Monday, May 28, 2007

Response to Informed Comment blog

"Our job as the citizens of a democratic Republic is to ensure that we only ask them to risk everything (everything) when our Republic is genuinely in danger. Not for any other reason. They did their jobs. "It's just a job, sir." Have we done ours?" - Juan Cole of Informed Comment blog.

I certainly did mine. I protested this illegal and immoral and very, very stupid war since September 2002. I got nowhere. I remember being so frustrated because so many Americans, and I include you in that bunch Mr. Cole, could not see how evil this invasion and occupation of Iraq would turn out to be - and how deadly it would be for the people of Iraq.

Even today, I find Americans very frustrating - they seem to have NO understanding of their complicity in being duped so easily into a war of aggression and therefore no ability to stop any further wars of aggression. Way, way, WAY too many people see our military as a solution to (mostly fear-induced made up) problems that the military can never solve...... the American people failed totally to see that the multitude of countries we attack and bomb and stir up strife in, are not a threat to our safety and well-being at ALL.

Our military is simply doing this bombing and invasions (and the CIA is stirring up strife in multitude countries around the world) to insure that *corporations* control and profit from the resources of other countries. Just as our military slaughtered the natives of this country to provide for the profit and expansionism of the white people, they are required to do this around the globe. This is not something to be proud of - nor is it something to glamorize. It is slaughter for greed. And it will never keep us safe in the long run, even if you can get past the immorality of these plans. They are only serving to make the rich and powerful more rich and powerful. The American people have a way, way too idealized "image" of the military in their heads. And today they blame our elected leaders for the mess we are in - totally WITHOUT any understanding of their own complicity. I fail to understand why they, and you, are still drinking the kool-aid. I think (and FEAR) that Americans will only turn from inflicting violence on other people and countries when war comes to our living rooms, but not via the TV sets.

This immorality and evil insanity has got to stop.

North Carolina: Stop Rendition Flights

The information below came in an email from North Carolina Stop Torture Now group.

Chronology of Efforts to Secure Official Investigation of Aero Contractors' Involvement in Kidnapping and Torture

November 18, 2005 - Forty members of Stop Torture Now delivered a "peoples' indictment" to Aero Contractors' headquarters in Smithfield. Fourteen members of the group were arrested for non-violent trespass, and the event was widely covered by the media, including the Raleigh News & Observer. Citizens' indictments delivered to Johnston County Commissioners, County
Manager Rick Hester, the county attorney, Johnston County Airport Authority, and Aero Contractors Board members, including attorney/treasurer of board, Lamar Armstrong.
November 19, 2005 - STN also gathered at the recently completed Aero hangar at the Kinston Global TransPark to call attention to Aero's Boeing 737, used for many CIA rendition flights. At the same time, letters were delivered to several members of the Global TransPark Authority (GTPA) board.

January 5, 2006 - Trial of "Aero 14" in Johnston County, with expert witnesses Rev. Bill Finlator and Daniel Pollitt, law professor emeritus, UNC.

January 6, 2006 - Visibility action at Aero's hangar at GTP, Kinston.

Ongoing since early 2006 - Monthly vigils at several locations: the intersection of U.S. 70 / Business 70, near the Johnston County Airport; Glenwood Avenue near Crabtree Valley Mall; and the Governor's Mansion.

April 5, 2006 - Meeting with Mr. Franklin Freeman, Chief of Staff to Gov. Easley, by five members of NC STN, and George Reed, NC Council of Churches. Mr. Freeman was presented with background information about Aero and rendition, and the Governor was asked to encourage the Attorney General to investigate. Mr. Freeman said he would consult Andy Vanore, an advisor to the Governor. On April 12, 2006, Mr. Vanore informed NC STN there were no grounds to attempt to break the GTPA's lease with Aero, nor to launch a criminal investigation of Aero, because North Carolina's senators and President Bush had indicated that the U.S. government does not engage in torture.

April 5, 2006 - CodePink met with Russ Swindell, aide to U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge, about rendition and other issues.

April 7, 2006 - Vigil outside Governor's Mansion, covered in News & Observer.

April 17 and May 20, 2006 - 'Listening Project' conducted in Johnston County, surveying approximately 250 residents regarding torture.

April /May 2006 - Members of CodePink met with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole's aide to discuss torture and North Carolina's role in rendition.

May 1, 2006 - Meeting with U.S. Rep. David Price to discuss the policy of torture and the role of Aero Contractors of North Carolina in "extraordinary rendition" flights. Rep. Price received many materials linking Aero to the CIA's outsourcing of torture.

May 2, 2006 - About 15 members of NC STN attended the annual Board Meeting of the NC GTPA in Kinston, NC, and spoke to the entire board, raising the issue of Aero Contractors' involvement in kidnapping and torture and requesting referral for investigation to the SBI. Coverage was obtained in the Kinston Free-Press, other media. (Response on May 5, 2006, by Darlene Waddell, Executive Director of GTPA, refusing request.)

May 2006 - The Democratic County Conventions in Durham, Orange, and Wake passed resolutions against torture, rendition, and Aero Contractors. A resolution was passed at the 4th District Democratic Convention in Durham, calling on U.S. Senators and Representatives to support legislation to ban U.S. transport of CIA detainees via Aero Contractors.

June 20, 2006 - Meeting by NC STN members with GTPA Vice-Chair Gene Conti and GTPA Executive Director Darlene Waddell to request investigation of Aero. No action resulted.

June 24, 2006 - A resolution condemning Aero Contractors' involvement in torture and calling for investigation was passed at the NC State Democratic Convention in High Point, NC.
August 15, 2006 - Concerns raised about Aero Contractors to U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge at meeting in Raleigh. Packet of information sent to his Lillington office by certified mail, return receipt requested, on August 18, 2006.
August 29, 2006 - NC State Sen. Ellie Kinnaird met with the Legislative Liaison from AG Cooper's office and asked that the SBI investigate whether the rendition flights were continuing.
September 1, 2006 - Letter requesting Aero investigation from NC Council of Churches to Governor Easley, AG Cooper, SBI Director Pendergraft, GTPA Board Vice-Chair Gene Conti, GTPA Executive Director Darlene Waddell, and NC General Assembly members.
September 8, 2006 - Letter from NC Council of Churches requesting investigation of Aero went to these GTPA board members: Commissioner of Agriculture Troxler, Secretary of State Moore, NC Community College System President Lancaster, and additional board members Holding, Whichard, Allison, Capel, and Sloan.

September 10, 2006 - Op ed urging Aero investigation by Barbara Zelter, NC Council of Churches, was published in the Charlotte Observer: "N.C. A Link in Torture Chain"

September 21, 2006 - Vigil outside Governor's Mansion regarding Aero and
October 1, 2006 - Johnston County resident approached Chair of Johnston County Board of Commissioners, Cookie Pope, and other county officials at street fair to beg for investigation of Aero.

October 2, 2006 - Twelve NC state legislators wrote to SBI Director Pendergraft, requesting investigation of Aero. On October 17, 2006, she responded, claiming a lack of jurisdiction, and stating that she had contacted her counterparts at the FBI and shared the legislators' letter and
attachments with them.
October 17, 2006 - NC STN members brought Aero problem to attention of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and NC First Lady Mary Easley after Graham's speech at NCSU.

December 11, 2006 - NC STN held a press conference at the NC General Assembly, featuring State Rep. Larry Hall and ACLU Senior Human Rights Advisor Steven Watt, to announce the start of a campaign to gather signatures of non-profit organizations supporting investigation of Aero. Coverage received in several media.
January 2007 - NC STN member met with Johnston County Manager, asking for investigation of Aero.
January 18, 2007 - 22 state legislators wrote to AG Cooper, refuting SBI Director Pendergraft's claim that she lacked jurisdiction, and reiterating call for investigation of Aero.

February 14, 2007 - Meeting with Rose Auman, District Director for U.S. Rep. David Price, regarding Aero and rendition.
February 23, 2007 - Second meeting with U.S. Rep. Etheridge's aide Russ Swindell about Aero, attended by members of CodePink, ACLU and NC STN.

March 2007 - NC STN member approached Johnston County Board of Commissioners
Chair Cookie Pope and other commissioners to ask for investigation; no response.

March 19, 2007 - Meeting with U.S. Rep. Brad Miller by several constituents and NC STN members, resulting in Rep. Miller's agreement to cosponsor H.R. 1352, the "Torture Outsourcing Prevention Act."
March 20, 2007 - Response sent to 22 state legislators by J. B. Kelly, General Counsel to Attorney General Cooper, indicating the NC SBI had referred the Aero matter to the FBI, and stood ready to assist an FBI investigation.

March 21, 2007 - Press conference at NC General Assembly to announce letter from 75 non-profit organizations requesting investigation of Aero Contractors, delivered to Governor Easley, Attorney General Cooper, SBI Director Pendergraft, U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of NC George Holding, Johnston County Board of Commissioners, Global TransPark Authority
Board members, and NC General Assembly members

April 9, 2007 - Citizens' arrest at Aero headquarters, Johnston County airport. Eight people arrested while attempting to deliver "citizens' arrest" warrants.

April 18, 2007 - H.B. 1682, the North Carolina "No Place For Torture" Act, filed in NC House of Representatives.

April 19, 2007 - Johnston County Democratic Party passed resolution asking for investigation of Aero.

And on May 19, 2007, the Democratic Party of Congressional District 11 passed a resolution calling for a stop to rendition flights and torture assistance in North Carolina. They passed a resolution calling on the Attorney General to investigate Aero Contractors. These folks in the eastern part of the state have done a lot of work, and I commend them highly for this good work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Democrats cave......

Democrats cave……………

Democrats back down………..

Democrats give in……………

Democrats relent…………..

Democrats are fools………………

Democrats are chickens…………….

The new Democrat plan: WECWK = Where else can we kill (in the service of perpetuating global inequality and suffering to our benefit). Posted by: BobM on a political blog

Democrats Pull Troop Deadline From Iraq Bill

Congressional Democrats relented Tuesday on their insistence that a war spending measure set a date for withdrawing American combat troops from Iraq. Instead, they moved toward a deal with President Bush that would impose new conditions on the Iraqi government. In an effort to appease antiwar Democrats, the party’s leaders plan to allow two votes in the House. One would provide the war money, and seems likely to be opposed by large numbers of Democrats. The other, separated out to allow more Democrats to vote in favor, would include popular measures that are also part of the package, including a minimum wage increase and $17 billion in added domestic and military spending.

The Nay votes are against ending the war. They will be hearing from me next month, in person. I will visit every office in the Senate office buildings and deliver a paper with my thoughts, and a picture of a dead Iraqi child, on it.

Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Allard (R-CO), Nay
Baucus (D-MT), Nay
Bayh (D-IN), Nay
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Nay
Burr (R-NC), Nay
Carper (D-DE), Nay
Casey (D-PA), Nay

Chambliss (R-GA), Nay
Coburn (R-OK), Nay
Cochran (R-MS), Nay
Coleman (R-MN), Nay
Collins (R-ME), Nay
Conrad (D-ND), Nay
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Nay
Craig (R-ID), Nay
Crapo (R-ID), Nay
DeMint (R-SC), Nay
Dole – Not voting
Domenici (R-NM), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Ensign (R-NV), Nay
Enzi (R-WY), Nay
Graham (R-SC), Nay
Grassley (R-IA), Nay
Gregg (R-NH), Nay
Hagel (R-NE), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Kyl (R-AZ), Nay
Landrieu (D-LA), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (ID-CT), Nay

Lincoln (D-AR), Nay
Lott (R-MS), Nay
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Martinez (R-FL), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Murkowski (R-AK), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Nay
Nelson (D-NE), Nay

Pryor (D-AR), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Salazar (D-CO), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Smith (R-OR), Nay
Snowe (R-ME), Nay
Specter (R-PA), Nay
Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Sununu (R-NH), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Thomas (R-WY), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (R-VA), Nay
Webb (D-VA), Nay

Mad at Congress? Take the Iraq Vote Pledge

Are you mad at Congress for surrendering to George Bush over the Iraq Supplemental? So are we - and we're determined to do something about it. Together, we have spent the past six months doing everything in our power to persuade the new Democratic Congress to end the disastrous Iraq War. But even though a majority of Democrats (including Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid) want to set a timetable for withdrawal, Republicans are marching in lockstep behind Bush along with a crucial minority of "Bush Democrats." So what can we do? Let's put them on notice that we will defeat all pro-war Republicans next November, and replace "Bush Democrats" with progressive Democrats in next year's primaries. Take the Iraq Vote Pledge:

"I pledge to vote against every Senator and Representative who approves funding to continue the disastrous Iraq War. We have already given far too much of our blood and treasure - and killed far too many Iraqis - for a war based on lies. We are now occupying a hostile nation divided by civil war for the benefit of military contractors and Big Oil.”

The only way to support our troops is to bring them home NOW, and no funds should be used for any other purpose. If Congress fails to bring our troops home, I will do everything I can - and urge everyone I know - to defeat pro-war Senators and Representatives, both in my party's primary elections and in the November general election."

Read about our plan to support anti-war Democrats in primaries HERE.

Some information on the bushies plan for Iran.

Neo cons plot strategy on Iran.

Obama lines up on Iran.

I don’t even have time to blog on all the sh*t going on in Lebanon and Palestine. Yes, our government is deeply involved in all that violence also. Oh, and Somalia too. Like Bob said above.

I am selling off some of my stuff lately to help the Iraqi refugees. On Saturday, I am going to a local flea market with a car load of things I really don't need all that badly - if at all.

Wrong again

I was wrong to call Democrats chickens. This is a total insult to chickens everywhere. They are really chicken droppings - sorry, could not find a picture.

And here are the Represenatives.....

House members who voted to continue and expand the war and occupation (Republicans are in italics)

Barrett (SC)
Bartlett (MD)
Barton (TX)
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (UT)
Boyd (FL)
Boyda (KS)
Brady (TX)
Brown (SC)
Brown-Waite, Ginny
Burton (IN)
Camp (MI)
Cole (OK)
Davis (CA)
Davis (KY)
Davis, David
Davis, Lincoln
Davis, Tom
Deal (GA)
Diaz-Balart, L.
Diaz-Balart, M.
English (PA)

Franks (AZ)
Garrett (NJ)
Green, Gene
Hall (TX)
Hastings (WA)
Herseth Sandlin
Inglis (SC)
Johnson (IL)
Johnson, Sam
Jones (NC)
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kline (MN)
Kuhl (NY)
Larsen (WA)
Lewis (CA)
Lewis (KY)
Lungren, Daniel E.
Mahoney (FL)
McCarthy (CA)
McCaul (TX)
Meek (FL)
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Miller, Gary
Moore (KS)
Moran (KS)
Murphy, Tim

Peterson (MN)
Peterson (PA)
Price (GA)
Pryce (OH)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rogers (MI)
Ryan (WI)
Scott (GA)
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Thompson (MS)
Udall (CO)
Walden (OR)
Walsh (NY)
Walz (MN)
Wasserman Schultz
Weldon (FL)
Wilson (NM)
Wilson (OH)
Wilson (SC)
Young (AK)
Young (FL)

GOOD GUYS FROM NORTH CAROLINA: Watt, Price, Miller (all Democrats)

BAD DEMOCRATS FROM NORTH CAROLINA: Etheridge, Shuler, Butterfield, McIntyre

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Impeachment Poll on MSNBC

There is a poll on MSNBC tonight asking if you think our president should be impeached.

Here's the Link.

Monday, May 21, 2007

NC 11 Democratic Party Annual Meeting

District 11 NC Democratic Party Meeting May 19, 2007

The meeting was held at Pisgah High School and basically started with the usual – introductions of legislators (including our freshman congressman Shuler) and election of officers for the upcoming two years. We then moved on to discussing resolutions, of which there were more than fifty. I will review the ones I think are pertinent.

Iraq: Several resolutions against the escalation of troops numbers in Iraq, asking for a timetable of troop withdrawal, and opposition to construction of permanent bases in Iraq. All these resolutions passed by acclimation, which is a big change from two years ago. It seems that everyone has finally woken up to the nightmare we have created in Iraq, and there are only a few people who think we should stay and “fix it”. Most have woken up to the reality that we cannot fix it.

Note: we passed “Out of Iraq” resolution this past January at the State Executive committee meeting. This was also passed last year at the district level. These new resolutions were attempts to further that process along.

Government and Foreign Policy: There was a resolution to oppose CIA torture flights, and to call for the NC Attorney General Roy Cooper to conduct an investigation into Aero Contractors and it’s possible illegal activity. (If it is not illegal, it sure is immoral!) They also passed resolution to demand the closing of the School of the Americas. All of these passed by acclimation and without discussion. One resolution that was discussed and defeated was the resolution to support a Department of Peace. It had passed at the county level but failed at the district level. I spoke on that issue and on how our Department of State was not doing anything about our high levels of domestic violence. One argument against the Department of Peace is that the current administration would ignore it. This is true, but then they have ignored our US Constitution also. That does not mean it wasn’t a good idea. Well, more work to do in this area until more people see the light.

We passed resolutions on our forests, universal health care and mental health care issues. This last one is becoming a serious issue in western North Carolina, since the state has turned it into all private providers and then really messed with the providers. This issue is more complicated than I have time to go into. We passed resolutions calling for reform of the Electoral Collage, so that the Electoral College votes reflects the popular vote, rather than an “all or nothing” approach. We also passed a resolution calling for public financing of campaigns and to move towards voter owned elections.

We passed several resolutions on the environment and on energy – specifically renewable energy and alternative energy and conservation. These all passed. Two resolutions were about nuclear energy plants and nuclear waste that nuclear energy causes. One had to do with the transport of nuclear waste via our highways and railroads, and the other wanted to stop the construction of new nuclear energy plants. Both of these failed – even after someone spoke about what it was like to live through the Three Mile Island incident. I spoke to how our highways and railways could easily become a “dirty bomb” from just a vehicle accident. Who knows what some “terrorist” may do?

And, amazingly, they did not vote to pass these resolutions. We are our own worst enemies.

Finally, we had resolutions on annexation and various miscellaneous things. One that I found interesting was a resolution to abolish corporate personhood, which passed this year. It had been defeated in prior years.

One issue that you may have noticed we did not bring up – IMPEACHMENT. And that is because we passed a resolution to impeach bush, cheney and Gonzales at the State Executive Committee meeting in January 2006. We passed a resolution at the State Democratic Party meeting in June 2006 asking our state legislators to file articles of impeachment via our state legislators (and it was almost unanimous). So far, they have taken no action on this issue, which is a shame. We are a Blue state – this should pass.

At the end of the meeting, I pulled out my IMPEACHMENT bumper stickers, and without trying, I sold about 20 of them. Tonight, there is a meeting of the Buncombe Country Democrat party – I bet I sell the rest of them.

And the picture above - taken by a friend of mine at Vance Monument in downtown Asheville. The Vets for Peace are a great group.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Two Jews in the West Bank

Photo: Taken on April 20, 2007 when the Israeli army returned to continue the destruction of homes in South Hebron. More information at this LINK.

This is a report on Home Demolitions in the West Bank and a presentation on that subject that I went to recently.

While All Eyes Were on Gaza

This is a report of a presentation by two people from the eastern part of NC. They are Jews, and their names are Tom Stern and Tema Okum. They called their presentation “While All Eyes Were on Gaza – Two Jews Visit the West Bank”. Their goal was to give a Jewish perspective on the beginning of the 40th year of occupation of Palestine by Israel, and their ideas on how to work for a just peace in the region. The group they are working with is the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

This couple started by telling about their backgrounds, and how their political and religious development changed over the years. They said that Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967 and have occupied it ever since. They were in the town of Anata in the West Bank last summer, where there were many homes destroyed, and another 200 homes have demolition orders. (More information on Anata HERE.)

The homes are mainly destroyed for administrative reasons – that is, the Palestinians don’t have permits for building on their own land, so the home is destroyed. The Palestinians don’t have permits because they cannot get permits from the occupying power. The home that this couple worked last summer on had applied three times for a permit (at the cost of $5,000 each time). There were denied each time for various reasons. The first time, it was because the land was zoned for agriculture (even though it was too rocky for planting). The second time was because the land was too sloped. The third time was because the deed lacked two signatures of the previous owners. Some of the homes had been destroyed and rebuilt as many as four times. Basically, the Israeli government does not want to issue any construction permits. When the Israelis come to destroy a home, the Palestinians have 15 minutes to vacate the home. On the home that this couple worked on in Anata, the Israelis had thrown a tear-gas canister into the home marked “made in the USA” when they came to bulldoze the home. The family is usually presented with a bill for the demolition of their home. All of this is devastating to the family.

This couple talked about the growing settlements on West Bank. These settlements are growing fast, and they appear to be designed to split the West Bank into four different sections.

There are been 4,000 to 5,000 homes demolished since 2000. In Bethlehem, one home that was demolished had a family of three generations (8 people total) who had no where to sleep that night. Settlements surround Bethlehem, and the “security fence” there is a wall that is 30 feet high. The Israeli side of the wall is much shorter. Teenagers in Palestine feel like they are prisoners in their own homes. They cannot even go to a nearby town to play sports, because of the checkpoints.

Israeli military has decided not to retaliate against suicide bombers by tearing down their families’ homes. However, Israeli civil administration still does bulldoze homes, at the rate of 10 per month. The home demolitions are done all over the West Bank, but mostly happen closer to settlement blocks. Home demolition is also happening in east Jerusalem to help maintain the 80/20 population balance there– that is 80% Jews to 20% non-Jews.

I asked what happens to the people whose homes are not rebuilt. The answer is they live in tents, or they get absorbed by other family members. This later one creates a mess because of disruption to cultural family norms.

Starting this summer, the Israeli Coalition Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) intends to start a program to rebuild ALL the homes demolished during the 40th year of occupation. They will announce this campaign soon. They are asking groups to “adopt” a house. It is a statement of resistance - saying that this occupation is not in the best interests of Palestine or Israel.

What is ICAHD? From their website, there is this description:

ICAHD is a non-violent, direct-action group originally established to oppose and resist Israeli demolition of Palestinian houses in the Occupied Territories. As our activists gained direct knowledge of the brutalities of the Occupation, we expanded our resistance activities to other areas - land expropriation, settlement expansion, by-pass road construction, policies of "closure" and "separation," the wholesale uprooting of fruit and olive trees and more. The fierce repression of Palestinian efforts to "shake off" the Occupation following the latest Intifada has only added urgency to our efforts. As a direct-action group, ICAHD is comprised of members of many Israeli peace and human rights organizations. All of our work in the Occupied Territories is closely coordinated with local Palestinian organizations.

If you support what the ICAHD is doing, they would certainly appreciate your support.

Also, if you are concerned about the ongoing occupation of Palestine, there will be a teach-in, rally and lobby events in DC next month. This is being organized by United for Peace and Justice. An excellent Kos diary has already been written on this subject, with lots of links for local groups working on this issue.

This mobilization has been endorsed by Jewish Voice for Peace, and they sent out this email recently:

Jewish Voice for Peace is working closely with the march organizers, the US Campaign to End the Occupation and United for Peace and Justice, to make sure there is a strong Jewish presence at the march. That's why we want to invite you to march together with Jews and other Jewish Voice for Peace supporters, and to come with us on the 11th to lobby Congress.

Please let us know if you're coming so we can prepare lobbying materials and anticipate the size of the Jewish contingent. If you sign up in advance, we'll make sure you get a sign.

I hope some of my readers will join me in DC for this rally, teach-in and lobbying in DC.

UPDATE: More information from Tom Stern

In actuality, Tema Okun and I represent ICAHD-USA, an independent tax-exempt US nonprofit that ofter works closely with ICAHD in Jerusalem.

Please check out our website - It is being updated, and in a few weeks will have information on a new, major project to rebuild Palestinian homes.

From the ICAHD-USA website:

ICAHD-USA was incorporated as an independent non-profit organization in July, 2004, in order to help raise awareness in the US of the Israeli government’s demolition of Palestinian homes and its gradual annexation of Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. ICAHD-USA also seeks to educate the American public about campaigns by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) in Israel/ Palestine.

ICAHD-USA’s educational activities include:
· Conducting community presentations, workshops at conferences, and presentations at synagogues, churches, universities and festivals on the Israel-Palestine conflict;
· Maintaining an active Speakers Bureau;
· Engaging the news media on Israel and Palestine, and publishing op-ed pieces and other articles;
· Co-sponsoring educational and cultural events; and
· Networking with other organizations, including ICAHD in Jerusalem, that provide educational information about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
ICAHD’s activities include:
· Resisting the demolition of Palestinian homes.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Denis Kucinich in Asheville last month

Protests against home invasions

Residents rally in protest against the U.S. military presence in the Shaab neighborhood in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, May 17, 2007.
More than 200 Iraqis protested against U.S. and Iraqi military raids in their neighborhood.

(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

As protests go, this is a small one for Iraq. I wish I could find a better picture of the sign in the background, since they went to so much trouble to write it in a foreign language (English) so that Americans could read it. The only words I can read for sure are "disapprove" and "American" and "inside". The caption says they are protesting military raids, I think most people in the world at large would call it "home invasion" - and that's what they called it when two Iraq war veterans did it in Virginia Beach a couple of years back.

I wonder when (if ever) Americans will get this message they are trying to send. I wonder if America politicians (who have gotten the message) will stop ignoring what the Iraqi people and the American people want - for US troops to get out of Iraq. This occupation is already four years old, and there are no signs that the American politicians will ever listen to the people and what they want.

It seems that the bushies are determined to show the Iraqi people what "freedom and democracy" are no matter what the majority of the population wants or feels about it. Of course, I have said all along that the bushies are only bringing people the freedom of the grave and the democracy of death.

US actions in Iraq - trashing bedrooms

Residents of the al-Obaidy neighborhood in eastern Baghdad clean up their home following a joint US Iraqi military raid, Wednesday, May 16, 2007.

Some 300 Iraqi and US soldiers searched houses early morning, detaining over 40 suspects. Poster on the floor depicts radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

US actions in Iraq - trashing homes

A resident of the al-Obaidy neighborhood in eastern Baghdad cleans up his home following a joint US Iraqi military raid, Wednesday, May 16, 2007.
Some 300 Iraqi and US soldiers searched houses early morning, detaining over 40suspects.
(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

I wonder how much of that stuff is busted up forever. I wonder if there is any compensation paid, or is it just tough luck for these people.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

US actions in Iraq - making funerals

Friends and relatives take part in the funeral procession for three members of a family killed in Sadr City slum of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, May 13, 2007.

A U.S. military helicopter opened fire at a family sleeping on their rooftop, killing a mother and two children and injuring two other children, Iraqi police said.

(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

US firepower caused these funerals - of a women and two children who were sleeping.

US actions in Iraq - causing grief

Iraqi women react during funeral for the three members of a family killed in Sadr City slum of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, May 13, 2007.

A U.S. military helicopter opened fire at a family sleeping on their rooftop, killing a mother and two children and injuring two other children, Iraqi police said.

(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

US actions in Iraq - scaring children

Children collect bullet shells following an attack in Sadr City slum of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, May 13, 2007.

A U.S. military helicopter opened fire at a family sleeping on their rooftop, killing a mother and two children and injuring two other children, Iraqi police said.

(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

This is what the US is doing - killing children in a far away land for no reason at all. It is beyond stupid, it is evil.

US actions in Iraq - killing sleeping people

An Iraqi woman reacts at the site where three members of a family were killed in Sadr City slum of Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, May 13, 2007.

A U.S. military helicopter opened fire at a family sleeping on their rooftop, killing a mother and two children and injuring two other children, Iraqi police said.

(AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

The stain on the roof is blood. There was a lot more blood in the photo, but I had to crop it to fit on this blog.

A mother and two children were killed by the US while sleeping.

This is pure evil.

US actions in Iraq - torture

A man looks at clay sculptures during an art exhibition at a gallery in Baghdad May 13, 2007.

A solo art exhibition by Iraqi artist Adul al-Karim titled "Excruciating on Clay" shows clay sculptures depicting bombings and violence in Iraq.

REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani (IRAQ)

This is a depiction of the events at Abu Ghraib.

The politics of consolidated mainstream media

"A satire about the finances and politics of the broadcasting business, $everance is the story of a fictional Chicago morning radio personality who tries to get fired so he can collect his severance. The company he works for has other ideas." - This was sent to me by email, and the link to the you tube page is HERE.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

They scare me too

I agree with Senator Gravel - they scare me too. And that's because they all seem to be in the pocket of the big corporations, including the military-media-industrial complex, and war is profitable for those corporations. The least scary is Obama, but even he is sorta scary because he proposes that bombing Iran might be an okay thing. The rest of them have shown their war-mongering skills, and they will always scare me. The only one who has changed his tune is Edwards, and I do not trust what he is saying today. I do know that he was the Senator for North Carolina for six years and he did nothing for the state except start up a war of aggression that is totally evil. Edwards does not understand our US Constitution, and he completely disrespected it while he was in the US Senate.

It would be a sad thing is any of these candidates were the Democratic nominee in 2008.

Friday, May 11, 2007

More Demostrations in Iraq

Demonstrators chant anti-U.S. slogans during a rally in Shi'ite's Kadhimiya district in Baghdad May 9, 2007. Hundreds of supporters of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr attended the rally denouncing U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Iraq. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen (IRAQ)

Yet one more of MANY demonstrations in Iraq that are ignored by the US media and US public. This is a small one, relative to the usual number that Sadr can get on the street. These demonstrations have been peaceful, but more and more of them are showing people holding hand guns.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It is enough to make you puke!

Recently, George Tenet joined the growing list of prominent individuals making a useless, half-heart, responsibility free apology. And making a lot of money off of it! They have no morals, no shame, and accept no real blame for the fiasco and genocide THEY STARTED OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL. Gonzales joins that evil list of people who cause mayhem and death with no regards to personal morality or any sense of honesty. Only difference with him is that he has not written a book yet.

Wolfowitz is another one on this list – he was rewarded for his role (in starting up an illegal and highly immoral war of aggression against a country that had hurt no one in the dozen years before it stated) by becoming president of the World Bank (where he can do further damage, I might add). However, since he took his slimy morals with him to the World Bank (along with his spit-combed hair – how disgusting!) they are going to can him. He is, at last, getting some payback for his lack of decency.

Rumsfled was kept on until it was politically expedient to toss him. I hear they tossed him into a cushy job at the Pentagon, which makes one wonder if he is really gone. He is evil to the core, and has no sense of shame or remorse for the mass murder he engineered.

Perle is another example of “getting away with it”. He not only helped get this evil war on, he walks around being filmed by PBS claiming he only had good intentions in “bringing democracy” to the Iraqi people. He does not give a rat’s ass about the Iraqi people or their democracy. He is part of the “I will cut off your head to save you from dandruff” crowd, and all the members of that crowd really don’t care at all about other people’s dandruff. Never did, never will. They also don’t care at all about the human effects of their violent orgies that they arrange for others to enact. Perle did play that part on the PBS show, but I doubt if anyone was stupid enough to believe it. He has no shame at all. Never did, never will.

What I would like to say to all the tenets-come-lately with their ‘tell-all’ books: SHUT THE F*CK UP AND GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY. However, it does look like there may be one benefit to Tenet’s book: looks like someone committed perjury about the events of 9/11 and what they claimed they knew and when they knew it……

Rice has been promoted for her total lack of character and morals and near-total lack of common sense.

Bremer got a medal of freedom for his incompetence in providing stability in post-invasion Iraq. Or maybe bush gave him the medal for promoting violence and instability in Iraq and the region – maybe that was their plan all along. These sociopaths probably did plan this – the better to control the area by making the people weak – however, even if it was accidental, they don’t care at all about the suffering involved. That’s because they are sociopaths – incompetent sociopaths, to be sure, but still sociopaths.

Franks is another one who got rewarded for his evil and incompetence with a medal of freedom. He is the one who said “we don’t do body counts” showing that he did not give a damn about the Iraqi people. I doubt he cares about the US troops dying either. He was only concerned about his career and getting another star and playing with all the big bad toys that the military has to offer. Of course, he wanted to play at a safe distance – he was not going to risk his own welfare in doing this. This was taken from an article in The New Yorker (which inspired this blog post):

Generals who held command over chaos and looming defeat have received additional stars and more powerful posts, such as George Casey, Jr., who was promoted earlier this year to Army chief of staff. Recently, an Army lieutenant colonel and Iraq veteran named Paul Yingling published an essay in the Armed Forces Journal, entitled “A Failure in Generalship.” Yingling’s open indictment of a military leadership composed of yes-men was the first by an active-duty officer during the Iraq war, and it expressed in analytical terms a simmering rage among lower-ranking soldiers. “A private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war,” he wrote.

And then there is bush and cheney – they were rewarded for their evil and incompetence by reelection in 2004. How the American public could be so amazingly stupid to vote these sociopaths back into office is beyond my ability to explain. But whatever happens to Americans as the result of their vote – well, if they voted for bush and cheney, they deserve it.

It’s the rest of the world who does not deserve it.

Oh, and the little shits are planning on spreading their evil ways beyond Iraq and into Iran. No, they will not bomb Iran and they certainly will not invade. They know that they would be finished off our military if they do that. (And that is, sadly, the only thing stopping them – morality or justice or human rights do not even figure into the equation here!) No, they are doing covert operations, using third party mercenaries most likely:

Saudis, US Sponsoring Covert Action Against Iran

The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United States are working with other states in the Middle East to sponsor covert action against Iran, according to a report in this month's edition of The Atlantic. The report also suggests that covert attacks may occur against Iran's oil sector. David Samuels, in a lengthy article on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East, reports that the US is promoting a campaign against Iran that includes covert action. Last fall, he writes, "Rice and her colleagues in the administration decided to embark on a daring and risky third course: a coordinated campaign, directed with the help of the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates....The bill for the covert part of this activity, which has involved funding sectarian political movements and paramilitary groups in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories, is said to amount to more than $300 million. It is being paid by Saudi Arabia and other concerned Gulf states, for whom the combination of a hasty American withdrawal from Iraq and a nuclear-armed Iran means trouble."

And the US military had the stupidity to say today that IRAN is helping the Sunni Iraqi insurgents! This is total bunk. First, the Sunnis in Iraq DON’T NEED ANY HELP ~ they already know how to run a military and make bombs. Further, if they are being helped it is by other Sunnis in neighboring countries. Well, maybe the US military is not being stupid, maybe this is all part of their plan to keep Americans confused and gin them up for the next war – with Iran. By the way, I don’t think that will happen for years and years, simply because these bullies like to pick on weaker countries (like Iraq) and Iran is way to strong for them. And that is why they are doing covert operations against them, the little sniveling evil cowards.

Oh, and all that high-explosive materials stolen just after the US invasion (the US troops broke the UN seal and then left it unguarded) – it has never been used. YET.

For updated information on Iraq.

For pictures of the grief the US occupation is causing.

Cross posted on Daily Kos blog.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Review: Ten Easy Steps To Fascism

There was a diary (or two) written on this article on Daily Kos last week, but I continued work on this post, because I felt it was too important not to discuss further.

An article published in The Guardian (UK) newspaper had a commentary on how the US is slipping into fascism. The author claimed that there are specific steps a government takes on the road to fascism, and that we are well on our way. She claims it can be boiled down into ten steps. Her first warning is that the “Department of Homeland Security” should have tipped us off – but it did not seem to for the majority of Americans.

Step One: Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

Well, we know when this enemy showed it’s ugly head. The US government officials at the time declared a global war on terror, with no end point and no national boundaries. It was also portrayed as a threat that was out to kill all of us and our way of life. Or - as some of the government’s supporters claimed – they are “out to kill all Christians” and our Christian way of life. (The fact that people of other faiths were also killed on 9/11, rather indiscriminately, escapes them. I can remember a few years back having arguments with some people about whether we were founded as a “Christian” nation or not – nowadays, I just argue that our behavior is not Christian at all. But I digress.) The author had this to say:

It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain - which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks - than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilisation as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.

And, of course, any possibility that al Qaeda could ruin our country, or end our country, is ridiculous. We are just too big and they are just too small.

Step Two: Create a gulag

The bush/cheney administration certainly did that – in spades! We have Guantanamo, prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan and secret CIA prisons in god-only-knows-where! This author says that the gulag has to be outside the law, where torture will take place. The people sent there are, at first anyway, not Americans and seen by most of the population as criminals or as enemies.

Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders - opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists - are arrested and sent there as well.

This author fails to mention the camps being built, or already build, for immigrants. They are in Texas, Nevada, Indiana – and possibly more places. These are reportedly not outside the law, but when you have American born children being imprisoned without charges (and separated from their parents) because their parents broke the law, I would claim that is outside the law.

And we know plenty of torture is going on in the prisons, secret or otherwise, outside the USA. Is making six year olds sleep in a prison cell without their parents torture? These prisons are growing, and they are a threat to all Americans. As regards the lack of fair trials for the people in Guantanamo, she said this:

By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People's Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offences, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.

Step Three: Develop a thug caste

This is where Blackwater comes in. And while they originally were employed for overseas operations, they have been employed here at home also. In Iraq, they are immune to prosecution, thanks to Bremmer’s rules. But here is another example:

Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for "public order" on the next election day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station "to restore public order".

Step Four: Set up an internal surveillance system

This is where the Patriot Act surely does shine. And those illegal wiretaps, monitoring of international banking activity, reading emails, - yes, we are under scrutiny by the state. Now, when all this starting becoming public knowledge, I would proudly proclaim that I hope they read every darn email I write, listen to every phone call, read every piece of mail. And that’s because I hope they might learn something. But it was also easy to see where this could go – even if the “surveillance” teams were pure and error-free. It means blackmail to any political (or otherwise) opponent. It means the opportunity for the thug caste to throw their weight around when you say something they don’t like.

Now, if EVERYTHING in my life were known to everyone, I would have nothing to fear about being accused of criminal activity. But, what if they get partial information or leave something out? What if they make mistakes? What if that Spanish robo-call I got today was from a terrorist cell? (It was a wrong number, probably because I made a few wrong numbers to Spanish speakers myself – those area codes are so important!) Or maybe it was from an immigration smuggling cell? And that wrong number was followed by a call from someone at the DCCC – not a wrong number, but they hardly know me and just guessed that I might be involved in a legal protest this weekend (they guessed right!).

Well, I am sure you all can see this is a problem. A HUGE PROBLEM.

Step Five: Harass citizens' groups

Yeap, the next step is to go after legal citizen’s groups, like the pacifist Quakers, for example. At a training in DC in 2005, it amazed me that the people running the group claimed that there was likely a police infiltrator among us. I immediately wanted to play “out the cop” but the leaders of this group thought that would be a poor idea. I still think it would have been fun. But the serious side of this: the definition of what constitutes a “terrorist” group grows to include any group the ones in power don’t particularly like – no matter if they are terrorists or not. I think they target the Quakers not because they are pacifists, but because they just are not materialistic. They just are not part of that “go shopping” crowd.

Step Six: Engage in arbitrary detention and release

It starts with a list – and then protestors or dissidents are subject to detention. We already have the “list” of people who are considered “security risks”. And, once you are on this secret list, you almost never get off. Often, you never find out why you ended up on this list.

And arbitrary detention and release has already happened to James Yee. And Brandon Mayfield.

Step Seven: Target key individuals

Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.

Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not "coordinate", in Goebbels' term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a group that fascists typically "coordinate" early on: the Reich Law for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.

The bushies have already put pressure on academics, military lawyers, US attorneys – or outright fired them. Then there is Joe Wilson – and the Dixie Chicks. Per this author:

Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that "waterboarding is torture" was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.

Step Eight: Control the press

Quite frankly, I thought this was hardly necessary. They are such stenographers, I doubt if more needs to be done. But, I was wrong -at least for those outside the typical corporate media.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened "critical infrastructure" when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.

And this is nothing compared to the suppression of the press in Iraq. Both AP and CBS had staff imprisoned, without charges, in Iraq. And then there is the “fake news” department – illegal here in the states (but has still happened), but acceptable in Iraq. And then there are the lies upon lies upon lies upon lies………….. so no one can easily figure out what the truth is.

Step Nine: Dissent equals treason

We already have this here. Plenty of examples of the rightwing noise machine calling people traitors to our country because they disagree with them. More seriously, sometimes they issue death threats. Even more seriously, any one of us could be labeled an “enemy combatant” by the bush administration.

And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realise that since September of last year - when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 - the president has the power to call any US citizen an "enemy combatant". He has the power to define what "enemy combatant" means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define "enemy combatant" any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.

Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial.

And the day may come where we don’t get a trial.

Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point there are some high-profile arrests - usually of opposition leaders, clergy and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society. There just isn't real dissent. There just isn't freedom. If you look at history, just before those arrests is where we are now.

Step Ten: Suspend the rule of law

The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.

….... Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any 'other condition'."

And this is where it gets real scary. Things look normal, but freedom has slipped away.

Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are "at war" in a "long war" - a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president - without US citizens realising it yet - the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone. That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions - and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the "what ifs".

What if….. what if……

From the article Working for the Clampdown further verification of the John Warner Defense Authorization Act and how it can suspend the rule of law:

Section 1076 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 changed the name of the key provision in the statute book from “Insurrection Act” to “Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act.” The Insurrection Act of 1807 stated that the president could deploy troops within the United States only “to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.” The new law expands the list to include “natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition”—and such “condition” is not defined or limited.

But it just “slipped in” with support from both Republicans and Democrats. But there were some critics:

Every governor in the country opposed the changes, and the National Governors Association repeatedly and loudly objected. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, warned on Sept. 19 that “we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law,” but his alarm got no response. Ten days later, he commented in the Congressional Record: “Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy.” Leahy further condemned the process, declaring that it “was just slipped in the defense bill as a rider with little study. Other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals.”

What does “martial law” really mean? Again, from that same article, a definition:

“Martial law” is a euphemism for military dictatorship. When foreign democracies are overthrown and a junta establishes martial law, Americans usually recognize that a fundamental change has occurred. Perhaps some conservatives believe that the only change when martial law is declared is that people are no longer read their Miranda rights when they are locked away. “Martial law” means obey soldiers’ commands or be shot. The abuses of military rule in southern states during Reconstruction were legendary, but they have been swept under the historical rug.

So, under this president, he ignores laws he does not like by issuing ‘signing statements’. He sets up free speech ‘zones’. He makes up reasons to follow his policy of preemptive war and trashes both the Nuremberg Principles and the US Constitution along the way. He decides the Geneva Conventions are to be ignored and his Attorney General says they are “quaint”. This president is certainly not above declaring “martial law” on some pretext if he is capable of declaring war on a pretext.

Senator Leahy is fighting to overturn Section 1076 but getting little traction. The DC establishment pretends this new power will not be abused, in spite of the massive evidence that this particular administration is not above abusing anything and everything.

And who is to say what the next president will be like - if we even have a fair election. If there is martial law, we will not have an election at all.

And, under martial law, even our second amendment right to own guns could be overturned – as what happen in New Orleans after Katrina.

Allies in this fight to maintain our freedoms:

Center for Constitutional Rights


Please support them.

This was also posted on Daily Kos.

Oh, this is just sick......


A man inspects the body armor police riot gear displayed on a mannequin, at the 'Rebuild Iraq 2007,' the 4th International Trade Exhibition for the Rebuilding of Iraq in Amman, Jordan, Monday, May, 7, 2007. More than 40 countries are taking part in the conference to encourage countries and companies to invest in all aspects of Iraqi life. (AP Photo/Nader Daoud)

Rebuild Iraq? Police in riot gear are supposed to rebuild Iraq? And this is the FOURTH trade fair for 'rebuilding' Iraq? Have they lost their minds? If they want to rebuild Iraq, they should start with supplying all the hospitals and clinics with EVERYTHING that they need. They should start by seriously looking for a neutral third party (not the USA!) to broker peace and stability in Iraq. They should make sure everyone has enough food and a decent shelter.

Having more armed men in riot gear or body armor is not going to REBUILD IRAQ - have we not had four years of evidence to establish that fact? More guns and more armies and more mercenaries are not going to REBUILD IRAQ.

Sometimes I think this whole war business is just a racket to make some sickos out there a LOT OF MONEY. They keep promoting violence and chaos and strife, and hey, guess what, some of the people fall for it. And then some more people are fearful and feel they need to protect themselves - and the weapons manufacturers get to sell even MORE weapons. And people like George Tenet can help get a war on, whine that they were mis-judged, write a damn book about it and MAKE TONS OF MONEY. And he is far from being the only one - Senator Edwards who co-sponsored the bill for the war on Iraq ALSO made money off the war (all legal) and now is going around telling other people what they should be doing - now that the political winds have shifted!

What a bunch of immoral little cowards we have - they feel that more armor and more weapons will protect them - while they cause untold misery for other people and never even NOTICE WHAT THEY DID. And they call themselves men! Ha!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

“Live from Iraq: A First-Hand Witness Account”

Mr. Sami Rasouli came to Asheville on April 20th. I met up with him and three UNCA students at our local Representative’s office, where we talked to Mr. Peterson. Mr. Rasouli spoke to Mr. Peterson about the reality of life in Iraq, and why he left the USA to live in Najaf. He also spoke on why he joined the Muslim Peacemaker Team, and of his friendship with Tom Fox (who was part of the Christian Peacemaker Team and killed in Iraq).

The funniest response that Mr. Rasouli gave was to the question “What do you think will happen if the US troops leave Iraq?” Mr. Rasouli said that New Orleans will finally get repaired.

After meeting with the staff of Representative Shuler, we went to dinner at La Paz restaurant. I took Sami there because I had taken Cindy Sheehan there when she was in town. It serves excellent Mexican food. We had a great time, and then we left to go to UNCA for a talk by Sami. They could not get the computer to hook up with the overhead, so it was just a talk without pictures (unfortunately). It was an interesting talk, however, and he clearly says that the US troops and “contractors” need to leave Iraq. He talked about the time when the US forces were looking for an Iraqi-American translator in Baghdad, and then after four days they left and then four car bombs went off soon after. Sami says peace will happen after the US forces leave the country. He also said that you cannot blind fold and tie the hands of Iraqis and then push them into the ocean and tell them “don’t get wet!”

Sami said that Fallujah had 350,000 people displaced and 30,000 homes damaged with 5,000 homes destroyed. He feels Hakim has a lot of blood on his hands, and he is closely aligned with the Iranians. Sami also told us that Sadr is quite shy and that of all the political forces in Iraq currently, he is probably the best one. Sadr is a nationalist, and not aligned with Iran or any other country. Sadr is anti-US and anti-Iranian. Sami felt that a lot of what has happened is because AIPAC is in control. Sami is confident that Iraqis will rebuild their country once US forces leave.

Sami said the deaths and violence in Iraq come from these sources:

1. US and collaborators (including death squads)

2. Resistance – which is 100% Iraqi

3. Criminals

4. International intelligence agencies and their actors

Sami says there area about 150,000 private contractors in Iraq and there are 325,000 Iraqi police and army at this time. The Iraqi people do not have a lot of trust in the police and army, however.

Sami lives in Najaf, which he says is home to one million people. It is also the home of Sistani. When Sadr called for demonstrations last month (to tell the US forces to leave) there were two million people there, per Iraqi sources in Najaf.

Sami is doing a project of sending letters from Iraqi children to American children and vice-versa. It is called “Letters for Peace” and is an attempt to create some understanding and communication between the children of the two countries. They will have translators who will interpret the letters, and the letters may end up published in a book. Sami had many pieces of Iraqi artwork with him, some by adults and some by children. These were to support the Muslim Peacemaker Team in Iraq.

Sami says that they are getting two hours a day of electricity in Iraq, and that fuel is scarce and the Iraqi government is corrupt. It was a cold winter last year, with no heating at the schools. Even worse, much of the glass in the school windows was broken from bombs. He said that there were one million widows because of this war, and that there is 60 – 75% unemployment now in Iraq. Sami says a high number of the population has hepatitis A, B and C, along with other diseases.

Sami is a friendly and funny guy, always making jokes. One of the jokes he told was “why are all the Prophets from the Middle East?” Answer is - they like good food, too!

The next morning, I picked Sami up and drove him to Greensboro for the rally there. Above is a picture of him at the rally. I spent most of my time at the rally getting people to sign the postcards going to dole, burr, bush and Representative Shuler to say we want the troops out of Iraq now, so I did not take notes on what was said.

Sami Rasouli, in an interview on Democracy Now said:

“The US administration, through its occupation in Iraq, has failed, has failed profoundly, and every day passes by indicates more violence happening in Iraq and more failure for their role. And, actually, I don't know what is their role in Iraq and what is the objectives that the US intend to accomplish in Iraq so far. I see nothing. I see the war as pointless. It caused lots of agony and disastrous result for the Iraqis.”

He went on to say:

“we cannot justify the presence of the US troops in Iraq by saying, well, they will -- or they are doing anything good for the Iraqis to prevent such as civil war, so-called fight between Sunnis and Shias. This is not a civil war. This is a political war between who supported the US invasion, which is the current government and its death squads, and the people of Iraq, who resisted, resisted this occupation and is still resisting this occupation”.