Wednesday, April 30, 2008


This blog post is in honor of "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED". It will be five years tomorrow that the idiot in chief stood on a flight deck and proclaimed the war was over in Iraq and that we had won.

And today, US forces are still killing children in Iraq. Five years later, we likely have a million dead, tens of millions lives ruined, and the Green Zone getting shelled nearly every day. We have seen torture, rape, murder, kidnapping all installed as standard US policy. These things were done before the current idiot was selected/re-elected to office, but now we do it out in the open without a hint of shame.

I feel shame. I wonder why I am a part of this country anymore. I don't belong with these murderers, torturers, abusers, rapists and genocide enablers.

Another thing our military and government does is propaganda and psych-ops. I remember several years ago hearing about the Pentagon policy to "villianize Zarqawi - leverage xenophobic response". Yes, they thought they were clever to make Iraqis afraid, the sick bastards. They also thought it was clever to make Zarqawi worse than he was - which makes me wonder if Zarqawi was on the CIA payroll and for how long.

Missing Links blog had this post today on info ops in Sadr City (where they are routinely killing toddlers - and I doubt there is any regret at all about that):

Colonel Stover said it was with the greatest regret and the highest level of professionalism that his gallant men yesterday fired a "200-pound guided rocket that [American] officials said killed 28 militiamen." After all, he said, "It was these militants who initiated the engagement by attacking US soldiers." Iraqi officials said those killed weren't all militiamen, and included nine civilians including women and children, but Stover was not at a loss for words there either: He said, "The enemy shows little regard for the lives of innocent civilians, as they fire their weapons from within houses, alleyways and rooftops upon our soldiers." Just so you know: The American forces show the highest level of professionalism, but when they do fire on houses, alleyways or rooftops, it is because people in those houses and alleyways, and on those roofs, were the aggressors, not the American troops.

Residents said there were also two helicopter airstrikes which heavily damaged four houses, and AFP said it has photos showing several bodies buried under the debris of collapsed houses. Stover denied that. He said the sandstorm made it impossible to conduct airstrikes. Possibly the truth is that sandstorms made it impossible to conduct airstrikes with the usual level of precision-guided professionalism.

The best part of Stover's mental orientation is that he thinks the US forces are actually more loyal to Sadr than the militants who are firing on them. As AFP explains: "The US military says those fighting its troops are not loyal to Sadr, who has frozen the activities of his Mahdi Army militia since last August." The implication being that the US forces in Sadr City are not only merely defending their legitimate positions when fired upon by the aggressors, but also are helping Sadr enforce the freeze!

In fact, when you look at the whole information-picture you will see that the US forces in a sense do not know that they are a reviled army of occupation. They think they are a highly professional peace-keeping force. Which is perhaps not that unusual: Probably any army of occupation, no matter how brutal, is made to believe something like that, though maybe not to this level of hypocrisy.

The truly amazing thing, however, is that the American people, and by and large the American left, seem to believe the same thing. US forces are defending legitimate positions in Sadr City; anyone firing on US forces is defying Sadr; the US only fires when attacked; the aims are either "quelling violence" or "stopping rocket attacks" (or both), and have nothing to do with crushing a major anti-occupation movement. And so on. In other words: This is a peace-keeping operation.

…………Meanwhile the damage in Sadr City is already being done, and it will get worse, if we can't find people with the courage to stand up and say this is a policy that is as damaging to America morally as it is brutal to its direct victims, and the Democrats shouldn't be silently lining up behind it.

And, about ten days ago there was a piece in the NYT about how the retired Generals were on all the US TV "news" stations doing propaganda. This was totally ignored by the same TV "news" of course - but Glenn Greenwald has been working on it, and doing a fine job.

And here is a cartoon on the propaganda that the US Military has fostered on the US population.

This reminds me of something Bill Moyers said years ago - if they (the US authorities) will brag openly about wanting to kill leaders of foreign countries, then what are the capable of doing that they will not brag about openly?

I think I know.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Want to do something about radioactive waste?

Photo - Arrest Me, I blog! [Well, I have not been arrested yet, but if I am going to be arrested for something, you can bet it will be for exercising my Constitutional rights, now that we live in a lawless police state.] But that cute photo has nothing to do with this post.

But if you are interested in seeing the end of production of nuclear waste, this conference may interest you:

Save the date -- National Activist Summit on Radioactive Waste
May 30 -- June 1, 2008 Columbia, South Carolina

*We as a community say "stop making more" radioactive waste since we understand that the failure to find a real solution to this problem is the failure of the technologies that produce it;
*We as a community demand responsible management of radioactive waste;
*We stand firm against false "solutions;"
*We reject the idea that this waste should be exported -- to Indigenous Lands -- or anywhere else;
*We call for better security and improved management and containment where ever the waste is now;
*We focus on the hazards of transporting radioactive waste and materials -- particularly in the case of irresponsible, false "solutions"

Today the nuclear industry is trying to revive: both the electric power nuclear generating infrastructure (with new nuclear reactors breaking out like pox) and the move to expand the Bombplex. The military/civilian distinction is diminishing (if there ever was one). It is time for us to come together--to find and re-affirm that "We" -- in the sense of The People, in the sense of impacted communities--and essentially as activists.

This event was born in a moment at a 'break-out' session of a conference on Precautionary Action in Greensboro, NC in November 2007--and is being carried forward by a planning group including participation from:

David Kraft -- Nuclear Energy Information Service
Debbie Grinnell -- C-10
Diane D'Arrigo -- Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Glenn Carroll -- Nuclear Watch South
Janet Marsh -- Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
Judy Treichel -- Nevada Nuclear Waste Task Force
Kevin Kamps -- Beyond Nuclear
Leslie Minerd
Mary Olson -- NIRS Southeast
Rochelle Becker – Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility
Sara Barczak -- Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Susan Corbett -- Sierra Club, South Carolina Chapter
Tom Clements -- Friends of the Earth

The Summit will convene on the evening of Friday May 30 with an event also promoted to the public in Columbia: Keynote presentation by Dr. Frank von Hippel on the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership -- with panel of discussants including Steve Frishman, Kevin Kamps and Diane D'Arrigo to bring into focus the new challenges we face in the arena of nuclear expansionism.

Saturday morning our activist community will convene, get acquainted/tell our stories. Saturday afternoon we will share information and ideas in issue and technical break-out sessions. Saturday evening will be a combination of time to think together and party! Sunday morning we will share our vision and formulate messages that we can all stand behind. We will wrap up with a Keynote presentation by Dr. Arjun Makhijani on his new Carbon Free, Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for US Energy Policy to inspire us with real solutions.

Costs will be nominal--we are working on having some modest support funds to assist far-flung communities to be represented at the Summit. The site includes dorm-style private rooms with shared baths. Food will be simple. We are working to keep registration (with food and lodging) well under $100.

Please drop a message to Mary Olson or call 828-675-1792 if you want to be part of this event or want to get updates. We will follow up with a more detailed program and registration details soon.

Note: due to industry attempts to participate in recent events intended for activists, there will be a pre-registration process. This event is open to all who are working positively for the end of the production of more radioactive waste (stop making it)!

Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS)
6930 Carroll Ave, Suite 340, Takoma Park, MD 20912
301-270-NIRS fax 301-270-4291

NIRS affiliated with World Information Service on Energy (WISE) in 2000 --the NIRS / WISE Network serves grassroots activists on 5 continents

Monday, April 28, 2008

PDA endorses Harry Taylor for US House NC 9

Photo: Harry Taylor, 61, criticized Bush on many issues and said he hopes Bush "would have the grace and the humility to be ashamed of yourself." Bush responded only on the issue of warrantless spying, saying: "I'm not going to apologize." (By Gerald Herbert -- Associated Press)

Harry Taylor first came to my attention when he stood up to bush in April 2006. Taylor said many things to bush that I agreed with – however, he did it with much more courtesy than I would be able to muster. This is part of what he said:

“In my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of my leadership in Washington,” Taylor told the president. “And I would hope from time to time that you have the humility and grace to be ashamed of yourself.” April 6, 2006

The entire exchange is posted at Thank You Harry Taylor website. There are also comments from many folks thanking him for speaking up to bush. There are over 18,000 messages for Harry Taylor on that website.

Since then, Harry Taylor has decided to run for the US House of Representative seat from North Carolina Congressional District #9.

Last week, the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) endorsed Harry Taylor for the US House of Representatives. This is the first endorsement by PDA for a North Carolina candidate. They said this on their website endorsement page:

At its April 23 meeting, PDA endorsed Harry Taylor in North Carolina's 9th Congressional race. “Progressive Democrats of America,” Taylor said, “is bold and proactive. Their principles are far-reaching, pragmatic and compassionate-thus easy to adopt as my own. I am honored by this endorsement.”

The local chapter endorsed Taylor in March. Gray Newman, Chairman of the North Carolina 9th District Progressive Democrats of America, said, “We are very pleased to announce our endorsement of Harry Taylor for Congress. Mr. Taylor has shown us that he will work for our issues and will use his seat in Congress to restore integrity and respect to our national government.”

Throughout his life, Harry Taylor has given generously of his time and energy to such organizations as Big Brothers, Habitat for Humanity, Outward Bound, the Sierra Club and the Charlotte Folk Society, associations in which he has served as both leader and participant. Helping to develop hope, self-esteem and courage in disadvantaged youth has been a lifetime pursuit, as has his advocacy for a clean, safe planet for our youth to inherit. Harry has also been a tireless political activist, working through grassroots organizations to protect and defend the principles he holds sacred.

On his questionnaire for PDA endorsement, Harry Taylor said this about the war:

I will vote against war, against violence and the use of force until every single other alternative has been completely exhausted. I’ll vote for conservative balanced budgets that can be properly managed. I’ll vote for fair trade, for good health, for superb education, for anything and everything that addresses climate change and pragmatic plans to achieve energy independence.

There is much, much more on the PDA questionnaire at the link above. And Harry Taylor has signed on to “A Responsible Plan for Ending the War in Iraq – a plan developed by Democrat Darcy Burner.

There is more information on Harry Taylor at his website, where you can also contribute to his campaign.

I am currently appointed as state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America, but I had little to do with this endorsement. Most of the credit goes to Gray Newman, who is chairperson of the Progressive Democrats of Mecklenburg County and NC 9th Congressional District. I am really looking forward to the day when I can shake Harry Taylor’s hand and say “Thank You and Congratulations on wining the NC 9th Representative seat”. Well done, Gray!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Events in Asheville This Week

Mostly political events going on:

Right now – early voting from 10 AM to 6 PM, Monday to Friday and 8 AM to 1 PM on Saturday.

04/28/08 NC candidates running for the Court of Appeals and US Congressional District #11 will participate in a candidate’s forum at Calvary Episcopal Church at 2840 Hendersonville Road in Asheville. Time is 7 to 9 PM, and this is put on by the League of Women Voters, a non-partisan political organization. Free and open to the public.

04/29/08 Angela Shelton Day – There will be a symbolic gathering in front of the courthouse to show how many have been sexually violated. Information at

05/01/08 STRIKE by the Longshoremen’s Union in Seattle, in opposition to war.

05/01/08 Nuclear Regulatory Meeting in Gafney South Carolina. 7-10 PM NRC holds public comments mtg, Gaffney High School Auditorium, 149 Twin Lake Rd., Gaffney, SC, to prepare EIS re new application from Duke Energy for Nuke Energy plant (with 2 reactors) in Gaffney, SC, 60 mi. south of Asheville. (NRC staff will hold informal discussions from 5-7 PM) - Duke wants NC Public Utility Comm. & SC Public Service Comm’s OK to charge customers “pre-construction costs”. It’s our chance to speak out. We can make a difference! But even without comment, your presence is a strong statement and appreciated by those who speak. Contact Mary O., 675-1792 or or Lew Patrie at or 828-299-1242 for carpooling details.

05/01/08 Firestorm Café & Books Launch Party from 10 AM to 10 PM. Join them on May Day for the official opening of Firestorm Café! They are located at 48 Commerce Street in downtown Asheville, across from the post office.

05/01/08 Meet and greet with candidate for US Senate, Jim Neal. This is at Asheville Brew & View on Coxe Avenue at 6 PM. Free, more info at or 919-544-1136.

05/03/08 Mountain Voices Alliance (MVA) will host a March and rally to raise awareness for a temporary building moratorium in Western North Carolina. The event will take place on Saturday, May 3rd, from 2-4 p.m. in downtown Asheville. The group will meet at Pritchard Park, and march to City/County Plaza to hear speakers and music. Speakers at the May 3 rally include Rep. Ray Rapp of Madison County, who sponsored the North Carolina Steep Slope Construction Act (NC House Bill 175); William Shelton, one of the Jackson County commissioners who championed for the temporary building moratorium in that county; and Garland Calloway of Laurel Valley Watch (LVW) in Madison County. The event will also feature an old-time music jam, so bring your instruments and clogging shoes. Call 828-255-8537 for more information.

05/04/08 Celebration for Holly Jones campaign for County Commissioner at French Broad River Park with the band Westsound. This is from 3 to 5 PM. More information at

Picture is of Ursula Scott, who is now deceased. The sign says:

"To the people of Iraq: I apologize on behalf of the people of my country for the suffering of all Iraqis, especially the women and children. Ursula M. Scott"

This was taken in 2005, I think.

In Memory of Andy Summers

Dear Colleagues and Supporters of Peace and Justice,

As you most probably know, our dear friend, colleague, and promoter of peace, Andy Summers recently passed away.

We are planning to initiate an Andy Summers Memorial Lecture Series to begin in the Fall. We hope to honor Andy's memory by bring speakers on peace and justice issues to our campus for students and the general public. The WWC Advancement Office has established an Andy Summers Memorial account to receive donations for this purpose. We ask all of you to become charter members of this effort by making a contribution, big or small, to the Andy Summers Memorial Account. Please send your checks to the Warren Wilson College Development Office, CPO 6376, Asheville, NC 28815-9000. Checks should be made out to Warren Wilson College, with an "Andy Summers Memorial" notation in the lower left.
I have included a photo of Andy with this message. He is doing what he was famous for: supporting the weak and opposing injustice.

Gratefully yours, Paul

Prof. Paul J. Magnarella. Ph.D., J.D.
Director, Peace and Justice Studies
Warren Wilson College

I never met Andy Summers, and I wish I had.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

US Bombs in Baghdad in April 2008

Photo: An Iraqi boy looks at the remain of a US military rocket in Baghdad's Sadr City.

(AFP/Ahmad al-Rubaye)

"I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people to be allowed to wage this battle for Germany," Adolf Hitler - Berlin March, 1936

"If you murder innocents to achieve a political objective, you're evil." ~ George W. Bush

"It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder." -Albert Einstein

"Our government ferociously denies it, and Americans refuse to believe it -- but the massacre at Haditha is not an exception. It is the norm. We will not give up our vision of ourselves as "morally superior." We refuse to surrender our delusion that we represent the last, best hope on earth, and that we have the "right" to force everyone else to live as we do. And if they refuse, we believe we have the right to slaughter them. Rather than question ourselves or our "ideals," we render ourselves deaf, dumb and blind -- and the atrocities and the slaughter go on, day after day after day. And we lie about all of it." ~ Arthur Silber

This war is evil. Our president, and most all of our elected officials, are evil. So are most citizens. Evil, evil, evil.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Buncombe County Democratic Party convention

Last Saturday was Buncombe County Democratic Party convention. Boy, that was a mixed bag. My resolution on helping the Iraqi refugees passed, although some did speak against it (that resolution came from an Out-of-Iraq phone call with PDA, by the way). Xenophobia is definitely growing.

The resolution telling local law enforcement not to cooperate with the feds with immigration enforcement was the first resolution discussed – they even had the local sheriff speak against it. Apparently, the whole bunch of them cannot tell the difference between enforcing inhumane federal immigration policies and arresting people for crimes. So, the pulling people off of trains and buses will continue, along with the 2 AM raids of homes. The sheriff seems to think that he is working well with the latino community here – but I have heard that they are terrified of him. And, wow, are there a number of folks in the room who are vastly ignorant of what is going on with the local immigrants and what factors are driving all of this mess.

Cecil Bothwell, who is running for county commissioner, sent this out to the folks running the Buncombe Country Democratic Party convention (reprinted with his permission). He specifically addressed it to Doug Jones, who was in charge of running the resolution process.


I thought you did a superb job navigating the convention through the resolutions. Your grasp of the rules and adeptness in running the meeting greatly facilitated the whole process.

One item still bugs me a little, and that was calling on Van Duncan as a legal adviser concerning the resolution that was deleted. I have a great deal of respect for Duncan as a law enforcement official, but police aren't supposed to make the laws. They enforce the laws we create and I believe we are on very dangerous ground if we grant police veto power over legal matters.

In this specific instance, conflating cooperation between law enforcement agencies for the purpose of enforcing the criminal code with using local law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law is wrong. The language of the resolution was quite clear about that distinction, and if it was less than clear to anyone, it could have been amended. At minimum, we should have heard from a lawyer or legal scholar on the subject and not deferred to the opinion of a single law enforcement officer.

I wouldn't make an issue of this if I didn't regard it as a central matter in this era of fear-mongering, federal invasion of personal privacy, Halliburton's contract for construction of concentration camps, the USA PATRIOT Act and all of the other police-state elements assembled by Bush and others. The structure they have created and the fear they have mongered will not automatically go away after the election. We are truly living in perilous times. My high regard for Duncan, for example, is the mirror image of my opinion about his predecessor. Not every municipality has a Duncan, there are a lot of Medfords out there.

Mumpower (and many other Republicans) are calling explicitly for the use of local law enforcers in their xenophobic assault on immigrants. (The fact that the war is phony and only created for the purpose of getting votes and keeping wages down doesn't matter. They are enforcing ICE now, across the country.) This is a clear political battle line and failure to address such issues is one of the reasons people say there is no difference between the two parties.

I wrote this in response:

I was thinking about this issue in church this morning. I did not press forward with an amendment to the resolution primarily because I believe that the resolutions really don't do much, and even if we spent a lot of time passing them, the elected officials just ignore them. (I think that fact is behind the reduced number of resolutions, by the way. Just think how far we got in the Democratic Party with the impeachment resolutions, passed in multiple states!)

And if elected officials are going to ignore resolutions, you can bet your bottom dollar that local sheriff's office will too.... in fact, they likely will ignore whatever they want, in spite of elected officials, unless those officials keep after them.

It was distressing to me to see that Van Duncan does not grasp the difference between immoral and stupid federal immigration laws and actual criminal behavior. But then, he never "got it" concerning the deputy's break-in to the Kuhn's home either. Now anyone can make mistakes, but these types of mistakes are very destructive to people's lives and our communities. (And I don't know why I care so much about these issues - they are very unlikely to impact on my life and I can always just move to Canada!)

So, my conclusion is that the best course of action is to elect Bothwell, since he does GET IT. And maybe he can get other commissioners to GET IT too - or at least talk some sense in Duncan.

I thought the convention, on the whole, was a mixed bag. It seemed like there was reverential silence towards Shuler, who …… acts like a republican on many occasions. There were many examples in the convention of xenophobia. I really loved the guy who said that immigrants who already live here and want to go to NC colleges should get documentation. That is equivalent to telling a woman who complains about not getting paid as well as a man to stop complaining and grow a penis - except, sex change operations are possible, and getting documentation of legal status by the federal government is about impossible, and if possible at all, it is a 14 to 20 year proposition. AND our federal government does that on purpose..... just like they refrain from arresting and prosecuting big employers of undocumented workers, and just like they keep the ICE arrests random (the last is to install fear - midnight raids of homes, just like in Baghdad.)

I sometimes wish all the undocumented people in this country could up and leave tomorrow. That would mean $10 for a head of lettuce and $15 for a pound of tomatoes by June.

Photo was taken by Emily M. in DC in January 2006. The banner belongs to Veterans for Peace, Chapter 99, Asheville.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hightower in Asheville last week

Last Thursday, Jim Hightower came to Asheville for a speech and book signing. I was there to represent Progressive Democrats of America and hand out HEALTHCARE NOT WARFARE flyers. I am currently the NC coordinator for PDA, but stepping down at the end of this month. I sent this short report to PDA national leaders:

“Jim Hightower was in town the other night and I gave everyone a handout on HEALTHCARE NOT WARFARE at the event. Hightower did mention PDA from the stage too, and recommended PDA as one way of working to make a change for the better. He also pointed out that the US House of Representatives did not have the spine to work for impeachment. I pointed out that two years ago the NC Democratic Party passed a resolution asking the NC House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment and they did nothing. Hightower glossed right over that. This was significant because our local NC Representative Susan Fisher (who is considered a progressive Democrat) is a friend of Hightower's and was sitting right there. I just don't know how so many people in this country can complain about what other people are not doing – when they are doing precious little themselves.”

Yes, many of us have the power to do more – but choose not to do so. And on a related note, a lot of the blogosphere, including Juan Cole, are talking about the NYT article that says that retired generals were acting as propaganda stooges for the Pentagon before and during the early years of the Iraq invasion and occupation. I pointed this out on his comment section:

Please note in the NYT article that they did not cover how the NYT acted as shrills for the Pentagon and the White House.

Also note this article, written in 2002:

The New York Times reported today that the Pentagon’s Office of Strategic Influence is “developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false ones, to foreign media organizations” in an effort “to influence public sentiment and policy makers in both friendly and unfriendly countries.”

The OSI was created shortly after September 11 to publicize the U.S. government’s perspective in Islamic countries and to generate support for the U.S.’s “war on terror.” This latest announcement raises grave concerns that far from being an honest effort to explain U.S. policy, the OSI may be a profoundly undemocratic program devoted to spreading disinformation and misleading the public, both at home and abroad. At the same time, involving reporters in Pentagon disinformation puts the lives of working journalists at risk.

"Despite the OSI’s multi-million-dollar budget and its mandate to propagandize throughout the Middle East, Asia and Western Europe, “even many senior Pentagon officials and Congressional military aides say they know almost nothing about its purpose and plans,” according to the Times. The Times reported that the OSI’s latest announcement has generated opposition within the Pentagon among those who fear that it will undermine the Defense Department’s credibility."

Now, in this country we have a majority who want impeachment investigations to go forward, and wanted that for years. We have ample evidence of wrong-doing, yet our elected officials DO NOTHING. Even on the state level they DO NOTHING. Democratic parties in several Democratic-controlled states have asked the state legislature to file articles of impeachment - this happened in North Carolina.

Yet nothing is done.

Can we really survive as a country when our Constitution is repeatedly undermined and criminals of vast hideous crimes are let off the hook or even set up as acceptable leaders? Now, most Americans know that something is vastly wrong, but if there is no action taken to address the wrongs and find justice for those who are responsible - will our country survive? Will voting be able to "fix" this, when the people we are voting for are complicit? All wars start with lies. The ones starting them are the liars. Therefore, every American should have been opposed to these wars on Iraq and Afghanistan - they were started on a pack of lies, strictly for fun and profit. Can we do this much evil and survive as a country?

Here is the LTE I sent to the NYT, which will never see print in their paper:

I just finished "Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand" and I am wondering when you are going to do a story on how the NYT' carried the water for the Pentagon and the White House for the past six (almost seven) years? There certainly is plenty of material to work with, and the staff is right at hand.
Can we really get away with this? Can we really survive? Granted, beyond some ominous economic indicators, we see to be surviving just fine. People still drive to work, go about their lives, large numbers of them ignorant by design (of the media – the NYT has not come clean even a little bit) and by choice of what is going on. And of those who are not ignorant, they know something is very wrong, but they seem to think that the Democratic Party and our current structures will somehow make it okay again – if we just elected the “right” people.

But among those running for the US Presidency, all three are complicit. Obama speaks the most truth, but I don’t feel a whole lot of hope that “yes we can” change the direction this country is headed in. And on the state level, those who do have some power to change things choose not to do so. And on the local level, they have even less power. Can our country survive when our Constitution has been undermined so often for so long? And I am not just talking about the bush/cheney criminal regime – this rot started way back, at least with Nixon but probably before. How come no one protested his impeachment being pardoned? How come no one protested when the Iranian hostages were held until reagan was inaugurated? How come Americans did not shut down our government over the Iran-contra evil? How come Americans were stupid enough to buy into this latest war on Iraq?

Have we lost all ability for critical thinking? Are we so dumb-downed now that there is no hope? Can our country survive all this evil, all this lying, and all this (repeated) violation of our constitution?

I don’t know.

And the latest sign of US arrogance – they want the Iraqis to pay for their own occupation. We have gone from the idiocy of claiming that the US has to stay in Iraq until the “Iraqis stand up” to saying that the Iraqis will have to pay us to continue to destroy the place. And it looks like the American people will let this go on until all the Iraqi oil is gone.

Update: Here is an analysis of how far back this rot goes in the US press. This author is of the opinion that the US press cannot be reformed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

Hey, I worked all day - and it was a busy one at that. But I didn't want Earth Day to pass without noting it. I often write and blog on peace and social justice issues - or, more precisely, the lack thereof in the US government - but I have to say that when I am just rationally thinking about things, then the state of our planet is probably the most important issue of all. That is because we all have to live here!

I did whitewater kayaking for 20 years, and before that did backpacking and camping. I got to see some very amazing things and really enjoyed the beauty of this planet, especially the rivers. I also got to see close up how we were destroying it, although now you don't have to go anywhere special to see that - it is showing up in the polluted air and over development everywhere.

Our corporate masters who are the designers of war are also at war with the whole planet. And it seems to me the planet is losing. Another massive problem that we are facing is over population. Can't blame me for that one - I never reproduced! I love kids though, and wish I had one or two, but that was not where my live lead.

Tonight, I found out Hillary Clinton is coming to Asheville on Thursday. The insanity that has been going on around the country is now coming to North Carolina. I have another commitment until 7:30 that night, but I would love to ask her if she thinks about all the Iraqi people who she has helped kill and whose lives she has helped destroyed. I would love to ask that of John Edwards too.

I already voted. I did not vote for Clinton.

I voted for Neal for US Senate, and Purdue for Governor (not so sure about that one). I voted for Besse for Lt. Governor (there are several good candidates in that race, with only Dillinger being a real horse's behind). I voted for Bothwell, Jones, and Bailey for County Commissioners. I voted for Goodwin for Insurance Commissioner and Wood for Auditor. I voted for Atkinson for Superintendent of Public Instruction and Judge Ruth for Tyson seat.

For what it is worth.......



This is just too much:

Airmen celebrate Earth Day 2008
SAN ANTONIO (AFPN) -- Airmen around the world are celebrating Earth Day with the knowledge that they play an important role in keeping the world green. Earth Day officially started in 1970 by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in the belief that people needed a day to recognize environmental concerns.

Air Force officials have taken strides to be greener. From using new synthetic fuels in aircraft, to taking advantage of renewable energy, Airmen across the Air Force continue to play a pivotal role in protecting the most important resource, the earth.

This came with a pretty picture of a flower, with a child’s hand – and it looks like the child is going to pick the flower – which means the flower DIES. Well, Mr. Air Force Guys – YOU ARE NOT GREEN.

Being GREEN does not include dropping bombs all over the world and destroying humans, animals, the environment and human structures. It does not mean spreading DU dust around and making every living thing sick.

On top of all that destruction, Mr. Air Force Guy uses up MILLIONS OF GALLONS OF OIL A YEAR TO DROP ALL THOSE BOMBS.

The US Air Force is not protecting the earth, and they are not even protecting Americans. They are protecting multi-national oil corporations in Iraq. They are destroying the earth, and destroying our humanity, and destroying our future.

“The war for oil is a war for the beast. The war on terror is a war on peace.” – Michael Franti

Monday, April 21, 2008

Progressive Democrats of Buncombe Co Meeting

Meeting was held on April 8, 2008. There were eight people in attendance.

This meeting was planned to discuss endorsements of candidates for US Senate and Buncombe County Commissioners. All Democratic candidates for Buncombe County Commissioners were invited to talk to the group. Kay Bailey, Carol Peterson, Vernon Dover, and Bill Stanley had other meetings to attend. Cecil Bothwell and Bob Hill said they would come to the meeting, but Bob Hill did not attend. Holly Jones and Keith Thompson did not respond to the request.

Cecil Bothwell spoke to the group about reasons for running for country commissioner – he followed this path because of his prior investigative reporting on Commissioners and the lack of transparency. One example of this was the lease of county land in Woodfin to Progress Energy. They signed the lease “for any purpose” without public knowledge or input. He feels the core of what we need is good economic development. This means keeping dollars here, along with conservation and keeping energy dollars here. One means of doing that is to retro-fit homes for conservation. Another avenue to pursue is development of wind and solar energy. Cecil talked about the food crisis and food riots (mostly around grains), and he said that we need food security via local sources. County schools should serve local food first, and he felt that the proposed 70 acres for Woodfin power plant should be used for local farming, since this is prime land for growing food. Cecil did not like the fact that taxation is running people out of their homes here in Buncombe. He felt that more money is needed for health care and schools in Buncombe County.

We held a vote to decide if we should endorse some candidates for Buncombe County Commissioner. This motion was passed after some discussion. Cecil Bothwell was endorsed by a majority vote, and Holly Jones was endorsed by a majority vote. No other candidates were endorsed. We discussed the two candidates (Jim Neal and Duskin Lassiter) seeking endorsement for the US Senate race, and a vote was taken to see if the Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County wanted to endorse. This did not pass, since most people felt that they did not know enough about the candidates to endorse.

Isaac started a discussion and said that we need to get more progressives to run for office. He also talked about Martin Luther King Jr. and the “I have a dream” speech. What MLK had to say 40 years ago is similar to what Rev. Wright has to say today. Isaac said that we have moved past public accommodation as a civil rights issue, and moved into economic issues as a civil rights issue. He said that we have failed to see other areas of racism in our country. We had some further discussion of community gardens (Isaac helped start these) and our busing system and the transit authority here in Asheville. Susan said that she is stepping down from state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America and stepping down from congressional district #11 contact person for Progressive Democrats of America. There is someone who is stepping into the state coordinator position (George Six), and so far no volunteers for congressional district representation. Susan is also planning on stepping down as the coordinator for Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County. Isaac felt that we should hold one more meeting for the Progressive Democrats and see if we can get people interested in running for office. Isaac thought it might be worthwhile to invite local candidates to our next meeting, which will be on July 8, 2008 at 7 PM at North Asheville Library.

Follow-up: Cecil Bothwell and Holly Jones were informed of the endorsement from Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County. Also, July 8, 2008 will not work for the next meeting, since Susan will be out of town. We will hold the next meeting on August 5, 2008 at 7 PM at North Asheville Library.

The photo above was taken on April 20, 2008 at Asheville Friends Meeting.

PDA conference call on 04-08-08

This was the Out of Iraq conference call. Just after the Progressive Democrats of Buncombe County meeting I got on a phone meeting with PDA. They had Bill Goold on the call, who is chair person of the Progressive Caucus, and he talked about how he does not think that restricting funding for the Iraq war will succeed without a lot more pressure, and also about how the current Democratic Party leaders are basically waiting out the next nine months of the bush administration and not willing to go out on a limb at all. They feel that cutting all funds for the Iraq war is politically risky. He also said that the surge is being played up as a big success, and I made a comment at that point that pretty soon the reality in Iraq will catch up with the American public. There was an aide to Rep. Waters on the phone call too. Several of the other PDA organizers expressed fears that the bush administration will attack Iran. I don’t share that concern, but recently a Hizbollah fighter died while training in Iran, and the rumor is that Iran has sold Hizbollah weapons that will bring down planes. And, Iran is boosting nuclear potential – which only means that they are promoting more nuclear power development, not nuclear weapons. (None of these are good signs, but then this country has done far, far worse.)

So, how come there were signs saying FREE TIBET on the Golden Gate Bridge, but no signs of FREE IRAQ? This war will still be raging a year from now, no matter who gets inaugurated. I am already thinking that a mass demonstration in DC is badly needed, and I don’t mean a million people, I mean 50 million people.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Events in Asheville This Week

Congratulations to Lew Patrie for winning the Grace E. Lee Peace Award! He has worked tirelessly for years now on peace, social justice, and environmental issues. We are all VERY grateful to have you as part of the Peace Coalition and our community, Lew!



Sunday, 5:30 to 6 PM All Souls Episcopal Church [Biltmore Village]
Tuesday, 4:30 to 5:30 PM Vets for Peace Vigil [Vance Monument]
Wednesday, 4:30 PM Haywood Neighbors for Peace at Waynesville Post Office
Wednesdays, 5:30 PM Votive Mass for Peace at St. Mary Episcopal Church in Asheville
Friday, 5 to 6 PM Women in Black Vigil A’ville [Vance Monument]
Friday, 12 to 12:30 PM Women in Black Vigil H’ville [Main St at Old County Court House]
Saturday, 12 to 1 PM Transylvania County Vigil for Peace [County Courthouse]
Other: Tuesday, 6 PM Run for Peace; Run for Impeachment at Vance Monument
Other: Food Not Bombs: 3:30 on Saturday at Pritchard Park. Info at 303-929-9713
Other: The Street Action Group (SAG) will hold meetings to plan actions, hold a potluck, and to work on projects most Sundays at 3 PM. Contact Kindra at for location.
Other: Asheville Citizen Awareness (COP WATCH) meets at 6:30 PM at St. James AME Church at 44 Hildebrand Street in Asheville on Wednesday.
Other: Veteran’s Voices on WPVM at 5 PM on Wednesday. 103.5 FM or



One-stop early voting - 10 to 6 PM, Monday through Saturday this week

04/20/08 Earth Day at All Souls Cathedral from 1 to 5 PM.

04/20/08 Meeting will be held by Final Exit Network of the Blue Ridge Mountains will be held at UU church of Asheville at 2 PM. Dr. Dick MacDonald, Senior Medical Advisor for the National Network, former Medical Director of the Hemlock Society and past president of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies will discuss “Being in control of how, where and when we die.” For more information, contact 254-9154 or 274-8483 or More information also at this website:

04/21/08 Mountain Voices Alliance will host a forum for Democratic Buncombe Country Commissioner candidates from 7 to 9 PM at the Woodfin Community Center. Doors will open at 6 PM to allow time for submitting questions for the candidates. Toget to the Woodfin Community Center from Asheville and south, take 19/23 to Elk Mountain Rd. Make a left at exit and go 6/10 mile past the Woodfin Town Hall to Penley Ave. Go left on Penley and immediate left onto Community Dr. From Weaverville and north, take Elk Mountain Rd. (exit 24), make a right and then follow same directions. For more information, call 255-8537. Mountain Voices Alliance ( works to preserve and protect the environment, including the natural beauty, abundant resources, quality of life and cultural heritage of our communities. This all-volunteer group actively opposed the Progress Energy oil plant in Woodfin last year and helps to raise awareness of policies to protect the area from over-development, especially the dangers of building on steep slopes.

04/21/08 Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads at 6:30 at UU church in Asheville. Contact Lew at or call 828-299-1242 for more information.

04/21/08 Peacemaking class by Elizabeth Snyder at UNCA. Contact Lew at or call 828-299-1242 for more information.

04/22/08 Earth Day at the French Broad Food Co-op from 1 to 7 PM. There will be food, events, and tabling during that time.

04/24/08 MoveOn will host a vigil in front of Pack Place at 12 PM. This vigil will be to point out that the war and occupation of Iraq is ruining our economy. The are calling it the “Iraq and Recession” report release. There is another MoveOn vigil in Hendersonville at 401 N. Main Street at 6 PM. Here's the link to RSVP:

04/23/08 Lakotah Independence – talk at 7 PM at Jubilee! Jerry Collette, the attorney general for the Republic of Lakotah, will talk about Lakotah withdrawal from US treaties. More information at or call 274-8483.

04/24/08 Climate Change – Negotiating a Post-Kyoto Agreement, a talk by Dr. Leonard Bernstein, member of the Nobel Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 7 PM at the Owens Conference Center, UNCA. Free. This is the UN Association Annual John & Hazel Fobes Memorial Lecture. More information at 683-9354.

04/24/08 Sierra Club meeting at Unitarian Universalist Church in Asheville. Social is at 7 PM and program is at 7:30 PM. Bill Eaker and Linda Giltz will discuss “Steep Slope Development”

04/25/08 Wake Up Laughing With Swami Beyondananda, Jubilee Community Church (The Swami wrote a column in Tikkun Magazine and is the World’s funniest Spiritual Progressive. Time is 7:30 PM. Cost is $15 advance, $20 door. Tickets available at Malaprop’s and Mystic Journeys. No further information.

04/26/08 NC Green Party will hold their state convention in Asheville. Call David at 828-683-1783 or email for more information.

04/26/08 “The Streets are Watching” is a 50 minute video that takes a fresh look at police accountability through the eyes of three communities: Denver, Cincinnati, and Berkley. This will be held at Firestorm Café and Books at 48 Commerce Street in downtown Asheville (across from the post office). This is sponsored by Asheville Copwatch.

04/27/08 Paddlesports Demo day at Lake Julian from 10 AM to 4 PM. This is sponsored by Diamond Brand Outdoors. Free

Photo taken by me this morning in Asheville.


What: Palestine Fundraising Dinner for Emergency Relief in Gaza
Who: Students for a Democratic Society
Where: Alumni Hall in the Highsmith Union at UNC-Asheville
When: Friday, April 25th at 7pm
Why: To help the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees) with emergency relief aid to victims of violence in the Gaza Strip.
*$10 suggested donation, nobody turned away for lack of funds*
For more information, contact Kati at

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Remembering Marla

It was three years ago that Marla was killed in Iraq. I know she was going somewhere in Baghdad, and she and her driver/translater were both killed..... I believe by a roadside bomb. I have heard other reports - that it was a suicide bomber and also that she was ambushed - but I think the correct story is a roadside bomb.

In any case, it was very sad. I had been following her work with CIVIC for two years at that point. She was a young women full of life and love for a lot of people. I remember reading about an Iraqi boy in Tal Afar who had gotten to know Marla because she was trying to get him some help. When he got the news, he said something along the lines of: "Her parents lost her, I lost her, and the whole world lost her!" He was quite upset. Anyway, someone put together a memorial video to Marla Ruzicka. I did not cry when she died - death happened every day in reports from Iraq - but some weeks later, I was looking in my little notebook for words that are hard to spell, and I ran across "Marla Ruzicka". For some reason, that made me cry.

I wish it was funny

But this cartoon is too real to be funny. Last week, we found out that the highest levels of our government here in the USA (meaning bush, cheney, rumsfeld, rice, and others) approved of torture.

I know the Military Commissions Act, passed in October 2006, made all Americans into torturers. I put a sign on my car that said "We are all torturers now." But I am still really depressed about what we have become, what we have done, and fearful of what we will do in the near and far future. Here are some quotes on torture:

"What the world needs is not dogma but an attitude of scientific inquiry combined with a belief that the torture of millions is not desirable, whether inflicted by Stalin or by a Deity imagined in the likeness of the believer" Bertrand Russell

"The healthy man does not torture others." Carl Gustav Jung

"We don't torture people in America and people who say we do simply know nothing about our country". George W. Bush [Interview with Australian TV - October 18, 2003]

Obviously, bush is a liar.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Massively evil

Photo: Defense Secretary Robert Gates talks with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 10, 2008, prior to the start of the committee's hearing on the future of Iraq.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Massively evil. That is what Levin's idea - to make Iraqis pay for their own occupation and destruction of their country and culture - is. Massively evil. I called his Senate office twice yesterday afternoon, and started talking about how evil it is to suggest that the Iraqi people should pay for their own occupation. They hung up on me twice. They did not pick up for the third call.

I keep thinking that I need to just give up on the Democrats entirely. Then some Democrat will tell me that I have more in common with them than any other group and that the party is "what you make it" since the Democrats are inclusive and you can bring in your ideas and make the Democrats into a reflection of your own values.

And then I hear about people like Levin proposing massively evil ideas like making Iraqis pay for the occupation and destruction of their country. I know I have NOTHING in common with people who are capable of thinking up such ideas and speaking them out loud. They have no shame. I think I still do. The picture above looks like a good ole boys club - the principle actors are old white men, and the photographers around them are old white guys too, and they have a look of worship on their faces. It is sickening. Neither one of these men are decent people. (The photographer is a women, however.)

I have been working for, and with, and on, the Democrats since 2003. I realized they needed help, but it seems to me that in fundamental ways - they do not intend to change. I guess that is true of nearly all Americans. They won't change until some painful event MAKES them change. Something like the total collapse of our economy, or having our war-making ways come home to roost in a big way.

Meanwhile, Americans are still walking around thinking the deaths on 9/11 were a big deal - that is, the ones that happened on American soil due to a terrorist attack. They don't think the 36,000 deaths on 9/11/01 that happened to children who starved to death as something worthy of even noticing. And then, instead of helping other countries, we spend future generation's funds to destroy other countries around the world, and wonder 'why they hate us'.

They hate us because too many of us, like Levin, are EVIL.

I have seen several programs lately (like Progressive Democrats and American Friends Service Committee) that promote the idea that we could meet human needs if only we weren't spending it on war. Well, I always thought that was not the best approach - for starters, we are not paying for the wars at this time. We are leaving that for future generations. Secondly, it leads to evil ideas like Levin has - that the Iraqi people should pay for their own destruction.

The phone number for the US Senate is 202-224-3121 - if you feel like making a call.

Torture, Mass Murder, and the American President

Recently I read that Obama and Clinton what our current idiot-in-chief to boycott the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in China. Now, on the whole, I think having bush stay home is a good idea. He has some sick and dangerous ideas in his head, and letting him represent our country is always a poor idea. But apparently, Obama and Clinton think he should boycott the Opening Ceremonies because China is a human rights abuser!! What planet have they been living on these last seven years?

This is either the height of hypocrisy, or the height of idiocy. Or maybe both, although my take is that it is the height of idiocy. Our torture president, who started up TWO wars of aggression, one which has likely killed over a million and definitely displaced over four million, who orders extrajudicial killings and kidnappings (he calls the later “extraordinary rendition”), who sign off on torture, should boycott the Olympics because CHINA HAS COMMITTED HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES?

Here’s what a commenter on blog said:

The Tibet march poster I saw yesterday mentioned the “atrocities” perpetrated by the Chinese government. How about the atrocities carried out, abetted, enabled, and inspired by the US Government in Iraq? The death toll in Iraq beats last month’s entire cluster of clashes in Tibet practically every hour. Why, outside of a few stickers on newspaper boxes around town, is no significant mention made of what’s going on non-stop in Iraq? Are mainstream liberals just so cowed by the see-through rhetoric of the now completely debunked War Party that they still refuse to criticize a war their military is currently prosecuting? ~ Jeremy Sapienza, on blog

Well, just to make this even more ironic, just last week, ABC News reported on the complicity with torture that our current resident in the White House has demonstrated:

President Bush says he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details about how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to an exclusive interview with ABC News Friday. "Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people." Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. "And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."

In the title of the piece, they call it “interrogation talks”. What a cute name for water boarding, which is TORTURE. Of course, we knew all along that cheney and rumsfeld would be behind this, but it was surprising that bush was cheerleading them on, and powell, rice, goss, ashcroft, and tenet. Scumbags all. Is this man who approves of torture and approves of wars of aggression supposed to teach other countries to respect human rights? HUH??? There was a piece on this today on Democracy Now! also.

Now, I would like to hear what good, helpful, and useful information they actually got from using torture. My educated guess is “nothing”. Didn’t an Iraqi exile tell about mobile chemical labs in Iraq after being tortured? That was the information that powell put into his idiotic UN speech. I know that, if I was tortured, I would confess to anything I thought the torturer wanted to hear, just to make it stop. Maybe terrorists or criminals are tougher than me, but it seems we would all have a breaking point.

And why are we seeing “Free Tibet” signs on the Golden Gate Bridge, but no “Free Iraq” or “Free Palestine” signs? This makes no sense to me.

Photo: Three people protesting China’s human rights record and the impending arrival of the Olympic torch climbed up the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Monday, April 7, 2008, and tied Tibetan flags and two banners to its cables. Photo came from The San Francisco Sentinel.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Events in Asheville This Week

Photo: This is Oona, sitting in front of the Asheville Arts Center on Saturday evening. She has a basket of roses in her lap. This was part of the No More Victims - Asheville fund raising event this past Saturday. Thanks, Oona, for your help!

04/14/08 Common Sense at the Nuclear Crossroads meeting – check details at

04/14/08 League of Women Voters of Asheville Buncombe County invite everyone to meet and greet the Buncombe County Commissioner Candidates at 7 PM at the Jewish Community Center on Charlotte Street in Asheville. The format will be a one-on-one, with the public invited to meet the candidates personally. Contact Ruth at for more information.

04/14/08 David Rovics in concert at the Firestorm Café & Books (48 Commerce Street, Asheville, behind the purple building at Coxe and Patton Avenues) at 8:30 PM. $10 at the door. This is a benefit for Cecil Bothwell, who is running for county commissioner. There will be a kid’s show at 5 PM as well.

04/15/08 The WNC Physicians for Social Responsibility will hold a meeting at noon (brown bag lunch) at Unitarian Universalist Church in Asheville. They will be showing: AMERICA'S DIALOGUE, more than a video on the nuclear age, this portrays the human cost of militarism & war, the degradation & pollution of our environment; the problem of energy & global warming, the enormous drain of resources away from healthcare & education, an embedded culture of weapons manufacture & war, and the very real and growing threat, not only to our own, but to our children’s future. It intends to be catalyst for a great national debate. Norman Cousins says of it "What the country needs today is a moratorium on its normal activity, habits, and general routine; which is to say, a moratorium on trivia in order to acquire a basic literacy on the questions of our time.”

04/15/08 The WNC Peace Coalition will hold a meeting at 7 PM at Unitarian Universalist Church in Asheville. Please call the Peace Line for more information at 271-0022.

04/15/08 Meteorological Society and Colburn Earth Science Museum will sponsor talks on Climate Change in 2008: Past, Present and Future are three talks on climate change that are free and open to the public. All talks will be at 7 p.m. at Diana Wortham Theatre at Pack Place downtown. "What does climate change mean for the future? Challenges to our water systems and infrastructures." Panel discussion of leading experts focused on environmental issues surrounding climate change. Followed by a meet-the-presenters reception at the Colburn Earth Science Museum. For more information contact Paul Roelle, president Asheville Chapter of the American Meteorological Society at 271-4250, ext. 1009.

04/17/08 Jim Hightower is coming to Asheville! Proceeds from this event will benefit Common Cause North Carolina, and this is endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America. Time is 7 PM, and location is First Congregational Church. Cost is $10, or $5 for students. Private reception and book signing immediately following costs extra. Purchase your tickets TODAY at:

04/17/08 One-stop early voting begins, and goes until May 3rd.

04/18/08 “The Big Read” from a novel by Willa Cather, at UNC-Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium at 7 PM. My Antonia: The Story with Signs - condensed, adapted, and performed by Barbara Bates Smith adding American Sign Language. This immigrant story will be followed by a talk on immigration, and a Q&A by Esther Olavarria, Senator Kennedy’s Immigration Counsel; Advisor to UN Commissioner on Refugees. Free, open to the public, 828-251-6645 for more information.

04/19/08 There will be displays and programs at the Transylvania Public Library in Brevard all day. The vigil for peace is from 12 to 1 PM in front of the Courthouse in Brevard. At 2 PM, there will be an interactive program with Vietnam and Iraq war veterans and history scholars. This will be called “The Whole World is Watching”. Contact Connie for more information at More information below.

04/19/08 County Conventions for the NC Democratic Party

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Today's Real News

This came from the Real News Network.

Scott Ritter before the war started

He spoke the truth then, and he speaks it now. Too bad our media personalities are not 10% as decent and honest as Scott Ritter is, and was, and likely will be forever.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some ideas on re-criminalizing crime

Seems there is a lot of talk lately on the net about an attack on Iran. First, I don’t think there will be an attack on Iran. But the general trend seems to be a push to have some legislation developed in the US Congress that says that bush cannot attack Iran without Congressional approval.

Well, our Constitution clearly says that only Congress can declare war, and bombing some country is an act of war.

If I recall correctly, clinton bombed several places without a vote from Congress saying that he could go to war. Places like Sudan, Serbia, Afghanistan – did he bomb them too? I forget. They do it so regularly. And bush has bombed the heck out of Iraq and Afghanistan without our Congress voting for war on either place, unless that ‘authorization’ is counted as a declaration of war. Seems like bush senior and reagan did it also. Can’t remember if Carter did…..

But, there are serious problems with re-criminalizing ALREADY CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. That is what they tried to do with torture, instead of passing more laws that bush does a signing statement around, THEY SHOULD START IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS.

Since this effort was pretty much a failure, bush can claim he does not torture while he allows water boarding. It seems the only purpose served was to trick people into thinking that the Dems are actually doing something about all the criminal actions of the bush/cheney administration, when in fact, they are not.

We don’t need new laws. We need the laws we have, and the US Constitution, ENFORCED.

Now, how about de-criminalizing crimes?

That is what bush wanted them to do with the telecom immunity act. What the telecoms did, and what bush and his administration did, was ILLEGAL. I don’t know where they get the idea that they can get a ‘get out of jail free’ card even before they are even arrested!

If I break the law, do I get to call for the laws to be changed before they arrest me? Well, that’s what the bush/cheney administration think they should get! Those FISA laws were put in place to stop the more powerful politicians from spying on other politicians outside the overview of a court. But the bush/cheney administration got the “goods” on some of those DC congress critters, which is why they can get them to vote for something that is in NO ONE’S best interests. However, in spite of this, Congress did manage to say “no” to retroactive immunity to telecoms for their criminal actions. Our local Representative, voted to pass this hideous legislation.

This whole business had nothing to do with national security. There were plenty of legal ways to get warrants on Americans or foreigners if there was a question of national security, and those laws have been around for decades. This spying by the bush/cheney administration was to collect data on any American they wanted, to use for blackmail. I have always said that I don’t care if they listen to my every phone call, read every email, open all snail mail – as long as they forward to me without too much lost time. But they don’t have the “goods” on me, since I am not involved in any illegal activities, or any “scandalous” activities. I may be opinionated, but I have a calm and ordinary life.

But they are “spying” on all of us – with the “they” being all the corporations out there who want to sell us something. It is all for corporate profit, and I really don’t think they give a damn about national security, they just want to sell, sell, sell and sell some more. I signed up not to get stupid commercial offers in the mail a few years back. That really cut back on the new VISA and Mastercard offers. However, the last few years I have been exceptionally healthy, with little prescriptions and doctor visits and no hospital time for a couple of decades. So what do I get in the mail now? Offers of health insurance! They know that I am healthy (which I am grateful for) and therefore a good risk to sell some stupid health insurance to – and if I got a diagnosis of something, the offer would disappear in record time.

Oh, “they” are spying on us alright.

(photo: taken last year of my friend John. Hey, we tried to promote impeachment!)