Thursday, March 30, 2006

Turn Out this Weekend to Support Immigrants!

The Counterpunch article linked below explains the how the vigilante Minutemen are viciously attacking immigrants across the country.

Then see below for a Seattle Times article about them coming to Seattle this weekend. Below that article I'll put the call for support--it'd be good to be there if you can. Thanks.

"The corporate media, informed time and again of Nazi, white nationalist and militia connections to the anti-migrant movement, has continued to paint the anti-migrants as part of a mainstream. Gilchrist himself has claimed he has "240 million" supporters, despite the fact that the anti-immigrant movement as a whole could field only 700 activists for its "National Day of Protest" this year. They were outnumbered 10 to 1 wherever they turned across the country."

SEATTLE TIMES ARTICLE ABOUT MINUTEMEN INVASION HERE THIS WEEKEND:

http://tinyurl.com/pjsmm


Action Alert

Let’s show them that we don’t tolerate hate groups in our community! Here’s how you can\n help: Join us for a counterdemonstration. When: April 1, 2006 7:00 am –11:00 am --- first\n shift 10:00 am – 1:00 pm – shift two Where: CASA Latina Day Workers’ Center 2330 Western Ave (Western and Battery in Belltown, Seattle)
How to dress: dress in work clothes,

The Minutemen are coming!
Let’s show them that we don’t tolerate hate groups in our community!

Here’s how you can help:

Join us for a counterdemonstration.
When: April 1, 2006
7:00 am –11:00 am --- first shift
10:00 am – 1:00 pm – shift two

Where: CASA Latina Day Workers’ Center
2330 Western Ave (Western and Battery in Belltown, Seattle)

How to dress:
Dress in work clothes to show your solidarity with day laborers. We expect them to go to a Home Depot in the Seattle area between 7:00 am and noon next Saturday April 1st. Come to the CASA Latina Day Workers’ Center to breakfast on Mexican sweet breads and coffee, to receive an orientation and to wait for word on where they show up. Once they show up at a site, we will all drive out there to show our solidarity with day laborers and our intolerance of hate groups in our community. or Be a legal observer: Help insure that everyone’s rights are respected. Legal observers will receive special training before Saturday. Contact Sarah Leyrer if you want to be a legal observer leyrers@seattleu.edu On April 1, 2006 the Minutemen are planning to intimidate day laborers and their employers by taking photos of them and putting them up on their web site, www.operationshameonyou.org",

Dress in work clothes to show your solidarity with day laborers.

We expect them to go to a Home Depot in the Seattle area between 7:00 am and noon next Saturday April 1st. Come to the CASA Latina Day Workers’ Center to breakfast on Mexican sweet breads and coffee, to receive an orientation and to wait for word on where they show up. Once they show up at a site, we will all drive out there to show our solidarity with day laborers and our intolerance of hate groups in our community.

or

Be a legal observer: Help insure that everyone’s rights are respected. Legal observers will receive special training before Saturday. Contact Sarah Leyrer if you want to be a legal observer leyrers@seattleu.edu


On April 1, 2006 the Minutemen are planning to intimidate day laborers and their employers by taking photos of them and putting them up on their web site, http://www.operationshameonyou.org/
For more information contact CASA Latina at 206\n 956-0779 or info@casa-latina.org "

They make the assumption that all Latino men are undocumented and that a picture of someone hiring a Latino man is enough evidence that an employer is doing something illegal. This assumption is racist and hateful. Being a Latino man looking for work is not evidence of crime!

For more information contact CASA Latina at 206 956-0779 or info@casa-latina.org

Father Who Lost Son in Iraq Runs as Green for Congress

ARTICLE FROM LEFT I ON THE NEWS:

My kind of guy

Tim Shaffer for The New York Times

Michael Berg, Green Party candidate for Congress (Picture by Tim Shaffer of The New York Times)

From the Times article:

As he bicycles across the state giving speeches at schools and churches and holding fund-raising house parties, he says he has found a receptive audience, not just to his call for an immediate withdrawal of all American forces from Iraq but also to the rest of his platform: universal health care, a livable wage and increased spending on education."A lot of voters are frustrated by the lack of options beyond the two major parties," Mr. Berg said. "And a lot of these people have not been voting before."Mr. Berg said that he was originally approached by a representative of the state's Democratic Party to oppose Mr. Castle but that he opted to go with the Greens because "the Democrats have the money to get the message out, but they have the wrong message."Couldn't have said it better (or at least more succinctly) myself.

Patriotism: What Einstein & Twain Have to Say About It

"A patriot sets himself apart in his own country under his own flag, sneers at other nations and keeps an army of uniformed assassins on hand at heavy expense to grab slices of other people's countries and keep them from grabbing slices of his. In the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for 'the universal brotherhood of man' - with his mouth." : Mark Twain, The Lowest Animal=

"This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism on command, senseless violence and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism." : Albert Einstein=

"Patriotism means advocating plunder in the interests of the privileged class of your particular country. The time will soon come when calling someone a patriot will be the deepest insult." -Ernest. B. Bax

The above quotes were on Information Clearinghouse

Story About Gulf Coast Vets & NO Survivors March

"They wanted to build a connection between the war in Iraq and the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. Their slogan was borrowed from Martin Luther King Jr., who once said that every bomb dropped in Vietnam falls in Harlem. The veteran's interpretation of King's phrase is "Every bomb dropped in Iraq explodes along the Gulf Coast."

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Palestinian School Kids v. IOF* (Kids Win!!!)

http://tinyurl.com/j934h

*IOF stands for Israeli Occupation Forces (they call themselves Israeli Defense Forces or IDF)

The above great pics found on The Angry Arab News Service

Community Stands Up for Students' Rights (to protest war)

LANGLEY, Whidbey Island — When the Young Democrats at South Whidbey High School wore T-shirts last week to mark the third anniversary of the war in Iraq, the club's adviser told a student she had to cover up a few words and symbols on her shirt if she wanted to participate.
So she put blue tape over the following items on her shirt: a peace symbol, the word "war" with a slash through it, "$247,000,000,000" (one estimate of U.S. expenditures on the war), and the question "How many more?"
With those four strips of tape, what started as a school-sanctioned effort to raise awareness of the war's toll backfired in a First Amendment controversy. The flap culminated Monday when more than 100 angry parents and Vietnam-era peace activists packed a South Whidbey School Board meeting to denounce what they viewed as a challenge to students' civil rights.


Very happy to see that the newest crop of Democrats have their priorities straight.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Iraq: Who Is Paying

"In a dilapidated maternity and paediatric hospital in Diwaniyah, 100 miles south of Baghdad, Zahara and Abbas, premature twins just two days old, lie desperately ill. The hospital has neither the equipment nor the drugs that could save their lives. On the other side of the world, in a federal courthouse in Virginia, US, two men - one a former CIA agent and Republican candidate for Congress, the other a former army ranger - are found guilty of fraudulently obtaining $3m (£1.7m) intended for the reconstruction of Iraq. These two events have no direct link, but they are none the less products of the same thing: a financial scandal that in terms of sheer scale must rank as one of the greatest in history."

found on a comment at asterism, an iraqi blog

Congress for Sale: Cheap!

Case in point: Abramoff's remarkable success in defeating H.R. 521, a 2001 House bill that would place the Guam Superior Court under the control of a federally controlled Supreme Court. Led by Judge Alberto Lamorena, Guam Superior Court justices hired the lobbyist to defeat the bill, which would have unseated them as the chief judicial authorities of the island. It says something for Abramoff's ability to bring out the worst in people that he managed to get a group of sitting judges to pay him $324,000 in public funds in $9,000 installments so as to avoid detection.
Despite the $324,000 fee, Abramoff could not prevent the House Resources committee from unanimously recommending H.R. 521 for passage. Would the superlobbyist finally fail? No, of course not. Given what we know about Abramoff's tactics, we'd be naive not to conclude that he could lean on DeLay and then-Whip Roy Blunt to stall the bill in the congressional machinery. On May 27th, 2002, just five days after the Resources committee made its recommendation, an Abramoff-linked PAC wrote two checks for $5,000 -- one to Blunt, one to DeLay. H.R. 521 never reached the floor.

Dem Senator Levin: Oh, Well, Bush Meant Well...

From First Amendment Lawyer Glenn Greenwald:

"It is truly astonishing to watch politician after politician -- Republican and Democrat alike - parade forward and expressly say that there may be nothing wrong with the President having eavesdropped on Americans in violation of the law."

Found on Cursor.org

Henry Hyde Sounds Alarm to His Imperial Colleagues

"Hyde concludes by warning against the delusions of triumphalism and cautioning that the future should not be seen as an extension of the present: "A few brief years ago, history was proclaimed to be at an end, our victory engraved in unyielding stone, our pre-eminence garlanded with permanence. But we must remember that Britain's majestic rule vanished in a few short years, undermined by unforeseen catastrophic events and by new threats that eventually overwhelmed the palisades of the past. The life of pre-eminence, as with all life on this planet, has a mortal end. To allow our enormous power to delude us into seeing the world as a passive thing waiting for us to recreate it in an image of our choosing will hasten the day when we have little freedom to choose anything at all."

found on Angry Arab Newsservice (from The Guardian)

Monday, March 27, 2006

CondoLIEzza Gets Help from Senior Dems

"If you think that what caused Sept. 11 was that the people who flew airplanes in caused Sept. 11, then, no, Iraq had no relationship," she said.

"But if you think that this was a broader problem of an ideology of hatred, of terrorism becoming an acceptable means in places where there was a freedom deficit and where there was no possibility for legitimate political discourse, then you realize that you have to have a different kind of Middle East," she said, "and a different kind of Middle East with Saddam Hussein at the middle of it is unacceptable."

YEAH, THAT'S WHY CONDI AND GW ARE SO ANXIOUS TO WORK WITH THE LEGITMATELY ELECTED HAMAS LEADERSHIP IN PALESTINE.

DOESN'T THE DEMS LOGIC BELOW MEAN THAT IF THE IRAQ "LEADERSHIP" KEEPS DITHERING THE TROOPS WILL JUST LEAVE? I GUESS I'D SAY DITHER AWAY.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who met with Iraqi leaders last week in his role as top Democratic on the Armed Services Committee, said Bush should make it clear to the Iraqis that troops are going to continue to be there only if they work out a political compromise. That is a message, Levin said, that Iraqi leaders have not yet received.

"Instead, they get the kind of excuses that we just heard as to how complicated it is, how difficult it is, that constitutions and cabinet selections take time," said Levin, who appeared on "Fox News Sunday" after Rice.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said U.S. troops are "a crutch" for Iraq and that their presence continues to fuel the insurgency.

SOME "CRUTCH"--I GUESS HE MEANS AS IN BEATING THE IRAQIS OVER THE HEAD WITH IT.

Amazing Video of CBS Journalist Telling Iraq Like It Is

http://movies.crooksandliars.com/cnn_rs_blame_media_lara_logan_060326a.mov

You'll have to copy the url and paste it in your browser I believe--worth it.

via Left I on the News and Crooks and Liars

Subsiding Big Oil Like Paying Fish to Swim-$28Billion Taxpayer Loss

For more than a decade, lawmakers and administration officials, both Republican and Democrat, have promised there would be no cost to taxpayers for a program allowing companies to avoid royalties on oil and gas produced in publicly owned waters in the gulf.

But last month, the Bush administration confirmed that it expected the government to waive about $7 billion in royalties over the next five years, even though the benefits were expressly conceived of for times when energy prices were low. And that number could quadruple to more than $28 billion if a lawsuit filed last week challenging one of the program's remaining restrictions proves successful.

"It's hard to make a case for royalty relief, especially at these high prices," said Jack Overstreet, owner of an independent oil exploration company in Texas. "But the oil industry is like the farm lobby and will have its hand out at every opportunity."

Patrick Seale: Great Powers' Colonialism In Mideast Unchecked

Colonialism in the Middle East continues to rule unchecked.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Defending Aaron Dixon

Aaron Dixon and the Green Party have already come under fierce attack by the Demo. Party/Corporate Media machine with Geov Parrish doing everything in his power to lend a liberal gloss to the assault. It's good to see a few blogs standing against the tide:

http://cantwellwatch.blogspot.com/2006/03/progressive-attack-on-aaron-dixon.html
http://apctahoma.blogspot.com/2006/03/is-aaron-dixon-being-smeared.html
http://nickhart.blogspot.com/2006/03/whos-fit-for-public-office.html

Seattle Rep to Stage "My Name is Rachel Corrie"

Seattle Repertory Theatre is now the first major U.S. regional theater to announce that it will produce "My Name Is Rachel Corrie."

It might be good to go to Seattle Rep's website and send them a quick email congratulating them on their courage. http://www.seattlerep.org/home.html

Coalition Jails Nearly 50,000 Iraqis; 1.5% charged

From Harper's magazine via Angry Arab

"Number of people whom Coalition forces have imprisoned in Iraq at some point since March 2003: 48,526

Percentage of these who have been convicted of a crime: 1.5"

Pro-Israel Groups Block Lobbying Reform

This is a quote from a story in the Jewish Forward newspaper (via Angry Arab webblog):

"But then Jewish organizations, in the lead of a loose coalition of nonprofit groups, moved to block the reforms on travel, arguing that one of their most effective lobbying tools has been privately sponsored trips to Israel for lawmakers. Israel is the number one foreign destination of privately funded congressional trips, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Washington's powerful pro-Israel lobby, is the second largest underwriter of such overseas travel."

There is a lot of controversy being raised now, some of it predicated by this study done by a Harvard professor and a Professor from the Kennedy School of Government. They charge that pro-Israel lobbying groups have way too much power of US foreign policy.
http:// ksgnotes1.harvar d.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011

Feingold: Occupation? What Occupation????

"It's the reality of a situation like this that when you have a large troop presence that it has the tendency to fuel the insurgency because they can make the incorrect and unfair claim that somehow the United States is here to occupy this country, which of course is not true," Feingold said."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Why Cantwell May Not Recant

Even while I was speaking, the weekend news shows were detailing the latest attack plan of the Congressional Democrats. It's called "Real Security". And no, "security" here doesn't mean a living wage, a pension, a health plan, and no Stop Loss order for your kid to stay in Iraq. It means guns and cops and lots of flag-wagging.

"Real Security" calls for Democrats to hinge the 2006 fall campaign on how the Republicans have failed us on the issue of national security. Harry Reid says Democrats should wrap themselves in the flag, use tanks as backdrop and then try to outflank the Republicans from the right with demands for increased military funding, a better fought war, tighter borders, and ports run by white American-born Christians, preferably free of radical organizers from the ILWU.


100,000+ Immigrants & Supporters March in CA

"On Saturday, demonstrators streamed into downtown Los Angeles for what was expected to be one of the city's largest pro-immigrant rallies. The crowd was estimated at more than 100,000, said police Sgt. Lee Sands."

Police in Phoenix said 20,000 demonstrators marched on Friday to the office of Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., co-sponsor of a bill that would step up enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border and create a temporary guest-worker program that would require illegals to leave after five years. The turnout clogged major thoroughfares in what officials said was one of the largest protests in the city's history.

Activists said tens of thousands of workers did not show up at their jobs Friday in Georgia after calls for a work stoppage to protest a bill passed on Thursday by the state House. That bill, which has yet to gain Georgia Senate approval, would deny state services to adults living in the U.S. illegally and impose a 5 percent surcharge on wire transfers from illegal immigrants.

Friday, March 24, 2006

New Orleans: No Way Home

Mayor Ray Nagin likes to boast that "New Orleans is back," pointing to the tourists who again prowl the French Quarter and the Tulane students who crowd Magazine Street bistros; but the current population of New Orleans on the west bank of the Mississippi is about the same as that of Disney World on a normal day. More than 60 percent of Nagin's constituents--including an estimated 80 percent of the African-Americans--are still scattered in exile with no obvious way home.

In their absence, local business elites, advised by conservative think tanks, "New Urbanists" and neo-Democrats, have usurped almost every function of elected government. With the City Council largely shut out of their deliberations, mayor-appointed commissions and outside experts, mostly white and Republican, propose to radically shrink and reshape a majority-black and Democratic city. Without any mandate from local voters, the public-school system has already been virtually abolished, along with the jobs of unionized teachers and school employees. Thousands of other unionized jobs have been lost with the closure of Charity Hospital, formerly the flagship of public medicine in Louisiana. And a proposed oversight board, dominated by appointees of President Bush and Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, would end local control over city finances.

from the Nation via cursor.org

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Beware of U.S. "Humanitarian" Interventions--John Pilger

"In 2000, the International War Crimes Tribunal announced that the final count of bodies found in Kosovo's "mass graves" was 2,788. This included Serbs, Roma, and those killed by "our" allies, the Kosovo Liberation Front. It meant that the justification for the attack on Serbia ("225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59 are missing, presumed dead," the U.S. ambassador-at-large David Scheffer had claimed) was an invention. To my knowledge, only the Wall Street Journal admitted this. A former senior NATO planner, Michael McGwire, wrote that "to describe the bombing as 'humanitarian intervention' [is] really grotesque." In fact, the NATO "crusade" was the final, calculated act of a long war of attrition aimed at wiping out the very idea of Yugoslavia. "

via information clearinghouse

Call It What You Want: This War Is Not Civil--Iraqi Blogger

Please don’t ask me whether I believe Iraq is on the verge of civil war yet or not. I have never experienced a civil war before, only regular ones. All I see is that both sides are engaged in tit-for-tat lynchings and summary executions. I see governmental forces openly taking sides or stepping aside. I see an occupation force that is clueless about what is going on in the country. I see politicians that distrust each other and continue to flame the situation for their own personal interests. I see Islamic clerics delivering fiery sermons against each other, then smile and hug each other at the end of the day in staged PR stunts. I see the country breaking into pieces. The frontlines between different districts of Baghdad are already clearly demarked and ready for the battle. I was stopped in my own neighbourhood yesterday by a watch team and questioned where I live and what I was doing in that area. I see other people curiously staring in each other’s faces on the street. I see hundreds of people disappearing in the middle of the night and their corpses surfacing next day with electric drill holes in them. I see people blown up to smithereens because a brainwashed virgin seeker targeted a crowded market or café. I see all that and more.

Stand Up Seattle Forces Liberals to Face-up to Pro-War Cantwell

"McDonough said he does find it "somewhat inexplicable" that Cantwell won't mollify her angry antiwar constituents by saying her vote for the war was a mistake, but he also said he's paying more attention to President Bush's approval rating, which he sees as the prime indicator in the race."

Puppygate: Jamieson On Target Again

Even after looking at the heart-wrenching photo of the burned dog, a word comes to mind: perspective.

One wonders where all of the caring in the world goes when violence -- just as ugly and senseless and mean -- strikes people rather than pooches, stirring little more than a fleeting public whimper, if anything at all.

Seattle Medium: Dixon/Cantwell/McGavick--Most Exciting Senate Race

"The spark of interest in the race is long-time activist and former Black Panther - Aaron Dixon who is also running - as a Green Party candidate. A fixture in Seattle politics for nearly 40 years, he is raising an eyebrow because he will siphon off critical votes from Cantwell. Just as well, Dixon is considered the only anti-war candidate in the race."

Joshua Frank: Why Are McKinney, Feingold, et al Still Dems?

"That's a question I wish someone would answer. As far as I can tell, the reason the Dems can't stand up to Bush is that they actually believe in this foolish war. They aren't afraid or spineless, as so many claim -- they just support the president and his imperialist ventures. If Kucinich opposes the occupation, as he and his supporters have said over and again, then why is he still a member of a party that overwhelming backs it? Where the hell has he been, anyway?"

Superb Pics of Our Cantwell Action

http://arkphotos.com/GalleryPoliticsToday/Page031806a/index.html

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Rachel Corrie's Work Goes On--Despite Intense Zionist Suppression Campaign

Democracy Now this a.m. (and at 5 p.m.) discusses the cancellation of "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" with all parties. Below is a linked Nation article about the controversy.

"In this way, Corrie's words appear to have had more impact than her death. The House bill calling for a US investigation of her killing died in committee, with only seventy-eight votes and little media attention. But the naked admission by a left-leaning cultural outlet that it would subordinate its own artistic judgment to pro-Israel views has served as a smoking gun for those who have tried to press the discussion in this country of Palestinian human rights. Indeed, the admission was so shocking and embarrassing that the Workshop quickly tried to hedge and retreat from its statements. But the damage was done; people were asking questions that had been consigned to the fringe: How can the West condemn the Islamic world for not accepting Muhammad cartoons when a Western writer who speaks out on behalf of Palestinians is silenced? And why is it that Europe and Israel itself have a healthier debate over Palestinian human rights than we can have here?"

The Nation who has kind of a spotty record on the Palestine issue here publishes an analysis of the cancellation.

If you look at this executive summary of the Oregonian newspaper's coverage of the Israeli/Palestine issue, the explanation is even more obvious.

http://www.auphr.org/oregonianed.php

Thanks to Ali Abunimah for pointing out Nation article.

Bush Says US Troops to Remain in Iraq Indefinitely

"Bush’s brazenness is testimony to the fact that his administration confronts no serious opposition from the Democratic Party, which, in addition to its general cowardice, supports the geopolitical aim of establishing US control over the oil-rich regions of the Middle East and Central Asia. With no one in the political establishment or the media calling him to account, Bush has declared that US forces will not leave Iraq and that the country will be turned into a permanent military base for the launching of future adventures in the name of the so-called war on terror."

World Socialist Website explains why Bush can lie outrageously and get away with it, while the suffering in Iraq continues unabated.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hearts and minds... Keep winnin' em' america--more on family killed by US troops

A compilation of pictures (graphic) and stories about the family apparently killed by US troops.

Operation Swarmer: More Like Operation Smarmy

As noted, about 1,500 troops were involved, 700 American and 800 Iraqi. But get this: in the area they’re scouring there are only about 1,500 residents. According to my colleague and other reporters who were there, not a single shot has been fired.

Cindy Sheehan Joins Iraq & New Orleans Vets on March

Still recovering from injuries suffered during a recent protest in New York City, anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan linked up with Gulf Coast peace marchers Thursday to participate in the final leg of their 140-mile trek from Mobile to New Orleans.

More than 200 people are making the trek to protest the war in Iraq and what they believe is the federal government's mismanagement of the Hurricane Katrina recovery along the Gulf Coast.

The march, which began Tuesday in Mobile, includes people from along the Gulf Coast and across the nation. A BBC crew and other news organizations have been documenting the march.

I was going to say that there was no other coverage of the Vets march, but the NYTimes mentions it here:

http://tinyurl.com/jyfd8




How US Troops Fight--Killing 5 Kids (Careful--Truthful Photos)

UPDATE--Reuters report on the same incident--11 family members killed by US military:

The bodies, their hands bound, had been dumped in one room before the house was destroyed, Hussein said. Police had found spent American-issue cartridges in the rubble.

"It's a clear and perfect crime without any doubt," he said.

FROM URUKNET:

She insisted that the children were machine-gunned after having being placed in one of the closets; whilst the rest were executed in adjacent room.

At the school where the two victim teachers had worked was overwhelmed with grief as the continued US crimes in Iraq had struck in the school’s heart this time. The 250 children at Ales-haqi Primary School wept from the deep grief felt because of the cold-blooded murder of their teachers. The children stayed home that day as a mark of respect and mourning of the dead murdered at the hands of the US forces.

from Uruknet.

French Students Show How to Fight Back & Get Results

THIS IS HOW EDUCATION SHOULD BE DISCUSSED (AS OPPOSED TO THE SET PIECE PUT ON BY THE DEMS YESTERDAY AT GARFIELD) (from The Guardian via Angry Arab)

It was the same bright spring sunshine and the same familiar elegant landmarks, but the hundreds of thousands of young demonstrators on the streets yesterday were a whole new generation. Almost 40 years since the great student protests of 1968, France's students are again manning barricades, café tables are being thrown at police riot shields, and tear gas hangs over the Left Bank.

France was again showing its revolutionary fibre and, in the republican tradition, it looked last night as though victory was close to being with the people.

'The street has won again,' said Antoine Pharipou, 21, a student of physical education, as rumours filtered through that de Villepin was signalling talks to avoid a general strike.

Corporations Stiffing Government on Fines

HOW CORPORATIONS GET PART OF THE $$ THEY USE TO PAY OFF THEIR HENCHPEOPLE (LIKE CANTWELL AND OBAMA):

Agency documents released under AP's FOIA request listed, for example, a $60,911,316 "commercial fraud" assessment for one company - but the case ended with a $15,000 collection by Customs.

The company, Richemont North America, contradicted the Customs reports, saying the case never reached the point of an actual, multimillion dollar fine.

Admittedly, some paperwork was not in order, company lawyer Alan Grieve said, but he added: "Ultimately, the size of the settlement does reflect the fact that Richemont had no major problem at all."

Print Coverage of Stand Up Seattle's Cantwell Greeting

FROM THE NORTHWEST PROGRESSIVE (?) INSTITUTE:

But before Cantwell could start her speech she was interrupted by a small group of inconsiderate protestors who stood up and unfurled a black banner criticizing Maria's support for the war, which contained a second line: "Don't Barack-O-Bomb Iran".

The protestors didn't seem to have noisemaking devices but they were loud enough to make it hard to hear the Senator, who first waited, and then told the protestors they'd made their point. When this did not shut them up, County Executive Ron Sims jumped out of his chair and grabbed one of the microphones, beginning a loud "Cantwell! Cantwell! Cantwell!" chant that quickly turned into a loud roar which completely drowned out the protestors while they were led away by event volunteers.

Cantwell remained undaunted, delivering her remarks with energy and vigor.


FROM THE SEATTLE TIMES:

Cantwell had a harder time deflecting the protesters. At the start of her speech, some stood up in the bleachers and yelled over her words, holding up a banner.

King County Executive Ron Sims stepped up to the podium and started chanting Cantwell's name.

The crowd joined in, and the protesters were drowned out.

Cara Solomon: 206-464-2024 or

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Farcical End of the American Dream--Robert Fisk

I do truly treasure this story. It proves my point that the Los Angeles Times - along with the big east coast dailies - should all be called US OFFICIALS SAY. But it's not just this fawning on political power that makes me despair. Let's move to a more recent example of what I can only call institutionalised racism in American reporting of Iraq. I have to thank reader Andrew Gorman for this gem, a January Associated Press report about the killing of an Iraqi prisoner under interrogation by US Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jnr.

Mr Welshofer, it transpired in court, had stuffed the Iraqi General Abed Hamed Mowhoush head-first into a sleeping bag and sat on his chest, an action which - not surprisingly - caused the general to expire. The military jury ordered - reader, hold your breath - a reprimand for Mr Welshofer, the forfeiting of $6,000 of his salary and confinement to barracks for 60 days. But what caught my eye was the sympathetic detail. Welshofer's wife's Barbara, the AP told us, "testified that she was worried about providing for their three children if her husband was sentenced to prison. 'I love him more for fighting this,' she said, tears welling up in her eyes. 'He's always said that you need to do the right thing, and sometimes the right thing is the hardest thing to do'".

Yes, I guess torture is tough on the torturer. But try this from the same report: "Earlier in the day ... Mr Welshofer fought back tears. 'I deeply apologise if my actions tarnish the soldiers serving in Iraq,' he said."

Thursday, March 16, 2006

From Left I on the News: Picture Worth 1000 Tears



"The Americans have promised us a better life, but we get only death."- Uncle of the dead children shown at left, murdered today in the latest American war crimeIn some ways, one of the most unique aspects of this story today is that CNN (and presumably others) was featuring extensive video footage of the destruction and carnage. CNN's Arwa Damon did manage to get through the entire story without once mentioning the word "airstrike," and presented the whole story as just "innocent civilians caught in the middle," which is fundamentally nonsense, but the footage was still powerful, and quite surprising.

Out Now: Here is Why

"These are the principals of democracy: letting the indigenous population rule as a sovereign nation. I always hear “bring the troops home.” Not only do it for the troops this time, do it for the Iraqi people. "

Well researched and argued case for immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

The Future (Probable and Sad) of Palestine/Israel

"Olmert is not a moderate. While mayor of Jerusalem, hedenied services to Palestinian taxpayers in the occupiedeastern sector and encouraged Israelis to settle there.The leaders he admires are Menachem Begin, founder of theterrorist Irgun and the extreme right Herut party, andYitzhak Shamir, a chief of the Stern gang, anotherterrorist formation. While Likud prime minister, Beginmade peace with Egypt by pulling out of Sinai, but Shamirrefused to negotiate seriously with the Palestiniansfollowing the 1991 Madrid peace conference and said hewould keep fruitless talks going for 10 years while heexpanded colonies in the West Bank and Gaza."

THE ABOVE ARTICLE OPENS WITH THIS PARAGRAPH:
"Yesterday the Guardian carried a pointed cartoon by resident artist Steve Bell. It showed an Israeli tank storming the Jericho prison, Palestinian flag flying from the wall. On the back of the tank was written: “Vote Olmert”, and troops inside observed, “We have reason to believe this prison is not very secure”, as cannon fire breached the wall."

I'm sure Ehud Olmert (the acting Prime Minister of Israel since Sharon's stroke) is someone Bush and the Dems can "do business with."

EVEN THE NYTIMES SEES THE TREACHERY IN THE JERICHO RAID:

"Mr. Olmert may have secured a few security points forhimself and his Kadima Party in their battle with BenjaminNetanyahu over who will be elected to succeed Ariel Sharonas Israel's prime minister. But it's a sure bet that evenif his prison raid helps Mr. Olmert in the elections, itwill make the job of governing and steering Israelis andPalestinians toward peace even harder after the electionis done. For that, he can thank his friends in Britain andAmerica."

Paradise (California) Listens to Stan Goff

The PNAC [Project for A New American Century] is alive and well despite the tragedy of our young men and women dying and being maimed, despite a bill that we can never pay.

The president's spin-doctors are out of bullets. No one except a fool would believe them and most Democrats don't have enough spine to call them on it. That's a horrible thing for all Americans to swallow.

Black Commentator on New Orleans & The Vets March

"The march will reach New Orleans this weekend. Along the way, and at their destination vets, survivors and volunteers will participate in the building of homes and community centers. There's a lot of building to be done. We encourage BC readers to keep up with the progress of the Vets Gulf March through this weekend via the regular bulletins on their web site, and to donate to defray its costs."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Gr Prty Senate Cand. Chretien: Bring Troops Home Now

"We need to end the war. We need to bring our troops home now (not slip them over the border to occupy Iraq's neighbors) so that no more young Americans are killed or maimed. To do that, we need an anti-war movement that tells the whole truth. This war against the Iraqi people did not begin with George W. Bush. His father began this war in 1991. Bush I killed an estimated 200,000 Iraqis, civilian and soldiers. Bill Clinton killed thousands more in hundreds of bombing raids and missile strikes. Far more deadly were the starvation sanctions imposed by the Clinton administration, which targeted only civilians, and killed 1,000,000 of them. Now, Bush II is continuing the killing. In order to end it, we need to recognize that the people of Iraq have the right to run their own country, and that the Democrats do not have the rights to the anti-war movement's votes."

Environmentalists Disarmed by Big Oil & Dems

By the mid-90s the oil industry no longer had any effective foes arguing for public control. Senators like Abourezk and Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio had gone. The public interest groups were successfully unplugged during Clinton time and the credibility of proposals for public control of the nation's energy resources undermined by years of neo-liberal derision coming from groups like the NRDC and the Environmental Defense Fund which saw higher prices as the key to conservation, and which thus helped launch Enron on the world.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Progressive Dems: Their Dirty Laundry Lists

"And they emphasize the bigger picture - over and over again: "Working to make sure Democrats win control is more important than sabotaging the chances of any candidate that doesn't check off every box on the liberal laundry list." I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. It's why I support candidates like Maria Cantwell even though I may disagree with them on key issues."

This is a recommendation from the Northwest Progressive Institute of a book called "Crashing the Gate" that was written by a couple Democratic bloggers. As you can see from the quote above, there is no wall between the Dems and the Repugs, so I don't understand why they think they need to crash the gate. They're guaranteed to pass for republican with those kind of Democratic values, dontcha think????

So they're smugly going to work for and fund candidates who are pro-war, pussilanimous on civil liberties and torture, and corporately-funded and guided. I think we need to talk with these "progressives" about the ultimate result (as if it wasn't already blatantly apparent) of their "elect Dems at any cost" strategy.

Knowing US History Can Save You--Howard Zinn

On the third anniversary of President Bush's Iraq debacle, it's important to consider why the administration so easily fooled so many people into supporting the war.

I believe there are two reasons, which go deep into our national culture.

One is an absence of historical perspective. The other is an inability to think outside the boundaries of nationalism.


Found on Information Clearing House (originally in The Progressive)

Iraqi Joke: From Nadia at Talking About Iraq Blog

This is a joke told by an Iraqi cameraman:

"Three people died and were sent to Hell. One was American, one was European, and one was Iraqi. They all asked if they could make a phone call to their families.

The American talked for ten minutes, and the demons charged him $20,000.

The European talked for five minutes, and they charged him $5,000.

The Iraqi talked for about two hours, and they charged him fifty cents.

'Hey!' said the American. 'How come this guy only had to pay fifty cents, when he talked for hours?

''Well,' said the nearest demon. 'It's practically a local call.'"

Sandra O'Connor: Could This Be Why She Quit Her Day Job?

Then she spoke the D-word. "I, said O'Connor, am against judicial reforms driven by nakedly partisan reasoning. Pointing to the experiences of developing countries and former communist countries where interference with an independent judiciary has allowed dictatorship to flourish, O'Connor said we must be ever-vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary into adopting their preferred policies. It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, she said, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

Rest Easy Clinton: Milosevic Can't Talk Anymore

"Because of the rule of victors' justice in the ad hoc tribunal system (a poor and unfair substitute for a true international court), Milosevic's case would have been the only international trial to potentially expose the details of the illegal, U.S.-led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia for 78 days in 1999. While the U.S.-backed court consistently tried to limit Milosevic's right to speak, stripping him of his right to self-representation, Milosevic battled regularly to raise U.S. war crimes. Sadly, with Milosevic will likely die the last hope the victims of these crimes in Yugoslavia had of getting their day (if it could even be called that) in court – a tragic and unjust reality to begin with that speaks volumes about the twisted state of international justice."

***

"Milosevic's death means that those who bombed Yugoslavia for 78 days beginning seven years ago this month, killing thousands, will be once and for all protected from any public scrutiny for their crimes. However opportunistic Milosevic may have been, he would have been one of the few people to appear at The Hague who could have – and would have – laid out these crimes in great detail. Now, there is almost certain to be no condemnation of the U.S. bombing of Radio Television Serbia, killing 16 media workers; the cluster bombing of the Nis marketplace, shredding human beings into meat; the use of depleted uranium munitions; and the targeting of petrochemical plants, causing toxic chemical waste to pour into the Danube River. There will be no condemnation of the bombing of Albanian refugees by the U.S., or the deliberate targeting of a civilian passenger train, or the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade...."

Blogger Sends "Note to Moronic Democrat Politicians"

"So, why oh why, would the opposition party not support this move to censure -- because they are worried about the effect it is going to have on centrist voters? Are you fucking nuts? George Bush is at 36%!!!!!!!! America can't stand him. They think he is incompetent, that he has blown Iraq and Katrina and Social Security and the budget and the economy. And you're worried that you are going to alienate centrist voters by coming out against him?"

I love this! I have already emailed Murray and Cantwell (as much good as a bucket of warm spit) to ask them why they don't support censure for this obvious unlawful act by the president.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Rachel Corrie Invisible No More

Corrie's critics delight in lamenting her supposed naivete, as if 23-year-olds all ought to sit on the sidelines awaiting the enlightenment of additional decades. The London play, "My Name is Rachel Corrie," is about the inspiration to be drawn from a caring young person's engagement with the world. In one of its many beautiful lines, the play quotes an e-mail from her worrying mother, Cindy, "Palestinians have really been invisible to me, but you are changing that."

Proud to be a Seattlite today. The PI finally got its head out of the sand, or some other place where there ain't no sunshine, on the issue of Palestinian rights.

Rachel Corrie is my hero.

BY THE WAY: Please take a minute to write to the PI in favor of their editorial. The Zionists always go beserk when the media dares to cross them. There will be a barage of anti-Palestinian letters to the editor.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Vets & Katrina Survivors "Walking to New Orleans"










"Veterans For Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War,
Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Gold Star Families for Peace, at the call of the Mobile Veterans For Peace Chapter #130, will conduct a march between Mobile, AL, and New Orleans, LA, from March 14-19, 2006 -- the third anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq."

THEIR DEMANDS:

(1)  the immediate return of our troops from Iraq, and to
call for U.S. tax dollars to be spent on human priorities and

(2) rebuilding of the devastated Gulf Coast, under the
democratic direction of the residents of the Gulf Coast,
instead of further spending for the illegal occupation of Iraq.
If you believe the confluence of the antiwar and pro-people of New Orleans movements
is a good idea, there are places on the linked site to support them. Also you can sign up for
email updates. Good luck to all.

Unite Behind "Troops Out Now" Demand

Left I on the News recommends the statement below from Troops Out Now Coalition, published in the run up to next week's (March 18) rallies around the world. Join Stand Up Seatte at the rally at the Federal Building at 1 p.m.

"Political positions have a direct bearing on how a movement struggles, or even if it engages in struggle at all. Adapting to a soft position, like phased withdrawal or redeployment, gives people the message that there's no need to mobiize on the streets to bring the troops home now--just wait for the politicians to work out the details of the withdrawal. If the movement were united around the demand for an immediate, complete, unconditional withdrawal, this would elevate, intensify, and clarify the struggle against the war.

In the early days of the occupation, some called for the Pentagon to hand authority over the occupation to the United Nations. It’s likely that this position will be taken up again by some, as part of a phased withdrawal plan. We should be wary of the UN solution. As much as we wish that it were otherwise, more often than not the UN does not act in the interest of the people of the world, but in the interests of the U.S. government, the governments of the major European countries, and the corporate interests that those governments represent. In Haiti, as in so many other instances, the UN has merely provided a cover for what is in essence a U.S. occupation, and has engaged in gross human rights violations. It was the UN, on behalf of Wall Street and Washington, that sanctioned the first Gulf War and the genocidal sanctions against Iraq that killed between 1.5 and two million people.

The people of Iraq are not likely to accept another foreign occupation whose only distinction from the present one is superficial. Ultimately, it’s up to the people of Iraq to determine what role if any the UN or any other force should play in rebuilding their country.

As opposition to the war continues to grow, and the bipartisan lies about Iraq are exposed to the whole world, the antiwar movement has a tremendous opportunity. But to seize this opportunity, it needs a clear, independent message.

We need to unify around the demand for an immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq. "

When NYTimes Sounds Abortion Alarm, You Know We're in Trouble

"Gov. Mike Rounds, who signed the bill into law, said that the "true test of a civilization" was how it treated "the most vulnerable and helpless," including "unborn children." But his state has hardly been a leader in protecting vulnerable children who have left the womb. The nation's three worst counties for child poverty at the time of the last census were all in South Dakota, according to the Children's Defense Fund. Buffalo County, home to the Crow Creek Indian Reservation, was dead last. "

"Whatever the fate of the South Dakota law, it seems likely to jump-start a whole new era of abortion battles. More states may soon follow South Dakota's lead, and if the membership of the Supreme Court changes, abortion may become illegal in much or even all of the country. Roe ushered in three decades of complacency for the majority of Americans who support abortion rights. South Dakota's harsh new law is a clear sign that the time for complacency is over."

Okay, but what does ending complacency on abortion rights mean? I for one do not think it means sending $$ to NARAL headquarters. When I've heard their leaders speak on the issue they stress elections, and by that they mean, Democrats. I don't trust the Dems on this issue any more than I do on anything else. So what should we do?

Iran CAN Break the Dollar (Okay, we've still got work to do)

"Such a crash would result in soaring interest rates, hyperinflation, skyrocketing energy costs, massive unemployment and, perhaps, depression. This is the troubling scenario if an Iran bourse gets established and knocks the dollar from its lofty perch. And this is what makes the prospect of war, even nuclear war, so very likely."

Okay, so our co-stater, Mike Whitney, says Iran CAN break the dollar. It is interesting, as he notes, that the NYTimes, et al. do not have ANY articles on the Iran bourse problem. I searched both the NYT and Seattle PI and Times. Nada. Zip. You've got to wonder what they're hiding.

Why Iran Oil Bourse Cannot Break the Buck (It's Still Up to Us)

"A full challenge to the domination of the US dollar as the world central-bank reserve currency entails a de facto declaration of war on the "full-spectrum dominance" of the United States today. The mighty members of the European Central Bank Council well know this. The heads of state of every EU country know this. The Chinese leadership as well as the Japanese and Indians know this. So does Russian President Vladimir Putin."

In this article in Asia Times, the author explains why Iran's institution of a bourse (stock exchange) using Euros rather than dollars cannot be the reason the US is threatening Iran. He also explains what the real origins of the Iranian bourse are. I have mixed feelings about the idea that Iran cannot take the US and its military machine down on March 20 when their bourse is supposed to open. Guess it is still up to us, the citizens of the US, to stop our rampaging corporate military juggernaut.

British Soldier Quits Over Illegal American Tactics

"Mr Griffin, 28, who spent two years with the SAS, said the American military's "gung-ho and trigger happy mentality" and tactics had completely undermined any chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi population. He added that many innocent civilians were arrested in night-time raids and interrogated by American soldiers, imprisoned in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, or handed over to the Iraqi authorities and "most probably" tortured."

"He said he had witnessed "dozens of illegal acts" by US troops, claiming they viewed all Iraqis as "untermenschen" - the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human."

Yes. That's the way it is has to work--soldiers have to believe these people are "less than human;" they deserve what we do to them. Hopefully, more and more soldiers will wake up, come to the conclusion this man did--that they cannot take part in it.

Like Kevin Benderman did. Don't forget the bannering for Kevin on March 25th!

FOUND THIS ON JUAN COLE'S INFORMED COMMENT BLOG.



NYT: Outrageous Drug Price Increases "Cause for Concern"

But it's obvious when you read the article linked below, the only ones concerned are the people who need the drugs; not the insurance co's and not the gov't

"This is not the first time that Ovation has sharply raised the price of a drug it owns. In 2003, the company bought Panhematin, a treatment for a rare enzymatic disease called porphyria, from Abbott Laboratories. While Abbott still produces Panhematin, Ovation raised Panhematin's price, which had been $230 a dose, to $1,900, according to Desiree Lyon, executive director of the American Porphyria Foundation. "

HEY! JUST DON'T GET SICK UNDER CAPITALISM:

"The result has been soaring prices for some drug classes, notably cancer treatments. In 1992, Bristol-Myers Squibb faced protests for its plans to charge $4,000 a year for Taxol, a breast cancer treatment.

Now, most new cancer treatments are priced at $25,000 to $50,000 annually. In some cases, companies are pushing through substantial price increases on already-expensive drugs."

HAVING INSURANCE WON'T SAVE YOU:

"But many patients who rely on expensive drugs are stuck in a bind. Don Schare of Saratoga, Calif., said he paid $1,260 last month for 200 grams of nitrogen mustard cream, about 10 times what he paid for his prior prescription.

Mr. Schare, 69, said he was covered by the new Medicare Part D drug program and by supplemental insurance from AARP, but that neither of his plans covered Mustargen."

Book Review of "Soldiers in Revolt": Updated edition

FROM A REVIEW BY RON JACOBS ABOUT UPDATED BOOK ABOUT VIETNAM SOLDIERS

"If we are serious about getting the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, two things must happen: the military must fail in its recruitment efforts and the men and women currently serving must challenge the mission they have been assigned.

If this doesn’t occur, then the antiwar movement is likely to be just a never ending series of marches and other actions that become just another sideshow."


FROM A READER REVIEW OF THE BOOK ON AMAZON:
Nonetheless, the length and breadth of resistance is meticulously set forth, along with some surprising results -- enlistees were more likely to resist than draftees; the least educated were more likely to physically resist than the more educated. But most importantly, the research shows a rapidly disintegrating fighting force that belies apologist claims that the war was lost because it was fought "with one arm tied behind us". No, the war was lost because it was one that should never have been fought in the first place, as increasing numbers of those participating came to realize, (not to discount the astonishing will of the Vietnamese people to resist Western neo-colonialism) . All in all, this is an excellent resource for those wondering what actually went on inside the processing centers, the training bases, and the killing fields during a tumultuous period that in so many ways is still with us.

WORDS FROM SOLDIERS IN IRAQ:
“Many of the people who were attacking me were the poor people of Iraq. They were definitely not members of Al Qaeda, left over Baath Party members, and they were not former members of Saddam’s regime. They were just your average Iraqi civilian who wanted us out of their country. ... I remember the day I left there were hundreds of Iraqis in the streets outside the compound that I lived in. They watched as we moved out to the Baghdad Airport to finally go home. The Iraqis cheered, clapped, and shouted with joy as we were leaving. As a soldier, that hurt me inside because I thought I was supposed to be fighting for their freedom.” – John Bruhns

MORE WORDS FROM SOLDIERS IN IRAQ:
http://www.traveling-soldier.org/2.06.words.php

Saturday, March 11, 2006

General Odom: I’ve given up on the Democrats

"There is a knee-jerk tendency to say, “Well, if we left, it would be a mess. Therefore, we can’t leave.” That requires blinding oneself to the fact—the reality—that our presence is creating the mess, that we don’t keep a mess from happening by staying, and that we don’t have the alternative of not creating a mess. When we crossed the border of Iraq with the invasion, all these untoward outcomes were inexorably going to happen."

This guy is pretty smart (for a general).

The Rules Have Changed for Corporate Criminals

"Under the new system, outside of a few antitrust and environmental crimes, it is highly unlikely that a major corporate criminal will be convicted of a crime in the United States."

Incorporation, anyone????

Found both this article and the one about General Odom on The Angry Arab News Service.

Chomsky Cites New World Relationships

THE prospect that Europe and Asia might move toward greater independence has troubled US planners since World War II. The concerns have only risen as the ‘tripolar order’ — Europe, North America and Asia — has continued to evolve. Every day, Latin America, too, is becoming more independent. Now Asia and the Americas are strengthening their ties while the reigning superpower, the odd man out, consumes itself in misadventures in the Middle East.

You sure do get the feeling the US can't go blundering around the world like a bull in a china shop without totally losing whatever economic advantages it once had. Yes!

100, 000 March in Favor of Immigrant Rights

Police estimated that more than 100,000 marchers came from all over the Chicago area, many carrying -- or wearing -- Mexican and American flags. The protest was spirited, but peaceful, and there were no reported arrests or incidents.

UPDATED: here is a link to the Chicago Tribune article on the march: http://tinyurl.com/nfyej

A police estimate of 100,000! Must have been more. Go, Chicago!!!!

Start thinking about next Saturday. There is an antiwar march at the Federal Building in Downtown Seattle starting at 1 p.m. Come out with Stand Up Seattle and support Kevin Benderman, the Conscientious Objector in the Ft. Lewis Brig. We're building another bannering at Ft. Lewis on March 25th.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Angry (But Grateful) Arab

"U.S. Sets Plans to Aid Iraq in Civil War" (How nice. I mean, how really nice of the US. Would you not agree with me here that the US by this stance is showing its compassion and sympathy for the Iraqi people? I mean, really? For once, you must agree the US is doing the right thing, here. Wow. This is a nice occupation. The motto should be this: we will invade your country, and push your people toward civil war, but when civil war erupt, we will help. Nice. Very very nice.)

This is partially why I read Angry Arab News Service. The guy has a sense of humor.

Turkey Shoot at Abu Ghraib--Eyewitness Report

KEN DAVIS: I see them all huddled in a second containment where their tents are and they're dragging a dead guy out and throw him by my feet. So I looked at the chaplain's aide who responded, he had ended up right beside me I said, "What are we doing?" I said, "This guy's dead and he's unarmed."

JAVAL DAVIS: When they went to live ammunition, wow, I mean it's one of those things. I mean, unfortunate a lot of lives were lost that day. Oh, yeah.

***

KEN DAVIS: And I remember calling home that night and... saying "I can't take this any more because if this is what we're going to do, if this is what we have come to, I'm done." But being done and being able to leave is two different things. So you just have to suck it up, get over it, as they say, and just do what you're told to do.

These two soldiers paint a picture of how the command structure pushed and even ordered stressed out soldiers to do such things as shoot unarmed Iraqi inmates at Abu Ghraib. As one explains, he really thought he was going to Iraq to free the Iraqi people. Of course, after he got there and started doing this stuff, he should have realized that was not anywhere near what the occupation was about. One describes how Charles Graner the guy who got 10 years for the abuse was actually commended by his general for his abusive behavior. I can't remember if any general testified to that at his court martial.

The link includes video of the interview quoted above. This is from Information Clearing House.

Aaron Dixon's Press Conference

Aaron Dixon's position on the Iraq war is plain and simple. He's for immediate withdrawal. He doesn't use any equivocating qualifiers about time tables, orderly transitions or the need to replace US troops with international forces. He is an anti-war campaigner's dream come true, an actual "anti-war" anti-war candidate.

For general info. about his candidacy I've linked two newspaper articles below.
One thing the articles don't mention is that Dixon has quit his job in order to campaign full time. He seems to be taking this effort very seriously, as we should too. As he explained toward the end of his press conference, "victory is possible". [And even] "...if we lose, we will have served notice, we will have victory in the near future".

In the coming months we can be sure the Democrats will throw everything they have, and then some, at Aaron Dixon's candidacy. It will take a highly organized grass-roots campaign and a great outpouring of public support to drive them back.

Toward this end the Green party has already conducted a successful internet campaign against the slanted coverage King 5 News gave the announcement on their midday news show. By the time the 5 o'clock news rolled around the station had removed most of the snide, dismissive Democratic Party commentary about Aaron Dixon. You can read more about it here: http://seattle.indymedia.org/en/2006/03/252040.shtml

Dixon's camaign can help us re-energize the anti-war movement, so whoever winds up as Senator in November, they will have a more organized and serious peace movement to contend with.

DIXON'S WEBSITE: www.AaronDixon.org

Former Panther leader runs against Cantwell
Seattle Times, United States - 15 hours ago
Activist and former Black Panther Party leader Aaron Dixon announced his candidacy for the US Senate Thursday, blasting incumbent Sen. ...
As an anti-war candidate, Dixon says he's no 'spoiler'
Seattle Post Intelligencer - 16 hours ago
"I do not look at myself as a spoiler," Aaron Dixon insisted Thursday as the one-time Seattle Black Panther leader announced his anti-war Green Party candidacy ...

Deluded US Troops (See Below) Killing Civilians--They Were "Sorry"

"My uncle, the only living one from my mother’s side, is about 80 years old, a healthy, handsome and good looking gentleman. He was in his way to bring his wife home; she was in a visit to her parents, when he was shot by American soldiers, he was alone in his car, no eye witness, several bullets penetrate his car, three of them penetrate his body, he died immediately."

Deadly Delusions of American Troops in Iraq

"Saddam Hussein played no role in the September 11 attacks, of course; even the Warmonger-in-Chief has been forced to admit this indisputable fact, in public. It has also been confirmed by multiple investigations by the intelligence services, and even by the whitewashing, Bush-run, see-no-evil-unless-it-speaks-Arabic 9/11 Commission. Yet American troops have been thoroughly inculcated with this false notion – no doubt deliberately."

The above fact also struck me when I saw the articles about the polls saying that the majority of troops want to get out of Iraq.

Found this on Uruknet.

On Scott Ritter the American Patriot

"Further, whilst Scott Ritter and his pals, barbecued and drank at the Canal, Iraq paid. In a country 'bombed back to a pre-industrial age for a considerable time to come', according to the UN Special Rapporteur who visited in March 1991, Iraq paid for the UN there. Whilst cable for telephones was vetoed, bricks, glass (factories bombed) car parts vetoed (cars became death traps) computers, access to the outside world in fact, the Canal was indeed a haven for the 'frazzled'. "

If you have shuddered as I have when Scott Ritter calls himself a "patriot," this article may help you understand why.

From Palestine Chronicle via Uruknet

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Historic 1970's Break-in at FBI Office Uncovered Cointelpro

The sheer reach of a completely politicized FBI was one of the most frightening revelations of the Media documents. Underground newspapers were targeted. Students (and their professors) were targeted. Celebrities were targeted. The Communist Party of the U.S.A., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Non-Violent Organizing Committee, the Black Panther Party, the Women's Strike for Peace — all were targeted. "Neutralize them in the same manner they are trying to destroy and neutralize the U.S.," one memo said.

I, for one, do not remember hearing about this action. Looks like Bushfeld had some training from these FBI guys.

"The Media documents — along with further revelations about COINTELPRO in the months and years that followed — made it clear that the bureau had gone beyond mere intelligence-gathering to discredit, destabilize and demoralize groups — many of them peaceful, legal civil rights organizations and antiwar groups — that the FBI and Director J. Edgar Hoover found offensive or threatening."

President of Venezuela Shames US on Sheehan Arrest

"We have seen the photos with a lot of shame of how a group of policemen drags our friend and woman, who has become a world symbol of peace, not the peace of cemeteries but the peace that fights for life ... I mean Cindy Sheehan."

Couldn't agree with him more. Be nice if the Democrat leadership stood up for free speech and human rights, like Chavez. He added:

"So much for democracy in the USA ... she was only going to hand in signatures against the war ... there is a dictatorship in the USA where the very powerful economic groups and hawks are holding a puppet called George Bush."

US Soldier Commits Suicide in Front of Iraqi Kids

BRING THEM HOME NOW!!!

"A US broken down and deeply depressed US soldier has gone beyond the unthinkable and made the ultimate move shooting himself in front of a group of a primary school children near the city of Falluja.

Palestine primary school head master in the Al Karma Falluja neighborhood confirmed that a US homesick soldier has directed his personal rifle against his temple committing a suicide in public.
The headmaster added that the US nostalgic soldier was normally talking to the primary school kids got from his pocket a wallet with the photos of his children and wife smiled and then had his eyes flowing with tears and started to cry and scream: "Where are my children! Where is Michael..!" All of a sudden, said the Palestine school head master, the US soldier asked the children to move away and bullets hitting his skull were heard killing him at once. "

found this story on Uruknet.

Marine Recruiters Include Rape in Girls' Recruitment Pitch

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Two women who said two U.S. Marine Corps recruiters forced them to have sex after they expressed interest in joining the force sued over the incidents on Wednesday.

Oh, yeah, you really want these guys in your high school with your kids. From Uruknet.info

Black Ops Killers Acknowledged in US Embassies

In Paraguay a year and a half ago, members of one of the first of these "Military Liaison Elements" to be deployed were pulled out of the country after killing a robber armed with a pistol and a club who attacked them as they stepped out of a taxi, officials said. Though the shooting had nothing to do with their mission, the episode embarrassed senior embassy officials, who had not been told the team was operating in the country.

Saw this story and the one about the Iraqi Ambassador's "Pandora" remarks on Ali Abunimah's email list.

US Ambassodor to Iraq: We Opened Pandora's Box

The US ambassador to Baghdad conceded yesterday that the Iraq invasion had opened a Pandora's box of sectarian conflicts which could lead to a regional war and the rise of religious extremists who "would make Taliban Afghanistan look like child's play".

And even tho we are quite stupid about some things (see Darwin story below), most Americans have this story straight:

"An opinion poll published by the Washington Post and ABC News yesterday suggested that most Americans agreed with Mr Khalilzad - with 80% saying civil war in Iraq was likely, and more than a third that it was very likely. More than half thought the US should start withdrawing its troops, although only one in six wanted all troops to be withdrawn immediately."

So I imagine most of those folks would disagree with the Ambassador's being in Washington, as the Guardian implies, to ask for more US troops for a longer period of time.

Goodbye Darwin: 57% of US Believes Bible Creation Story

NEW YORK A Gallup report released today reveals that more than half of all Americans, rejecting evolution theory and scientific evidence, agree with the statement, "God created man exactly how Bible describes it."

Yikes!!!!!! Editor & Publisher (great online source) publishes results of Gallup Poll. And it's bipartisan stupidity: "Breaking down the numbers, Gallup finds that Republican backing for what it calls "God created human beings in present form" stands at 57% with Democrats at 44%."

Abu Ghraib to Close--Moving Prisoners Elsewhere in Iraq

The notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq is to be closed, probably within three months, the US military said today.

There will probably be no rejoicing about this. Same occupation; same treatment, I would imagine. Just a different place.

Also the story tells of the hanging of 13 "insurgents." I am very sorry for this. Justice cannot be served by resistance fighters being hanged by an occupation-led government.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Former Seattle Black Panther Opposing Cantwell

In a news advisory about his candidacy, the Dixon campaign said he is running because "Mr. Dixon believes Sen. Cantwell's positions -- and votes -- on crucial issues such as peace and war, fair trade and corporate control, as well as civil liberties vs. unchecked government surveillance, are no longer representing the majority of Washington State residents."

Aaron Dixon will be announcing his US senate candidacy tomorrow at the 23rd & Jackson Recruiting Station at 10 a.m. Thursday. Cantwell's going down for supporting the war. Yes!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Israeli Prof. Compares Israeli State to Apartheid South Africa

Q: When you began to study this, I mean, what conclusions did you come to about, about the state of Israel and the situation of the Palestinians?

I think what came out is something which I think many, many Palestinians before me realized, but for me it took this individual journey into the past to understand that. I was taught as an Israeli academic that there is a very complex story there, and in fact what you find out is that this is a very simple story, a story of dispossession, of colonization, of occupation, of expulsion. And the more I go into it, the clearer the story becomes, even it becomes simpler, and it also brought me to think of the state of Israel, and the Jewish majority in it, in very much the same terms that I used to think about places such as South Africa, and the white supremacy regime there. So I think this is the natural, main conclusion.


Extremely interesting article explaining things like why there is no Jewish working class opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Also, about the US left's support of the two-state solution, Pappe says this:

Q: The supporters of Israel, left supporters of Israel, basically say that the two-state solution is the only real possibility for Israel, and that's why they push its support in the US. What is your answer to that?

I can see a support for a two-state solution emerging, immediately after the Six-Day war, when Israel did not yet annex the East Jerusalem, did not yet build one Jewish settlement in it. There was a lot of logic of saying that despite, despite the fact that it is only 20% of Palestine could be a basis for a Palestinian state, next to Israel, and that these two states, in the future, would develop in such a way that they might turn it into one state, and even find a way of solving the refugees problem. But this is all water under the bridge.

In 2005, with the number of Jewish settlements, with the Greater Jerusalem becoming one third of the West Bank, and the local, and global, and regional balances of power, I think a two-state solution can only become an indirect way for continuing the Occupation. And as I said before, if we understand that the diplomatic effort has deepened the Occupation, has not brought an end to it, so in the case of the two-state solution we have to liberate ourselves from that paradigm. It can only help the Occupation and the Zionist colonization, and only the beginning of ideas of one-state solution can create a different future there.

Pappe also calls the US media coverage of Israel Palestine "childish," and an "insult to intelligence."

Democrat Levin Instrumental in Gutting Antitorture Bill

In court filings, the Justice Department lawyers argued that language in the law written by Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) gives Guantanamo Bay detainees access to the courts only to appeal their enemy combatant status determinations and convictions by military commissions.

In other words, they can't go to court to object to their torture at Guantanamo. Torture away, says Carl. Carl Levin has been the senior democrat on the Armed Services Committee since 1997.

Former CIA Operative Stands Against Torture in Congress

On Thursday, March 2, Ray McGovern and 15 others took action today in the halls of Congress. The 16 donned orange jumpsuits similar to those worn by detainees at Guantánamo Bay. They wore gags over their mouths decorated with one word - torture. McGovern, a 27-year veteran of the CIA, also returned his Intelligence Commendation Award medallion which was given to him for "especially commendable service." He delivered the medal to Congressman Pete Hoekstra along with the letter below.


Status of House Impeachment Resolution

"For now, however, sources in Washington DC tell Atlanta Progressive News that H. Res 635 is a venue for coalition among members of Congress who are willing to consider impeachment for a variety of reasons."

Jim McDermott has signed on to this resolution. The article says 14% of House Dems have signed on.

Cantwell Panders to Terror War Supporters

This is what the Centralia Chronicle said about Maria Cantwell's vote FOR the Patriot Act Extension:

"By contrast, our other U.S. senator, Democrat Maria Cantwell, to her credit was among the huge majority of other Democratic senators — 34 — who voted in favor of the measure, along with all 55 Republican senators."

The contrast they speak of was Patty Murray's vote against it:

"She essentially gave more priority to protecting civil liberties that haven’t even been actually infringed upon by the act in the five years of its existence than to protecting Americans against the much more likely and far worse danger of terrorist attacks."

There haven' t been any infringements? What about Canadian Maher Arar being sent to Syria for torture? What about the VA nurse charged with sedition for speaking out against the administration's treatment of returning war vets? What about kicking Cindy Sheehan out of Congress because she was wearing an antiwar t-shirt? Yikes! Should we send a delegation to Centralia to inform them?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Webpage with videos from Iraq

I watched these videos shot in Iraq and linked below. They reminded me of the open letter to the troops that Stan Goff wrote back in Nov 2003 titled, Hold On To Your Humanity.
So I went back and re-read Goff's letter for the 5th time. This passage struck me the most after viewing these videos:

"I changed over there in Vietnam and they were not nice changes either. I started getting pulled into something—something that craved other people's pain. Just to make sure I wasn't regarded as a "f***ing missionary" or a possible rat, I learned how to fit myself into that group that was untouchable, people too crazy to f*** with, people who desired the rush of omnipotence that comes with setting someone's house on fire just for the pure hell of it, or who could kill anyone, man, woman, or child, with hardly a second thought. People who had the power of life and death—because they could."

To read Goff's full letter go here and scroll down a screen or two to begin reading:
http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/what/viewpoint/01_2003.html


VIDEOS:
http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=21202&s2=04

Linda and my blog: www.siratyst.blogspot.com

We Now Welcome Comments...

apparently, we didn't have the setting right for easy commentating. Hopefully, it's fixed now. Let the punditry begin.

What's Happening in Haiti? What Liberal Press Won't Tell you

Stephen Lendman on Uruknet has an extremely informative article on recent (and historical) events in Haiti. He also indicts the liberal media for spreading US disinformation. Below is an excerpt about NPR, linked to the whole great article.

Their current president and CEO Kevin Klose, in fact, is the former director of all the major worldwide US government broadcast media including VOA, Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe and the anti-Castro Radio Marti. In other words, he was the head of all US worldwide propaganda making him an ideal choice for a comparable job at NPR, the "peoples' radio" that never met a US instigated war it didn't love.

The Nation magazine, which I haven't read for awhile, also has taken the US gov't line on the people of Haiti. But as Lendman points out, this isn't their first slip into racist journalism: "They also ran a repugnant racist full page ad in their January 9/16, 2006 issue entitled "Arabian Fables" which outrageously implied Palestinians are prone to violence and deception, and there can be no peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." Guess that's why I haven't been reading them!

The "Peace" Movement: How Not to Oppose War on Iran

Eli Stephens at Left I on the News dissects a message from the "peace" as opposed to "antiwar" movement. Linda


H.S. Students Support Teacher Disciplined for Provocative Comments













The article linked below has more info on what the teacher said. A student taped part of the class and went on the radio to publicize what he called "political rants" by his teacher.
"During the talk, Bennish compared statements made by Bush to those of Hitler, wondered whether other countries should have the right to bomb U.S. tobacco fields because of the damage cigarettes do in their societies, called the war in Iraq an illegal invasion and said the definition of a terrorist is in the eye of the beholder."

The teacher is on administrative leave at this point.

Suffering Gulf War Vet "Played" by VA

"That's when he looked more closely at the label on the prescription bottle and suddenly it dawned on him: 'Obecalp' is 'placebo' spelled backward."

Insult to injury. Thank goodness this guy had enough guts to make this public. How many other people has this happened to?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sensenbrenner Bill: A Crime to Help an "Illegal" Immigrant

"Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Sensenbrenner Bill." If approved by the Senate, the law would make it a felony for immigrants to be in the United States without documents, criminalize the act of helping an "illegal" immigrant, deputize local police to enforce federal immigration restrictions, and authorize millions of dollars to build 700 more miles of walls between the United States and Mexico."

We need to watch out for this when they start talking about it in the Senate obviously.

All this is from an email I get from the Rethinking Schools group. They recommend a book: The Line Between Us: Teaching About the Border & Mexican Immigration to help school kids understand the issue. Sounds like I need to read it too.

"How can teachers help their students make sense of the raging immigration debates? Rethinking Schools has just published THE LINE BETWEEN US: TEACHING ABOUT THE BORDER AND MEXICAN IMMIGRATION by Rethinking Schools editor, Bill Bigelow. The book incorporates role plays, stories, poetry, improvisations, simulations, and video to show how to engage students in thinking critically about immigration. The book explores the history of U.S.-Mexican relations and the roots of Mexican immigration, all in the context of the global economy. And it demonstrates how teachers can help students understand the immigrant experience and the drama of border life.Ira Shor, who co-authored "A Pedagogy for Liberation" with Paulo Freire, says that, "Bill Bigelow has written a wonderful book on critical teaching, filled with examples, resources, and how to transform theory into practice. With ingenuity and integrity, Bigelow pushes to the limits of what's possible in public education." And Luis Rodriguez, acclaimed author of "Always Running," says, "This is exactly what we need."

Rick Steves ticks off local rightwing radio with this

Rick Steves, the local travel guru, publishes a great suggestion about reducing the military budget and using the dough for the actual needs of the American people. In it he speaks about Europeans who were so grateful for the Marshall Plan they gave their kids American names.

In a very insightful book I'm reading, THE GLOBAL CLASS WAR (How America's Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future--and What it Will Take To Win it Back), Jeff Faux explains that the Marshall Plan was definitely a scheme by which "...the U.S. government could require that cash-strapped countries use foreign aid to buy American goods. American governments also lavished generous subsidies on domestic agriculture, aircraft, and other industries in order to further assure successful competition in world markets."

So the Marshall Plan was just as imbedded in self-interest as US policies today. Faux's assertion makes me wonder who Rick Steves (and the rest of us really) can appeal to. The end of the book is supposed to have advice on what to do about this. I'll let you know. Linda

In the meantime, read Rick Steves attempt to redirect our tax dollars away from war.

Guest columnist
The real threat to U.S. security

By Rick Steves

Special to The Times

PREV of NEXT

Rick Steves

The greatest risk to our society today is not Islamo-fascist terrorism, but the people who use that term to scare us. As the human, fiscal and ecological damage caused by our nation's economic priorities grows, it's becoming clear that we're addicted to more than oil � we're addicted to military spending, too.

The United States spends as much on its military as the rest of humanity combined: more than $400 billion annually (not including the hundreds of billions of dollars for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). These military expenses are "off limits" as we sharpen our collective pencils to find $39 billion to cut from domestic programs. And yet, despite our already huge military expenditures, these days it's hard to get elected without promising even more military spending.

Recently, San Francisco Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval appeared on the Fox News program "Hannity & Colmes." Frustrated by our government's budget priorities, Sandoval suggested America would be better off without a military. Instead, he said, "we should invest our money in our kids." Right-wing pundits pounced on these statements, and even many prominent Democrats distanced themselves from Sandoval.

Should we abolish the American military altogether? Of course not. But daydream with me for just a moment: What if we gradually scaled down military spending, chose not to rush off to foreign wars based on questionable motives, and began to take the name of our "Department of Defense" literally?

Let's be honest: Is there anyone out there who would actually want to � or, more importantly, be able to � invade the United States? Consider today's biggest perceived threat, al-Qaida. Do Osama bin Laden and his gang want to ride into Washington, D.C., take over our government, and turn us into an Islamo-fascist nation? Or � as his recent offer of a "truce" suggests � do they instead want dignity for the Palestinians, Christian armies out of sacred Muslim territory, and freedom for the Arab world to control its own natural resources?

"We do not negotiate with terrorists," our administration gravely informs us. But forcing our interests on the ever-more-volatile Middle East doesn't seem to be helping much, either. Isn't it ironic that this planet's most overtly "Christian" nation is feverishly pounding plowshares into swords?

So let's try something different. Imagine if we required our military to manage with a budget no bigger than all the militaries of our hemisphere combined: That's Canada � $15 billion; Mexico � $6 billion; everyone from there to Tierra del Fuego � about $16 billion. Round the total up to $40 billion. Add to that a healthy sum to support the United Nations and our allies in their peacekeeping work (say $60 billion a year). Grand total: $100 billion.

That saves more than $300 billion a year ($400 billion less $100 billion), which we could use to tackle not "Islamo-fascism," but more-fundamental concerns: dependence on oil, both foreign and domestic; a skyrocketing debt that allows other nations (such as China and Saudi Arabia) to gain economic and political leverage over our homeland; progressively violent weather and a rising sea caused by global warming; and a lower class that's chronically in need of affordable housing, good education and reliable health care. We could even let the wealthy keep their tax cuts.

And what if we decided that, rather than being outvoted routinely in the U.N. 140-4 on Cuba, Israel, torture, the international court, and issues of desperate importance to the developing world (such as global warming, land mines, debt relief and AIDS), we believed it was good for our "homeland security" interests to be supported by the U.N. 140-4? Instead of being at odds with the rest of the world, we could join the family of nations in dealing with the pressing problems that confront us all.

I have many friends in Europe named "Frankie" or "Johnny" who were born in the late 1940s. Every time I see them, I'm reminded that there was a time when our allies in Europe gave their children Yankee names in gratitude for what America meant to them. This can happen once again across the world: America can become a superpower in a positive sense � so appreciated that other nations would fund their militaries to protect us.

The prospect of al-Qaida attacks is frightening. But America is being held hostage not by a man in a cave, but by clever people with a different agenda. They use Osama bin Laden to scare us � even terrorize us � into funding an agenda that's weakening our country.

It's time for patriots to stand up to fear-mongering and broaden our definition of "sanctity of life" and "homeland security." It's time for some courage and eloquence on the left. And it's time for our electorate to wake up and see the real threats to our for-the-time-being-still-great nation. If we rose to this challenge, I think we could report that "the state of our union is strong" � and it would be true.

Edmonds-based travel writer Rick Steves (www.ricksteves.com) produces and hosts the public-television series "Rick Steves' Europe" and the public-radio show "Travel with Rick Steves."

Copyright � 2006 The Seattle Times Company