Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Aid to Gaza

A boat carrying Jewish activists from Israel, Europe and the United States set sail on Sunday from Cyprus bound for Gaza, in a bid to run Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territory.

The "Irene" left the port of Famagusta in the Turkish-held north of the divided eastern Mediterranean island in the early afternoon carrying eight activists, three of them crew members, and two journalists.

Reuven Moskovitz, an 82-year-old passenger who survived the Nazi Holocaust, told AFP he felt duty-bound to attempt the voyage in the small blue and white sailing boat, a trip expected to take around 36 hours.

"It is a sacred duty for me, as a survivor, to protest against the persecution, the oppression and the imprisonment of so many people in Gaza, including more than 800,000 children," Moskovitz said.

Yonatan Shapira, an Israeli former military pilot and crew member on the British-flagged sailing boat, said they were not seeking confrontation.   "We have a policy of non-violence and non-confrontation," he said.
The rest of the story here.

Well, today we heard that the Israeli Defense Forces raided the ship and did not allow them to go to Gaza.  

Israel Stops Jewish Activists From Entering Gaza

Well, at least there was no violence this time and the humanitarian aid workers were not killed.

This is not what happened in May 2010.

The report of the fact-finding mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla released last week shows conclusively, for the first time, that US citizen Furkan Dogan and five Turkish citizens were murdered execution-style by Israeli commandos.

The report reveals that Dogan, the 19-year-old US citizen of Turkish descent, was filming with a small video camera on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara when he was shot twice in the head, once in the back and in the left leg and foot and that he was shot in the face at point blank range while lying on the ground.

The report says Dogan had apparently been "lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time" before being shot in his face.

Very, very sad that this young man, that he was killed for such evil reasons.  My sympathies to his family.  And my disgust to the US government for not acting in defense of an American citizen for this crime.  He was just a child, really.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Peace activists in Afghanistan

Dear friends of love,
We wish to thank you for being our friends, in particular, those of you who tried so hard to contact us on International Peace Day 21st of September, strengthening us with tears and songs in our predicament. We were deeply touched by your solidarity from as many as 20 different countries of origin.

Forgive us if you couldn’t connect for our failure to overcome ‘technology’ and know that our longing to connect will not diminish.

We are human beings yearning for love’s concrete practice above a decent piece of bread. And if this love of ours, held up by you, is perceived as 'weak' or 'naive', so be it. We know this love cannot be dismissed. It is the most resolute resistance we can harness, so please stay with our shared power as we ask together, "Why not love?"

We are working to put together a THANK YOU collection of these conversations, because we yearn for this love to grow so wide, we'll finally see the natural woods healing the thorns.

Meanwhile, we ordinary Afghans watch with foreboding as the international forces announce their mythical Operation Dragon Strike on Qandahar.
As if killing was pragmatic.
As if dragons were real.
We are not dragons or beasts.
No man shall ram the towers of yesterday and escape the falling stones. No one shall open the floodgates of his ancestors without drowning. Kahlil Gibran
Love and peace,
Hakim and the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers

[This was an email they sent out the other day.  It sickens me that such young, smiling faces have to worry about violence from foreign troops inside their country.  This war must end.]

Sunday, September 26, 2010

International Day of Peace in Asheville

 From the back of the rally, a bit after it got started.

 Representatives of several religions - including Pagans and atheists - spoke at the rally.

 More of the speakers at the rally.

 A women's singing group led some songs.

 The local girl scouts who put in the original "Peace Pole" were on hand to plant some mums near the ending of the rally.

A banner made in honor of the UN International Day of Peace, which is September 21st of every year.  This rally was a celebration of peace, and a prayer for peace.  It was held at City-County Plaza at 6:30 PM on Tuesday, September 21, 2010.  It included the release of white doves and the placing of stones by attendees by the Peace Pole at the end of the ceremony.

The local paper had a good write up, and they have some more pictures too.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Only one week to go.....

On Saturday, October 2, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to gather in Washington, DC to march for "good jobs, equal justice and quality education for all."

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is proud to endorse "The Peace Table," the peace and anti-war voice of the "One Nation Working Together" march.

We'll be there to support demands for jobs and economic justice by calling for the United States to end $30 billion in military aid to Israel and redirect that money to unmet needs here at home.

We'll have signs, banners, fliers, and petitions, but we need you and your organization to help us organize and make the demand for ending U.S. military aid to Israel front and center at this year's most important Washington, DC peace and justice rally!

The above came in an email from "US Campaign to end the Israeli occupation".  Only one more week to ONE NATION WORKING TOGETHER.

"Nothing brings the community together like state oppression"

This is a worthwhile video of the meeting the Twin City activists after the FBI raids.  Colleen Rowley is one of the speakers.

FBI raids on activists

A young man that I know - who lives in the eastern part of North Carolina - was questioned by four FBI agents today.  That young man is a smart and gentle person, and very active in human rights issues, especially concerning Columbia.   He was, at one time, a member of SDS at UNCA.  Here is a statement from SDS in Milwaukee.
*Students for a Democratic Society Speaks Out Against FBI Raids*

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters across the country in the face of FBI repression of progressive causes. SDSers, along with members of the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera had their homes searched and documents and electronic devices seized.

"The government hopes to use a grand jury to frame up activists. The goal of these raids is to harass and try to intimidate the movement against U.S. wars and occupations, and those who oppose U.S. support for repressive regimes," said Colombia solidarity activist Tom Burke, one of those handed a subpoena by the FBI. "They are designed to suppress dissent and free speech, to divide the peace movement, and to pave the way for more U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and Latin America."

Grace Kelley, an SDSer from the University of Minnesota, said “SDS at the U of M condemns the terror tactics used by the FBI to silence activists who organize against wars and for peace here in Minneapolis as well as across the nation. Tracy Molm from SDS at U of M was one of the activists whose house was raided. SDSers across the country need to stand up and condemn these raids and say that we will not be scared into silence, that we will continue to stand up and fight for what’s right”.

Several activists in Minnesota and Chicago have had papers, CDs, and cell phones stolen among other items; as well as being issued subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury. The FBI are apparently looking for evidence linking activists to "material support of terrorism" specifically liberation struggles in Colombia and Palestine. In addition to SDSers being harassed in Minneapolis, two SDSers in Milwaukee were also contacted by the FBI about their anti-war activism.

The activists involved have done nothing wrong and are refusing to be pulled into conversations with the FBI about their political views or organizing against war and occupation. No arrests have been made – make no mistake, this is a fishing expedition by the FBI.

We urge all progressive activists to show solidarity with those individuals targeted by the U.S. Government. Activists have the right not to speak with the FBI and are encouraged to politely refuse - just say “No”.

Show your support! Organize solidarity actions in your city demanding that the FBI halt all searches and seizures against progressive activists who have done nothing wrong. Contact your local media and let them know that we will not tolerate this kind of harassment from the government. And be aware – if the FBI knocks, you do not have to give out any information or answer any questions.
For more information, contact:
Grace Kelley, University of Minnesota SDS: 612.709.3424
Kas Schwerdtfeger, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee SDS: 262.893.2806

I find all of these incidents, including the seizure of property in Illinois and Wisconsin, totally unacceptable.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A presentation at the Oak Ridge Protest last summer

National Insecurity Complex Hotline: The Doctor Is In
(a play re nuclear weapons performed at the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on 7/5/2010, written by Ralph Hutchison of Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, performed at the 30th Anniversary Resistance for a Nuclear-Free Future)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Canning up summer

A few weeks back, I canned some tomatoes with a couple of friends.  I decided that I wanted to can some peaches too.  This took longer - because the skins on the peaches did not come off easily, like the tomatoes did.  But I got about half of the peaches canned, and here are the pictures.

A lot of work for three quarts of peaches!  And here are the peaches still left to be done:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From Our Journey to Smile on this International Day of Peace

Heart to heart!
I want to be your friend.
To set my small heart free.

Zekerullah and Afghan youth ask the world to reach their human hearts through Skype calls to the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers on the 21st September 2010 International Day of Peace..... If you and your friends would reach out this way, even for a minute, please email dougwmackey@gmail.com and arrange to talk with the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers!

"We will plan to be together the whole day of 21st to receive calls, for all of 24 hours from 8.00 am, ... We'd rather take your calls than join the 'officials' in paying lip service to peace...and we'd rather stay awake to hear your voices than sleep without those human connections we yearn for." Hakim and the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers

I refuse the dictation that our pain is passive, or alone.
I refuse to weep this way.

"If you should kill me unawares...
don't forget I had asked for your friendship & love."
15-year-old Afghan boy Zekerullah.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

One Nation Working Together

For Jobs, Justice and Education for All


We are One Nation, born from many, determined to build a more united America – with jobs, justice and education for all.
We are young people, frustrated that society seems willing to spend more locking up our bodies than educating our minds, yet still we find ways to succeed and shine.
We are students and newly-returned veterans – persevering in the face of mounting debt – determined not to be the first generation to end up worse off than our parents.
We are baby boomers and seniors – who saw hope killed in 1968 and will not let the dream of a united America be taken from us again.
We are conservatives and moderates, progressives and liberals, non-believers and people of deep faith, united by escalating assaults on our reason, our environment and our rights.
We are workers of every age, faith, race, sex, nationality, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation and ability – who have suffered discrimination but never stopped loving our neighbors or our nation.
We are American Indians and Alaska Natives – citizens of native nations – who maintain our cultures, protect our sovereignty and strengthen America’s economy.
We are the new immigrants, raising our children in the torchlight of the Statue of Liberty, while confronting the shadows that are bigotry and mass deportations.
We are the native born.  We inherited the divided legacies of settlers and American Indians, black slaves and white and Asian indentured servants. And yet, in this moment of shared suffering, we rejoice in newfound friendships and new alliances.
We are people who got thrown out – thrown out of our jobs, schools, houses, farms and small businesses – while Wall Street’s wrongdoers got bailed out.  We are families who pray every day – for peace and prosperity; for deliverance from foreclosures; for good jobs to come back to urban and rural America.
We are unemployed workers – forced to watch hopes for bold action dashed – because some Senators threaten filibusters and other would-be champions fold in fear.
And yet, we are the majority – fueled by hope, not hate. We have the pride, power and determination to keep ourselves – and our country – moving up and out of the valley greed created.
And most importantly – from ensuring women are treated fairly at work, to expanding health care coverage for millions – we have been victorious whenever we worked together. We have proven the only thing we need to succeed is each other.

And so, on 10-2-10, we come back together – to march.


We march for a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. We march for jobs, justice and education. We march for an economy that works for all.  We march for a nation in which each person who wants to work can find a job that pays enough to support a family.
We march to create a million new jobs right away, because the national values that got us out of the Great Depression will get us out of the Great Recession.
We march to build a world-class public education system, from pre-school to community college and beyond – because our nation must start unleashing the greatness of every child today.
We march to end racial profiling and re-segregation – from Arizona to Atlanta. We march to defend the Voting Rights Act and the 14th Amendment.  We march to advance human rights, civil rights, equal protection and dignity for all.
We march to fix the broken immigration system – because no child should live in fear that her parents will be deported.
We march to ensure every worker has a voice at work.  We march for green jobs and safe workplaces, so no worker will have to choose between her livelihood and her life.
We march for a clean environment, so no child is ever forced to decide between drinking the water or breathing the air and staying healthy.
We march to demand full equality for all women in all communities and an end to wage discrimination.
We march to move our nation beyond this moment when a handful of senators can block urgently needed progress – skewing our national budget towards tax cuts for the wealthy, unjustified military spending and prisons.
We march for peace abroad and job creation at home. We march for energy independence, public safety and public transportation because the nation we want to build most is our own.

And on 11-2-10, we will march again – into the voting booths. We will bring our families, our friends and our neighbors. And once the ballots are counted, we will keep organizing, we will hold our leaders accountable, and we will keep making our dream real.

The above came in an email from Progressive Democrats of NC. This event is in two weeks.

In the living years....

In memory of my elderly neighbor, who is having a memorial service today.  I will miss her, although I am glad I no longer have to report when I am going to be away overnight!  She was well-informed, and I am told, quite politically active when younger.  I would routinely tell her to write letters to the editors, letters to politicians, etc, to express her views.  But she never did, which was a shame because she knew what she was talking about, and would have been a good voice for peace and social justice.  But she did not say things publicly, and said that she would not even correct her friend's incorrect perceptions.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sept 11 message from Afghanistan

From Witness Against Torture


Witness Against Torture

Contact: Jeremy Varon, jvaron@aol.com; 732-979-3119  Matt Daloisio, daloisio@earthlink.net; 201-264-4424

Anti-Torture Activists Denounce the Denial of Due Process and Justice for the Victims of US Torture

September 10, 2011, New York City — Witness Against Torture, a grassroots organization dedicated to closing Guantanamo and ending US torture, condemns the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Mohamed, et. al. versus Jeppesen DataPlan, Inc. to accept the “states-secret privilege” as grounds for dismissing lawsuits brought by victims of CIA rendition and of torture – whether in CIA-run “black sites,” in countries to which they were rendered, or in Guantanamo Bay.

Witness Against Torture likewise condemns the decision of the Department of Justice under the Obama administration to adopt the position of the Bush administration that fraudulent concerns over national security should over-ride the plaintiffs’ right of due process and redress for the gross crimes committed against them.

The Ninth Circuit Court’s decision grants the United States government effective immunity for the breaking of domestic and international law.  It represents a profound violation not only of the rights of men who were kidnapped and tortured, but of also of due process and the rule of law.

“When the law itself becomes an instrument for justifying and excusing torture, the law is meaningless,” says Matt Daloisio of Witness Against Torture. “The clear message is that no one will be held to account, that torture will not be punished.”

“The Obama administration may well have reached a point of no return on a dangerous path that both exonerates and continues the criminal policies of the Bush administration,” says Jeremy Varon of Witness Against Torture. “President Obama has betrayed his campaign promises, large parts of his Party, and millions of Americans who supported him in hopes of a decisive break with the Bush administration.”

“Our hearts go out to Mr. Binyam Mohamed and the other plaintiffs in the case,” says Helen Schietinger of Witness Against Torture. “To the massive injury of rendition and torture is now added the grave insult of being denied a day in court.  This isn’t the America I know."

Witness Against Torture will continue to press for the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo and for accountability for torture.  Towards these ends, it is pursuing dialogue with high-ranking officials in the Obama Justice Department.

Witness Against Torture formed in December 2005 when twenty-five activists walked to Guantanamo to protest the detention camp.  Since then, it has engaged in public education, lobbying, community outreach, and non-violent civil disobedience. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Support of Accused WikiLeaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning

Global Action Days Announced in Support of Accused WikiLeaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning

I cannot organize anything locally and I cannot travel out of town this weekend, but I can mark it on my blog, which is what I am doing here.  I think this man, if he did actually leak the WikiLeaks video and papers, is a hero.  I am proud of him.

From United for Peace and Justice:

Supporters of Bradley Manning are calling for his immediate release and that all charges against him be dropped, regardless of which person or persons contributed to the release of the WikiLeaks documents. Filmmaker Michael Moore, who joined the Bradley Manning Support Network's Advisory Board over the weekend, stated: "Whoever is responsible for the Afghanistan leaks is a courageous patriot who should be celebrated for bringing the truth of this war to the American people. Whether or not Pfc. Bradley Manning is the leaker, he must be set free." Events and rallies have already been confirmed for New York City NY, Oakland CA, San Diego CA, Minneapolis MN, San Francisco CA, Houston TX, London UK, Fort Lewis WA (Seattle area), Columbus OH, and Quantico VA--near the Marine brig where Bradley is being is currently being held in pre-trial confinement.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ethan McCord interviewed

Remember the WikiLeaks video called Collateral Murder?  This is an interview with the soldier who pulled the children out of the van.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Letter to Representative Shuler 091310

This letter actually goes to one of his senior aides. 
I email about every week or so.


I have some more information from my readings today about Iraq and Afghanistan.

First, Amnesty International has issued a report on the conditions and torture in Iraqi prisons.  It shows that things are as bad as they were under US run prisons in Iraq and under Saddam. 

They list actions to be taken to address this horrific situation.  It basically says that it needs to be investigated and the truth needs to come out – and then we have to return to the rule of law.  And this is why I support the release of ALL the photos and videos from the time when the US military/contractors were running Iraqi prisons.  It is not because I want to see our troops/contractors/Iraqi stooges doing sado-masochist sex on children – it is because we will not return to rule of law, and neither will Iraq – without holding people accountable.

And, sadly, I would bet my last dollar that torture, rape and abuse is going on in Afghanistan prisons right now.  This type of activity always comes with foreign occupation – as does corruption.

On to Afghanistan –

This article is on how our troops are reacting to threats from the local population.  They are wary and fearful of the local population, since they are throwing grenades at them.  In other words, they are supposedly there to ‘protect’ the people, and they don’t want to even get close to them.

And aid groups are claiming that security is deteriorating in Afghanistan.  Large parts of the country now have a Taliban presence. 

“We do not support the perspective that this constitutes ‘things getting worse before they get better,’ ” said Nic Lee, director of the Afghan N.G.O. Safety Office, “but rather see it as being consistent with the five-year trend of things just getting worse.”

And, once again, we have a follow up on a US bombing run in Afghanistan where the US officials originally claimed the killed people were Taliban or insurgents, and then later investigations show that the killed people were civilians.  Or in this case, people working for an Afghan election candidate.  Gates is still claiming that there was a “terrorist” among the people killed – even while they admit that they don’t know why an Afghan election candidate would be traveling with a “terrorist”.  Further down the road, we will get reports of “OPPS!!  They were civilians” and the US military will say “SORRY” and then go out and do it again. 

It is beyond sickening.

Thanks for reading and I am going to post this information on my blog, Dancewater.

Sure hope that I live to see the US return to the rule of law and stop this aggressive war-making on other countries.  It is immoral, and it will serve no good purpose.

Anti-racism and anti-bigotry rally in NYC

This happened on 09-11-10, and it was sent to me in an email from Cindy Sheehan.  We need more of this.

And Friends Committee on National Legislation has a petition to say that you stand with American Muslims.  Freedom of religion applies to all or else it is void and dead. Of course, large parts of the US Constitution have been violated in the last decade.  But we have to take action against racism and bigotry, no matter what happens to the US Constitution.

That's life in America!

Photo:  Entrance to Ft. Benning, Georgia, during the protest against the School of the Americas

Got an email at work from NC Dept of Health.  They linked to the “EPI Notes” which covers preparation for public health emergency.  Although they went on and on about the Anthrax attacks, they failed to mention that the anthrax came from the US government’s biological weapons of mass destruction program.  They failed to even mention that the US government might have been a possible source for these weapons.  I wrote this email in response to the person who sent out the email that linked to the EPI Notes:

I just read through the section on Anthrax in the EPI-notes.  There was no mention of the fact that the anthrax came from Fort Detrick, and was made by a US government employee (more likely, more than one, but the FBI does not admit that).  I think that is an important element of the story, since folks are unlikely to see the “government” as protecting and providing for us in a medical emergency when no one is honest about the fact that the “government” actually created the “emergency” that killed five Americans.  Another point that should be noted is that “sources” at Fort Detrick claimed there was Bentonite in the anthrax and put the blame for that on a country called Iraq.  That helped lead to the Iraq war, which was a public health nightmare in that country of massive proportions.  It also killed over 4,000 Americans, and that death toll will rise.

Next email I sent:
I am no expert on public health, but it seems to me the first thing that should be done regarding anthrax is to shut down (safely) all US production of this biological WMD.  Having a back up plan to deal with a public health emergency like this is good, but it seems to me that prevention would be a whole lot safer, smarter and cheaper for the US taxpayer.

I thank you for reading EPI Notes and I appreciate your concerns, but the NC PH Preparedness program cannot affect any of the changes you are suggesting and the point of our article was to show a brief historical review of the response to both man-made and natural issues/disasters.
My response:
Well, I guess you can do nothing for prevention then.  Too bad for the dead people.  That’s life in America, I guess.

In honor of Steve Biko

Who was murdered on this date in 1977. And Amnesty International is a great organization.

Afghan protester from last week

Afghan protester:  An Afghan protester holds a poster at a demonstration against the United States and the Dove Outreach Center's pastor Terry Jones in Mazar-e-Sharif, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010. Afghans railed against the U.S. to denounce the American church's plans to burn copies of Islam's holiest text to mark the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
(AP Photo/Mustafa Najafizada)

Of course, we have burned a lot of Qu'rans in probably all the homes we bombed in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.   We also burned up the people living there.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Petition from Code Pink

We have been distressed by the overtly violent expressions against Islam from some corners of America. Witnessing the extreme racism has left our hearts heavy. And at this time of deep reverence for many of you we want to send our wishes to you for a joyful Eid. We know you carry the burden of too much violence already. We appreciate the courageous and difficult work you do to improve the lives of Afghan women and their families. We want you to know that we are working in our communities to foster respect for all religions and peaceful coexistence.

Join us in wishing the women in Afghanistan a happy Eid to mark the end of Ramadan by signing this petition.

Reflection on the roots of terrorism

Stephen Harper has said — as had George W. Bush and as does Barack Obama — that we are in Afghanistan to ensure that the terrorists don’t come here. The counter-argument has been that they might come here precisely because we are there.

It has turned out worse. Terrorists don’t have to come here to attack us. Their sympathizers here will. They may act for Al Qaeda and the Taliban or act on their own. Some may go to Pakistan for military training but many may assemble a bomb from a manual downloaded from the Internet.

Some may be religious, many not. Some may invoke Islam but many act out of solidarity with Muslims. They may be immigrants or, more likely, second-generation Canadians, as Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said Thursday.

They may be “the most unlikely individuals” — engineers, doctors, hospital technicians, seemingly well integrated, such as the pathologist Khurram Sher, a product of and participant in the popular culture of NHL hockey and Canadian Idol. Or they may be uneducated, unemployed, troubled, disaffected.

All this refutes the clichés we have been fed for the last nine years about terrorists:

They are all “Islamic radicals” nurtured in madrassas or mosques, brainwashed into jihad by antediluvian imams. If only the madrassas could be shut down, the imams made to shut up, and “moderate” Muslims rise up against “radical Islam,” the danger would disappear.

This fantasy had a purpose.

If Islam could be made the issue, writes Ron Paul, a Republican congressman, then “radical religious Islamic views were the only reasons for 9/11,” and not “a desire to retaliate against what many Muslims saw as American aggression and occupation.”
Not only do these wars and occupation make us broke, they are going to backfire big time.  They are highly immoral.  The information in this article applies to the USA even more.

The full article is here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Best wishes....to my Jewish and Muslim friends

L'Shana tova u'metukah and Eid saeed.  Best wishes for a sweet New Year and a joyous Eid al-Fitr.

Let us work for a new year of hope, respect, and peace.

At least one church gets it......

Photo:  Horia Adya (left), her daughter, Lena, 12, and the Rev. Christy Ramsey pose for photo outside Goodyear Heights Presbyterian Church, where Ramsey has posted a Ramadan greeting. The widowed Muslim mother and her daughter live near the church. (Michael Chritton/Akron Beacon Journal)

This Reverend realizes that freedom of religion has to apply to all, or we all might lose it. He also knows how to follow the example of Jesus Christ. 

Born in the USA - by Bruce Springsteen

At the recent Teabagger convention at the Lincoln Memorial, they had this song blaring from the speakers (I was told - I was not there). This song is an anti-war and anti-US policies song. It records how young men got sent to Vietnam and killed for nothing, and how there was nothing for our veterans when they came home. It is weird that this song was played at the Teabagger convention - but even more weird, I heard this at Gage Park in Hamilton Ontario once on Canada Day. That is the day they celebrate their founding as a country. Of course, there was a sizable group of ex-pat Americans living there, due to the Vietnam war. So maybe they played it for them.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

"Yes You Do"

An Iraqi man tells Americans that burning the Holy Qu'ran is nothing new.  US troops have been doing it in Iraq for some time.

"Americans Don’t Burn Books" they cry. Oh yes they do. Americans most assuredly do burn books. They burn them with malice and with forethought as an expression of their hatred and contempt for the peoples’ of the lands they have invaded, for the peoples of those lands and for our religion.

I know for a fact that Americans burn books, in particular The Holy Qur’an because like other Gorilla’s Guides team members I have gone into Mosques to clean them after your soldiers have desecrated them. 

Your soldiers’ SOP for doing this is to shit on the prayer mats, to scrawl crude graffiti (mostly penises) on the walls, to spray paint hate slogans against Irakis, against Muslims, and against Islam on the walls, they also scrawl Christian and Jewish religious symbols on the walls, and they gather together copies of The Holy Qur’an, together with any other books they can find and set them on fire.

Don’t you dare try pretend that "Americans Don’t Burn Books" because I, other Gorilla’s Guides team members and plenty of other people in Irak can tell you from direct personal experience that yes you Americans damned well do burn books. They are Your American troops, from your American culture, imbued with your American culture’s values and yes they do burn books

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Quote from Jeff Huber

Our quest for the lesser evil has arrived at an impasse. On one hand we have a world-class Doublethinker who expects us to thank him for keeping promises he has vigorously broken and to accept the cynical notion that war is peace. On the other we have a mob of flesh-eating galoots who promise to give us Orwell’s Hate Week 52 weeks a year for as long as it takes them to bring about Armageddon. 

The rest of the article he wrote. 

Some more:

“The combat mission in Iraq has ended,” Obama told us, but there’s lots of fighting ahead. Our troops “defeated a regime that had terrorized” Iraq’s people, then they “shifted tactics to protect the Iraqi people” from, uh, each other. Because of “the resilience of the Iraqi people,” they’re still a threat to themselves. “All U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year” unless our generals and other military advisers say leaving is a bad idea, which they’ve already said, time and time and time and time and time and time again. And oh yeah, all this is Bush’s fault, but you can’t doubt the schmuck’s “support for our troops or his love of country and commitment to our security.” Or can you? 

Bush could give a speech like that with a straight face because he lacked sufficient moral and cognitive subtlety to understand how full of crap he was. Obama doesn’t have that excuse.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Afghan peacemakers and Jane Goodall Institute

Mission Rebranded

Obama changed the name, but not the game.  He has reduced the number of US troops in Iraq, while the number of contractors (read:  mercenaries) has gone way up.  And combat operations have not ended:

A US military spokesman said US forces had provide fired as Iraqis located two of the assailants inside the base.

A journey of crime and terror

Caption: Diana Ballesteros, a shop assistant, fills a display with copies of a book titled 'A Journey' by Tony Blair the former U.K. prime minister at a book store in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010. Blair said it was right to invade Iraq, even taking into account 'the nightmare that unfolded' there, and recounted that he wept on meeting one British soldier's widow. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images Date created: 01 Sep 2010

 Blair has written a book about his journey of crime and mass murder.  He was protested in Dublin, and then canceled his book signing tour.  Blair, apparently, has no shame or ability to see how his actions and decisions have destroyed countless lives.  The funny part is - just having flip-flops thrown at him totally freaked him out - imagine what a whole day of a real war would do.  He would be wearing diapers for the rest of his life. 

Around the world, activists are moving Blair's books to the "crime" section of bookstores as a means of non-violent protest.  There is a facebook group for that, and I joined.  Not sure if I will find time to move books around though.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

An Awesome Poem!!

This poem was written by Sunni Patterson.  She read it aloud on August 30, 2010 on Democracy Now!

We have not always found comfort in killers.
We have not always found solace being rocked
in the bosoms of those who silently pray
and openly destroy.
No, not always have we mistaken mimicry for mastery
or pretending for knowing
or enslavement for freedom.
But across my memory—
across my memory marches millions—
bold, regal, resilient, confident—
unshackled feet stumping up spirits
to guide us through this fickle material world.
We like sun and moon folk,
universal souls praying our prayers,
singing our songs.
Eshu, Ogoun, Shango, Yemaja, Oshun, Obatala, Oya,
Damballah, Ayida Wedo, Loa, Nkongo, Olodumare and Yami.
We know all of you by name.
We are people of beginnings, of culture, of strength.
Not always have we given into the empty threats
and scare tactics of the powerless ones.
Not always have we allowed the blood of our sons and daughters
to color the streets while we’re walking asleep,
marching to the beat of that siren song.
They’re still wearing their sheets,
with nooses in reach,
showing their teeth and smiling, it seems.
But I hear in the breeze
in the rustle of the trees
and the dangling of the feet,
they say, please, don’t let them ever forget.
You see, not always have we suffered from amnesia.
Not always have we forgotten how to conjure up spirits,
ancestor wisdom,
fix up a mixture,
spiritual elixir,
ancient traditions.
We, like magicians,
god-like vision, we—
we are people of sight.
So, no, not always have we fallen
for this okie doke
or inhaled the hazardous smoke of the manipulators
or been satisfied with crumbs for meals
our hands have prepared.
Hughes said life for us ain’t been no crystal stair,
but at least the steps are there
to push us up higher,
teach us how to go beyond the destroyer’s disguises,
look them in the eyes and be able to see.
Because what’s surprising when you know the nature of a beast
and especially when they’ve shown the same face for centuries?
So you tell me,
what’s the difference between two sisters in New Orleans
shot point-blank in the back of the head,
and two women bound in their car in Baghdad?
Or government-sanctioned killings in Kenya,
and a sister held hostage in a house in Virginia?
Or poverty in Haiti, poverty in Jamaica,
rape in Rwanda or rape in Somalia?
A sweatshop in China or one in Guatemala?
Or small pox and blankets, syphilis and Tuskegee,
formaldehyde and FEMA, ethnic cleansing and Katrina?
I recall within a speech Dr. King made us aware,
he said injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
So they can spare us their drama, huh?
We got the heart of them field working mamas.
We carry the torch of that ancestor fire.
So with every fiber that flutters in our being,
with every find that comes from our seeking,
with every hearing that comes from our listening,
and every sight that comes from our seeing,
we must be faithful, strategic, victorious and free.

 Photo is of the setting sun one August 2010 evening in Asheville.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Out walking one day, ran into this huge bush (vine?)

and snapped these photos.  I thought the berries (which were sorta hard) were very cool looking. They were pink, red, purple, green, blue, turquoise, and maroon.   I have no idea what plant this is, or if it is edible.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Iraq war is not ending

This came in an email a couple of weeks ago from Voters for Peace:

President Obama is claiming an end to the war in Iraq. His end will mean 50,000 troops remaining and at least that many private troops, mercenaries. While the troops are no longer engaged in "combat" they will be "fighting terrorism." And, there is more and more talk of U.S. troops remaining much longer. As you can see the end of the war seems to mean the continuation of it.

The peace movement is coming together to point out the incomplete truth of the end of the Iraq War. The U.S. media is reporting on the claims by the White House without any criticism or commentary that it is not really an end to the war, but the continuation of it under new rhetoric.

You can see a list of events occurring around the country on the website of our colleagues at CODE PINK.

Click here to see list.

Nir Rosen talks about Iraq