Something we all need to hear. Listen!
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
These Israeli attacks come on top of a brutal siege of the Gaza Strip which has been going on for years and has created a humanitarian catastrophe of dire proportions for Gaza's 1.5 million Palestinian residents by restricting the provision of food, fuel, medicine, electricity, and other necessities of life. All of this is happening in the most densely populated and one of the poorest areas of the world.
Israel is carrying out these attacks with F-16 fighter jets and missiles provided by U.S. taxpayers. From 2001-2006, the United States transferred to Israel more than $200 million worth of spare parts to fly its fleet of F-16's. In July 2008, the United States gave Israel 186 million gallons of JP-8 aviation jet fuel. Last year, the United States signed a $1.3 billion contract with Raytheon to transfer to Israel thousands of TOW, Hellfire, and 'bunker buster' missiles.
Israel's lethal attack on the Gaza Strip could not have happened without the active military and political support of the United States. We need to take action now to protest this attack and demand an immediate cease-fire.
* Contact the White House to protest the attacks and demand an immediate cease-fire. Call 202-456-1111 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Contact the State Department at 202-647-6575.
* Contact your Representative and Senators in Congress at 202-224-3121.
* Contact your local media by phoning into a talk show or writing a letter to the editor.
* Organize a local protest or vigil and tell us about it here. http://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2008/12/29/take-action-to-protest-israeli-attack-on-gaza/
Below are three articles you may want to read for background information and reports on the Gaza crisis.
'If Gaza Falls...', Sara Roy, Professor at Harvard's Center For Middle Eastern Studies and author of 'Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict'.
'Gaza Massacres Must Spur Us To Action', Ali Abunimah, Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of 'One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse' (Metropolitan Books, 2006).
'Report on Gaza', Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Update December 22, 2008.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Your Inner Being As Your Greatest Resource by: Owen Waters
Your inner being - your soul or higher self - is not something that you have. It is what you are. Your complete consciousness is your inner being. All of the so-called parts of your mind - the conscious, the subconscious and the superconscious parts - are all facets of your one, complete consciousness, your inner being. Your conscious mind is the result of your inner being focusing attention upon the outer world through your physical brain and senses. When, instead, you turn your attention from the outer world towards the inner world, you access the resources of your inner being. Your inner being possesses all of the wisdom, understanding and strength that you will ever need. It is your ultimate, personal resource. Your inner being is also your link with the universe and with the consciousness behind all life, Infinite Being. If you think of yourself as living your life like a performer on stage, then your inner being is like the backstage technician who makes sure that your performance has all the support that it needs to make everything happen on cue. The amount of knowledge and wisdom available within you is unlimited. In order to access it, you only have to make an intention to go within and find it. Your subconscious mind runs all of your biological systems without conscious effort on your part. In fact, if you think about it, the subconscious mind of an ant knows more about biology and chemistry than today's leading scientists. Your inner being knows even more; in fact, everything about anything you want to know anything about. The trick is to ask the question and then silence your conscious mind enough to hear the answer. When you become consciously aware of the true nature of your inner being and its resources of wisdom, understanding and strength, you begin to dissolve many of the former limitations to your growth. The key to expressing your human potential is to know that all potential lies within you and you only have to open an external channel in order to allow that unlimited potential to flow out into the world. The power is within. To become empowered, you don't have to become something new. You only have to realize that you already have that power within, then allow that infinite inner potential to flow into your life.
This article was written by Owen Waters, author of "Freedom of the Spirit: Four Powerful Steps to Spiritual Freedom," available now for immediate download at:http://www.infinitebeing.com/ebooks/freedom.htm
Monday, December 22, 2008
The song below holds potent energy .... during this time of rebirth....remember, peace is not just the absence of war, but a place inside each of us which if we access and give back to the universe we contribute to the energy flow of Peace and Love....In the same breath, the end of war is not just the end of bombs falling....but a place inside each of us where we consciously choose to be kind to each other, to be tolerant of differences and share this energy with all things we come into contact with...the plants, the animals the 2-legged.... I wish each and all a blessed new year. (there will not be posting for about 5 days......please check back in)
If Every Woman in the World
If every woman in the world had her mind set on freedom,
If every woman in the world dreamed a sweet dream of peace,
If every woman of every nation, young and old, each generation, held her hands out in the name of love
There would be no more war.
If every man in the world had his mind set on freedom,
If every brother stood with brother as a witness for peace,
If every man of every nation, young and old, each generation, held his hands out in the name of love
There would be no more war.
If every leader in the world, shared a vision of freedom,
If every leader in the world shared a sweet dream of peace,
If every leader of every nation, worked for justice and liberation, holding hands out in the name of love
There would be no more war.
If every nation in the world, set a true course for freedom,
If every nation raised its children in a culture of peace,
If all our sons and all our daughters reached in friendship across the waters, refusing to be enemies
There would be no more war.
Words: Karen MacKay; Nancy L. Nordlie
Music: Karen MacKay
Arr. Jerome Kyles
Ed. Nancy L. Nordlie
Thursday, December 18, 2008
* 2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are
* 3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas
* 4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me
* 5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets
and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees
* 6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me
* 7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an
* 8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm
Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why
* 9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at
the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away?
* 10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder -- - Jingle Bells,! Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells,
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
High Fructose corn syrup is targeting... MOMS!
Watch out moms… The corn industry is targeting us to buy MORE High Fructose Corn Syrup products! http://hfcsyrup.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=15
Apparently, with the push to use more corn in gasoline products, the natural byproduct of that is High fructose corn syrup! It's not that it's healthier for us, it's better for their pockets if we buy HFCS AND their corn derived Gasoline. 2 for 1 for them! Grrrrrrr.
Some research on weight gain in relation to using HFCS, which the HFCS industry says is not true: http://www.fountia.com/high-fructose-gain-weight
As Farm Bill subsidies have lowered prices of commodity crops over the past thirty years, the food industry has invested heavily in an infrastructure that turns cheap materials into highly profitable "value-added" products.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), not even commercially concocted before the 1970s, has rapidly become one of the Farm Bill's industrial workhorses. A liquid sweetener with six times the potency and far cheaper than cane sugar, HFCS can also be used to prolong shelf-life, resist freezer burn, create an oven-toasted effect, and other processing functions. Over the past three decades, U.S. consumption of high-fructose corn syrup has jumped 1,000 percent. Soybeans are almost as versatile, providing a cheap and abundant source of added fats in the form of hydrogenated oils that have almost invisibly worked their way into the makeup of nearly every nonproduce item in the modern industrial diet. Dairy and meat products, made from livestock raised in confinement conditions and fed rapid weight-gaining diets of corn and soybeans are also high in unhealthy fats. The utility and commercial desirability of these ingredients is obvious. Out of nearly 15,000 new food products introduced each year, 75 percent are candies, condiments, breakfast cereals, baked goods, beverages, or dairy novelties.
Along the way the average U.S. citizen's daily food intake has ballooned to nearly 3,900 calories—almost twice the maximum recommended by U.S. health officials. This includes, on average, 32 teaspoons of added caloric sweeteners per day and as high as 1,800 calories in fats."
—Daniel Imhoff, Food Fight: The Citizen's Guide to a Food and Farm Bill (2007, Watershed Media)
Thirsty for more? Check out these related articles:
- Green Tea Instead Of "Fizzy Drinks"
- Don’t Eat High Fructose Corn Syrup? You’re Both Snobby and a Racist
- 7 Things That Make Your Butt (and The Rest of You) Look Fat
- Five Dire Green Myths Causing the Greatest Global Harm
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writer Qassim Abdul-zahra, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 39 mins ago
BAGHDAD – The journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush was handed over to the Iraqi judiciary, an Iraqi official said Tuesday, a move that signals the start of criminal proceedings.
There were conflicting reports about the physical condition of Muntadhar al-Zeidi, who gained folk hero status when he hurled both his shoes at Bush during a news conference Sunday in Baghdad.
His employer, Al-Baghdadia television, reported that al-Zeidi had been "seriously injured" — presumably beaten by guards — and called on the government to allow lawyers and the Iraqi Red Crescent to visit him.
Later, one of his brothers said on Al-Baghdadia that he had spoken by telephone with al-Zeidi and that he told him "thank God, I am in good health."
"I felt from his voice that he is good health," brother Maitham al-Zeidi said.
In Washington, deputy State Department spokesman Robert Wood said: "Obviously, we condemn any kind of unnecessary force used against the reporter. I don't know that that happened but certainly if that did take place, we would condemn that."
After the Sunday incident, al-Zeidi was initially held by the prime minister's guards and later turned over to the Iraqi army's Baghdad command. The command, in turn, handed him over to the judiciary, the Iraqi official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't supposed to release the information.
The official would not elaborate, but referring the case to the judiciary usually signals the beginning of a lengthy process that could end in a criminal trial. Cases referred to the judiciary are given to a judge who reviews the evidence and recommends whether to hold a trial or release the defendant.
Another panel then sets a trial date and appoints judges to hear the case. The process can take months.
Earlier, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said al-Zeidi could face charges of insulting a foreign leader and the Iraqi prime minister, who was standing next to Bush when the shoes were thrown. The offense carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.
Many Iraqis, however, believe al-Zeidi was a hero for insulting an American president widely blamed for the chaos that has engulfed their country since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.
In Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, located north of Baghdad, an estimated 1,000 protesters carried banners and chanted slogans demanding al-Zeidi's release.
A couple of hundred more also protested Tuesday in Nasiriyah, a Shiite city about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad, and Fallujah, a Sunni area west of the capital.
In Baghdad, Noureddin al-Hiyali, a lawmaker of the main Sunni bloc in parliament, defended al-Zeidi's actions and said he believed the reporter was likely motivated by the invasion of Iraq, the "dismantling of the Iraqi government, destroying the infrastructure" — all events he blamed on the Bush administration.
"International law approves peoples' right to resist occupation using all means, and Mr. Muntadhar al-Zeidi endeavored to resist occupation in his own manner," al-Hiyali said.
He urged the government to take that into consideration when deciding what to do with al-Zeidi.
The head of the Iraqi Union of Journalists described al-Zeidi's action as "strange and unprofessional" but urged Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to give him clemency.
"Even if he has committed a mistake, the government and the judiciary are broad-minded and we hope they consider his release because he has a family and he is still young," Mouyyad al-Lami told AP Television News. "We hope this case ends before going to court."
The head of Jordan's Bar Association, Saleh Armouti, said Tuesday that scores of lawyers have been signing up to help defend al-Zeidi. The association is dominated by hardline Muslims and leftists critical of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Wood, the deputy State Department spokesman, described the incident as "one individual's views."
"There are plenty of Iraqis that you can find who support what President Bush has done, our efforts to try to bring about democracy, a full functioning democracy in the heart of the Middle East, in Iraq," he said.
The perception of al-Zeidi as a hero reflects Arab animosity toward Bush for the invasion and dissatisfaction with the president's handling of foreign policy matters in the Middle East.
That hostility has persisted even though violence has dropped by more than 80 percent in Iraq since earlier this year when car bombings and gunfights throughout the country were rampant.
Nevertheless, Iraqi security forces and U.S. troops continue to be targeted by insurgents.
On Tuesday, three bombings in Baghdad and another in Diyala province killed four people and wounded at least 30.
Two police and two civilians were killed by a roadside bomb near Baghdad's Technical University and 13 other people were wounded, police said.
A car bomb near the city's Babylon Hotel wounded three people, including a security guard. The bomb went off as a convoy from the ministry of science went by, but the minister was not in the vehicles, police said.
Three police and three civilians were wounded by a roadside bomb directed at a police patrol near central Baghdad's Andalus Square, police said. Another roadside bomb against a police patrol near Saadiya in Diyala wounded five police and three other people, Diyala security officials said.
Also in Saadiya, a security official said three gunmen killed the imam of a local Sunni mosque on Monday evening.
The U.S. military said in a written statement that troops killed three suspected insurgents and detained three others in separate operations targeting al-Qaida networks in northern Iraq.
Also Tuesday, the U.S. military announced it had transferred the last 10 female detainees in its custody in Iraq to the authorities the day before.
A U.S. statement said the women have either been convicted of a security-related offense or are due to stand trial in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq.
The U.S. still holds about 15,500 detainees, down dramatically from the high of about 26,000 in November 2007.
The U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that goes into effect next month requires the U.S. to hand over detainees wanted by the Iraqis and release the rest.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Chief Sonne Renna told me that if women were to begin to honor their cycles again and bleed on the Earth, we would restore balance and peace to this planet. ~;~
LADIES,TAKE A PILL TO STOP YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE.....YOU MAY END YOUR LIFE. Posted By: Seawitch Date: Monday, 10 March 2008, 10:33 p.m. Recently this past week, Nicole Dishuk (age 31...newly graduated student with a doctoral degree about to start her new career as a Doctor...) was flown into a nearby hospital, because she passed out. They found a blood clot in her neck, and immediately took her by helicopter to the ER to operate. by the time they removed the right half of her skull to relieve the pressure on her brain, the clot had spread to her brain causing severe damage. Since last Wednesday night, she was battling.. they induced her into a coma to stop the blood flow, They operated 3 times.. Finally, they said there was nothing left that they could do.. they found multiple clots in the left side of her brain.. the swelling wouldn't stop, and she was on life support.. She died at 4:30 yesterday. She leaves behind a husband, and a 2 yr old Brandon and a 4 yr old Justin.. The CAUSE of DEATH - they found was a birth control she was taking that allows you to only have your period 3 times a year... They said it interrupts life's menstrual cycle, and although it is FDA approved... shouldn't be - So to the women in my address book - I ask you to boycott this product & deal with your period once a month - so you can live the rest of the months that your life has in store for you.
Remember, you have a CYCLE for a reason!
The name of this new birth control pill is Lybrel. If you go to www.Lybrel.com , you will find at least 26 pages of information regarding this drug. The second birth control pill is, Seasonique. If you go to the website of, www.Seasonique.com , you will find 43 pages of information regarding this drug. The warnings and side effects regarding both pills are horrible.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
In December of 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle reported "A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab trapsand lines.She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands(outside the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco )and radioed for help.Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her -- a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer."
"They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them.Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
May you, and all those you love, be so fortunate...To be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude. "
Life is short ...forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably...and never regret anything that made you smile.
Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it, it's only good for wallowing in.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Wouldn’t it be nice to have nearly $2 billion “extra” cash in the bank, and make over $1 million a day in profit? Sure it would: just ask the 'nonprofit' Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
Meanwhile, Blue Cross has raised its health insurance rates for individuals over 80% in Michigan, all while giving their executives huge pay raises and spending at least $1.1 million in advertising to pass anti-consumer bills.
Tell your state lawmakers to give the Blue Cross greed-grab a big thumbs down!
In the dwindling days of the lame duck session, without any public process, the Blues are pushing to:
Increase rates for people buying individual policies;
Eliminate any review of Blues' surplus in determining if their rates are excessive; AND
Increase rates based on where people live, their age and how sick they are.
This bill is nearly through the process, but your voice right now will make a difference. Your state Senate and House lawmakers are expected to vote on these bills at any moment.
Send a message right now and urge your legislator to stand up to Blue Cross and VOTE NO on this terrible scheme.
Michigan needs real health reform, not a scheme to pad the pockets of insurance companies while you pay more and more out of your own pocket.
Sincerely,Lauren SobelConsumers Union1535 Mission StreetSan Francisco, CA 94103
Monday, December 8, 2008
Described by The New York Times as the "Paul Revere of globalization's woes," Dr. Kevin Danaher's analytical expertise, sense of humor and blunt eloquence make him an exceptionally dynamic speaker.
Since co-founding Global Exchange in 1988, Dr. Danaher has spoken at hundreds of universities and for community organizations throughout the U.S.
He conducts workshops on issues ranging from the dynamics of the global economy to how we can replace the power of transnational corporations with local green economy networks. A longtime critic of the so-called "free trade" agenda, Dr. Danaher explains how we can create 'grassroots globalization', empowering local communities to create sustainable local economies.
Dr. Danaher is a Founder and an Executive Producer of the Green Festivals, two-day events bringing together hundreds of green economy companies, social justice and environmental organizations, speakers, live music, organic food and drink, and tens of thousands of attendees hungry for a transition to the green economy. He is also the Executive Director of the Global Citizen Center -- a permanent Green Festival. The Global Citizen Center is planned to be a downtown San Francisco building that will unite the local Green Economy in a mixed-use, multi-tenant facility featuring non-profit offices, green businesses and multi-cultural event space.
Dr. Danaher is the author and/or editor of numerous books, including his latest(which he co-authored with Shannon Biggs and Jason Mark), Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grass Roots (PoliPointPress).
Dr. Danaher has also published: Insurrection: Citizen Challenges to Corporate Power [Routledge Press], Ten Reasons to Abolish the IMF and World Bank; Democratizing the Global Economy: The Battle Against the World Bank and the IMF; Corporations Are Gonna Get Your Momma: Globalization and the Downsizing of the American Dream; Globalize This!: The Battle Against the World Trade Organization; Fighting for the Soul of Brazil; 50 Years Is Enough: The Case Against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; In Whose Interest: A Guide to US-South Africa Relations; Can the Free Market Solve Africa's Food Crisis; The Political Economy of US Policy Toward South Africa; South Africa: A New US Policy for the 1990s; and Beyond Safaris: A Guide to Building People-to-People Ties with Africa.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
1. There's literally no one watching where our money goes.Congress is trying to fix that by appointing an Inspector General to start watching what's happening, but one Senator is anonymously preventing his confirmation.
2.Tell your Senators: The Inspector General for the Bailout Program must be confirmed. All Senators need to support accountability and demand their colleagues remove any holds on this nomination.
Send a message to Your Senators right now
Our government needs to be more involved in restoring the economy. But, we need an economic recovery package for Main Street instead of more giveaways to Secretary Paulson's buddies on Wall Street. It's on us to provide that oversight and make sure taxpayer money isn't wasted.
Thanks for continuing to be vigilant,-
Darcy Scott MartinTrueMajority Washington Director
I offer my gratitude to the Grandmothers.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
forget your perfect offering
that's how the light gets in."
Sunday, November 30, 2008
by: Ryan Croken, t r u t h o u t | Review http://www.truthout.org/112908Y
While these characters express a range of sentiments - anger, valor, resilience, desperation, uncanny hospitality - they share one thing in common: they are all undeniably human. In working towards, as Kathy Kelly, author of the book's foreword, puts it, dispelling "the dangerous notion that only one person live(s) in Iraq, the notorious dictator Saddam Hussein," Smith-Ferri transforms a hazy crowd of very foreign foreigners into a collection of individuals who are extremely relatable and very much "like us." In the world of "Battlefield," people have been turned back into people, and, consequentially, the doors to empathy and communication are swung open. Suddenly re-humanized through the thoughtful deftness of Smith-Ferri's art, the crisis flares in our hands. Iraq is no theoretical quandary. It becomes personal, intimate, active. As the poet continues to bring Iraqi voices to American ears, we realize that these are not conversations to be overheard, but to be absorbed dir ectly. "Tell the American people we are not their enemies. / Tell the American people we love them, / but we must have our lives back!" The message is clear: if you are an American person, these people are speaking directly to you.
"Tell my story ... tell my story ... tell my story ... " After hearing "these same three words" over and over again while traveling around Iraq and through neighborhoods in Jordan where uprooted Iraqis struggle to survive in exile, Smith-Ferri becomes explicit in his intention to relay the insights, appeals and agonies of a deeply misunderstood country.
Here on this page I spill Suad's words,
jagged obsidian chips that lacerate this paper,
its blood marking the hands of everyone who reads this book.
All of this storytelling begs the question: how do we listen? Thusly marked by Suad's bloodied words, how do we respond? "Battlefield" does not answer these questions for us. It is a window, not an instruction manual. It invites us to contemplate our interconnectedness with another people in a world where borders - cultural, linguistic, geopolitical - have been erected to prevent the recognition of a shared humanity. Literally and literarily, Smith-Ferri crosses these borders and bears witness to previously inaccessible realities. After visiting a bomb shelter that became a tomb for over 400 Iraqis after two "very smart" American missiles slipped into the ventilation shaft and incinerated everyone inside, Smith-Ferri is slammed with an inter-culture shock of such bare-faced enormity that it kindles a sudden dark enlightenment:
My eyes were never meant to see this,
to flare like torch, sudden with knowledge,
like windows, to open on this illuminative dawn,
but like tinder in its box (named American, middle class)
to remain cold, untouched,
and far from flintstone truth.
Smith-Ferri's "flintstone truth" burns at the heart of his stories, whose ultimate lesson is perhaps that we ourselves are a part of them. This realization of suddenly being a part of the plot destabilizes the cozy illusion that there are vaguely bad things happening somewhere way over there in a strange land that many of us can't locate on a map. The battlefield has come home. The wounded are laid bare before us. "Fighting them over there so we don't have to think about them over here" loses its absurd currency. Distance is capsized, walls are torn down, and we find ourselves fighting this war not only on our shores, but in our own hearts and minds. What is our obligation to Suad? Where do complicity and culpability lie? "These poems strip us of our innocence," Kathy Kelly observes. "David prods us to be uncomfortable"; he prods us to become sensitized actors in a drama that is already difficult to observe from the air-conditioned mezzanine.
"Battlefield Without Borders" offers brutal, vivid and tender portraits of the fallout of the modern American-Iraqi engagement. Its lessons should be at the forefront of our minds as we try our best to figure out how to respectfully assist in the reconstruction of a country whose history and future have become inextricably linked to our own. More information about the book can be found at its Web site, www.battlefieldwithoutborders.org. All proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to Direct Aid Iraq, a grassroots humanitarian relief organization aimed at providing urgently needed medical care to Iraqis displaced by the sanctions, the invasion and the ensuing occupation. Information about Direct Aid Iraq is available at http://www.directaidiraq.org/.
"Battlefield Without Borders"
Iraq Poems by David Smith-Ferri
In January, 2007, Haley’s Publishing will produce a volume of poetry I wrote, with a beautiful Foreword written by Kathy Kelly. The book is entitled Battlefield Without Borders, Iraq Poems. I wrote about two thirds of these poems while in Iraq, after encounters with Iraqi people, in a wide-range of settings –– from hospitals to homes to bomb sites. The remaining poems have been written since, during the escalating terror and insanity of the current war and occupation. Marcia Gagliardi, the publisher at Haley’s, is generously donating her proceeds from the sale of this book. And my partner has generously agreed to match Marcia’s donation, so that for every $14 book that is sold, $12 will go into a fund for Iraqi victims of this war. You can read some of the poems here.
In December of 1998, Art Laffin, an activist, traveled from Washington, D.C. to Ukiah, CA, where I live, to give a slide presentation about his recent visit to Iraq. Iraqi people, at the time, had been living for eight and a half years under a crushing economic embargo, about which I knew next to nothing. What Art provided was a primer in horror and in a compassionate, hopeful response to it. From him, I heard stories of doctors, trained in Europe and the United States, unable to treat diseases because of a lack of equipment and medicine. I saw pictures of young children dying of diarrhea, dying in their mother’s arms. And I wanted to do something constructive in response.
I also learned about Americans who risked large fines and prison terms because they violated federal law by traveling to Iraq and bringing medicine and clothing to Iraqi hospitals. These were ordinary Americans, who scaled the sanctions wall and returned with pictures, stories, heightened understanding, and new information not reported in the media. I decided to visit Iraq for myself – to be able to speak from personal experience. Eight months afterward, in July, 1999, I visited Iraq for the first time, as part of an eight-member fact-finding delegation organized by the Chicago-based group, Voices in the Wilderness. The purpose of our trip was to gather first hand information about the humanitarian crisis caused by international economic sanctions and the terror caused by the policy and practice of "no-fly zone" bombings.
Three years later, in September, 2002, in the frightening run-up to the invasion, I returned to Iraq. On this delegation, I had three goals. First, I wanted to interview Iraqis – in some cases people I had talked with on the prior trip – about the threat of war. Surely, I reasoned, it should matter to us what people in Iraq think, how they perceive our possible actions and how they might respond. Second, I wanted to investigate the likely real life consequences of a United States military invasion on ordinary Iraqis. Last, there were a few families in Iraq with whom I’d maintained indirect contact, and I wanted to see them and talk with them and their children. I knew that if war did come, this might be the last chance I’d ever have to see them.
During each trip, I visited people who lived at the edge of a precipice, and whose point of view had the clarity that only comes with proximity to death. I met with a wide range of people –– doctors, patients, clerics, lawyers, teachers, taxi drivers, waiters, shoeshine boys, shop owners, business people, UN program directors, et al. I encountered anger and terror, to be sure, but also a remarkable depth of hospitality and warmth, intelligence and goodwill. The encounters were intense and emotionally charged, not only those which occurred at bomb sites and hospitals, but also ordinary meetings with people in a bakery or hotel lobby or restaurant.
In these circumstances, my urge to write became a need to write, a need to process and give form to experience so I could share it and remain sane. Below is a sampling of the poems. The book is dedicated to Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and to Barbara Lubin, Driector of the Middle East Children’s Alliance, for their steadfast and nonviolent opposition to war in the Middle East and the compassionate example of friendship and solidarity they’ve set at great personal risk.
My e-mail is email@example.com. And please consider buying a copy of the book and supporting the fund for Iraqi victims of war.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Read the whole story here: http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/1-over-one-million-iraqi-deaths-caused-by-us-occupation/
#1. Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupationin Top 25 Censored Stories for 2009
Over one million Iraqis have met violent deaths as a result of the 2003 invasion, according to a study conducted by the prestigious British polling group, Opinion Research Business (ORB). These numbers suggest that the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the mass killings of the last century—the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is approaching the number (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia’s infamous “Killing Fields” during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s.
After Downing Street, July 6, 2007
Title: “Is the United States Killing 10,000 Iraqis Every Month? Or Is It More?”
Author: Michael Schwartz
AlterNet, September 17, 2007
Title: “Iraq death toll rivals Rwanda genocide, Cambodian killing fields”
Author: Joshua Holland
Reuters (via AlterNet), January 7, 2008
Title: “Iraq conflict has killed a million, says survey”
Author: Luke Baker
Inter Press Service, March 3, 2008
Title: “Iraq: Not our country to Return to”
Authors: Maki al-Nazzal and Dahr Jamail
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The piece below is long for a blog post....but, it must be read completely. TAKE the time. An important message is being sent from Dahr Jamail, to the people who voted in the new president. WE, the people, must hold our leaders accountable.
I voted for Barack Obama --- I believed his words.. "Change...Yes we Can" Over the last few weeks, I am sadly disappointed with his administration selections. I am sadly disappointed about the new rhetoric regarding the War in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay torture camp .... President Obama....in your own words...."You have a mandate." Many Many Many people in this country gave one of their last dollars to elect a man who dare speak of change. I plan to hold him to his words.Full Story from our dedicated patriots at Truth-Out ;:: http://www.truthout.org/112608A
Learning to Lead Wednesday 26 November 2008
by: Dahr Jamail, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
(Artwork: Charmingly Bohemian)
"Observance of customs and laws can very easily be a cloak for a lie so subtle that our fellow human beings are unable to detect it. It may help us to escape all criticism, we may even be able to deceive ourselves in the belief of our obvious righteousness. But deep down, below the surface of the average man's conscience, he hears a voice whispering, 'There is something not right,' no matter how much his rightness is supported by public opinion or by the moral code." - Carl Gustav Jung
What's in a system?
We in the United States have grown acclimatized to a system that first dehumanizes us and then inevitably feeds on our dehumanization, sucking away at our resources, our rights, and our resistance while we scamper frantically around in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
We would like to imagine that it is our agency that drives us, and that our lives are under our control. The truth, however, is that we are the ones under control. The reason we do not notice it is that this control is masked as security, which we have been told is synonymous with freedom.
Recently, I passed through an airport checkpoint monitored by the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) and witnessed the "system" rear its ugly head yet again.
TSA is one of several security gifts from the Bush administration, or rather, from the twisted conjunction of corporate business and state power that oversees and safeguards our "freedom" and "democracy" through an elaborate system of control mechanisms.
Immediately in front of me, an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair was trying to reason with the security guard who was asking him to take off his sandals. "What do you want me to do? I didn't wear socks so you could see my feet since I'm unable to bend over and take off my sandals."
"Sir, you must comply with policy," the guard said in a raised voice, as three other TSA agents moved in behind him, arms folded ominously across their chests, and surrounded the elderly man in the wheelchair who requested their assistance, doing what he could to "comply." None of the guards stepped forward to take off his sandals for him in order to check his feet.
In exasperation he shouted, "I'm asking for help, and you won't do it, so what do you want me to do? What the Hell am I supposed to do? What are you afraid of? I'm an old man in a wheelchair! Are you afraid of my sandals?"
The guards would not allow him through the x-ray until he eventually lowered his voice. We must never upset the status quo, because that is an important pillar of a system that holds change in dread. Do not rock the boat, and don't you dare speak up, lest it indicate that something is wrong.
It requires no crystal ball to see that we are embedded in a system that has no qualms about harassing old men in wheelchairs or making pregnant women walk through x-ray machines. It is the same system that is killing scores of Iraqi and Afghan civilians daily, and killing the planet systemically. It is a system that requires us to be sleepwalkers, rather than alert and sensitive humans.
A Symbol Is Born
My partner was in Tanzania recently. I quote from an email from her which encapsulates the elation that individuals and societies across the globe have experienced at the unprecedented outcome of the recent presidential election in the United States. "My short band radio was already on, tuned to the BBC ... I bent down to photograph a small beautiful white flower that grows on the plains here, and as I clicked the shutter, the radio announced that Obama had won the election ... It was an incredible moment, to be here in East Africa as we elected our first African-American President."
Indeed, the profundity of an African-American being elected into the office of the president of the United States of America cannot be overstated. Barack Obama will soon be living, with his family, in a White House that was constructed by black slaves. The significance is not lost on most of us, or on people across the world, especially in Africa. Indeed, the times they are a-changing.
The entire presidential campaign was abuzz with talk of change. Barack Obama, elected, symbolizes the deep desire for change in our country. We thirst for it like one would for cool water in the desert. Our lungs are starved for a breath of positive change in a new direction. We crave a genuine diversion from the death-wish course that corporate capitalism has been pursuing for as long back as most adults in this country can remember.
The victory of Barack Obama symbolizes our need for change. The inhabitants of this planet are beginning to sense the need for something that can replace the willful and self defeating death urge of corporate consumer culture that is bent upon destroying everything. The fate of the world, one could argue, is dependent on a shift in consciousness. The election of Barack Obama has demonstrated that this shift is, in fact, occurring.
My partner wrote that her entire journey "... has been wonderfully saturated by the immense excitement for Obama. Being so close to Kenya, the local news shows images of his family's joy and the villagers dancing, and also Kenya's own mock election of our candidates. I haven't met a single person, who upon learning of my US citizenship didn't initiate a conversation about Obama and the future of the US. They are thrilled, and seemingly proud, of America poised for change ... and as I traverse one corner of this massive continent, I hear it over and over again: 'We love Obama - he has a hard road ahead of him, but the world is ready to stand by him.' One woman chose to clarify to me '... and it's not because he's black-skinned that we believe in him ...'"
She continued, "After eight years of feeling angry at and ashamed by the actions of the Bush administration, and in the very moments of worldwide celebration for our country's clear voice for a new path, I find myself feeling a certain excitement for the challenging road that lies ahead for our country. Here, amidst nearby turmoil and tribal conflicts, Africa is, as is the whole world, looking to us again with a sense of renewed possibility in their eyes."
Undeniably, there is possibility in this moment.
But is there change?
Since it is the United States that is primarily responsible for dragging the world economy into a recession, much of the world is now relying on it to provide the solution. Needless to say, the same applies to our vainglorious attempts at empire building, our excessive contribution to heedless pollution, our invasion of sovereign states, our transgressions and violations of international law....
We have an African-American president, but let us also bear in mind that he is but a symbol, and our need and faith may not suffice for the symbol of change to deliver real change.
There is a tremendous schism between what Barack Obama is saying, and what he is doing. Already, he is gathering around him a group of people that are not only likely to maintain status quo, but worse, cause our current catastrophic situation to worsen.
On November 17, Obama promised on CBS News 60 Minutes to shut down the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, while his advisers are simultaneously crafting a plan to create a brand new system of "Preventive Detention" and "National Security Courts." Preventive detention facilities do not give people the right to challenge their own detention, which is essentially what the Guantanamo Bay gulag has been all about - detaining people without charging them with a crime, and without trial. All we have at the moment is a suggestion of brand change, but nothing about policy change.
Obama promises to restore the moral stature of the United States. He has John Brennan and Jami Miscik, former intelligence officials under George Tenet, leading his review of intelligence agencies and making recommendations to the new administration. Brennan supported warrantless wiretapping and kidnapping (extraordinary rendition) and Miscik was involved with the politicized intelligence alleging WMDs in Iraq. They were both part of the team that provided the phony intelligence when Tenet informed Bush during the lead up to the Iraq invasion that the intelligence to support it was a "slam dunk." The incoming administration has also revealed that there will be no attempt to bring criminal charges against government officials who authorized or engaged in torture during the Bush presidency.
The new Defense team is being led by former Deputy Defense Secretary John P. White, who is the chair of the Kennedy School of Middle East Initiative at Harvard, and Michele Flournoy, president of the Center for a New American Security famed for the Iraq bombing and sanctions under President Bill Clinton.
Obama's transition team leaders are six of his top fundraisers, four of whom raised $500,000 or more for his campaign. One of them, Tom Donilan, was a lobbyist for mortgage giant Fannie Mae during 1999-2005. The President-elect himself voted in favor of the recent $750 billion bailout.
We were also treated to an echo of hollow rhetoric from the Bush chambers when the new president said on CBS that, "It is a top priority for us to stamp out al Qaeda once and for all," and that killing or capturing the groups mastermind Osama bin Laden was "critical" to US security.
On that note, let us note that Obama has already made it clear he refuses to "rule out" using mercenary companies in war zones, he has labeled Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a "terrorist organization," he plans to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and he has pledged to use unilateral force in Pakistan to defend US interests.
Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, despite having stated that his vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq was "mistaken," was an important facilitator of the war. He has also shamelessly championed the absurd idea of partitioning Iraq into three areas based primarily on ethnicity and religion (Balkanization).
Nor let us forgive the apparent selection of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. She was an ardent supporter of her husband's sanctions and bombing campaign against the people of Iraq throughout the 1990s, and she supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which helped lay the groundwork for George W. Bush's invasion in 2003. As a US Senator, Hillary Clinton said, "Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaida members ... I want to insure that Saddam Hussein makes no mistake about our national unity and our support for the president's efforts to wage America's war against terrorists and weapons of mass destruction."
Other so-called liberal hawks either in or advising Obama's team include the likes of Madeleine Albright, a war criminal who, as Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, was asked on 60 Minutes if she thought the price of 500,000 Iraqi children killed by the sanctions was worth the price to contain Saddam Hussein and said she thought that the price was "worth it."
The list is long, but I will just mention two more of note. Martin Indyk, the founder of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, spent years working for AIPAC and served as Clinton's ambassador to Israel and Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, while also playing a major role in developing US policy toward Iraq and Iran. In addition to his work for the US government, he has worked for the Israeli government, and with the neo-conservative think-tank the Project for the New American Century - which devised the US blueprint for global domination.
The idea of Obama keeping Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense is equally disturbing. Let us remember, it is Gates who supports a new generation of nuclear weapons at a time when even George Shultz and Henry Kissinger are calling for nuclear abolition. Gates wants to apply his surge approach to Afghanistan, and while he has criticized the massive budget and influence of the Pentagon, when he had the chance to rectify both problems, he has refused to do so. For example, in his FY 2009 budget request - the last he will be officially responsible for - he added $36 billion, an increase former CENTCOM commander Anthony Zinni noted, "is roughly equivalent to the entire budget for International Affairs."
On November 16 it was reported that Obama is pursuing an ambitious peace plan in the Middle East that involves the recognition of Israel by the Arab world in exchange for its withdrawal to pre-1967 borders.
Yet, the first appointment he made was of Rahm Israel Emanuel as his White House Chief of Staff, easily the most powerful office in the executive branch. In the 1940s Rahm's father, Benjamin, helped smuggle weapons to the Irgun, the Zionist militia of former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The Irgun carried out numerous terrorist attacks on Palestinian civilians, including the bombing of Jerusalem's King David Hotel in 1946.
Rahm's father, commenting on how his son would influence US policies toward Israel, is reported to have told an Israeli paper, "Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."
To his credit, Emanuel apologized for his father's incendiary remarks. But that does not alter the fact that he has been a consistent and vocal pro-Israel hardliner. In July 2006, Emanuel was one of several members who called for the cancellation of a speech by visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to the Congress because al-Maliki had criticized Israel's bombing of Lebanon. Around the same time, Emanuel referred to the Lebanese and Palestinian governments as ‘totalitarian entities with militias and terrorists acting as democracies" in a speech supporting a House resolution backing Israel's bombing of both countries that had caused thousands of civilian casualties. He accompanied Obama to an AIPAC executive board meeting last June, immediately after the Illinois senator had addressed the pro-Israel lobby's conference.
Emanuel is one of the most influential politicians and fundraisers in the party, and has played not an insignificant role in the costliest campaign for presidency that the country has known.
Sheldon Wolin writes in "Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism":
"When a minimum of a million dollars is required of House candidates and elected judges, and when patriotism is for the draft free to extol and for the ordinary citizen to serve, in such times it is a simple act of bad faith to claim that politics-as-we-know-it can miraculously cure the evils which are essential to its very existence."
Security Lies in Securing Bases
"The truth is replaced by silence, and the silence is a lie." - Yevgeny Yevteshenko
Barack Obama announced on CBS that immediately upon taking office on January 20, he and his security advisers will "start executing a plan that draws down our troops" from Iraq.
What we never hear him mention is the massive US military infrastructure being developed in Iraq. The US "embassy" in Iraq is the largest embassy in the world and the most secure diplomatic compound in the world.
At a construction budget that now exceeds $1 billion, the "embassy" is a self-sustaining cluster of 21 buildings reinforced 2.5 times the usual standards, with some walls as thick as 15 feet.
Plans are for over 1,000 US government officials to work and reside there. They will have access to gyms, swimming pools, barber and beauty shops, food courts and the commissary. There will also be large-scale barracks for troops, a school, locker rooms, a warehouse, a vehicle maintenance garage, and six apartment buildings with a total of 619 one-bedroom units. The total site will be two-thirds the area of the National Mall in Washington, DC. And, luckily for these "government officials," their water and electricity supplies and sewage treatment plants will be independent of Baghdad's city utilities. Meanwhile, one of four residents of Baghdad, a capital city of over six million, are now displaced from their homes thanks to the so-called surge. Of those lucky enough to still have a roof over their head, they receive an average of 3-4 hours of electricity on good days, and recent reports show that at least 45 percent of Iraqis lack access to safe drinking water.
Then there are the permanent military bases in Iraq.
To give you an idea of what these look like, let's start with Camp Anaconda, near Balad. Spread over a modest 15 square miles, the base boasts two swimming pools, a gym, a mini-golf course and first-run movie theater.
There are 30,000 soldiers who live at the Balad Air Base, where they can inspect new iPod accessories in one of the two base exchanges, which additionally offer piles of the latest electronics and racks of CDs to choose from. Thousands of civilian contractors live at the base in a section called "KBR-land." Doctors at the base hospital carry out as many as 400 surgeries every month on wounded troops.
Air Force officials on the base claim their runway is one of the busiest in the world. A steady stream of unmanned Predator drones carrying Hellfire missiles take off from there along with F-16s, C-130s, helicopters and other aircraft from a total of 250 that the base houses.
If our troops aren't up for the rather lavish dinners served by Third Country nationals from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh working for slave wages, they can dine at Burger King, Pizza Hut, Popeye's or Subway, then wash it down with a mocha from Starbucks.
There are other gigantic bases in Iraq, such as Camp Victory near Baghdad Airport, which when complete will be twice the size of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, currently the largest overseas US base since Vietnam.
At Camp Liberty, adjacent to Camp Victory, soldiers even compete in triathlons. According to a news article on a DOD web site, "The course, longer than 140 total miles, spanned several bases in the greater Camp Victory area in west Baghdad."
There is never any talk of full withdrawal of all forces from Iraq because US policy dictates a continuance of its military presence there. Less than two weeks after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003, military officials announced the US intention to maintain at least four large bases in Iraq for future use, to be located respectively near Baghdad International Airport (where the triathlon was), at Tallil near Nasiriyah in the south, at either Irbil or Qayyarah (80 kilometers apart) in the Kurdish north, and one in western al-Anbar province at al-Asad. These do not include Camp Anaconda in Balad.
Billions of dollars have been spent in their construction, and if today they are in the mentioned locations, it only indicates that the military planners had blueprints ready long before Mr. Bush declared that major combat operations were over in Iraq.
Note that while US officials never use the word "permanent" when referring to military bases in Iraq, they do talk of "permanent access." I quote from a front page story in The New York Times on April 19, 2003, entitled "Pentagon Expects Long Term Access to Four Key Bases in Iraq": "There will probably never be an announcement of permanent stationing of troops. Not permanent basing, but permanent access is all that is required, officials say."
None of the 700-plus US military bases and installations located abroad are considered "permanent," which is why ambivalent instruments like SOFA, the Status of Forces Agreement exist.
A quick glance at US government military strategy documents is even more revealing.
The 2002 National Security Strategy claims: "Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States." To accomplish this, it adds, we will "require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia."
Another interesting document is "Joint Vision 2020," within which the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's "vision" is, "Dedicated individuals and innovative organizations transforming the joint force of the 21st Century to achieve full spectrum dominance: persuasive in peace, decisive in war, preeminent in any form of conflict."
The Quadrennial Defense Review offers another priceless key to US foreign policy. In this document, a stated ambition for the US military is to have the capacity to fight "multiple, overlapping wars" (Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. ...) and to use the US military to "ensure that all major and emerging powers are integrated as constructive actors and stakeholders into the international system."
What can be a more obvious proclamation from US policymakers about having replaced the Cold War with a Long War for Global Empire and Unchallenged Military Hegemony? Viewed through this lens, it is not difficult to comprehend the need for permanent US bases in Iraq and elsewhere.
At the height of the Roman Empire, Rome had 39 foreign military outposts. The British had 38 at their peak. The US, in the twilight of her lust for empire, currently has just over 730 according to the Department of Defense.
We have not heard from our new President-elect any articulation of the intent of total withdrawal of all US military personnel and bases from Iraq. Nor has he made any suggestion about the imperative to alter the country's policy of global domination.
Making Real the Symbol
But this is not the time to despair, or merely hope.
"The cure for despair is not hope. It's discovering what we want to do about something we care about." - Margaret Wheatley
To underscore the essence of this moment in history, I refer once again to my partner's email from Africa, "We must not forget the tremendous responsibility we have now, to see that Obama maintains his promise of change ... we must not relinquish this moment nor this victory into his hands entirely. As he learns to lead us, so must we learn to lead him."