Saturday, February 28, 2009
U.S. troops continue to occupy Iraq with no clear plan to bring them home. Tuesday, February 17th, President Obama ordered 17,000 troops to Afghanistan to join the 37,000 already there. He also ordered a review of U.S. policies in the region. The President has been quoted by prominent news outlets as saying in various ways that it will take more than military force to solve the problems of Afghanistan.
This past January saw 24 Army suicides, the highest monthly total since the Army began keeping count. Suicides rose in the Army for the fourth year in a row in 2008 at 128. Multiple tours and the stress and strain of military life is a major contributor to these tragedies.
Mike Ferner, Veterans For Peace National President stated, "Deploying more troops guarantees there is no relief in sight. As the U.S. continues to fight two wars, the suicides will continue. We are asking our members to call the White House and Congress to tell them more soldiers will only lead to more death; not stability and peace."
Veterans For Peace Executive Director Michael McPhearson stated, "It is clear that the White House has not developed a plan and is relying on military power to solve the problem. And while the big wigs in DC are trying to figure out what to do, more troops and Afghanis will die. It is time for the cycle of violence to end."
Veterans For Peace passed a resolution in August 2008 calling for: The government of the United States to immediately withdraw all military and intelligence forces from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
They call for the government of the United States to provide humanitarian aid directly to the people of Afghanistan, in non-coercive forms, to help the Afghan people rebuild their own nation and their lives in cooperation with other nations in the region; and to allow the people of Afghanistan to freely determine their own government without interference by the US.
Veterans For Peace also renounces the claim that the war in Afghanistan is somehow the "right" war and reaffirm their position that war must be abolished.
McPhearson went to say, "After people call their elected leaders they should talk to their neighbors, family and friends. We need to persuade the public that there is a better way than war. That more war in Afghanistan will not solve the problems there and that we can be part of a peaceful and just world."
This type of protest is a common occurrence in Iraq. It happened every Friday when the SOFA was being talked about and passed by the Iraqi legislators. The Sadr guys were very unhappy that the SOFA said three more years of US occupation. This upcoming summer, the Iraqi people are going to vote on a referendum about the presence of US troops in Iraq.
This is funny:
“Not all of
’s neighbors are contributing to its security. Some are working at times to undermine it.” Iraq
In light of the clear fact that it was the USA that went into Iraq and destabilized beyond anyone’s worst nightmare, and continues to do so (although a slower rate than before) to this very day, to stand there and accuse other countries of doing what we clearly did MORE THAN ANYONE is beyond hypocrisy.
“As a candidate for President, I made clear my support for a timeline of 16 months to carry out this drawdown, while pledging to consult closely with our military commanders upon taking office to ensure that we preserve the gains we’ve made and protect our troops. Those consultations are now complete, and I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months.”
Okay, since you lied during the campaign, that means we should totally believe you now. NOT.
“Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in
will end.” Iraq
Not if 50,000 troops are still sitting there, it won’t. And didn’t our “combat mission” end with “Mission Accomplished”? I guess not.
“As I have long said, we will retain a transitional force to carry out three distinct functions: training, equipping, and advising Iraqi Security Forces as long as they remain non-sectarian; conducting targeted counter-terrorism missions; and protecting our ongoing civilian and military efforts within
. Initially, this force will likely be made up of 35-50,000 Iraq troops.” U.S.
This ‘transitional force’ is better known as COMBAT TROOPS, since they will be working in
This is also exactly what the
This particular comment, directed at the Iraqis, is nothing but a slew of lies:
“We Americans have offered our most precious resource – our young men and women – to work with you to rebuild what was destroyed by despotism; to root out our common enemies; and to seek peace and prosperity for our children and grandchildren, and for yours.”
First, the American government does not give a crap about our young men and women (maybe Obama does, but the bushies sure didn’t). And what was destroyed in
As to ‘seek peace and prosperity’ – that CANNOT be done by wars and occupations and destruction of entire countries. And our country is going to find out really soon just how prosperous we are NOT.
And before that, he says this, to the Iraqi people:
“Our nations have known difficult times together. But ours is a bond forged by shared bloodshed, and countless friendships among our people.”
Another flat out lie:
“So to the Iraqi people, let me be clear about
’s intentions. The America pursues no claim on your territory or your resources.” United States
If we are not pursuing any claims on their resources, then why are we there? The Iraqis don’t want us there, and we have only destroyed the place. And we are not there for the scenery.
“It is time for …..
Iraq’s neighbors to establish productive and normalized relations with .” Iraq
That is not going to happen while they are OCCUPIED BY A FOREIGN MILITARY.
And this Obama statement is the same claim made by the bushies:
“This reflects a fundamental truth: we can no longer deal with regional challenges in isolation – we need a smarter, more sustainable and comprehensive approach.”
Of course, the bushies never implemented such a plan, but it does not look like the Obama administration will either.
Obama goes on with a story of two Marines who stopped a suicide truck bomber in
America’s time in is filled with stories of men and women like this. Their names are written into bridges and town squares. They are etched into stones at Iraq , and in quiet places of rest across our land. They are spoken in schools and on city blocks. They live on in the memories of those who wear your uniform, in the hearts of those they loved, and in the freedom of the nation they served.” Arlington
So, we have soldiers and Marines who went to fight an illegal war of aggression, continue an illegal occupation, and then helped destroy an entire country. They lose their lives while engaged in hunting down their fellow humans, and then we glorify them. And we do it year in and year out – perpetuating the myth that our military is so AWESOME (with the except of a few bad apples) and that those bombs and bullets we send into innocent civilians were actually done with loving kindness.
Obama also throws this into the speech:
“And so I want to be very clear: We sent our troops to
to do away with Saddam Hussein’s regime – and you got the job done. We kept our troops in Iraq to help establish a sovereign government – and you got the job done. And we will leave the Iraqi people with a hard-earned opportunity to live a better life –“ Iraq
What a huge pack of lies. We all know the lies that were given for going into
That comment is justifying a war of aggression and mass murder.
What a load of dog shit. Okay, scratch that – it is insulting to dogs.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing, both hands free
No one's paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget's stretched so thin
And there's more comin' home from the Mideast war
We can't make it here anymore
That big ol' building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can't make it here anymore
See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock
They're just gonna set there till they rot
'Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts around the square
There's a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don't come down here 'less you're looking to score
We can't make it here anymore
The bar's still open but man it's slow
The tip jar's light and the register's low
The bartender don't have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day
Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are working two jobs and living in cars
Minimum wage won't pay for a roof, won't pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far 5.15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one of your stores
Bet you can't make it here anymore
High school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that
If she comes up pregnant what'll she do
Forget the career, forget about school
Can she live on faith? live on hope?
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it's way too late to just say no
You can't make it here anymore
Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
'Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can't make it here anymore
Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in
Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They've never known want, they'll never know need
Their sh@# don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in the da$% little war
And we can't make it here anymore
Will work for food
Will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks
Let 'em eat jellybeans let 'em eat cake
Let 'em eat sh$%, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can't make it here anymore
And that's how it is
That's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind
If you're listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why
In Dayton, Ohio
Or Portland, Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That's done closed down along with the school
And the hospital and the swimming pool
Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There's rats in the alley
And trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can't make it here anymore
Music and lyrics © 2004 by James McMurtry
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Noora is an Iraqi girl getting medical treatment up in Maine. Her treatment is paid for by funds from No More Victims. Noora was shot by a US soldier, and it damaged her skull. They are trying to do a prosthetic implant (surgery for this was last December), but as the following report via email shows, it is not going so well:
I so regret having to write this update to let you know that the Integra product (which I wrote about in the last update) was unsuccessful in it's attempt to rebuild tissue in the open wound on Noora's scalp.
The new plan, unfortunately, necessitates the temporary removal of Noora's prosthetic skull. The fact that Noora's scalp has had an open wound onto the prosthetic skull, for this length of time, was the determining factor for removing the skull. What Dr. Attwood and his colleagues are fearful of, is that if the skull is not removed and sterilized, it could potentially present problems for Noora once her scalp is closed and she returns to
On Monday, the skull will be removed and three balloons will be placed beneath her scalp. Over the course of approximately four to six weeks, the balloons will be inflated, stretching her scalp, and in turn making the new skin, which will be used to cover the prosthetic skull, once it is replaced. It is estimated that it will be sometime in the beginning of May before the surgeries and healing process are complete and Noora and Afef are able to return home, to
February 10th marked the eight month Noora and Afef have been away from their home and family. One month in
Susi and Doug
Monday, February 23, 2009
As people of conscience in the United States struggling for a socially, economically and ecologically healthier world free of racism, colonialism, and militarism, we write to respectfully urge you to attend the upcoming Durban Review Conference on Racism from 20-24 April 2009.If you would like to sign on to this letter, then go to this link.
I also signed on to a Democracy for America appeal, however I won't link to that. I signed it because a friend sent it. It asks for a 'Truth and Reconciliation' commission. I am in totally agreement with a Truth commission, but I don't want reconciliation. I want to see those murdering criminals go before a judge and jury.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
REUTERS/Dadang Tri (
Well, my title is not totally accurate - the Canadians seemed to love Obama. A friend of mine from Ontario emailed me to point out how much Obama's policies resemble bush's - however, he also points out that Canada has a real assh*le for Prime Minister right now. But I kept this photo because it really does show how much other people in the world do not like us at all. They just want to be left alone, not bombed or 'improved' by US intervention.
Also, we just cannot afford to keep doing these military interventions. Ramping up in Afghanistan is a huge mistake.
This was recorded in Toronto in January. A very powerful voice speaking out against Zionism. Go to this link to listen.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
This video came via Glenn Greenwald’s blog on Salon. I recommend reading him! He is great.
As Glenn points out – this Fox News ‘journalist’ acts very condescending to the guy who he is interviewing. The guy he is interviewing is the Mayor of Lansing Michigan, who happens to be the son of a UAW worker. This Mayor wants to know why Wall Street is not being asked to “sacrifice” for the good of the economy but regular auto workers are being asked to make significant sacrifices. This journalist is unbelievable arrogant, as they have a tendency to be in this country….. even in the face of the fact that they prove time and time again that THEY TOTALLY STINK AT THEIR JOBS!!!!!
I applaud this Mayor. He speaks the truth. We seem to have endless money to bailout the very people who caused this mess, save their financial institutions and give them huge bonuses; but we hear endless complaints about the much meager sums being spent to save jobs.
Our TV media is a sick, sick joke.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Email from Jewish Voice for Peace:
From Gaza to Tel Aviv, from Florida and New York, we have already heard from hundreds of you about our Open Letter to Obama.
For each one of you, the message has meant something different.
From Gaza we heard from a doctor who said, "all we have left is hope." From New York, a retiree said she feels that with this new American president, and the selection of George Mitchell as envoy, a resolution to the conflict is actually possible.
Others said thank you for calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and for talks to include everyone. Many were glad we called attention to the Arab Peace plan and the role of American money and weapons in perpetuating the conflict and bloodshed-- of both Palestinians and Israelis.
In just a few weeks, over 20,000 of you signed the letter and it has already been featured in Ha'aretz, Israel's leading newspaper.
Robert Naiman is the coordinator of Just Foreign Policy, our partner in this project. He will deliver your signatures to Washington DC this Monday, February 23, as we promised.
We're sending him 20,000 signatures to hand-deliver, but we'd like to make it 30,000.
You've already signed the letter, so now is our last chance to help us get more names.
Tell everyone to sign the Open Letter to Obama.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
The Prime Minister's Bureau will probably soon be occupied by a politician whose career has been partially based on
scare tactics. Benjamin Netanyahu, formerly "Mr. Terror," is now "Mr. Iran Iran," and has declared that " will have no nuclear arms." Iran
Notwithstanding the boisterous nature of the declaration, this will hopefully be the case, but if what Netanyahu means is that
Israel, under his leadership, may become embroiled in an attack on , then there is room for grave concern. Now is the time to tell Netanyahu: "No bombing." Netanyahu (and some among us) should drop any thoughts about a military option. Iran
The Americans will demand that
The Obama administration said late Saturday it would participate in planning a United Nations conference on racism, despite concerns the meeting will be used by Arab nations and others to criticize
…..The State Department said it would send diplomats next week to participate in preparatory meetings for the World Conference Against Racism, which is set to be held in
Geneva, Switzerlandin April and which some countries including have already decided to boycott. Israel
Israel Defense Forces investigations into last month's offensive in the Gaza Strip indicate the army could face significant difficulties justifying the scale of destruction of civilian homes during the fighting. A military source involved in the investigation told Haaretz, "It's clear to us that in a small portion of the combat sectors immeasurable damage was caused, and that is very difficult to justify from a legal perspective, particularly if such justifications are called for in legal proceedings with international organizations."
…..Last week Channel 2 reported that according to estimates produced by the security establishment, about one-third of those killed during the fighting were "uninvolved civilians," a figure which Palestinian sources put much higher. [Considering that over 400 of the dead were children, I would put the figure much higher too. – dancewater]
Opinion: Sayed Kashua / I'm a scared Arab in
I remember being scared. Very scared. I remember I was having a conversation with a friend from
This video is of the beginning of the war. You can watch Al Jazeera English live at this link.
You can watch You Tube clips of Al Jazeera English at this link.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I heard from a friend tonight that Hampshire College was the first to divest from South Africa many years ago.
Here is their press release:
Press release, Students for Justice in Palestine (Hampshire College), Feb. 12, 2009This is great, and they really did show how to organize and make a difference. As to the graphic above - I wish I had made a note of where it came from, but I didn't - so I cannot credit who did this. But I agree with the sentiment. We need to stop funding war and military adventures here in the USA and spend the money on human needs. I read recently that there are 27,000 employees at the Dept of Defense working on recruitment, publicity and information management (propaganda). And they are 1 % of the total number of people working for the DoD. Compare that to the Department of State, which has 30,000 employees total. Yes, we spend our money on destroying things rather than working out peaceful solutions. I used to think that we would go broke one day from all these wars and occupations, but after seeing how much money has been thrown at the economic problems (vastly more than the DoD and the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan), I am not so sure any more.
Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, has become the first of any college or university in the US to divest from companies on the grounds of their involvement in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
This landmark move is a direct result of a two-year intensive campaign by the campus group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The group pressured Hampshire College's Board of Trustees to divest from six specific companies due to human rights concerns in occupied Palestine. More than 800 students, professors and alumni have signed SJP's "institutional statement" calling for the divestment.
The proposal put forth by SJP was approved on Saturday, 7 February 2009 by the Board. By divesting from these companies, SJP believes that Hampshire has distanced itself from complicity in the illegal occupation and war crimes of Israel.
Meeting minutes from a committee of Hampshire's Board of Trustees confirm that "President Hexter acknowledged that it was the good work of SJP that brought this issue to the attention of the committee." This groundbreaking decision follows in Hampshire's history of being the first college in the country to divest from apartheid South Africa 32 years ago, a decision based on similar human rights concerns. This divestment was also a direct result of student pressure.
The divestment has so far been endorsed by Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Rashid Khalidi, Vice President of the EU Parliament Luisa Morganitini, Cynthia McKinney, former member of the African National Congress Ronnie Kasrils, Mustafa Barghouti, Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, John Berger, Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Maguire and Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, among others.
The six corporations, all of which provide the Israeli military with equipment and services in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are: Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola and Terex. Furthermore, our policy prevents the reinvestment in any company involved in the illegal occupation.
SJP is responding to a call from Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) as a way of bringing nonviolent pressure to bear on the state of Israel to end its violations of international law. SJP is following in the footsteps of many noted groups and institutions such as the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education in the UK, the Israeli group Gush Shalom, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the American Friends Service Committee.
As well as voicing our opposition to the illegal occupation and the consistent human rights violations of the Palestinian people, we as members of an institute of higher education see it as our moral responsibility to express our solidarity with Palestinian students whose access to education is severely inhibited by the Israeli occupation.
SJP has proven that student groups can organize, rally and pressure their schools to divest from the illegal occupation. The group hopes that this decision will pave the way for other institutions of higher learning in the US to take similar stands.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Review: Human Smoke
By Nicholson Baker
The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization
Six members of the Peace Pledge Union were arrested and tried for publishing a poster in
The Royal Air Force bombed
The Viceroy of India, Lord Linlithgow, politely rejected Gandhi’s suggestion to the British people that they employ nonviolent methods in opposing Hitler. The British government, Linlithgow said, was “firmly resolved to prosecute the war to a victorious conclusion.” It was July 10, 1940. “I was grateful to H.E. the Viceroy for forwarding my offer to His Majesty’s Government,” Gandhi replied, in Harijan. “No doubt the determination is natural and worthy of the best British tradition. Nevertheless the awful slaughter that the determination involves should induce a search for a better and braver way to achieve the end.”
Churchill was the chief obstacle,
After an air raid, Edward R. Murrow went around to watch buildings burn in a working-class district of London. With him was a bomber pilot who’d flown twenty-five missions over
“I’ve seen enough of this,” said the bomber pilot. “I hope we haven’t been doing the same thing in the Ruhr and
Admiral Richardson, commander of the
The Japan Advertiser carried an editorial about
The sixteenth annual Conference on the Cause and Cure of War was not held that January. It was canceled for lack of funds.
The New York Times published an editorial that tried to soften slightly Churchill’s speech of the day before: “This is no sadistic desire for revenge manifesting itself; it is rather a sincere conviction that bombing
Vera Brittain lay in bed at twilight, listening to the British bombers flying out to sea. It took an hour for the sound to pass. “How many children in
Herbert Hoover gave a speech on the radio. There were about forty million children in the German-invaded democracies, he said, and the blockade was killing them: “Their pleas for food ascend hourly to the free democracies of the west.” It was October 19, 1941.
“Is the Allied cause any further advanced today as a consequence of this starvation of children?”
President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill condemned the killing of French hostages. It was October 25, 1941. “Civilized peoples long ago adopted the basic principle that no man should be punished for the deed of another,”
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Review: Human Smoke
By Nicholson Baker
The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization
“Mohandas K. Gandhi was arrested for sedition. He had written an article that began: “How can there be any compromise whilst the British Lion continues to shake his gory claws in our faces?” It was March 10, 1922.
That Sunday, John Haynes Holmes, a pacifist preacher, gave a sermon in the Lyric Theater in
Gandhi gave a statement at his trial. “I am endeavoring to show to my countrymen that violent non-cooperation only multiplies evil and that as evil can only be sustained by violence, withdrawal of support of evil requires complete abstention from violence,” he said. He would, he told the court, cheerfully submit to the highest penalty for his crime.
He was sentenced to a term of six years in jail.
The French arms company Schneider had recently sold four hundred tanks to Hitler’s
McGowan was asked about the sales of arms to opposing nations – to
The company broke ground on a new mustard-gas factory in
Oswald Garrison Villard, an editor of The Nation, wrote that great armaments were the road to fascism. “They bring with them increased worship of the State, increased nationalism, increased State service, and therefore play into the hands of those like Hitler and Mussolini who declare that the citizen is made for the state and not the State for the citizen,” he said. It was July 2, 1938.
Bishop Bell asked for more liberal immigration policies in
On July 30, 1938, the German consul of
Lockheed stopped selling airplanes to
Milton Mayer, assistant to the president of the
All of Mayer’s onetime peace-pledging friends had now become eager interventionists, he said; Mayer, on the other hand, had not. “I make my decision to oppose this war, to oppose it now and when America enters it,” he said, “and I make that decision despite my horror of ‘the Berchtesgaden maniac’ and my disinclination to set myself up as a martyr to my ideals.”
Who was this Hitler, anyway? Mayer asked.
“A man, like the rest of us, capable, like the rest of us, of acting like a man; but a man brutalized, as the rest of us may be, by war and the poverty of war and the animal degradation of war – a man, in short, behaving like an animal.”
It wasn’t Hitler we had to fight, but fascism, and we couldn’t fight fascism by acting like animals – we could fight it only by trying to stay human. “War is at once the essence and apotheosis, the beginning and the triumph, of Fascism,” Mayer wrote. “I take myself to be an ordinary man, and I wonder what will happen to my humanity when I am hired, as Swift puts it, to kill in cold blood as many of my own species, who have never offended me, as I possibly can.”
Mayer remembered what President Wilson had said: We have no quarrel with the German people, “But it was the German people whom we shot,” Mayer said, “and the forces with whom we really had a quarrel grew and festered, and festered and grew, until they flowered into Hitlerism. And now we’re asked to shoot the German people again.”
Mayer said: “I can’t get it out of my head that if Hitler menaces
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Here is my letter:
Tonight I went to UNCA to hear a panel on "Who will speak for the innocent?" They mostly focused on what has recently happened in Gaza, with some mention of Rwanda and Palestine (in 1948). A lot of talk was on the lack of access to human rights redress via courts or law - it just does not exist. The UN and ICC are not effective at enforcing the law, which means the law might as well not exist. There was some talk of the BBC ban on an aid appeal for Gaza.
I want to see an end to these useless wars. We are not getting anywhere
in Afghanistan, unless getting people to hate you forever is "getting
We have invaded and destroyed Iraq. And that was after not one bullet,
not one bomb, not one rocket, not one missile was fired on the US from
Iraq. IT WAS AND WILL ALWAYS BE A WAR CRIME.
And while the people who planned the 9/11 attacks might have been in
Afghanistan at one point, they have moved on. And if you keep bombing
Pakistan, they will move again.
Isn't it time to come up with a better plan?
I spoke at one point about how no one was talking about Iraq and our massive human rights abuses there. With Gaza, Israel did at least have rockets fired at them. Not one bullet, not one rocket, not one missile, not one bomb, was fired from Iraq on the USA prior to our military entering their country. It was a war of aggression, a war crime, from the first Iraqi killed..... until today, where the US troops are still killing Iraqis.
Maybe there would be some respect for human rights if we started by prosecuting ourselves and our politicians.
Someone commented after me that we have indeed suffered from our illegal war of aggression on Iraq. That is true, but the level of our suffering is truly insignificant.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Shortly before his second deployment to Iraq, Casey became a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and helped found its Fort Hood chapter. For Casey, the decision to join the anti-war group was natural. As he experienced the plight of the Iraqi people and the injury and loss of friends who served, his opposition and activism grew into an all out personal mission. Casey has taken his misfortune as a "stop-loss" soldier and turned it into an opportunity to make a difference in how the occupation of Iraq is perceived by Americans. Unwittingly, he is humble about his activism. While discussing his films, Casey says, "most importantly, this is not about me at all, but the soldiers around me and those who continue to deploy year after year. This has been, and will always be about them."To watch his films, What War Looks Like (not on You Tube) and Deconstructed (see below), one cannot help but feel an intimate connection to the reality in Iraq. Images of dead bodies, blown-out Humvees, and services for soldiers who have lost their lives challenge the myths, sound bites, talking points, and infotainment created by politicians and media pundits.Here is the video:
Sunday, February 08, 2009
And on February 2, a shoe was thrown at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao when he spoke at
I think this shoe throwing business is catching on. Photo is from the rally in Charlotte in January 2009. No shoe throwing there.
Photo: A Palestinian woman searches for her belongings inside her destroyed house after an Israeli air strike near the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip February 7, 2009. Israeli aircraft fired several missiles in the Gaza Strip on Friday after two rockets fired from the Hamas-controlled territory landed in Israel, none of the attacks causing any injuries. An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the air strikes but gave no further details. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa (GAZA)
REUTERS/IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA
So, a couple more rockets into
- we know who is firing the Israeli missiles, and don’t know who is firing from (see below)
- Israeli missiles do a heck of a lot of damage (see above), not so for the missiles from
However, an Israeli security official acquitted Hamas of responsibility for the most recent attacks. "Our intelligence says it's not them," he said. Instead, other groups, notably Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees and fighters linked to the supposedly moderate Fatah movement are thought to have launched these strikes.
Israeli officials disagree over whether Hamas, which still controls
's government, is capable of stopping the attacks. Another senior official said that at present, with its organisation shattered by Gaza 's offensive, Hamas was probably unable to prevent other groups from firing rockets. Israel
But the question is: WHAT other groups? US-funded and backed Fatah? Israeli black ops? Who knows?
Only thing we know for sure is that this shooting off missiles and using violence to get what you want is getting nowhere fast.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
This picture came from Professor Marc Herold's website, which is called The Afghan Victim Memorial.
It appears that more Afghan civilians were killed in January by the Obama administration than the Bush administration. This was reported by RAWA, based on media reports and Professor Herold's work.
"Bombing on tribes Obama's first gift to Pakistan" is the message. They really try hard to communicate with us in English, and we just ignore them totally. This is true in Iraq also.
And it looks like bombing is Obama's first gift to Afghanistan, too, it appears. This does not bode well.
I am posting this on my blog, per the request of Jewish Peace News to get this information out to the general public.
To the Editors:
Your readers may be interested in the following statement by Daniel Barenboim and the list of those who have supported it.
For the last forty years, history has proven that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict cannot be settled by force. Every effort, every possible means and resource of imagination and reflection should now be brought into play to find a new way forward. A new initiative which allays fear and suffering, acknowledges the injustice done, and leads to the security of Israelis and Palestinians alike. An initiative which demands of all sides a common responsibility: to ensure equal rights and dignity to both peoples, and to ensure the right of each person to transcend the past and aspire to a future.
Adonis, Etel Adnan, Alaa el Aswany, Dia Azzawi, Agnès B., Ted Bafaloukos, Russell Banks, Tahar Ben Jelloun, John Berger, Berlin Philharmonic, Bernardo Bertolucci, François Bayle, Idil Biret, Christian Boltanski, Pierre Boulez, Jacques Bouveresse, Alfred Brendel, Peter Brook, Adam Brooks, Carole Bouquet, Daniel Buren, Ellen Burstyn, Huguette Caland, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Carmen Castillo, Patrice Chéreau, William Christie, Paulo Coelho, J.M. Coetzee, Roger Corman, Jean Daniel, Régis Debray, Robert Delpire, Jonathan Demme, Plácido Domingo, Umberto Eco, Elliott Erwitt, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Rupert Everett, Michel Faber, Carlo and Inge Feltrinelli, Ralph Fiennes, Filarmonica della Scala, Jodie Foster, Eytan Fox, Fab 5 Freddy, Bella Freud, Martine Franck, Mary Frank, Eduardo Galeano, Jean-Luc Godard, Richard Gere, Gamal Ghitany, Amos Gitai, Edouard Glissant, Jean-Paul Goude, Nadine Gordimer, Günter Grass, Jürgen Habermas, Michael Haneke, Donald Harrison, Milton Hatoum, Sheila Hicks, Bill Irwin, Steven Isserlis, Philippe Jaccottet, Elfriede Jelinek, Samih al-Kassem, Naomi Kawase, Ya¸sar Kemal, Rachid Khalidi, Edouard Al-Kharrat, Michel Khleifi, Gérard D. Khoury, Abbas Kiarostami, Stephen King, William Klein, Abdellatif Laâbi, Jacques Leibowitch, Jemia and J.M.G. Le Clézio, Stéphane Lissner, Radu Lupu, Yo-Yo Ma, Amin Maalouf, Claudio Magris, Issa Makhlouf, Florence Malraux, Henning Mankell, James McBride, John Maybury, Zubin Mehta, Waltraud Meier, Annette Messager, Duane Michaels, Anne-Marie Miéville, Marc Minkowski, Thomas Mitchell, Ariane Mnouchkine, Sarah Moon, Edgar Morin, Jacques Monory, Fernando Morais, Jeanne Moreau, Georges Moustaki, Oscar Niemeyer, Jean Nouvel, Kenzaburo Oe, Orhan Pamuk, Clare Peploe, Michel Piccoli, Maurizio Pollini, Christian de Portzamparc, Simon Rattle, Alain Resnais, Claudia Roden, Arundhati Roy, Moustapha Safouan, Walter Salles, Susan Sarandon, Fazil Say, Elif Şafak, George Semprun, Hanan Al-Shaykh, Pierre Soulages, Wole Soyinka, Ousmane Sow, Staatskapelle Berlin, Salah Stétié, Juliet Stevenson, Meryl Streep, Elia Suleiman, Peter Suschitzky, Tilda Swinton, Sam Szafran, Zeynep Tanbay, Uma Thurman, Desmond Tutu, Shirley and Charlie Watts, Abdo Wazen, Jacques Weber, Wim Wenders, Debra Winger, Daniel Wolff, Neil Young
Thursday, February 05, 2009
"What no one seemed to notice. . . was the ever widening gap. . .between the government and the people. . . And it became always wider. . . the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway . . . (it) gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about . . .and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated . .. by the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. . .
Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,' that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'. . . must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. . . .Each act. . . is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.
You don't want to act, or even talk, alone. . . you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' . . .But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. . . .You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father. . . could never have imagined."
From Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955)
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Steve Earle – Just an American Boy album
Steve Earle, Jerusalem Lyrics
I woke up this mornin' and none of the news was good
And death machines were rumblin' 'cross the ground where Jesus stood
And the man on my TV told me that it had always been that way
And there was nothin' anyone could do or say
And I almost listened to him
Yeah, I almost lost my mind
Then I regained my senses again
And looked into my heart to find
That I believe that one fine day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem
Well maybe I'm only dreamin' and maybe I'm just a fool
But I don't remember learnin' how to hate in Sunday school
But somewhere along the way I strayed and I never looked back again
But I still find some comfort now and then
Then the storm comes rumblin' in
And I can't lay me down
And the drums are drummin' again
And I can't stand the sound
But I believe there'll come a day when the lion and the lamb
Will lie down in peace together in Jerusalem
And there'll be no barricades then
There'll be no wire or walls
And we can wash all this blood from our hands
And all this hatred from our souls
And I believe that on that day all the children of Abraham
Will lay down their swords forever in Jerusalem
Monday, February 02, 2009
The meeting started with several NC Democratic Party candidates making a pitch to the group and fielding questions. David Young, who is running to be state chair, was questioned about the possibility of Shuler running for US Senate. Mr. Young did not think that was going to happen. Mr. Young said that he supports collective bargaining for state employees as it is part of the NC Democratic Party platform. He also said that he would do a nation-wide search for executive director and that the treasurer would post finances of the party on line.
Kevin Smith is running for 3rd Vice Chair. He wants to focus on transparency in the party operations, especially in financial operations. He proposed putting the budget on line (making it password protected) and asking for input. He wants to see the Party HQs in every rural county, and he supports Delmus Parker’s principles.
Tony McEwen is also running for 3rd Vice Chair. He announced after the endorsements were made by Progressive Democrats of NC Executive Committee. He said that he is involved in environmental groups and worked for Representative Watts.
The candidates for NC Democratic Party offices left and the meeting was started officially. There were about two dozen in attendance.
Heiderose Kober, President, presided over the meeting. The first order of business was announcing the PDNC Executive Committee endorsement of Delmas Parker for 2nd Vice Chair and Kevin Smith for 3rd Vice Chair. These endorsements were presented to the meeting, voted on, and passed unanimously. A vote was taken about the possibility of endorsing for the Chair, and the group decided not to endorse for Chair. There was a discussion on Stella Adams, who is running for 1st Vice Chair, and the group voted to endorse Stella Adams.
Resolution to endorse Delmas Parker’s Principles was deferred to new business.
Resolution to support HK on J was passed (listed below), and the information about the event and the 14 points will be distributed to the SEC membership.
Next item of business was to elect someone for Treasurer to fill the vacancy in that position. Nick Divitci was nominated by the Executive Committee and he was voted into office. Another item of business was to make the position of PDA State Representative a part of the PDNC Executive Board. This would require a change of the bylaws. This was passed, and the bylaws will now read:
Article IX. Executive Committee
Section 1. Composition
There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of all Chapter representatives, the officers of the organization, the Immediate Past President, and the PDA State Representative for NC. The Executive Board shall act on behalf of the membership and the organization between Annual Meetings.
Under new business, we discussed and endorsed Delmas Parker’s Principles in Building the NC Democratic Party (listed below). There was discussion on changing the name of the “Vance-Aycock” dinner to the “Vance-Doughton” dinner. It was felt that we did not know enough about Doughton to make this recommendation, so a resolution will be presented to the SEC meeting to change the name of the “Vance-Aycock” dinner and to consider “Doughton” as a possible replacement. (These resolutions did not get discussed and voted on at the SEC meeting because we lost a quorum.)
There was also a discussion about putting a progressive in a Secretary of the NC Democratic Party. Meeting ended and all went to the State Executive Committee meeting.
Resolution in Support of the NC NAACP’s H-K on J (Historic Thousands on Jones St.) Rally and March on Saturday, February14, 2009
Whereas, the NC NAACP is this year celebrating its 100th anniversary of fighting for the rights of the African Americans, low income people, and other victims of discrimination in our state, and, in so doing, exemplifies the goals of the NC Democratic Party; and
Whereas, the NC NAACP and its over 80 partner organization are organizing the third annual H K on J rally and march on February 14th in Raleigh to bring the 14 points of the People’s Agenda again before the state and the legislature and to step up pressure for their enactment;
Therefore be it resolved that the North Carolina Democratic Party strongly endorses the H K on J rally and march again this year and will communicate such to its members and elected officials and strongly urge them to attend.
Resolution in Support of Nine Principles in Building the
Whereas, we embark on our greatest challenge and opportunity in living memory--both as a party and as a country--and need to build a Party that serves all people and cultivates a sense that individual politics do count and every vote does matter; and
Whereas, the platform and resolutions adopted by the North Carolina Democratic Party are evidence that the Democratic Party still best addresses the life concerns of ordinary people and that our professed values and ideas speak to the problems and needs of working families from all walks of life across the state; and
Whereas, the North Carolina Democratic Party--while working closely with executive or legislative office holders--needs to remain independent and be transparent, accessible and accountable to its grassroots base.
Therefore, be it resolved that the State Executive Committee of the Democratic Party supports the following principles:
To build the party from the precinct up, allowing issues to percolate from the local precincts to the county, district, and State Executive Committees where decision and prioritization can be reached, and a legislative action agenda formed representing the rank and file, the grassroots membership, of the Democratic Party; andTo place greater emphasis on grassroots, small donor contributions, and use internet opportunities to augment fundraising, putting procedures and internal controls in place to insure an open and transparent audit of the budget including contributions and expenditures with a detailed analysis provided on-line for grassroots membership; and
To tie the party together statewide through the interface between technology and grassroots activism, to employ sophisticated internet techniques to recruit volunteers and raise funds, and to poll activists and voters so that we may better respond to their ideas and needs; and
To tap into the energy of issue groups, including peace, environmental, reform groups, as well as people of color, to form broad electoral coalitions; and
To organize a task force in each of the three regions--an umbrella organization modeled on the Western Task Force--to bind together, under the direction of regional political directors, and the County parties in our western, central and eastern regions with a common agenda and unified effort. Each region best understands local needs and can best design programs to address those local needs. Each region would be autonomous in designing a regional program for effective political action. District directors will report to task force chairs, and will be funded through tax check off funds; and
To revise and amend the Plan of Organization to better link our party's platform and resolutions to action by Democratic legislators; and
To provide for virtual State Executive Committee meetings and conventions in each of the state's regions by using distance learning links at selected community college sites in the eastern, central, and western regions; and
To share revenues with county parties through the tax check-off committee based on an accountability formula in each county such as voter turnout, performance or voter registration; and
To develop more democratic institutions at every level of our election process -- starting with campaign finance reform.
Photo: Jerry Meek at the podium, just before the election of a new Party Chair. I am sorry to see Jerry Meek go - he did great things for the Democratic Party, and he was totally supported by the progressives when he ran for office and while he was Chair.