30 April 2007

Congratulations to Colin and Julia, Newlyweds!

High School Buddies:

"Citizen's Screwed by High ATM Fees" - Barbara Ehrenreich on Advertising and Media

go to original:
A few years back, as a columnist for a national magazine, I wrote a piece about direct-to-consumer drug advertising, leading off with a description of the Claritin commercials: blue skies, flowers, and the instruction to ask your physician about this wonder product. The column, which I will admit was a tad sarcastic, was rejected without intelligible explanation. At least there was no explanation until I saw the magazine’s next issue, which featured a two-page advertisement for Claritin.

And note: My column was not called the Schering-Plough Healthcare Products Inc. Column. It would have been separated by many pages from the Claritin ad. But that apparently wasn’t far enough. As Gloria Steinem reported in 1990, advertisers can be very finicky about the editorial content that might appear in the same magazine as their ads. Ms. magazine ran into trouble because it often contained the dangerously upsetting word “lesbian.”

25 April 2007

Raed Jarrar: Oil Law Will Increase Violence in Iraq

From Raed in the Middle:

go to original
An English version of a new Iraqi oil law leaked in mid 2006. This leaked English version shocked a number of specialists, like Erik Leaver from the institute for Policy Studies, because it had some exact text from a previously leaked seminar papers produced by a private contracting company called “Bearing Point”. Taking in consideration that the law privatises Iraq’s oil and opens the doors for U.S. companies to sign long term contracts controlling Iraq’s oil resources and infrastructure, this law is in violation of existing U.S. Public Law No: 109-234 that says: “To provide that no funds made available by title I of this Act may be made available to establish permanent United States military bases in Iraq or to exercise control by the United States over the oil infrastructure or oil resources of Iraq.” U.S. contractors, such as Bearing Point, have been working with the U.S. State Department to draft the Iraqi Oil law and the State Department has been pushing for the privatization of Iraq’s oil in plans dating as far back as 2002.

In February 2007, a leaked Arabic copy of the Iraqi oil law was published on Al-ghad.org, an Iraqi website. I translated this leaked copy to English. My translation was based on the previously leaked English version of the law. From what I can tell, the Arabic language was not native, it looked weak and translated. I have no doubt that the English version of the law is the original one, and that the Arabic one is nothing more than an edited translation of the English origin. The few changes in the content, between the Arabic and English versions show clearly that the Iraqi lawmakers who worked on the law did not change any of the parts that relates to foreign investments. The majority of the changes from the original English version were linked to decentralizing authorities and reducing central powers.

21 April 2007

Red Flowers

These are digitally altered versions of a photograph I posted previously. Which one do you like more? neither? [These flowers are camelias, thanks Mom!]

20 April 2007

Peace to be Attained through Understanding

...and Love. Whatever happened by the way?


Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

18 April 2007

Anti-oil-exploition Nationalist MP's Attacked in Green Zone, Baghdad

From Raed in the Middle [go to original]:
The attack on the Iraqi parliament was very strange. I don't think it was a suicide bomber. Take a look at this video and note that the explosion is way bigger than what an explosive belt would do. Besides, why would anyone blow himself up to kill the only anti-occupation group in the greenzone?

The official spokesman of a secular group that lost an MP in the explosion announced that the attack was aimed at silencing "nationalist MPs who are against splitting
iraq and against the oil law".Looking at who was killed and injured in the attack, it seems like they were ALL nationalists. Also, considering that the parliament was just about to begin debating the oil law this week, the timing of the attack was very convenient for the bush/imf/separatists.
The only way to stop the growing violence in Iraq is to end all the foriegn intervention and give Iraq back to the Iraqis.
This attack was convenient and it stinks to hell. I wonder if anyone at the CIA knows what happened. I also agree that the best way to stop the violence is to end US maneuvers to dominate and exploit the Iraqi economy.

17 April 2007

The 'New Me'

I recently cut my beard off and shaved after almost 11 months of uninhibited facial hair growth (except for a very minor trim of the mustache at about 6 months.)

Here's the new skinny me. After over two weeks, people are still commenting on the change. But I have, for the most part, gotten used to it.



16 April 2007

Warming Caused by God

This just in from Harper's Magazine: Global Climate Disruption Caused by God!!!

This definitely defeats the "One God" theory. I believe that God is the product of our own minds. If the White House has a God (or is a God) that is intentionally causing climate disruption, then I want no part of it. Further I think that they and their God ought to be opposed at every turn.

The moral bankruptcy of this Bush White House casts a pall over the USA. And it is our duty as citizens of this nation to oppose their efforts to undermine the health and well-being of the world's peoples.

Something is Majorly Wrong with The USA

During class today I had a thought:
What is the government of The USA doing (or not doing) in Iraq that makes the Iraqi people hate America so much?
Then I called my Grandma after class and she told me about what happened in Virginia.

What is wrong with America?

13 April 2007

Sonoma California

[edit: The following photo is a re-do. Which one do you like more?]
Sonoma Coast

[edit: here it is without borders:]
Sonoma Coast

12 April 2007

Eld Inlet

This is The Evergreen State College Beach, which is on Eld Inlet. Eld Inlet is at the very Southernmost portion of The Puget Sound. This region has one of the highest tidal fluctuations in the world. Tides regularly differentiate the water level by about 17 feet daily.

[edit: this is the same photo as the second photo, but changed to grayscale and with a border.]
Eld Inlet B & W

Evergreen Beach
Which one do you like more?

Beach Wood:

11 April 2007

"Death to America"

"Death to America" - chanted by Iraqis whom America is supposedly liberating from tyranny. Things in Iraq have gone dreadfully awry, as many predicted (including myself) before the invasion.

Here's an article about recently developing instability in the South of Iraq. go to original
Ali al-Fadhily
BASRA, Apr 11 (IPS) - The eruption of demonstrations in the south of Iraq this week could rob the occupation forces of what was considered a critical bastion of support.

The southern areas of Iraq have long been said to be secure, and people there peaceful towards the occupation forces. Iraqis living in the south were also believed to be cooperative with the occupation to the extent that they supported administrative steps taken by successive Iraqi governments.

The majority of the population of the south are Shia Muslims, and Iraq has had Shia- dominated governments under the occupation.

But demonstrations against the occupation and the United States by hundreds of thousands of angry Shias in Najaf, Kut and other cities across the south Apr. 9 mark a sharp break from a policy of cooperation. Protesters demanded an end to the U.S.-led occupation, burnt U.S. flags and chanted "Death to America!"

Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim al-Mayahi, a police commander in Najaf, told reporters that at least half a million people joined the demonstration there.

Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, told reporters, "We say that we're here to support democracy. We say that free speech and freedom of assembly are part of that. While we don't necessarily agree with the message, we agree with their right to say it."

Clashes after the demonstration left at least one U.S. soldier dead and another wounded in Diwaniyah, 180 km south of Baghdad.


"We were late to realise that we were wrong about U.S. intentions," Salman Yassen of the Basra city municipality council told IPS. "We waited four years while U.S. and Iraqi authorities kept us busy fighting each other while they were setting the plan of stealing our oil and tearing our country apart so that their allies would feel safe."

Four years of the occupation of Iraq have seen many changes in U.S. strategies, ambassadors and tactics, but the changes may be too little, too late.

"The delay in moving politically has cost Iraq, the U.S. and many other countries a great deal," former Iraqi police colonel Ahmed Jabbar told IPS in Baghdad. "The least to be said is that the world would have been better off without this occupation and the catastrophic security disturbance it has caused."
Great article, important perspectives. After four years of occupation, the Iraqi people hate America.

Way to go George Bush (et al.) That is why I ask you to please resign from office.

10 April 2007

Sonoma California Coast

Terrorism and Iraq

The connection between Iraq and Terrorism is one that is a figment of the war hawk's propaganda machine. It is a cleverly and insidiously conceived fabrication - that the reason for the US military occupation of Iraq is due to the threat of terrorism.

We have to remember, and keep it in the forefront, that it has been (and is) the actions of the USA that have turned Iraq into a hotbed of "terrorism" (in quotes because it is arguable that the situation in Iraq involves freedom fighters who oppose occupation by a foreign invading force.)

*Important: Iraq posed no credible or immediate threat of terrorism or terroristic actions prior to the March 2003 unilateral decision by the USA (i.e. Bush Administration) to invade.

Also Important: the invasion contravened explicit demands in the UN charter that require security council authorization - or the credible and immediate threat to national security. Neither of these conditions were met prior to the invasion.

Iraq posed no threat to national security. Therefore the invasion was illegal. Therefore the occupation is illegal.

Lump of Moss

In the Course of Events Exclusive!:

09 April 2007

Congress Girds for Oversight Procedures

Well, it's about time.

go to original

Congress girds up for return to oversight

Probes include alleged contracting abuses in Iraq and the alteration of scientific findings.

Not since the Depression-era Congress of 1932 has Capitol Hill ramped up so quickly for oversight hearings and related legislation – most targeting the Bush administration.

Both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are hiring more lawyers, and watchdog groups say they are swamped with calls from committee staff asking for advice on pursuing the nearly lost art of congressional investigation.

In its first 100 days, the new Congress launched probes on allegations ranging from contracting abuses in Iraq and the alteration of scientific findings to the misuse of federal resources for partisan purposes. Some hearings, such as those on last year's firing of eight US attorneys, were snatched from the headlines; others are longer-term campaigns to try to uncover any government waste and to expand the public's access to how government conducts its business.


Is the Surge Working?

Is the surge even working? It is costing a lot in lives, and in resources. Is it worth it?
By Paul Kiel - April 9, 2007, 9:14 AM

The New York Times delivers the first major report on the surge's progress this morning, a painstaking effort involving statistics and on the ground reports. The verdict?

American casualties are down in Iraq's provinces, but way up in Baghdad.
Sectarian killings are down, but increased use of car bombs has kept the civilian death toll high -- and anyway the beheadings seem to be surging again.
And as the U.S. moves to confront insurgents, the groups seem to be fracturing, making the fight increasingly confusing.

Or as an American private in the First Battalion, Fifth Cavalry puts it:

“The insurgents, they see what we’re doing and we see what they’re doing. Then we get ahead, then they figure out what we’ve done and they get ahead.

“It’s like a game of cat and mouse. It’s just a really, really smart mouse.”
go to original

04 April 2007


The Martin Luther King You Don't See on TV
By Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributors

Wednesday 04 April 2007
It's become a TV ritual: Every year on April 4, as Americans commemorate Martin Luther King's death, we get perfunctory network news reports about "the slain civil rights leader."

The remarkable thing about these reviews of King's life is that several years - his last years - are totally missing, as if flushed down a memory hole.

What TV viewers see is a closed loop of familiar file footage: King battling segregation in Birmingham (1963); reciting his dream of racial harmony at the rally in Washington (1963); marching for voting rights in Selma, Alabama (1965); and finally, lying dead on the motel balcony in Memphis (1968).

An alert viewer might notice that the chronology jumps from 1965 to 1968. Yet King didn't take a sabbatical near the end of his life. In fact, he was speaking and organizing as diligently as ever.

Almost all of those speeches were filmed or taped. But they're not shown today on TV.


It's because national news media have never come to terms with what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for during his final years.

In the early 1960s, when King focused his challenge on legalized racial discrimination in the South, most major media were his allies. Network TV and national publications graphically showed the police dogs and bullwhips and cattle prods used against Southern blacks who sought the right to vote or [the right] to eat at a public lunch counter.

But after passage of civil rights acts in 1964 and 1965, King began challenging the nation's fundamental priorities. He maintained that civil rights laws were empty without "human rights" - including economic rights. For people too poor to eat at a restaurant or afford a decent home, King said, anti-discrimination laws were hollow.

Noting that a majority of Americans below the poverty line were white, King developed a class perspective. He decried the huge income gaps between rich and poor, and called for "radical changes in the structure of our society" to redistribute wealth and power.

link to original

Nonviolence is the Way

If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the struggle ... your chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

03 April 2007

Dennis Kucinich for President

I am supporting Dennis Kucinich (OH), a Democrat, in his campaign for the Democratic Nomination to run for President of the USA.

He is the only candidate who I can justify supporting. He is the only candidate who takes seriously the corporate hegemony that is spreading such a vile toxicity and violence across the face of the globe.

No other major party candidate comes close to Representative Kucinich's down-to-earth common sense world view.

He supports Universal Health Care. He supports an immediate and unequivocal (safe) withdrawal of all military personnel from Iraq.

Dennis Kucinich 2008

I think the peace sign icon for his campaign needs some serious consideration. (or reconsideration - that is)

I couldn't support any other candidate. None of them seem to truly have the best interests of the people in heart or mind.

01 April 2007

Cut The Funds - Stop the Killing - Stop the Occupation

Kitchen Counter Self-Portrait

The pin on my chest is of a crossed out dollar sign.

Rest assured, I have not completely disbarred capitalism from my world view. I do however believe that the current capitalism that is being practiced in the USA and exported to the rest of the world is destructive, harmful and violent.

The pin is to say no to further appropriations and war funding.

I heard today that since the Democrats got into office, more money is being spent on the war in Iraq.

There will be no peace - There will be no justice - until capitalism can somehow be made to conform to ethical and moral principles. Killing innocent civilians, as has occurred in Iraq, in order to perform economic expansion - as has (arguably) occurred in Iraq - is tantamount to murder, plain and simple.

I know that this is money (and economic resources otherwise) that could be much better spent and used in our communities here in the USA.

To waste it on an aggressive invasion and in the fighting of a pointless occupation of imperialism (which has only served to exacerbate and promote global terrorism by the way) is an atrocity. The invasion and this ongoing military action in Iraq ranks among the highest of crimes.

The World is a Dangerous Place

"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing."
– Albert Einstein