19, 2006; Page A01

The weekend after the statue of Saddam Hussein fell, Kenneth Adelman and a couple of other promoters of the Iraq war gathered at Vice President Cheney's residence to celebrate. The invasion had been the "cakewalk" Adelman predicted. Cheney and his guests raised their glasses, toasting President Bush and victory. "It was a euphoric moment," Adelman recalled.

Forty-three months later, the cakewalk looks more like a death march, and Adelman has broken with the Bush team. He had an angry falling-out with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this fall. He and Cheney are no longer on speaking terms. And he believes that "the president is ultimately responsible" for what Adelman now calls "the debacle that was Iraq."


"I'm Republican."

A scary thought:

16 November 2006

The Battle Has Just Begun

[revised Nov 17 2006 10:10 pm]

The recent Democratic midterm election victory is a signal of America's dissatisfaction with the political and social climate. But an electoral victory over the regime of Bush does not ensure any substantial change in the course of events in the USA. The new congress will make possible a true (small d) democratic revival in America. Such a revival will require the focused attention of many people. The grass roots will have to keep striving. The election victory signals the culmination of a long arduous uphill climb, but there is not much time to relax. There is momentum that can be utilized, it would be a shame to see it gone to waste after this recent election (really a superficial victory). And after all, there will be more hills, many more hills. Many of them will be more arduous climbs than this past one.

If the goals of world (and local!) peace, and the goals of environmental and social justice are to be realized, now is as good of a time as any to dig in and begin the types of work, which will enable such achievements to come to fruition.

These are common sense changes that will truly benefit every human being. A better world awaits.

14 November 2006

Carlyle Profits Soar Since 2001

This is an interesting coincidence, because I was just remarking in a seminar the other day at school about James Baker's role in the Carlyle group, and how one time (this was a year or two ago) I was toodling around on the Internet and looked into the Carlyle group. When I pointed my browswer toward the Carlyle website, it behaved very strangely. My whole system locked up for 30 seconds or so, I was unable to "force quit" my browser application. So this article piqued my interest:
The Carlyle White House
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Columnist

Tuesday 14 November 2006

It was bad enough when the Carlyle Group bought Dunkin' Donuts last year, forcing millions of conscientious caffeine addicts to look elsewhere for their daily fix. Now, it appears that Carlyle has added 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to its formidable portfolio of acquisitions.

The Carlyle Group achieved national attention in the early days of the Iraq occupation, especially after Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" exposed the firm's umbilical ties to the Bush family and the House of Saud. For the uninitiated, Carlyle is a privately-owned equity firm organized and run by former members of the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations.

Currently, Carlyle manages more than $44 billion in 42 different investment funds, which is an interesting fact in and of itself: Carlyle could lay claim to only a meager $12 billion in funds in December of 2001. Thanks to their ownership of United Defense Industries, a major military contractor that sells a whole galaxy of weapons systems to the Pentagon, Carlyle's profits skyrocketed after the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Some notable present and former employees of Carlyle include former president George H.W. Bush, who resigned in 2003; James Baker III, Bush Sr.'s secretary of state and king fixer; and George W. Bush, who served on Carlyle's board of directors until his run for the Texas governorship. One notable former client of Carlyle was the Saudi BinLaden Group, which sold its investment back to the firm a month after the September 11 attacks. Until the October 2001 sellout, Osama bin Laden himself had a financial interest in the same firm that employed the two presidents Bush.
link: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/111406R.shtml

13 November 2006

Guantanamo Human Rights Grievances

Given the recent news that Donald Rumsfeld will be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity (in Germany), this information, about the conduct of Donald Rumsfeld (Dick Cheney et al.) in the "war on terror," from harpers.org - is particulary intriguing. It shows that there is something fundamentally wrong on the systemic level with the operations of DOD under former Secretary of "Defense" Rumsfeld. What does a possible Gates confirmation portend? More of the same?
I'm Still Here

Posted on Monday, November 13, 2006. From combatant-status review tribunals held over the past two years for prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. More than 5,000 pages of transcripts were released in March by the Defense Department in response to a lawsuit brought by the Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act. Originally from Harper's Magazine, May 2006.

Let's look at the allegations and then you will have the opportunity to respond to each.


The detainee was born in Pishin, Pakistan.

This is true.

The detainee joined the Taliban shortly after it took control of Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1992.

I never joined the Taliban. I did not know any people in that group. I was just a poor person living my life in my village.

The detainee held a high-ranking position in the Taliban as military judge.

This is not true. Since my incarceration, I have been accused of holding three different positions with the Taliban. Initially, I was accused of being a deputy foreign minister. One month later I was accused of being a Taliban security guard. Now I'm being accused of being a military judge for the Taliban. I have no idea why someone would make these accusations. I can only speculate that it was someone from a rival village. However, I have no proof, because I am here in Guantánamo.

In his position with the Taliban, the detainee tortured, maimed, and murdered Afghan nationals who were being held in Taliban jails.

I never even hit my own child at home.

Pakistani authorities arrested the detainee in the fall of 2001.

I was in my home. Pakistani police told me they wanted to search my home for ancient artifacts that were looted. I had nothing to hide. However, they told me I had to go with them to the police station. I was kept in a Pakistani jail for thirty-six days. One night they tied my hands behind my back, put a hood over my face, and put me into a car. When the car stopped, I could hear airplanes. They took me from the car and put me into an aircraft. There were Americans in this aircraft.

When we landed, they asked me for my name and I told them Abdur Sayed Rahman. I was then told that I was Abdur Zahid Rahman. That was not correct. My name is Abdur Sayed Rahman. Abdur Zahid Rahman was the deputy foreign minister of the Taliban. I was taken to this camp and they began to interrogate me. An American told me I was wrongfully taken and in a couple of days I would be free. I never saw this American again. I'm still here.

There's more: http://www.harpers.org/ImStillHere.html

11 November 2006

Bush Administration to be Probed by New Congress

Waxman Set to Probe Areas of Bush Administration
By Erica Werner
The Associated Press

Friday 10 November 2006

The Democratic congressman who will investigate the Bush administration's running of the government says there are so many areas of possible wrongdoing, his biggest problem will be deciding which ones to pursue.

There's the response to Hurricane Katrina, government contracting in Iraq and on homeland security, political interference in regulatory decisions by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, and allegations of war profiteering, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., told the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

"I'm going to have an interesting time because the Government Reform Committee has jurisdiction over everything," Waxman said Friday, three days after his party's capture of Congress put him in line to chair the panel. "The most difficult thing will be to pick and choose."
Let the reckoning begin!

"Robert Fisk: This was a guilty verdict on America as well"

I want to re-publish this whole article here, but I will select excerpts from it instead, and allow you to navigate to the original, if you wish. It's a great article (though it fades toward the latter sections.)
Robert Fisk
America's one-time ally has been sentenced to death for war crimes he committed when he was Washington's best friend in the Arab world. America knew all about his atrocities and even supplied the gas - along with the British, of course - yet there we were yesterday declaring it to be, in the White House's words, another "great day for Iraq". That's what Tony Blair announced when Saddam Hussein was pulled from his hole in the ground on 13 December 2003.
Only so ghastly is the hell-disaster that we have inflicted upon Iraq that we cannot even say that. Life is now worse. Or rather, death is now visited upon even more Iraqis than Saddam was able to inflict on his Shias and Kurds and - yes, in Fallujah of all places - his Sunnis, too. So we cannot even claim moral superiority. For if Saddam's immorality and wickedness are to be the yardstick against which all our iniquities are judged, what does that say about us? We only sexually abused prisoners and killed a few of them and murdered some suspects and carried out a few rapes and illegally invaded a country which cost Iraq a mere 600,000 lives ("more or less", as George Bush Jnr said when he claimed the figure to be only 30,000). Saddam was much worse. We can't be put on trial. We can't be hanged.
[Hussein] was formally forbidden from describing his relationship with Donald Rumsfeld, now George Bush's Secretary of Defence. Remember that handshake? Nor, of course, was he permitted to talk about the support he received from George Bush Snr, the current US President's father. Little wonder, then, that Iraqi officials claimed last week the Americans had been urging them to sentence Saddam before the mid-term US elections.
But on 25 May 1994, the US Senate's Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs produced a report entitled "United States Chemical and Biological Warfare-related Dual-use exports to Iraq and their possible impact on the Health Consequences (sic) of the Persian Gulf War".

This was the 1991 war which prompted our liberation of Kuwait, and the report informed Congress about US government-approved shipments of biological agents sent by American companies to Iraq from 1985 or earlier. These included Bacillus anthracis, which produces anthrax; Clostridium botulinum; Histoplasma capsulatum; Brucella melitensis; Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia coli. The same report stated that the US provided Saddam with "dual use" licensed materials which assisted in the development of chemical, biological and missile-system programmes, including chemical warfare agent production facility plant and technical drawings (provided as pesticide production facility plans).

Yes, well I can well see why Saddam wasn't permitted to talk about this. John Reid, the British Home Secretary, said that Saddam's hanging "was a sovereign decision by a sovereign nation". Thank heavens he didn't mention the £200,000 worth of thiodiglycol, one of two components of mustard gas we exported to Baghdad in 1988, and another £50,000 worth of the same vile substances the following year.
The odd thing is that Iraq is now swamped with mass murderers, guilty of rape and massacre and throat-slitting and torture in the years since our "liberation" of Iraq. Many of them work for the Iraqi government we are currently supporting, democratically elected, of course. And these war criminals, in some cases, are paid by us, through the ministries we set up under this democratic government. And they will not be tried. Or hanged. That is the extent of our cynicism. And our shame. Have ever justice and hypocrisy been so obscenely joined?

10 November 2006

Letter to Condoleeza Rice

I just wrote a letter to Ms. Rice, US Secretary of State, that her (old?) bosses at Chevron wouldn't like at all. In order to rid the world of terrorism, the US must halt its exploitative imperialist practices... i.e. relinquish interest in Iraqi oil. There are better alternatives to ensure our energy security that invading and occupying foreign states. Here's the text of the letter I sent Ms. Rice:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,

You recently said that the Democratic take over of Congress won't deter the Bush Administration from continuing its Iraq mission until "the goal that took us to Iraq" is achieved.

What exactly is the goal that took us to Iraq? I thought the Bush Administration went into Iraq because of WMD. Then, when no WMD was found, I though we were there to get Saddam Hussein out of power.

What's the new mission? To reconstruct Iraq? The Iraqi reconstruction could have and should have been completed years ago. That is, if the contractors that the Bush Administration had hired weren't incompetent.

Is the new mission to get rid of terrorism in Iraq? Well, if you want to do that, I suggest pulling US interests out of Iraq as soon as possible, because the US presence in Iraq is the main reason for the terrorism.

I have to break it to you, Ms. Rice, you and your mission in Iraq have failed. The USA, in order to maintain its standing amongst civilized nations, must relinquish its stranglehold on the nation of Iraq, and ensure that Western energy companies do not stand to profit from Iraqi oil reserves.

I repeat, the oil wealth of Iraq must be kept in Iraq, for your mission in the war against terror to succeed.

Robert Whitlock
Olympia, Washington
Here's a link in case you care to write a letter to Ms. Rice at the State Department.

09 November 2006

Democrats Take Charge

Now that the Democrats have the congressional majority, will they use their new found power to effect change for the good, or will they simply fulfill their traditional role as the lesser of two evils? There are many problems in the USA and the world. George Bush's first six years in office have exacerbated these problems, but these problems were made worse by Clinton as well.

Let's take this opportunity to wipe the slate clean and make a sincere and concerted effort to improve the lot of humanity on Earth. A New Deal perhaps? Think of the economic engine that environmental remediations and social improvements could potentiate.

I think the first order of business needs to be the purging of corruption and monied interests from the government. We are not going to succeed in improving life on Earth if multinational corporations hold the keys to federal government. Those politicians who prove unwilling to cooperate with the decontamination of the political process must be exposed and removed from office.

Once government is set in order, the goals of 1) establishing a stable and lasting world peace (through disarmament and adherence to non-aggression agreements, etc.); 2) addressing and setting right the problems of climate change and other environmental concerns; and 3) tackling social issues of poverty, access to education and gainful employment, healthcare, etc. can all be pursued.

There is a lot of work to do, but it will be worth it. I'm sure of it.

08 November 2006

Mercury Transits the Solar Disk: Filmed

Link above, to film from the international SOHO satellite of the planetary transit.

Congratulations Democrats: Time to Fix the Mess

A new mandate for congress. Out of Iraq! Here's an (excerpt from and link to an) article from Harper's with some very credible and easy to follow instruction how to go about doing just that.
The Way Out of War

A blueprint for leaving Iraq now

Posted on Wednesday, November 8, 2006. Originally from October 2006. By George S. McGovern and William R. Polk.

Staying in Iraq is not an option. Many Americans who were among the most eager to invade Iraq now urge that we find a way out. These Americans include not only civilian “strategists” and other “hawks” but also senior military commanders and, perhaps most fervently, combat soldiers. Even some of those Iraqis regarded by our senior officials as the most pro-American are determined now to see American military personnel leave their country. Polls show that as few as 2 percent of Iraqis consider Americans to be liberators. This is the reality of the situation in Iraq. We must acknowledge the Iraqis’ right to ask us to leave, and we should set a firm date by which to do so.


Arresting control of congress from Republicans is one thing. But doing something to address the problems that have arisen in America domestically, and in her relationship to the world is another. While there is a mood of hope and possibility, people are still suffering and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan as a result of Bush's failed and (fraudulent) wars. In actuality, people are still suffering and dying from treatable and preventable causes right here in America. This new congress really has its work cut out, but the challenge ought to solicit excitement and resolution to "right the wrongs."

07 November 2006

Change of Guard: Time to Shred Papers

Here's an excerpt from today's Weekly Review by Miriam Markowitz:
Republicans were “glum” as the party prepared to lose at least fifteen seats in the House of Representatives. Machines used for early voting began to malfunction in Florida, Tennessee G.O.P. officals claimed smart cards were missing from a Memphis polling place, and a paper-shredding service truck was seen approaching the Cheney compound at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

The Right to Vote: Use It!

Today is the most important day for democracy in the USA. I hope that this year's election sets voter turn-out records, because if there was ever a time when it matters to vote, this is it.

It is troubling to read of technicial glitches in the election system. I would think that these problems would not exist in a nation so great and resourceful as the USA. It is troubling to see that there are those in this country who seek the disfranchisement, and disenfranchisement of certain populations of Americans.

This will be a telling day for the future of America.

Here's a link to a NYT article about the elections, and election problems: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/07/washington/07cnd-day.html

Have a good day, and for goodness sake, get out there and vote!

05 November 2006

$330 Million Per Day

No, that's not my wage rate! Not yet anyway!

A new estimate puts the total cost of the Irarq War at over $2T (that's two trillion dollars - here it is with the zeros: 2,000,000,000,000.00)

Is this $2T money well spent? I am not the decider. You decide. But I am sure that you can guess my opinion!

The estimate puts monthly costs at roughly $10 Billion. Which is over $330 Million ($330,000,000.00) every day; over $230,000 per minute (over $3,800.00 per second.)

That's a lot of money.

source: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15499.htm

[edit: From the article:]
Franklin Roosevelt did not wait to respond to Pearl Harbor until his budget analysts could assay the costs and benefits. But, with Iraq, America had a choice of whether and when to attack. If there ever was a “project” that should have been subject to careful scrutiny from all perspectives – including the economics – this was it.

Just as going to war was a matter of choice, staying in Iraq is also a matter of choice. There may be costs associated with leaving. But there will be costs associated with staying. Every day we stay in Iraq we accrue costs that will be reflected in budget outlays, lost productivity and individual pain and suffering for decades to come. We need to ask: are they outweighed by the benefits?

Film: Iraq the Real Story

[edit: Link to video at The Guardian above. This 8 minute video is worth every second. If you're on the fence about the worthiness of the invasion or occupation of Iraq, it's a must-see. The film is a window into the bungled mission, and shows how the presence of American troops is degrading toward humanity - both their own, and that of the Iraqis they interact with. Give it a shot.]

Here's what the Guardian has to say about it:
[" Sean Smith, the Guardian's award-winning war photographer, spent nearly six weeks with the 101st Division of the US army in Iraq. Watch his haunting observational film that explodes the myth around the claims that the Iraqis are preparing to take control of their own country.

Contains some strong language.

04 November 2006

Pictures from Olympia

I walked over to Madison Scenic Park tonight and took some pictures. The air smelled wonderful after the last few days' rain. Thick stratus clouds raced by over head, leaves - strewn about by the wind - were scattered all over, and clumped up where the heavy rain caused them to flow downhill, into obstructions, where they acted like dams. A beautiful night.

Scott Ritter Visit to Iran

Here's a great article, by the esteemed former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, that tells of his recent visit to Iran. Ritter discusses the political and social climates, and the political system of Iraq's Eastern neighbor. Basically, the Western Media are doing a great job of befuddling a sophisticated situation regarding the position of Iran in Middle Eastern political and geo-political affairs.

Ritter concludes that the USA has come no where near to exhausting diplomatic avenues in the conflict over Iran's alleged WMD projects. There is much more to be done, with a nation that is much more open to dialogue than the Western Media portrays. In short, it's time to start a dialogue and abandon the chest beating drum thumping rhetoric of war. If you are concerned or interested in what is going on with Iran, well then, this article is a must read.
Here's are some excerpts and a link:
The Case for Engagement
by Scott Ritter

My trip convinced me that support for US intervention [in Iran] does not exist to any significant degree but rather resides solely in the minds of those in the West who have had their impressions of Iran shaped by pro-Shah expatriates who have been absent from the country for more than a quarter-century.
In our haste to lash out at those who attacked us on September 11, 2001, we forget that Iran not only condemned the attacks, as did its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon, but that it nearly fought a war against Afghanistan's Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies in the late 1990s. There is no greater potential ally in the struggle against Sunni extremism than Shiite Iran, a point made over and over by everyone I talked to, especially those affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard. As one veteran told me, "Iraq is our neighbor, and of course we have a vested interest in its stability. We fought an eight-year war with Iraq, so we understand the realities of that country. We are very glad the United States got rid of Saddam. But now what America is doing only makes the region more insecure. We could help America in Iraq if only they would let us."
For all its oil wealth, Iran has an energy crisis. With its economy focused on the cash business of oil export, little attention has been paid to the needs of the domestic consumer. Iran is woefully lacking in domestic refining capacity, so much so that it spends billions every year importing gasoline at world market prices, which it then discounts so that the Iranian consumer pays only some 40 cents a gallon. This makes no economic sense, but Iran's oil is already fully leveraged in the export market. With reserves shrinking and new discoveries waning, Iran faces a serious energy crisis in the coming decades unless alternative sources are developed.
Some 180 miles south of Tehran lies the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility. Tucked away on the side of the road, surrounded by a makeshift berm and numerous antiaircraft artillery emplacements, the facility has the outward appearance of something dark and ominous. But the secrets concerning what lies within are well-known to the world as a result of inspections carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency. What the inspectors say is crystal clear: There is no evidence that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. Furthermore, the enrichment program is plagued with technical problems that prevent any rapid progress. There is no imminent nuclear weapons threat from Iran, which hasn't mastered the technologies and methodologies of enrichment needed to sustain a nuclear energy program, let alone a nuclear weapons effort.

The Bush Administration speaks of the need to move quickly on the issue of Iran's nuclear ambition and to roll back the forces of terror represented by the Islamic Republic. The repeated and explicit demand of the Administration is for regime change, as evidenced in the March 2006 "National Security Strategy of the United States," where Iran is named repeatedly as the number-one threat to the United States. The alleged Iranian threat espoused by Bush is based on fear, and arises from a combination of ignorance and ideological inflexibility. The path that the United States is currently embarked on regarding Iran is a path that will lead to war. (Indeed, there are numerous unconfirmed reports that the United States has already begun covert military operations inside Iran, including overflights by pilotless drones and recruitment and training of MEK, Kurdish and Azeri guerrillas.) Such a course of action would make even the historic blunder of the Iraq invasion pale by comparison. When we talk of war, we must never forget that we are talking about the lives of the men and women who serve us in the armed forces. We have a duty and responsibility to insure that all options short of war are exhausted before any decision to enter into conflict is made. On the issue of Iran, the United States hasn't even come close to exhausting the available options.

The solution to this problem is clear. The most logical course would be to put Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on a flight to Tehran, where she could negotiate directly with the principal players on the Iranian side, including Supreme Leader Khamenei. If Administration officials actually engaged with the Iranians, they would have an eye-opening experience. Of course, Rice would need to come with a revamped US policy, one that rejects regime change, provides security guarantees for Iran as it is currently governed and would be willing to recognize Iran's legitimate right to enrich uranium under Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (although under stringent UN inspections, and perhaps limited to the operation of a single 164-centrifuge cascade).

Rice would undoubtedly be surprised at the degree of moderation (and pro-American sentiment) that exists in Iran today. She might also be shocked to find out that the Iranians are more than ready to sit down with the United States and work out a program for stability in Iraq, as well as a reduction of tensions between Israel and Hezbollah. In addition to significantly reducing the risk of a disastrous conflict, such a visit would do more to encourage moderation and peace in the region than any amount of saber-rattling could ever hope to accomplish. And it would do more to help America prevail in the so-called Global War on Terror than any war plan the Pentagon could assemble. In the end, that is what defines good policy--something sadly lacking in Washington today.
Here's a link to the original: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20061120/ritter

02 November 2006

Homeland Security State

This is cross posted at: http://olyblog...

This is from the latest Tomgram, at Tom Englehardt's TomDispatch.com.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, the International Red Cross, it was reported, had "its first opportunity in more than 20 months" to see hundreds of former Abu Ghraib prisoners now rehoused in a state-of-the-art multimillion dollar prison, Camp Cropper, that the Bush administration has built, almost without notice, near Baghdad International Airport. Finally (but not exhaustively), back in our growing homeland security state, "in a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law." The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, according to Frank Morales, "allows the President to declare a ‘public emergency' and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to ‘suppress public disorder.'"
Here's a link: http://tomdispatch...

The first thing I thought of when I read this: What if the elections are a total sham? What if there is a civil revolt?

If the elections do go badly, i.e. - the powers of Rove swindle another one - then what is the best course of action? Would a mob of raging citizens help, or hinder the cause to effect justice? What might this "public disorder" look like.

I worry that a mass of people might be tempted into acts that the Nat'l Guard would be used to suppress. This is not a pretty picture. It might be important to have a discussion about how the community should, and might respond to a national emergency - one provoked say, by a stolen election, or by a president who decides to shut down the election system "for purposes of national security"...

I think having an organized mass of people in this situation would be critically important. But it would also be of critical importance that this conglomeration of people be nonviolent, non-antagonistic, and non-threatening. The people must make a concerted and persistent effort to welcome the national guardsmen to its side. In short the movement must be ultimately peaceful, protagonistic - and large.

Am I crazy to be thinking about such things? Basically, the picture of an angry mob (possibly toting weapons) is frightening to me. An armed mob would be crushed like a roach under the heel of the well-supplied federal militias. I feel that the only constructive avenue of discourse is total nonviolence - and total perseverance. To wage peace necessitates the same effort as waging war (i.e. a lot!)

I am thinking about the community response to the Nazis. The community was very disrespectful toward the Nazis at the rally. (Not that the Nazis weren't simultaneously hideously disrespectful, but some members of the community did lower themselves to the level of the Nazis with some of the actions and sloganry. Also, the counter presence legitimized the Nazi presence, and provided them with an audience. But the purpose here is not to stir up and salt old wounds.) If the community were to meet a contingent of armed national guardsmen with the same disrespectful and condescending attitude with which it met the Nazis, and if the Guardsmen feel threatened, well, I would consider the level of possibility for violence to be quite high! Not good. Thus, nonviolence is the key.

Okay, I am pretty much thinking out loud here. Hopefully that makes sense mostly. Also we want olycop on our side when the proverbial shit hits the fan.

01 November 2006

Children of Iraq; Killed by War

I recently published a new blog entry, over at olyblog.net. Today I traveled to Tacoma, to visit Senator Maria Cantwell's office there. The point was to confront Senator Cantwell's voting record on Iraq. The Senator has passed up several opportunities to challenge the Bush administration on the war in Iraq.

Here's a link: http://olyblog.net/blog/rob-whitlock...