- Peace Garden: 2006

2007 wishes...

Sunday, December 31, 2006

  1. Congress will find the guts and wisdom to call for an end to the war in Iraq.
  2. Congress, pushed by the public, will demand that aggressions toward Iran cease.
  3. Our troops will be replaced by UN forces by July.
  4. W and his regime will resign.
  5. We will sign the Kyoto protocol.
  6. The entire world will understand the interconnectedness of all - every person, every creature, everything.

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3,000 lives - too many!

Iraq Coalition Casualties reports that we have reached a terrible milestone - the 3,000th loss of life (not even looking at all the Iraqi lives lost).

What a way to end 2006!

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Good Old Joey

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Irrelevance of Joe Lieberman
Here's a New Year's resolution that liberal bloggers and mainstream journalists can agree on: Let's talk less about Joe Lieberman next year. A lot less.

While Lieberman's new mojo has been a dominant theme in the Beltway, the New Year does promise change. Washington will focus on the agenda of the Democratic caucus, where Lieberman is at best a partial member, by mutual agreement. He will have little influence or goodwill within the incoming majority, beyond his formal committee chairmanship. Flirting further with changing parties would seem petty, even by Beltway standards, in the shadow of a Congressional calendar that promises to be packed with hearings and legislation on Iraq, terrorism, war profiteering, the economy and healthcare. Then the political attention will focus on candidates running to replace the unpopular President.



To distance themselves from Iraq, Republicans will likely continue to distance themselves from George W. Bush, eventually isolating him as a lame duck with scant party support. In the end, Bush will be just another stubborn politician, unable to confront a failed war, unwilling to heed the voters' will, essentially standing alone. Once again, it will be hard to tell Bush and Lieberman apart. Yet this time, they would share more than a hawk's failure. They would share irrelevance.
Let's keep our fingers crossed!

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The Rush to Hang

Saddam Execution Set to Destabilise Iraq Further
Former dictator Saddam Hussein is due to be executed soon in a move that could bring more instability in an increasingly violent and chaotic occupation.

The circus of an execution. Will his dead body be paraded about as the bodies of his sons were? And for what purpose? Sure his actions against fellow countrymen and Iranians was disgusting. But is capital punishment the answer? Or is this just the way to get back at him for those threats to Poppy Bush?

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Ford Versus W

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ford Disagreed With Bush About Invading Iraq
"I don't think I would have gone to war," he said a little more than a year after President Bush launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford's own administration.

In a four-hour conversation at his house in Beaver Creek, Colo., Ford "very strongly" disagreed with the current president's justifications for invading Iraq and said he would have pushed alternatives, such as sanctions, much more vigorously. In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney -- Ford's White House chief of staff -- and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford's chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief.
Still does not make up for that pardon. Remember hearing the announcement during the Roosevelt Raceway concert featuring CSN&Y

Didn't appreciate the pardon then, still don't.

Ticket and photo courtesy of Suite Lorraine.

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W and the Nation

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Couple roleplays the political way.

Not kid-friendly. Rated R for sexual content. Rated X for the fact that W has screwed this Nation and is still in office!

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All we want for Christmas...

Monday, December 25, 2006

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Two parties - same parties

Friday, December 22, 2006

‘Centrist’ Democrats Want It Both Ways We just want the troops home now!
The New York/Washington power elite, dominated by Bush and the Clintons, doesn't have the guts or the honesty to admit that Iraq is hopeless and that U.S. soldiers are being killed and mutilated for nothing more than Bush's vainglory. The power elite's spokesman, the champion equivocator and ace sloganeer Thomas Friedman, provides the purest distillation of the current conventional thinking on Iraq. The other day, The New York Times's star columnist was still clinging to the fantasy that America could have “properly occupied” Mesopotamia and even now could send more troops and “crush the dark forces in Iraq and properly rebuild it.”



Friedman and many Democrats haven't figured out that lots of Iraqis view America as a dark force of colonialism and don't want our version of “progressive politics.”



Friedman apparently doesn't even remember that Iraq was once a British colony, since he blames the present chaos on “1,000 years of Arab-Muslim authoritarianism, three brutal decades of Sunni Ba'athist rule, and a crippling decade of U.N. sanctions.” Nothing about the Sykes-Picot (1916) carving up of Syria and Iraq by the British and French; nothing about the destabilizing British practice of divide and rule that pitted Sunnis against Shi'ites, Arabs against Kurds; and nothing about Washington's support for Saddam Hussein in the 1970s and '80s.



As a senior Democratic senator told me last week in Washington, with the Democrats divided the only politician who can end the American role in the war is the executive, George Bush. That means we're a long way from leaving Iraq, no matter what the voters want, no matter how loudly the Democrats celebrate their victory.
Since they do not listen and do not learn from history it is time for the people to take power again. Demand peace! Demand an end to funding! Demand that no more troops are sent, but instead all are brought home! If we remain silent, the powers will win - and then the people will lose as we have in the past.

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Cut the funding!

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A Joyous Solstice

Thursday, December 21, 2006

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A Holiday Carol from Mark Fiore

The 12 Days of Whoopsmas II.

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Lennon files

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

FBI to Release Last of Its John Lennon Files
It is now known that it said two prominent British leftists, Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn, had courted Lennon in hopes that he would "finance a left-wing bookshop and reading room in London."



But the newly released document adds that Lennon apparently gave them no money "despite a long courtship by Blackburn and Ali."
What better reason to investigate Lennon. Left-wing books? And readers of those books? Anarchy!

I wonder if W is channeling Hoover and Nixon's ghosts. His paranoia and fear mirrors theirs.

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More troops for...?

Syria in Bush's Cross Hairs
The Bush Administration has been quietly nurturing individuals and parties opposed to the Syrian government in an effort to undermine the regime of President Bashar Assad. Parts of the scheme are outlined in a classified, two-page document that says that the U.S. already is "supporting regular meetings of internal and diaspora Syrian activists" in Europe. The document bluntly expresses the hope that "these meetings will facilitate a more coherent strategy and plan of actions for all anti-Assad activists."

Any American-orchestrated attempt to conduct such an election-monitoring effort could make a dialogue between Washington and Damascus — as proposed by the Iraq Study Group and several U.S. allies — difficult or impossible.
Did we really expect W to begin practicing diplomacy with Iran or Syria? Covert operations in Syria - naval muscle off the coast of Iran. That is the diplomacy he knows and everyone (except his cronies) detests.

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So who are we fighting today?

Pentagon: Militia more dangerous than al Qaeda in Iraq
Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army has replaced al Qaeda in Iraq as "the most dangerous accelerant" of the sectarian violence plaguing Iraq for nearly a year, according to a Pentagon report.

The two most prominent militias -- the Mehdi Army and the Badr Organization -- are armed wings of Shiite political parties whose support is crucial to the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.



The Mehdi Army in particular "exerts significant influence in Baghdad and the southern provinces of Iraq and on the government of Iraq," and fights periodic battles with Badr supporters, according to the report. The Badr Organization is affiliated with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
Does this blow W's whole argument of staying there or they follow us here? He was referring to Al Qaeda. Will al-Sadr follow us too?

Another Iraq reason blown to shreds!

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Gun-boat diplomacy...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

U.S. plans naval buildup in Gulf - Focus on Iran
The U.S. Central Command is aggressively planning a naval buildup in the Persian Gulf, including the addition of a second aircraft carrier, in response to a series of aggressive actions by Iran, U.S. military officials told NBC News on Tuesday.



The officials pointed to Iran's interference in Iraq — including its support for Shiite militants and shipments of improvised explosive devices into the country — recent military naval exercises in the Gulf, and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.



The attempt at "gunboat diplomacy" is in its final planning stages. Although it has not been approved yet, it appears likely the increase in U.S. warships into the Gulf could come as early as January, the officials said.
Gun-boat diplomacy...has it ever worked?

That surge in troops might just be what the doctor (W) ordered for Tehran!

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RFK Jr.

Monday, December 18, 2006



Three videos from an RFK Jr. speech in Vermont - two months ago. This speech was before the elections but still valid since the regime is still very much in power today.

Part 1 (top), Part 2 (middle), Part 3 - (bottom).

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Not a good answer...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Reid: 'Sure, I'll go along' with short troop surge in Iraq
"If it's for a surge, that is, for two or three months and it's part of a program to get us out of there, as indicated, by this time next year, then, sure, I'll go along with it," Reid said.



"But if it's put 45,000 more troops in there -- you know, we've lost in Nevada about 30 troops killed, scores have been wounded," Reid countered. "We're now approaching 3,000 dead Americans, costing the American people 2.5-3 billion dollars a week. This is a war that we have to change course. The president has to do that."
Sure take W and the general's word. They haven't misled us yet - have they?

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Wisdom

Saturday, December 16, 2006



Why I’m Running for President
This campaign is about three imperatives: It’s about the imperative of human unity, of recognizing that this is one world, that we are all one, that people all around the world have an underlying connection, that we are interconnected and interdependent. And we need policies that act that interconnection. We need to affirm institutions which support the idea of human unity. And that means that we support the United Nations. It means we support treaties in working with other countries. It means we support the rule of law internationally.



The second imperative is human security, and that security has to deal with basic needs: Each person in the world has a right to survive, a right to food that is fit to eat, and water fit to drink, and air fit to breathe. Each person has a right to a roof over his or her own head. Each person has a right to have clothes on their back. Each person has a right to some means of being able to make a living. Each person has a right to be free of the fear of violence. We have a responsibility to work to secure the world from a nuclear nightmare. We need to look at what we can do to protect peoples everywhere by working for not just nonproliferation, not just disarmament, but nuclear abolition, which in fact was the promise of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.



The third imperative I’ll discuss in this campaign is the imperative of peace. There are those who believe that war is inevitable. A belief in the inevitability of war makes war a self-fulfilling prophecy. We need to be convinced in our innate capability to create structures for peace in our society. We need to be convinced of our potential as a nation to make nonviolence an operating principle in our society. This is the motivating reason behind a Cabinet-level Department of Peace, which addresses directly, in a practical way, the challenge of domestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse, violence in the school, racial violence, violence against gays, community relations disputes.





The imperatives of human unity, human security, peace, all create a context for human prosperity. We have the potential to create heaven on earth. New Jerusalem is within our reach. It’s waiting to be called forward through the power of courage, emanating through our hearts, through our dreams, which come from the longing of our souls. This truly is a time where we can change the world and create the world that we long for.
Hope not fear. A handshake rather than a fist. An offer rather than an ultimatum.

Kucinich has quickly brought this infant campaign season its first words of wisdom and reality - as he did the last time. Will the media let that message be heard or are the ridicule troops moving forward already?

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Is this the new direction in Iraq?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bush weighing deeper commitment in Iraq, officials say
_A possible short-term surge of as many as 40,000 more American troops to try to secure Baghdad, along with a permanent increase in the size of the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps, which are badly strained by deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
WTF is "short-term?" More than 1 second is too long.

And is this what we elected the Dems for?

Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress are likely to drive U.S. military budgets even higher in 2007, experts say.



... because Democrats are afraid to appear weak on national security, they are likely to continue funding Cold War weapons systems like the F-22 fighter plane, which was designed to address projected Soviet capabilities that no longer exist.
Two parties - same old crap except for a few exceptions.

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Them's fighting words...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bravo!

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Some reassuring words...

ANTI-TERROR FIGHT TO LAST 100 YRS
Americans have to be ready to fight a war with radical Muslims that may last 50 to 100 years, according to a top war-on-terror general.



"We're in a generational war," Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark Schissler told the Washington Times.



Like the 40-year Cold War, the struggle with fanatics seeking to create radical Islamic states will be fought around the world, he said.



"You can try and fight the enemy where they are and where they're attacking you, or prevent them and defend your own homeland," Schissler said. "But that's not enough to stop it. We've got to break the chain, and that's . . . the ideology.



"We really need to show the errors in Islamist extremist thinking."



Terrorists follow the concept of jihad or holy war, which makes it a religious duty to wage attacks on nonbelievers, he said.



He said Americans, used to wars that last three or four years, must be prepared "for a long fight."



"They're absolutely committed to the 50-, 100-year plan," Schissler said of Muslim extremists.



Schissler is the deputy director for the war on terrorism in the strategic plans office of the Pentagon's Joint Staff.



Al Qaeda has said its goal is to create a Muslim "caliphate" from western North Africa to southern Europe and across the Mideast to Southeast Asia.
Okay kids - time for a lttle quiz. What do you think the "Muslim extremists" are saying? Bingo - change a few words and a few names and it will all sound the same!

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Keeping the war machine going

Bush to seek $100 bln more war funds. Yes, that is 100 Billion.
Such a large request would mark a rapid escalation in the cost of the Iraq war at a time when public support is plummeting and Bush is looking for new answers to stem violence that threatens to spin out of control.



Senior Democrats, who take control of both houses of Congress next year, have indicated they would support additional funds for U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though many want a phased withdrawal to begin in 2007.



The $100 billion, if submitted and approved by Congress next year, would be in addition to the record $447 billion the Pentagon is receiving this fiscal year for all military operations.
I guess they want this war to continue - full speed ahead. Is this the new direction? Increase troops?

Let's look at what some others have the guts and wisdom to say:

I’m hopeful that this position will be reconsidered and that the Democrats will not vote to keep the war going. But at this point, if the Democrats go forward and support a supplemental which by some accounts is now rising to $160 billion, they’ll be providing

enough money to keep the war going through the end of George Bush’s term.

Now, this is a serious moment. I believe the public is largely unaware that this is happening, and I think a lot of people are going to be very surprised to learn that less than one month since this great realignment, that Democrats leaders, who came to power because of widespread opposition to the war in Iraq, are now saying that they will vote to continue funding the war.
Who said this? One guess - he announced his candidacy on December 12.

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W's plan?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Pentagon's Plan: More US Troops in Iraq
As President Bush weighs new policy options for Iraq, strong support has coalesced in the Pentagon behind a military plan to "double down" in the country with a substantial buildup in American troops, an increase in industrial aid and a major combat offensive against Muqtada Sadr, the radical Shiite leader impeding development of the Iraqi government.

The approach overlaps somewhat a course promoted by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz). But the Pentagon proposals add several features, including the confrontation with Sadr, a possible renewed offensive in the Sunni stronghold of Al Anbar province, a large Iraqi jobs program and a proposal for a long-term increase in the size of the military.
What a plan! Brilliant! If this is done I see a bright future for IMPEACHMENT. W, please follow their suggestion - please!

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A blast from the past...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I went to files of some old websites I used to manage and came across a ditty from 10 years ago...

As a little boy, I will always remember enjoying the products of my father's garden; eating carrots just pulled out and rinsed off under the hose, watching the "chemistry" of making a sweet wine out of berries, lying face down in the grass, and just playing in the garden's dirt. Until he passed away he grew enough vegetables and berries on his small plot of land to feed himself and my mother, and to share the bounty with friends and neighbors. My father composted before it was in; mulched with grass clippings before mulching mowers were on the drawing board; and gardened without pesticides and herbicides before Rachel Carson warned us about their dangers.
It is with that upbringing that I approach my own yard and garden. My grass hasn't seen a chemical in the past 17 years (since we moved in). I feel secure that my kids can play on the grass or plant their face into it just like I did. I also feel secure that the vegetables I grow are safe and without chemical aids (?). You see, I grow "with nature in mind".
A few years ago when giving a talk about backyard habitats someone asked me how I got started and so interested in gardening, habitat creation, and nature. I never stopped to think about the reasons or motivations before that moment. But right then and there, I realized it was because of my father and his gardens. Somehow the organic gardening bug was in my veins. It was never a conscious effort to create an organic yard and garden, it was natural. My childhood memories made it natural that I try to protect my own children from pesticides and herbicides. And it was an easy transition to extend this protection to birds and other animals.
My yard is very unique in the neighborhood. My front yard used to be all lawn with just three trees. Since moving in, my front yard is now dominated by a small pond, wildflowers, berry plants, and naturalized islands of growth. My backyard is wooded, and where previous owners tried to grow lawn, volunteer trees, shrubs, and plants have been allowed to take over. What lawn we have for the ball games is dominated by what others call weeds. Dandelion, clover, violets, and even crabgrass are just fine by me.
There are so many wonders to be seen in my "yarden". One can watch frogs, toads, and dragonflies in the pond. One can sit under the maple trees and watch the robins raise their young, or one can go into the garden pull up the carrot, rinse it off, and bite down.
Gardening and keeping my yarden organic are in my blood. I know my garden and landscape are benefitting the Earth, Earth's creatures, and my children I hope the same organic bug enters my three sons so they also try to take care of Mother Earth. I just wish there was a magic formula. What made it "natural" for me? What will make it "natural" for my children and others to care for the Earth? I don't know, but maybe it had something to do with those carrots.
Maybe those carrots are the genesis of Peace Garden?

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My hopes are growing everyday!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gore Asked Again About Potential '08 Run: "I Haven't Completely Ruled It Out"...
Al Gore is waging a fierce campaign for recognition and an Oscar statuette for his global warming documentary, while reviving talk that he's pursuing a bigger prize: the presidency.
As I posted before - two (Gore and Dennis) of my four faves!

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It's (almost) official

Ohio Rep. Kucinich to run for president
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004, said Monday he is planning to run again because his party isn't pushing hard enough to end the war in Iraq.

The liberal, anti-war congressman said he was inspired to run because he disagrees with the way some of his fellow Democrats are handling the war in Iraq, including approval of a proposal to spend $160 billion more on the conflict.

"Democrats were swept into power on Nov. 7 because of widespread voter discontent with the war in Iraq," Kucinich said. "Instead of heeding those concerns and responding with a strong and immediate change in polices and direction, the Democratic congressional leadership seems inclined to continue funding the perpetuation of the war."
Run, Dennis, run.

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W wants advice...



Bush seeks advice on Iraq policy

Here it is in a nutshell - GET OUT NOW!

Gee I didn't need

...three days of intensive talks on Iraq...
I also didn't have to listen to him or have a cup of coffee and look at him. If he would only listen to the people.

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Were going to hold Pelosi to her words...

Pelosi's first priority is to halt Iraq war
Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told cheering supporters Saturday that Democrats would move the nation in "a new direction ... for all Americans, not just the chosen few,'' and pledged an ambitious agenda on subjects ranging from House ethics to foreign policy.

Speaking in San Francisco the day after adjournment of the Republican-controlled 2005-06 Congress, Pelosi declared -- as she had throughout her party's successful November election campaign -- that "my highest priority, immediately, is to stop the war in Iraq.''

She reviewed her plans for the first 100 hours: raising the minimum wage, cutting student loan interest rates in half, requiring Medicare to negotiate lower prices with prescription-drug makers, rolling back tax breaks for oil companies and passing legislation to promote stem cell research.

Also high on her agenda, Pelosi said, are "very aggressive measures to stop global warming'' and a labor-backed "card check'' proposal to require employers to negotiate with any union that signs up a majority of a company's employees.
Let's hope you get all the others to fall in behind. We demand it!

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Here's a solution!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Analysis: Bush still calls shots on war
Call President Bush a lame duck, a weakened leader, a disappointed president whose party lost control of Congress — and the decider when it comes to a new approach in Iraq. After all the studies and recommendations and talk, the president will call the shots.

Members of Congress can complain and investigate, yet there is little they can do to change Iraq policy short of cutting off funds.

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2008 candidates

Saturday, December 09, 2006

So the mid-terms have come and gone. Our hopes are much dimmer than two months ago, The hope that "gutsy" leaders is quite diminished. So it's time to look ahead to 2006 and hope that our next leader can lead this country out of the mess W created and the Dems seem content to continue.

Looking ahead, 4 names really stand out for me.

  1. Russ Feingold has been a vocal opponent of the war. But alas, he has decided to not run.
  2. Dennis Kucinich has been a vocal opponent of the war as well. Also an advocate for a Department of Peace. Dennis ran in 2004 and is expected to announce a another run. A peacenik and vegan as next President - I'd love it!
  3. Al Gore , well we know he won in 2000 (with the election stolen by the Supreme Court - though I would have hated to have Joey Lieberman as VP). We know he has brought a new vigor to the environmental movement. Sure he has said he will not run, but....
  4. And then there is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Sure, not even a hint he is considering a run, but there is a new buzz being generated and a grassroots effort to draft...Like the above three RFK Jr. is a critic of the war. He is a dedicated environmentalist involved in a number of organizations. He is a man you have to admire when he points to Francis of Assisi as his hero and states
    "My hero is St. Francis of Assisi because he understood the connection between spirituality and the environment. He understood the way God communicates to us most forcefully is through the fishes and the birds and the trees and that it is a sin to destroy those things."
Imagine all four running - dynamic visions as to the directions this nation must go to become a part of the world again. Four great competent leaders. Four great choices - maybe we should consider co-Presidents.

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War is over!

Friday, December 08, 2006

If you want it!

Thanks John....

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The way to get out!

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: There is Only One Way to End The War in Iraq
As we make plans to cut off funds for continuing to prosecute a war in Iraq, America must simultaneously pursue a dramatically different approach to achieve peace. Here is a five point plan to accompany a cut off of funds:

1. Transfer to the United Nations the authority the United States currently excerises in Iraq.>br> 2. The United States will finance a UN-sponsored peacekeeping mission in Iraq and enlist the help of other members of the coalition of nations which participated in the Iraq action.

3. UN troops will rotate into Iraq, and all US troops will come home.

4. The United States must agree to pay for what we destroyed. An Iraq reconstruction fund, monitored by the UN in cooperation with the Iraqi government, must be annually replenished to replace destroyed infrastructure.

5. The United States will abandon policies of "preemption" and unilateralism and commit to strengthening the UN.

We need a real change. My plan can the troops home in 90 days, transfer authority to the U.N as an intermediate step, with provisions made toward a rapid transition to Iraqi security. Only if the United States takes a new direction will we be able to persuade the world community, through the UN, to participate.
Why didn't Baker talk with Kucinich? This is a plan.

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Some "reality" in the ISG report

What the Media Aren't Telling You

From the report:

Near the end of the ISG report, the commission wrote that there is "significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq" -- a finding that takes on particular significance considering President Bush's repeated assertion that his Iraq policy is tied to the "conditions on the ground."



Buried deep in the ISG report is the commission's finding that "the U.S. government still does not understand very well either the insurgency in Iraq or the role of the militias." The commission went on to portray the intelligence community's degree of knowledge on these fronts as falling "far short of what policy makers need to know."

In a section of the report titled "The Wider Regional Context," the commission provided a dire assessment of the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. The commission subsequently recommended that the United States "provide additional political, economic, and military support for Afghanistan, including resources that might become available as combat forces are moved from Iraq."



But this assessment -- that the situation in Afghanistan has so deteriorated that U.S. troops currently in Iraq may have to be diverted back there -- has been widely overlooked by the major news outlets...

As an example of how "the public interest is not well served by the government's preparation, presentation, and review of the budget for the war in Iraq," the commission highlighted the administration's persistent use of emergency supplemental appropriations requests to "[c]ircumvent[] the budget process." It recommended that "[c]osts for the war in Iraq should be included in the President's annual budget request, starting in FY 2008."

Okay, so I am changing my mind from a few posts ago. Maybe it's not just the same old crap...but these glimpses of reality still do not lead them to the real answer - OUT NOW!

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Dennis Kucinich - speaking the truth

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dennis Kucinich’s Showdown With the Democratic Leadership
At this point the Democratic leadership—the speaker and the majority leader and Rahm Emanuel—are all recommending that the Democrats support the appropriation that is going to be brought forward in the spring, for the purposes of [continuing to fund] the war in Iraq.

People first of all need to know about this. People need to know that there is an attempt by our leadership to support the supplemental, and what the consequences are.... The most difficult part of the challenge is to get members of Congress to understand that they themselves voted for a bill which went into effect on Oct. 1 that appropriated $70 billion, which could be used to bring the troops home. Unfortunately, our leadership is saying they’re supporting the supplemental as a way of supporting the troops. So if we continue to ignore the money that’s there right now to bring the troops home, we’re losing an opportunity to bring the troops home now. People are now saying that they oppose the war, but they’re continuing to fund it in the name of supporting the troops.

They say they’re not going to abandon the troops in the field. We’re professing a strange love for these troops by keeping them there, because the money’s there to bring them home. So this is going to shape up as a major discussion across this country. People are going to want to know why Democrats would not bring the troops home now, when the money is there now.

But at this point, if the Democrats go forward and support a supplemental which by some accounts is now rising to $160 billion, they’ll be providing enough money to keep the war going through the end of George Bush’s term.
Characters from both sides are prolonging this war. So what can be done?
It’s going to take a mass movement to change this situation. It’s going to take a mass movement to really create such an uproar that approval of the supplemental will be stopped.
We voted for change. What is being presented is not change - same face with just a new shade of lip gloss.

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Thank you Russ!

One of the few to state the truth and the obvious!

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Iraq Report - more of the same

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Iraq report 'is no magic formula'
The United States should immediately launch a new diplomatic offensive to build an international consensus for stability in Iraq and the region... Iraq's neighbours and key states in and outside the region should form a support group to reinforce security and national reconciliation within Iraq...
Nice idea but do we really expect W and Condi to change course and be cordial/diplomatic?
By the first quarter of 2008, subject to unexpected developments in the security situation on the ground, all combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq...
Sorry boys. Too long and too many caveats - those "unexpected developments" smell of long term commitments.
Success depends on the unity of the American people in a time of political polarisation...
So if we call for an immediate withdrawal we are the "enemy." Now that is more of the same!
The aim of our report is to move our country toward such a consensus.
Now that goal was achieved. We all think it is a crock of crap.

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Our New Secretary of Defense

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

MediaChannel takes a look at the 'new face' nominated to replace Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, and discovers it's the same old same old: a history of deceit, cooking intelligence, and lying to promote war. Is this really what we need more of?

After today's vote, some are being fooled again!

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ImageChef.com - Create custom images

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Money Men Again!

Monday, December 04, 2006



Defense Nominee's Business Ties Raise Concerns
But as Gates awaits Senate confirmation as President Bush's secretary of Defense, ethics watchdogs worry about the revolving door between government and private business that allowed Gates to align himself with defense contractors, investment houses and a global drilling company involved with Vice President Dick Cheney's former employer, Halliburton Co.
Companies with which Gates has been affiliated have secured hefty no-bid Pentagon contracts, and "you have to wonder if these companies will continue to get around bidding requirements once Gates is secretary," said Alex Knott, political director of the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington-based watchdog group.
Love some of the companies he was involved with: advised 10 companies about Saudi oil, Romano's Macaroni Grill, SAIC (a contractor for the Pentagon, CIA and other federal agencies), VoteHere, Northrop Grumann Corp.
The big deal? As Secy of Defense he probably would love to continue the war to line his friend's pockets and keep his pensions growing.
Now the Macaroni Grill deal? Well, that he keep that!

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The Peace Sign

Peace Sign: Apostles to No Nukes
The first version of the peace symbol was designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a professional designer and artist, according to the Web site of the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. It was first used in the first major anti-nuclear march, which the campaign took from London to Aldermaston, England, in that year.
Holtom said the symbol incorporated the semaphore letters "N" and "D" to represent nuclear disarmament.
He also gave a more personal account of the meaning of the symbol in a letter to the editor of Peace News, reprinted on the British Campaign's Web site. "I was in despair. Deep despair," Holtom wrote. "I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya's peasant before the firing squad. I formalized the drawing into a line and put a circle round it."

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You weren't going anywhere

Bush: 'I'm not happy' about Bolton's resignation. What do you want when you nominate someone very few could vote for?
Friday, Bolton sent a letter to Bush saying that after "careful consideration, I have concluded that my service in your administration should end when the current recess appointment expires."
Don't make it sound like you are resigning. You were being FIRED!

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British troops in Iraq

Some rock throwing youth beaten by British troops.

The most disturbing is the emotion displayed by the cameraman. A "little" blood thirsty? A "little" nuts!

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Howard Zinn

Saturday, December 02, 2006

If you missed this show, you should take some time and watch it here. This is a show you should not miss. Howard Zinn gives an amazing and important speech about the ending of wars. Follow the more link below to watch the entire speech and to copy the links to the video to post in your blog or website.

G Living was on hand to film his historical speech about the same subject, ending war, in Los Angeles. Howard Zinn delivered his speech with the help of the non-profit organization Emergency. Emergency delivers free medical care to the victims of war, within the war zones

This Part 2 | The Full Speech by Howard Zinn 

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Friday, December 01, 2006

ImageChef.com - Create custom images

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A reason to move to Vermont

Bernie Sanders to Push Congress from Left
"It is time to ask some hard questions. Why did we go into Iraq and what did the president know and when did he know it," Sanders said in an interview in his Burlington office on a hillside above Lake Champlain near Canada's border.



"The war in Iraq has been an absolute disaster and it's absolutely imperative that America never again goes that route. That's why we have to ask those questions," he said.



"We also need to answer questions about Halliburton, no bid contracts, Katrina," he said. "We need to ask questions about the connection between the pharmaceutical industry and the writing of the prescription drug Medicare bill."



"The American people are entitled to answers about the behavior of the most reactionary and incompetent administration in modern American history," he said.
Bernie and Ben Jerry's. Vermont I Love You!

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An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore's Important Documentary on the dangers of climate change and global warming

Watch it now, but buy the DVD tomorrow. 5% of the proceeds will be donated to Alliance for Climate Protection.

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Thanks Michael...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cut and Run, the Only Brave Thing to Do ...a letter from Michael Moore

The responsibility to end this war now falls upon the Democrats. Congress controls the purse strings and the Constitution says only Congress can declare war. Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi now hold the power to put an end to this madness. Failure to do so will bring the wrath of the voters. We aren't kidding around, Democrats, and if you don't believe us, just go ahead and continue this war another month. We will fight you harder than we did the Republicans. The opening page of my website has a photo of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, each made up by a collage of photos of the American soldiers who have died in Bush's War. But it is now about to become the Bush/Democratic Party War unless swift action is taken.
This is what we demand:
1. Bring the troops home now. Not six months from now. NOW. Quit looking for a way to win. We can't win. We've lost. Sometimes you lose. This is one of those times. Be brave and admit it.
2. Apologize to our soldiers and make amends. Tell them we are sorry they were used to fight a war that had NOTHING to do with our national security. We must commit to taking care of them so that they suffer as little as possible. The mentally and physically maimed must get the best care and significant financial compensation. The families of the deceased deserve the biggest apology and they must be taken care of for the rest of their lives.
3. We must atone for the atrocity we have perpetuated on the people of Iraq. There are few evils worse than waging a war based on a lie, invading another country because you want what they have buried under the ground. Now many more will die. Their blood is on our hands, regardless for whom we voted. If you pay taxes, you have contributed to the three billion dollars a week now being spent to drive Iraq into the hellhole it's become. When the civil war is over, we will have to help rebuild Iraq. We can receive no redemption until we have atoned.
In closing, there is one final thing I know. We Americans are better than what has been done in our name. A majority of us were upset and angry after 9/11 and we lost our minds. We didn't think straight and we never looked at a map. Because we are kept stupid through our pathetic education system and our lazy media, we knew nothing of history. We didn't know that WE were the ones funding and arming Saddam for many years, including those when he massacred the Kurds. He was our guy. We didn't know what a Sunni or a Shiite was, never even heard the words. Eighty percent of our young adults (according to National Geographic) were not able to find Iraq on the map. Our leaders played off our stupidity, manipulated us with lies, and scared us to death.
But at our core we are a good people. We may be slow learners, but that "Mission Accomplished" banner struck us as odd, and soon we began to ask some questions. Then we began to get smart. By this past November 7th, we got mad and tried to right our wrongs. The majority now know the truth. The majority now feel a deep sadness and guilt and a hope that somehow we can make make it all right again.
Unfortunately, we can't. So we will accept the consequences of our actions and do our best to be there should the Iraqi people ever dare to seek our help in the future. We ask for their forgiveness.
We demand the Democrats listen to us and get out of Iraq now.
Hannity doesn't like you or this letter - though no great loss in not having him as a pal. But based on this letter (and to steal from Sean): "Michael Moore you are a great American." Bravo.

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Are you on the list?

Spying Won't Deter Us, Peace Groups Say
A coalition of U.S. peace groups is pressing ahead with plans for what it hopes will be a massive march on Washington Jan. 27, even though newly released documents show the antiwar community is under Pentagon surveillance.



"The peace and justice movement helped make ending the war in Iraq the primary issue in this last election," the umbrella group United for Peace and Justice said in a statement.



"The actions we take do make a difference, and now there is a new opportunity for us to move our work forward. On Election Day [Nov. 7], people took individual action by voting. On January 27, we will take collective action, as we march in Washington, D.C., to make sure Congress understands the urgency of this moment."
They will do so under the "watchful" eye of Brother Department of Defense. Just who are they watching?

  1. Veterans for Peace,
  2. Iraq Veterans Against the War,
  3. Military Families Speak Out,
  4. Code Pink,
  5. the American Friends Service Committee,
  6. the War Resisters League, and
  7. United for Peace and Justice
Are you a member of a group not on the list? Feel left out?

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President Newt? NOOOOOOO!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Newt-boy raises alarms.

Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message.
"We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," said Gingrich, a Republican who helped engineer the GOP's takeover of Congress in 1994.
So who'll decide who gets the terrorist label? Newt-boy?

Imagine him in the White House. An end to the Bill of Rights and civil liberties - a different set of rules. Four years of FEAR - he is very good at creating monsters out of anyone.

I am taking a leap here but I think it would be worse than we have now - if that's possible.

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Mosquitoes - an Al Qaeda weapon?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006



EPA OKs Spraying Pesticides over Waters
The Bush administration pleased farmers and frustrated environmentalists Monday by declaring that pesticides can be sprayed into and over waters without first obtaining special permits.

"We need to act fast to stop mosquitoes when they are found," argued Jim Tassano, a pest-control operator in the California foothills town of Sonora. "Any delay results in adults emerging. It is far cheaper and much more effective to kill them as larvae ... (and) if a permit is required, the costs would skyrocket."

EPA officials concluded that a pesticide, when it's deliberately applied, isn't a "pollutant" under the terms of the 1972 Clean Water Act.
But what about long term effects on humans...effects on other organisms?

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A page from W's playbook...



British troops may stay in Iraq until 2016
Thousands of British troops could remain in Iraq for another decade, Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, said yesterday.
That will leave US and British troops since...
Italy, once a significant contributor with 3,000 troops in southern Iraq, said yesterday that the last of its forces would leave the country this week. Poland said that all its 900 soldiers would be home by the end of next year. Japan withdrew this year and many other states plan to follow suit.
The two last empire builders holding fast.

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No War is Civil

NBC says Iraq in civil war, White House disagrees
NBC News on Monday branded the Iraq conflict a civil war -- a decision that put it at odds with the White House and that analysts said would increase public disillusionment with the U.S. troop presence there.

NBC, a major U.S. television network, said the Iraqi government's inability to stop spiraling violence between rival factions fit its definition of civil war.

The Bush administration has for months declined to call the violence a civil war -- although the U.S. general overseeing the Iraq operation said in August there was a risk -- and a White House official on Monday disputed NBC's assessment.
O'Reilly sided with the WH - nothing earthshaking or new there. But the question you have to ask yourself is: Civil War or not - isn't it time to go? My answer: You bet it is.

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One Man's Statement

Monday, November 27, 2006

Activist's Fiery Death Prompts Questions
At 6:30 a.m. on Nov. 3 - four days before an election caused a seismic shift in Washington politics - Ritscher, a frequent anti-war protester, stood by an off-ramp in downtown Chicago near a statue of a giant flame, set up a video camera, doused himself with gasoline and lit himself on fire.

Aglow for the crush of morning commuters, his flaming body was supposed to be a call to the nation, a symbol of his rage and discontent with the U.S. war in Iraq.

"Here is the statement I want to make: if I am required to pay for your barbaric war, I choose not to live in your world. I refuse to finance the mass murder of innocent civilians, who did nothing to threaten our country," he wrote in his suicide note. "... If one death can atone for anything, in any small way, to say to the world: I apologize for what we have done to you, I am ashamed for the mayhem and turmoil caused by my country."

There was only one problem: No one was listening.
Of course there are those pointing to mental illness. Those pointing to alcohol. But his friend spoke most eloquently when she talked about him and another antiwar martyr in 1963 (Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc who burned himself at a Saigon intersection in protest against the south Vietnamese regime).
"I think both of them, they just felt like their death could be the last drop of blood shed," King said. "It was too hard for them. They had too much of a conscious connection to the struggle to go on in their lives."

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The war in Pakistan?

Sunday, November 26, 2006



US carried out madrasah bombing .
THE bombing of a Pakistani madrasah last month, in which 82 students were killed, was carried out by the United States, a Pakistani official has admitted, writes Christina Lamb.



The madrasah in the tribal agency of Bajaur was bombed during a visit to Pakistan by the Prince of Wales amid allegations that it was being used to train suicide bombers.



“We thought it would be less damaging if we said we did it rather than the US,” said a key aide to President Pervez Musharraf. “But there was a lot of collateral damage and we’ve requested the Americans not to do it again.”



The Americans are believed to have attacked after a tip-off that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda, was present. Local people claimed the victims included boys as young as 12 and that the tribal area had been negotiating with the Pakistan government for a peace deal.



Pakistani officials insist they were shown satellite images of people training and have checked the identity cards of all those killed, and that all were adults.
I know what some will say. We'll take the battle to wherever the "terrorists" are. Extra lives taken is just unfortunate collateral damage.

And we wonder why so many despise our policies and actions.

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A Hope?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

U.S. Retreat from Iraq? The Secret Story
According to credible Iraqi sources in London and Amman, a secret story of America's diplomatic exit strategy from Iraq is rapidly unfolding. The key events include:
First, James Baker told one of Saddam Hussein's lawyers that Tariq Aziz, former deputy prime minister, would be released from detention by the end of this year, in hope that he will negotiate with the US on behalf of the Baath Party leadership...
Second, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice personally appealed to the Gulf Cooperation Council in October to serve as intermediaries between the US and armed Sunni resistance groups [not including al Qaeda], communicating a US willingness to negotiate with them at any time or place...
Third, there was an "unprecedented" secret meeting of high-level Americans and representatives of "a primary component of the Iraqi resistance" two weeks ago, lasting for three days...
Fourth, detailed email transmissions dated November 16 reveal an active American effort behind the scenes to broker a peace agreement with Iraqi resistance leaders, a plot that could include a political coup against Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. Fifth, Bush security adviser Stephen Hadley carried a six-point message for Iraqi officials on his recent trip to Baghdad:
* include Iraqi resistance and opposition leaders in any initiative towards national reconciliation;general amnesty for the armed resistance fighters;
* dissolve the Iraqi commission charged with banning the Baath Party;
* start the disbanding of militias and death squads;
* cancel any federalism proposal to divide Iraq into three regions, and combine central authority for the central government with greater self-rule for local governors;
* distribute oil revenues in a fair manner to all Iraqis, including the Sunnis whose regions lack the resource.
Sounds great doesn't it? Negotiating - sure at the expense of some... But Hayden points out:
It must be emphasized that there is no reason to believe that these US gestures are anything more than probes, in the historic spirit of divide-and-conquer, before escalating the Iraq war in a Baghdad offensive.
So expect to hear more spin, more stories of hope, more talks - right before more troops are sent!

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Tips to help Mother Earth

Friday, November 24, 2006

12-Step Plan for Climate Action offers:
1. Increase fuel economy for the world’s 2 billion cars from an average of 30 mpg to 60 mpg.



2. Cut back on driving. Decrease car travel for 2 billion 30-mpg cars from 10,000 to 5,000 miles per year, through increased use of mass transit, telecommuting, walking and biking.



3. Increase energy efficiency by one-quarter in existing buildings and appliances. Move to zero-emissions plans for new buildings.



4. Decrease tropical deforestation to zero, and double the rate of new tree plantings.



5. Stop soil erosion. Apply “conservation tillage” techniques to cropland at 10 times the current usage. Encourage local, organic agriculture.



6. Increase wind power. Add 3 million 1-megawatt windmills, 75 times the current capacity.



7. Expand solar power. Add 3,000 gigawatt-peak solar photovoltaic units, 1,000 times current capacity.



8. Increase efficiency of coal plants from an average of 32 percent efficiency to 60 percent, and shut down plants that don’t meet the standard. No net new coal plants, for new plants built, an equal number should close.



9. Replace 1,400 gigawatts of coal with natural gas, a four-fold increase in natural gas usage over current levels—a short-term step until zero-emissions renewable technologies can replace natural gas.



10. Sequester CO2 at existing coal plants. Sequestration involves storing carbon dioxide underground, an unproven technology that may, nonetheless, be better than nothing.



11. Develop zero-emissions vehicles, including plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles powered by renewable energy.



12. Develop biomass as a short-term replacement for fossil fuel until better carbon-free technologies are developed -- but only biofuels made from waste, and made without displacing farmland and rainforests.
A great idea for individuals is offered in Diet for a Hot Planet.
...it takes up to 16 times more farmland to sustain people on a diet of animal protein than on a diet of plant protein.

And there the hope is as close as our dinner tables. If Americans face the connections between diet and the planet by eating less meat -- thumbing their nose at the Atkins diet -- they could provide a rare act of leadership in slowing global warming.



So a little late after you stuffed yourself on that turkey. Take the plunge now - eat veggies!

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Know the answer?



What’s 20,000 More Troops Going to Accomplish?
Adding 20,000 more U.S. troops will not solve anything.





But it will have one effect.





More U.S. troops will die

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No love lost for Rummy



Watching America has a link to Azzaman.com.
Finally, U.S. Secretary of "War" Donald Rumsfeld has been sent home to be the first sacrificial lamb slaughtered on the altar of the American phantom. Now it has claimed the empty-faced and wolf-eyed secretary. The symphony of painful dirges can now be heard in the scattered prison cells of Abu Ghraib and Fallujah and Ishaqi and Haditha, and every beloved patch of the Land of the Two Rivers [Iraq], from which flow the sins of the vampire who sucks the blood of innocents.

From this moment on, [hitherto secret] files will be opened and will explode on the public, the screams will echo and the appeals will reach throughout the halls of justice. He [Rumsfeld] wasn't a human being at all. Rather, he was a portable crime-committer, propagating and sprouting misdeeds wherever he went - the moment you turned your back.

He masterminded one of the filthiest gangs of evil of all time, which has engineered, permitted, protected and nourished the fighting that is shattering Iraq, setting it aflame, murdering it, and banishing it from the map for good. His crop is noxious and his fruit is rotten. He is a mafia-like Satan whose wine is crimson blood and whose food is crushed and broiled human corpses. Indeed, his crimes are a terrible shame that scream for justice.
A very strong statement about Rummy - and justified. This is how we are viewed. The new Congress has the opportunity to change this view. Will they and can they?

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Peace Train

Thursday, November 23, 2006

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Hail the new boss, same as the old boss...





Bush's CIA Creating A 'New Saddam' To Take Over?
This afternoon I had lunch with a CIA operative who was telling me, in hushed tones, that we were going to put an Iraqi general officer up to leading a putsch against the present régime there. We have picked him out, bribed the hell out of him and hope, fingers crossed, that he will establish the same control Saddam had. Seems the new government, supposedly in our pocket, isn't, and Bush is screaming for them to go. The idea is for the military to take over, kill off all the politicians, Shiite and Sunni alike, totally, and then run the country as we want them to. And we get dibs on the oil!

Saddam used to work with the CIA so we should have left him in place. How many dead to learn that lesson?"
Coup d'etats R US!

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The Canary Effect

The Canary Effect takes an in depth look at the devastating effect that US policies have had on the Indigenous people of America. Using beautifully crafted imagery it presents a chilling case to what many believe is an ongoing genocide of the American Indian.

To see the film on-line go to Native American Indigenous Cinema and Arts. Free on Thanksgiving Day.

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The Votes are In

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

US Could Bomb Iran Nuclear Sites in 2007
"I think he is going to do it," John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org, a military issues think tank, told AFP.
"They are going to bomb WMD facilities next summer," he added, referring to nuclear facilities Iran says are for peaceful uses and Washington insists are really intended to make nuclear bombs, or weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
In a Sunday op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, Joshua Muarvchik, resident scholar at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, called for getting tough with Iran.
"We must bomb Iran," he said. "The path of diplomacy and sanctions has led nowhere ... Our options therefore are narrowed to two: we can prepare to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, or we can use force to prevent it."
Israel has also been pushing Washington to get tough on Iran.
Sometimes things just fall into place. An assassination in Lebanon blamed on Syria and Iran. Lebanon ready to explode... What a coincidence.

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Wrong Answer

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

White House brushes off CIA draft on Iran

Didn't fit into their plans.

The White House dismissed a classified CIA draft assessment that found no conclusive evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program, The New Yorker magazine reported. The article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said the CIA's analysis was based on technical intelligence collected by satellites and on other evidence like measurements of the radioactivity of water samples. "The CIA found no conclusive evidence, as yet, of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program running parallel to the civilian operations that Iran has declared to the International Atomic Energy Agency," according to the article. "A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis, and told me that the White House had been hostile to it," it said.
Why hostile? What plans?
The article, in the current issue of the magazine, discussed how Vice President Dick Cheney believed the Bush administration would deal with Iran if the Republicans lost control of Congress — as they did in the November 7 election. "If the Democrats won on November 7th, the vice president said, that victory would not stop the administration from pursuing a military option with Iran," Hersh wrote, citing an unidentified source familiar with the discussion.
So let's see: lost control of Congress, lost control of their minds, watch out Iran.

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A Temporary Increase

Pentagon considers short-term increase in Iraq troop levels

The idea, dubbed the "surge option" by some officials, would involve increasing American forces by 20,000 troops or more for several months in the hope of improving security, especially in Baghdad. That would mark a sharp rise over the current base line of 144,000 troops. A Pentagon strategy review, ordered by General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is backing the idea, as is a separate panel studying Iraq options, led by a former secretary of state, James Baker 3rd, the senior official said.
Who is going to define "temporary?" The same folks who defined "Mission Accomplished?"

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Death Of A President

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Google Video. A must see movie.

A thanks to Tyler for the link.

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Raising the issue of WWIII again...

THe dark picture of WWIII has been raised again by Abizaid.

Army General John Abizaid compared the rise of militant ideologies, such as the force driving Al-Qaida, to the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s that set the stage for World War Two.
"If we don't have guts enough to confront this ideology today, we'll go through World War Three tomorrow," Abizaid said in a speech titled "The Long War," at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, outside Boston.
We shouldn't expect anything different from Johnny. He warned Congress against setting a withdrawal timetable.
He'd love more troops, more power, more freedom to do what he does best - diplomacy through bullets.

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Rocks, Papers, Scissors...Shoot

A much saner method to settle our differences. Just think, W versus Osama. (Let's start training W right noe - he needs a lot of lessons.)

Photo from Time.com

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Putting Out Fires with Gasoline...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

That's the same as sending more troops to Iraq. Let's ignore all the study groups and just bring the troops home!

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Sign it today

Friday, November 17, 2006

Mandate for Peace

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Kucinich on Iraq and Iran

Kucinich was interviewed by Truthdig.

Today, it was announced that 2,000 more Marines are being sent to Anbar province—a place which was already declared “lost” for the purposes of military occupation. Why are we sacrificing our young men and women? Why are we keeping them in an impossible situation? Why are we stoking a civil war with our continued presence? We have to take a new direction in Iraq, and that direction is out.
Now, there are many plans out there. The people talking about phased redeployment, the president as the commander in chief ultimately has the authority to determine the placement of troops. Congress’ real authority, and Congress’ constitutional [mandate] as a co-equal branch of government, requires that it be heard from, and I believe that Congress must exercise its authority to protect the troops by bringing them home. And the only way we can do that effectively is to vote against supplemental appropriations—which has kept the war going, or to vote against appropriation bills which fund the war. That’s Congress’ ultimate power—the power of the purse.
If we truly care about our troops, we’ll get them out. It’s the phoniest argument to say that a cut-off of funds will leave troops stranded in the field. There’s always money in the pipeline to pay for an orderly withdrawal. But those who favor continuing the war or escalating the war are using the troops as a tool to further policies that are against the interests of the troops, against the interests of [the] American people, and against the interests of peace in the world.
Concerning Iran, I hope Kucinich is correct:
I think the Democratic control of Congress makes it more difficult for the president to pursue a policy which leads to military conflict with Iran. This president would have to come to Congress for approval for any action, and if he decides to take action without the support of Congress, I think he would find himself at a serious constitutional disadvantage. I do not believe that the administration has made a case for any type of attack on Iran. As a matter of fact, it’s urgent that we engage Iran in diplomacy. It’s urgent that we bring both Iran and Syria to the negotiating table—not only for the purposes of resolving issues with respect to those countries, but for the purposes of setting the stage for a broader peace agreement in the entire region, including peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. We need a whole new approach, which is based on a belief, a confidence that we can use what Franklin Roosevelt called the science of human relations—diplomacy—to resolve our differences. We must reject this administration’s all-too-easy recourse towards military power and consequent rejection of diplomacy.
Words of wisdom and sanity do waft through the halls of Congress.

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Increase the Troops

Well it seems that the Iraq Study Group's plan has been leaked.

Because President Bush is rumored to be taking the Iraq Study Group's recommendations very seriously, the content below may be as good an indicator of where Iraq policy is headed as we could possibly have. Worth a read. The points are:
(1) Point one of the strategy calls for an increase rather than a decrease in overall US force levels inside Iraq, possibly by as many as 20,000 soldiers.
Sure there are more points in the article, but after point 1 who the hell cares. This group, W's group and the military are all in agreement:
...the US and its allies must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq...
I guess what we want doesn't matter. Let's hope Congress finds its balls to stop this!

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Competing Strategies Will Confuse Bush

Thursday, November 16, 2006

We have Daddy's friends group (the Iraq Study Group). We have W's group convening to come up with strategies for Iraq - more of the same. Now we have a retired military officer offering his plans of increased troops/violence/death:

The outlines of the informal plan are as follows:
1) The Jawbone: Convene a meeting with the most senior members of the U.S. and Iraqi governments to explain that the U.S. is prepared to commit greater forces and resources for a period of one year...
2) The Strong Arm: In the short term, have the four military services, the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, prepare plans for a one-year surge in Iraq. Commit to destruction of the insurgent forces in Ramadi, Hit and the other Anbar strongholds... whatever it takes.
3) The Swagger: President Bush should give a speech to the U.N. in which he calls on other nations to either support the new Iraq or stop providing support and weapons to insurgents and militias; declares that most fundamental goals in Iraq were achieved, but the hope of democracy in Iraq is in the balance and only the Iraqis can determine that outcome; reminds the U.N. that lack of support for the peaceful option — smart sanctions — was doomed to failure when they were undermined by many in the audience; implicitly threatens that if nations contribute to instability and violence in Iraq, they would be considered enemies of the U.S...
Sure he then throws in two "diplomatic" efforts. But these cannot sweeten the "build-up" idea at all.

To all three groups -- consider WITHDRAWAL. It is what we want. It is what we are asking for. It is what we will be demanding!

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So Hoyer wins...

And Pelosi loses a fight.

House Democrats picked Rep. Steny Hoyer to be majority leader on Thursday, spurning Rep. Nancy Pelosi's handpicked choice moments after unanimously backing her election as speaker when Congress convenes in January. A Marylander and 25-year veteran of Congress, Hoyer defeated Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania in a vote of 149-86. Hoyer's margin of victory reflected a pre-election strategy in which he showcased support from moderates, veteran lawmakers in line to become committee chairmen and more than half of the incoming freshman class -- the majority-makers whose victories on Election Day gave the party control of the House. "Steny was more where the mainstream of where the party was," said Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, who will become chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
The bottom line: Blue-dogs, DLC'ers, Nancy, Steny, etc. you have a couple of priorities listed 1 to 10 in no specific order:
  1. End the war NOW!
  2. Repeal the Patriot Act and protect our rights.
  3. Bring diplomacy back into our foreign policy.
  4. Save the Earth - endorse the Kyoto Protocol and bring this nation to environmetal sanity.
  5. Investigate this regime and impeach when necessary.
  6. End the War!
  7. End the War!
  8. End the War!
  9. End the War!
  10. End the War!
Okay you got me. Six items are the same. Hint-hint: get moving.

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Cale and Clapton

From Clapton and Cale's new album "The Road to Escondido" comes "When This War Is Over" (Click the title to hear the song or the entire album). Lyrics:

When this war is over It will be a better day
When this war is over
It will be a better day
But it won't bring back
Those poor boys in their graves

Ain't no sense in no action
Killing people all the time
Ain't no sense in no action
Killing people all the time
When it happens on the street
We call that crime

Man, he can't get along
He just won't agree
Who's right and who's wrong
Don't matter you see
All we know is killing
Ain't the way to go
Gotta get a plan
And change our ways you know

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We citizens are your boss, General

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gen. John Abizaid threw down the gauntlet today.

The top U.S. commander in the Middle East warned Congress Wednesday against setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, saying it would impede commanders in managing U.S. and Iraqi forces.
Wait. We voted for a Congress to look at a new Iraqi policy and to get our troops home. If Johnny doesn't like that, maybe we taxpayers (as the bosses) should withhold his next paycheck. Screw you, Johnny. We want the troops home now.

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It's 1938 and Iran is Germany

Netanyahu is preparing the world for Israel's next step (after Lebanon and Gaza).

"It's 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs," Netanyahu told delegates to the annual United Jewish Communities General Assembly, repeating the line several times, like a chorus, during his address. "Believe him and stop him," the opposition leader said of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this."
Speaking on Army Radio on Tuesday, Netanyahu hinted that Israel possesses the military capabilities necessary for curbing by itself the Iranian nuclear threat, declining to specify what these entail.
The Likud chairman said "I don't want to analyze the capability required to eliminate [the Iranian] threat, but this capability exists," when told by host Razi Barkai that Israel lacks the ability to eliminate Tehran's nuclear program by military means.
Sure attack. And do we expect no retaliation from Iran? Benny must be talking to W.

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Helen Caldicott

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Her credo is outstanding.

I believe that women have the fate of the Earth in the palm of their hands. Some 53 per cent of us are women and we really are pretty wimpish. We don't step up to the plate - and it's time we took over. I think men have had their turn and we're in a profound mess.
I believe that money is the root of all evil. When people start believing that materialism will produce ultimate, lasting happiness, it is a sure sign that they will be intensely unhappy. One third of Americans are on anti-depressants. Instead, what they should be doing is lifting their souls, not their faces.
I believe in the sanctity of nature. I believe we can save the planet. We are smart enough to do that, but we must act with a sense of dire emergency.
I believe that the media are controlling and determining the face of the Earth. As Thomas Jefferson said, an informed democracy will behave in a responsible fashion.
I believe in the beauty of classical music. I must have it; it feeds my soul.
I believe in the goodness in every person's soul even though it's sometimes hard to see. I treat a lot of patients where either their children are dying or they are dying. Even though sometimes it's heavily obscured, in extremes this goodness will emerge.
I don't believe in a god. I have helped many people to die and believe that it's ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
I believe that heaven and hell are present every day.
I believe that life is an absolute gift to be treasured accordingly. We are very privileged to even have been conceived.
I believe that we are here to serve. We are not here to make ourselves happy, to be self-indulgent or to be hedonistic. The happiest state that I achieve is when I work in my clinic helping my children with cystic fibrosis to face death and help to treat them and look after their siblings. I'm utterly exhausted at the end of the day, but deeply, deeply fulfilled.
I believe in the beauty of my garden. I've got two and a half acres and I'm never more in touch with the power of the universe than when I'm in my garden on a warm, sunny day tending to my flowers and my trees, with the pelicans circling overhead.
I believe that there are far too many people on the planet. In the year 1900 there were one billion of us in the world. Now there are 6.5 billion and the predictions are that within a few decades there will be 14 billion.
I believe that the greatest terror in the world is not a few terrorists hitting the World Trade Center. It's the fact that half the world's people still live in dire poverty and 30,000 to 40,000 children die every day from malnutrition and starvation, while the rich nations continue to get richer and richer.
I believe that the most important job in the world is parenting. Women need to be financially supported for it. Their job is far more important than that of chief executive officers at the head of huge corporations.
I believe the secret of happiness is a) serving our fellow human beings and loving and caring for everyone. I don't mean crappy Californian love; I mean really deep caring for each other; b) to understand our own psychology in a profound way, so we can be a more constructive human being; and c) to care for this incredible planet of ours.
Couldn't agree with her more. Well, except for the classical music - all music for me!

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Spain gets it...

Spain takes a solar power stand.

Solar panels are now compulsory on all new and renovated buildings in Spain as part of the country’s efforts to bring its building rules up to date and curb growing demand for energy, ministers said on Monday.
Until now Spain’s building standards have dated from the 1970s and have done little in seeking to improve energy efficiency.
“We have to make up the time we have lost,” Environment Minister Cristina Narbona said, inaugurating a seminar on the new technical building code.
Solar power has not yet taken off in Spain, largely because subsidies have been directed at wind energy, and it provided a negligible amount of the country’s electricity in 2005.
Other measures in the new building code enforce the use of better insulation, improve the maintenance of heating and cooling systems and increase the use of natural light.
“The new standards will bring energy savings of 30 to 40 percent for each building and a reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy consumption of 40 to 55 percent,” the Environment and Housing Ministries said in a joint statement.
They get it, why don't we?

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Where would we be today if....?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

“Bobby,” written and directed by Emilio Estevez, revisits the night Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968. With an incredible ensemble cast portraying fictionalized characters from a cross-section of America, the film follows 22 individuals who are all at the hotel for different purposes but share the common thread of anticipating Kennedy’s arrival at the primary election night party, which would change their lives forever. This historic night is set against the backdrop of the cultural issues gripping the country at the time, including racism, sexual inequality and class differences.
What would this country look like if that bullet did not meet its mark? Where would Nixon have gone and done? Where would W be today? Jail? Managing a minor-league baseball team?

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Listening to McGovern

Let's hope that the Dems (all of them) listen to George McGovern when he speaks with them.

George McGovern, the former senator and Democratic presidential candidate, said Thursday that he will meet with more than 60 members of Congress next week to recommend a strategy to remove U.S. troops from Iraq by June.
If Democrats don't take steps to end the war in Iraq soon, they won't be in power very long, McGovern told reporters before a speech at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
"I think the Democratic leadership is wise enough to know that if they're going to follow the message that election sent, they're going to have to take steps to bring the war to a conclusion," he said.
McGovern will present his recommendations before the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a 62-member group led by Reps. Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee.
"The best way to reduce this insurgency is to get the American forces out of there," McGovern said. "That's what's driving this insurgency."
McGovern told the audience Thursday that the Iraq and Vietnam wars were equally "foolish enterprises" and that the current threat of terrorism developed because - not before - the United States went into Iraq.
McGovern's plan - as written in his new book, "Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now" - also calls for the United States to remove hired mercenaries from the region, push for the removal of British troops and establish a temporary transitional force, similar to police, made up of Muslims from the region.
Let's hope they listen and ACT. Hear us Chuck, Rahm and Harry?
"Never let the new class of Democrats forget that they're there in considerable part because of the war the American public has now turned against," McGovern said.

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An Assessment of the Win

A sobering view of the election, beginning with Chuck Schumer of New York. The article , "12 Reasons Not to Trust Chuck Schumer" really paints a picture of a split in the Dems.

Sources said Schumer has agreed to Senate Majority Leader-in-waiting Harry Reid's request that he stay on as head of the Democratic campaign committee for another two years, partly to counter the growing influence of liberals like Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. Nancy Pelosi.
Reid and other party bosses believe Schumer's middle-of-the-road strategy in ecruiting a fistful of moderate candidates to knock off GOP incumbents in red states is the only way for Democrats to hold onto or increase their power.
"You have to save the party from not drifting too far over," Schumer told The Post yesterday.
Here are twelve reasons not to trust Schumer, in no particular order:
1. Discouraging grass roots Paul Hackett over Sherrod Brown, even though we generally like Brown (there is a bad taste over his Military Commisions Act vote, and some seem unable to forgive him).
2. Selecting Casey as a cautious pick in PA against the weak Santorum. Casey is good on economic populism but has the minority national view on choice.
3. Working against Tester in the primary, before getting on the bandwagon in the general election.
4. Propelling the weather vane opportunist Harold Ford in Tennessee. We understand that TN is TN, but Ford was just not someone we could rally around (because he campaigned against us), and we do not accept the notion that we must try to be kinder, gentler Republicans to win in traditionally red areas (see Tester).
5. Chuck refused for the longest time to talk about Iraq, and told us we should not do it, though we were right. We don't esteem his strategic judgment.
6. Chuck sits on the board of a neocon think tank. We feel this compromises him on Iraq and Iran, and in general, on matters of military adverturism and foriegn policy.
7. Chuck, when he has spoken to us, speaks to us with barely veiled contempt, or so it comes across. He sees us as a media conduit for his grand strategy, and we just can't be controlled that way. We're not Limbaugh or Fox News. It's not any personal disrespect that rankles: it's his basic contempt for grassroots voters whose efforts he later trumpets as his own victories.
8. Chuck went AWOL and became livid on Judiciary when Feingold pulled his censure thing. I understand Feingold was freelancing, but he was also propelling an aggressive accountability agenda when Chuck and the DSCC were doing anything but. Our base wanted an aggressive accountability agenda, and on the politics, the results this week proved us right.
9. Rather than build a gracious public narrative acknowledging all the work done by the grassroots and the netroots, including, for example, the massive GOTV calling (7 million calls!) done through MoveOn, Chuck went on a PR offensive (with Rahm) to take all credit for the election's gains, weaving in a "conservatives won, not the liberal base" narrative. He threw us under the bus. The NY Post article above is but one example.
10. Chuck and the DSCC were at war in public with the DNC in a way that weakens the party and which failed to give sufficient credit to Dean's 50 state strategy after the election. Chuck comes across as a very planful egoist and not a team player, and one who fundamentally believes he knows better than grassroots voters do.
11. All this, and I have not even gotten to Lamont. The DSCC only offered to send email for Lamont under duress, late in the game, after being called out in front of party activists. They abandoned Lamont: more of those behind the scenes details will be coming out very soon. Chuck's contempt for the grassroots has been nowhere more evident than in the Lamont case (we'll hear more about Harry Reid, too when those stories break).
12. Chuck's donor base is heavily weighted to the NY downtown financial heavyweights, and we strongly suspect he won't be good on middle class or working people's issues, as in the Bankruptcy Bill.
I knew this was going on. I saw it - felt it - heard it. But seeing this article really hits one in the gut. One of our best candidates did not win and the talking heads on the "right" are glowing about the "conservative" dems who did win.

Let's hope Dean, Pelosi, Kennedy, Kucinich, Conyers, Feingold...keep this party reality based.

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