Monday, April 24, 2006

Like they listen, right?

Today's headlines include the LATimes calling for Cheney to be Fired and another about Rumsfeld pays no attention to military leaders. Coupla days ago there was a shout from NASA about scientists being muzzled.
This is more of the same, MUCH more:
A retired CIA Chief saying that Tenet had good information that Saddam was disarmed and the WhiteHouse ignored it. This, in conjunction with the Downing Street Memos, pulls the rug out from under the "Bad Intel" claim.
If they don't like what they hear, they stick their fingers in their ears and mumble gibberish ''til the guards come and clear the room. The Bubble around the misAdministration prevents most of the dissent from reaching them, when someone breaks through, even for a second, even after Bush has just made a speech about freedom of speech, we fear for that person's safety.
It's sort of pointless to try to address the WhiteHouse as several letter campaigns et cetera have recently, they aint listening.
(And that always amuses me that the Thugs won't listen to what we have to say when we are out in the streets with bullhorns, but they will slash a path through all of the laws of the land to eavesdrop on our phonecalls and sift through our eMails and online queries!)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

It's a Hummer, That's a Bummer

I guess we all got the memo... the one about boycotting ExxonMobil. This is from Woody Hastings via Buzzflash:
Driving down the cost of gasoline is not really going to help us overall, what would help would be finding alternatives and adjusting lifestyle choices.
"The American Way of Life", the White-Picket-Fence, 2.2 children and a dog in suburbia, "the American Dream", that's just not realistic.
And it's not very good for individuals or society.
And it's really not good for Earth.
In the sixties, when gas and cigarettes were 25cents, Europe was paying $2/gal. All over America, suburbia sprawled out along the lines laid out by Eisenhower's Inter-state Highway System. We built bigger and faster variations of our pre-war cars, without any thought of efficiency. Europe produced new concepts in Automotive design that delivered excellent performance, handling and efficiency, partially in response to the cost pressure of fuel.
During the "Oil Embargo" in '73, Americans were faced with rationing for the first time in a generation. The price of fuel ratcheted up and stuck. The American Automotive industry buried it's head in the sand and set up PR campaigns, rather than build the new efficient machines that we needed, they continued to produce hulking, smoking monsters that sucked down gas and spewed lead laced petrochemical smoke, marketed with slogans like "Buy American".
Industry goaded a segment of the American public up in arms against "A-Rabs" for jacking up the oil (it was actually Arab-American Oil companies, but you know, details) and then, and here it gets weird, against the Japanese for creating a solution: more efficient cars.
The 70s saw the pollution controls and safety issues brought forward, some of the clumsiest regulatory legislation you could imagine. Detroit, once again, stonewalled rather than facing the challenge, the Japanese and European firms stepped up and met the design criteria and the market rewarded them. The 80s saw our once leading car companies produce some of the most lamentable vehicles in history.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, Oil stayed stable for the most part, with the pressure off, Detroit went back to building big hulking monsters that get pathetic, single digit fuel economy ratings.
Along the way, Congress has subsidized Sprawl in a thousand different ways, while finding creative ways of strangling what's left of our rail system. For most people, living in suburbia is not possible without a (car or two).
Oil underlies all of our activities and all of our food, oil will eventually run out, we can adjust incrementally as prices rise, or we can cope with the crash when supplies get scarce. That is if the Sea Level doesn't rise twenty feet in the next twenty years.
For me, I already boycott ExxonMobil and Texaco. These guys are bastards from way back. Citgo gets my dollar every chance I can. Chavez is putting some of that money to good use.
Rather than rallying for lower gas prices, we need to call for windfall profits taxes.
Lee Raymond just announced his retirement from ExxonMobil with a $480Million severance package! After a record breaking $13Billion quarterly profit! While the price of gas climbed 50cents/gallon. (Read Krugman this week for the real reason the Raymond ought to be reviled)
But none of this is going to improve with oil executives in the Whitehouse.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Letter from Cindy Sheehan

Published on Friday, April 21, 2006 by
Raging Grannies and Raging Americans
by Cindy Sheehan

I am sitting here watching CSPAN where Congress is holding a special hearing into Chinese human rights violations: Which is of course an important issue that needs to be addressed. An Amnesty International report just came out and of all of the countries in the world the US is the fourth in numbers of executions behind China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. China by far executes the most people with seeming barbaric abandon.
Everyone who has a brain and a stake in what direction our country is going should be demanding that Congress investigate the administration and itself for human rights violations. This feeble excuse for an Executive Branch and its bobble-headed, rubber stamp, franchise of a useless body down the mall: Congress, are committing crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes against our Constitution and rule of law. Instead of holding these investigations against China, they should be investigating themselves and George Bush and his cronies who are violating everything that we hold dear as Americans and are killing and torturing thousands of people just for the icing on the brutality cake.
Every American who has ears to hear the "decider" lie and everyone who has eyes to watch him figuratively defecate on our Bill of Rights should use their voices to scream against the cruelty of BushCo; and use their feet to march in solidarity with other Americans who repudiate the cruelty; and use their butts to sit down in front of places of power to demand that our leaders quit using our names to imprison people indefinitely without trials and torture them as they hypocritically accuse other governments of violating human rights.
We as Americans need to realize that our government falsely accused Saddam of having WMD and our government is using WMD on the people of Iraq and they are not "ruling out" the use of nuclear weapons on Iran. God forbid Iran gets a nuke and if Iran is even thinking about it, we will nuke them and kill tens of thousands of innocent people who don't have nuclear technology, all they want is peaceful lives left alone by the US. The US has used nuclear weapons before, as a matter of fact, we are the only ones who have and are using DU in Iraq as we speak. The US cannot be trusted with this technology! Why do we trade our nuclear secrets to India for some mangoes and prohibit other countries from seeking the same technology? Could the real reason be to also control Iran's oil and natural gas resources? Hmm…maybe the CEO of Exxon wasn't too happy with his $400,000, 000.00 bonus for the past year and Deadeye Dick was not nearly thrilled enough with his over million dollar tax refund. George wants to build 125 more "nucular" bombs a year! I think Georgie has a buddy that is in the nuke business. The discourse should be about disarming the nations that already have nukes and guarantee a better future for our generations. Too late for the people of the Middle East who have had their region contaminated by the cancer of radiation for 4.5 billion years.
This morning I attended the beginning of the trial for the NYC Raging Grannies who tried to enlist in the Army last October and were arrested for blocking the entrance to the recruitment center in Times Square. Their average age has to be somewhere in the high 60's with the oldest one being 90. Eighteen of them came to trial today and they proudly marched slowly (many with canes and walkers) up to the defendant benches to defend their and YOUR rights to peaceably gather to dissent from a government who has gone way out of control and to express their disgust with the Iraq war and to stand up and be counted and say: "You are not committing these crimes in our name!" We need to distance ourselves from leadership who are war criminals to not be accused of this ourselves.
Everyone in this country who has not tried to shut down a recruiting station or has not gone down to sit in at their Congress-coward's office to demand an end to the war or who have not attended a march, written hundreds of letters, come to Crawford; or otherwise stepped out of their comfort zones to repudiate the Bush regime and call for indictment of the same need to be abjectly ashamed of themselves.
If the darling Grannies, who should be able to be home baking brownies if they want to, or running marathons, or reading books, or painting portraits, or shopping, or doing whatever else makes them happy, put their bodies on the line for peace—so your child won't have to go off to a war based on lies to die and kill innocent people--why can't you?
Today, I, and my co-defendants in our arrest at the US Mission to the UN, delivered subpoenas to Peggy Kerry (Sister of John Kerry and NGO rep to the UN, who arranged our appointment for us), the US Mission to the UN, and the management company who owns the very public building that holds coffee shops and restaurants and their security. Our trial is next week on April 26 th and we want to know who refused to take our petition when we had an appointment and we want to know who gave the order to arrest us instead of taking our petition that was signed by tens of thousands of women from all over the world.
The Raging Grannies and we Raging Americans are willing to go to jail to protect you and your rights and your children's lives. Who wants to live free in a society that has total disregard for human rights, humanity and practices cruelty that would be worthy of the Inquisition? Who wants to live free in a society that arrests and tries Grannies and ordinary citizens who are only exercising the rights that we are all born with? The rights that my son and so many others had their lives robbed from them for.
Congress has already allowed this Execution Branch to take away so many of our rights and freedoms. If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention. Rest assured that there are people who are raging with indignation over the suppression of dissent and the wanton abduction of our rights. Rest assured that there are so many people working to take our country back.
Do your part. Democracy requires active participation not active and complicit apathy. Visit
Gold Star Families for Peace.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

They just want to talk.
North Korea, Iran, The Palestinians, Talks.
We could so easily defuse the tensions with Kim Jung Ill, if we promised not to attack him. That's all he is asking for. He's on the Axis of Evil shit-list and you saw what happened to Iraq, they were on that list before they were Shocked&Awed. He already agreed to stop weapon development, we had a deal until Bush took power and Bolton took over diplomacy. Kim saw the Thugs coming and decided (wisely, it turned out) to arm himself and fend them off. It worked, we beat down Saddam instead.
Kim had less to worry about than he thought, North Korea is not sitting on huge deposits of petrochemical.
On the other hand, Iran IS sitting on a large amount of oil in the southern region, bordering Iraq and in the offshore fields in the Caspian Sea and it has a well developed industrial base to deliver it. Iran is a plum and right now, they are surrounded by US forces. Nearly every country that borders Iran is an ally, or at least cooperating with the US military, or has been invaded and occupied by the US. Our warships cruise their coastline and our Jets are always in the air, we've got a huge base in Qatar and we're staging the Iraq operations out of Kuwait.
Think they feel a little threatened?
Israel has the bomb. Under the table, never admitted, but common knowledge.
India has the bomb and now Bush has agreed to not notice that violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Speaking of proliferation, our Ally, Pakistan (also now an NPT violating owner of Nukes) has placed under house arrest, the Nuclear scientist, A Q Kahn, that sold technology and techniques for the Bombs to several less than stable Muslim countries including Libya.
Kahdafi had the right idea: buy some stuff, look like you're building a nuke lab then give it all up in return for normalized relations. Might call it blackmail, might call it a shrewd use of bargaining chips.
And of course, the US has the Biggest Bombs and the most of 'em and we have actually used them. We are the only ones that have.
The Pentagon has plans to bomb Iran, Bolton is now our Ambassador to the UN and the BushCheney lie machine is gearing up, Yeah, I'd be worried.
Actually, I am worried.
If I were Rafsanjani, I'd want to talk.

Re-elect Al Gore

Ben Smith of the Daily News is reporting that Al Gore is gearing up to run in '08: politics/archives/2006/04/exclusive_gore.php
He's reassembling a political team (actually hiring one of his previous team, article may be a bit hyped). That's good news if true.
Al Gore won the 2000 election.
Had Bolton and Baker and their gang of thugs not rioted and Scalia's gang disrupted the count, Florida would have gone Blue. Overall, Gore had a majority of votes across the country. Election 2000 was clearly stolen. If Florida hadn't been in the hands of Katherine Harris and Jeb Bush, we wouldn't be in the clutches of Dick Cheney and George Bush.
But is Al going to run? He says he's gearing up for a full-court press on Global Warming. Great! Someone needs to.
[ How far about sea level do you live/ work/ commute?]
That wouldn't be a bad place to start a Presidential campaign from, actually. It's a serious issue, affecting everyone, he's had a long term focus on it and is one of the few politicians that scientists can rely on to get it right. If he and his organization can bring a higher awareness of Global Warming to the General Populace and can field some positive programs to slow it, he may be able to break through the GOPigs barrage of anti-science.
And anyone who might still consider Al too boring, read what he has to say (if you can read). There is nothing boring about most of the worlds cities flooded out by a twenty foot rise in sea level. There is nothing boring about his statements regarding the Thugs' Lies. You just have to have an attention span of longer than 10 seconds and the ability to process complex ideas, then he's rather exciting, actually.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Two plus Two....
Several months ago, there was a little noticed story about some Haliburton contracts for detention centers that were tied to some "new programs". It passed into the memory hole and we moved on, what's another $400 million in no-bid contracts to Cheney's company anyway?
Then last week, we had huge Immigrant rights marches and demos in reaction to some really viscious anti- immigrant laws being pushed through the House.
Now this: Ruth Coniff in the Progressive
And the penny dropped.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I guess there was a national holiday today, one I'd never heard of, Patriots Day. Funny that I could have missed it all these years, because it celebrates the day we'd finally had enough and we took up arms against George the Tyrant. Paul Revere's ride, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, shots heard 'round the world.
If I'da known, I'da worn me tri-cornered hat!
(I always liked Guy Falkes day, too)
In middle school, when I was learning about the revolution, I lived in Cambridge. I walked the freedom trail and stood on the bridge in Concord. I heard historians talk about the ingenious Patriot fighters that sniped from behind stone walls and didn't line up in the old world way, how the British Uniforms with their red jackets and white webbing forming an X in the middle were perfect targets, the Patriots wore whatever clothes they had, looked just like the rest of the colonists.
My guess is if they'd had IEDs, they would have used 'em.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran
You can hear them singing in certain offices around the DC Metro.
As if the illegal disaster in Iraq wasn't bad enough (and don't forget the FUBAR in Afghanistan), Sy Hersh detailed the Thugs' plans for starting World War 4. While that may have been a trial balloon, I wouldn't bet against it.
Folks, Iraq was our Sudetenland. The Brits have kept us from being labeled a rogue state, but attacking Iran would unite the entire world against US.
Even if they used conventional weapons, the Fallout would be catastrophic.
Imagine, for a second, how long we could hold out without imported oil.
Or maybe, imported anything.
Or any foreign investment.
150 000 US troops and a bunch of civilians are in Iraq and they have a huge amount of materiel with them. How many do you think we'd lose? 50%? 25?
And where does that leave the security of our own nation?
Out of gas, food riots, looting, about like Baghdad?
How ironic, I never suspected that the real anarchists would be Republicans.
How weird is it to be opposing a war and have some of the most powerful Generals, active and retired, on your side? And the old Pope! And the majority of the American People! Folks, I'm not sure I can stand holding a majority opinion. Certainly makes me question my bases.
Last week, at least 5 retired Generals, including Iraq war officers, broke with long tradition to speak out against the arrogant, incompetent reckless policies of Donald Rumsfeld and the BushCheney gang. This is Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation:

When we hear people mouth the words "Support our Troops", what does that mean to them? A little yellow magnet on the back of their gas guzzlers? Shouting down anyone who isn't hypnotized?
To me, it means First and Foremost, not sending them to to fight for lies, to die for oil company profits.
It means, if they are deployed to defend US, making damn sure that they get the equipment they need to perform their duties (STILL not enough armor for vehicles and soldiers).
It means demanding that the Pentagon allow the mandatory pre- and post deployment health screenings (including Uranium load) to be done.
It means tracking down and prosecuting war profiteers who's crony contracts are leaving our troops vulnerable.
It means fighting for restoration of the cuts in the Veterans' Administration. It means demanding an end to Torture and restoring the Geneva convention protections.
It means holding those who lied to the troops and US, who sent them to fight and die under false pretenses, accountable.
It means Bring The Troops Home NOW, take care of them when they get back and NEVER send them to fight for lies again.

Since the February march and rally in DC before the War, there have been military people, retired and active duty, that have opposed this war. Along the way, their Families and the families of the Fallen have added to our ranks, most notably Cindy Sheehan. Iraq Veterans Against the War linking up with VietNam era vets are out there, I've even seen WWll vets on the marches.
This has never been about demeaning the troops. The guys in uniform didn't pick this fight, the guys in the suits should stand trial.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Gotta start somewhere

Just starting to get the hang of this thing, bear with me, OK?
Over the past several years I've progressed from wary lurker to commenter to, now, blogger.
With any luck, this will be a place for commentary on major events in politics and peace