- Peace Garden: 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009

Names have been changed to protect the wallet.

Friday, January 30, 2009

U.S. Looks for Blackwater Replacement in Iraq
As Iraq moved to force Blackwater Worldwide out of the country, the State Department asked two other American companies how quickly they could take over the company’s contract to provide personal security for American diplomats in Baghdad, several American officials said Thursday.
Wonder who is on the board of Dyncorp and Triple Canopy? This is like a game of cards. Shuffle the deck, cut the cards, but somehow the house always wins.

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Who's really in charge?

Obama Seeks Accord With Military on Iraq
As President Obama moves to redefine the nation’s mission in Iraq, he faces a difficult choice: Is he willing to abandon a campaign promise or risk a rupture with the military? Or can he finesse the difference?
Since taking office last week, Mr. Obama has recommitted to ending the war in Iraq but not to his specific campaign pledge to pull out roughly one combat brigade a month for the first 16 months of his presidency. His top commander in Iraq has proposed a slower start to the withdrawal, warning of the dangers of drawing down too quickly.
On Wednesday, Mr. Obama visited the Pentagon for the first time since becoming president, and he seemed to be looking for an option that would let him stay true to his campaign promise, at least in theory, without alienating the generals. The White House indicated that Mr. Obama was open to alternatives to his 16-month time frame and emphasized that security was an important factor in his decision.
And the war keeps going on and on and on and on......

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Bolivian crisis?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bolivia faces crisis as Evo Morales wins referendum

Bolivia is facing a political crisis after President Evo Morales won a decisive victory in a referendum designed to enhance his own powers and turn the country into a quasi-Socialist state.

The sweeping reforms, approved by a 60 per cent "Yes" vote, will allow Mr Morales to seek re-election in December. Under the new powers, rich landowners may be targeted for dispossession as the state will allow private ownership of large estates only if that property is put to "social use". If not, the land may be seized. Critics have predicted farm invasions of the kind seen in Zimbabwe. Decisions on whether the land is "socially useful" will be taken by the central government. The powers will also extend state control over four key areas of the economy, notably Bolivia's vital reserves of natural gas.

Interesting that the The Telegraph is calling it a crisis already. Is it because the "...rich landowners may be targeted for dispossession...?" Or because
The new constitution was partly written by Loyola Guzmán, a supporter of Mr Morales who fought alongside Ernesto Che Guevara. Mr Morales is a strong ally of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, a self-styled "socialist revolutionary".
Either way...I guess The Telegraph doesn't like a 60% plurality voting "yes" for a constitution. If the Bolivians dipped their fingers in purple ink would that have changed the views of the paper?

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Same old s**t in a different package

US Missile Strikes in Pakistan Will Continue: Gates

The United States will continue to carry out missile strikes against al Qaeda militants in Pakistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday.

Pakistani officials have complained publicly about the attacks from unmanned U.S. aircraft in tribal areas, saying they are a violation of sovereignty and increase resentment towards both Pakistan's government and the United States.

U.S. officials normally decline to comment publicly on reports of the missile strikes, but Gates made an exception when asked about Pakistan's complaints at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

So I heard the theory that Obama kept Gates but really will be pressing his own theory/views about diplomacy/Iraq/Iran/Pakistan... If his views are different then why doesn't Obama tell him to shut up. If Gates keeps on talking, it looks like the Same Old Shit just in a new package.

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New Methods Needed

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fata toughest challenge for Obama, says Holbrooke

The newly-appointed US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, has said that the Obama administration had to face many tough challenges with regard to the war in Afghanistan and global peace but the toughest was the insurgent sanctuaries in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

He said the situation in Afghanistan was far from hopeless. But as the war enters its eighth year, Americans should be told the truth: it will last a long time — longer than the United States’ longest war to date, the 14-year conflict (1961-75) in Vietnam. Success will require new policies with regard to four major problem areas: the tribal areas in Pakistan, the drug lords who dominate the Afghan system, the national police, and the incompetence and corruption of the Afghan government.

A New Policy? How about stopping the drone missiles and the black ops operations in Pakistan?

Does he really think we welcome the thought of this "war" lasting a long-time? And this is our diplomat?

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MLK was for Peace!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A very moving piece from

As we continue on the road of war (it still is war with those robotic drones) let's hope the spirit of MLK, highlighted by Fiore, can somehow bring us our new leader to strive for peace. Obama, in his inaugural speech talked about ridding ourselves of childish ways. Let's also rid ourselves of violent ways that do not succeed.

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Sliding back to W's policies?

Strikes in Pakistan Underscore Obama’s Options

Two missile attacks launched from remotely piloted American aircraft killed at least 15 people in western Pakistan on Friday. The strikes suggested that the use of drones to kill militants within Pakistan’s borders would continue under President Obama.

But some of the attacks have also killed civilians, enraging Pakistanis and making it harder for the country’s shaky government to win support for its own military operations against Taliban guerrillas in the country’s lawless border region. American officials in Washington said there were no immediate signs that the strikes on Friday had killed any senior Qaeda leaders. They said the attacks had dispelled for the moment any notion that Mr. Obama would rein in the Predator attacks.

Yeah - this was SO SUCCESSFUL during W's days! Right?

Strides forward in some areas (Gitmo, torture...) - slides backwards in others (Gates, this...).

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Imagine McGovern as President in '72

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Calling a Time Out by George McGovern

As you settle into the Oval Office, Mr. President, may I offer a suggestion? Please do not try to put Afghanistan aright with the U.S. military. To send our troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan would be a near-perfect example of going from the frying pan into the fire. There is reason to believe some of our top military commanders privately share this view. And so does a broad and growing swath of your party and your supporters.

I have believed for some time that military power is no solution to terrorism. The hatred of U.S. policies in the Middle East -- our occupation of Iraq, our backing for repressive regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, our support of Israel -- that drives the terrorist impulse against us would better be resolved by ending our military presence throughout the arc of conflict. This means a prudent, carefully directed withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and elsewhere. We also need to close down the imposing U.S. military bases in this section of the globe, which do so little to expand our security and so much to stoke local resentment.

How about a five-year time-out on war -- unless, of course, there is a genuine threat to the nation? During that interval, we could work with the U.N. World Food Program, plus the overseas arms of the churches, synagogues, mosques and other volunteer agencies to provide a nutritious lunch every day for every school-age child in Afghanistan and other poor countries. Such a program is now underway in several countries approved by Congress and the United Nations, under the auspices of the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Act. (Forgive the self-serving title.) Although the measure remains painfully underfunded, with the help of other countries, we are reaching millions of children. We could supplement these efforts with nutritional packages for low-income pregnant and nursing mothers and their infants from birth through the age of 5, as is done here at home by WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Is this proposal pie-in-the-sky? I don't think so. It's food in the stomachs of hungry kids. It would draw them to school and enable them to learn and grow into better citizens. It would cost a small fraction of warfare's cost, but it might well be a stronger antidote to terrorism. There will always be time for another war. But hunger can't wait.

Imagine where we would be if McGovern had pulled it off in 1972. I am sure we would have been out on Nam a lot faster, not in Iraq and Afghanistan now, and a nation based on diplomacy.

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Hoping and Praying

Seeking Obama's Center

First, as our friend and backer Paul Newman used to remind us, The Nation was valuable because it helps define where the center is. The center can shift. When Obama added to his ritualistic description of America as "a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus" a new category--"nonbelievers"--it was almost unbelievable, as he quickly helped redefine where the center was.

Second, based on what we know about Obama--his books, his initial intuitive stand against the war in Iraq, his Senate voting record, his campaign, his inaugural speech--I don't believe it. At most, he seems to me a liberal wolf in centrist sheep's clothing.

And finally, faced with the ever-more-dire economic crisis, his commitment to a Keynes-based economic stimulus and renewed regulatory rigor (see his inaugural reference to not letting the market "spin out of control") suggests that, at a minimum, he flunked Centrism 101. Rather, I prefer to believe that his reach across the aisle, his cabinet appointments and his opening to the renegade Joe Lieberman and his erstwhile opponent John McCain himself are part of his pragmatic plan to advance an agenda that goes beyond anything the so-called center might contain. Whether or not it will work, that is the question.

I hope and pray Navasky is right. That would be a dream come true.

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Local Living Economies

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

As I recently walked through my local retail mall (it has been a long time) I was struck by the number of vacant store fronts and the stores festooned with "70% off" signs. The Big Chains are hurting. Is there a remedy around the corner now that we have a new President? Not is our consumer lust and greed continues.

But if Obama and we all change our thinking, anything is possible (Yes we can!). The solution:

...a decentralized global network of local living economies comprised of independent, locally owned businesses committed to building healthy communities aligned with natural systems.

Rather than depending on large corporations to ship basic needs long distances, which decreases economic security and adds to the environmental costs of global transport, living economies produce basic needs – food, clothing, shelter and energy – locally and sustainably. This builds community self-reliance, provides new opportunities for ownership and job creation, and keeps capital circulating within the community. What is not available locally is sourced from community-based businesses and small farms in other regions and countries in fair trade exchange that benefits the communities where products and resources originate. Global interdependence is based on trust, mutual respect, and reciprocity, rather than exploitive resource extraction and sweatshops.

I found this idea/ideal at the website for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies or BALLE. The above piece was written by Judy Wickes, one of the co-founders.
BALLE believes in the power of local businesses to transform communities for the better by working cooperatively toward a shared vision. We imagine cities and towns of every size and political stripe engaged in shared learning to build community assets like sustainable agriculture, green building, renewable energy, community capital, zero-waste manufacturing and independent retail - what we call the building blocks of Living Economies. We envision a time when local economies not only generate community wealth, but also are catalysts for civic action, social diversity and ecological health -- for sustainable communities.
This is a project/program/idea that Obama should stress. But will the corporate world allow him to make this paradigm shift and take away their nest eggs?
Large corporations have historically used militaries to protect their ability to exploit natural resources and cheap labor in less developed countries, which is often the underlying cause of war.
If not, then it is up to us.
The Local Living Economies Movement is about:
∼ Maximizing relationships, not maximizing profits
∼ Broad-based ownership and democracy, not concentrated wealth and power
∼ Sharing, not hoarding
∼ Life serving, not self-serving
∼ Partnership, not domination
∼ Cooperation based, not competition based
∼ Win-win exchange, not win-loose exploitation
∼ Creativity, not conformity
∼ A living return, not the highest return
∼ A living wage, not the minimum wage
∼ A fair price, not the lowest price
∼ “Being more, not having more” (from the Earth Charter)
~ Interconnectedness, not separation
~ Inclusion, not exclusiveness
~ Community and collective joy, not isolation and unhapppiness
∼ Cultural diversity, not monoculture
∼ Bio-diversity, not mono-crops
∼ Family farms, not factory farms
∼ Slow food, not fast food
∼ Our bucks, not Starbucks
∼ Our mart, not Wal-Mart
∼ Love of life, not love of money

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Points scored - wishing for more

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama inaugural speech

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
Really paints a picture of the problems but also the causes - our policies and our leaders.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
Let's hope Obama's promises are not false - the promises he ran on during the primaries.
We will restore science to its rightful place...
Yeah!!!
We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.
Double yeah!!!
To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.
Finally, a hand extended in peace.

Of course I would have loved to to have heard:

  • I pledge to prosecute W and Uncle Dick for war crimes.
  • I will end the wars immediately.
  • I was only kidding with the Gates and Clinton nominations.
  • I nominate Al Gore to head up a Global warming task force.
  • I will only rely on the counsel of one former President - President Carter.
  • I declare the creation of a Peace Department Cabinet Post headed by Congressman Kucinich.
Hey, why not?

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Good Riddance

 
It has been 8 long years.  8 years of war.  8 years of fear.  8 years of "destroying the Constitution."

I won't miss you.

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Let's Hope

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bearing Hopes of A Nation, Obama Arrives in Washington

"Only a handful of times in our history has a generation been confronted with challenges so vast," said Obama, 47, highlighting the diving economy and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"And yet while our problems may be new, what is required to overcome them is not," he told around 300 supporters in a flag-draped station waiting room.
"What is required is a new declaration of independence, not just in our nation, but in our own lives -- from ideology and small thinking, prejudice and bigotry -- an appeal not to our easy instincts but to our better angels."
Let's hope the Obama who called for an end to the war, an Obama we heard in the primaries before he sought the support of the right, the Obama who stressed diplomacy before guns.... Let's hope that guy emerges on Tuesday. Let's hope that his statements that policies will be his, not Gates or Clinton, will ring true.

A "Declaration of Independence?" As long as it doesn't reject those principles he ran on.

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Little Gitmos around the nation

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Secret List of U.S. Military Bases to Replace Gitmo
The U.S. military has prepared a list of U.S. military bases that could be used to house as many as 250 detainees currently being held at the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, military officials tell ABCNews.com.
The list -- which includes Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Leavenworth in Kansas; the Marine Air Station in Miramar, California; and the U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig in South Carolina -- has been circulated in a classified brief to members of Congress and was prepared by the Pentagon's Joint Staff.
President-elect Barack Obama is expected to order that the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility be closed on his first day in office, officials say. Officials say it would take at least a year to prepare a new prison and transfer the detainees.
Close one (a symbol of torture) and open a dozen more (keep these quiet). This is progress?

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Passing of an Inspiration

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Arne Naess, Norwegian Philosopher, Dies at 96

Arne Naess, a Norwegian philosopher whose ideas about promoting an intimate and all-embracing relationship between the earth and the human species inspired environmentalists and Green political activists around the world, died Monday. He was 96.
...threw himself into environmental work and developed a theory that he called deep ecology. Its central tenet is the belief that all living beings have their own value and therefore, as Mr. Naess once put it, “need protection against the destruction of billions of humans.”
Deep ecology, which called for population reduction, soft technology and non-interference in the natural world, was eagerly taken up by environmentalists impatient with shallow ecology — another of Mr. Naess’s coinages — which did not confront technology and economic growth.
It formed part of a broader personal philosophy that Mr. Naess called ecosophy T, “a philosophy of ecological harmony or equilibrium” that human beings can comprehend by expanding their narrow concept of self to embrace the entire planetary ecosystem. The term fused “ecological” and “philosophy.” The T stood for Tvergastein, his name for the mountain cabin he built in 1937 in southern Norway, where he often wrote.
From Arne Naess:
Every living being is connected intimately, and from this intimacy follows the capacity of identification and as its natural consequences, practice of non-violence .. Now is the time to share with all life on our maltreated earth through the deepening identification with life forms and the greater units, the ecosystems, and Gaia, the fabulous, old planet of ours.
He was an inspiration....

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Finally - change - sort of

Monday, January 12, 2009

Obama preparing order to close Gitmo
President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to issue an executive order his first week in office — and perhaps his first day — to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to two presidential transition team advisers.
It's unlikely the detention facility at the Navy base in Cuba will be closed anytime soon. In an interview last weekend, Obama said it would be "a challenge" to close it even within the first 100 days of his administration.
But the order, which one adviser said could be issued as early as Jan. 20, would start the process of deciding what to do with the estimated 250 al-Qaida and Taliban suspects and potential witnesses who are being held there. Most have not been charged with a crime.
At least the process will start right away.

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We need real change

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Obama's Allegedly "New" Centrism and His ABC Interview Today

I've been saying since the election that it makes little sense to try to guess what Obama is going to do until he actually does it. That's especially true now, since we'll all have the actual evidence very shortly, and trying to guess by divining the predictive meaning of his appointments or prior statements seems fruitless. Moreover, anonymous reports about what Obama is "likely" to do are particularly unreliable. I still believe that, but Obama's interview today with George Stephanopoulos provides the most compelling -- and most alarming -- evidence yet that all of the "centrist" and "post-partisan" chatter from Obama's supporters will mean what it typically means: devotion, first and foremost, to perpetuating rather than challenging how the Washington establishment functions.
As Talk Left's Jeralyn Merritt documents, Obama today rather clearly stated that he will not close Guantanamo in the first 100 days of his presidency. He recited the standard Jack Goldsmith/Brookings Institution condescending excuse that closing Guantanamo is "more difficult than people realize." Specifically, Obama argued, we cannot release detainees whom we're unable to convict in a court of law because the evidence against them is "tainted" as a result of our having tortured them, and therefore need some new system -- most likely a so-called new "national security court" -- that "relaxes" due process safeguards so that we can continue to imprison people indefinitely even though we're unable to obtain an actual conviction in an actual court of law.
Worst of all, Obama (in response to Stephanopoulos' asking him about the number one highest-voted question on Change.gov, first submitted by Bob Fertik) all but said that he does not want to pursue prosecutions for high-level lawbreakers in the Bush administration, twice repeating the standard Beltway mantra that "we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards" and "my instinct is for us to focus on how do we make sure that moving forward we are doing the right thing." Obama didn't categorically rule out prosecutions -- he paid passing lip service to the pretty idea that "nobody is above the law," implied Eric Holder would have some role in making these decisions, and said "we're going to be looking at past practices" -- but he clearly intended to convey his emphatic view that he opposes "past-looking" investigations. In the U.S., high political officials aren't investigated, let alone held accountable, for lawbreaking, and that is rather clearly something Obama has no intention of changing.

In fairness, Obama has long made clear that this is the approach he intends to take to governing. After all, this is someone who, upon arriving in the Senate, sought out Joe Lieberman as his mentor, supported Lieberman over Ned Lamont in the primary, campaigned for Blue Dogs against progressive challengers, and has long paid homage to the Beltway centrism and post-partisan religion. And you can't very well place someone in a high-ranking position who explicitly advocates rendition and enhanced interrogation tactics and then simultaneously lead the way in criminally investigating those who authorized those same tactics.

Add Gates, silence on Gaza, Iraq/Afghanistan...where is the change we heard about before the election?

Power and money must create policy to sustain its own power and money.

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Thanks Kucinich

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Few Speak Out for Palestinians in US Congress

The few opponents of the measures often include lawmakers of Arab-American descent or from Arab-American communities, and mavericks such as Democrat Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Republican Ron Paul of Texas.

Kucinich, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination last year, charged that the United States was ignoring the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza while facilitating Israel's actions with arms deals worth billions.

Washington "sniffs at the slaughter of innocents in Gaza," he said. "U.S. tax dollars, U.S. jets and U.S. helicopters provided to Israel are enabling the slaughter in Gaza."

Makes me proud and happy that I supported his candidacy. Always striving for peace.

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Cheerleaders in Congress

House Overwhelmingly Passes Bill Cheering Israeli War on Gaza

Earlier this afternoon, the United States House of Representatives voted 390-5 in favor of H. RES. 34, voicing their support for the Israeli military effort in the Gaza Strip.

The bill, co-sponsored by 11 representatives, demanded that Hamas end its rocket fire against Israel and renounce violence, while expressing “vigorous support and unwavering commitment” to Israel and declaring that its two weeks of attacks on the Gaza Strip were rightful acts of self-defense.

Shouldn't we be promoting peace and diplomacy rather than war? Let's look at the culpability of both sides.

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War Crime

Report: Israel Forced Civilians Into Single House, Repeatedly Bombed It

Israeli ground troops ordered around 110 Palestinian civilians into a single home in Gaza City’s Zeitun neighborhood and ordered them to stay indoors on Sunday. On Monday morning, Israeli forces repeatedly shelled the building, killing at least 30 of the civilians inside. It then refused to allow ambulances to retrieve the dead and dying people for days.

This was the report released by the United Nations today based on eyewitness accounts from the survivors, and just the latest in an ever growing list of Israeli attacks on the civilian population of Gaza.

Where is the outrage? This report and the news that the IDF starts sending out leaflets about future stepped up actions.

How many more of these reports will we hear (or will be squashed/censored)?

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Thanks President Jimmy

Friday, January 09, 2009

An Unnecessary War

I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided.

After visiting Sderot last April and seeing the serious psychological damage caused by the rockets that had fallen in that area, my wife, Rosalynn, and I declared their launching from Gaza to be inexcusable and an act of terrorism. Although casualties were rare (three deaths in seven years), the town was traumatized by the unpredictable explosions. About 3,000 residents had moved to other communities, and the streets, playgrounds and shopping centers were almost empty. Mayor Eli Moyal assembled a group of citizens in his office to meet us and complained that the government of Israel was not stopping the rockets, either through diplomacy or military action.

Knowing that we would soon be seeing Hamas leaders from Gaza and also in Damascus, we promised to assess prospects for a cease-fire. From Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who was negotiating between the Israelis and Hamas, we learned that there was a fundamental difference between the two sides. Hamas wanted a comprehensive cease-fire in both the West Bank and Gaza, and the Israelis refused to discuss anything other than Gaza.

We knew that the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza were being starved, as the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food had found that acute malnutrition in Gaza was on the same scale as in the poorest nations in the southern Sahara, with more than half of all Palestinian families eating only one meal a day.

Palestinian leaders from Gaza were noncommittal on all issues, claiming that rockets were the only way to respond to their imprisonment and to dramatize their humanitarian plight. The top Hamas leaders in Damascus, however, agreed to consider a cease-fire in Gaza only, provided Israel would not attack Gaza and would permit normal humanitarian supplies to be delivered to Palestinian citizens.

After extended discussions with those from Gaza, these Hamas leaders also agreed to accept any peace agreement that might be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the PLO, provided it was approved by a majority vote of Palestinians in a referendum or by an elected unity government.

Since we were only observers, and not negotiators, we relayed this information to the Egyptians, and they pursued the cease-fire proposal. After about a month, the Egyptians and Hamas informed us that all military action by both sides and all rocket firing would stop on June 19, for a period of six months, and that humanitarian supplies would be restored to the normal level that had existed before Israel's withdrawal in 2005 (about 700 trucks daily).

We were unable to confirm this in Jerusalem because of Israel's unwillingness to admit to any negotiations with Hamas, but rocket firing was soon stopped and there was an increase in supplies of food, water, medicine and fuel. Yet the increase was to an average of about 20 percent of normal levels. And this fragile truce was partially broken on Nov. 4, when Israel launched an attack in Gaza to destroy a defensive tunnel being dug by Hamas inside the wall that encloses Gaza.

On another visit to Syria in mid-December, I made an effort for the impending six-month deadline to be extended. It was clear that the preeminent issue was opening the crossings into Gaza. Representatives from the Carter Center visited Jerusalem, met with Israeli officials and asked if this was possible in exchange for a cessation of rocket fire. The Israeli government informally proposed that 15 percent of normal supplies might be possible if Hamas first stopped all rocket fire for 48 hours. This was unacceptable to Hamas, and hostilities erupted.

After 12 days of "combat," the Israeli Defense Forces reported that more than 1,000 targets were shelled or bombed. During that time, Israel rejected international efforts to obtain a cease-fire, with full support from Washington. Seventeen mosques, the American International School, many private homes and much of the basic infrastructure of the small but heavily populated area have been destroyed. This includes the systems that provide water, electricity and sanitation. Heavy civilian casualties are being reported by courageous medical volunteers from many nations, as the fortunate ones operate on the wounded by light from diesel-powered generators.

The hope is that when further hostilities are no longer productive, Israel, Hamas and the United States will accept another cease-fire, at which time the rockets will again stop and an adequate level of humanitarian supplies will be permitted to the surviving Palestinians, with the publicized agreement monitored by the international community. The next possible step: a permanent and comprehensive peace.

This is why, in my previous posts, I talk about J.C. as a man ahead of his time, a man of peace and a man above others. So sad how he was/is ridiculed. Let's hope President O looks to him for advice first, before going to the other 4 former "leaders" in that photo (let's hope he never talks to the Bush clan).

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Presidents' Photo-op

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In looking at the previously posted photo of the Prez "times 5" the following Che quote comes to mind:

“Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel!”
Not meant for J.C. and I hope B.O. will prove to be excluded from that as well. As for the Shrub's - without question. For Clinton - I never did agree with most of his policies and actions - I never trusted the DLC.

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Reporter Joe

Joe the Plumber to become war correspondent
Samuel Wurzelbacher to report on ‘Average Joes’ in Israel for Web site

Joe The Plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter’s notebook.
The Ohio man who became a household name during the presidential campaign says he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site pjtv.com.
Samuel J. Wurzelbacher says he’ll spend 10 days covering the fighting.
He tells WNWO-TV in Toledo that he wants to let Israel’s “‘Average Joes’ share their story.”
Wow - a plumber and reporter - a true Renaissance Man !?!?

Trying to extend his 15 minutes of fame.

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Red Ties, Blue Ties

Okay, someone tell me why Obama and the two shrubs are wearing blue and Bill and Carter are wearing red? Messing with our minds? Same fashion consultants?

Wish Obama was next to Carter instead of standing between those two guys. There are several shots of this group out there. I chose this one because of the look Carter has. Would love to read his mind as he looks over the others. A man ahead of his time.

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Finally...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Obama 'deeply concerned' over Gaza

Barack Obama, the US president-elect, has said he is "deeply concerned" over the number of civilian casualities in Gaza and Israel during the conflict there.
Better late than never - though "concern" goes without saying. I realize he feels strongly about "one president at a time" and does not want to comment on foreign policy issues, but this matter deserves and needs his opinion and view. Well, at least we deserve to hear his opinions, views and plans. We have to know what to really expect in the next 4 years. True change?

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Fanning the flames

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Ashes Of Gaza

The assault on Gaza, planned over six months and executed with perfect timing, was designed largely, as Neve Gordon has rightly observed, to help the incumbent parties triumph in the forthcoming Israeli elections. The dead Palestinians are little more than election fodder in a cynical contest between the right and the far right in Israel. Washington and its EU allies, perfectly aware that Gaza was about to be assaulted, as in the case of Lebanon in 2006, sit back and watch.

Washington, as is its wont, blames the pro-Hamas Palestinians, with Obama and Bush singing from the same AIPAC hymn sheet. The EU politicians, having observed the build-up, the siege, the collective punishment inflicted on Gaza, the targeting of civilians etc (for all the gory detail, see Harvard scholar Sara Roy's chilling essay in the London Review of Books) were convinced that it was the rocket attacks that had "provoked" Israel but called on both sides to end the violence, with nil effect. The moth-eaten Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt and Nato's favourite Islamists in Ankara failed to register even a symbolic protest by recalling their ambassadors from Israel. China and Russia did not convene a meeting of the UN security council to discuss the crisis.

As result of official apathy, one outcome of this latest attack will be to inflame Muslim communities throughout the world and swell the ranks of those very organisations that the west claims it is combating in the "war against terror".

Fanning the flames is dangerous - lessons that should have been learned from history (even our own history in Iraq and Afghanistan). But power and money blinds us. Power and money corrupts. It corrupts businesses, politicians and governments.

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Senator Franken

Panel to declare Franken winner of Senate race

A state election board on Monday will announce Democrat Al Franken has defeated Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, state officials told CNN Sunday.

However, Coleman's campaign, which contends the recount should have included about 650 absentee ballots it says were improperly rejected in the initial count, has indicated it will challenge the certification.

Took a long time - may take a little longer.

Al Franken as Senator - Wow!

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Calls for Peace?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

No US Objections to Impending Gaza Invasion

The long-promised Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip seems set to begin at any time, some reports suggest it could be a mere matter of hours. And while in his weekly radio address tomorrow President Bush is going to claim the United States is “leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful ceasefire,” the United States seems perfectly willing to stand aside as Israel launches the ground invasion, with White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe saying “those will be decisions made by the Israelis.”

Indeed, the United States has supported the Israeli attack from the start, both by providing weapons and using its UN Security Council seat to block an Arab League-backed resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. As Israel’s attacks have killed hundreds of Palestinians (scores of them children), the administration continues to insist that Hamas is solely responsible for the fighting.

Will January 20 signal a new start-a new policy? So far it doesn't seem so.

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