Sunday, July 31, 2005
No Bush, no border reform
by ANDRÉS MARTINEZ
And in case you missed this one:
Bush officials back off immigration bills
Cabinet secretaries are absent from a congressional hearing on reform legislation.
By Michael Doyle / Bee Washington Bureau
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
L.A. Times - July 31, 2005
THINKING OUT LOUD: IMMIGRATION
A 'free market' includes labor
By Douglas S. Massey (Douglas S. Massey is a professor of sociology and public policy at Princeton University)
The editorial talked about a hidden labor camp: "The existence of a hidden labor camp a cell phone's throw from where white-collar professionals take the train to Manhattan is as good a reminder as any of how firmly immigrant laborers are rooted in the suburban soil. It has happened not just on Long Island but also in California, Arizona, the Midwest and the South. The thousands of men filling jobs at the bottom of the labor market are a large-scale economic phenomenon, and no amount of wishful thinking will make them disappear."
There was a conference at Hofstra University in Hempstead last week that spoke of this very subject. The event, organized by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in California, released an examination of day laborers by the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty at U.C.L.A. The researchers interviewed 2,667 workers in 143 cities. They reported that some workers have education, but often not much, and are cheated and robbed by their employers. They are harassed, intimidated and insulted, and suffer debilitating injuries because of the hard work they do - construction and demolition mostly - and their lack of medical care.
The researchers also found that the laborers are mostly hard-working family men, drawn here mostly from Central America by the promise of jobs that no one else will do.
And the workers make a lot more money here in the United States than in their own countries. That's why they put up with their employers' abuse. That's why they live in labor camps.
And kudos to the National Day Laborer Organizing Network in California and the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty at U.C.L.A. for bringing this issue out into the open.
Someone needs to start paying attention.
Jeffrey S. Passel, a demographer with the Pew Hispanic Center, said that nationally, most Mexican-born residents have long been concentrated in California and Texas.
''If you go back 15 or 20 years, there weren't very many Mexicans outside of core settlement areas of the Southwestern states and the Chicago area,'' he said.
In the early 1990s, he said, California's ailing economy and rising anti-immigrant sentiments pushed some Mexican immigrants into new places with abundant jobs such as North Carolina, Georgia and New York City.
Northeast Sees Mexican Immigration Rise
Associated Press - NEWBURGH, N.Y.
July 31, 2005
Sanchez says the bill "shows little concern for getting millions of undocumented immigrants to accept its terms and yet requires their cooperation for success."
Now what undocumented immigrant is going to give themselves up to government officials? I say none. And once in their native country, are they really going to receive a temporary work visa? I think not (and if they do, it'll take a very long time to get one).
Sens. Cornyn and Kyl need to go back to the drawing board 'cause this idea ain't gonna' work.
About 30 children were left without their parents after immigration agents raided Petit Jean Poultry plant in Arkadelphia, Ark. and took away 119 workers. Authorities said 115 were from Mexico, two were from Honduras and the others were from El Salvador and Guatemala. All face possible deportation.
And some of those arrested were able to call and arrange care for their children, others were not. Thank goodness a local church, La Primera Iglesia Bautista, helped make arrangements.
Temple Black, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in New Orleans, said Friday that each person arrested was asked whether they had children and they all said they did not.
I find that very hard to believe.
30 Children Stranded by Immigration Raid
By MELISSA NELSON, The Associated Press
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Well. times have changed.
According to a report by Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (who transport illegal immigrants to jail) are doing a lot of the work--work that's supposed to be shared with Customs and Border Protection agents.
Lawmakers and experts have called for an agency merger. Homeland Security Acting Inspector General Richard Skinner is expected to issue another report on the merger matter within a month.
Hopefully, Skinner will make the smart decision---bring the agencies back together and rewrite everyone's job description.
Agency Discusses INS Agents' Workload
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
In 2002, four students went to Buffalo, N.Y. for a high school trip and during the trip, one wanted to visit Niagara Falls. So federal agents looked into the immigration status of all four students and it was discovered that they came to the United States illegally when they were infants.
According to the Associated Press, the students said they faced aggressive questioning about their identification, country of birth and when they were brought into the country. Three of the students testified that border officials made racially offensive comments in their presence.
On Thursday, a U.S. immigration judge threw out the deportation case.
At least someone's thinking.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Another chapter in the continuing saga of how much better off the Iraqi people are with Saddam gone (right, Howie?)...
A working draft of Iraq's new constitution would cede a strong role to Islamic law and could sharply curb women's rights, particularly in personal matters like divorce and family inheritance....
The draft of a chapter of the new constitution obtained by The New York Times on Tuesday guarantees equal rights for women as long as those rights do not "violate Shariah," or Koranic law....
Article 14 would replace a body of Iraqi law that has for decades been considered one of the most progressive in the Middle East in protecting the rights of women, giving them the freedom to choose a husband and requiring divorce cases to be decided by a judge....
Yes, yes. Much better now. Much better....
The reality check continues.
There was 2001, the year of living carelessly. There was 2002, the year of the big lies. There was 2003, the year of "mission accomplished." There was 2004, the year we "turned the corner" in Iraq, the insurgency "on the run." And there is 2005, the year Americans finally appear to be able to look at this Presidency with some semblance of objectivity. The American people, like all people, are fundamentally good, and we are not stupid, despite what the Project for a New American Century might think. We know we're being lied to when enough information is available to make critical, analytical judgments.
Two years ago, more than half of Americans polled approved of Bush's handling of the war. A year ago, it was down to 42%, with 53% disapproving. A new poll (Pew Research Center for the People & the Press) indicates that little more than a third of Americans now approve of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, with 57% disapproving. In another new poll (CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll), 54% of Americans polled believe that, despite administration assurances to the contrary, the war in Iraq has made America less safe than it was before the US invasion.
It should come as no surprise, then, that fewer than half of the Americans polled in a Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey perceive the President as being "trustworthy," and nearly the same number see him as UN-trustworthy (49%-46%). That's down from 62% who trusted the President less than two years ago, compared to only 32% who found him un-trustworthy.
Contributing to the lack of trust, undoubtedly, is the Karl Rove scandal. The latest ABC News poll shows that 75% of Americans think that this is a "serious" matter (42% "very serious" and 33% "somewhat serious"), and 42% believe the White House is not fully cooperating with the investigation, as opposed to 25% who think it is.
America deserves better than this administration. And Americans are starting--FINALLY--to appreciate this fact.
The number of Iraqi civilians who met violent deaths in the two years after the US-led invasion was today put at 24,865 by an independent research team. The figures, compiled from Iraqi and international media reports, found US and coalition military forces were responsible for 37% of the deaths, with anti-occupation forces and insurgents responsible for 9%. A further 36% were blamed on criminal violence.
Civilian deaths attributed to US and coalition military forces peaked in the invasion period from March to May 2003 - which accounts for 30% of all civilian deaths in the two-year period - but the longer-term trend has been for increasing numbers to die at the hands of insurgents. Figures obtained last week from the Iraqi interior ministry put the average civilian and police officer death toll in insurgent attacks from August 2004 to March 2005 at 800 a month.
The United States Air Force defines collateral damage as:
...Unintentional damage or incidental damage affecting facilities, equipment or personnel occurring as a result of military actions directed against targeted enemy forces or facilities. Such damage can occur to friendly, neutral, and even enemy forces. During Linebacker operations over North Vietnam, for example, some incidental damage occurred from bombs falling outside target areas.
It's sounds so technically harmless. We missed our target and took out a pre-school. Oopsie!
The utter ineptitude of the United States military leadership to secure the country from the get-go has spawned an atmosphere of chaos and violence. Disbanding the entire Iraqi army in early 2003 and then letting them go home with their weapons was brilliant. Thanks L. Paul Bremer for helping to jumpstart the insurgency!
The estimates of Iraqi civilians casualties range anywhere from 25,000 to over 100,000. I doubt we will ever know the real number. The reality is that Iraq will continue to suffer as a direct result of U.S. actions for decades to come.
MORE INFO: A Dossier of Civilian Casualties in Iraq 2003–2005 from Iraq Body Count
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
A series of polls last week showed that Americans are leaning toward Democratic candidates in the 2006 Congressional elections.
NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). July 8-11, 2005. N=1,009 adults nationwide.
"What is your preference for the outcome of the 2006 congressional elections: a Congress controlled by Republicans or a Congress controlled by Democrats?"
Controlled ByRepublicans 40%
Controlled ByDemocrats 45%
National Public Radio Poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies (R) and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (D). July 7-11, 2005. N=825 likely voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.5.
"I know it is far ahead, but thinking about next year's elections, if the election for U.S. Congress were held today, would you be voting for the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate in your district where you live?"
Other (vol.) 2%
Westhill Partners/Hotline Poll. July 7-10, 2005. N=800 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3.5.
"In your opinion, do you think the country would be better off if the Republicans controlled Congress or if the Democrats controlled Congress?"
Neither (vol.) 24%
"And, thinking about the next election for U.S. Congress, if the election for U.S. Congress were held today, would you be voting for the Democratic candidate or the Republican candidate in your district where you live?"
Neither (vol.) 10%
Recent polls have indicated widespread disapproval of the GOP-dominated Congress's performance, and this undoubtedly contributes to Americans' desire for change.
Associated Press/Ipsos poll conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs. July 11-13, 2005. N=1,000 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.1.
"Overall, do you approve, disapprove or have mixed feelings about the way Congress is handling its job?" If "mixed feelings" or unsure: "If you had to choose, do you lean more toward approve or disapprove?"
NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). July 8-11, 2005. N=1,009 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.1.
"In general, do you approve or disapprove of the job that Congress is doing?"
As we've noted earlier, Americans see Congress as being "out of touch" with issues that concern most Americans. Abortion and Social Security are two of those issues, but Americans are also more broadly concerned with Government interference in personal, moral issues as exemplified in the Terri Schiavo case.
The GOP is way out of the mainstream. Contrary to its founding principles, contrary to its early history, contrary to the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower, it has become an elitist, extremist instrument of special-interest wealth and power (read: PNAC). The GOP IS the elite.
The GOP must go.
A campaign run by the American Progress Action Fund and the Genocide Intervention Fund blames television in part for the continuing problem of genocide in Darfur. Specifically, the campaign says that television, by ignoring the crisis, allows Americans to remain ignorant of it.
''Television has told us stories of important human brutality before, and Americans have responded by demanding action from our elected representatives,'' the campaign said, citing examples including the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s and the 1980s Ethiopian famine.
The vast majority of Americans continue to rely overwhelmingly on broadcast and cable television as their primary source of information, said campaigners, citing findings from the private Pew Research Center for People and the Press.
Major U.S. networks, however, have largely ignored the Darfur crisis in what the American Journalism Review has described as an ''eerie echo'' of media neglect of the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
''During June 2005, CNN, FOX News, NBC/MSNBC, ABC, and CBS ran 50 times as many stories about Michael Jackson and 12 times as many stories about Tom Cruise as they did about the genocide in Darfur,'' the campaign said, citing the private Tyndall Report, which monitors broadcast media.
God forgive us.
Monday, July 18, 2005
(Parts I and II can be read here and here.)
The Bush administration is undertaking another incredible assault of American values. The specific values are rights guaranteed in the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights. Specifically, the administration is violating the following amendments with impunity:
1. Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.So, where are these violations taking place?
4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
9. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The F.B.I. has in its files 1,173 pages of internal documents on the American Civil Liberties Union, the leading critic of the Bush administration's antiterrorism policies, and 2,383 pages on Greenpeace, an environmental group that has led acts of civil disobedience in protest over the administration's policies, the Justice Department disclosed in a court filing this month in a federal court in Washington.Look, Howie, Americans have the right to protest. In some cases, where opposition to war is motivated by religious belief, they have a moral obligation to protest. Protesters engaged in unlawful civil disobedience know what they're doing, and know the consequences. Americans have the right to speak out against immoral and inhumane policies, to organize against them, and to engage in protest. To engage in domestic espionage against Americans who believe, for instance, that the Bush administration knowingly and willfully fabricated false "evidence" to create a rationale for an invasion of Iraq--if true, a blatantly political and illegal act--is to politicize the Constitution, reserving its protections for only those sympathetic to the Bush administration's (and the PNAC's) global political and economic goals. It's unconstitutional at best and immoral at worst.
"I'm still somewhat shocked by the size of the file on us," said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the A.C.L.U. "Why would the F.B.I. collect almost 1,200 pages on a civil rights organization engaged in lawful activity? What justification could there be, other than political surveillance of lawful First Amendment activities?"Like the Nixon administration before it (and Nixon was a martyred hero to people like Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the PNAC crew), the Bush administration is creating a political police force of the CIA and the FBI, undermining the Constitution and endangering the liberties of all Americans. Espionage is nothing less than illegal search of private behavior and illegal seizure of private thought, and--without due process of the law--subversive of the fourth amendment.
Protest groups charge that F.B.I. counterterrorism officials have used their expanded powers since the Sept. 11 attacks to blur the line between legitimate civil disobedience and violent or terrorist activity in what they liken to F.B.I. political surveillance of the 1960's. The debate became particularly heated during protests over the war in Iraq and the run-up to the Republican National Convention in New York City last year, with the disclosures that the F.B.I. had collected extensive information on plans for protests.Many on the right (you listening, Howie?) will parrot once again the mindless mantra of "After 9/11 everything changed," and "It's a different and dangerous world and we can no longer cling to business as usual." The President has to have the power to fight terrorism. The President has certain powers enumerated in the War Powers Act and the USA Patriot Act which provide a legal basis for surveillance of "subversive" organizations.
No laws can override Americans's Constitutionally guaranteed rights enshrined in the US Constitution. That's why the Bill of Rights is there. That's why these ten amendments were added to the Constitution. These rights cannot be voted away by a foolish majority (no matter how big or how small). Period. They are our sacred rights as Americans. They represent authentic American values. They put limitations on Government, especially on lying, empire-building administrators of Executive power. That's why the right hates the Bill of Rights.
That's why the right hates America.
Seymour Hersh has written an investigative report to be published in this week's New Yorker about the Bush administration and the January 2005 elections in Iraq. In it, he claims that the administration had a plan to provide covert support to Iraqi candidates of its choosing, despite the President's after-the-fact claims that the purpose of the US invasion of Iraq was to "promote Democracy."
The administration initially carried out the secret plan over the objections of Congress. But it was Congressional leaders, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Cal.) who is reported to have had serious "words" with Condoleeza Rice over the matter, who exerted enough pressure to scotch the plan.
I suggest to the reader that this administration has no interest whatsoever in the spread of "Democracy" in the world. Such a proposition runs counter to the interests of the Project for a New American Century, and to the interests of global capitalism generally. Again, the US (or at least the neo-con Republican vision of the US) seems interested only in creating global circumstances which protect vital US interests--whether those interests are oil, cheap labor, cheap resources, open markets, or the protection of US military prominence.
What liars they all are.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
The right will not like this. I myself am far from convinced (God knows I want to believe this isn't true). But I've noted before (here and here) that wherever the US exercizes its power in the world, the spread of illegal drugs doesn't seem to be far behind.
In the past, when pointing out this apparent connection, I've asked for comments. Well, an editorial writer for the Tehran Times sees the connection, at least in Afghanistan and the middle east, and has commented on it. The writer says
U.S. forces have taken no serious action to curtail drug production in Afghanistan, because the U.S. is determined to expand global drug addiction and smuggling to help it realize goals.
Why? What are those goals?
The expansion of global drug smuggling and addiction, besides providing windfall financial profits, exacerbates poverty, increases moral corruption, and keeps people backwards. This, in turn, helps the U.S. assert its hegemony over the world.
"Freedom" on the march...
Friday, July 15, 2005
U.S. Policy Lets Illegal Immigrants Go
By PAULINE ARRILLAGA, The Associated Press
Sunday, July 3, 2005
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
A police officer in Jaffrey thinks he works for the feds.
According to the July 13 New York Times, in April, a Mexican illegal immigrant, Jorge Mora Ramirez, stopped his car to make a phone call and an officer charged him with criminal trespassing and held him for one night. Apparently, the officer tried to get federal officers to arrest him but they didn't consider the immigrant a priority so the police decided to take matters into their own hands and arrest this 21-year-old Mexican.
The case went to court on Tuesday. And the Mexican government is paying for Ramirez's lawyers.
One defense lawyer, Randall Drew, said: "What the state is attempting to do here it so step into the federal government's shoes and determine whether a person is licensed or able to remain in the United States."
The prosecutor, Nicole Morse, said: "Just as with a sex offender, the hope is that they will go and register with the state. And if they don't, then they are violating the law. Indeed, the state's interest in this case is security. Being able to identify people who are in our community is essential to the police being able to maintain and keep the peace."
Comeon lady. The Mexican was making a phone call on the side of the road that day in April. He's not a terrorist--he's a construction worker. And he wasn't trespassing on private property (which is what the law refers to)--he was making a phone call.
But police are going to do what they want to do. But still, someone needs to remind them to stay on their own turf.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
It's ironic that somebody stationed just outside of Baghdad who could give us informative insight and detailed accounts of events was arrested for blogging July 11, 2005.
Visit what remains of National Guardsman, Leonard Clark's blog here.
I can only share some stories mainstream media cover in tiny detail or totally neglect.
"BAGHDAD, 12 July (IRIN) - Iraqis are selling their own blood to people who are buying supplies for relatives in need, due to a shortage, doctors say. This has caused concern over the spread of disease since the supplies are not checked for blood-bourne infections."
"Nine building workers have died in Iraq after being arrested on suspicion of insurgent activity and then left in a closed metal container.
"Three men survived the ordeal, police sources said, despite being left for 14 hours in the burning Iraqi summer heat."
"BAGHDAD — The rank smell of sweat, stale cigarettes and garbage engulfs the cavernous aircraft hangar where hundreds of Iraqi men in khaki fatigues lounge on black metal bunk beds with bare mattresses. A door in the corner leads to the bathroom — a dozen or so metal cubicles reeking of human filth.
"For many of the more than 2,000 men who make up the Iraqi army's fledgling 5th Brigade, this dank metal shed with sporadic electricity and no running water has been their home for the last six months as they prepare to take their place on the front lines against the country's insurgency."
I don't care if you're for the war, against the war, or simply don't care. Between political rhetoric and insult exchanges, stories of people greatly impacted by the fighting from all sides are often not noticed by mainstream media.
Can every story be covered? No.
Can recognition of brave men and women serving be ignored? Not if you take action:
"On Friday evening, July 15 the National Governors' Association Conference will begin in Des Moines, Iowa. The American Friends Service Committee, in conjunction with Military Families Speak Out, are hosting a special version of AFSC's Eyes Wide Open exhibit of the boots of fallen soldiers in Des Moines prior to the opening of the Conference -- it will be the boots of fallen National Guard soldiers.
"Get your Governor to take notice of this event and read the names of the fallen National Guard soldiers from their state.
"If you'd like to help out, please contact your Governor's office:
"Hello, my name is ___________________ I'm calling to follow-up on an invitation the Governor received to a memorial service for National Guard soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would like the Governor to participate in the service by reading the names of the fallen Guard members from (your state) and laying a flower at the boots bearing their names.
I believe it is very important for our elected officials to publicly recognize the sacrifice that military personnel and their families have made, and the toll that has been taken by the war in Iraq. (here again, feel free to add your personal comments.)
The memorial service will be held at 5:00 pm on Friday, July 15, at Nollen Plaza at Third and Locust in Des Moines.
Will the governor be able to attend?
If yes: Please thank him/her on my/our behalf.
If no: Ask for the reason why the Governor will not be able to attend."
Sunday, July 10, 2005
I have an extreme dislike when mainstream media don't do their jobs. How come reporters aren't asking questions about Karl Rove? I know more about President Bush falling off his bike, a pitcher pushing a camera man and a hurricane than I do about Karl Rove.
Did the president's most trusted advisor leak a CIA agent's identity to Matt Cooper, Walter Pincus, and Robert Novak?
Leaking a CIA agent's identity is a big deal, although the law regarding the issue is tough to prove:
"And the law governing the protection of covert agents is written in such a way that hardly anyone has been prosecuted under it.
"The government must show that individuals knew the agent had a protected status and that the agent's identity was disclosed intentionally.
"The law also requires that the government must have been making active efforts to protect the identity of the agent. Some argue that Plame no longer was doing undercover work and operated openly at CIA headquarters."
The White House isn't talking. It seems the only time the White House talks is when they are cleaning up messes.
"In early October 2003, NEWSWEEK reported that immediately after Novak's column appeared in July, Rove called MSNBC 'Hardball' host Chris Matthews and told him that Wilson's wife was 'fair game.' But White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters at the time that any suggestion that Rove had played a role in outing Plame was 'totally ridiculous.'"
Now the White House doesn't want to create any mess or go near it. It appears the press is more than willing to aid in that cleanliness. Not one of the reporters thought Rove was worth a single question to Scottie McClellan. Not one.
My greatest fear of mainstream media lobbing softball questions to the White House is becoming a reality. So like many of you, we will continue to be left in the dark.
Friday, July 08, 2005
After yesterday's bombing in London that killed at least 50 people, we've been reading an awful lot of "stiff upper lip" rhetoric. "London's been bombed before, and the indomitable British spirit has always pulled them through..." "Britain knows terrorism, and has fought it with toughness and determination..." "They can bomb London, but they can't kill our spirit..." That sort of thing. All well and good, by the way, and the British people have all my sympathy at this moment of national tragedy and national mourning. And, frankly, I know that nothing can kill the indomitable British spirit, any more than anything can kill the indomitable American spirit, or, for that matter, the indomitable human spirit.
A lot of this rhetoric is hard-blown hot air and obfuscation. Defending the "British way of life" is certainly a commendable thing, and it always was. When defending the "British way of life" means slaughtering Irishmen rising up from centuries of oppression, without concern for "collateral damage" to innocent--because no Irishman was truly innocent--people, the whole piece of rhetoric can finally seen as shallow at best and, more likely, entirely false. If what is going on in the world is something other than "defending the British way of life" or "defending freedom" or spreading democracy" or "a war between good and evil," people will know.
The right is calling for tougher measures to "fight terror." Britain's history of fighting the IRA demonstrates that tougher measures are no guarantee of success. In fact, tougher measures usually succeed only in dragging a society of laws down to the level of terrorists. Frankly, the British people got tired of this; it was to Tony Blair's credit (with the help and support of Bill Clinton) that he saw this and negotiated a framework for a devolved, power-sharing government in Northern Ireland.
The British people did not and do not support the war in Iraq. It took lies, both in Britain and in the US (and of course, in the UN) to get the British and American people to support this invasion and occupation. To this day, little--if ANYTHING--has been mentioned in the US mainstream media about the fact that the Project for a New American Century had been calling for an unprovoked first strike against Iraq for the purposes of regime change since the mid-1990s. As recently as two weeks ago, President Bush repeated the lies that Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks on the US. On FOX, Sean Hannity still insists that Iraq has WMDs.
But the people aren't buying it anymore. And that means both the American people and the British people.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Sometimes I think American's wear really funny glasses. You know, like those X-ray glasses they used to advertise in the comics books in the 1960s? Except these glasses (the ones I think Americans wear) actually make a thing disappear when you look at it--you know, you can see right through it and everything. You just can't see it.
Three and a half years ago, America was attacked. Brutally attacked. Three thousand Americans died in New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania. And as we sat watching our televisions in shock, our first question was "Why do they hate us so much?"
The answers we got from the Bush administration of course--like everything else that issues forth from its collective mouth--were lies. "They hate our freedom." "They want to destroy democracy." "They thrive on chaos and hate peace." Yeah. Of course. Because they are a perverse race or a preverse religion. They hate and want to destroy the things that the rest of the world would love to have and aspires to. Freedom, democracy, and peace. "These people" are evil. Let's go kill them.
I happened to be writing a paper at the time which gave an awful lot of evidence that the developing world hates us because we a] exploit their labor, b] exploit their raw materials, c] lie about our motivation and purposes, d] seem, as a nation, so complacent about suffering in the world. You can read some of the results (uncited) here (if you want a copy with sources cited, e-mail me).
Here's an article from Tunis Hebdo (Tunisia) which gives voice to the many invisible (to us) excesses of American culture. In it, the author deals with the lies and hypocrisy that, in our political system, Americans are so quick to dismiss:
Also, no one is deceived by George Walker Bush’s explanations, the man who pushed for the invasion of the Mesopotamian country. The argument advanced to justify the war, that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, has been exposed as a fantasy. That was followed-up with these other fairy tales: that Iraq’s security services were behind the September 11attacks; that Iraq was able to launch a chemical attack within 45 minutes; that Saddam had purchased uranium from Niger; and that he supported al-Qaeda, etc.
As they are needed, new reasons come and go, but they don’t convince anyone. As for the argument about the dictatorial abuses of Saddam Hussein, that also rings false: In the Eighties, Washington never had the tiniest scruple about supporting the man in Baghdad, just as it supported other famous dictators: Marcos (The Philippines), Somoza (Nicaragua), Pinochet (Chile), Mobutu (Zaire), Batista (Cuba); and the list is far from exhausted.
The author then goes on to describe what much of the world sees as the "voracious appetite" of the American lifestyle--and the economy that supports it (my emphases):
A vast empire with planetary dimensions, the country of George Bush, which holds the destiny of humanity in its hands, is an extraordinarily voracious country. A prolific producer, it is also greedy, gluttonous and avid at consumption. Alone, the United States consumes almost as much as the rest of the world. An American consumes four times more energy than a European, five times more than one Japanese, 160 times more than all those in other countries. Per capita, no people on earth consume more meat, more paper, more wood, more oil, more steel, more uranium, more coffee, or more cocoa than the people of the United States. It is a way of life based on an abundance derived directly from plundering the raw materials of poor countries, consequently condemning to misery and underdevelopment whole peoples, whole nations and whole continents. America controls over half of the raw materials of the planet and fixes their prices at generally moderate levels so that it can sell them back to the countries they came from at exorbitant cost.
The author is quick to point out that the USA is in no way "congenitally evil," and in fact has been the object of admiration for most of the world in the past.
By taking note of this, by underlining what we believe to be true, we are in no way showing a "congenital hatred" toward the United States, a country of daring and enterprising men who have shown humanity the most fantastic discoveries in science and medicine. With its legendary dynamism and the self-sacrificing spirit of its valorous children, America embodies an engine, pushing the train of humanity toward progress.
So what happened?
A century ago, the great thinker Herman Melville assigned the U.S. a divine mission: "We Americans,” he wrote, “are the peculiar, chosen people ... We bear the ark of the liberties of the unknown world ... " When one hears and sees what the head of the White House is doing today, there is a yawning gap between reality and that mission ...
Bush must go.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Googlezon notes that, like the Downing Street Memos, if this story is going to sprout legs, it is not the mainstream media (and DEFINITELY not FOX) who will get it running, but the blogosphere.
Editor & Publisher says in an opinion column that Cooper and Miller should essentially rat Rove out--that the pledge to keep your sources anonymous doesn't apply to fat liars who are playing your game and using you to advance some ill-conceived ends. I agree with that: journalistic values are no more important, in principle or in practice, than values generally. They are not sacred because we append the word "journalism" to them and link them conceptually to the US Constitution via the 1st Amendment. Loyalty is a value. It is good to be loyal to your friends. When a friend is disloyal to you, you may forgive it and forget it and remain loyal to them. But when there is a repeated pattern of disloyalty, and this "friend" screws you over, again and again--well how far do you take "loyalty" in this case before you admit to yourself you're a doormat?
If Rove is the anonymous source, I say TURN HIM IN.
And while we're at it. what's with the kid-glove treatment of Robert Novak?
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
The Molloy students run a summer camp for kids in the mountains of coal-mining Mingo County. Faculty and staff help the students and do various painful acts of physical labor (I am both joking and NOT joking right now). I am told that $25.00 subsidizes one youngster for one week of summer camp.
The Google ads generate money only when they are clicked. In other words, you have to open an ad in order for any money to go to Big Laurel. It is NOT necessary to buy anything, only to look at the ads. So far, I have generated only about $55.00 for Big Laurel, which I intend to match when I go down there to join the Molloy folks in about two weeks. Please, CLICK ON OUR GOOGLE ADS TO MAKE SOME MONEY FOR A WORTHY CAUSE IN THESE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS.
It's a different story for the IN THE DARK store on Cafe Press. Profits, and ONLY profits, from sales of IN THE DARK merchandise will go to Big Laurel. I've made only pennies so far on that one (hey, those IN THE DARK t-shirts, tote bags, and mugs are pretty cool!), but whatever I make in the future will go to Big Laurel.
Also, the Amazon links will bring you to Amazon.com, and it is not necessary to buy only the linked books. Any book, music, or movie you buy through this blog will raise money for Big Laurel.
Finally, several very generous people have asked about--and have made--direct donations to Big Laurel. Any amount--$5, $10, $25, $100--helps these good people help the folks in this Appalachian mountain community. Send your contributions directly to:
Big Laurel Learning Center
PO Box 243
Naugatuck WV 25685
Thanks for anything you do, and all the good you do.
Welcome, and consider it a mitzvah. My good deed for the day.
That said, I recommend you read Robert Scheer's column from today's LA Times. Their site might ask you to register, but I'd recommend it. I've always thought of Bush's "War on Terra" as the new Cold War. Scheer's piece titled "Bush Is Serving Up The Cold War Warmed Over" captures this analogy perfectly:
In the process, Bush has justified an enormous military buildup, spent tens of billions of dollars in Iraq, reorganized the federal government, driven the nation's budget far into the red and assaulted the civil liberties of Americans and people around the world, all without bothering to seriously examine the origins of the 9/11 attacks or compose a coherent strategy to prevent similar ones in the future. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden remains at large, as do his financial and political backers in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.
But why has the White House pursued this nonsensical approach over the loud objections of the country's most experienced counterterrorism and Islamic experts? Because it allows the administration all the political benefits the Cold War afforded its predecessors: political capital, pork-barrel defense contracts and a grandiose sense of purpose.
And because the war on terror has no standard of victory, it can never end — thus neatly replacing the Cold War as a black-and-white, us-against-them worldview that generations of American (and Soviet) politicians found so useful for keeping the plebes in line. It's a one-size-fits-all bludgeon.
What is the end game? Endless war. That is the best way to keep the people in line. Are we re-living the 1950's era of conformity and fear? Well, the new McCarthyism is already here. Remember... liberal = terrorist. If you ask questions you are un-American and a traitor!
If it only weren't for the liberals then we would be winning this war?! Wait, we are winning this war! A fine cadre of conservative pseudo-journalists are setting to prove just that:
WASHINGTON — A contingent of conservatives talk radio hosts is headed to Iraq this month on a mission to report "the truth" about the war: American troops are winning, despite headlines to the contrary.
The "Truth Tour" has been pulled together by the conservative Web cast radio group Rightalk.com and Move America Forward, a non-profit conservative group backed by a Republican-linked public relations firm in California.
"The reason why we are doing it is we are sick and tired of seeing and hearing headlines by the mainstream media about our defeat in Iraq," Melanie Morgan, a talk radio host (search) for KSFO Radio in San Francisco and co-chair of Move America Forward, said. Morgan said the media is "imposing a Vietnam template on this war." "This is not Vietnam," she said. "War is war, and it's dangerous, and the killing is taking place all of the time. At the same time, where there is danger, there is success and there is a mainstream media that is determined to shut out that success."
And she would know because she is a war hero and top military strategist, right?
God, I need some drugs. I can't take much more of this insanity.
This is, I believe, one of the main reasons America remains IN THE DARK.
Some have gone back to that old bogeyman, content, to poke holes in the research.
One of the studies involved nearly 400 northern California third-graders. Those with TVs in their bedrooms scored about eight points lower on math and language arts tests than children without bedroom TVs.
A second study, looking at nearly 1,000 adults in New Zealand, found lower education levels among 26-year-olds who had watched lots of TV during childhood.
A third study, based on nationally representative data on nearly 1,800 U.S. children, found that those who watched more than three hours of television daily before age 3 scored slightly worse on academic and intelligence tests at ages 6 and 7 than youngsters who watched less TV.
Critics faulted the research for not adequately considering the content of the TV watched, but experts said it bolsters advice that children shouldn't have TVs in their rooms.This, even though recent studies have shown that children who watch a lot of television are at greater risk for aggressive behavior than children who watch little television, without regard to the content. A 2001 Stanford University study showed that children who watch television and play video games are more likely to exhibit hostile or aggressive behavior than those whose television viewing and video game playing is limited.
This is one of the reasons why the US Army is getting in the video game business, and one of the reasons that Americans have lost a lot of their critical thinking skills in the last two generations (can you think of a better reason for the rise of the GOP and the ascendancy of the religious right?).
STOP WATCHING TELEVISION!!! THINK INSTEAD.
In retaliation, US forces bombed a neighborhood in the same province, killing 17 civilians. Afghanistan's government condemned the attack today.
About 700 people have died in renewed fighting in Afghanistan in recent weeks.
Luis Posada Carriles remained in US custody on Independence Day, although many countries have demanded his extradition to Venezuela for the 1976 terrorist bombing of a Cuban airliner. Posada entered the US illegally sometime last winter and was arrested in May. So far, the ex-CIA agent has been charged only with illegally entering the US. The US has refused extradition.
On Independence Day, the death toll for US forces in Iraq stood at 1,745.
On Independence Day, Karl Rove and Robert Novak walked the streets free men, while Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper face jail time.
The United Church of Christ struck a blow for freedom--and the culture wars--when it passed a resolution supporting same-sex marriages on Independence Day.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Lawrence O'Donnell, writing in the Huffington Post, says Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin is playing what he calls the I-did-not-inhale-defense: Rove did not "knowingly" disclosed Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative. He talked to Matthew Cooper about it. But if Cooper didn't already know this piece of classified information, it was news to Rove.
Uh-huh. That's about what we've come to expect from this administration.
From the Chi-town Trib:
Items compiled from Tribune news services
Published July 4, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) called Sunday for White House aide Karl Rove to comment in person on the case of a CIA agent whose cover was blown in the media.
Schumer's demand came after Saturday reports that Rove, White House deputy chief of staff, spoke to a Time magazine reporter about agent Valerie Plame.
Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, told Newsweek that Rove never revealed classified information or told Time reporter Matthew Cooper that Plame worked for the CIA.
"We've heard it from his lawyer, but it would be nice to hear it directly from Mr. Rove that he didn't leak the identity of Valerie Plame," Schumer said.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Is anybody really surprised by this?
The Bush administration seems to have two modes of operation: lying and keeping secrets. Truth, is not an option.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
...If this all turns out to be true.
(~~spikin' the ball, doin' my little end-zone dance~~)
"The e-mails surrendered by Time Inc., which are largely between Cooper and his editors, show that one of Cooper's sources was White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to two lawyers who asked not to be identified because they are representing witnesses sympathetic to the White House," Isikoff writes on the Newsweek web site. "Cooper and a Time spokeswoman declined to comment. But in an interview with Newsweek, Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, confirmed that Rove had been interviewed by Cooper for the article. It is unclear, however, what passed between Cooper and Rove."
..."He has answered every question that has been put to him about his conversations with Cooper and anybody else," Luskin said. But one of the two lawyers representing a witness sympathetic to the White House told Newsweek that there was growing "concern" in the White House that the prosecutor is interested in Rove.
But let's not jump to any conclusions about that dirty-dealing, lying, deceitful, fat bag of gas. All evidence to the contrary, this is NOT Bush's America we live in, and people--ALL people--are entitled to due process of law, including the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
But when he is proven guilty, I say send him to GITMO.
Friday, July 01, 2005
From Stars and Stripes, the official media organ of the Department of Defense, comes this news. Will the mainstream media pick this one up?
Between Oct. 1, 2004 — the start of fiscal 2005 — and March 30, the Army registered 2,518 desertions, according to figures provided June 28 by an Army spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Pamela Hart.
In all 12 months of fiscal 2004, the total number of Army deserters was 2,723, Hart said.
Don't worry everybody. Howie assures me that the war is going well, the insurgency is in its death throes, and troop morale is fine (except for those f@#king liberals screwing everything up).
Hey Howie: add Rumsfeld's Stars and Stripes to your list of "liberal media."
A new Zogby poll shows that 42% of Americans want Bush impeached if he lied about WMDs in Iraq, links between Saddam and Al Qa'ida, and an Iraqi connection to 9/11, the reasons the Bush administration gave for our invasion of Iraq. And this is with a full-court-press by both the administrations of George W. Bush and Tony Blair and the entire US mainstream media trying either to ignore or downplay the Downing Street Memo and leaked British cabinet papers.
Since he is still telling the same old story about Saddam and 9/11, I think it looks pretty clear that the alibi about "bad intelligence" is, well, BULLSHIT.
It was a conscious, calculated effort to mislead the American public. PERIOD. It was all a stack of lies, and the more the American people know about it, the sooner we will be rid of this bunch.
As Katherine knows, it's time to start saying the "I" word...
And yes, there are some Minuteman organizers in Chicago. Rick Biesada, co-founder of the Chicago project, is an ex-Marine. And, according to today's Chicago Tribune, Biesada said on a recent radio show: "In the old days, they used to hang these suckers."
There's another organization against immigration called the Midwest Coalition to Reduce Immigration, based in Lombard. The executive director is Dave Gorak. The group's website even has a number for people to report illegal immigrants. The Tribune reports that the tip line received 68,536 calls in 2005.
Biesada has also said, "I'm doing this for my grandchildren."
Well Biesada, I hope your grandchildren have another role model.
March on, raza!