30 January 2007

The American Empire and "Blowback"

I love America: the diversity of people and ideas, the geography, the natural beauty, the opportunity, among many other aspects, make this a great place to live; and a great place to fight for the future of - a better future without the threat of global economic hegemonists barking for more bloodletting. I love America, but not Empire. I have a vision for a future America that is free of imperial pursuits. That's why I am posting this:
Chalmers Johnson
Empire v. Democracy
I had set out to explain how exactly our government came to be so hated around the world. As a CIA term of tradecraft, "blowback" does not just mean retaliation for things our government has done to, and in, foreign countries. It refers specifically to retaliation for illegal operations carried out abroad that were kept totally secret from the American public. These operations have included the clandestine overthrow of governments various administrations did not like, the training of foreign militaries in the techniques of state terrorism, the rigging of elections in foreign countries, interference with the economic viability of countries that seemed to threaten the interests of influential American corporations, as well as the torture or assassination of selected foreigners. The fact that these actions were, at least originally, secret meant that when retaliation does come -- as it did so spectacularly on September 11, 2001 -- the American public is incapable of putting the events in context. Not surprisingly, then, Americans tend to support speedy acts of revenge intended to punish the actual, or alleged, perpetrators. These moments of lashing out, of course, only prepare the ground for yet another cycle of blowback.
go to original

Carbon Glacier and River

Carbon River Glacier

29 January 2007

28 January 2007

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

go to original

News Analysis: Confronting Iran, Bush burdened with legacy of Iraq distortions
By David E. Sanger
Published: January 28, 2007

As President George W. Bush and his aides calibrate an escalating confrontation with Iran, they are discovering that their words and strategies are haunted by echoes from four years ago — when their warnings of terrorist activity and nuclear ambitions were clearly a prelude to war.

This time, they insist, it is different...
The Bush Administration certainly deserves no benefit of the doubt... President Bush, more than anything, deserves to be confined until he can be brought to trial for high crimes and misdemeanors, using deliberate misrepresentations to market an unjustified and aggressive military invasion of a sovereign nation. The Bush Administration's rush to war in Iraq is in violation of more than one legal statute.

Congress and the American People have a duty to prevent a further escalation of military operations in the Middle East (as well as the rest of the world.) De-escalate, Bring the Troops Home, Restore Moral Standing to the USA by holding the Bush Administration accountable.

Ohanapecosh River

Ohanapecosh River
Ohanapecosh River

27 January 2007

Spring Flowers

These flowers were all over the place at McLane Creek, in late May of 2005:
Spring Flowers

26 January 2007

War Isn't Working

(Lettering is white on original.)

Get your very own Peace Action "War isn't working" bumper sticker here.

23 January 2007

Purple Flowers

Purple Flowers

I found these flowers in the Capitol Conservatory, a greenhouse on the Washington State Capitol Campus.

my flickr.com photo album

19 January 2007

Still About Oil in Iraq

© Martin Rowson
It's Still About The Oil

Antonia Juhasz

January 19, 2007

Antonia Juhasz, a visiting scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, is the author of The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time (HarperCollins, 2006). She is also contributing author, with John Perkins and others, to A Game as Old as Empire (Berrett-Koehler, February 2007).

For more than four years, the Bush administration and its oil company cohorts have worked toward the passage of a new oil law for Iraq that would turn its nationalized oil system over to private foreign corporate control. On Thursday, January 18, this dream came one step closer to reality when an Iraqi negotiating committee of "national and regional leaders" approved a new hydrocarbon law. The committee chair, Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, told Reuters that the draft will go to the Iraqi cabinet next week and, if approved, to the parliament immediately thereafter.

The good news is that the Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) so hotly desired by the Bush administration and the world's oil companies that appeared in earlier drafts of the law have apparently been removed. The PSAs gave private companies (including foreign ones) control of Iraq's oil production and 70 percent of the profits, specified that up to two thirds of Iraq's known oil reserves would be developed by private companies and locked the government into 30-year contracts.

Unfortunately, the bad news still outweighs the good.

First, the committee has debated the new law in near total secrecy: almost no one—both outside of and within the Iraqi government, including the parliament—has seen it...
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17 January 2007

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Civil Disobedience

Bangor Main-Gate Overpass MLK Banner

link to photos

Activists hung a banner from a highway overpass near the maingate of the Bangor Naval Submarine Base. The Banner contains a message from Dr. MLK Jr.: "When scientific power outruns spiritual power, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men." The nonviolent direct action to obstruct entrance to the submarine base was coordinated by the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in celebration of Dr. King's life, work and birthday. He would have been 78 years old on Monday.

12 January 2007

Will George Bush Win Iraq's Oil?

Insightful reporting from Chris Floyd - a perspective that is severely lacking in our nation's mainstream media! Perhpas it is time to take a more serious look at corporatism in America.

Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.
– Ayn Rand
By Chris Floyd

The reason that George W. Bush insists that "victory" is achievable in Iraq is not because he is deluded or isolated or ignorant or detached from reality or ill-advised.

No, it's that his definition of "victory" is different from those bruited about in his own rhetoric and in the ever-earnest disquisitions of the chattering classes in print and on-line. For Bush, victory is indeed at hand. It could come at any moment now, could already have been achieved by the time you read this. And the driving force behind his planned "surge" of American troops is the need to preserve those fruits of victory that are now ripening in his hand.

At any time within the next few days, the Iraqi Council of Ministers is expected to approve a new "hydrocarbon law" essentially drawn up by the Bush Administration and its U.K. lackey, the Independent on Sunday reports.

The new bill will "radically redraw the Iraqi oil industry and throw open the doors to the third-largest oil reserves in the world," say the paper, whose reporters have seen a draft of the new law. "It would allow the first large-scale operation of foreign oil companies in the country since the industry was nationalized in 1972." If the government's parliamentary majority prevails, the law should take effect in March.

As the paper notes, the law will give Exxon, BP, Shell and other carbon cronies of the White House unprecedented sweetheart deals, allowing them to pump gargantuan profits from Iraq's nominally state-owned oilfields for decades to come.

10 January 2007

America's Christian Right

from Harpers.org, go to original:
Through a Glass, Darkly

How the Christian right is reimagining U.S. history

Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007. Originally from December 2006. By Jeff Sharlet.

We keep trying to explain away American fundamentalism. Those of us not engaged personally or emotionally in the biggest political and cultural movement of our times—those on the sidelines of history—keep trying to come up with theories with which to discredit the evident allure of this punishing yet oddly comforting idea of a deity, this strange god. His invisible hand is everywhere, say His citizen-theologians, caressing and fixing every outcome: Little League games, job searches, test scores, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, the success or failure of terrorist attacks (also known as “signs”), victory or defeat in battle, at the ballot box, in bed. Those unable to feel His soothing touch at moments such as these snort at the notion of a god with the patience or the prurience to monitor every tick and twitch of desire, a supreme being able to make a lion and a lamb cuddle but unable to abide two men kissing. A divine love that speaks through hurricanes. Who would worship such a god? His followers must be dupes, or saps, or fools, their faith illiterate, insane, or misinformed, their strength fleeting, hollow, an aberration. A burp in American history. An unpleasant odor that will pass.

09 January 2007

OlyBlogger of the Year 2006

[Cross Posted from OlyBlog]

OlyBlogger of the Year - 2006

Although he left before we got a chance to rise in a cheering ovation of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow..." I was able to recognize Rick as the OlyBlogger of the Year for 2006 tonight, during the not-so-usual Broho festivities.

click for pdf

05 January 2007

A Candle to the Wind?

Amy Goodman recently wrote of how The USA could have benefitted from an eventual conviction of Richard Nixon. Unfortunately, view points like hers are being stifled more and more in the nation's mainstream media. Here are some excerpts and a link to her article, published at the Seattle PI:
Impeaching, prosecuting Nixon could have elevated the nation

One of the high points of the U.S. media was the investigation into the Watergate scandal. Now, 30 years later, with President Ford's death, the media are contributing to the cover-up they once exposed.
Let's review the history: Nixon was running for re-election in 1972 against anti-war Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota. Nixon's Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP -- their acronym, not mine) had been conducting a campaign of dirty tricks against potential Democratic presidential candidates. In May and June 1972, Nixon operatives, called "The Plumbers" (so-called as they both plugged up and generated information leaks), broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters, based at The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. The burglars, including an ex-CIA man and several Cuban American veterans of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, were planting bugs and photographing documents. An address book on one of the burglars linked them to the White House.
John Dean, Nixon's White House counsel, became the star witness of the Senate investigation. He linked Nixon not only to the cover-up, but also to the criminal break-in of the psychiatrist's office of Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg. In an exclusive "Democracy Now!" broadcast with Ellsberg and Dean, the two former antagonists spoke together on national television for the first time. They described other dirty schemes planned but not acted on, such as "incapacitating" Ellsberg, and firebombing The Brookings Institution.
For Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, Nixon's resignation was an opportunity: Ford made Rumsfeld his chief of staff, with Cheney as his assistant. When Rumsfeld moved over to secretary of defense, Cheney became chief of staff. George H.W. Bush was named director of Central Intelligence. Journalist Robert Parry describes the Ford administration as the "incubator" of the current Bush administration.

If those emerging power brokers had witnessed a vigorous prosecution of Nixon and his co-conspirators, it could have elevated the country ... and changed history. Perhaps a decade later, the Reagan-Bush administration would have thought twice about the Iran-Contra scandal, in which an unaccountable administration would defy Congress and illegally support the Contras in Nicaragua, who killed thousands of civilians. Perhaps the current Bush administration would not have dared to manipulate intelligence to invade Iraq, leading to the deaths of thousands of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

As the nation buries President Ford, let's not let the U.S. media bury the story.

04 January 2007

Lapham in Harper's

Oh (insert hyperbolae)! - I just read Lapham's critique of Uncle Sam in the magazine's regular NOTEBOOK section. [edit: here's a permalink: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/01/0081325] It's a powerful article regarding the state of the nation. A resounding and forceful critique of the Bush Administration and US Foreign Policy (over the past 100 or so years) generally, it is well worth a read. Lapham provides a sensible and clear analysis of Bush Admin. Malfeasance, and Congressional Nonfeasance.

If you don't already subscribe, you can do so here. Or else, check it out at your local newsstand.

The Republicans are in the process of stealing America. Let's put a stop to it. It's up to us.

03 January 2007

Jan 3rd, 2007 Olympia Area Photography

"Lights" - In the best coffee shop I know of, Olympia's Batdorf and Bronson.

More "B&B" lights, and ceiling.

This is the base of a Big Leaf Maple, Acer macrophyllum, that formerly supported three trunks, until one broke off in a recent gale. From Watershed Trail Park:

"On the Path" Watershed Park

"Big Leaf Maple and Red Alder Trees" Watershed Park

"Trail in Winter" Watershed Park

"Glorious Green" Watershed Park

Atrocious Animal Testing Cruely

Is it okay for humans to terrorize other species of animals? I don't think so. We have a responsibility to put an end to these practices. If we oppose terrorism and violence, we must oppose the cruel behavior of testing animals.

02 January 2007

Cocaine Blowback

This is from Harpers Magazine (harpers.org). link to original

Posted on Tuesday, January 2, 2007. From October 2 remarks to the press by New York City Council Member James Sanders Jr., in response to the release of Cocaine, an energy drink containing 280 milligrams of caffeine. Redux Beverages, the drink's producer, was founded by Jamey and Hannah Kirby. Originally from Harper's Magazine, December 2006.

Mr. Kirby, have you lost all shame? Is there nothing that you won't stoop to? What will you market next? Pedophile Peanut Butter? Gang Rape Grape Juice? How about Genocidal Jelly? If you are ignorant of the horrors of cocaine addiction, then come with me and I'll take you to mothers mourning sons and daughters killed in the drug trade.

We will visit prisons peopled with broken men and women who have thrown their lives away, slaves to cocaine. We will walk together down deserted, rubble-filled streets, where fear of the cocaine cowboys is so strong you can almost taste it. Join me as I hold a prematurely born, underweight baby as she writhes and shakes, trying to get the monkey of drug addiction off of her tiny back. Perhaps then, sir, you will understand what I understand about cocaine, and you won't think it's so cool.

But you may be the type who loves only money and thinks all of humanity are but stones to be trod upon. Under those conditions we will—and must—fight you, sir. We will fight you with education. We will fight you in the streets and in the churches, in the courts and in City Hall, in the schools and in the clubs. But understand this fight: This one is for the naive, those whose lives are so empty that they seek to fill them with the false ambience you offer.