Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sing It Loud and Proud!

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.....

[A man stands amidst the rubble of a destroyed house after a U.S air strike in Baghdad September 6, 2007. A U.S. air strike on a Baghdad neighbourhood overnight killed 14 people and demolished several houses, the police said on Thursday. REUTERS/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud (IRAQ)]

And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife....

[A feeding bottle lies on a pillow amid the rubble of a destroyed house after a U.S airstrike in Baghdad September 6, 2007. A U.S. airstrike on a Baghdad neighbourhood overnight killed 14 people and demolished several houses, the police said on Thursday. REUTERS/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud (IRAQ)]

I’d thank my lucky stars, to be livin' here today....

[An Iraqi boy looks at a damaged car after an overnight raid in the Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007. U.S. forces killed nine suspects in a raid early Tuesday on the Baghdad stronghold of a powerful Shiite militia, the military said. Iraqi police and witnesses said only three people were killed, all civilians. (AP Photo/ Karim Kadim)]

‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

[Demonstrators hold a banner during a protest in Basra September 10, 2007. Hundreds of people took to the streets asking the political bloc loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to pull out from the government and accusing the government of not providing necessary services for residents. The banner reads: "We will not stop the resistance till the complete liberation". REUTERS/Atef Hassan (IRAQ)]

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.

[An Iraqi woman holds her daughter as US soldiers from 1-40 Cavalry Squadron stand guard around them while fellow soldiers search her home during a patrol into southern Baghdad, 11 September 2007. The US Senate approved Wednesday a Bosnia-style plan to divide Iraq on ethnic and religious lines, touted by backers as the sole hope of forging a federal state out of sectarian strife. (AFP/File/David Furst)]

And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.....

[A U.S. soldier from the Delta 112 Cav. Battalion stand next to a group of women as they perform a house to house search near the city of Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad on Friday, Aug. 31, 2007. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo)]

And I gladly stand up, next to you

[An Iraqi woman shouts "Don't shoot!" as US soldiers detain her son and husband (L) south of Baquba. A US judge on Friday stayed prosecutors from taking a second shot at the court martial of a soldier refusing to fight in Iraq because he believes the war is illegal(AFP/Alexander Nemenov)]

and defend her still today......

[A US soldier detains a father and son five miles south of Baquba. The US-led "war on terror" has been a "disaster" and Washington and its allies must change their policy in Iraq and Afghanistan to defeat Al-Qaeda, an independent global security think tank said Monday(AFP/File/Aleaxnder Nemenov)]

'Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA

[A hooded prisoner allegedly being tortured at Iraq's notorious Abu Ghraib jail supposely during interrogation by US soldiers in Baghdad in 2004. Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan, the only military officer charged in the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib jail, goes before a court martial Monday in Fort Meade, Maryland.(AFP/SBS Dateline/File)]

Sunday, October 28, 2007

cheney talks trash

cheney was talking in DC about Lebanon and the upcoming elections:

Lebanon has the right to conduct the upcoming elections free of any foreign interference. The United States will work with free Lebanon’s other friends and allies to preserve Lebanon’s hard won independence and to defeat the forces of extremism and terror that threaten not only that region,

but US countries across the wider region.”

I got this quote from Democracy Now on October 22, 2007.

So, now, are we multiple countries? Has part of the US up and moved to the Middle East region? Or is this his way of saying that Iraq is really a US country? Hey, maybe Israel is too! WHO KNOWS? I find it startling that he said this. It is also deeply hypocritical that he talks about “forces of extremism and terror” when he was the main architect of the war of aggression against Iraq. He is the biggest terrorist on the planet right now. And while he is championing no outside interference, you can bet the US is interfering all over the place. The US has been sending plane-loads of weapons into Lebanon (per Robert Fisk) and the US is planning on building a military airbase in Lebanon. The road to this proposed airbase goes right beside the recently destroyed Palestinian camp in Lebanon. There is talk of other US military installations in Lebanon. So, Lebanon is not free of “foreign interference” by a long shot.

Of course, some Americans have trouble seeing themselves as “foreign” no matter where they are. I heard a story where US troops in Iraq asked a farmer if he saw any foreign troops recently, and he told them that he had, and that he was currently talking to them.

I feel sorry for the people in Lebanon. Between the US and Israel, they will see lots of violence, I fear.

I do not capitalize cheney's name as a sign of my deep disrespect for him and his evil ways.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 27th coming up!

Take a stand! Sign up here to say you are going to an event on October 27, 2007! As for myself - this will be the first major rally that I have missed in years. I am going to Natahala to sell some of my outdoor equipment that I am no longer using, and hopefully to donate some money to help Iraqi refugees. But if you can, take a stand!

Impeachment petitions

Today, I mailed out the impeachment petition that I had gotten people to sign. I collected over 500 signatures with very little time or effort - mainly because I don't have extra time to do this, even while I wish I did. About 270 of these signatures were from people in North Carolina. I sent copies of the petition to Grassroots Impeachment Movement, Rep. Kucinich and (the NC ones) to Rep. Shuler. Below is the letter I included with the petitions I sent to Shuler.

Dear Rep. Shuler;

I collected these signatures on these petitions over two month’s time, with very little effort. I am only mailing the ones from people in North Carolina, but I got quite a few from out of state people too. I sent a copy of all of these signatures to Rep. Kucinich.

At Bele Chere, I held my sign for exactly 90 minutes and got 132 signatures. Imagine how many I would have gotten if I had spent the entire weekend doing this! But, unfortunately, I have other obligations and commitments and could not do that. I had people stopping me while walking on the street with a sign saying “sign petition to impeach” because they want to see these criminals impeached.

Since Bele Chere, I collected these signatures when I could, which was not very often. I did this because I believe bush and cheney are war criminals and the only peaceful and non-violent remedy we have to their abuses of power and torture, murder, genocide that they have ordered is IMPEACHMENT.

But it looks like the Democrats in DC are not interested in following this route, even while the majority of citizens support it. I fail (totally) to see how this lack of action will help our standing in the world, our civil rights here at home, or even the Democratic party itself. The Republicans sure don’t have any problems with going after Clinton for a blow-job. What bush and cheney have done is vastly more serious than a extramarital blow-job.

I am of the opinion that the American people elect people to office that reflect themselves, but in this case, the American people are way ahead of the elected officials.

But, if the Democrats do not want to lead or do what is the morally right thing to do, I certainly am not going to keep beating a dead donkey forever.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Letter to Rep. Watt (NC)

September 16, 2007
Representative Melvin Watt
Main District Office
1230 W. Morehead St., Ste. 306
Charlotte, NC 28208

Dear Representative Watt:

I am writing you today to thank you for signing on to the letter to Mr. Bush, written by Woolsey and Lee and the rest of the Progressive Caucus, saying that:

“We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office.”

I am very supportive of this position, and of all the work the Progressive Caucus is doing. I know I speak for a lot of progressives around the state when I say I wish all our Representatives in North Carolina would follow your lead. The reason I am a member of, and work for, the Progressive Democrats of America is to support the members of the Progressive Caucus. I sincerely hope we can elect more good men and women (like the members of the Progressive Caucus) to office in DC. We desperately need them.

I will be emailing members of PDA in North Carolina soon to share this news with them, and to ask them to call their own Representatives and ask them to also sign on to this letter.

Thank you for all the good work you do.

Full text of the letter that the Progressive Caucus has signed on to.

It was Rep. Lee and Rep. Woolsey that started this letter, and they are two of my favorite people in DC.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County

Minutes of the meeting held on October 9, 2007 at North Asheville Library.

Attending: John, Tom, Barbara, Leah, Susan

Minutes taken by Susan.

We discussed the upcoming events in Smithfield NC on October 27, 2007. There will be a Peace Rally and Walk of Remembrance for Victims of War and Torture in Smithfield that day. We all agreed with the goals of this event, but none of us will be able to attend. We also support the event, but declined to contribute money since our funds are limited. Susan will contact them and tell them that we do endorse their efforts, but we cannot contribute $50 like they asked.

Financial: We spent $10 for rent of the room at North Asheville Library and we have $30 left in our treasury.

Tom spoke on “How to Accomplish Reform – How to get there” tonight. Tom has been a member of Common Cause since 1982. He has worked on public funding for state wide elections from the mid 1990’s. They had many years where they could not get that out of committee, so other groups suggested forming a coalition, called the NC Voters for Clean Elections. Although a number of "good Government" organizations had been working on reform issues for years, they had made scant progress until, in 1999 they agreed to closely collaborate and press for one issue, public funding for statewide elections (later expanded to include municipal elections and lobby reform). A planning committee from these organizations was put in place, resulting in the formation of the North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections coalition. It originally included Common Cause, Democracy South, The NC Center for Voter Education and the League of Women Voters of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Later it was joined by PIRG and the State League of Women Voters. Altogher, 35 organizations now belong to the coalition, lending their names to the cause, while the original members, whose basic mission is campaign reform, does the "heavy lifting."

Tom said he got to see how the process worked and how cumulative effect might work. The reason for state funded elections is to get special interest money out of elections. People don’t feel that they have much effect on the federal government, but we do have an effect on state government, and Tom said that after state governments fall in line, then federal governments will also. Organizations have to raise money in order to get money out of politics, and also figure out which organizations have the best strategies. Tom also said that you need to sacrifice your ego and it needs to be a collaborative effort. He also said that you need patience, and that no reform happens overnight. He has been working on this issue since 1980’s.

Tom said that it is important to cultivate your legislators over time, and that all of Buncombe and Madison County Democrats (in office) are now supporters. Three Council of State positions are now in a pilot program: Insurance Commissioner, Department of Public Instruction Superintendent, and State Auditor. (The five other Council of State positions are Agriculture, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor and Commissioner of Labor.) Someone running for one of these offices needs to get a lot of small contributions to be eligible for public funding. There are also rules about getting extra funding if there are media ads that are run by an opponent that are false or damaging.

Right now, the state wide judges are publicly funded, with some money coming from the general fund. If all statewide offices, governor, council of state, appellate judiciary and legislature were publicly funded, it would cost less than $4 per year per NC citizen. The US Supreme Court has ruled that a person can contribute as much as they want to their own campaigns. Tom said the plans for 2009 include a move into funding state legislators’ campaigns, and also the campaign for NC Governor.

Next meeting of the Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County is January 8, 2008.

Photo is of me standing with a Honk to Impeach sign on I-240 last August.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stop the Bailout NOW

25 billion for 2008 - 25 billion more for 2009 - all of this is to promote and build more nuclear power plants. This is the amount of money that our Congress will "give" to this end - in spite of general opposition from the people who are paying the taxes! We need to work on alternative and SAFE sources of power, like wind and solar. This is a link to group called Nuclear Free, which has a petition you can sign and other ideas for actions you can take to stop this insanity.

And it is also a way cool song "Stop Now, what's that sound, everyone look what's going down"

Friday, October 19, 2007

Talk by Dr. Thomasson

Dr. Thomasson is the President of Physicians for Social Responsibility. She has been doing a tour of the southeast USA, to promote awareness of the issues facing us today. She came to Asheville on October 18 and October 19 and spoke on Iran, nuclear issues and climate issues. I did not catch the climate issues talk, but I did attend the talk in Iran and nuclear issues. There are my notes:

Iran was founded in 500 BC, during the Persepolis empire. Zoroastrainism (a Persian religion founded in the sixth century b.c. by the prophet Zoroaster, promulgated in the Avesta, and characterized by worship of a supreme god Ahura Mazda who requires good deeds for help in his cosmic struggle against the evil spirit Ahriman, from dictionary) was the dominant religion, and echoes of that religion are still seen in many Iran customs.

The government of Iran provides free contraception and requires family planning classes before marriage. They are trying to limit the birth rate in Iran, and one of the actions they took was to NOT provide maternity leave for the fourth baby born (the US government provides NO maternity leave for any birth!). The birthrate dropped with these measures, and so did infant mortality. Health care is a right in Iran – it is in their constitution. About 60% of the population is under 30 years of age.

About 95% of the population is Shi’a, with seven or eight different fractions. About 3% of the population is Sunni, and there are Jews, Zoroastrians, and Christians in the country also.

About 63% of the university students are women, and 35% of physicians are women. Women are now allowed to divorce. Fifteen women are in Parliament, however, in the last election, no women were allowed to run for office. There is one Jew in Parliament also.

Eisenhower authorized the first CIA overthrow of a democratically elected leader. The US authorities controlled the rulers in Iran until Iranian Revolution in 1979, when theocracy was voted in and five million people fled Iran. In 1980, Iraq invaded Iran and this helped to consolidate power for the Iranians. About one million died and ten million were wounded in that war. About 35,000 Iranians today have medical problems from chemical weapons used in the Iran-Iraq war.

The Iranian president does not determine foreign polity. The Supreme Leader determines a foreign policy. They have had a Fatwa against nuclear weapons.

Dr. Thomasson recommended joining the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran. (They have a great website, by the way.) She recommended that we write all presidential candidates and ask them about their positions and ask them to denounce military actions against Iran. She recommended that we have meetings with elected officials to express our concerns and to say that we want diplomacy without preconditions and to denounce military actions.

Dr. Thomasson does not feel that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, only nuclear power. She does not think that nuclear power is good or healthy for anyone.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Email to Senator Dole and Senator Burr

I sent this via the Friends Committee on National Legislation website:

Please sponsor the restoration of the rights of Habeas Corpus. It is
still unbelivable to me that those rights were overturned. I always felt
the rule of law was what made America, America.

We need to insure that ALL people who are detained are detained legally
and for legitimate reasons.

Please co-sponsor the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act (S. 185).
Thank you.

For whatever good it will do.......

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

First Birthday!

Guess who is turning one year old? It’s the Military Commissions Act, where we all became complicit in torture! This also marked the complete overthrow of habeas corpus (the right to be charged with a crime in a courtroom and present a defense) by our elected officials - who knew they cared so little for our Bill of Rights? Well, there is no doubt anymore, is there? I know for a fact that protecting free speech or our rights to privacy (not being spied on without a warrant) is definitely not a concern of Rep. Shuler.

Of course, the new Democratic majority elected in November 2006 has done nothing about the Military Commissions Act – but then it could not have passed in the first place without the Democrat's help.

On October 17th the US Constitution and Bill of Rights was bound, gagged and detained forever. And every US citizen became a torturer. The photo above came from Amnesty International.

Now, excuse me while I go get sick.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Occupation Project by Iowa Students

This link was sent to me via an email, and it is from The Occupation Project.

On September 21st twelve courageous Iowa young people occupied the office of Senator Charles Grassley demanding that he take a strong stand to end the U.S. war in Iraq and to bring the troops home as soon as possible. To stop funding this illegal and immoral war being wages in our name. They called for all young people to stand for Peace!
These high school students have a lot of wise things to say during their office visit to Senator Grassley. I wish them the best!

Monday, October 15, 2007

They Lie

Well, we all know what a BANG UP job the NYT did with the WMDs nonsense. Seems they are up to it again - I substituted the phrase "mysterious lying person" for all their anonymous sources that may - or may not - be telling the truth. And even if they are telling the truth - AS THEY KNOW IT - there is no guarantee that they know what the hell they are talking about.

Thanks to A Tiny Revolution and Left I on the News for pointing this story out - they have great analysis of this article. I am just going to mock them rather than analyze this silliness. Someone in the comments linked to the photo above. I think you all know who that is, and what he was doing, and where he was doing it.

Here goes:

Israel Struck Syrian Nuclear Project, Analysts Say

Israel’s air attack on Syria last month was directed against a site that Israeli and American MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, apparently modeled on one North Korea has used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel, according to MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSON with access to the intelligence reports.

The description of the target addresses one of the central mysteries surrounding the Sept. 6 attack, and suggests that Israel carried out the raid to demonstrate its determination to snuff out even a nascent nuclear project in a neighboring state. The Bush administration was divided at the time about the wisdom of Israel’s strike, MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSON said, and some senior MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS still regard the attack as premature.

The attack on the reactor project [above it was a PARTLY CONSTRUCTED NUCLEAR REACTOR – dancewater] has echoes of an Israeli raid more than a quarter century ago, in 1981, when Israel destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq shortly before it was to have begun operating. That attack was officially condemned by the Reagan administration, though Israelis consider it among their military’s finest moments. In the weeks before the Iraq war, Bush administration MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS said they believed that the attack set back Iraq’s nuclear ambitions by many years.

By contrast, the facility that the Israelis struck in Syria appears to have been much further from completion, the MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSON said. They said it would have been years before the Syrians could have used the reactor [above it was a PARTLY CONSTRUCTED NUCLEAR REACTOR – dancewater] to produce the spent nuclear fuel that could, through a series of additional steps, be reprocessed into bomb-grade plutonium. [Just like Saddam! Who knew! – dancewater]

Many details remain unclear, [OH NO! REALLY??? WHAT SHALL WE DO?? – dancewater] most notably how much progress the Syrians had made in construction before the Israelis struck, the role of any assistance provided by North Korea, and whether the Syrians could make a plausible case that the reactor was intended to produce electricity. In Washington and Israel, information about the raid has been wrapped in extraordinary secrecy and restricted to just a handful of MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS, while the Israeli press has been prohibited from publishing information about the attack.

The New York Times reported this week that a debate had begun within the Bush administration about whether the information secretly cited by Israel to justify its attack should be interpreted by the United States as reason to toughen its approach to Syria and North Korea. In later interviews, MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS made clear that the disagreements within the administration began this summer, as a debate about whether an Israeli attack on the incomplete reactor was warranted then.

The MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS did not say that the administration had ultimately opposed the Israeli strike, but that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates were particularly concerned about the ramifications of a pre-emptive strike in the absence of an urgent threat. [Monkey see, monkey do, I guess. – dancewater]

“There wasn’t a lot of debate about the evidence,” said one MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSON familiar with the intense discussions over the summer between Washington and the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel. “There was a lot of debate about how to respond to it.”

Even though it has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Syria would not have been obligated to declare the existence of a reactor during the early phases of construction. It would have also had the legal right to complete construction of the reactor, as long as its purpose was to generate electricity.

In his only public comment on the raid, Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, acknowledged this month that Israeli jets dropped bombs on a building that he said was “related to the military” but which he insisted was “not used.”

A senior MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSON, while declining to speak about the specific nature of the target, said the strike was intended to “re-establish the credibility of our deterrent power,” signaling that Israel meant to send a message to the Syrians that even the potential for a nuclear weapons program would not be permitted. But several MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS said the strike may also have been intended by Israel as a signal to Iran and its nuclear aspirations. Neither Iran nor any Arab government except for Syria has criticized the Israeli raid, suggesting that Israel is not the only country that would be disturbed by a nuclear Syria. North Korea did issue a protest.

The target of the Israeli raid and the American debate about the Syrian project were described by government MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS and nongovernment experts [More MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS? WHO KNOWS? – dancewater] interviewed in recent weeks in the United States and the Middle East. All insisted on anonymity because of rules that prohibit discussing classified information. The MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS who described the target of the attack included some on each side of the debate about whether a partly constructed Syrian nuclear reactor should be seen as an urgent concern, as well as some who described themselves as neutral on the question.

The White House press secretary, Dana Perino, said Saturday that the administration would have no comment on the intelligence issues surrounding the Israeli strike. Israel has also refused to comment.

Nuclear reactors can be used for both peaceful and non-peaceful purposes. A reactor’s spent fuel can be reprocessed to extract plutonium, one of two paths to building a nuclear weapon. The other path — enriching uranium in centrifuges — is the method that Iran is accused of pursuing with an intent to build a weapon of its own.

Syria is known to have only one nuclear reactor, a small one built for research purposes. But in the past decade, Syria has several times sought unsuccessfully to buy one, first from Argentina, then from Russia. On those occasions, Israel reacted strongly but did not threaten military action. Earlier this year, Mr. Assad spoke publicly in general terms about Syria’s desire to develop nuclear power, but his government did not announce a plan to build a new reactor.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of Persian Gulf states, has also called for an expansion of nuclear power in the Middle East for energy purposes, but many experts have interpreted that statement as a response to Iran’s nuclear program. They have warned that the region may be poised for a wave of proliferation. Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed nation in the region.

The partly constructed Syrian reactor was detected earlier this year by satellite photographs, according to MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS. They suggested that the facility had been brought to American attention by the Israelis, but would not discuss why American spy agencies seemed to have missed the early phases of construction.

North Korea has long provided assistance to Syria on a ballistic missile program, but any assistance toward the construction of the reactor would have been the first clear evidence of ties between the two countries on a nuclear program. North Korea has successfully used its five-megawatt reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear complex to reprocess nuclear fuel into bomb-grade material, a model that some American and MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS believe Syria may have been trying to replicate.

The North conducted a partly successful test of a nuclear device a year ago, prompting renewed fears that the desperately poor country might seek to sell its nuclear technology. President Bush issued a specific warning to the North on Oct. 9, 2006, just hours after the test, noting that it was “leading proliferator of missile technology, including transfers to Iran and Syria.” He went on to warn that “the transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States, and we would hold North Korea fully accountable.”

While Bush administration MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS have made clear in recent weeks that the target of the Israeli raid was linked to North Korea in some way, Mr. Bush has not repeated his warning since the attack. In fact, the administration has said very little about the country’s suspected role in the Syria case, apparently for fear of upending negotiations now under way in which North Korea has pledged to begin disabling its nuclear facilities.

While the partly constructed Syrian reactor appears to be based on North Korea’s design, the MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS would not say whether they believed the North Koreans sold or gave the plans to the Syrians, or whether the North’s own experts were there at the time of the attack. It is possible, some MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS said, that the transfer of the technology occurred several years ago.

According to two MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS, the subject was raised when the United States, North Korea and four other nations met in Beijing earlier this month.

Behind closed doors, however, Vice President Dick Cheney and other hawkish members of the administration have made the case that the same intelligence that prompted Israel to attack should lead the United States to reconsider delicate negotiations with North Korea over ending its nuclear program, as well as America’s diplomatic strategy toward Syria, which has been invited to join Middle East peace talks in Annapolis, Md., next month.

Mr. Cheney in particular, MYSTERIOUS LYING PERSONS say, has also cited the indications that North Korea aided Syria to question the Bush administration’s agreement to supply the North with large amounts of fuel oil.

During Mr. Bush’s first term, Mr. Cheney was among the advocates of a strategy to squeeze the North Korean government in hopes that it would collapse, and the administration cut off oil shipments set up under an agreement between North Korea and the Clinton administration, saying the North had cheated on that accord.

The new shipments, agreed to last February, are linked to North Korea’s carrying through on its pledge to disable its nuclear facilities by the end of the year. Nonetheless, Mr. Bush has approved going ahead with that agreement, even after he was aware of the Syrian program.

Nuclear experts say that North Korea’s main reactor, while small by international standards, is big enough to produce roughly one bomb’s worth of plutonium a year.

In an interview, Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker of Stanford University, a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said building a reactor based on North Korea’s design might take from three to six years.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

40,000 bodies buried in Bakersfield

Okay, I lied.

These UNIDENTIFIED bodies are not buried in Bakersfield. They are buried in Najaf, Iraq. I choose Bakersfield to get your attention, and because California is roughly the same size and population as Iraq.

This op ed says that there are now 40,000 unidentified bodies buried in Najaf since the illegal US invasion of the country of Iraq in 2003. These figures come from city officials in Najaf. I do know that there are a group of men in Baghdad that collect the unidentified bodies from the Baghdad morgue and transport them to Najaf for a proper Muslim burial. They do this twice a week, and I frankly don’t know how they can keep on doing this week after week.

Of course, it is reasonable to assume that not all the unidentified bodies in Iraq end up in Najaf. Some of them are surely buried in rubble from US bombs, or buried in the desert to hide a crime. The unidentified bodies in Mosul are probably buried in Mosul, and that is likely true for other cities in Iraq that are further from Najaf, or where the unidentified bodies are likely Sunni Muslims.

And we do know that most deaths in Iraq are from IDENTIFIED victims.

We do know that the corporate media vastly under estimates of the number of Iraqis killed. We do know that most of the stories of the deaths do not ever reach the media. More evidence is cited in this op ed:

In a speech Sept. 5, Samir Sumaidaie, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, stated that there were 500,000 new widows in Iraq. The Iraq Study Group similarly found that the Pentagon undercounted violent incidents by a factor of 10. Finally, last month, the respected British polling firm ORB released the results of a poll estimating that 22 percent of households had lost a member to violence during the occupation of Iraq, equating to 1.2 million deaths. This finding roughly verifies a less precisely worded BBC poll last February that reported 17 percent of Iraqis had a household member who was a victim of violence.

On top of this massive death that Americans do not recognize, a lot of them do not recognize that this is a war of aggression – just like the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. Of course, the German people had more of an excuse – they were lied to and had no way to investigate those lies. Americans do not have that excuse at all. They were lied to by their corporate media, but a small amount of investigation and a small amount of critical thinking would easily debunk these lies. This op ed spells it all out:

Mistakenly, many Americans still believe President Bush's war on Iraq is justified because Congress supported it and funds it. Yet, as international legal authority Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois points out, President Bush got congressional backing by lying that Hussein had W.M.D. and that Hussein was connected to 9/11. That's fraud, probably the bloodiest, costliest lie in White House history. Also, to start a war, a country needs UN Security Council approval, which Bush failed to get. Otherwise, a nation can fight only in self-defense when attacked. By attacking Iraq, Bush violated the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907, the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact of 1928, the UN Charter, the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunals, and the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles, Boyle said. As all treaties become the supreme law of the land under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, the Bush-Cheney presidency is guilty of breaking all of the above, warmongering in spades.

We also know that this aggression is ongoing – this month a massive assault on the Dora neighborhood in Baghdad, where residents claimed that US troops would not allow males over age 13 to leave with other residents before the assault.

And, of course, our Constitution is toast, but you knew that, right? It has been toast from the minute US troops were sent into Iraq.

And, as Frank Rich has pointed out today, our government also tortures and kidnaps on top of being a mass killer and extensive warmongering. But, as he also points out, it is not just our government.


And as President Carter has said – the US has abandoned “basic principles of human rights”.

PLEASE DO SOMETHING EXTRA TO STOP THIS. Make sure your elected officials know your name and face. Go to the internet and print up pictures of Iraqis in grief and in pain, and paste them on a postcard and sent it to your Senators, Representative and the White House. Do this dozens of times! (I have done it hundreds of times. A hundred postcard stamps only costs $26.00. Postcards can be made out of ordinary stock card paper.)

If at all possible, go to a regional protest on October 27th. There is one in North Carolina that is pointing out that NC has companies that participate in torture and kidnapping, along with being a significant part of the war machine.

Realize that our country is very violent and very militarized. I am a pacifist, but I see the need for a military. I do not see a need to have them spread around the world creating mayhem and committing genocide. They should be inside our own country.

And if they follow illegal orders, we should not make heroes out of them. Our heroes should be the military men and women who do not follow illegal orders. Our heroes are the ones that resist. Please join me in working against such extensive militarism in our country, and such violence in our culture.

And, if you have any money to spare, please help the Iraqi refugees. Most of them are destitute. Here is another way to help them.

More information on what is happening in Iraq here.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

We are all torturers now

This cartoon says “This government does not torture people” which we all know is not true. Bush is trying to torture the language to get out of admitting to torturing our fellow human beings, many of whom are innocent (they all would be if we still had “innocent until proven guilty” but we don’t have that anymore). On top of being evil, this technique does not provide good information. But that is not really the point of torture anyway. And since it is done by US agents with US taxpayers money, we are all torturers now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Web letter to Rep. Shuler

I live in western NC, and I do think giving the current administration the power to wiretap without a warrant is a very bad idea. And it will be a bad idea for the next administration also! The Conyers-Reyes bill is needed to ensure that any spying on US citizens is done under a legal warrant. This is true for spying on political opponants also.

It is the job of the legislative branch to provide oversight of the executive branch of our government, and it is way past time to start doing that. Do not listen to them if they try to scare you with an upcoming terrorist threat - we can only lose our country if we live in fear. And I do hope that they have not blackmailed you via their warrantless spying.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Upcoming event

NC Stop Torture Now is holding an event on October 27, 2007 in Smithfield NC. They will have a Peace Rally and a walk of remembrance for victims of war and torture. (Heaven knows, we got a lot of them now!) I wish I could attend this event, but I have another commitment. This group has been working very hard on stopping torture flights (like the one that took Mr. el Masri to Afghanistan) by Aero Contractors and they are also working on stopping the criminal abuses by Blackwater. Both of those companies are, unfortunately, North Carolina companies.

To get more information on the events that they will be holding on October 27, 2007 - or to help sponsor these events - go to NC STOP TORTURE NOW website.

I commend them for their very hard work. I hope they are very, very successful in stopping these crimes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This upset me greatly

While listening last night to the BBC radio, I heard this statement from an Iraqi women who was located inside one of the internal refugee camps in Iraq. There are two million internally displaced refugees inside Iraq. She is living in a camp with no security, no electricity, no clean water to drink.

“There is no gas cylinder. We have to cook on wood, no gasoline, no money. When I cook I am worried a spark could cause another fire. Is this a way to live? Let the Americans come with a plane and spray us with chemical weapons and kill us. It would be much better for us. We want to die.”

There you have it - bush claimed that he was invading Iraq because Saddam had chemical WMDs that he had used against his own people - without a mention of how the US was Saddam's buddy while that was going on - and now he and his administration have reduced the country to such misery that the people there WANT TO BE SPRAYED WITH CHEMICAL WEAPONS AND KILLED.

They have made things so very miserable that this Shi'a women (whose brother was killed by Saddam, by the way) wants to be dead in the same manner that Saddam had killed people.

One thing that I have gained from this illegal war and occupation - I used to wonder how Hitler did it in Nazi Germany - how did he get so many people to kill so many other people who had never hurt them - ruin their lives - and not ever seem to care. I no longer have to wonder how it was done. I have seen it done in my own country in front of my own eyes.

The US government and the US taxpayers have committed genocide against the people of Iraq, and have left the remaining Iraqi people so miserable they wish to be dead. I don't know how the people who supported this war, for even one minute, can live with themselves without throwing up every time they look in a mirror.

[Photo: Shi'ite refugees wait for food rations in a refugee camp in the outskirts of Baghdad October 8, 2007. A Red Crescent official said they evacuated some 50 families from a village in Diyala province after some of them were killed and others were threatened by insurgents to leave the area. REUTERS/Mahmoud Raouf Mahmoud (IRAQ)]

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

We are all kidnappers now

[Photo is of Mr. el Masri and two of his children.

Credit:Joy Garnett]

And that is because we allow our government to do this – and then have judges who do not believe in justice. Mr. el Masri was kidnapped by our CIA agents, taken to Afghanistan, and then tortured by more CIA agents. About five months later, he was taken to Albania and dumped. No explanations, no apologies, no excuses for this barbaric behavior.

Justices Decline Torture Case

The Supreme Court today declined to hear the case of a German citizen who said he was kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured by the CIA. A federal district court judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit had earlier dismissed the case brought by Khaled el-Masri, agreeing with the government that the case could not go forward without exposing state secrets. The Supreme Court denied review without comment. Masri, who is of Lebanese descent, has said he was detained by Macedonian police on Dec. 31, 2003, and handed over to the CIA a few weeks later. He said he was taken to a secret CIA-run prison in Afghanistan and physically abused before he was flown back to the Balkans without explanation in May 2004 and dumped on a hillside in Albania. German officials said they were later informed privately by their U.S. counterparts that Masri was detained in a case of mistaken identity, apparently confused with a terrorism suspect of a similar name. U.S. officials have not publicly admitted any guilt or responsibility in the case.

……….Last month, German authorities dropped their efforts to extradite 13 CIA agents they claimed were involved in Masri's abduction. Masri in May was committed to a psychiatric institution after he was arrested in the southern German city of Neu-Ulm on suspicion of arson. His attorney blamed his troubles on the CIA, saying the kidnapping and detention had left Masri a "psychological wreck."

And it was Aero Contractors, who fly out of eastern North Carolina, who helped move him around. I can only assume that the pilots for Aero Contractors, like the CIA agents, have no morals or standards. Anything for a paycheck, I guess.

And who can blame them? When the rest of the country either looks the other way or ignores or stays ignorant of this reality, why shouldn’t they act like monsters and make a pile of MONEY? Of course, some idiots will claim that they are “keeping America safe” – as if kidnapping innocent people and torturing them would ever keep anyone safe. These same people might even claim that they are “Christians” – well, they give real Christians a bad name. But there are few real Christians here in the United States of Monsters. Rather, we have a bunch of dumb people who will allow any evil at all against foreigners and people with dark skins, as long as they are COMFORTABLE.

I AM SO ASHAMED OF WHAT THIS COUNTRY IS. And I realize that it has always been this way, but I also think that this is much more blatant, more obvious, and more extensive than it has ever been in my life. They are doing this type of stuff every day, and the vast majority of the population just does not give a shit. That’s why they can pass a bill up in Congress called the Military Commission Act that allows torture and strips “some” people of the rights of habeas corpus. And who may end up being tortured or kidnapped next – or declared an “enemy combatant” – could be anyone. Even you.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Questions I did not get to ask

There was a citizen's forum on our "right to dissent" on September 27, 2007. In some ways it was really good, but I was handed the microphone just before they stop taking questions.

So, below are some of the questions and comments I would have made, given a chance.

Chief Hogan: Why does it take so long to address an issue that a citizen raises? I raised an issue from an incident I saw at Bele Chere, and have been requesting a meeting for six weeks now.

Why is it legal to hold a sign one day but not the next?

Which of the following would be allowed at a public rally and which would be outlawed as a possible weapon: a two foot long wooden stake with a pointed end, ½ inch thick – or a three foot long metal stake that is 1/8 inch thick – and why? The ACLU says you cannot discriminate on the basis of what the attached signs say, but it seems to me that is exactly what APD did (back in March 2005).

Sheriff Duncan: Why isn’t the deputy who broke into the Kuhn’s home under arrest?

Mr. Oast is the Asheville City Attorney.

Oast: Why does Asheville require a building safety permit for “structures” at a rally in 2007 but not in 2003-2006? The “structure” were portable tables and small tents.

Why does Asheville Park & Recs keep telling me that I need a permit to hold a prayer vigil at Pritchard Park?

Why do we now need an “open flame permit” (from Asheville Fire Department) that costs $25 to have candle luminaries at Pritchard Park in September 2007 but not in August 2007?

I have found the restrictions, fees, regulations from several departments in Asheville Government, to be confusing, obscure, restrictive and sometimes nonsensical. An example of “nonsensical” was the requirement to give directions and map to Asheville Fire Department to get from the fire station downtown to City Hall as part of our required paperwork for the last Peace rally.

Also, I want to tell Chief Hogan and Sheriff Duncan that there are "misperceptions" going on in Asheville, but it is not the citizen's misperceptions that are a problem - it is the misperceptions of the Asheville Police and Buncombe County Sheriff's office that are the problem.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Letter to Buncombe County Comissioners

I am writing today to say that I do not agree with, or approve, the building of condos on Pack Square. The land that is there was given to all the city residents for all time by Mr. Pack. This needs to be preserved.

I am also dismayed at the growing cases of Buncombe County Sheriff's office and Asheville Police arresting people for expressing their opinions in public space, or in one case - on their front porch. It is unbelievable that people are arrested for flying a flag upside down or attaching a paper to it, turning it into a piece of clothing, writing on it or burning it. I would never do the last four - but people do have that right under our constitution. (I can send you a picture of Mr. bush writing on a flag, if you would like.) I know the charges were dropped against the Kuhn's - however, I have not heard of any disciple against the office who went into their house without probable cause or a warrant. That is frightening to think the police will bust into your home any time they get angry.

Even more disturbing is the arrest of Jonas Phillips for holding a sign on a highway bridge. Right after 9/11, it seemed nearly every bridge in town had people on it holding flags. They, like Jonas, have every right to do so. I have held a sign myself calling for impeachment, and have had dozens of cops go by without stopping or commenting. I have been doing this since July 9th in Asheville. There is only one reason why I do this - I feel impeaching the criminals in office is the only way to save our country and restore our standing in the world as decent people. With Jonas' arrest - I feel -- WHY BOTHER??? If Americans want the whole country to end up like New Orleans, then they should get what they want.

Now you can imagine what affect this attitude will have on my interest and willingness to help out on the city, state and national level - whether that "helping out" is volunteer work or political work or social justice work.

And I will NOT be standing in the cold rain to stop a high rise elite condo being built on Pack Square again. If you want to destroy that area, then you can go right ahead. I will move to Canada, once I get totally fed up.

Thank you for reading.

This was written and sent on September 2, 2007. No answer received.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A comment on the DC media

Got this from Glenn Greenwald’s blog:

Matalin, a Serious Member in Good Standing of our Beltway Establishment, can go on Meet the Press, sitting there with Tim Russert and her husband and others, and spout lies like this about what Americans think about the war because the D.C. Establishment wants to believe that they are trusted and respected. Matalin also said this about what "Americans believe":

It does not comport with the critics of the president who say progress is being made, including front-runners Hillary Rodham Clinton and, and Barack Obama. So people are very nuanced about this. They understand not only that it can be won, but that it must be won. They understand the consequences of defeat. Further, two thirds of them trust -- and nobody more than the generals -- when Petraeus and Crocker come and give their report, that will be the positive time.

Okay, I am just one American, but I want to state for the record, for all time, that I think Petraeus and Crocker are full of shit. And I fully know that this war was lost either in 2003 or the day the evil shits in DC decided to invade (that one is a toss-up). I know full well THAT IT CAN NEVER BE WON, unless the evil shits in DC decide to kill 75% of all Iraqis. Now, I am working hard to see that they don’t do that, but they might. And then they might call it “winning” – yeah, bringing freedom of the grave and the democracy of death to the Iraqi people, could, in their very sick minds be “winning”.

And I think Matalin, Russert, and the rest of the DC Establishment media are not only fools and clowns, I do not think that they are worthy of licking dog-shit off the bottom of any Iraqi’s shoe. And I don't think they ever will be worthy of that high of level of human interaction.

This piece was written in September 2007.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Report from meeting at Rep. Shuler's office

Present: Imani S., Lew P., Cicada B., Kindra P., Anne C., Bruce Peterson for Rep. Shuler

Anne - representing Women in Black Asheville and Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads. Expresses disappointment in Shuler’s recent votes to expand FISA and to fund the occupation. Reiterated opinion that we worked for Shuler and other Democrats to get in Congress to end the occupation! Gave Mr. Peterson copies of proposed House Resolution to stop funding Iraq security forces, a letter signed by 70 congresspeople committing to not vote to further fund the occupation, a Congressional ‘peace letter’, information on Dennis Kucinich’s 12 point plan to extricate the U.S. from Iraq in a fair and reasonable manner and an article by a retired general and former head of the Reagan era NSA on why Bush’s policy is a failed one. Asked Shuler to consider holding a town meeting in Asheville.

Imani – recently returned from Fellowship of Reconciliation delegation to Iran. Spoke eloquently about the people of Iran, how warm and generous they are, how they like the American people, but don’t understand or like the American government. She said it is ‘remarkable that we have to sit here’ and call for an end to the illegal occupation of Iraq. Iraq has been torn apart, we’ve paid no reparations, billions are missing. Why? Our system is in a shambles. She is embarrassed by what is going on. The U.S. needs to ‘pull back’ and deal with its internal problems, particularly the effects of Hurricane Katrina and this needs to happen NOW.

Lew – representing WNC PSR – particularly concerned with some of Shuler’s votes. How can Congress trust Bush? Bush is talking about Iran the same way he did when he was preparing for the invasion of Iraq. We need Congressional controls on his power. Lew is concerned that there might not be an end to the Bush Administration, that with the presidential directives he has issued, he make take control of Congress and the Courts if there is an ‘event’ that is deemed a disaster or extreme emergency. Bush has worked to take away our civil right – habeus corpus – he has deceived us and is spying on us. Does Shuler think Bush is the man to take over without checks and balances? Is impeachment the only option to ensure our country will still remain our country? Speaker Pelosi’s stance needs to be overridden. Impeachment is a way for the public to know what has been done by this Administration. Lew is afraid for country’s future.

Cicada – representing WNC SOA WATCH and the local War Resisters’ League affiliate. Spoke about the counter productivity of war as a response to 9/11. Spoke eloquently about non-violence and its effectiveness for securing eventual peace contrasted with the use of bombs and guns. Asked Shuler to co-sponsor H.R. 1707 – to close WHINSEC (the current name for the School of the Americas) and H.R. 677- U.S. National Health Insurance Act.

Kindra – representing ‘average Democratic working class family.’ Saddened by world’s opinion of our country. Feels ostracized by this government, her voice is not heard over the drumbeat of the conservative machine. Gave a copy of H.R. 333 to Mr. Peterson. Agreed with what the previous folks had said. Concerned that our civil liberties are being stripped away. Gave Mr. Peterson a card with her blog address that has info concerning her husband’s arrest.

Lew talked about the SEE Expo and said we have limited time to act if human life is to survive on earth. He explained the connection between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. He stated his concern that the Bush Administration has fired honest scientists. We closed by sharing how a peace economy and production of sustainable, clean energy would provide jobs and would help more people gain what every family wants – a home, a good job, education for their children. We asked Shuler to be courageous and help shift us from a war-centered society to one promoting peace, justice and environmental integrity.

Monday, October 01, 2007

War on Iran

First, I do not think the bush/cheney administration is going to bomb Iran. And I don’t think that because they have enough sense to know that we cannot do this without serious repercussions to Americans. I recognize that they have very, very, very little common sense. And they certainly won’t bomb Iran because of their moral convictions. They have NONE of that confusing their lives. NO morality holding them back at all, as far as I can see.

I think their plan right now is to weaken Iran, to get them to the point where it would be easy to bomb and control that country….. or at least, that is their hope. Like all bullies, they don’t want to pick on someone who is their own size or strength – they want someone much, much weaker than them to pick. And this was the idea behind the sanctions for so many years on Iraq. So, right now, the plan is to make Iran weaker and more ostracized by the world. Then, someday in the future, maybe they will be able to start up a war on Iran, when conditions are right. They have also been doing "covert" operations in Iran, as part of they plan to weaken them..... and provoke them. They are also working on economic 'warfare' against Iran with their sanctions and interference with their banks.

These guys will provoke Iran if they can – and they are trying hard to do that – because if Iran attacks first, then they will have a “good reason” to go and bomb Iran and start up a fight. If Iran attacks first, then Americans will get behind starting up a war or attack on Iran. But this would have to be pretty blatant. Part of this "provocation" is the massive build up of force in the Persian Gulf.

If they were to bomb Iran, that would make Iraq an even more dangerous place for everyone currently there. I am sure the Iranians would bomb our troops in retaliation. And, it would probably disrupt the oil supply coming out of the Middle East.

I guess it would be "dangerous" to Americans if that happened, in that we would suffer economic consequences. Considering that we started up (or allowed to start up) an illegal war of aggression on Iraq, and considering how many Americans supported this in 2003, then some serious economic consequences would seem to be in order. (Right now, most Americans are against the war not because it is an evil monstrosity, but because we are losing. They don't like losing.) I think going totally broke is one of two things that will stop Americans from supporting all this warmongering and all this excessive military spending.... the other option is to have war come to our front porches, and then go broke. I am hoping for the first option. Better to go broke without war than with war.

This is one time when I hope my 'take' of a situation is accurate. I hope I am right. In the post, I often hoped I was wrong about what I thought the US administration might do - and I usually hoped in vain.