- Peace Garden: 2009

Lack of Posts

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wondering why I was having so much trouble posting here. It was quite easy posting to Greener Spaces. Why so difficult to be motivated here?

I realize that it is frustration! Frustrated that we are still in Iraq and increasing the war in Afghanistan. Frustrated that we still rattle the swords at Iran and use the term "evil" at Nobel Peace Prize awards. Frustrated about the growing chasm between classes. Frustrated that Tiger Wood's sex escapades are more "newsworthy" and interesting to most than climate change conferences, the wars, medical insurance legislation...

Our consumer culture is still dominant. Our belief that "our way" is the only way is still dominant. The lack of concern about our future is still dominant.

This frustration, I realize, is what has made it hard to post here. I look at world events/news and cry. We are no better than we were when I submitted my first blog so many years ago.

Greener Spaces has a different feeling for me. It is much easier to talk about and comment on things I can do and influence - my own eating habits, lifestyle, purchases... So much easier to post there about my garden or the latest green item.

Sure I will still post here on a very sporadic basis - when my anger or concern is greater than my frustration with the world. But my efforts at Greener Spaces will continue (and grow) because there it is about my own life and choices - things I directly influence. I do not need a new President or a group to be at peace in my home or in my garden. Greener Spaces is in a sense my own personal Peace Garden. Selfish? In a way - but isn't it so important to be at peace with oneself first before we can spread the peace to others?


Obama's Afghanistan plan wins conservative praise

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Obama's Afghanistan plan wins conservative praise:

Washington (CNN) - It's not often the Republican National Committee holds a conference call with reporters during which President Barack Obama is largely praised.

But amid news the president has decided to beef up U.S. forces in Afghanistan by at least 30,000 within the next six months, the RNC deployed conservative foreign policy expert Dan Senor to offer accolades of the plan.

'I have been critical of the process over the last 90-some days through which the president has arrived at his decision, but it sounds to me, based on what we know, that it is a very good decision and I applaud him,' said Senor, an adjunct senior fellow at the non partisan Council on Foreign Relations and a former advisor to the U.S. led coalition in Iraq.

Why? Just withdraw the troops. It is over. It can never succeed. That should be clear to you, OBushama, when someone like Senor applauds your move.



Thursday, November 26, 2009

U.S. will not join treaty banning landmines:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has no plans to join a global treaty banning landmines because a policy review found the United States could not meet its security commitments without them, the State Department said on Tuesday.

'This administration undertook a policy review and we decided that our land mine policy remains in effect,' spokesman Ian Kelly told a briefing five days before a review conference in Cartegena, Colombia on the 10-year-old Mine Ban Treaty.

'We determined that we would not be able to meet our national defense needs nor our security commitments to our friends and allies if we signed this convention,' he said.

It was the first time the administration had publicly disclosed the decision.

The treaty bans the use, stockpiling, production or transfer of antipersonnel mines. It has been endorsed by 156 countries, but the United States, Russia, China and India have not adopted it.

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, a leading advocate for the treaty, called the decision 'a default of U.S. leadership.'

'It is a lost opportunity for the United States to show leadership instead of joining with China and Russia and impeding progress,' Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said in a statement.



Tuesday, November 17, 2009

CA Dems to Obama: Get Out of Afghanistan:

The California Democratic Party just sent a loud message to President Obama, who is pondering the next U.S. move in Afghanistan: Get out.

The state's Dems have gone on record with a Get Out message before -- like at their confab last summer. But this one is more specific. And bolder. Marin County activist and media critic Norman Solomon passes on that the CDP's 300-member statewide exec board passed a resolution Sunday called: 'End the U.S. Occupation and Air War in Afghanistan.' You can find the resolution here.

Update: CA Dem Party czar John Burton just called to weigh in on this. He says Obama has two choices now: Go all in and give Gen. Stanley McChrystal what he wants or begin a pullout.

The politics of it, according to Burton: If Obama proposes something less than what McChyrstal wants and the mission goes sideways, 'The Republicans will pound him for it.'

'It's not going to work over there,' Burton told us. 'You've got a corrupt government. The guy put together a ticket of drug lords and war lords.'

Plus, Burton said he 'doesn't have a lot of confidence' in McChyrstal after the general's role in the misclassification of Pat Tillman's death.

Burton remembers when a forerunner of the Cal Dem Party opposed LBJ's oversight of the Vietnam War -- soon thereafter its leader was bounced. As for whether he expects any other state party organizations to follow suit. 'I hope so,' he said. 'We just do what we do.'

Writes Norman Solomon:

'The resolution supports 'a timetable for withdrawal of our military personnel' and calls for 'an end to the use of mercenary contractors as well as an end to air strikes that cause heavy civilian casualties.' Advocating multiparty talks inside Afghanistan, the resolution also urges Obama 'to oversee a redirection of our funding and resources to include an increase in humanitarian and developmental aid.'

'While Obama weighs Afghanistan policy options, the California Democratic Party's adoption of the resolution is the most tangible indicator yet that escalation of the U.S. war effort can only fuel opposition within the president's own party -- opposition that has already begun to erode his political base.'


Cheney returns

Monday, November 09, 2009

Cheney urges strong U.S. commitment to Afghan war: BE

NTON HARBOR, Michigan - Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday urged President Barack Obama to commit enough troops to win the war in Afghanistan, warning hesitation would embolden U.S. foes and devastate its allies.

'I don't see how he can do anything other than move aggressively to achieve victory,' the Wyoming Republican, a harsh critic of the new administration, said in a speech to a Michigan business group.

'Our adversaries take heart from our hesitation and vacillation,' Cheney said.

'Our not following through will have devastating consequences not only for Afghanistan but also for our NATO allies. This is the first time ever (NATO members have) committed troops to combat.'

Two questions:
- Can wars ever be won?

- Who asked Uncle Dick's opinion? Who cares about his opinion?


Bring them home

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Obama Leaning Toward 34,000 More Troops for Afghanistan:

by Jonathan S. Landay, John Walcott and Nancy A. Youssef

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is nearing a decision to send more than 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan next year, but he may not announce it until after he consults with key allies and completes a trip to Asia later this month, administration and military officials have told McClatchy.

As it now stands, the administration's plan calls for sending three Army brigades from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky. and the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. and a Marine brigade, for a total of as many as 23,000 additional combat and support troops.

read more

Wrong answer. Unless you are sending them there to pack the bags and bring the others home.


Attack of the Drones?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Airstrikes Won't Build a Better Future in Afghanistan:

"The media is enamored of high-tech, sexy-sounding airstrikes over Pakistan. They shouldn't be."
Indeed, behind the glittering mirage of news about the technological wizardry of drones and the giddy success of manufacturers from California to Karachi lies a chilling void of information about their use. In June the UN Human Rights Council condemned the U.S. failure to count and disclose, much less prevent, civilian casualties from drones in Afghanistan. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, pledged to regulate their use (implying a disturbing lack of regulation till then). But the government still refuses to share even the most basic information about attacks, partly because in Pakistan they are run by the CIA. Independent reporters who dare to investigate -- like Stephen Farrell, who went to Kunduz after an airstrike killed about a hundred civilians -- court death as well as condemnation for taking "unnecessary" risks for something as trivial as the truth.
Better future? We get out!


We'll Follow Obama's Orders on Afghanistan

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Gates to Army: We'll Follow Obama's Orders on Afghanistan:


Washington - Amid tension between the military and President Barack Obama over military action in Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a gathering of Army officers Monday that the Pentagon would follow any strategy that Obama orders.

    "Speaking for the Department of Defense, once the commander in chief makes his decisions, we will salute and execute those decisions faithfully and to the best of our ability," Gates told the Association of the U.S. Army in Washington.

read more

There is something that nags me. There is this impending doom feeling. Maybe it stemmed from the pulled article about a military coup (I forget where it was being run). It just feels like the political chasm is growing larger and larger each day. And now the military is getting involved.


So what's new now

Saturday, September 26, 2009

U.S. was aware of ?new? Iranian nuke site for years:

Summary: WASHINGTON (CNN) The United States was aware of Iran's unfinished uranium enrichment site for several years, senior U.S. officials told CNN on Friday.

source: CNN

So why are we revving up the machine now?


New President - Same War Drums

Israel: Iranian nuclear facility for weapons

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says the newly exposed Iranian nuclear facility proves the Islamic Republic is pursuing nuclear weapons. Lieberman told Israel radio on Saturday that "without a doubt" the reactor was for military purposes. Iran kept the facility, located 100 miles southwest of Tehran, hidden from the U.N. nuclear watchdog until revealing it in a letter to the IAEA on Monday. Iran insists its enrichment facilities are only for producing fuel for power plants rather than for weapons. Israel considers Iran a strategic threat due to its nuclear program, missile development and repeated references by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Israel's destruction.
He speaks and we are listening?

The drums are beating and the sabres are rattling - AGAIN!


Cronkite a US enemy?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FBI may have destroyed files on Walter Cronkite

Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation said they may have destroyed files on legendary newsman Walter Cronkite in an October 2007 document purge. One of Cronkite's closest friends, Mike Ashford, said he wouldn't be surprised if Cronkite's name showed up in FBI files, but that it was probably for innocuous reasons. "He was routinely in the company of presidents and received clearance to enter secret places like a nuclear submarine," Ashford, who spoke at Cronkite's funeral, told Raw Story. "If there was anything on him, it probably said: 'He's a good guy and okay to have dinner with the president.' Walter was never fretting about the FBI following him around."
Or was it for his Vietnam war comments? Let us hope that Sir Walter was on file because of those clearances he received. But my gut tells me otherwise.


Bring 'em Home

New Pew Poll on Afghanistan Shows Dwindling Support for the War:

Even though more than three-quarters of Americans consider the Taliban a threat, an increasing number want Obama to start withdrawing troops.


Rush on the crazy train

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Limbaugh Wants Jim Crow Back: "We Need Segregated Buses"

Last week, a video of a school bus beating showing two African American children assaulting a white student began circulating the internet. Despite claims by authorities that the attack was not necessarily racially motivated, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh jumped on the story and claimed that in "Obama's America the white kids now get beat up." Yesterday, Limbaugh proposed a solution to this problem -- a return to segregated busing: LIMBAUGH: I think the guy's wrong. I think not only it was racism, it was justifiable racism. I mean, that's the lesson we're being taught here today. Kid shouldn't have been on the bus anyway. We need segregated buses -- it was invading space and stuff. This is Obama's America.
Glenn Beck rides the train. Sean Hannity rides it...Are these guys trying to outdo the other with insane ideas?


Tip of the hat to Murtha

Monday, September 14, 2009

Murtha To Obama: No More Troops: H

ouse defense spending cardinal John Murtha, an early bellwether of congressional opposition to the Iraq war, has made his strongest comments yet opposing more U.S. troops for the war in Afghanistan.

The Pennsylvania lawmaker and Vietnam veteran, who plays a crucial role in forming the budgets that would fund an increased troop presence, is skeptical of the basic logic of adding personnel.


Tea Party Crazies

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tea Party Protester: "We Think The Muslims Are Moving In And Taking Over" (:

A protester at Saturday's Tea Party on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. made clear that she was afraid, saying 'We are losing our country, we think the Muslim's are moving in and taking over.'

NBC Nightly News interviewed the woman, who was surrounded by fellow protesters as she made the remarks. Her name was not used.

Participants at the event, billed 'March on Washington' by its organizers, rallied against President Obama's health care plan and what they say is out-of-control spending.

Hope she doesn't look under her bed, the little green men have set up camp.

Sorry I missed chief loony Coulter in Bridgeport the other day. I could have used a good laugh.


Obama's Quagmire Looks a Lot like Vietnam

Friday, September 11, 2009

Obama's Quagmire Looks a Lot like Vietnam:

The way he's headed on Afghanistan, Barack Obama is threatened with a quagmire that could bog down his presidency.

Time to say - ENOUGH!


Team Obama Divided on Afghanistan

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Team Obama Divided on Afghanistan:   

Top officials of the Obama administration are divided on the expected request of the Pentagon for more troops in Afghanistan reported Friday.

    'The military's anticipated request for more troops to combat the insurgency in Afghanistan has divided senior advisers to President Obama as they try to determine the proper size and mission of the American effort there, officials said Thursday.'

read more

Leading the opposition - Biden.

Listen to us - bring the troops home.


Obama Is Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Obama Is Leading the U.S. Into a Hellish Quagmire:

Obama is doubling down in Afghanistan with more troops deployed now than the Soviets ever had, at a time when public support for it is sinking like a rock.

Why hasn't anyone pointed out that America's troop commitment now exceeds the Red Army's? For some inexplicable reason the corporate media has decided to shuffle the figures and exclude the US military contractors from the total figure of US military personnel. It makes no logical sense -- we still count the Hessians among the British forces in the War of Independence. It's as if the only thing left that Americans are capable of is accounting fraud -- the only talent we perfected over the past decade was how to move all the bad numbers off the official books, as if it's become an instinctive reflex.

The Afghanistan War has somehow escaped most of America's attention.

Time to bring attention to this issue. Time to end both wars.


Bush's Third Term? OBushama?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

David Swanson: Bush's Third Term? You're Living It:

Cross-posted with Tomdispatch.com

It sounds like the plot for the latest summer horror movie. Imagine, for a moment, that George W. Bush had been allowed a third term as president, had run and had won or stolen it, and that we were all now living (and dying) through it. With the Democrats in control of Congress but Bush still in the Oval Office, the media would certainly be talking endlessly about a mandate for bipartisanship and the importance of taking into account the concerns of Republicans. Can't you just picture it?

There's Dubya now, still rewriting laws via signing statements. Still creating and destroying laws with executive orders. And still violating laws at his whim.

And the list goes on and on... But we elected a change agent - didn't we?
Now, here's the funny part. This dark fantasy of a third Bush term is also an accurate portrait of Obama's first term to date. In following Bush, Obama was given the opportunity either to restore the rule of law and the balance of powers or to firmly establish in place what were otherwise aberrant abuses of power. Thus far, President Obama has, in all the areas mentioned above, chosen the latter course. Everything described, from the continuation of crimes to the efforts to hide them away, from the corruption of corporate power to the assertion of the executive power to legislate, is Obama's presidency in its first seven months.

Which doesn't mean there aren't differences in the two moments. For one thing, Democrats have now joined Republicans in approving expanded presidential powers and even -- in the case of wars, military strikes, lawless detention and rendition, warrantless spying, and the obstruction of justice -- presidential crimes. In addition, in the new Democratic era of goodwill, peace and justice movements have been strikingly defunded and, in some cases, even shut down. Many progressive groups now, in fact, take their signals from the president and his team, rather than bringing the public's demands to his doorstep.

If we really were in Bush's third term, people would be far more active and outraged. There would already be a major push to really end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan. Undoubtedly, the Democrats still wouldn't impeach Bush, especially since they'd be able to vote him out before his fourth term, and surely four more years of him wouldn't make all that much difference.

Copyright 2009 David Swanson


Cindy Sheehan: Obama's wars now

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cindy Sheehan: Obama's wars now:


'System... stays the same, no matter who is in charge,' protester laments.

By Mark Silva / Chicago Tribune

Cindy Sheehan is back.

But this time, the war protester who lost her son, Casey, at war in Iraq, is not camped outside the Texas ranch of former President George W. Bush, who ordered the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

She is staking out the media on Martha's Vineyard, where President Barack Obama, who has pledged to withdraw troops from Iraq but is boosting the U.S. military deployment at war in Afghanistan, is spending a week's vacation.

Sheehan, who liked to pitch a 'peace camp'' outside the vacationing Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas, showed up today outside the schoolhouse in Oak Bluffs, Mass., where reporters covering the vacationing Obama are working. The president is tucked away at Blue Heron Farm, a 28-acre rented estate, no brush clearing.

'The reason I am here is because ... even though the facade has changed in Washington DC, the policies are still the same,' Sheehan told a handful of journalists, with a Camp Casey banner behind her. Calling on peace activists to wake up and protest Obama's escalation of the war in Afghanistan, and complaining that troops still remain in Iraq, she said: 'We have to realize, it is not the president who is power, it is not the party that is in power, it is the system that stays the same, no matter who is in charge.'

'We are here to make the wars unpopular again,' Sheehan said.

It is time to end the wars. It is time to hold OBushama accountable.


Cheney ‘OK’ With Violating Felony Torture Statute

Cheney ‘OK’ With Violating Felony Torture Statute

In an interview with Fox News to be aired this Sunday, former Vice President Dick Cheney said he is “OK” with CIA interrogations that violated Justice Department guidelines and condemned the prospect of any investigation of abuses as potentially “devastating” to morale.
"OK" with crimes - if done in his name. Amazing that we are still debating whether to investigate abuses AT ALL LEVELS!


Kudos to Feingold

Monday, August 24, 2009

Feingold to Obama: Announce Withdrawal Timetable from Afghanistan

Sen. Russ Feingold, D-WI, called on President Obama to announce a timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. "This is a strategy that is not likely to succeed," Sen. Feingold said about the troop buildup in Afghanistan. "After eight years, I am not convinced that pouring more and more troops into Afghanistan is a well thought out policy," said Feingold. The liberal Democrat said he has expressed his reservations with President Obama, Admiral Mullen, and others inside the administration and he says he has "never been convinced they have a good answer." "I think it is time we start discussing a flexible timetable so that people around the world can see when we are going to bring our troops out," said Feingold. "Showing the people there and here that we have a sense about when it is time to leave is one of the best things we can do," he added.
Not too flexible though. This is a now win war - as if any war is winnable. Let us learn our lessons from past forays into Afghanistan.


Old Devils - Whitmore

Sunday, August 23, 2009


State Department Still Paying Blackwater More Than $400M -- Despite Public Break With Company

Saturday, August 22, 2009

State Department Still Paying Blackwater More Than $400M -- Despite Public Break With Company:

WASHINGTON -- Despite publicly breaking with an American private security company in Iraq, the State Department continues to award the company, formerly known as Blackwater, more than $400 million in contracts to fly its diplomats around Iraq, guard them in Afghanistan, and train security forces in antiterrorism tactics at its remote camp in North Carolina.

More on Afghanistan
Yeah sure - a break. Pretty clear who runs our government.


We already knew this

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tom Ridge: I Was Pressured To Raise Terror Alert To Help Bush Win

Ridge was never invited to sit in on National Security Council meetings; was "blindsided" by the FBI in morning Oval Office meetings because the agency withheld critical information from him; found his urgings to block Michael Brown from being named head of the emergency agency blamed for the Hurricane Katrina disaster ignored; and was pushed to raise the security alert on the eve of President Bush's re-election, something he saw as politically motivated and worth resigning over.
Manipulation? Who didn't think this was happening?


Labor Warns Dems: We'll Sit Out Election If You Oppose Public Plan

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Labor Warns Dems: We'll Sit Out Election If You Oppose Public Plan

by Sam Stein

One of the country's most prominent union officials is warning that big labor may pull its support from Democrats who don't fight for a government-run insurance plan.

In an interview with the Huffington Post on Saturday, Richard Trumka, the secretary-treasurer and likely next president of the AFL-CIO, said his federation is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to a public option in the health care bill. Lawmakers who don't support the provision, he said, shouldn't take anything for granted.

read more

Kudos. Now we have to stand and end the wars.


IRAN: Under Pressure from Hawks, Obama Tacks to the Right

Saturday, August 15, 2009

IRAN: Under Pressure from Hawks, Obama Tacks to the Right:

"Summary: But the administration is facing a great deal of pressure to move quickly to sanctions from congressional hawks – backed by hardline organisations within the so-called “Israel lobby” – who have been pushing for a tougher line against Tehran since well before the Jun. 12 elections that triggered Iran's current political crisis. While it remains too early to tell whether the Obama administration intends to follow through on threats of sanctions before the end of the year, recent statements by administration officials have sounded increasingly impatient with the rate of diplomatic progress. source: IPSread more"
There goes the hopes for "diplomacy?"


Progress on Cluster Bombs

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Progress on Cluster Bombs: "Excerpt: Good news is in short supply. The economy remains bleak. The war in Iraq entered its seventh year last week, and violence reaches new pinnacles in Afghanistan. But there is one bright light amid all this gloom. Real progress is being made to ban cluster munitions. These are canisters of different sizes that release hundreds of bomblets on detonation, scattering deadly devices over an area as large as several football fields.



Troops on Main Street

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Governors oppose DoD emergency powers

A bipartisan pair of governors is opposing a new Defense Department proposal to handle natural and terrorism-related disasters, contending that a murky chain of command could lead to more problems than solutions. Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas (R), chairman of the National Governors Association, and Vice Chairman Gov. Joe Manchin (D) of West Virginia penned a letter opposing the Pentagon proposal, which they said would hinder a state's effort to respond to a disaster. Current law gives governors control over National Guard forces in their own states as well as any Guard units and Defense Department personnel imported from other states. The letter comes as the Pentagon proposes a legislative fix that would give the secretary of Defense the authority to assist in response to domestic disasters and, consequently, control over units stationed in an affected state.
Swine flu outbreak would mean soldiers on Main Street inoculating us whether you want it or not.


Why decades?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

UK in Afghanistan for decades, says our man in Washington

"We're going to have a very long-term commitment to Afghanistan's future. This is not just one year," Sir Nigel said in an interview with The Boston Globe. "This is going to be for decades. We're going to help them get to a state which can they can ward off the return of the Taliban and al-Qa'ida. That's our strategic objective. We need to avoid the vacuum returning. And that's what this huge effort is about."
Grim outlook? You bet it is. The Soviet Union was planning on staying for decades. Will we never learn from history?


Prove it now

Monday, July 20, 2009

US Must Prove Afghanistan ‘Winnable’ in a Year

In an interview published today, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates declared that the American public is “pretty tired” of the seemingly endless war in Afghanistan, and said he believed that forces had to turn the situation around in a year.
If, or most likely when, that doesn’t happen, Gates says that the US could lose public support for the war, and the public might conclude that the conflict has become “unwinnable,” adding “after the Iraq experience, nobody is prepared to have a long slog where it is not apparent we are making headway.”
I don't need any more time to know it is not winnable (to go a step further - no war is "winnable"). So let's end it now, bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, stop the drone attacks, pull out the black ops from Iran... Oh yeah, DO NOT replace our troops with civilian contractors. Mercenaries are not acceptable either.


Finally some encouraging news?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Obama Orders Probe Into 2001 Afghanistan Massacre

President Barack Obama today revealed to CNN that he has ordered officials to investigate the infamous Dasht-e Leili massacre which occurred in late 2001, saying it had never been properly investigated.
According to Physicians for Human Rights, one of several groups that investigated the killings, up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners captured in the US invasion were killed in the custody of General Abdul Rashid Dostum. Many were suffocated to death in containers, while others were shot. Investigators say US troops were present during the massacre.
Lately I have been trying to find some positives - instead of the news of continued war, troops remaining in Iraq, sabre rattling...
Maybe this is the start of a true examination of our foreign policy. Maybe this is a precursor to some changes we have been waiting for.


Entitled to wage war?

Monday, July 06, 2009

Biden: Israel ‘Entitled’ to Attack Iran
In an interview today on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulus,” Vice President Joe Biden said it was up to the Israeli government to decide if Iran constituted an existential threat and that the nation was “entitled” to launch a military strike against the nation if they wanted to.
Joe jumping on the crazy train.


War drums still beating

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Odierno Still Blaming Iran for Iraq Attacks
During his official video-conference today, top US commander in Iraq General Ray Odierno again blamed the Iranian government for the continuing insurgency in Iraq, claiming that training was going on inside Iran and that the Iranians have been providing weapons and ammunition to Iraqi militants.
The charge is perplexing, given that the recent attacks have almost exclusively targeted Shi’ites and considering the strong ties the Iranian government maintains with the ruling Shi’ite government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
A new boss but some still want to beat that drum. Even when, as noted in the article, it makes no logical sense. But then again, we were fooled too many times before.


Doing as we do

Report Cites Indiscriminate Drone Use by Israel
Titled “Precisely Wrong,” the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report focuses on six cases of Israeli drone-launched missile attacks in which 29 Palestinian civilians, eight of them children, were killed.
Sounds familiar? Our drone attacks in Pakistan? Following our example.


Who do we support in Honduras?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Honduras Coup Poses Challenges, Questions for Obama, Congress

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a reasonably muscular condemnation of the military coup in Honduras, where elected President Manuel (Mel) Zelaya was kidnapped and flown out of the country by soldiers bent on blocking an advisory vote on constitutional reform in the country.
President Obama's statement was softer and in tone
Why not more forceful?
Zelaya's left-leaning economic and social policies earned praise from labor unions and civil society groups, and he had forged regional alliances with the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, which Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and other elected leaders in Latin America established as a counter to the neoliberal trade and security policies pushed by the U.S. under Bush. That made relations with the U.S. somewhat more tense, especially as Zelaya wrangled with conservative forces over media, presidential succession and constitional issues.
Chavez has suggested that U.S. meddling -- and a Central Intelligence Agency tie -- enabled the coup.
Ooops! Our latest fiend (Chavez) is (in a round about way) tied in. No wonder the fence straddling. Can't let independent leaders rule a country in our hemisphere - hell in the world!


Ron Paul - right on this one

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Meddling in Iran

As the violence on the streets of Tehran took a turn for the worse today, President Barack Obama publicly condemned the Iranian government for its “violent and unjust actions against its own people.” The protesters have clashed with police on and off for a week, but today’s crackdown appears to be more vigorous.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives also passed a resolution condemning the Iranian government and expressing official support for the protesters. The vote passed 405-1, with only Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) dissenting, insisting the US should avoid meddling in the internal affairs of foreign nations.

Sure our hearts go out to the injured and murdered, but the real issue is what gives us the right to interfere. Ask for peace and non-violence only - don't ask for a "winner." Otherwise the situation is a no-win one for us. If and when the protests are put down - the power regime will remember what we called for. If the protest does continue and lead to a new regime - how can we be sure it will lead to an equal society?


A Plan for Peace?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What if Osama Calls Obama’s Bluff?

As is the custom of American interventionists, President Obama spoke in Cairo as if our Islamist enemies have no vote in how their conflict with the United States will henceforth proceed. The adolescent geniuses who wrote Obama’s speech apparently spent no time at all perusing what Osama bin Laden and other Islamists have said or written over the past 13 years, and especially since 2001. At repeated points in that corpus of material, for example, bin Laden has offered a truce to the United States and its allies on terms eerily similar to those Obama described in Cairo as the intentions of his administration.
* Complete U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.
* No residual U.S. military bases in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
* Self-determination for Muslim peoples now ruled by tyrants.
* Termination of Israel’s gradual but unending thievery of Palestinian territory.
* U.S. and Western recognition that all Muslims belong to one nation, or ummah, and that the post-World War I subdivision of the ummah into nation-states is a Western-imposed contrivance for subjugating Muslims.
The article goes on to opine about Osama. Instead I wish it focused on the Cairo speech and ask: When will complete withdrawal occur? and When will the last base close?


Pentagon Admits ‘Problems’ in Farah Air Strike

‘Problems?’ That's what we are calling it. Children dead because of "tactics, techniques and procedures"? More than a "problem" in my eyes.


Secret Wars - we've done it before

Thursday, May 28, 2009

America's Secret War

Is the US already at war with Iran? In "America's Secret War", Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to the Iraq-Iran border to investigate claims that the United States is supporting militant groups that are attacking Iran. In the rugged Qandil mountains, she meets with up with anti-Iranian guerillas who have been launching deadly raids against the Islamic Republic. A good percentage of the fighters are women, and Mariana accompanies a small group of them through what many believe has become the frontline of the US's secret war with Iran.


Can we ever have peace?

US-Backed Sunni Militias Continue to Clash With Iraqi Govt

The tensions between the Sunni Awakening Forces and the Shi’ite-led Iraqi government continue to rise with each passing day, as the membership of the 90,000-strong group becomes increasingly resentful of unkept promises and struggles to make ends meet with the Iraqi government in some cases months behind on their pay.
In recent months, the Iraqi government has even taken to arresting leaders of the group as terrorists. The charges predate the formation of the Awakening Forces, and it was never a secret that the US was recruiting former insurgents into the group amid promises of steady pay and pardons. With the pay not coming and the pardons not worth nearly so much as they hoped, the concern is that many will return into the insurgency.
So we recruited former enemies to battle our allies? Nuts?

This at a time when Afghanistan and Pakistan are at a boiling point and Korea is ready to blow. How many wars can we participate in? How many can we start?


Let's invade everyone!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Obama Orders Update to Iran Attack Plan
On NBC’s Today Show this morning, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that President Obama has ordered him to update the plans for a US attack on Iran, plans which were last updating during the Bush Administration. Gates says the plans are “refreshed” and insists that “all options are on the table” with respect to the potential attack.
It is unclear whether Gates’ revelation portends a serious potential for an imminent US attack on Iran, or whether the move is more international posturing. Still, it seems unlikely the news will be greeted warmly in Iran, which is in the middle of an election campaign in which potential US talks are a major issue.
Hope in that last paragraph? Not based on the shifting that has been going on and the increased bombings in Pakistan. It seems, even with OBushama, we can't stop going to war. Can we ever be a nation and world at peace? Or do we always have to be the world cop?


A "new" president driven to war?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Obama’s 48-Hour Makeover
President Obama’s tenuous claim to the antiwar community was already unraveling long before he formally took office. Shortly after the election his national security team’s extremely hawkish makeup was drawing concern. Two days after his inauguration, he had backed off his campaign promise to have all US troops out of Iraq in 16 months. Still, his supporters could find some measure of solace in his halting of the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay and his promises of a more transparent administration.
Or at least they used to be able to. In the past 48 hours the administration has backed off of the few scraps of significant policy revisions thrown to an electorate hungry for his campaign’s mantra of change. First, he overruled the Pentagon’s decision that undisclosed photos of detainee abuse could be released. Perplexingly, he insisted that the photos did not contain anything “particularly sensational,” before cautioning that making them public would imperil the troops and inflame anti-American opinion.
It was less than 48 hours later that the president confirmed that he was going to resume the military tribunals against detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He had previously ordered such tribunals halted when pledging to close the facility. Now instead of the rule of law, the administration is offering a modest selection of new “rights” detainees will enjoy, none of them particularly earth-shattering.
OBushama is not only keeping the old wars going but tageting some new areas as well - North Waziristan
A US drone fired two missiles at a religious school (madrassa) in Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency today, killing at least 27 and wounding an as yet undetermined number of others. Villagers are reportedly still recovering people from the debris of the destroyed school, and several of the wounded are in critical condition, so the final death toll may yet rise.
Time to listen to the people who elected you.


Gardens not War

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

By Sandra Griffin --- T-shirt at Northern Sun


Scorecards in War?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Evidence shows Taliban killed some civilians: US military

Investigators have found evidence that Taliban fighters caused civilian casualties in a major battle in which US air strikes are alleged to have killed scores of villagers, the US military said Saturday.
President Hamid Karzai has said that up to 130 civilians, including children and the elderly, were killed in the bombing raids overnight Monday-Tuesday in the western province of Farah.
An investigation by US and Afghan security found Saturday that "a number" of civilians were killed but it was not clear how. The investigation also found evidence "of non-combatant casualties caused by Taliban fighters? actions," a US military statement said late Saturday.
Are we now at a point where we will be posting how many were killed by "the others?" Does this, in some insane way, justify our actions? Does it absolve us?

Time to get out!


Who did we elect?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

After US Strikes, Afghans Describe 'Tractor Trailers Full of Pieces of Human Bodies;' Meanwhile, Obama Readies 21,000 More Troop
...anger is rising in the western province of Farah, the scene of a US bombing massacre that may have killed as many as 130 Afghans, including 13 members of one family. At least six houses were bombed and among the dead and wounded are women and children. As of this writing reports indicate some people remain buried in rubble. The US airstrikes happened on Monday and Tuesday. Just hours after Obama met with US-backed president Hamid Karzai Wednesday, hundreds of Afghans—perhaps as many as 2,000— poured into the streets of the provincial capital, chanting “Death to America.” The protesters demanded a US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
They are asking. I am asking. Out already!


Smoke and mirrors

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Success! Our eyes have been taken away from the continuing wars, the economy...How did "they" succeed? Swine flu outbreak - pandemic - get your duct tape ready to seal yourself in...

While we were focused on tracking the outbreaks, we are still in Iraq and dieing. We are still trying to prop up a regime in Afghanistan. We are talking about putting new life into Gitmo.

The guys running our regime are very very good. Just like a great magician, divert the audiences' attention to pull off the great trick. The trick in this case - keep the machine plugging along as it has for the past decades. Change? They'll come up with ways to spin that too.


Leahy seeking truth

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Truth commission to proceed despite Obama’s wishes
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) plans to proceed with a special commission to investigate alleged Bush administration abuses of power, despite lacking President Barack Obama’s support, according to a report Tuesday.
Sen. Leahy called for a “Truth Commission” in February to probe Bush administration policies on torture, interrogation and surveillance and to — as he puts it — “get to the bottom of what went wrong.” Such an idea would be modeled around truth commissions established in South Africa and Chile, which offered immunity to officials who committed abuses in exchange for the truth.
Immunity? Oh alright, I'll go along with that.


Backtrack again and again

Friday, April 24, 2009

Armenians mourn WWI mass killings
Obama, who had referred to the "Armenian genocide" during his presidential campaign, on Friday omitted the term, referring instead to the event as the "one of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century." He also refrained from using the term genocide during a recent visit to Turkey, saying only that his views were on the record.
Call it what it is - genocide!


Backtracking again

Assault weapons ban
Campaigning before a church congregation on Chicago’s South Side one Sunday in July 2007, Barack Obama said an epidemic of big city violence was “sickening the soul of this nation.”
Among the potential cures, he said, was permanently reinstating a ban on assault weapons.
One-hundred days into his presidency, President Obama says it remains a goal. But it is one the White House has been forced to abandon.
Forced by politics. Remember that when someone is killed.


McGovern's Words of Wisdom

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bring Our Troops Home from Mideast This Year
President Barack Obama holds my admiration with high hopes for his message of change in Washington, D.C. It is puzzling, however, that he has adopted most of the previous administration's formula for dragging out the withdrawal of our troops from the mistaken war in Iraq for nearly three more years. Very little "change" here.
Three years ago, public opinion polls indicated that a majority of Americans believed our policymakers were wrong in ordering troops into Iraq. It is widely accepted that this sentiment more than any other factor in the 2006 congressional elections resulted in Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate.
Are we now going to ignore for another three years the public mandate of 2006 against this costly, pre-emptive war based on deceit? And how can we justify putting thousands more U.S. troops into Afghanistan? We have exhausted our treasury. We are also close to exhausting our soldiers.
Can there be any doubt that the enormous war cost has contributed to the financial crisis here at home? The expense of waging two Middle East wars, plus the loss of revenue caused by the previous administration's tax cuts, have skyrocketed the national debt to a record high. Do we ever consider what the interest alone is on our $10 trillion national debt -- much of it paid to China?
Frankly, we cannot afford a two-war commitment year after year if we want to balance the federal budget and restore our economy. The huge bonuses that directors of failing corporations have awarded themselves and their chief executives have rightfully angered people, but those figures are peanuts compared with the $12 billion a month we have poured into Iraq and Afghanistan over the last six years.
...I urge President Obama to bring our troops home from the Middle East this year. A good target date for completing an orderly withdrawal from two ill-conceived and costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be Thanksgiving 2009.
For our sake and God's sake, let's get out of there and begin healing our own bankrupted land.
Makes absolute sense to me. Why not to OBushama?


Condoning torture

Monday, April 20, 2009

Emanuel: Obama Won’t Prosecute Officials Over Interrogations
Speaking today on ABC’s “This Week” program, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said that President Barack Obama has not only no intention of prosecuting individual interrogators for following guidance of dubious legality regarding interrogations, but that policymakers and lawyers involved in drafting the guidance in the first place won’t face prosecution either.
“It’s not a time to use our energy and our time in looking back and any sense of anger and retribution,” Emanuel insisted...
It's called justice Rahm. It's called "putting a stop to torture." It's called condemning torture. What you are doing is called SHAMEFUL.


Conflicting emotions

Saturday, April 18, 2009

There are times my heart jumps for joy:
---Organic gardens at the White House
---Shaking hands with Chavez
---Talking with Cuba again
And then there are those times that I just shake my head...
---Continued Iraq and Afghanistan wars
---Expanding the war into Pakistan
---Threatening to invade Eritrea
---U.S. boycotts racism conference, says it 'singles out' Israel
The United States is boycotting a U.N. conference on racism next week over a document that "singles out" Israel in its criticism and conflicts with the nation's "commitment to unfettered free speech," the U.S. State Department said Saturday.
This at a time when Israel stands ready to bomb Iran's nuclear sites
The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government.
Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack.
If we want others to practice diplomacy shouldn't we and our "allies" be expected to lead the way?


And take the Dallas Cowboys with you

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gov. Rick Perry: Texas Could Secede, Leave Union

Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax "tea party" Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states' rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!"

An animated Perry told the crowd at Austin City Hall -- one of three tea parties he was attending across the state -- that officials in Washington have abandoned the country's founding principles of limited government. He said the federal government is strangling Americans with taxation, spending and debt.

Secede? Did it ever happen before in Texas?
Texas did secede in 1861, but the North's victory in the Civil War put an end to that.

Well Ricky Boy. Take the Cowboys with you. Leave Willie Nelson for the rest of us. Keep W there. But I want Austin to be part of the rest of the country.


Kudos to Lynn Woolsey

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Congresswoman Blasts Obama's War-Funding Request
President Obama's new $83.4 billion supplemental war request, which brings the cost of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq to $1 trillion, drew fire Thursday from anti-war North Bay Rep. Lynn Woolsey.
Press secretary Robert Gibbs said the request is a Bush holdover that is needed to fund the wars this fiscal year, before the Obama budget kicks in.
Holdover? Couldn't it be changed?
"As proposed, this funding will do two things - it will prolong our occupation of Iraq through at least the end of 2011 and it will deepen and expand our military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely.
"I cannot support either of these scenarios. Instead of attempting to find military solutions to the problems we face in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama must fundamentally change the mission in both countries to focus on promoting reconciliation, economic development, humanitarian aid, and regional diplomatic efforts."
We need more in DC to make similar statements. We need more voices on the streets to call for the change that was hoped for.


Same old - just a different day

Is Gates Channeling Cheney on Iraq with 'Last Gasp' Remark?
Midway through a week of mayhem in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates raised eyebrows when he said the recent resurgence of violence in Baghdad was "a last gasp" of Islamic extremists.
It was an echo of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who in 2005 said the insurgency was "in the last throes." The following two years were the deadliest period of the war.
Today, as in 2005, other top U.S. military and intelligence officials worry that escalating tensions could threaten the administration's plans to draw down American forces in Iraq.
Follow the money - who really is in control? Not much has changed. Sure we had a declaration of troop withdrawal if... We have calls for talks and diplomacy. But the coffins still keep coming back, the war drums keep banging...


Neil Young - eco hero

Monday, April 06, 2009

Neil Young - Fork In The Road

Neil Young and his new album "Fork In The Road"

thematically focuses on alternative fuel.
From the above video:
There's a fork in the road ahead.
 I don't know which way I'm gonna turn.
 There's a fork in the road ahead.
Forgot this year, 
to salute the troops. 
They're all still there
 in a fucking war. It's no good.
 Whose idea was that?

I've got hope,
 but you can't eat hope. 
I'm not done. 
Not giving up. 
Not cashing in.
 Too late.
There's a bailout coming but it's not for me. 
It's for all those creeps watching tickers on TV. 
There's a bailout coming but it's not for me.


It's getting worse

Saturday, April 04, 2009

13 Killed as US Drone Hits Pakistan Civilians

US drones launched a missile attack against a home in North Waziristan on Saturday morning, killing at least 13 and wounding at least eight others. Officials say that civilians were among the casualties caused by the two missiles. One intelligence official said that foreign militants were staying in the home at the time of the attack.
What, do we just dismiss civilian deaths because militants were nearby?

The situation is getting worse. Not only are we still stuck in Iraq and exapnding our Afghan adventure - our adventure into Pakistan is increasing in intensity. OBushama talks about everyone getting rid of nuclear weapons - how about our wars?


Change in policy

Friday, April 03, 2009

Change in MidEast policy? A shift from Iraq to Afghanistan was not what voters had in mind.


It's easy being green

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Two new ventures and ideas.

Visit Greener Spaces. A new site that will highlight news, products, services and ideas that make a transition to green living painless. The goal: helping everyone reduce their carbon footprint. The time is now.

Along those lines, everyone should look into Green Irene.

Your LOCAL Green Irene is a trained and certified Eco-Consultant who will IMPLEMENT proven “green” solutions in your home NOW. Lead your family to a healthier, safer, more sustainable lifestyle and save money too by reducing your use of energy
Take a look around, sign up for a Green Home Makeover, purchase products that will green your life and save green in your wallet.


Learn from history

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President

I was wrong. I had been saying that it would be naïve to take too seriously presidential candidate Barack Obama's rhetoric regarding the need to escalate the war in Afghanistan. I kept thinking to myself that when he got briefed on the history of Afghanistan and the oft proven ability of Afghan "militants" to drive out foreign invaders-from Alexander the Great, to the Persians, the Mongolians, Indians, British, Russians-he would be sure to understand why they call mountainous Afghanistan the "graveyard of empires."

And surely he would be fully briefed on the stupidity and deceit that left 58,000 U.S. troops-not to mention 2 to 3 million Vietnamese-dead in Vietnam. John Kennedy became president the year Obama was born. One cannot expect toddler-to-teenager Barack to remember much about the war in Vietnam, and it was probably too early for that searing, controversial experience to have found its way into the history texts as he was growing up.

Bu alas, lessons of history are lost once again. What is the outcome? More death.


A coup?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Nobel Laureate Krugman Slams Geithner Bailout Plan

Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman said in remarks published on Monday that the latest U.S. Treasury bailout program is nearly certain to fail, triggering a sense of personal despair.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Monday unveiled a plan aimed at persuading private investors to help rid banks up to $1 trillion in toxic assets that that are seen as a roadblock to economic recovery.

"This is more than disappointing," Krugman wrote in The New York Times. ""In fact it fills me with a sense of despair."

"The Geithner scheme would offer a one-way bet: if asset values go up, the investors profit, but if they go down, the investors can walk away from their debt," the Princeton University economist said, citing weekend reports outlining the plan.

"This isn't really about letting markets work. It's just an indirect, disguised way to subsidize purchases of bad assets," he added.

This adds to the merit of Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone piece called The Big Takeover
People are pissed off about this financial crisis, and about this bailout, but they're not pissed off enough. The reality is that the worldwide economic meltdown and the bailout that followed were together a kind of revolution, a coup d'état. They cemented and formalized a political trend that has been snowballing for decades: the gradual takeover of the government by a small class of connected insiders, who used money to control elections, buy influence and systematically weaken financial regulations.
Krugman is correct: one-way bet!


The White House Garden

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Obamas Prepare to Plant White House Vegetable Garden
On Friday, Michelle Obama will begin digging up a patch of White House lawn to plant a vegetable garden, the first since Eleanor Roosevelt’s victory garden in World War II. There will be no beets (the president doesn’t like them) but arugula will make the cut.
She's digging in the dirt?
While the organic garden will provide food for the first family’s meals and formal dinners, its most important role, Mrs. Obama said, will be to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruit and vegetables at time when obesity has become a national concern.
Almost the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, “whether they like it or not,” Mrs. Obama said laughing. “Now Grandma, my mom, I don’t know.” Her mother, she said, would probably sit back and say: “Isn’t that lovely. You missed a spot.”
Let's hope it has a prominent spot, prominent press and large size. I say bring back the solar panels Reagan took down.


Banging the drum - a new regime

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

US Admits Downing Iranian Drone East of Baghdad Last Month

US forces attacked and shot down an Iranian drone last month just inside the Iraqi border. The drone was in Iraqi air space for over an hour before the attack, but was still less than 8 miles into Iraqi territory.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Ballesteros declared that “this was not an accident on the part of the Iranians,” but the declaration appeared to conflict significantly with the Iraqi government, as a defense ministry spokesman insisted “it crossed 10 km into Iraq. It’s most likely that its entrance was a mistake.”

Thought the war drums would stop with a new President?

Wonder what would happen if Iran shot down one of our drones or captured one of the special ops in Iran?

War - a great way to get our minds off the economy.


Thanks Helen

Friday, March 13, 2009

What are US Goals in Afghanistan?

President Barack Obama is making a big mistake in escalating U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan where he already has acknowledged he doesn't believe victory is possible.

We should ask: What are we doing there seven years after the 9/11 attacks by the al-Qaida network? Historically, the country has lacked a strong central government and has been governed by locally strong tribal leaders and warlords.

Al-Qaida was able to take advantage of this loose structure and turn Afghanistan into the plotting ground for the terrorists who struck the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York.

But what are our goals there in 2009?

While the U.S. is supposed to wind down its presence in Iraq in 19 months (rather than the 16 months promised by Obama on the campaign trail), the president has ordered a military buildup in Afghanistan to more than 50,000 troops, both from the U.S. and other NATO members.

He would leave 50,000 Americans in Iraq to cope with the resistance there. Such was the folly of President George W. Bush, who invaded Iraq after his hawkish neoconservative advisers told him we would triumph in a few weeks.

Careful Helen. W didn't like you. With articles like this OBushama may agree with his predecessor.

So what soes she want OBushama to learn?

Sooner or later American presidents should learn that people will always fight for their country against a foreign invader. And peace should be the only goal.


Still in power...

Neocons strike back

The neoconservatives have demonstrated that their power in Washington remains strong as they have succeeded in keeping veteran diplomat Chas Freeman out of a top intelligence job.

Freeman dropped out of the running for chairman of the National Intelligence Council, which oversees preparation of intelligence estimates about threats to the United States, after an intense campaign spearheaded by neocons angered over Freeman’s criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

In effect, the neocons showed that their influence over the national news media, especially the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, combined with solid Republican support and some key Democratic backing, still lets them blackball potential government appointees who favor a more evenhanded approach toward the Middle East.

Not much has CHANGED - has it.


Grow your own

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Party's Over

It's not coming back. The party's over. This isn't some temporary blip in the economy that a little belt-tightening will fix. One less latte and a smaller, "fuel efficient" SUV will not make this problem go away.

It would be nice to have all that money back from our Iraq misadventure. It would have been nice to have had eight years of competent federal leadership. But even so, the party had to end some time. It just came sooner than we expected. This is what the CEOs used to call a paradigm shift. Or, to borrow another corporate buzz-phrase, this is a perfect storm — too many people, too few finite resources (oil, water, coal), too little meaningful work, etc.

James Howard Kunstler, though he angers some with his dystopian forecasts, hammers this point home on his blog (www.kunstler.com). Because he has been right far more often than wrong in the past two decades, Kunstler is worth a listen (and his books, The Long Emergency and The Geography of Nowhere, should be required reading). In a recent entry, he wrote, "Dear Mr. President, you are presiding over an epochal contraction, not a pause in the growth epic. Your assignment is to manage that contraction in a way that does not lead to world war, civil disorder or both. Among other things, contraction means that all the activities of everyday life need to be downscaled including standards of living, ranges of commerce, and levels of governance. 'Consumerism' is dead. Revolving credit is dead — at least at the scale that became normal the last thirty years. The wealth of several future generations has already been spent and there is no equity left there to re-finance."

Love the final paragraph...
If my town is any guide, don't wait for even well-meaning government officials to take the first step. Better yet, put some crops in the ground this year in your own backyard. It's the first step toward breaking the chain of dependency and helplessness.
The revolution is upon us. Join today - or at least when the snow melts and the weather warms so you can start planting.

Now if OBushama would turn the White House lawn into a garden - set the example for everyone.


Banging the war-drum in the OBushama regime

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Clinton Declares Iran a Threat

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lashed out at the Iranian government today, declaring them a threat to the Middle East, Europe and Russia. Clinton also claimed that “it is clear that Iran intends to interfere with the internal affairs of all of these people.”

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed disappointment with the Obama Administration’s foreign policy today, saying that the new administration was pursuing the same “wrong path” as President Bush did.

Change? Hope? Where?

Maybe just greasing the skids for Israel ‘Seriously Considering’ Attacking Iran


But I'm not comfortable

Monday, March 02, 2009

Mullen comfortable with Obama’s Iraq timetable
The top U.S. military official says he's comfortable with the president's decision on a troop pullout timetable from Iraq.
Sure he's happy because after 19 months we'll still be there - and Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mexico (if Gates gets his way)...


Kucinich Correct Again

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Who wound that reporter up? I love her tone at the beginning - opposition and criticism from the democrats? She is shocked!
Hope she now understands after Kucinich's detailed and sane explanation.
Criticism - clearly her Word for the Day.



Saturday, February 28, 2009

Separated at birth or morphing into a new monster?


A New "War President"

Obama Sells Continuation of Iraq War as the New Pullout Plan
In a speech today at Camp Lajeune, North Carolina took a page out of his predecessor’s book when he declared that “by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end,” even as his administration prepares to keep the combat going until at least the end of 2011. His administration has been touting a military surge in Afghanistan which would bring the overall American force to roughly 50,000 troops. That is taking a war to the next level. Bringing the level of troops in Iraq to roughly the same level, somehow, is being sold to the public as the end of that war. Will anyone buy it?
I don't buy it. O"Bush"ama is continuing and even growing the wars.


Ending one...building another?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama to Troops: Iraq Mission to End in August 2010

Before 2,000 Marines here on Friday, President Obama announced that the United States combat presence in Iraq will end in August 2010 after about 90,000 troops are withdrawn. "Let me say this as plainly as I can: By August 31st, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end," Obama said to applause from the Marines. The president said he plans to leave a force of 35,000 to 50,000 to advise Iraqi security forces, conduct counter-terrorism missions and protect U.S. personnel. The drawdown should signal to Iraqis that they are responsible for their country's future, he said.
35 to 50K? Too many right? But still, the troops are coming home....not quite...
By removing most troops from Iraq over the next 18 months, Obama will free up forces to fight in Afghanistan and relieve stress on Marine and Army forces that have been repeatedly deployed. There are about 142,000 troops in Iraq.
Take from one frying pan and put it into another.


Why not all?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Officials: ‘Most’ US troops to Leave Iraq by August 2010
Officials say that the Obama Administration intends to have most troops out of Iraq by August 2010, replacing the president’s 16 month timetable from the campaign with a 19 month one that would end with a considerable “residual force” beyond that date.


End Times - the new leader?

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Choice Between Peace and Peril

Bibi Netanyahu’s assumption of power in Israel sets the stage for a huge campaign by the Israeli government, and its well-oiled lobby groups in Washington, to push us into a war with Iran.

Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, according to U.S. and European intelligence agencies. But reality rarely impedes on politics. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, along with Netanyahu, all talk as if Iran is on the brink of dropping the big one on the Jewish state.

Netanyahu on Friday named Iran as Israel’s main threat after he was called to form a new government following the Feb. 20 elections.

“Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence,” Netanyahu said at a ceremony at President Shimon Peres’ official residence. “The terrorist forces of Iran threaten us from the north,” the presumptive prime minister said in reference to Lebanon and Syria, where Israel says Tehran supplies arms to Hezbollah and Hamas. “For decades, Israel has not faced such formidable challenges.”

Netanyahu, whose arrogance is as outsized as his bellicosity, knows that for all his threats and chest thumping Israel is incapable of attacking Iranian targets alone. Israel cannot fly its attack aircraft over Iraqi air space into Iran without U.S. permission, something George W. Bush refused to grant, fearing massive retaliatory strikes by Iran on American bases in Iraq. Israel’s air force is not big enough to neutralize the multiple targets, from radar stations to missile batteries to Revolutionary Guard units to bunkers housing Iran’s Soviet- and Chinese-made fighter jets and bombers, and also hit suspected nuclear targets. The only route to a war with Tehran for the Israeli military is through Washington.

There is a lot riding on whom President Obama names as his special envoy to Iran. If, as expected, it is Dennis Ross, a former official of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, we will be in deep trouble. Ross, who is expected to be placed in charge of the Iranian portfolio this week, is a vocal supporter of Israel’s call for increased pressure on Iran. He is distrusted, even despised, in the Muslim world and especially in Tehran. With good reason, he is not viewed as an impartial broker.
So is there hope the O regime will listen to the experts who say - no nuke weapons program is in place?
Obama has an opportunity to radically alter the course we have charted in the Middle East. The key will be his administration’s relationship with Iran. If he gives in to the Israel lobby, if he empowers Ross, if he defines Iran as the enemy before he begins to attempt a negotiated peace, he could ignite a fuse that will see our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan evolve into a regional conflagration. This may be the most important decision of his presidency. Let’s pray he does not blow it.
And here I thought W was the one who would lead us to the End Times.


Going further than W

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Obama Widens Missile Strikes Inside Pakistan

With two missile strikes over the past week, the Obama administration has expanded the covert war run by the Central Intelligence Agency inside Pakistan, attacking a militant network seeking to topple the Pakistani government.

The missile strikes on training camps run by Baitullah Mehsud represent a broadening of the American campaign inside Pakistan, which has been largely carried out by drone aircraft. Under President Bush, the United States frequently attacked militants from Al Qaeda and the Taliban involved in cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, but had stopped short of raids aimed at Mr. Mehsud and his followers, who have played less of a direct role in attacks on American troops.
It looks like all hope for change is fading fast - fading with every increase in the wars.


Green Lessons from the "Reds"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

6 Green Lessons We Can Learn From Communism
What do you think of when someone mentions communism? Stalin, a hammer and sickle, the color red, Russia, Cuba, factories, soldiers marching in unison, and cold, cold oppression? Yeah, me too. But what if I told you that in some ways, communism is green?
Communists may have inadvertently advocated low-impact lifestyles (on the individual level, at least—the sprawling factories are another matter). "To each according to his ability, each according to his need." Think about it; an entire doctrine based on using only what you need, and doing what you're capable of. Now I'm not saying we should start rationing borscht and forcing people out into the fields against their will with a sickle. But if you consider the principle in environmental terms, it means watching our consumption—buying only the foods and goods we need. Overconsumption creates a huge environmental burden in rich capitalist societies; we could take a cue from the communists and try to buy nothing more often.
The article also lists other points. Maybe it is time?


Another losing decision

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama OKs 17,000 troops for Afghanistan
President Barack Obama approved adding some 17,000 U.S. troops for the flagging war in Afghanistan, his first significant move to change the course of a conflict that his closest military advisers have warned the United States is not winning.
We're not winning and never will. Will we ever learn from history?


The names have been changed to keep the dollars flowing

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blackwater by Any Other Name Would Still Smell Like Shit
Blackwater Worldwide, the ultimate mercenary firm and war profiteer, wants to shed its vile brand name, according to the Associated Press. They're switching over to the name Xe (like in the words xenophobia or xenobiotic, which fittingly refers to a chemical substance that is foreign and usually harmful to living organisms). The funny part is Blackwater claims the name change is to "focus away from the business of providing private security." You don't say!
If any agency or nation does business with Xe, shame. The name change means absolutely nothing. It still thinks it is above all law. It still is a disgrace.


Here we go again

The chatter for an Iranian attack starts up again. It was relatively quiet before our and Israeli elections. But let the drums start beating again.

Sirens go off in Israel for war on Iran

Israel, the sole possessor of a nuclear warhead in the Middle East, has long claimed that Iran, the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory, will have enough fissile material to become a nuclear power by the end of 2009.

Under the allegation, Israeli officials argue that a military attack is a legitimate option for taking out Iran's nuclear infrastructure.


New strategy - same as the old

Sunday, February 15, 2009

US Drone Strike Kills At Least 30 in South Waziristan

A US drone launched two missiles at a large house in South Waziristan this morning, killing at least 30 and wounding seven others. A Pakistani intelligence official is quoted as saying more people are believed to be buried under the rubble.

At least 50 people were in the house at the time of the attacks, mostly Uzbeks and Arabs believed to be fighters for the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The compound reportedly was frequented by Baitullah Mehsud, a top Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader, though he does not appear to have been present during the attack.

The timing of the attack sends a clear message to the Pakistani government, which had been hoping yesterday that President Obama would reveal his “new strategy” with respect to the drones soon.

Should they have expected anything different when the same generals, same regime leaders from the old regime are still in charge? As The Who sang: "Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss."


Still at war...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Top Obama Aides Embrace Bush’s War on Terror Rhetoric and Enemy Combatant Policy
This has been a uniquely bad week for civil libertarians. The Obama Administration appears to be rushing to dispel any notions that Obama will fight for civil liberties or war crimes investigations. After Eric Holder allegedly assured a senator that there would be no war crimes investigation and seemed to defend Bush policies, Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan, Obama’s Solicitor General nominee, reportedly told a Republican senator that the Administration agreed with Bush that we are “at war” and therefore can hold enemy combatants indefinitely. In the meantime, Obama himself seemed to tie himself in knots when asked about investigating war crimes and leading democrats are again pushing for a symbolic “truth commission.”
Feel your vote made a difference in foreign policy?


When will we be told?

Iraqi FM says no sudden US pullout

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said on Wednesday he had been "reassured" by the United States that there would be no sudden pullout of American troops, despite an improving security situation.

President Barack Obama's desire to redeploy thousands of US soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan has raised expectations of a troop drawdown ahead of a 2011 deadline for leaving the country.

Here I am hoping that our new regime will end the wars and they tell the Iraqis not to worry. I guess I have to worry that we are there for much, much longer. As I have said before, Same Old Shit.


Answer: Really, really bad

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Question: Paul Krugman, what is your opinion of the compromised economic plan?

What the Centrists Have Wrought

The short answer: to appease the centrists, a plan that was already too small and too focused on ineffective tax cuts has been made significantly smaller, and even more focused on tax cuts.

Now the centrists have shaved off $86 billion in spending — much of it among the most effective and most needed parts of the plan. In particular, aid to state governments, which are in desperate straits, is both fast — because it prevents spending cuts rather than having to start up new projects — and effective, because it would in fact be spent; plus state and local governments are cutting back on essentials, so the social value of this spending would be high. But in the name of mighty centrism, $40 billion of that aid has been cut out.

My first cut says that the changes to the Senate bill will ensure that we have at least 600,000 fewer Americans employed over the next two years. The real question now is whether Obama will be able to come back for more once it’s clear that the plan is way inadequate. My guess is no. This is really, really bad.


Will we invade Britain?

CIA warns Barack Obama that British terrorists are the biggest threat to the US

American spy chiefs have told the President that the CIA has launched a vast spying operation in the UK to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 attacks being launched from Britain.

They believe that a British-born Pakistani extremist entering the US under the visa waiver programme is the most likely source of another terrorist spectacular on American soil.

Obama is following W's lead in Iraq and Afghanistan - keep the war going. Let's hope he doesn't follow W's theory of "rooting out all terrorists." Obama, listen to W's ghosts and the idiots you kept over from W's regime and "Bomb Britain won't be far behind.


A sign of hope?

Obama puts brake on Afghan surge

PRESIDENT Barack Obama has demanded that American defence chiefs review their strategy in Afghanistan before going ahead with a troop surge.

There is concern among senior Democrats that the military is preparing to send up to 30,000 extra troops without a coherent plan or exit strategy.

The Pentagon was set to announce the deployment of 17,000 extra soldiers and marines last week but Robert Gates, the defence secretary, postponed the decision after questions from Obama.

The president was concerned by a lack of strategy at his first meeting with Gates and the US joint chiefs of staff last month in “the tank”, the secure conference room in the Pentagon. He asked: “What’s the endgame?” and did not receive a convincing answer.

Has he realized that the war in Afghanistan is one that cannot be won? Is he living up to his dream of shifting away from a diplomacy based on might , power and military? Or is he just pissed off that Gates was not prepared?

Let's hope it is the first two reasons.


Stimulus package compromise

Saturday, February 07, 2009

More Bipartisanship, Less Stimulus

The plan is now more weighted than before toward tax cuts (which will account for more than 40 percent of the overall cost of the package) that will do little or nothing to stimulate job creation for a country than lost almost 600,000 positions in January alone. As French President Nicolas Sarkozy, no liberal, said Friday of countries that opt for tax cuts rather than stimulus: The approach "will bring them nothing" in the way of economic renewal.

The Senate's increased emphasis on tax cuts comes at the expense of the sort of aggressive spending that might actually get a stalled economy moving.

Spending for school construction that would actually have put people to work -- while at the same time investing in the future -- has been slashed.

Title I funding increases have been cut.

Supplemental transportation funding has been hacked.

Axed, as well, has been $90 million that was to have been allocated to plan for and manage a potential flu pandemic that economists and public health experts worry could shutter remaining businesses, bring the economy to a complete standstill and throw the country into a deep depression.

The bottom line is that, under the Senate plan:

* States will get less aid.

* Schools will get less help.

* Job creation programs will be less well funded.

* Preparations to combat potential public health disasters -- which could put the final nail in the economy's coffin -- will not be made.

We are in for a long, long ride!


How much inconvenience ?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Dumping the Refrigerator for a Greener Planet

FOR the last two years, Rachel Muston, a 32-year-old information-technology worker for the Canadian government in Ottawa, has been taking steps to reduce her carbon footprint — composting, line-drying clothes, installing an efficient furnace in her three-story house downtown.

About a year ago, though, she decided to “go big” in her effort to be more environmentally responsible, she said. After mulling the idea over for several weeks, she and her husband, Scott Young, did something many would find unthinkable: they unplugged their refrigerator. For good.

Ms. Muston estimated that her own fridge, which was in the house when they bought it five years ago and most likely dates back much longer, used 1,300 kilowatt-hours per year, or produced roughly 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide — the same amount from burning 105 gallons of gasoline. And even a newer, more efficient model, which could have cut that figure in half, would have used too much energy in her view.

Ms. Muston now uses a small freezer in the basement in tandem with a cooler upstairs; the cooler is kept cold by two-liter soda bottles full of frozen water, which are rotated to the freezer when they melt. (The fridge, meanwhile, sits empty in the kitchen.) She acknowledges that living this way isn’t always convenient. For starters, it has altered the couple’s eating habits.

Save money, improve a diet, reduce your carbon footprint...a little inconvenience isn't too bad a deal, right?
Asked whether the couple had to give up any cherished foods, Ms. Muston sighed. “Cold beer,” she said. “Scott can’t come home and grab a cold beer out of the fridge anymore. He has to put it in the cooler and wait an hour.”
Well, some things are harder to give up than others.

Warm beer - a true sacrifice for a better world.


When will I be happy?

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Just thinking about it on the surface, I should be jumping up and down because John and Sarah are not our leaders. We don't have to worry about John taking a dive and the rifle-packing hockey mom ready to take the nation to God. (Not that I am so comfortable with Joe taking over for Obama).

I should be happy that Obama talks about change, diplomacy, "ending the war"... So why am I so cynical?

Maybe it is because of his actions in the first few weeks...

Obama Gathering a Flock of Hawks to Oversee U.S. Foreign Policy

For a man who was elected in part on the promise to not just end the war in Iraq but to "end the mindset that got us into war in the first place," it's profoundly disappointing that a majority of his key appointments -- Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Dennis Blair, Janet Napolitano, Richard Holbrooke and Jim Jones, among others -- have been among those who represent that very mindset.

As president, Obama is ultimately the one in charge, so judgment should not be based upon his appointments alone. Indeed, some of his early decisions regarding foreign policy and national security – such as ordering the closure of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, initiating the necessary steps for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, and ending the "global gag rule" on funding for international family-planning programs – have been quite positive.

But it's still significant that the majority of people appointed to key foreign policy positions, like those in comparable positions in the Bush administration, appear to be more committed to U.S. hegemony than the right of self-determination, human rights and international law.

Is there hope - a chance to be happy?
Indeed, with a few conscientious exceptions, Democratic officials have rarely led in terms of a more progressive foreign policy. They have generally abandoned hawkish policies only after being forced to do so by popular mobilizations. From Vietnam to Central America to the nuclear arms race to South Africa to Iraq, Democratic leaders initially allied with the Republicans until they recognized their political futures were at stake unless they listened to the rank-and-file Democrats for whom they were dependent for their re-election. Then, and only then, were they willing to change course.

As a result, what may be most important will not be the people that Obama appoints, but the choices we give them.


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