- Peace Garden: 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009

I want to move to Texas

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

As if Things Weren't Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.
For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. For most of that time, he admits, few took his argument -- that an economic and moral collapse will trigger a civil war and the eventual breakup of the U.S. -- very seriously. Now he's found an eager audience: Russian state media.
He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in. California will form the nucleus of what he calls "The Californian Republic," and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of "The Texas Republic," a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an "Atlantic America" that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls "The Central North American Republic." Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.
I think I would rather be a part of Mexico than the EU. And I always thought that the West Coast would split off as in "Ecotopia."

This guy has been talking about this for quite a while. Russian media taking notice - and now the Wall Street Journal.

W instilled in us a fear of terrorists. But maybe we should fear our own selves instead. It really is like Pogo said - "We have met the enemy...and he is us."


Happy Old Year

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Obama on Gaza: ‘No Comment’

There was no immediate comment on the Israeli air strikes on Gaza from Obama, who is vacationing with his family in Hawaii, or his staff."
This is how our incoming President has reacted to the worst attack on the Palestinian people in 20 years – by not reacting at all.
The Bush White House, of course, has responded as we all know they would: Israel-has-the-right-to-defend itself, let the killing begin, etc., ad nauseum.
And don’t expect much better from the Obama camp. Remember how he scolded the UN for daring to even discuss the Gaza situation?
Hundreds dead...
The attack, dubbed “Operation Cast Lead” by the Israeli military after a Hanukkah poem, targeted police stations across the strip, killing Hamas security officials (reportedly including police chief Major-General Tawfik Jaber) and nearby civilians. The toll at present count was 205 killed and 300 wounded, according to a Hamas spokesman.
...and no comment

More of the same policy? So much for hope in 2009.


Munitions dealer nation

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mixed Signals From India On War Prospects
“Nobody wants war.” That was the message of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh just a day after his foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee threatened to take “all measures necessary” in response to last month’s Mumbai terrorist attack and Pakistan put its own air force on high alert.
But the Singh Administration’s dismissal of “war hysteria” is likely to be tempered somewhat by news that the Indian Defense Ministry is asking the United States to fast track its previous order of $375 million worth of cluster bombs.
The purchases will keep many war machine leaders in the money. Santa USA.


Third Party Time

Obama Wants Bush Pentagon Appointees to Stay
If President-elect Barack Obama’s decision to keep Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in his position raised red flags about the sincerity of the former’s mantra of change, those flags have surely given way to blaring alarms today with the announcement that the new administration will retain hundreds of Bush appointees in the Pentagon.
In a move confirmed by Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, Secretary Gates is asking, on behalf of the new administration, that “all willing political appointees” remain in their positions beyond the inauguration. Morrell says virtually all secretaries and undersecretaries will remain in their positions, until President-elect chooses to replace them. If the President-elect chooses to replace them.
The move is being presented, of course, as an effort to ensure continuity for a wartime transition of power. Yet given Obama’s national security team itself consisted entirely of hawks, they would seem to be at home with the idea of a Pentagon not just modeled after the Bush Administration’s, but consisting more or less entirely of Bush appointees. It may sit well with them, but how will it sit with millions of Obama voters who cast their ballot on the assumption that it would bring about genuine change?
Sit well? In fact it sucks!


Another Xmas at war

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Looks like I'll post this again next year too - more of the same!


Our Xmas gift?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Obama to follow Bush foreign policy
Barack Obama might have little option but to follow George W. Bush’s approach on a range of foreign policy issues, including Iran, said Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state. Ms Rice told the Financial Times the new administration was likely to follow Mr Bush’s lead in the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme. During the president’s second term, the US has co-ordinated its approach with the European Union, Russia and China.
Is she nuts, prophetic or part of an inner circle? More and more it looks like Same Old Shit - may be a little smaller pile but still all the same.


Finally a good choice or two

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rep. Hilda Solis Obama's Pick For Labor Secretary

...this is the nation's gain, as she will be a phenomenal champion for labor in President Obama's cabinet. Just to give you a taste of Solis's record -- and hence Barack Obama's commitment to labor by picking her -- according to Project Vote Smart, in 2007 Solis had 100% voting records with the interests of the AFL-CIO, SEIU, United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, to name just a few.
She, along with Richardson, make me have hope.


Senator Franken

Al Franken Projected to Win Minnesota's Senate Seat

Democratic challenger Al Franken finds himself on the cusp of winning a seat in the United States Senate after Minnesota's canvassing board awarded him a host of challenged votes during deliberations on Thursday.
As of 8PM ET, the Minneapolis Star Tribune projected that Franken would finish the recount process with a lead of 89 votes, positioning him to become the 59th Democratic senator in the upcoming Congress.


Tell us to leave too

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Iraq Wants All Non-US Troops Out by July
Hummam Hammudi, the chairman of Iraq’s Foreign Affairs Committee, says the cabinet has approved draft legislation which would provide a timetable for the pullout of all non-US foreign troops. If approved by parliament, all non-US foreign troops would have to leave the country by the end of July.
Tell us to leave too. That may be the only way we ever get out - with Obama listening to Gates.


The Lorax - One of my faves

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Popularity for Dr. Seuss' 'The Lorax'
The little kids understand. My 6-year-old son, Emmett, reads Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" at least once a week and can explain the message of the book succinctly. "It's about ruining God's creations, that money's not more important than nature." Published in 1971, at a time when Earth Day and the ecology movement were gaining counterculture traction, "The Lorax" addressed then-unconventional issues such as deforestation, pollution and greed. It was "An Inconvenient Truth" for children. " 'The Lorax' was very overt, very political," says William Dreyer, curator of the Art of Dr. Seuss Collection. "It was a statement on conservation and corporate responsibility. He did an amazing job of simplifying issues into a story that can be appreciated and grasped by kids and adults."


Should have hit him

Thousands Demand Release of Iraqi Journalist Who Threw Shoes at George W Bush
Arabs across the Middle East hailed the journalist a hero and praised his insult as a proper send-off to the unpopular U.S. president. [A shoe is raised during a protest against the visit to Iraq of US President George W. Bush, in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday. Dec. 15, 2008. Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad on Sunday, while yelling in Arabic: 'This is a farewell kiss, you dog, this is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.' (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)]A shoe is raised during a protest against the visit to Iraq of US President George W. Bush, in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday. Dec. 15, 2008. Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad on Sunday, while yelling in Arabic: 'This is a farewell kiss, you dog, this is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.' (AP Photo/Karim Kadim) Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who was kidnapped by Shiite militants last year, was being held by Iraqi security today and interrogated about whether anybody paid him to protest during the press conference. He was also being tested for alcohol and drugs, and his shoes were being held as evidence. Showing the sole of your shoe to someone in the Arab world is a sign of extreme disrespect, and throwing your shoes is even worse. In Baghdad's Shiite slum of Sadr City, thousands of supporters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr burned American flags to protest against Bush and called for the release of al-Zeidi. "Bush, Bush, listen well – Two shoes on your head," the protesters chanted in unison.
And our "great one" laughs about "size 10" rather than dealing with the protest - dealing with the reasons for the anger and frustration. Instead the smirk and wink.


An Axis of Evil?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cluster Bomb Treaty and The World's Unfinished Business
The United States, Russia and China are sending a terrible message to the rest of the world by refusing to take part in the historic signing of a treaty that bans the production and use of cluster bombs. In a world that is plagued by war, military occupation and terrorism, the involvement of the great military powers in signing and ratifying the agreement would have signaled - if even symbolically - the willingness of these countries to spare civilians' unjustifiable deaths and the lasting scars of war.
Nonetheless, the incessant activism of many conscientious individuals and organizations came to fruition on December 3-4 when ninety-three countries signed a treaty in Oslo, Norway that bans the weapon, which has killed and maimed many thousands of civilians.
The accord was negotiated in May, and should go into effect in six months, once it is ratified by 30 countries. There is little doubt that the treaty will be ratified; in fact, many are eager to be a member of the elite group of 30. Unfortunately, albeit unsurprisingly, the US, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan - a group that includes the biggest makers and users of the weapon - neither attended the Ireland negotiations, nor did they show any interest in signing the agreement.
All because of the mighty dollar?


Another hope squashed

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Obama to Offer “Nuclear Umbrella” to Israel

President-elect Barack Obama reportedly intends to offer a strategic pact to Israel promising a “devastating US nuclear response” against Iran in the event Iran launches a nuclear attack on Israel. The move would be designed ostensibly to increase the deterrent factor against an attack on Israel.

It seems hard to imagine what positive effects an Obama promise would have in deterring a nuclear first-strike by a nation with neither a nuclear arsenal nor any seeming inclination toward a first strike. It may further throw the hopes of reconciliation between the two nations into doubt, however.

One question: WHY?


Still there?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

US Bombs Afghan Police Station, Killing Seven
Police in the Afghan city of Qalat fired on American special forces during a raid on an opposition commander. American planes responded with an air strike on the police station, killing six policemen and a civilian whose nearby house was also hit. The commander of the police post was among the dead. At least 13 others were wounded in the attack. The US forces described it as “tragic case of mistaken identity on both parts.”
Shoot first and ask questions later? Does that make sense?


Center equals status quo

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Never liked the center or the right...

Liberals Voice Concerns About Obama

Liberals are growing increasingly nervous - and some just flat-out angry - that President-elect Barack Obama seems to be stiffing them on Cabinet jobs and policy choices.
Obama has reversed pledges to immediately repeal tax cuts for the wealthy and take on Big Oil. He's hedged his call for a quick drawdown in Iraq. And he's stocking his White House with anything but stalwarts of the left.
Now some are shedding a reluctance to puncture the liberal euphoria at being rid of President George W. Bush to say, in effect, that the new boss looks like the old boss.
"He has confirmed what our suspicions were by surrounding himself with a centrist to right cabinet. But we do hope that before it's all over we can get at least one authentic progressive appointment," said Tim Carpenter, national director of the Progressive Democrats of America.
OpenLeft blogger Chris Bowers went so far as to issue this plaintive plea: "Isn't there ever a point when we can get an actual Democratic administration?"
As The Who, in "Won't get fooled again" sing:
Meet the new boss

Same as the old boss

Let's hope there is a difference - let's hope the difference emerges soon.


Follow the money...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Want to know why the wars will never end? Follow the trail of dollar bills.

One thriving sector: The business of war

Across the nation, companies are lopping off hundreds of thousands of jobs, retailers are shuttering stores, and automakers are tottering on the edge of bankruptcy.
But here in the Merrimack River Valley, and over the state line at several industrial sites around Massachusetts, defense contractor BAE Systems is hoisting "Help Wanted" signs.
BAE develops technology in fields like electronic warfare and cybersecurity, sophisticated systems that are key to combating a new wave of threats around the globe. At a time when 1.7 million jobs have been lost in the United States this year, the company is hiring 200 engineers and manufacturing workers in Nashua, Hudson, and Merrimack, N.H., and Burlington, Lexington, and Marlborough, Mass.
Other defense electronics contractors, such as Waltham's Raytheon Co. and General Dynamics Corp.'s communications systems center in Taunton, also continue to ramp up. Such companies remain awash in orders from the Pentagon and American allies increasingly worried about terrorism and missile proliferation.


Depressed yet?

Analysis: Obama defense agenda resembles Gates'
For a Democrat whose opposition to the Iraq war was a campaign centerpiece, President-elect Barack Obama is remarkably in sync with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on many core defense and national security issues — even Iraq.
The list of similarities suggests the early focus of Obama's Pentagon may not change dramatically from President George W. Bush's.
Given that Obama made the unprecedented decision to keep the incumbent Republican defense secretary, it would seem natural to expect that they see eye to eye on at least some major defense issues. But the extent of their shared priorities is surprising, given Obama's campaign criticisms of Bush's defense policies.
So much for "change" in Iraq.


Time for civic action?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In light of the disappointment I am feeling with the Cabinet post assignments, the "retreat" about ending the war...I think it might be time to follow some of  Naomi Wolf's 32 civic action she noted in "Give Me Liberty."  Some good ones:

15. Stage a boycott

16. Organize a protest or rally

19. Exercise your right to Free Speech

27. Organize a national hearing

29. Remake US foreign Policy by putting pressure on shareholders & elected officials, and demanding socially responsible investing

It seems like our work is not over.



Campaign Promises on Ending the War in Iraq Now Muted by Reality
On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to “end the war” in Iraq.
But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.
End it responsibly? More like - we are responsible so END IT!


The End of America?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Wishing Obama would follow this lead

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sounds like a great first two weeks in the Oval Office.


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