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Showing posts from 2006

Fear Not

From where I sit, here in the woods of Oregon, it's looking pretty ugly out across the country towards the South and East.

The weather is brutal and the political climate reeks of decay.
People are choosing sides once again, as another round of Us vs Them gets ready to rumble.
Believers in Doomsday feel the Rapture of Armageddon approaching, getting anxious as the fulfillment of both their deepest fear and greatest wish is at hand.
The concept of government has been eroded, fundamentally altered beyond repair, perhaps, done with deliberate intent.
Idol-worshipping false Christian "leaders" sanction the killing of innocents.
American bombs and rockets are used around the world, by Americans or by others, to kill more innocents.
The Truth is being told in a few places, but few are listening.
Lies are being repeated everywhere and accepted by too many as if true.
Fear still rules the lives of far too many, as is still used as a Control Mechanism by too many.

Yet I can turn away from …

Back from the heart

I've been away for a bit. I've been immersed in the heart of America, filling in as a freelance relief editor for the West Lane news, a weekly newspaper published in the small town of Veneta, Oregon. The paper has more than four decades of history behind it, with huge binder files of past editions – pure treasure to a history freak like me.
I've just been watching the current world news, not writing about events or even talking about them much. I've been tightly focused on covering the local news, which is based in a reality that is impacted by world politics, but isn't connected to those events in any other way – except when a local soldier dies in the ongoing occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
But my temporary gig in small town America, where the true heart of nation lives on, will end next week and I came back into focus on the world stage again – just in time to hear Newt Gingrich and Bill Bennett claim on national tv that we are already well into World War III…

Untold deaths – how many more?

How many people – overwhelmingly innocent men, women and children – have died because of direct action by US military soldiers in Iraq? How much "collateral damage" has there been? How many peaceful families have become victims of the neocon desire to own Iraq in the way that the US owns Kuwait?

Go ahead and take a guess, because nobody can say with certainty. Estimates range wildly, but all of the numbers indicate a lot of killing has happened in our name.

Here's just a few opinions:

"I would say 30,000, more or less, have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis."
- George W. Bush, December 12, 2005, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Iraq Body Count estimated on April 12, 2006, that the minimum number of Iraqi dead was 34,030 and the maximum was 38,164.

British medical journal The Lancet on October 29, 2004 stated, "Making conservative assumptions, we think about 100,000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 inv…

How many times can Bush lie without being held accountable?

Excerpts from recent reports by Jason Leopold, writing for truthout.org, show that President George Bush directly and intentionally lied to the American people and to federal investigators in order to protect members of his administration who violated national security – with his authorization – in an act of revenge against former ambassador Joseph Wilson after Wilson exposed the false justifications for invading Iraq.

In early June of 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney met with Bush and told him that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was Wilson's wife and that she was responsible for sending him on a fact-finding mission to Niger to check out reports about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from the African country. She was not responsible, although she did recommend her husband to her superiors, and Cheney knew that his attempts to portray her as the person responsible were untrue.

According to Leopold, the meeting with Cheney and Bush included former White House Chief of Staff…

A response to Rep. Jack Kingston

Georgia's Rep. Jack Kingston recently called anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan "a nutcase" and "a very flaky woman" according to reports posted on his blog. He issued an apology the following day. I sent the following screed to him that same day...

Good day to you, sir;

It was heartening to see your apology posted on your site regarding comments you made about Cindy Sheehan. I was the editor of the Haleakala Times in Hawaii when Ms. Sheehan lost her son, and was one of the first to publish her commentary on the war, before she became a media icon. I did so because her voice is not unique; she is most certainly not a nutcase or beatnik; I have heard far too many comments much like her original public statement from fathers and mothers of fallen soldiers. I heard many of the same comments during the Vietnam War, which compares to the invasion of Iraq only in its injustice and unnecessary deaths.

I'm writing to thank you for the posted apology, and I understand ful…

Idiots Abounding

We The People must be a nation of idiots, because we elected a president who either is an idiot himself or thinks that we are. You can tell in his few unscripted appearances on television or taking questions from the press corp – those rare occasions when his audience is not carefully restricted to folks supportive of his policies.

Here's just one example from his press conference earlier this week:

George Bush:"You know, we used to think we were secure because of oceans and previous diplomacy. But we realized on September the 11th, 2001, that killers could destroy innocent life..."

Is he really that naive? Or does he think that we are? The World Trade Center was bombed once before by Islamic extremists; does he think we all had forgotten that? Does he really expect us to forgive him for having forgotten that important bit of recent history?

That incredible comment came during the middle part Bush's reply to a question from Helen Thomas, the senior AP correspondent and W…

Transnational Empire

One of the most important stories of the past year is the continued construction of permanent US military bases in Iraq, and it's been largely ignored by mainstream American media. Since May of last year, American troops are being consolidated into four large military bases that cover miles of desert, have hardened runways, inground swimming pools, bowling alleys, fast-food franchises and Internet and cable TV inside their concrete buildings.

The permanent US embassy compound in Baghdad's current "Green Zone" will house over 1,000 people, have walls up to 15 feet thick and is already completely independent of the surrounding infrastructure for fresh water and power.

None of this is secret; the plans for building what have always appeared to be permanent bases have long been known to anyone who was paying attention. Military officials even refer to these bases as "long-term access facilities", which translates into real language quite easily as "permanent…

Do Your Job

The attempt by the Bush administration to expand the powers of the presidency, and the neoconservative philosophy that drives that attempt, are exactly the kind of imperial ambitions that our political system of checks and balances was designed to prevent. Elected representatives across the land have failed to fulfill that duty.

That's our fault, collectively, because We The People haven't demanded that our Senators and Representatives actually do their jobs.

I urge everyone to do exactly that, regardless of your political persuasion. The Constitution is at stake; our way of life is more threatened by the fear and greed amongst our own elected officials than by any terrorist group.

I've been sending this message to anyone who will listen to it, and I urge you to do the same. I've added a sample letter below that my representaives have received, as an example of how I'm calling for an inquiry by Congress.

"If the American Congress can bring articles of impeachment …

Let's pay attention to what really matters, please

It doesn't make the slightest bit of difference who owns the port management companies in America; it certainly makes no difference if ownership is British or Arab, with headquarters in London or Dubai. None of that matters, as some 80% of American ports are managed already by companies that claim corporate residency outside the US.

And few of those ports are secure, if any. That's not the fault of the management companies – security is handled by US officials at various levels, and they have neither the personnel, resources or political will to make the port entry system secure.

If we want secure ports, we need to tell the Bush administration to stop building permanent military bases in Iraq and invest that money in cargo inspections and port security in the US. But that's not a real issue, not in comparison to the increased use by the US military of jets and helicopters to deliver airstrikes – rockets and bombs – into neighborhoods where suspected insurgents may be hiding.