Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Thanks to The Village Voice. To answer the question - I think it's a tie.
Thanks to The Village Voice. To answer the question - I think it's a tie.
Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker explains W's recent troop withdrawal announcement.
A key element of the drawdown plans, not mentioned in the President’s public statements, is that the departing American troops will be replaced by American airpower. Quick, deadly strikes by U.S. warplanes are seen as a way to improve dramatically the combat capability of even the weakest Iraqi combat units. The danger, military experts have told me, is that, while the number of American casualties would decrease as ground troops are withdrawn, the over-all level of violence and the number of Iraqi fatalities would increase unless there are stringent controls over who bombs what.So smoke and mirrors it is!
“We’re not planning to diminish the war,” Patrick Clawson, the deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told me. Clawson’s views often mirror the thinking of the men and women around Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. “We just want to change the mix of the forces doing the fighting—Iraqi infantry with American support and greater use of airpower. The rule now is to commit Iraqi forces into combat only in places where they are sure to win. The pace of commitment, and withdrawal, depends on their success in the battlefield.”
Good news or "smoke and mirrors?" Is he finally listening to the masses, or just hoping to bolster those poll numbers? He has to try to save his place in history - beyond his place as the "one who lied to pull us into a war."
President Bush plans what is being billed as a major speech on Iraq for Wednesday amid signs that the administration is changing course.That's it. Trying to save the Party in 2006. Way to go W. After the elections what then? Sudden need to bolster troop strength?
Aides told the Los Angeles Times that the president is expected to say at the Naval Academy in Annapolis that Iraqi troops are close to being able to operate on their own.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said recently that the United States should be able to start reducing the number of troops in Iraq soon.
The administration is under pressure with increasing public disapproval at the president's handling of Iraq. Members of his own party are worried about next year's Congressional elections and the 2008 presidential race.
Tom Hayden makes the rational plan known:
Democrats and Republicans should be competing to support Iraqi talks as the beginning of the peace process. Instead they are losing the initiative to the Iraqis themselves. The steps to consider are these:
- Reduce US troops levels by 25,000 by Christmas.
- Support the Arab League’s peace diplomacy, including this week’s Call for a near-term withdrawal.
- Assign a US peace envoy to join the peace talks immediately and encourage the February Arab summit.
- Make peace diplomacy a higher priority than military operations.
- Place our allies on notice immediately.
- End offensive American operations in cities.
- Make clear that the US intends to withdraw, keep no permanent bases, and respect Iraqi control of Iraqi natural resources.
Make clear the the US is committed to an internationally-sponsored effort at postwar economic reconstruction, without Halliburtons.
Reduce tensions with Iran and Syria in exchange for their support for a political solution. Adopt these policy guidelines in budget and policy language by January.
Sure it seems to be just a balloon at the Macy's parade. But were those handlers checked by the Homeland Security forces? Damn them - spoiling our gut-busting fun. And to use an M&M promotion to boot.
What would happen if Jesus were running against W in the Presidential election?
This ad may be exactly what would come out from W's campaign offices and Karl Rove's demented mind.
Rep. James McGovern from MA wrote the following:
I have introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 4232, the End the War in Iraq Act, which would terminate funding now for the deployment of U.S. troops in Iraq. The bill does provide funding for the safe and orderly withdrawal of our uniformed men and women from Iraq, as well as the financing and equipping of Iraqi security forces and for an international transitional security force(s). Because it terminates all defense spending in Iraq, the bill would also prohibit the use of U.S. funds for the construction of military bases in Iraq. Finally, the legislation specifically states that nothing in the bill prohibits U.S. funding for Iraq’s social and economic recovery and reconstruction. The bottom line, however, is that U.S. troops could no longer be in Iraq.Three cheers. Let's hope that more than just the 14 join in.
Fourteen of my House colleagues have joined me as cosponsors of this legislation, and I am currently actively seeking additional cosponsors. I feel that the recent announcement by Congressman John Murtha (D-PA), the Ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee for Defense Appropriations, that he, too, supports the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq indicates that H.R. 4232 represents the mainstream position within the Democratic Party and the American people.
But there is hard evidence that white phosphorus was deployed as a weapon against combatants in Falluja. As this column revealed last Tuesday, US infantry officers confessed that they had used it to flush out insurgents. A Pentagon spokesman told the BBC that white phosphorus "was used as an incendiary weapon against enemy combatants". He claimed "it is not a chemical weapon. They are not outlawed or illegal." This denial has been accepted by most of the mainstream media. UN conventions, the Times said, "ban its use on civilian but not military targets". But the word "civilian" does not occur in the chemical weapons convention. The use of the toxic properties of a chemical as a weapon is illegal, whoever the target is.A weaopn is a weapon...a chemical is a chemical...the use of WP as a weapon was wrong...
The Pentagon argues that white phosphorus burns people, rather than poisoning them, and is covered only by the protocol on incendiary weapons, which the US has not signed. But white phosphorus is both incendiary and toxic. The gas it produces attacks the mucous membranes, the eyes and the lungs. As Peter Kaiser of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons told the BBC last week: "If ... the toxic properties of white phosphorus, the caustic properties, are specifically intended to be used as a weapon, that of course is prohibited, because ... any chemicals used against humans or animals that cause harm or death through the toxic properties of the chemical are considered chemical weapons."
Last night the blogger Gabriele Zamparini found a declassified document from the US department of defence, dated April 1991, and titled "Possible use of phosphorus chemical". "During the brutal crackdown that followed the Kurdish uprising," it alleges, "Iraqi forces loyal to President Saddam may have possibly used white phosphorus (WP) chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels and the populace in Erbil ... and Dohuk provinces, Iraq. The WP chemical was delivered by artillery rounds and helicopter gunships ... These reports of possible WP chemical weapon attacks spread quickly ... hundreds of thousands of Kurds fled from these two areas." The Pentagon is in no doubt, in other words, that white phosphorus is an illegal chemical weapon.
Uncle Dick is very confused lately. Murtha calling for withdrawal after Uncle Dick viewd him as an ally for all these years.
When Dick Cheney, a Wyoming congressman who had never served in the military and who had failed during his political career to gain much respect from those who wore the uniform he had worked so hard to avoid putting on during the Vietnam War, was selected in 1989 by former President George Herbert Walker Bush to serve as Secretary of Defense, he had a credibility problem. Lacking in the experience and the connections required to effectively take charge of the Pentagon in turbulent times, he turned to a House colleague, Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha, a decorated combat veteran whose hawkish stances on military matters had made him a favorite of the armed services. "I'm going to need a lot of help," Cheney told Murtha. "I don't know a blankety-blank thing about defense."Well Dick. You still know nothing. Listen to Murtha and other military men who are saying that our Iraq occuipation is a sure loser. Give it up now - pull out the troops.
Rummy seems to be making a case - getting ready for the post-regime world.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has asserted that he did not press for the US-led invasion of Iraq, as public disaffection for the US military operation there reaches new highs.So what is it Rummy? Invade or not.
"I didn't advocate invasion," Rumsfeld told ABC television Sunday, when asked if he would have advocated an invasion of Iraq if he had known that no weapons of mass destruction would be found there.
The US Defense chief added: "I wasn't asked," when asked whether he supported the March 2003 invasion.
Asked on ABC television's "This Week" program if he was trying to distance himself after the fact from the controversial US decision to invade Iraq, Rumsfeld replied: "Of course not. Of course not. I completely agreed with the decision to go to war and said that a hundred times. Don't even suggest that."
But Rumsfeld's insistence that he had not advocated an invasion of Iraq appears to contradict several media reports, and at least one book by a former White House couter-terrorism chief.
CBS News has reported, citing notes by Pentagon officials, that Rumsfeld told his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq hours after the September 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York.Sure sounds like he advocated an invasion - or at least planned one. Wait I know - he's preparing an insanity defense. Now that is a defense we can all accept - this regime is clearly insane.
The notes, cited by CBS, quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted "best info fast. Judge whether good enough to hit S.H. (Saddam Hussein)".
I would be honored to be part of a race of giant, tree-like people whose purpose was to protect the forests of Middle-earth.
Kucinich (clip from C-Span) said it all before the vote on the withdrawal amendment. It was a sham amendment - a joke - a circus. I agree with Dennis - Wake Up America!
Clinton may have screwed one intern - W is screwing the entire nation and the entire world. When will the last 36% of the U.S. population realize that?
Repug Senators clearly don't have Bruce on their i-Pods.
An effort by New Jersey's two Democratic senators to honor the veteran rocker was shot down Friday by Republicans who are apparently still miffed a year after the Boss lent his voice to the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
The chamber's GOP leaders refused to bring up for consideration a resolution, introduced by Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Jon Corzine, that honored Springsteen's long career and the 1975 release of his iconic album, "Born to Run."
No reason was given, said Lautenberg spokesman Alex Formuzis. "Resolutions like this pass all the time in the U.S. Senate, usually by unanimous consent," he said.
From the mind of Joshua Brown.
At one point in the history of man we were so advanced. Now....
Sunday at 8 (EST) on TBS. Celebating the Earth with some great comics.
Hide and Go Secret! is a great piece by Mark Fiore touching on the torture and secret prisons W and the regime so gleefully use these days.
"Knuckles, you're doing one helluva job!"
MSNBC reports on last night's House vote - a politically orchestrated circus.
Republicans hoped to place Democrats in an unappealing position — either supporting a withdrawal that critics said would be precipitous or opposing it and angering voters who want an end to the conflict. They also hoped the vote could restore GOP momentum on an issue — the war — that has seen plummeting public support in recent weeks.I watched this "show" on C-Span. What a mockery! The repugs should be ashamed. I was sickened by their use of the troops as a political tool. If the public is given the correct information concerning this vote and not just some knee-jerk headlines, the repug tactic will surely backfire on them.
Democrats said it was a sham and quickly decided to vote against the resolution in an attempt to drain it of significance.
“A disgrace,” declared House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “The rankest of politics and the absence of any sense of shame,” added Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat.
Murtha was also on Hardball.
MATTHEWS: I've only got a minute, Congressman. I've got to ask you one last question. When you say "redeploy beyond the horizon" rather than pull out, does that mean pull our troops back from the cities into camps, into barracks? What does it mean, actually?Let's start listening to House members like Kucinich, Murtha, Jones...Let's get our troops out NOW! With a plan! Bring in the UN! AS Murtha states:
MURTHA: No, Chris, what I'm saying is redeploy them outside Iraq. Let the Iraqis take over. Give them the incentive to run their own country — because they're not going to run their own country as long as we're doing it for them.
You notice that every person that was elected to the United States was for lost. And so I'm convinced we need to redeploy outside the country as quickly as practicable and safe for the troops.
MATTHEWS: How is that different than what the Republicans are pushing as this kind of bogus resolution they're pushing today?
MURTHA: It's ridiculous. It's an immediate withdrawal without any kind of a plan at all. All they're trying to do is prove to the American people a political message.
MATTHEWS: Is this some Mickey Mouse trick? How would you describe that resolution?
MURTHA: This is exactly what it is. And it's infuriating to me that after a year of study, after almost 25 years on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, with a really thoughtful resolution, they're not willing to have hearings, they're not willing to think about this or talk.
Now I'm convinced, until we turn this over to the Iraqis, we're not going to have the success we need. I'm convinced since we've become the enemy, I'm convinced since the U.S. is doing all the fighting or doing most of the fighting, that we're not going to be successful.
The Iraqis are not going to tell the U.S. people where the insurgents are. There's not a great number of insurgents there. There was no terrorism before we went there. And I'm convinced terrorism will be reduced if we redeploy our forces.
We need a thoughtful suggestion, a thoughtful resolution, which concludes this war as quickly as possible.
Another one jumps on the reality bus. Welcome aboard Murtha.
A leading pro-defense Democrat in the House of Representatives on Thursday urged the Bush administration to start the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
"The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. It is time to bring them home," said Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a senior Democrat on the subcommittee that oversees military spending.
Murtha's remarks followed attacks from the Bush administration on critics of its Iraq war policy and its handling of intelligence that led to the war.
Murtha urged the administration to "immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces."
He also called for creation of a "quick reaction force" in the region, keeping some presence of Marines, and to diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq.
"We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region," said Murtha, a leading Democratic spokesman on defense issues.
The last time I posted about WP and Fallujah - some became upset. What the hell - here goes. It has to be condemned.
Did US troops use chemical weapons in Falluja? The answer is yes. The proof is not to be found in the documentary broadcast on Italian TV last week, which has generated gigabytes of hype on the internet. It's a turkey, whose evidence that white phosphorus was fired at Iraqi troops is flimsy and circumstantial. But the bloggers debating it found the smoking gun.I added the bolding to point out to some who had commented previously.
The first account they unearthed in a magazine published by the US army. In the March 2005 edition of Field Artillery, officers from the 2nd Infantry's fire support element boast about their role in the attack on Falluja in November last year: "White Phosphorous. WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE [high explosive]. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."
The second, in California's North County Times, was by a reporter embedded with the marines in the April 2004 siege of Falluja. "'Gun up!' Millikin yelled ... grabbing a white phosphorus round from a nearby ammo can and holding it over the tube. 'Fire!' Bogert yelled, as Millikin dropped it. The boom kicked dust around the pit as they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call 'shake'n'bake' into... buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week."
White phosphorus is not listed in the schedules of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It can be legally used as a flare to illuminate the battlefield, or to produce smoke to hide troop movements from the enemy. Like other unlisted substances, it may be deployed for "Military purposes... not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare". But it becomes a chemical weapon as soon as it is used directly against people. A chemical weapon can be "any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm".
Until last week, the US state department maintained that US forces used white phosphorus shells "very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes". They were fired "to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters". Confronted with the new evidence, on Thursday it changed its position. "We have learned that some of the information we were provided ... is incorrect. White phosphorous shells, which produce smoke, were used in Fallujah not for illumination but for screening purposes, i.e. obscuring troop movements and, according to... Field Artillery magazine, 'as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes...' The article states that US forces used white phosphorus rounds to flush out enemy fighters so that they could then be killed with high explosive rounds." The US government, in other words, appears to admit that white phosphorus was used in Falluja as a chemical weapon.Do we fight tyrants with tyranny? Do we battle evil with evil? Do we condemn the use of certain weapons by some yet justify the use by our own military?
Madison Capital Times brings back some great memories for me. My first vote, my first political action, my first dream...
The man whose candidacy for the presidency this newspaper enthusiastically championed in 1971 and 1972 returns to Madison today to deliver a distinguished lecture, and it is with great pride and pleasure that we welcome George McGovern back to the city that had the wisdom to want him - as opposed to Richard Nixon - as its president. McGovern will deliver the University of Wisconsin Law School's Robert W. Kastenmeier Lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Wisconsin Union Theater, 800 Langdon St. And he has chosen an appropriate theme: "The Iraq War: Lessons From the Past." McGovern's 1972 presidential candidacy held out the promise of a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from the quagmire that was Vietnam. As a decorated World War II veteran - a bomber pilot - and a historian who served in both the U.S. House and the Senate for the better part of two decades, McGovern knew that ending the war and getting this country's troops out of harm's way was not merely wise but also patriotic. Unfortunately, the 1972 campaign saw the beginning of a politics of personal destruction that warped the electoral process beyond recognition. McGovern's wisdom and patriotism were attacked by Nixon's dirty tricksters and media that portrayed the heroic World War II veteran as a wide-eyed pacifist. McGovern lost badly. As a result, thousands of additional American soldiers and tens of thousands of additional Vietnamese civilians died needlessly. More than 30 years later, the American political process has degenerated to an even more troubling place than it was in 1972. In the 2004 campaign, a Vietnam War veteran, John Kerry, was portrayed as soft on national defense and unpatriotic, while a man whose family used its political connections to ensure that he would not serve in Vietnam, George Bush, was presented as the great defender of America's security in a troubled world. A year later, the United States is sinking deeper into the quagmire that is Iraq. And there are still too few wise voices calling for the only appropriate action: the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Indeed, as McGovern arrives in Madison, President Bush is once more attempting to "sell" the case for a war that was founded on lies about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that never posed a threat. McGovern, who from the start has been a wise and consistent critic of the Bush administration's misguided policies regarding the Middle East, has much to offer the current debate. He is a military veteran who knows the horrors of war, and who recognizes well that there are times when Americans must fight. He is, as well, a political veteran who recognizes that when an unnecessary war is spinning out of control, it is right to open a debate about how to end it. His wisdom is needed now more than ever. It has been a long time since we were privileged to endorse his candidacy for the presidency. But we are not inclined to withdraw it quite yet. Indeed, were it left to this newspaper, we would gladly replace George Bush, a man who avoided serving his country in a time of war but has few qualms about sending others to die for it, with George McGovern, a man who proudly served when his country called but who has always recognized that the call must be made only when it is absolutely necessary. So we issue our endorsement once more: McGovern for president.You know, this sounds great - something I agree with - McGovern for president.
Syriana looks like it might be one of the top movies of the year - at least timely and significant.
...a political thriller that unfolds against the intrigue of the global oil industry
John Nichols, in The Nation says it all:
It cannot be easy being God these days, what with so many of His self-proclaimed followers launching wars in His name.
Listen to PEACEPOD - online or download to your iPod.
Created during the Department of Peace Conference 2005 in Washington D.C. PEACEPOD podcasting provides listeners with updated news, music and information as it relates to the D.O.P. campaign. As the historic movement continues forward, PEACEPOD will report daily with interactive audio shows that are downloadable for free.
Thanks to Hetemeel.com.
Ninety-five bishops from President Bush's church said Thursday they repent their "complicity" in the "unjust and immoral" invasion and occupation of Iraq.Okay, if W hears the voice of God and his voice tells him to take the war to Iraq, and the bishops hear God's voice that says the war is "unjust"... Is God trying to mess with our minds - or is W's mind messing with him (and we suffer the consequences)?
"In the face of the United States administration's rush toward military action based on misleading information, too many of us were silent," said a statement of conscience signed by more than half of the 164 retired and active United Methodist bishops worldwide.
President Bush prays at the National Prayer Breakfast. (AP Photo) President Bush is a member of the United Methodist Church...
House leaders late Wednesday abandoned an attempt to push through a hotly contested plan to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil drilling, fearing it would jeopardize approval of a sweeping budget bill Thursday.A victory - but one that may be short-lived.
They also dropped from the budget document plans to allow states to authorize oil and gas drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts — regions currently under a drilling moratorium.
Still, the Senate has included ANWR drilling in its budget bill and GOP leaders will push hard for any final House-Senate budget bill to include it.W and others want this, can taste it - we have not seen the end of this debate. Stay informed.
If the House bill passes in a vote set for Thursday, the two chambers would appoint negotiators to work out differences between the bills. Senate Republicans could insist the ANWR drilling proposal be reinserted into the House bill, forcing a new vote by the full House.
So we had the weapons. And it seemed we used them. I wonder if we got them from Saddam?
KI, the Italian news agency, reports that the documentary, entitled "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre" and aired on the first aniversary of the assault on insurgents in Fallujah, includes interviews with former US soldiers and with residents of Fallujah who say that during the assault on the city the US military used the chemical white phosphorus.This war is not justified. These actions are clearly not justified. We condemn/berate others - let us condemn/berate our own actions.
"I heard the order being issued to be careful because white phosphorus was being used on Fallujah. In military slang this is known as Willy Pete. Phosphorus burns bodies, melting the flesh right down to the bone," says one former US solider, interviewed by the documentary's director, Sigfrido Ranucci.
"I saw the burned bodies of women and children. The phosophorous explodes and forms a plume. Who ever is within a 150 metre radius has no hope," the former soldier adds.
RAI says the use of white phosphorus in built-up areas amounts to the illegal use of chemical weapons, although the BBC notes that such bombs are considered incendiary devices. The US military admits to using the weapon to illuminate battlefields in Iraq, and says it did so in Fallujah, but insists it did not use it in civilian areas. Washington is not a signatory of an international treaty restricting white phosphorus devices.
Paul and Sheila Wellstone are captured in a new DVD by Hard Working Pictures. Watch this DVD sample today.
Boy can America use him now!
Great post from a student at Endicott College.
My fellow young Americans, the evidence is mounting that this war we are fighting in Iraq is not a ''just" war. No, this is a dirty fight, and we're in it for the long haul. But I guess that's the problem -- ''we" are not in it at all.Maybe it is time for more "Generation Activists" to become vocal and show the "young" how it is done.
''We" are here in our land of iPods and cellphones, luxuriating in our apathetic comas while our soldiers are over there.
I know what you're thinking. You have that magnetic yellow ribbon on your SUV, and, boy, if that is not uber-effective I do not know what is. But let me ask you, if you'd just put your Podcast on pause and cellphone on silence for a moment, is this all enough?
Two wars ago, during the Vietnam disaster, there was Generation Activist. The youth of America rallied against ''the man." How did they do it? They didn't have e-boards or e-mail for that matter.
Yet somehow, this archaic mob of longhairs and peaceniks managed to mobilize. They marched on the National Mall. They protested everywhere, even in bed (refer to your hippie handbook, under John Lennon and Yoko Ono's ''bed-in"). Their methods were not always nonviolent, but they were creative and incorrigible.
Why is Generation Apathetic unable to have the same resounding roar?
For starters we have a woman from Generation Activist doing our dirty work. Former flower child Cindy Sheehan is out on the front lines with a pack of her patchouli-wearing alliances. What is the youth of America doing in the meantime?
We are watching it on our car television sets thinking about the jerk in front of us who is not driving fast enough.
It's not our fault that we all have Attention Deficit Disorder. We are conditioned like Pavlov's dogs to jump at the sound of ''You've got mail!" But we are in dereliction of our duty as a thorn in the side of authority. Our parents shouldn't have to bail us out of everything. So while we appreciate the help of Cindy and her comrades, this is our fight.
It's not only apathy that is killing the spirit of our generation, it's the execution of our dissidence. For some reason the youth of America think that violence is the most effective method of rebellion (albeit something we learned from our Playstations).
That brings us to another nifty way that the young inactivists of America are making life easier for our elected warmongers -- E-Marches.
Yes, E-Marches are the newest way to protest your government. All it takes is a double click and you will be part of a simulated march on Washington.
Oh, dear, sweet, well-intentioned youth, don't you see? Just as easily as you signed up to electronically protest your senators, they can delete you from their inbox. The Internet is a resource for sports scores, CliffsNotes, and porn -- not a venue for modern dissent.
We are a generation with potential coming out of our ears. We could move mountains if only we'd turn off our televisions. They only tell us we are powerless and to just give up.
So this is what you have to do. Tomorrow when you stop into Starbucks for your venti latte and the person behind the counter gives you your change, look at it. Look closely. There, written on your bills is our American mantra in a defunct language.
It says, ''E Pluribus Unum," which means, out of many, one. Let this be your daily reminder. Generation Apathetic, we are in this boat together.
It's up to us to chart a course. We cannot live our lives on cruise control.
Great cartoon by Ward Sutton as seen in the Village Voice. One change would be that the last panel should be changed from "liberals' to " Earth's citizens - except for 39% (and declining rapidly) of U.S. voters".
Ansel Adams came to the White House in 1975 to deliver a print of a photograph from Yosemite National Park desired by President Ford and Betty Ford. Adams, still smarting from President Nixon's neglect of public lands, asked Ford to redefine the meaning of our parks, maintain their funding, and put a ''new emphasis on preservation and environmental responsibilities." In 1983, Adams met with President Reagan, and not to deliver a photograph. He was a vocal critic of Reagan's rollbacks on environmental protection and preservation of wild areas. He said Reagan's land policies were ones of ''rape, ruin, and run!" According to Adams, had the nation been under the vision in the 1930s of Reagan's infamous Interior Secretary James Watt, Kings Canyon National Park would today ''look like part of the outskirts of Las Vegas." After Adams told Playboy magazine in 1983, ''I hate Reagan," an embarrassed White House had the beloved photographer sit with Reagan for nearly an hour. Adams left unimpressed, borrowing from Oscar Wilde to say, ''They know the price of everything and the value of nothing."One can guess what Adams would say or do. His "hate Reagan" may even be a lttle sharper for W.
One can only guess what sparks would fly if Adams, who died in 1984, could witness President Bush's resurrection of Reagan's rape, ruin, and run.
This week the Senate passed a budget bill that would allow for drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The House Budget Committee, at the urging of Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo of California, voted to include in its budget bill a proposal to lift moratoriums on offshore oil drilling in the lower 48 states.
In September, Pombo got the House to weaken the Endangered Species Act under the ruse that it oppressed landowners. Pombo wants to relax rules on public land for mining and oil interests. He even floated an idea to sell off 15 national parks.
Let's all work to protect our environment and nature around us.
Ansel Adams said in his autobiography that ''Starry-eyed reaction to the splendors of nature is an invaluable experience for everyone, provided it is tempered in time with a realization that this reaction hopefully exists for the many rather than the few."I think he would change that quote if he wrote it today. In 2005 it would read ''Starry-eyed reaction to the splendors of nature is an invaluable experience for everyone, provided it is tempered in time with a realization that the splendors hopefully exist."
A Mass Bald Eagle Slaughter has been ordered by W. Shocking!!
As experts issue increasingly dire warnings of an avian flu epidemic, President Bush signed an executive order Tuesday authorizing the mass slaughter of "all bald eagles found anywhere within our borders." Bush Orders Mass Bald Eagle Slaughter To Stop Spread Of Bird Flu...Okay, so it is a satire - It is the Onion. But when you first read the headlines, read the first few paragraphs of the copy, and then think about this administration you realize that even this craziness could be possible.
"As president, my first duty is to protect the American people, whether the threat is terrorists or deadly, fast-mutating bird viruses," said Bush, standing on the lawn of the National Mall before a specially built pyre stacked with recently killed bald eagles.
Executive Order 1342A, which calls for the annihilation of the bald eagle, specifies that each carcass shall be wrapped in a single American flag, doused with gasoline, and burned.
The order, written by members of Bush's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, nullifies the 1973 Endangered Species Act and the 1940 Bald Eagle Protection Act. It will be overseen by the Department of the Interior, which will work closely with state natural-resource agencies and National Guard units to ensure that the bald eagle threat is eliminated.
Global warming is upon us. Will our leaders lead? Al Gore sets forth some recent anamolies/signs:
* Last year, the science textbooks had to be rewritten. They used to say, "It's impossible to have a hurricane in the South Atlantic." We had the first one last year, in Brazil. Japan also set an all-time record for typhoons last year: 10. The previous record was seven.So why is this happening?
* This summer, more than 200 cities in the United States broke all-time heat records. Reno, Nevada, set a new record with 10 consecutive days above 100 degrees. Tucson, Arizona, tied its all-time record of 39 consecutive days above 100 degrees. New Orleans - and the surrounding waters of the Gulf - also hit an all-time high.
* This summer, parts of India received record rainfall - 37 inches fell in Mumbai in 24 hours, killing more than 1,000 people.
* The new extremes of wind and rain are part of a larger pattern that also includes rapidly melting glaciers worldwide, increasing desertification, a global extinction crisis, the ravaging of ocean fisheries, and a growing range for disease "vectors" like mosquitoes, ticks and many other carriers of viruses and bacteria harmful to people.
Because the relationship between humankind and the Earth has been utterly transformed. To begin with, we have quadrupled the population of our planet in the past hundred years. And secondly, the power of the technologies now at our disposal vastly magnifies the impact each individual can have on the natural world. Multiply that by six and a half billion people, and then stir into that toxic mixture a mind-set and an attitude that say it's OK to ignore scientific evidence - that we don't have to take responsibility for the future consequences of present actions - and you get this violent and destructive collision between our civilization and the Earth.It's time for someone to set our nation's policies on the track of renewable energy, conservation, environmental safeguards/protection. Can W do it? I doubt it, but at least I hope he gives it that old Yale/Eli try.
David Benjamin looks at Orwell's "1984" and W's "2005".
like Orwell's Oceania, Bush's America relies on a constant state of war to instill fear and passion in the masses, and -- in both regimes -- the enemy's identity is an afterthought. Big Brother shifted his enmity from Eurasia to Eastasia and back again. Bush began his bellicose ascendancy by targeting Al Qaeda, then switching to Saddam's Iraq, and now he’s screen-testing among Syria, Iran and Al Qaeda (again) for the role of supervillain. The key, said Orwell is this: "The enemy of the moment always represented absolute evil, and it followed that any past or future agreement with him was impossible."Doublespeak, lies, fear, Big Brother (Patriot Act) all written about by Orwell and now frighteningly coming to pass.
Note Orwell's stipulation that the purity of the enemy's evil requires that "past" agreements, if they ever existed, must be either forgotten or expunged. Consider, for example, Donald Rumsfeld's visit to Baghdad during the Reagan era, when he was filmed hugging Saddam Hussein. But that never happened, right? We always hated Saddam, and we never sent him vast stockpiles of weapons to help him fight America's previous "enemy of the moment," Iran.
"History has stopped," explained Orwell. "Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right."
Ron Jacobs states what to many is very obvious in light of the 39% opinion poll rate. Something has to happen:
It's time for the antiwar movement to take U.S. threats against Iran and Syria very, very seriously. Not only are stories of such threats appearing at an increasing rate in the media, they now seem to be a topic of concern on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations. Condi Rice, war hound that she is, made it quite clear that the White House considers it to be its prerogative to militarily attack these countries if it so desires. We're not talking covert actions or even armed clashes like those recently reported along Syria's border with Iraq. We're talking about an invasion of Syria and/or Iran by air and (probably) land forces.Jacobs also points out a very disturbing fact:
Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. In recent years, the GOP has proven itself to be a stronger opposition party, while the Democrats seem to fold as soon as they are out of power. The reason for this is simple: the Democratic agenda is so similar to the more aggressive Republican one that it is unable to present any fundamental policy differences, especially when it is not in the driver's seat.It is clear that ending the war and the war-mentality will mean sweeping many politicians out of office (from both sides). Now all we need are some politicos who want peace, diplomacy, justice... That is the critical point.
Cindy Sheehan in comments about Iraq and Libby and....says it all:
When are we going to stand up as a country and yell a collective: "bull-shit?!!" I have been screaming this until my voice is getting hoarse and people are getting sick of hearing it.
How much and how many more are we going to allow the serial liars to rob from us?
I say not one more.
Harry Reid comes out swinging - thanks Harry!
In a speech on the Senate floor, Democratic leader Harry Reid said the American people and U.S. troops deserved to know the details of how the United States became engaged in the war, particularly in light of the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff.The Repugs response?
Reid demanded the Senate go into closed session. With a second by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the public was ordered out of the chamber, the lights were dimmed, senators filed to their seats on the floor and the doors were closed. No vote is required in such circumstances.
"The Libby indictment provides a window into what this is really all about, how this administration manufactured and manipulated intelligence in order to sell the war in Iraq and attempted to destroy those who dared to challenge its actions," Reid said before the doors were closed.
...(Trent) Lott said, Reid's move violated the Senate's tradition of courtesy and consent.Courtesy? Dealing with lies, deception, death - Lott is looking for "courtesy"? No time to be nice Trent. Time to get to the truth. Time to demand answers.
A tip of the hat to Kucinich for his correct analysis of Iraq and the Dems approach to it.
National Democratic leaders have already tried, and tried again, to ignore the war, and it didn't work politically. During the 2002 election cycle, when Democrats felt they had historical precedent on their side - the president's party always loses seats in the mid-term election - the Democratic leadership in Congress cut a deal with the president to bring the war resolution to a vote, and appeared with him in a Rose Garden ceremony. "Let no light show" between Democrats and President Bush on foreign policy was the leadership's strategy, and it yielded a historic result: For the first time since Franklin Roosevelt, a president increased his majorities in both houses of Congress during a recession.So does he see a change? Does he see hope?
Then, in 2004, with the president vulnerable on the war, the Democratic Party again sacrificed the opportunity to distinguish itself from Bush. Members avoided the issue of withdrawal from Iraq in the Party platform, omitted it from campaign speeches and deleted it from the national convention.
In 2006, Democrats must break from the past and run on the issue of quick withdrawal of all troops from Iraq. The stakes are high: Unless Democrats stand for ending the war in Iraq, this country will not leave Iraq, and Democrats their minority status in Washington, for a long time to come.Let's hope other Dems hear and listen. Too few have called for an end NOW!
Of course, no party can win votes on the strength of one issue. Ending the war in Iraq must be at the centerpiece of a campaign that includes standing for national health care and preserving Social Security. This is the constellation of issues with which Democrats can take back the country.