29 February 2008
War is a racket. - General Smedley Butler
Call Congress for a de-authorization act on occupation!
"In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows."
"How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
"Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
"And what is this bill?
"This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations."
25 February 2008
It is sickening.
...what terror, what horror...
I wish there was a simple and quick solution, and maybe there is, but then maybe there is not.
There definitely are solutions however, though they might not be simple or quick. First order of business must be to hold those who perpetrated this unlawful, unnecessary, unjustified invasion to account. The USA was driven to war based on false pretenses (Center for Public Integrity). Members of the Bush Administration have been making false statements about the threat from Iraq for years. It is time to hold them accountable. Here are three articles on impeachment:
- Elizabeth Holtzman, Impeachment: the Case in Favor
- Scott Horton, The Case for Impeachment
- Lewis Lapham, Uncle Sam
Economic stability is necessary for civil society and basic infrastructural remedies will be necessary for economic stability - like fixing the water and sewage systems.
There is a humanitarian crisis in Iraq.
OlyBlog is awesome and fun. However, throughout much of the history of OlyBlog (over 2 and 1/2 years now) there have been users of the site who participate in a way that is disruptive and discourages participation by a broader audience. Personally it has been aggravating and frustrating to deal with some of these individuals, there are about 10 or so of them, who bring an attitude of prejudice, of combativeness, of aggression and intolerance for any ideas but their own. Some users' behavior is downright nasty, hostile, provocative, antagonistic, hostile and dishonest. (sorry, yes I realize this isn't a thesaurus.)
Having rational conversations with some of the individuals who have been disruptive has been difficult - even so much as nearly impossible, at times. Recently, a crisis of sorts has developed that may require serious disciplinary efforts and actions. A group of some disruptive individuals have taken up questioning and personally attacking anyone they disagree with. An atmosphere of acrimony and discomfort has developed to make me question my own involvement and continued participation with OlyBlog. It is sad, because I like OlyBlog; I think OlyBlog is great. I am also sad because I feel somewhat powerless and frustrated with my seeming inability to argue effectively with these disruptive individuals and I question my own abilities and it's not pleasant. But in reality I think it is due more to the obtuseness and intellectual dishonesty of those disruptive individuals than to any shortcoming of my own, that the difficulty in interpersonal relations can be attributed. Maybe I sound like an egoist for saying that, or that I am scapegoating my frustration on someone else and choosing blame. These individuals do however, clearly exhibit decidedly anti-social and anti-productive tendencies and an intent to disrupt conversations to their own advantage. I am resolved to be more proactive in how I deal with offensive, abusive and hurtful behavior as it is expressed on the blog.
A variety of disciplinary measures have been considered. It appears that the current experimental model will be to remove the ability of those who are considered as disruptive and antagonistic to comment until such a time they post three blog posts of a verifiably hyper-local nature.
I am not completely convinced of this measure, but I am willing to give it a try. I do like the restorative aspect of this measure. My biggest concern with the "three posts remedy" is that it connects posting blog content with something that is separate (though not unrelated.) I feel it is best to keep it straightforward and simple that abusive, nasty, hostile, antagonistic (etc.) commentary is not allowed on OlyBlog. The goal is to provide a forum where everyone feels comfortable to participate.
Oh to OlyBlog...
24 February 2008
Tonight I went to Madison Scenic Park and shot some night photographs. I am processing them now and hopefully they will be good enough to make a panorama that I will post here when it's done. The air was gorgeous, almost balmy and it was quiet. It was quiet enough, in fact, so that I could hear frogs croaking. Go frogs!!!
23 February 2008
Here's a sample:
The war is illegal.
On Friday evening, while I was sign-holding at a weekly peace vigil, a rainbow appeared:
Afterward, Ana took me out to a birthday dinner. The food was good and it was fun and enjoyable. Then we went to see Angelique Kidjo. Angelique Kidjo gave an energetic performance. She has a wonderful voice.
The Dalai Lama on the Duty to Earth and the Human Family
Bsod-nams-rgya-mtsho. The Three-Deity Mandala of Auspicious Beginning.
If humankind continues to approach its problems considering only temporary expediency, future generations will have to face tremendous difficulties. The global population is increasing, and our resources are being rapidly depleted. Look at the trees, for example. No one knows exactly what adverse effects massive deforestation will have on the climate, the soil, and global ecology as a whole. We are facing problems because people are concentrating only on their short-term, selfish interests, not thinking of the entire human family. They are not thinking of the earth and the long-term effects on universal life as a whole. If we of the present generation do not think about these now, future generations may not be able to cope with them.
–H.H. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, A Human Approach to World Peace (2006)
The Emails that Dick Cheney Deleted
by Scott Horton
January 22, 2008
Late last week, right after official White House spokesmen made a series of either evasive or completely false statements about the mysterious case of the vanishing, then reappearing, then perhaps no really vanished White House emails, Henry Waxman and his Oversight Committee announced some of the conclusions they had reached. Dan Eggen and Elizabeth Williamson published an account of it on Friday in the Washington Post:
The White House possesses no archived e-mail messages for many of its component offices, including the Executive Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President, for hundreds of days between 2003 and 2005, according to the summary of an internal White House study that was disclosed yesterday by a congressional Democrat. The 2005 study — whose credibility the White House attacked this week — identified 473 separate days in which no electronic messages were stored for one or more White House offices, said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.).
Waxman said he decided to release the summary after White House spokesman Tony Fratto said yesterday that there is “no evidence” that any White House e-mails from those years are missing. Fratto’s assertion “seems to be an unsubstantiated statement that has no relation to the facts they have shared with us,” Waxman said. The competing claims were the latest salvos in an escalating dispute over whether the Bush Administration has complied with long-standing statutory requirements to preserve official White House records — including those reflecting potentially sensitive policy discussions — for history and in case of any future legal demands.
Waxman said he is seeking testimony on the issue at a hearing next month from White House counsel Fred F. Fielding, National Archivist Allen Weinstein and Alan R. Swendiman, the politically appointed director of the Office of Administration, which produced the 2005 study at issue.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has now posted a series of studies to help us zero in on just what’s missing. It will come as no surprise to most that the big offender is the man at the center of the most virulent scandals, and the missing email traffic relates just to those dates in which a federal prosecutor would have the most interest. Vice President Dick Cheney’s office destroyed its emails, in violation of the requirements of the federal records act and potentially criminal law, for the following days:
September 12, 2003: The day on which the headlines in the New York Times read “federal appeals court in Washington yesterday rejected the Bush Administration’s effort to avoid releasing documents about Vice President Cheney Energy Task Force.”read the rest: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/01/hbc-90002219
21 February 2008
20 February 2008
19 February 2008
by Christopher BrauchliThe article (linked to above) also deals with how various other government agencies and entities relate to global warming. NASA chief Michael Griffin said that it was arrogant to assume that global warming would have harmful consequences for all humans. He supposes that there might be some benefit in global warming. I wonder what the many species of life that have gone extinct, and the many more that likely will go extinct because of global warming would say to Mr. Griffin if they could. Perhaps the NASA chief could use a primer in the ecological importance of bio-diversity and the interdependence of species upon each other across ecological systems.
In a speech on September 29, 2000, relying on statistics furnished by the Greening Earth Society, a think tank financed by seven coal burning utilities, Mr. Bush said the Internet consumed 8 percent of all the electricity produced in the United States and, therefore, the country needed many new power plants including coal-fired generators. In June 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency put out a report that said human activities such as oil refining, power plants and cars are major contributors to global warming. When asked about the report Mr. Bush said dismissively: “I read the report put out by the bureaucracy.” In Trenton, New Jersey on September 23, 2002 Mr. Bush said “we need an energy bill that encourages consumption.”
... [go to original]
from the article:
Mr. Bush still wants everything to be voluntary. He doesn’t want any fixed deadlines for reducing carbon emissions. James Connaughton, the White House environmental adviser said the Bush goal would be to get countries to set “aspirational goals.” “Each country will develop its own national strategies on a midterm basis in the next 10 to 20 years on where they want to take their efforts to . . . reduce air pollution and also reduce greenhouse gases, ” Mr. Connaughton said. Mr. Bush likes things that are aspirational rather than mandatory. It’s too bad he thinks that to have the air we aspirate be clean is nothing more than aspirational.
18 February 2008
As Sen. Edward Kennedy reminded us in December:
"The president has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA.
"But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retroactive immunity.
"No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the president at his word, he's willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies."
And that literally cannot be. Even Mr. Bush could not overtly take a step that actually aids the terrorists. I am not talking about ethics here. I am talking about blame. If the president seems to be throwing the baby out with the bath water, it means we can safely conclude there is no baby.
Because if there were, sir, now that you have vetoed an extension of this eavesdropping, if some terrorist attack were to follow, you would not merely be guilty of siding with the terrorists. You would not merely be guilty of prioritizing the telecoms over the people. You would not merely be guilty of stupidity. You would not merely be guilty of treason, sir.
You would be personally, and eternally, responsible.
And if there is one thing we know about you, Mr. Bush, one thing that you have proved time and time again - it is that you are never responsible.
As recently ago as 2006, we spoke words like these with trepidation.
The idea that even the most cynical and untrustworthy of politicians in our history, George W. Bush, would use the literal form of terrorism against his own people was dangerous territory. It seemed to tempt fate, to heighten fear.
We will not fear any longer. We will not fear the international terrorists, and we will thwart them. We will not fear the recognition of the manipulation of our yearning for safety, and we will call it what it is: terrorism. We will not fear identifying the vulgar hypocrites in our government, and we will name them. And we will not fear George W. Bush. Nor will we fear because George W. Bush wants us to fear.
go to original
"In 2006 American [Internet] data centers consumed more power than American televisions."
A Harper's Magazine
14 February 2008
100 years of war is enough reason for me to exercise pragmatism in this year's presidential election. That said, I vastly prefer Obama to Clinton, for a number of reasons. One, he demonstrates a decidedly lesser degree of indebtedness to special interests relative to Mrs. Clinton. Other reasons include that he has a positive attitude, and that he seems less inclined to be deluded into the status quo. He has less time in Washington D.C., which may allow him to bring a truly fresh and renewing energy to the national political scene.
That said, here's a good reason not to vote for McCain:
link to video
13 February 2008
by Lewis Seiler, Dan Hamburg
Monday, February 4, 2008
San Francisco Chronicle
"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law, arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of "an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."
- Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943
Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.
According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists." [emphasis mine]
...According to author Naomi Wolf, the National Counterterrorism Center holds the names of roughly 775,000 "terror suspects" with the number increasing by 20,000 per month.
What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?
The Constitution does not allow the executive to have unchecked power under any circumstances. The people must not allow the president to use the war on terrorism to rule by fear instead of by law.
[go to original]
12 February 2008
Hate Springs Eternal
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: February 11, 2008
In 1956 Adlai Stevenson, running against Dwight Eisenhower, tried to make the political style of his opponent’s vice president, a man by the name of Richard Nixon, an issue. The nation, he warned, was in danger of becoming “a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing, shoving; the land of smash and grab and anything to win. This is Nixonland.”
The quote comes from “Nixonland,” a soon-to-be-published political history of the years from 1964 to 1972 written by Rick Perlstein, the author of “Before the Storm.” As Mr. Perlstein shows, Stevenson warned in vain: during those years America did indeed become the land of slander and scare, of the politics of hatred.
And it still is. In fact, these days even the Democratic Party seems to be turning into Nixonland.
09 February 2008
[go to original]link to original [read the rest]
11. Pursuant to the Constitution, their oaths of office, their status as Executive Branch employees, and their presence in the United States, BUSH, CHENEY, RICE, RUMSFELD, and POWELL, and their subordinates and employees, are required to obey Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, which prohibits conspiracies to defraud the United States.
12. As used in Section 371, the term "to defraud the United States" means "to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful government functions by deceit, craft, trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest." The term also means to "impair, obstruct, or defeat the lawful function of any department of government" by the use of "false or fraudulent pretenses or representations."
13. A "false" or "fraudulent" representation is one that is: (a) made with knowledge that it is untrue; (b) a half-truth; (c) made without a reasonable basis or with reckless indifference as to whether it is, in fact, true or false; or (d) literally true, but intentionally presented in a manner reasonably calculated to deceive a person of ordinary prudence and intelligence. The knowing concealment or omission of information that a reasonable person would consider important in deciding an issue also constitutes fraud.
14. Congress is a "department of the United States" within the meaning of Section 371. In addition, hearings regarding funding for military action and authorization to use military force are "lawful functions" of Congress.
15. Accordingly, the presentation of information to Congress and the general public through deceit, craft, trickery, dishonest means, and fraudulent representations, including lies, half-truths, material omissions, and statements made with reckless indifference to their truth or falsity, while knowing and intending that such fraudulent representations would influence Congress' decisions regarding authorization to use military force and funding for military action, constitutes interfering with, obstructing, impairing, and defeating a lawful government function of a department of the United States within the meaning of Section 371.
The Conspiracy to Defraud the United States
16. Beginning on or about a date unknown, but no later than August of 2002, and continuing to the present, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, the defendants,
GEORGE W. BUSH,
RICHARD B. CHENEY,
DONALD M. RUMSFELD, and
COLIN M. POWELL,
and others known and unknown, did knowingly and intentionally conspire to defraud the United States by using deceit, craft, trickery, dishonest means, false and fraudulent representations, including ones made without a reasonable basis and with reckless indifference to their truth or falsity, and omitting to state material facts necessary to make their representations truthful, fair and accurate, while knowing and intending that their false and fraudulent representations would influence the public and the deliberations of Congress with regard to authorization of a preventive war against Iraq, thereby defeating, obstructing, impairing, and interfering with Congress' lawful functions of overseeing foreign affairs and making appropriations.
17. The Early Months of the Bush-Cheney Administration: Prior to January of 2001, BUSH, CHENEY, and RUMSFELD each demonstrated a predisposition to employ U.S. military force to invade the Middle East, including, specifically, to forcibly remove Saddam Hussein.
18. Since 1992, CHENEY has endorsed a "bold foreign policy" that includes using military force to "punish" or "threaten to punish" possible aggressors in order to protect the United States's access to Persian Gulf oil and to halt proliferation of weapons of mass destruction ("WMD"), a term that is customarily used to describe chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
08 February 2008
The filmmaker, Dr. Mahdi, was kind and generous enough to travel to Evergreen in order to comment and to answer questions. I was powerfully moved by the film. There were riveting images and sounds and scenes that showed the chaos that reigned in Baghdad at the time of filming (during the summer of 2006).
I was particularly struck by something the doctor said afterward. He said that he does not wish for the US Troops to withdraw from Iraq because of his fear that all out violence would erupt. It was hard for me to listen to him say that. I had so much opposition to the invasion and I have so much opposition to the war of occupation. I want the US Military to withdraw from Iraq. I certainly don't want violence to erupt. If withdrawal is truly stemming a flood of all out violence - then it will be hard to argue for withdrawal.
I still believe, however, that a gradual withdrawal will be possible without resulting in a flood of violence.
Most importantly though, the mission must change to one of stabilization and reconstruction. The US Military must make specific and intensive efforts to repair and reconstruct the civilian infrastructure of Iraq, thereby stabilizing civil society and improving economic conditions. What the Iraqi people need is stability. They need jobs and food and clean water.
Dr. Mahdi said that the Iraqi people don't have resentment toward the US Troops, which I find hard to believe.
Withdrawal must remain the goal. An indefinite imperial presence in Iraq would not behoove either nation. The doctor said that the US troops are the only neutral presence in Iraq. The US troops are neutral in terms of sectarian affiliation. The US troops are not neutral though. They are in Iraq as an occupying force. The US Military occupies Iraq in order to secure the oil wealth. It may sound ridiculous, but the oil is necessary for global domination, which is a goal of the American elite decision makers.
07 February 2008
06 February 2008
04 February 2008
G.W. Bush Is a Criminal, Like His DadCan this be true? Can it be true that our democracy is being held hostage by a "hostile Washington news media"?
By Robert Parry
January 31, 2008
Watching Attorney General Michael Mukasey evade the obvious fact that waterboarding is torture – and the reluctance of Democrats to press him – I was reminded of how the first President Bush got away with an earlier batch of national security crimes.
Indeed, one of the common questions I’ve been asked over the years is – if the evidence really does show that the Reagan-Bush crowd was guilty of illegal dealings with Iran, Iraq and the Nicaraguan contras – why didn’t the Democrats hold those Republicans to account?
For people who have posed that question, I would suggest that they watch the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Jan. 30 hearing with Mukasey. Everybody in the room knew what the unspoken reality was, but nobody dared say it: George W. Bush authorized torture, which is a crime under U.S. and international law.
However, if the Attorney General – the highest-ranking law-enforcement officer in the United States – recognized the obvious, he would have to either commence legal action against President Bush or send a referral to Congress for the initiation of impeachment proceedings.
If such a referral were sent to Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have little choice but to permit the start of impeachment hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. A wide range of Bush’s illegal actions would then begin spilling out, provoking a political crisis in the United States.
Not only do Bush’s allies want to avoid that possibility but so do Democratic congressional leaders. They fear an impeachment battle would boomerang, putting them on the spot with both angry Republicans and a hostile Washington news media.
... read more: http://www.consortiumnews.com/2008/013108.html
01 February 2008
Essentially, the use of the phrase "preemptive strike" does not alter the fact that the invasion - the "strike" - was an aggressive maneuver. "The facts were being fixed to meet the policy" - so famously said the director of British Intelligence, Sir Richard Dearlove, in a memo (The Downing Street Memos) to the office of Tony blair, the Prime Minister of the UK.
So, the war is illegal. It was an attack. It was motivated not by desire for true security; it was motivated by desire for "global dominance." "Global Domination" is a Project for a New American Century key phrase for imperialism. There is a desire to project the power of the USA over a broad spectrum of economic and military channels. But American Empire cannot flourish without petroleum. Reliable access to consistent flows of crude oil are necessary to support the economic functions of the American Empire. Hence, the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Over one million Iraqis are said to have died as a result of the "war." The war is illegal; it's about oil.