- Peace Garden: 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006

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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A new one from Mr. Fish

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mr. Fish

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Kucinich - Iraq War Hearings

Things are looking up. Kucinich is in line to be chair of the Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats, and International Relations. He is talking about hearings about

...how and why America invaded Iraq, and demands “accountability” for those who led America into a “war based on lies.”
I think they’re going to have to answer for the direction that they took this country. I don’t think this election, in and of itself, ends the questions about those who led us into a war based on lies. As a matter of fact, the only hope they have is to do a reversal and lead the way out of Iraq. Because even at this moment a number of their top adherents are continuing to insist on an active U.S. presence in Iraq.
Even now there are people who were urging President Bush to go to war who are staying that wrongful course. And people have to be held accountable. You can’t lead this country into a war that has lost thousands of U.S. troops and perhaps hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, [and that has] cost the American taxpayers $400 billion—and maybe up to $2 trillion—and leave it with some kind of blithe apology. There has to be accountability. When the people elected Democrats, they also voted for accountability.
The American people are relying on us—not just to take a new direction, which I believe is out of Iraq, but they’re insisting on accountability for those who led us wrongly into Iraq.
We need to have hearings on Iraq again. We need to go over again why we went there. We need to review the statements and all the errors that were made, and from that we bring the country together to take a new direction. It’s all fact-based. And then we start to heal our nation. But we cannot heal America if we continue with policies that are based on lies. We’ll never be able to bring closure to this Iraq matter unless we tell the truth about what happened. So America needs a new approach of truth and reconciliation. This isn’t a Democratic or Republican matter. This is a matter that relates to the conscience of this country. This is a matter of the heart—the heart of democracy itself. This is a matter of whether we’re going to a sober reflection about the events that have transpired since 9/11, with respect to Iraq. And until we do this, we will be trapped not only physically in Iraq, we’ll be trapped emotionally and spiritually in Iraq. We may never get out of Iraq if we don’t tell the truth.
I hope all the Dems have this type of conviction. It is time to get some balls and start leading. It's time to get out of Iraq and time to stay out of Iran!

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Bye bye Santorum

Friday, November 10, 2006

The saying is "the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree." It's clear that this is the case with ultra-nut Santorum.

"Man-on-dog sex" Rick raised his son to give us the finger (top photo). And how about those great looking kids in the second photo. Crocodile tears and Pugsly Addams. What a great American family.

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Rice: Democrats Won't End Iraq Mission

Because she won't let them!

Condi let the cat out of the bag: W wants us in Iraq for good!

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the Democratic wave that won the party control of Congress did nothing to deter the Bush administration from continuing its Iraq mission until "the goal that took us to Iraq" is reached.
"It's too important to our own security," Rice said in a newspaper interview distributed Thursday by the State Department. "Iraq has to be successful for America to be secure."
Since the "goal" has been changing since day one and "success" has never been defined - forget this regime moving us out.

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The New Secy of Defense on Iran and Iraq

Think there is hope now that Rummy is gone. Think again. Senator Harkin painted a very interesting picture of Gates during the hearing on his CIA Director nomination. Some tidbits:

Questions and doubts about Mr. Gates' past activities, managerial style, judgment, lapses in memory and analytical abilities. Questions and doubts about his role in the Iran-Contra Affair and in providing military intelligence to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war; and questions and doubts about whether he will be able to remove the ideological blinders reflected in his writings and speeches or whether Mr. Gates is so rooted in the past, that he will not be able to lead the Agency into the post-cold war era...
Mr. President, Robert Gates is a career Soviet analyst and former Deputy Director of the CIA who was wrong about what CIA analyst Harold Ford described as `the central analytic target of the past few years: the probable fortunes of the USSR and the Soviet European bloc.' And I believe that the committee report points out one possible reason why the CIA failed to predict the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to testimony, Mr. Gates was busy pursuing hypotheses and making unsubstantiated arguments attempting to show Soviet expansion in the Third World, instead of looking for or paying attention to facts that pointed in the opposite direction. Why? Why, as Mentor Moynihan has pointed out, was the CIA able to tell Presidents everything about the Soviet Union except the fact that it was falling apart?
Mr. Gates was also wrong about the Soviet threat to Iran in 1985....
Mr. President, I also have doubts and questions about Mr. Gates' role in the secret intelligence sharing operation with Iraq. Robert Gates served as assistant to the Director of the CIA in 1981 and as Deputy Director for Intelligence for 1982 to 1986. In that capacity he helped develop options in dealing with the Iran-Iraq war, which eventually involved into a secret intelligence liaison relationship with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Gates was in charge of the directorate that prepared the intelligence information that was passed on to Iraq. He testified that he was also an active participant in the operation during 1986. The secret intelligence sharing operation with Iraq was not only a highly questionable and possibly illegal operation, but also may have jeopardized American lives and our national interests. The photo reconnaissance, highly sensitive electronic eavesdropping and narrative texts provided to Saddam, may not only have helped him in Iraq's war against Iran but also in the recent gulf war. Saddam Hussein may have discovered the value of underground land lines as opposed to radio communications after he was give our intelligence information. That made it more difficult for the allied coalition to get quick and accurate intelligence during the gulf war. Further, after the Persian Gulf war, our intelligence community was surprised at the extent of Iraq's nuclear program. One reason Saddam may have hidden his nuclear program so effectively from detection was because of his knowledge of our satellite photos. What also concerns me about that operation is that we spend millions of dollars keeping secrets from the Soviets and then we give it to Saddam who sells them to the Soviets. In short, the coddling of Saddam was a mistake of the first order.
...I should mention that I was quite disturbed to hear testimony that portrayed Robert Gates as someone concerned about Agency's role and not sufficiently concerned about pursuing possible illegal Government activities....
Sure this was in 1991. Sure fifteen years can change people.

But let's look in the past few years. He did wonders as a director of a voting company: a champion of electronic voting and one with some possible ties to Abramoff.

Better than Rummy? A change in course? Or just more of the same with a change in window dressing only?

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Two from Mr. Fish - Posted again

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

After the election and today's blockbuster announcement, I had to repost this. I think you'll understand why:

Also see Rummy speaking the truth.

Mr. Fish can be found at Harpers.

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W - our lame duck

It feels great.

Picture thanks to Democraticstuff.com

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Bye bye Rummy

If the rumors are true and he does step down - - - Yippeeee! But...

Maybe W will appoint Joey Lies as Secy of Defense. This will fit perfectly. Wait until after the elections to boot Rummy out - appoint pal Joey - Governor Rell appoints a repug to replace him - the Senate is deadlocked with Uncle Dick as the deciding vote.

Stephen King couldn't have written a better story!

So it now seems that W is going with Gates. Joey is still my Senator! Crap!

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A new Congress - a better one?

Hang on kids. It is going to be a fun ride – if Congress has any balls and follows through…

In Connecticut some regrets: Joey was voted in by the repugs. Shays squeaked by. But nationally, it’s a beautiful day.

Loved listening to the pundits last evening and this morning – trying to paint the Dems who won as a new breed. But on CNN, James Carville tried to bring the talking heads back to reality by saying this was all about the large elephant in the room – the war in Iraq. But did they listen? Are you kidding? Let’s hope that Congress listens to Carville and the voters - it was about Iraq!

For the Dem leaders I offer some lyrics from "Les Miserables":

Do you hear the people sing Singing the song of angry men It is the music of a people Who will not be slaves again When the beating of your heart Echoes the beating of the drums There is a life about to start When tomorrow comes
Let us hope their ears heard the same music. If not we voters have to sing it again and again until they do.

This AM some are now painting Joey as the strongest man on the Hill since they feel he’ll be courted by Dems and Repugs. Let’s hope not. Let’s hope the Dem leadership views him for what he is – a Dem who did not listen to his party and was endorsed by Cheney, W and Sean Hannity and voted in by the CT repugs. I hope the Dem leadership remembers his words and actions.

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The fix is in?

Monday, November 06, 2006

It is anyone's guess what the elections will mean. It is also a sure bet that many seats will be stolen.

The politics-game culminated in the Saddam verdict - perfect timing. So hold on to your hats boys and girls.

Just to be sure, go to Care2 to sign the "No War with Iran petition:

We, the undersigned, vehemently oppose any U.S. military action against Iran. Such military action would inevitably kill large numbers of innocent people, foster even more hatred and international condemnation of the U.S., and dramatically increase the instability of the region. Our own intelligence agencies have concluded the Iraq war has worsened the terrorist threat, and a war against Iran would add immeasurably more fuel to the fire.
Even if Iran decided to build a nuclear weapon, experts agree that it would take several years. There is no crisis, and our government should not create one with inflammatory rhetoric or military threats. The U.S. has both the time and obligation to work with the international community to fashion a diplomatic resolution to the situation, and the current refusal of U.S. officials to talk directly with Iranian officials cannot possibly help.
Therefore, we urge you to take all steps necessary to reach a peaceful resolution to the current situation, including direct negotiations without pre-conditions. This is the only way to prevent yet another war, one that would be a calamity of truly global proportions.
Sure, we can't trust the regime with the election, how can we trust that they will even read this petition. But we have to try everything.

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The Cost of War

What are we gining up to pay for a war based on lies? What are we giving up so we can see and rejoice (at least some will) in the hanging of one man?

The price was too high in both dollars and lives!

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Yusuf Islam

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Looking forward to November 14 - "An Other Cup" on sale.

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Tuesday's Outcomes Today

Click for www.electoral-vote.com

Click for www.electoral-vote.com

Electoral-vote is back - this time with midterm elections. Some good news - though I remember what these maps looked like years ago - before the stolen elections. Can it happen again? With the machines - you betcha.

One comment though - in CT they have Joe winning and have the map as Blue. If he wins consider him a repug - 50-50.

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Understanding war and violence...

Friday, November 03, 2006

W likes war! What else could explain the salivating at the thought of expanded wars.

Asked by Chirac if Israel could attack Iran to prevent it getting the bomb, Bush reportedly said: "We cannot rule this out. And if it were to happen, I would understand it."
Of course he would - it's his language, his hopes, his vision.

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Abu Ghraib Offender Heads Back to Iraq

As a followup to the post about Peterson....I give you the latest travesty:

A military dog handler convicted for his role in the prisoner abuse scandal has been ordered back to help train the country's police.
So not only are we sweeping things under the rug, we are also flaunting that action in the face of the Iraqis and the world.

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Killing oneself in protest...

Alyssa Peterson

...died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”
She was an Arabic-speaking interrogator serving in Military Intelligence. So what are "non-hostile weapons discharges?"
“Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed. ...".
She was was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training. “But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle,” the documents disclose.
The Army talked to some of Peterson's colleagues. Asked to summarize their comments, Elston told E&P: "The reactions to the suicide were that she was having a difficult time separating her personal feelings from her professional duties. That was the consistent point in the testimonies, that she objected to the interrogation techniques, without describing what those techniques were."
Elston said that the documents also refer to a suicide note found on her body, which suggested that she found it ironic that suicide prevention training had taught her how to commit suicide. He has now filed another FOIA request for a copy of the actual note.
This is the grim reality of war...the grim reality of torture. And yet the regime still justifies waterboarding, still does not own up to the Abu Ghraib events. What are they saying about Peterson? A troubled person? Delusion?
How about stopping what drove her to the ultimate end.

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Neil Young asks...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sure he's Canadian, but he has a better grasp of the state of our Union than W and his regime.

Let's impeach for peace - but sadly so much damage has been done already I wonder how long it will take to right the wrongs!

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How do you treat Mother Earth?

Thanks Rustle!

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Camp Falcon Follow-up

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Previously I posted to a video and wondered where the reporting was - little coverage of the deaths. Now there are reports that depleted uranium (DU) was stored there.

They were spectacular explosions because DU in storage all goes off at once.
You can see the streamers of DU chunks burning through the cloud and the familiar mushroom cloud. It is not Willie Pete or White Phosphorus because they leave white smoke and wobble.
The public is still ignorant of the Depleted Uranium ( DU ) munitions threat and the Pentagon and media have been complicit in this blackout.
Perhaps a reminder of the mounting death toll ( 11,000 U.S. Soldiers ) from the highly toxic weapons component known as depleted uranium (DU), which was stored at Camp Falcon, is in order.
Yes he said 11,000! Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York states:
Of the 580,400 soldiers who served in Gulf War I, 11,000 are now dead, he said. By the year 2000, there were 325,000 on permanent medical disability. More than a decade later, more than half (56 percent) who served in Gulf War I have permanent medical problems. The disability rate for veterans of the world wars of the last century was 5 percent, rising to 10 percent in Vietnam.
“The long-term effect of DU is a virtual death sentence,” Bernklau said. “Marion Fulk, a nuclear chemist, who retired from the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab, and was also involved in the Manhattan Project, interprets the new and rapid malignancies in the soldiers [from the second war] as ‘spectacular’—and a matter of concern.’ ”
So with Camp Falcon clouds - the reports of the deaths are clearly possible. The deaths from this war (and the use of WP, DU...) will also clearly haunt too many families (on all sides) for years to come.
Where is the so called liberal media!

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UK faces reality

UK Signs Gore to Sell Climate Case in US

Britain is to send the author of today's landmark review on global warming to try to win American hearts and minds to the urgent cause of cutting carbon emissions - as it emerged yesterday that the government has already signed up former US vice-president Al Gore to advise on the environment.
Sir Nicholas Stern, who this morning publishes an authoritative report on climate change warning that inaction could cause a worldwide recession as damaging as the Depression of the 1930s, will lobby politicians and business people in America at the turn of the year.
In a separate development, the environment secretary, David Miliband, said the government was discussing imposing green taxes. But the Treasury, which commissioned Sir Nicholas's study, stressed: "The key message of Stern is that international action is required ... The chancellor decides on taxes and he will do so in the pre-budget report and budget."
The government hopes the review will gain traction in the US because it focuses on the economic case for change. Sir Nicholas's analysis warns that doing nothing about climate change will cost the global economy between 5% and 20% of GDP, while reducing emissions now would cost 1%, equivalent to £184bn.
He argues that international negotiations to find a successor to the Kyoto protocol on reducing greenhouse gases must be accelerated, starting at UN talks in Nairobi next month.
The prime minister has said any such agreement needs the support of the US, which refused to join Kyoto because it said it would harm the economy.
When will this regime decide it is time to take action? Will pal Tony convince W that the Kyoto treaty/protocol is the way? Isn't it amazing that the US public respects Gore while this regime mocks him while other nations' folks and leaders accept his message.

Is this regime just out of its mind and out of the loop or just too cozy with polluters?

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Wisdom from Odom

Odom is a retired Lt. General.

THE UNITED STATES upset the regional balance in the Middle East when it invaded Iraq. Restoring it requires bold initiatives, but "cutting and running" must precede them all. Only a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops — within six months and with no preconditions — can break the paralysis that now enfeebles our diplomacy. And the greatest obstacles to cutting and running are the psychological inhibitions of our leaders and the public.
Our leaders do not act because their reputations are at stake. The public does not force them to act because it is blinded by the president's conjured set of illusions: that we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq; creating democracy there; preventing the spread of nuclear weapons; making Israel more secure; not allowing our fallen soldiers to have died in vain; and others.
But reality can no longer be avoided. It is beyond U.S. power to prevent bloody sectarian violence in Iraq, the growing influence of Iran throughout the region, the probable spread of Sunni-Shiite strife to neighboring Arab states, the eventual rise to power of the anti-American cleric Muqtada Sadr or some other anti-American leader in Baghdad, and the spread of instability beyond Iraq. All of these things and more became unavoidable the day that U.S. forces invaded.
These realities get worse every day that our forces remain in Iraq. They can't be wished away by clever diplomacy or by leaving our forces in Iraq for several more years.
The administration could recognize that a rapid withdrawal is the only way to overcome our strategic paralysis, though that appears unlikely, notwithstanding election-eve changes in White House rhetoric. Congress could force a stock-taking. Failing this, the public will sooner or later see through all of the White House's double talk and compel a radical policy change. The price for delay, however, will be more lives lost in vain — the only thing worse than the lives already lost in vain.
Some lawmakers are ready to change course but are puzzled as to how to leave Iraq. The answer is four major initiatives to provide regional stability and calm in Iraq. They will leave the U.S. less influential in the region. But it will be the best deal we can get.
First, the U.S. must concede that it has botched things, cannot stabilize the region alone and must let others have a say in what's next. As U.S. forces begin to withdraw, Washington must invite its European allies, as well as Japan, China and India, to make their own proposals for dealing with the aftermath. Russia can be ignored because it will play a spoiler role in any case.
Rapid troop withdrawal and abandoning unilateralism will have a sobering effect on all interested parties. Al Qaeda will celebrate but find that its only current allies, Iraqi Baathists and Sunnis, no longer need or want it. Iran will crow but soon begin to worry that its Kurdish minority may want to join Iraqi Kurdistan and that Iraqi Baathists might make a surprising comeback.
Although European leaders will probably try to take the lead in designing a new strategy for Iraq, they will not be able to implement it. This is because they will not allow any single European state to lead, the handicap they faced in trying to cope with Yugoslavia's breakup in the 1990s. Nor will Japan, China or India be acceptable as a new coalition leader. The U.S. could end up as the leader of a new strategic coalition — but only if most other states recognize this fact and invite it to do so.
The second initiative is to create a diplomatic forum for Iraq's neighbors. Iran, of course, must be included. Washington should offer to convene the forum but be prepared to step aside if other members insist.
Third, the U.S. must informally cooperate with Iran in areas of shared interests. Nothing else could so improve our position in the Middle East. The price for success will include dropping U.S. resistance to Iran's nuclear weapons program. This will be as distasteful for U.S. leaders as cutting and running, but it is no less essential. That's because we do share vital common interests with Iran. We both want to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban (Iran hates both). We both want stability in Iraq (Iran will have influence over the Shiite Iraqi south regardless of what we do, but neither Washington nor Tehran want chaos). And we can help each other when it comes to oil: Iran needs our technology to produce more oil, and we simply need more oil.
Accepting Iran's nuclear weapons is a small price to pay for the likely benefits. Moreover, its nuclear program will proceed whether we like it or not. Accepting it might well soften Iran's support for Hezbollah, and it will definitely undercut Russia's pernicious influence with Tehran.
Fourth, real progress must be made on the Palestinian issue as a foundation for Middle East peace. The invasion of Iraq and the U.S. tilt toward Israel have dangerously reduced Washington's power to broker peace or to guarantee Israel's security. We now need Europe's help. And good relations with Iran would help dramatically.
No strategy can succeed without these components. We must cut and run tactically in order to succeed strategically. The United States needs to restore its reputation so that its capacity to lead constructively will cost us less.
Words of wisdom and reality from one who has studied war.

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Digging his own grave?

Maliki is tempting fate.

Iraqi PM hands Sadr victory over US blockade.
Iraqi Shiite militants have won a major political victory when Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered US and Iraqi units to lift a blockade around the flashpoint Baghdad suburb of Sadr City.
After reports that the US is backing a future coup he either doesn't care or - just maybe - is being set up in the press to take the big fall.

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