30 November 2009

Texas Insect

Texas Insect
Unidentified Beetle, seen in Houston, Texas
(might be a cricket - not sure)

A couple more angles:
Testing the Edge


20 November 2009

Thanking the Troops

I just posted a version of this on the White House Facebook page:

Thanking the Troops

Imagine that the troops are actually doing the work that they are popularly claimed to be doing - that is, protecting us from irrational terrorists, (the "bad guys,") whom are bent upon destruction of our way of life (we're the "good guys!") Assuming that's the case, then hell yeah - thanks for protecting us.

But then again, what if it's not so simple—not so clear. What if the truth is something different than that reality as presented so often in mainstream media. What if the troops are actually protecting US access to global mineral resources? What if the troops are actually enabling the execution of a foreign policy of dominance? Should we still thank them if it turns out that they aren't protecting us? What if the truth is that they are actually protecting the interests of oil companies, war contractors, and the likes of Halliburton, et al.?

The reality on the ground—the truth as I see it, is that the USA is pursuing a foreign policy of dominance. That's to say that the goal of the US government is to enable domination of the global economy by US and Western, and other associated interests.

It can also be rightly stated and understood that the US attack on Iraq was unprovoked. And even though the attack of Afghanistan was (arguably) provoked by the 9/11 attacks, it also doesn't mean that the attack was justified (either by law or by legitimate defensive strategy.)

The greatest crime is a foreign policy of dominance as it seeks to employ the means of violence, militarism and aggression in order to accomplish it's oppressive ends. This dominance policy is a foreign policy of might makes right, and it would be absolutely intolerable if it was being practiced against "us" rather than by "us." (''Us" in quotes because of my desire to separate myself from the dreadfully wrong foreign policy of my government.)

The above sign is a sticker as it was seen on the front door of a restaurant in Northern Wisconsin (where, perhaps coincidentally, my long beard received plenty of stares.)

So, Thank You. Thank you to those soldiers who refuse to serve in illegal and immoral imperial wars of aggression. You're the real heroes. You're the ones who dutifully uphold your oath of service, your oath to the constitution.

To those troops who serve either willingly or unwillingly, I am so sad. And I am sorry that you have been thrust into this horrible position. I will continue to work to hold our government accountable so that the military is not used to further aggressive and intrusive foreign policy agendas.


11 November 2009

State Violence Against Civilians

Art and Industry
Went to Tacoma in the past couple days to observe a trial brought by protesters of military shipments at the Port of Olympia against members of the Olympia Police Department. The allegation was use of excessive force.

I wrote more about the trial, about the protests, and about society in relation to those two topics, on OlyBlog: olyblog.net/protesters-v-police-—-use-excessive-force-allegations

05 November 2009

Care is "Dull" at the Bohemian Grove: Global Dominance, Economic Exploitation, and Social Violence

I left the following comment on The Olympian.com. I believe that the problems of social violence, economic exploitation, and environmental degradation are connected with policies like global dominance, which is a political concept espoused by many of the most powerful men in the world, some of whom meet at the Bohemian Grove (near Monte Rio, CA), for a Summer Encampment - where they celebrate the "Cremation of Care." Here's a link to a story about the case of Lindsey Baum. Lindsey is a missing child, who disappeared more than four months ago. I believe the problem of missing children is interrelated with other problems of society. Link to the story with my comment: After four months, authorities have little evidence in Lindsey Baum case

And here's the comment I made:
I am of the opinion that the problem of missing children is directly related to the societal ethics of putting profit before people. Lindsey Baum went missing about a month before the annual Bohemian Grove Summer Encampment. At the encampment, some of the world's most powerful businessmen and political decision makers partake in a ceremony called The Cremation of Care, which involves the ritual cremation of "Dull Care" - the effigy of a sacrificed child. I believe this attitude - that care is dull - on the part of the world's most powerful men is directly related to societal violence, and domestic abuses, including but certainly not limited to child disappearances and abductions.

[more information:] Missing Children, Global Dominance, The Bohemian Grove, and The Cremation of Care
Entrance to Bohemian Grove

CIA, Italy, Rendition (and Afghanistan and Drugs)

Something I posted on the White House Facebook Wall:
Italy Convicts 23 Americans for C.I.A. Renditions - NYTimes.com

Christine Beirne DeCamp
I just read about this.....interesting to see if obama decides to hang our CIA out to dry too.
Yesterday at 1:36pm

Todd Stark
the CIA has some of the dirtiest hands know to man....I doubt obama will change any of that
Yesterday at 1:50pm

Berd Whitlock
Unfortunately, I think the CIA poses one of the greatest threats to the health and well-being of the President. We only have to look at the events surrounding the assassination of JFK JR. to begin to ask the difficult questions that need to be asked about whom, and what, controls US foreign policy.

When the President speaks out, the President very well may be putting his own life in danger. I don't think anyone wants that. What we need to do is educate the public about the CIA.
Yesterday at 1:58pm

Berd Whitlock
Well, one important aspect to consider is that the Taliban had all but eradicated opium production. That was then, before the invasion. -Now, Afghanistan produces 93% of the world's opium supplies. I heard a statistic that opium production has increased 35-FOLD since the 2001 US/NATO invasion.

CIA and Drugs... There's a lot of information published about this connection - even a story about George HW Bush allegedly using an F-104 to run suspicious missions.
Yesterday at 2:17pm

Al Croke
Great video on the CIA Drug Trade
Yesterday at 2:21pm

Brian Willcock
Al that reminded me of this:http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/cu/cu44.htm
Yesterday at 2:28pm

Bill Halstead
I wish I could say I like this, but the grim fact is the CIA operatives are not the guilty ones - just like Lynddie England and others are not the guilty ones for the crimes they were convicted of. Yes, they were wrong, yes they should be punished, but ONLY if the investigations push on up the chains of command. It is unjust to punish the front line people and not the masterminds - Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Gonzales, Yoo, Bybee et al. These are the REAL criminals here...

The White House, the Pentagon, and War (etc.)

The following is a comment (slightly amended for clarity) that I just posted to the White House Facebook Page. I was inspired by a Nick Turse article from Tomdispatch.com, Tomgram: Nick Turse, In Afghanistan, the Pentagon Digs in.
To President Obama and Administration:

I believe that war is an outmoded and archaic way to deal with dispute. The USA has a serious problem in its relationship with the world - because our government seems to be content to enable a corporatist policy of global dominance. Under the policy of global dominance, some few act as though they are entitled to receive state support for their efforts to "take without asking" (of material and other resources) - and to exert political and economic influence on sovereign peoples/nations/lands.

That's imperialism. It hurts people. It's very sad.

I strongly believe that a "hands off" approach is a far better way to approach international relationships. No coercive pressure. No economic exploitation. The disparity in wealth between rich and poor is astronomical - and I strongly believe that the massive riches of some is all too often NOT based purely on merit.

The extreme wealth of a very small class of people is based more purely on single-minded (and unregulated) ambition. The extreme wealth is based on a willingness to dominate others and "put others down" (including the natural environment.) The tremendous treasure of those few is based in economically exploitative behaviors that, when all is said and done, serve only an individual's economic interest. Some people's wealth comes at the expense of the well-being of others. It's an arrangement that is very far from copacetic.

Please stop the torturing and the bombing. It's a horrible disservice to humanity.

We can choose to go in the direction of truth, love, hope and justice. Or we can continue this horrible decay of war and environmental abuses. We have a choice. Please, President Obama and Administration, use your voice. Lead America toward the right choice. Lead away from violence, fear, and hate. Lead toward kindness, love, truth, justice and peace. Show us that you are not profiteers by clamping down on these tremendously harmful behaviors.

In Afghanistan - there is no military solution short of total destruction, and that is not a solution at all. So there is no military solution. Many people of Afghanistan hate the Taliban. But many of them have come to hate America even more. American soldiers have been told that the way to win the war is to make people fear them more than anyone else. To rule by fear. It's not the way to make friends - nor is it the way to peace.

Does the USA want peace, or does the USA want domination? It's a serious question. The only rational interpretation is that the USA wants domination. The USA can't have it both ways. It's either domination or peace. They don't go hand in hand.

Please choose the path of peace. Please show us the caring spirit that exists in the hearts of all human beings. Please demonstrate your concern for the well-being of all people.

The situation is serious. The planet's ecological systems are in crisis. We need to confront the problem of perpetual economic growth and come to understand that it is antithetical to sustainability. Instead of growth dependent markets, we would do well to transition to a steady state economy.

Thank you.
[I also wrote another one yesterday, viewable at this link: Letter to the President, as Posted on Facebook]