Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Hamas has gotten the right-wing fractions in Gaza to cease with the rocket launchings into Israel. This agreement is supposed to hold – unless Israel launches an invasion into Gaza. There are many factions in Gaza that are not under the control of Hamas, and they are often the ones doing the rocket launches.
Israel ignores this development
Hamas announced on Saturday it reached an agreement with other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip to only fire rockets against Israeli targets in response to any future Israeli military incursion into the coastal enclave. Just hours after the Hamas statement, Israel responded to a rocket attack fired from Gaza earlier on Saturday. Israeli aircraft targeted what the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said were two weapons-making facilities in northern and central Gaza and one smuggling tunnel under the border between Gaza and Egypt.
And so it goes…….
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Zekerullah, a 13 year Afghan youth peace volunteer who is taking part in the peace vigils at Bamiyan Peace Park, is learning to walk that 2nd mile for love.
Love speaks the truth with gentleness, calling corruption corruption, not a budding democracy.
Love will not nurture greed in Afghan robes or international suits.
Love walks 2 hours in the mud to earn a decent penny though it is aware that, by economic design, money and power are not with those who walk.
Love deliberately asks ‘Does Zekerullah deserve a decent livelihood as much as I do?’
Love waits eagerly for peace and justice, even if, by ‘fateful neglect’, it is un-noticed and un-rewarded.
Love knows that killing in whatever name, even in the name of ‘Overseas Contingency Operations’, is killing. Killing removes life and love; we are not able to justify to Zekerullah that killing is a civil response for our ‘contingencies’.
Love recognizes that war is not peace, whatever its prize.
Love empathizes with soldiers and victims who suffer post-traumatic stress, knowing that it is an ORDER of human conscience that can guide Mankind to wholeness, pleading ‘Enough. Please stop!’
And after we hunt them down, they said the drug traffickers will be killed or captured.
Fifty Afghans believed to be drug traffickers with ties to the Taliban have been placed on a Pentagon target list to be captured or killed, reflecting a major shift in American counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan, according to a Congressional study to be released this week.
No arrest. No trial. No judge. No jury. No evidence. Just the death penalty, instantly executed. Just US run assassination teams.
Now the Afghan warlords – who are heavy into the drug trafficking in
Monday, November 23, 2009
U.S. defense spending in coming years must rise roughly 6 percent on average from the record sum sought by President Barack Obama this year just to meet current plans, Congress's budget office said Wednesday. An average of $567 billion would be needed annually, in constant 2010 dollars, from 2011 to 2028, not including any war funding, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated. This is about 6 percent more than the bumper $534 billion requested in the base fiscal 2010 Defense Department budget, Matthew Goldberg, CBO's acting assistant director, told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.
Seems to me that we could do better things with our money than throw it away on evil shit like this.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Today, I went to Fort Benning and joined in the protest against the SOA and the military madness that is evident in the USA. I signed postcards for various actions - against military escalation in Afghanistan, US policies towards Israel, and the Barrier Wall in the West Bank. I will be bringing some of these postcards back to Asheville. I hope to have a showing of the movie about Jimmy Massey, who used to be a local in WNC.
...If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
- From "Dulce et Decorum est" (It is Sweet and Right to Die for Your Country) by British Army Lt. Wilfred Owen, killed a week before the 1918 Armistice.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Fury said to a mouse,
That he met in the
house, 'Let us
both go to law:
I will prosecute
you.-- Come, I'll
take no denial;
We must have
a trial: For
nothing to do.'
Said the mouse
to the cur,
'Such a trial,
dear Sir, With
no jury or
- by Lewis Carroll
Monday, November 16, 2009
"The point of public relations slogans like "Support our troops" is that they don't mean anything... That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: Do you support our policy? That's the one you're not allowed to talk about."Above statement by Noam Chomsky.
I think the statues and memorials built to honor the veterans are really there to promote war. The very same people who put them up do not seem to want to do a thing for the living veterans who need help.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I thought I had finished up my series on WHAT WAR BRINGS to civilians, but I clearly missed at least one issue: birth defects. There has been stories about US troops coming home from combat and having a high rate of birth defects in their offspring, and I don’t know if that has been firmly established as an after-effect of war. There has also been stories about Vietnamese babies having a high rate of birth defects in areas that were treated with Agent Orange.
But today I read a report from the Independent (UK) about the extraordinary rise in birth defects and infant mortality in
In September this year, say campaigners, 170 children were born at
This tells us two things right off:
- The birth rate at this hospital has gone way down. This may be because lots of local folks moved away (I know I would have, if I could), or there is a better hospital close by or that there is a fertility problem. The article does not make this clear.
- The rate of physical deformities and infant mortality has skyrocketed.
What it does not tell us is WHY this is happening, but we all know about the major event that happened in Fallujah between 2002 and 2009, and that was two major military offenses, the second one pretty much destroying the city.
The data was collected by British and Iraqi doctors, and people working for the UN. They suspect either white phosphorus or depleted uranium.
"We are seeing a very significant increase in central nervous system anomalies... There is also a very marked increase in the number of cases of brain tumours."
This is a short article, and there is not a lot of information yet…. But it is coming out in bits and pieces that
Cancer sufferers in the
I wonder how many of the anti-abortion folks in the
If you support the continued occupation of
Report from Al Jazeera
Saturday, November 14, 2009
…And you yourself would mutter when
You took the things that once were men,
And sped them through that zone of hate
To where the dripping surgeons wait;
And wonder too if in God's sight
War ever, ever can be right.
– From “Foreword” by British ambulance driver, Robert Service
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
One of the more horrific tragedies of the
During those years of extreme violence, the morgue in
Today, Iraqis are going to the morgue to try to identify their loved ones. According to this article, there are 22,000 unidentified graves in the cemetery in Najaf.
Thousands of Iraqis disappeared during those years of chaos, either kidnapped for ransom or killed in sectarian warfare. People were snatched from buses, stores and fake checkpoints, often in broad daylight. Dozens of bullet-riddled bodies were found on the streets and in the river every day, lacking any identification because their documents were taken as trophies.
On top of the 22,000 buried in Najaf, other mass graves are being discovered in
Before the invasion of Iraq, members of the Bush administration talked about Saddam’s mass graves, even though these same people did not give a rat’s ass about these same mass graves when they were being created (due to the fact that Saddam was their friend at that time).
And there were mass graves from the Saddam era uncovered. One in Hilla had 3,000 bodies in it, and there was another one that had 5,000 Kurds in it. The Kurdish mass grave was uncovered and the bodies taken up to northern
But in the end, Bush made more mass graves in
And today, Iraqis are coming down with cancer at an alarming rate. The number of Iraqis with cancer in the southern part of
Meanwhile, most Americans remain totally unaware of the evil that they have allowed to be done in their names.
Photo: In this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009, gravedigger Ali Zayer-Daham is seen in the unidentified bodies section of the cemetery in the Shiite holy city of
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
I am not sure that the recent legislation passed by the US House of Representatives is going to be helpful for Americans. I suspect it will not be - since AARP, a large insurance company for seniors, and the AMA - support it. I know it was bad news for women that health care coverage for them was stripped from the bill.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Congressman Dennis Kucinich after voting against H.R. 3962 addresses why he voted NO, stating:
"We have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within the current structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance companies for being what they are. But we can fault legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation, indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays and deductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system."
"Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. They are driving up the cost of health care. Because their massive bureaucracy avoids paying bills so effectively, they force hospitals and doctors to hire their own bureaucracy to fight the insurance companies to avoid getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills. The result is that since 1970, the number of physicians has increased by less than 200% while the number of administrators has increased by 3000%. It is no wonder that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes to administrative costs, not toward providing care. Even those with insurance are at risk. The single biggest cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. is health insurance policies that do not cover you when you get sick."
"But instead of working toward the elimination of for-profit insurance, H.R. 3962 would put the government in the role of accelerating the privatization of health care. In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue, much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies - a bailout under a blue cross."
"By incurring only a new requirement to cover pre-existing conditions, a weakened public option, and a few other important but limited concessions, the health insurance companies are getting quite a deal. The Center for American Progress' blog, Think Progress, states, 'since the President signaled that he is backing away from the public option, health insurance stocks have been on the rise.' Similarly, healthcare stocks rallied when Senator Max Baucus introduced a bill without a public option. Bloomberg reports that Curtis Lane, a prominent health industry investor, predicted a few weeks ago that 'money will start flowing in again' to health insurance stocks after passage of the legislation. Investors.com last month reported that pharmacy benefit managers share prices are hitting all-time highs, with the only industry worry that the Administration would reverse its decision not to negotiate Medicare Part D drug prices, leaving in place a Bush Administration policy."
"During the debate, when the interests of insurance companies would have been effectively challenged, that challenge was turned back. The 'robust public option' which would have offered a modicum of competition to a monopolistic industry was whittled down from an initial potential enrollment of 129 million Americans to 6 million. An amendment which would have protected the rights of states to pursue single-payer health care was stripped from the bill at the request of the Administration. Looking ahead, we cringe at the prospect of even greater favors for insurance companies."
"Recent rises in unemployment indicate a widening separation between the finance economy and the real economy. The finance economy considers the health of Wall Street, rising corporate profits, and banks' hoarding of cash, much of it from taxpayers, as sign of an economic recovery. However in the real economy - in which most Americans live - the recession is not over. Rising unemployment, business failures, bankruptcies and foreclosures are still hammering Main Street."
"This health care bill continues the redistribution of wealth to Wall Street at the expense of America's manufacturing and service economies which suffer from costs other countries do not have to bear, especially the cost of health care. America continues to stand out among all industrialized nations for its privatized health care system. As a result, we are less competitive in steel, automotive, aerospace and shipping while other countries subsidize their exports in these areas through socializing the cost of health care."
"Notwithstanding the fate of H.R. 3962, America will someday come to recognize the broad social and economic benefits of a not-for-profit, single-payer health care system, which is good for the American people and good for America's businesses, with of course the notable exceptions being insurance and pharmaceuticals."
Friday, November 06, 2009
This was little noted by the corporate press, but dozens of people were arrested in front of the White House while protesting the Obama war policies. Here is a video of that event on 4-29-09:
+conservative about money and budgets (don't spend what you don't have)
+conservative about foreign policy - we should tread very careful on other people's land, never ever start up a war and stop handing so damn much money to other countries to buy weapons. We also need to stop arming, funding and training foreigners who are up to no good - but then, we would have to stop our foreign policy of furthering the interests of multi-national corporations.
+conservative about energy - don't waste it and always keep in mind that it is going to run out one day
+conservative about what the government should be involved with -- and they have NO damn business in what consenting adults do in their homes or their doctor's offices!
+conservative in making changes - it often seems that some folks want change just for change's sake
But then it comes to taking care of one another and providing for the common good, and I am a died-in-wool socialist.
The funny part is this - I have been self-sufficient since I was 17 years old, never took a nickle from anyone to go to college or buy what I needed (except for home mortgage, which was paid off in 8 years)...... and I expect I will be self-sufficient until the day I die.
But I still feel that we should help one another out when that is needed. And we should never start up a war or do immoral and illegal actions under the US government banner.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Kucinich: Truth, Human Dignity and the Goldstone Report
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today made the following statement on the House Floor about H. Res 867, which condemns the ‘Goldstone Report’ or the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict:
“Today we journey from Operation Cast Lead to Operation Cast Doubt. Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist.
“Because behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity, the annihilation of the human spirit, the triumph of Orwellian thinking, the eternal prison of the dark heart of the totalitarian.
“The resolution before us today, which would reject all attempts of the Goldstone Report to fix responsibility of all parties to war crimes, including both Hamas and
“Because if this Congress votes to condemn a report it has not read, concerning events it has totally ignored, about violations of law of which it is unaware, it will have brought shame to this great institution.
“How can we ever expect there to be peace in the
“How can we protect the people of Israel from existential threats if we hold no concern for the protection of the Palestinians, for their physical security, their right to land, their right to their own homes, their right to water, their right to sustenance, their right to freedom of movement, their right to the human security of jobs, education and health care?
“We will have peace only when the plight of both Palestinians and Israelis is brought before this House and given equal consideration in recognition of that principle that all people on this planet have a right to survive and thrive, and it is our responsibility, our duty to see that no individual, no group, no people are barred from this humble human claim.”
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
The September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows recently sent this email message:
It is with great pleasure that Peaceful Tomorrows is contacting everyone who worked with us last year on our La'Onf campaign to announce that La'Onf is the winner of the 2009 Pfeffer Peace Prize awarded by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) -
FOR will be inviting a member of La'Onf to come to
We need to raise funds to make this possible. Please donate as generously as you can to bring members of La'Onf to the