Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Finally, a smart guy will be President. What a relief.
Let him not be sucked into the maelstrom of Washington think.
That is all our responsibility. Hold this guy's feet to our fires.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Read this article to begin educating yourself about the U.S.'s relationships with its neighboring countries:
It's by Mark Weisbrot and was distributed by McClatchy Tribune Information Services on November 26, 2008. It was posted on Huffington Post on December 2.
You can read Mark's bio on the site.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Our foreign policy needs CHANGE, not the same old tired cliches.
It is time to examine the root causes of terror, look at the festering sores around the world that make it so easy to recruit terrorists for the agendas of the extreme few.
Pakistan and India must resolve their issues, Israel and Palestine must resolve their issues, the Shiites and Sunnis must come to a modus vivendi, the Philippine government must work out a proper settlement with their Moslem population, the governments of Somalia, Uganda, The Congo must be helped to resolve their conflicts and stop genocies.
The United States needs to take a leadership position for peace, not constant war.
All the bombs and guns in the world will never stop terror. More troops in Afghanistan will only inflame the situation unless they are there to bring stability not bomb more civilians, not endlessly hunt in the caves of the Khyber Pass for bin Ladin. We are wasting time and resources and inflaming more terror.
Our current policies have been al Qaeda's best recruiting tools.
It is time for the US to seek creative and intelligent ways to resolve these festering human tragedies.
It is time for a new approach.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
On November 2, twelve committed agents of peace met to set the priorities for 2009. We would love to do everything (and will probably try in spite of our well-intentioned priority setting), but want to make sure we put most of our time, effort, and resources into what is most important to us.
First, we formally adopted a mission statement, which you will find at the top of this page. Then we got down to specifics.
This year's most pressing issues are:
- The economy
- The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan
- U.S. actions in the Americas
- Climate change / the environment / justice issues
- Palestine and Israel
And this year's program priorities are:
- Film and speaker series with two major topics: (1) understanding economic systems and their implications for social justice; (2) understanding the other countries in the Americas, their political systems, and the actions our government has taken since the Monroe Doctrine to influence, control, or even destabilize them.
- Three Cups of Tea: beginning with a community read of the book, co-sponsored by the Charlevoix Public LIbrary, this multi-year umbrella project will involve several communities, the schools, churches, and other organizations.
- 350 Event: to increase the awareness in our community of the number 350 (see www.350.org) and its significance, we will plan a community-wide fun event.
- LTLPF reading list / lending library: we're going to develop a reading list for people interested in the topics that concern our group, and post it on this site. We will also make printed copies available.
- Sixth anniversary event: we'll recognize the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq on March 21. Details TBD.
- Mothers Day event: we are not sure what we're doing exactly -- the same thing we've done in years past, a luncheon or dinner honoring mothers of servicemen and servicewomen, or both?
We will also be working on some other items such as this blog, the Peace Digest (or maybe an online version of it?), an informational brochure, and membership outreach.
Please share your thoughts - let us know what you would like to do, what you would like us to do, and how you think the group can best accomplish its mission.
Some people are not waiting to see what Obama will do as president before acting. In South Korea activists are now meeting and publicly calling on president-elect Obama to end the dangerous and costly U.S.-South Korea (ROK) military alliance that is contributing to major tensions in the region.
The U.S. is currently doubling its military presence in the Asian-Pacific region. New and expanded Pentagon bases are going into Guam, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. "Missile defense" is being peddled to Australia, Japan, and South Korea which is forcing China, who today only has 20 nuclear missiles capable of hitting the west coast of the U.S., to produce more for fear that a U.S. "first-strike" could knock out their nuclear capability. In fact the U.S. Space Command has been war gaming such a first-strike attack on China for the past several years!
If Obama wants to reduce global tensions he should begin negotiating a de-escalation of militarism in the Asian-Pacific region. If Obama wants money for health care, education, energy policy, and new jobs at home then he must stop expanding U.S. military bases in that region and throughout the world.
Activists from Solidarity for Peace & Reunification of Korea (SPARK) in South Korea have it right. Make demands on Obama now, before he sets his foreign and military policy in stone.
We in the U.S. have much to learn from our friends in South Korea.
The Global Network has been invited to hold its 2009 space organizing conference in South Korea on April 16-18.
Several key peace groups in South Korea will host the conference and we hope we can all celebrate the cancellation of the U.S.-ROK military alliance. We hope to raise our glasses to toast a new U.S.-ROK and U.S.-Asian Peace Alliance in place of the antiquated war making venture that now dominates our nations agenda.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Perhaps you attended our recent movie / speaker event, "Refusing to Be Enemies," which profiled the efforts of 12 women, 6 Arab and 6 Jewish, as they attempted to understand each other through dialog. If so, you know how valuable the contributions of the LTLPF are to the Charlevoix area. At our planning meeting, we will be setting priorities for the next year. For example, we'll select movies for our winter film series; plan the Community Read we're co-ordinating with the Charlevoix Public Library and Charlevoix High School; and flesh out the year-1 plan for the Three Cups of Tea initiative.
Can you help us figure out what our priorities should be and how we can reach as many people as possible with our message of peace? Could you devote a few hours as we head into this election, to the cause that eclipses the rest, peace? If so, please call me at the number below. I will let you know the time and place of the meeting, and ensure that we provide you with all of the materials ahead of time.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE
This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.
Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed
nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking
for the vote.
And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.
Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing
went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of
'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'
Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917,
when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.
For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their
food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on
a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced
a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her
until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks
until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because- -why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?
Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new
movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle
these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling
booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.
All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the
actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote.
Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege.
Sometimes it was inconvenient.
My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history,
saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk
about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought
kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said.
'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use,
my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just
younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The
right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'
HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history,
social studies and government teachers would include the movie in
their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.
It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.
The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women is often
mistaken for insanity.' Please, if you are so inclined, pass
this on to all the women you know.
We need to get out and vote and use this right that was
fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether
you vote democratic, republican or independent party -
remember to vote.
History is being made.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Tue, 15 Jul 2008 10:35:38 -0700
Subject: Iraq: The beginning of the end?
Dear MoveOn member,
Three big things happened on Iraq this week. They could mean the beginning of the end of the war.
But since the media have mostly ignored them, I wanted to make sure you saw what's going on.
Here's the scoop:
Iraqis want U.S. Troops out. No one was expecting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to speak up in favor of withdrawal—after all, he's close with the Bush administration. But with elections in Iraq coming up, and a great majority of Iraqis opposed to a prolonged U.S. occupation, Maliki can't afford to toe the Bush line. So he's surprised everyone by standing up this week for a timetable for troop withdrawals and a date certain to end the war. The LA Times headline reads, "Iraqi prime minister advocates withdrawal timeline."1
As a result, the "endless war agreement" Bush has been pushing fell through. Since January, hundreds of thousands of us pushed Congress to stand up to President Bush's proposed treaty with Iraq, which would have tied the next President's hands and made it much harder to get out. This week, the Washington Post reported that that agreement has fallen through—Iraqi leaders are putting their feet down and demanding a much shorter agreement.2
And now even the Pentagon is considering faster timelines. According to reporter Michael Hirsh at Newsweek, "a forthcoming Pentagon-sponsored report" will recommend a big drawdown of troops—suggesting "that U.S. forces be reduced to as few as 50,000 by the spring of 2009, down from about 150,000 now."3
In other words, it's now clear: Most Americans are for a timeline, and so are most Iraqis. And even experts in the Pentagon agree.
For his part, Barack Obama is using these developments to hammer home the point that John McCain and President Bush are now isolated in their resistance to any kind of timeline for withdrawal. He wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times yesterday that reaffirmed his commitment to a timeline that would have all combat troops out of Iraq in 16 months.
It concludes, "Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea. . . [F]or far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender. It's not going to work this time. It's time to end this war."4
It's important that we all work to get the word out about these developments. You can even start by just forwarding this email. Most Americans still don't know that the Iraqis want us out. And that may be the single most important fact to share at this point in time.
I'm always shocked when someone points out that it's been six years since we first started working together to prevent an Iraq war. This week, we're turning a corner in that fight. Bush's permanent war agreement has fallen through. The Iraqi politicians are speaking up. And if we keep working together, we just might see the remaining holdouts in Washington coming around as well.
Thanks for all you do,
–Eli PariserPS. Minutes ago, Barack Obama finished making a major speech on Iraq and foreign policy. Here's how he described the Bush-McCain approach:
George Bush and John McCain don't have a strategy for success in Iraq—they have a strategy for staying in Iraq. They said we couldn't leave when violence was up, they say we can't leave when violence is down. They refuse to press the Iraqis to make tough choices, and they label any timetable to redeploy our troops "surrender," even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government—not to a terrorist enemy. Theirs is an endless focus on tactics inside Iraq, with no consideration of our strategy to face threats beyond Iraq's borders. You can read the speech here:
1. "Iraqi prime minister advocates withdrawal timetable," Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2008. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=3940&id=13247-1335870-NVRdmlx&t=2
2. "U.S., Iraq Scale Down Negotiations Over Forces," Washington Post, July 13, 2008. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=3941&id=13247-1335870-NVRdmlx&t=3
3. "Who Says Less Troops?," Newsweek, July 21, 2008. http://www.newsweek.com/id/145848
4. "My Plan for Iraq," Barack Obama, New York Times, July 14, 2008. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=3942&id=13247-1335870-NVRdmlx&t=4
Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 3.2 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Yet at some level, we all understand that our society and our world have to stop operating out of fear. We all know at some level of consciousness that something is wrong. We know there must be a better way.
There is a movement to establish a U. S. cabinet level Department of Peace. This Department would address and study peaceful and non-violent solutions to problems ranging from school yard bullying, domestic violence, prison violence and our ever expanding correctional system, gang violence and the violence that occurs on a global international scale. It would be a Department just like the Department of Defense, Treasury, Agriculture, etc. It would ask for 1% of the budget. The bill to establish the department is H.R. 808 and is before the House now. It will probably be re-introduced in the next Congress.
It is time for the next step in human evolution. We have to stop killing and hurting each other. Ours is a culture of fear and violence, as are some other countries in the world. The other countries that are fear based usually aren't Western style democracies, though. They are third world dictatorships.
We are the world's leader in so many things, let's be the world's leader on non-violent solutions to problems. Let us have a Peace Academy that trains peace leaders just as we have Military Academies that train military leaders. The Academy would be part of the Department of Peace. After 4 years of attending the Peace Academy, the graduates would have an obligation to serve in peace keeping roles after graduation.
Now is the time to start developing a culture of peace and non-violent solution making as opposed to a culture of violence of fear and harsh reactive measures to deal with our problems. Let's be proactive. Support the movement to establish a cabinet level Department of Peace. For more information visit www.ThePeaceAlliance.org
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Dick Cheney and George Bush have just secured $400 million additional dollars for a major escalation of US special forces covert operations inside Iran. This includes engaging our special forces inside Iranian territory against Cheney’s hit list of “high value targets” – in other words assassinating or kidnapping key Iranian leaders. The escalation also includes US funding for Al Qaeda-sympathetic Sunni terrorist groups inside Iran. To what aim? To wreak havoc against the Iranian government and cause them to retaliate in a very public fashion. Bush and Cheney know they have just 6 months left to provoke a war, and they consider it their duty to do this before they leave office. The situation seems especially urgent to them given the possibility of an Obama presidency.
Several top level leaders in the Pentagon and Joint Chiefs of staff think this administration is crazy, in private calling their policies dangerous and stupid.
Bush’s own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, warned Democrats in Congress privately of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a preëmptive strike on Iran, saying, as one senator recalled, “We’ll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.”
The Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose chairman is Admiral Mike Mullen, were “pushing back very hard” against White House pressure to undertake a military strike against Iran . . . The most outspoken officer was Admiral William Fallon, who until recently was the head of U.S. Central Command, and thus in charge of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In March, Fallon resigned under pressure from the Bush administration, after publicly stating his reservations about an armed attack on Iran. Admiral Fallon warned: “Let’s get serious. Eighty million people live there, and everyone’s an individual. The idea that they’re only one way or another is nonsense.” Fallon went on to criticize the Bush administration’s military policies: “Did I bitch about some of the things that were being proposed? You bet. Some of them were very stupid.”
The full story of this insanity is covered in Pulitzer prize investigative journalist’s Seymour Hersh’s current article in the New Yorker entitled “PREPARING THE BATTLEFIED.” Click on the link below for the article.
Click on: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/07/07/080707fa_fact_hersh
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Pub. on Friday, 6/27/08 by The Black Commentator
"Welcome Home, Soldier: Now Shut Up"
by Paul Rockwell
There are two kinds of courage in war — physical courage and moral courage. Physical courage is very common on the battlefield. Men and women on both sides risk their lives, place their own bodies in harm’s way. Moral courage, however, is quite rare. According to Chris Hedges, the brilliant New York Times war correspondent who survived wars in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans, “I rarely saw moral courage. Moral courage is harder. It requires the bearer to walk away from the warm embrace of comradeship and denounce the myth of war as a fraud, to name it as an enterprise of death and immorality, to condemn himself, and those around him, as killers. It requires the bearer to become an outcast. There are times when taking a moral stance, perhaps the highest form of patriotism, means facing down the community, even the nation.”
More and more U.S. soldiers and Marines, at great cost to their own careers and reputations, are speaking publicly about U.S. atrocities in Iraq, even about the cowardice of their own commanders, who send youth into atrocity-producing situations only to hide from the consequences of their own orders. In 2007, two brilliant war memoirs — ROAD FROM AR RAMADI by Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia, and THE SUTRAS OF ABU GHRAIB by Army Reservist Aidan Delgado — appeared in print. In March 2008, at the Winter Soldier investigation just outside Washington D.C., hard-core U.S. Iraqi veterans, some shaking at the podium, some in tears, unburdened their souls. Jon Michael Turner described the horrific incident in which, on April 28, 2008, he shot an Iraqi boy in front of his father. His commanding officer congratulated him for “the kill.” To a stunned audience, Turner presented a photo of the boy’s skull, and said: “I am sorry for the hate and destruction I have inflicted on innocent people.”
The Winter Soldier investigation was followed by the publication of COLLATERAL DAMAGE: AMERICA’S WAR AGAINST IRAQI CIVILIANS, by Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian. Based on hundreds of hours of taped interviews with Iraqi combat veterans, this pioneering work on the catastrophe in Iraq includes the largest number of eyewitness accounts from U.S. military personnel on record.
The Courage to Resist
We cannot understand the psychological and moral significance of military resistance unless we recognize the social forces that stifle conscience and human individuality in military life. Gwen Dyer, historian of war, writes that ordinarily, “Men will kill under compulsion. Men will do almost anything if they know it is expected of them and they are under strong social pressure to comply.” “Only exceptional people resist atrocity,” writes psychiatrist Robert Lifton.
How much easier it is to surrender to the will of superiors, to merge into the anonymity of the group. It takes uncommon courage to resist military powers of intimidation, peer pressure, and the atmosphere of racism and hate that drives all imperial wars.
Silencing the Witnesses to War
War crimes are collective in nature. Especially in wars based on fraud, soldiers are expected to lie — to their country, to their community, even to themselves.
The silencing process begins on the battlefield in the presence of officers, power-holders who seek to nullify the perceptions and personal experience of troops under their command.
In his war memoir, Aidan Delgado describes attempts of his commanders to suppress the truth about Abu Ghraib. First his captain says the Army has nothing to hide, Abu Ghraib is just a rumor. But then the captain continues: “We don’t need to air our dirty laundry in public. If you have photos that you’re not supposed to have, get rid of them. Don’t talk about this to anyone, don’t write about it to anyone back home.” In the U.S. military, the truth is seditious.
Two years ago, Marine Sergeant Jimmy Massey published his riveting autobiography (written with Natasha Saulnier) in France and Spain. How the Marine Corps - through indoctrination and intimidation - transforms a homeboy from the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina into a professional killer who murders “innocent people for his government” is the subject of Massey’s unsettling, impassioned, Jar-head raunchy, and ultimately uplifting memoir, COWBOYS FROM HELL. (No U.S. publisher has picked up the book. A Marine who speaks truth to power is not without honor save in his own country.) In Chapter 18, Jimmy describes a seemingly minor encounter with his captain. Here Massey gives us a look into the process of human denial in its early phase.
Massey has just participated in a checkpoint massacre of civilians. His sense of decency, his sanity, is still in tact. Like any normal human being, he is distraught. The carnage of the war, the imbalance of power between the biggest war machine in history and a suffering people devoid of tanks and air power — the sheer injustice of it all — begins to take its toll on Massey’s conscience.
In the wake of the horrific events of the day, his captain is cool. He walks up to Massey and asks; “Are you doing all right, Staff Sergeant?” Massey responds: “No, sir. I am not doing O.K. Today was a bad day. We killed a lot of innocent civilians.”
Fully of aware of the civilian carnage, his captain asserts: “No, today was a good day.”
Relatives wailing, cars destroyed, blood all over the ground, Marines celebrating, civilians dead, and “it was good day”!
The Massey incident goes beyond the mendacity of military life. It concerns the control, the dehumanization of the psyches of our troops.
As one Vietnam veteran put it years ago: “They kept fucking with my mind.”
In 1994 Jonathan Shay, staff psychiatrist in the Department of Veterans Affairs, published a pioneering work on post traumatic stress — Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character. According to Shay, who recorded volumes of testimony from Vietnam veterans, commanders routinely try to efface the perceptions and the normal feelings of compassion among American troops. Military necessity, including the ever-present need for political propaganda, determines what is perceived, and how it is perceived, in war.
It was an extremely common experience in Vietnam, Shay writes, to be told by military superiors dealing with crime and trauma: “You didn’t experience it, it never happened, and you don’t know what you know.” And it was fairly common for traumatized soldiers to say to reporters: “It didn’t happen. And besides, they had it coming.” Shay recorded the testimony of one veteran who, in great anger, describes the pressures to alter his perceptions of collective murder.“
Daylight came, and we found out we killed a lot of fishermen and kids…You said to the team, ‘Don’t worry about it. Everything’s fucking fine.’ Because that’s what we were getting from upstairs. The fucking colonel says, ‘Don’t worry about it. We’ll take care of it. We got body count.’ They’d be handing out fucking medals for killing civilians. So in your mind you’re saying, ‘Ah, fuck it, they’re just gooks.’ I was sick over it, after this happened. I actually puked my guts out…But see, it’s all explained to you by captains and colonels and majors. ‘Fuck it, they was suspects anyways. You guys did a great job. Erase it. It’s yesterday’s fucking news.’”
Willful Ignorance at Home
The collective process of denial on the battlefield eventually extends to the homeland. Returning soldiers, to be sure, are often honored, but only so long as they remain silent about the realities, the pathos, the absurd evils of war. Willful public ignorance is a source of pain for veterans.
Ernest Hemingway’s brilliant short story, Soldier’s Home, published in 1925 after World War I, gives us insight into the reluctance of civilians to address the psychic needs of soldiers back from war.
The simply told story is about a young man named Krebs who returns to his home in Oklahoma. At first Krebs does not want to talk about the war. But soon he feels the need to speak — to his family, his neighbors and friends. But as Hemingway tells us, “Nobody wanted to hear about it.” His town did not want to learn about atrocities, and “Krebs found that to be listened to at all he had to lie.”
There’s the rub. His ability to assimilate into civilian life depended on his willingness to fabricate stories about the war. Soldiers are not only expected to lie on behalf of the military during the course of war, they are also expected to participate in homecoming rituals that preserve the civilian fantasy of war’s nobility.
In Hemingway’s story, the pressure to lie is so powerful, Krebs begins to manufacture stories about his experiences in battle — just to get along, just be able to lead a normal life.
Repression, however, is a major cause of mental illness and loneliness. Krebs morale deteriorates. He sleeps late in bed. He loses interest in work. He withdraws into himself.
That’s all Hemingway tells us. It’s a quietly told story, all the more powerful for its understatement.
There is a connection between Hemingway’s war-informed fiction and real life. As Shay notes, there is a tension between a soldier’s need to communalize shame and grief and the unwillingness of civilians to listen to troops whom they sent into battle. One Vietnam veteran told the following story:“
I had just come back from Vietnam and my first wife’s parents gave a dinner for me and my parents and her brothers and their wives. And after dinner we were all sitting in the living room and her father said: ‘So, tell us what it was like.’ And I started to tell them, and I told them. And do you know that within five minutes the room was empty. They were all gone, except my wife. After that I didn’t tell anybody what I had seen in Vietnam.”
Welcome home, soldier. Now shut up.
Notwithstanding clichés and pieties about support for troops, those who promote war are often the least likely to share the burdens and memories of war when soldiers return. When Ron Kovic, who was paralyzed from the chest down during the war in Vietnam, steered his wheelchair down the aisle of the Republican National Convention in 1972, the delegates spat on him and cheered for Nixon — “Four more years.”
W.D. Erhart, Vietnam veteran and author of Passing Time, never forgot the horrific episodes of his tour in Vietnam. In his first autobiography, he tells a friend about his speech at a Rotary Club. “I even put on a coat and tie and went to the Rotary Club. The Rotary Club, for chrissake. I laid it all out for ‘em. I told ‘em about search and destroy missions, harassment and interdiction fire, winning hearts and minds, all that stuff…Was I ever sharp that day.“
Now listen. You won’t believe this. I got done and nobody said a word. No applause. Nothing. Then this skinny old fart shaped like a cold chisel gets up and says he’s a retired colonel, and he thinks we should keep on pounding those little yellow bastards until they do what we say or we kill ‘em all, and he tells me I can’t be a real veteran because a real veteran wouldn’t go around badmouthing the good old U.S. of A., and the whole place erupts in thunderous applause.”
Welcome home, soldier. Now shut up.
Today Georgia Stillwell is a mother of a 21-year-old Iraqi war veteran. Her son is now homeless, unemployed, and despondent. Early one morning he drove his car over an embankment. She says that her son is a mere physical shell of himself. “My son’s spirit and soul must still be wandering the streets of Iraq.” It is not simply what happened in Iraq, but how veterans are treated at home when they seek to unburden their souls, that reinforces post-traumatic stress. On the night he drove the car off the road, he was crying, talking about the war. “His friends tell me he talks about the war. They describe it as ‘crazy talk.’ He wants the blood of the Iraqis he killed off his hands.”“
Each generation,” writes Chris Hedges, “discovers its own disillusionment, often at a terrible price. And the war in Iraq has begun to produce legions of the lost and the damned.” For our morally courageous veterans — for all of us, really, who seek forgiveness — only the truth can heal.
BlackCommentator.com Guest Commentator, Paul Rockwell, is a writer living in the Bay Area. He is also a columnist for In Motion Magazine.
Copyright ©2002-2008 www.BlackCommentator.com
Sunday, May 25, 2008
We now have a blog to replace our old website. The new blog has a much better look to it and more functions than the old website. The address is http://charlevoixdems.wordpress.com. It is still in process, but please take a look. The blog allows viewers to add comments, so please do so! Since the blog has a calendar on it, this will be the last edition of Upcoming Events.
However, you will still receive meeting notices by email.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
--- Abraham Lincoln, 1864
When the U.S. Supreme Court in 1886 [County of Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific R.R., 118 U.S. 394] held that corporations are "persons," entitled to the legal protections of persons under the U.S. Constitution, the events predicted by Lincoln were set in motion. As a result, the U.S. has elections that President Jimmy Carter has stated would not today meet international requirements for "free and fair."
See tonight's film, Unprecedented, to find out what happened in the 2000 election, and what you can do to take back your democracy.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
See the article on Jeff's presentation at NCMC on the Common Dreams blogsite: http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/03/13/7656/
U. S. public media controlled by large corporate interests, particularly General Electric, through outright ownership or financial sponsorship, i.e., advertising.
Only "corporation-friendly" programs are supported, and unfriendly news is suppressed. One example Cohen cites is a policy to not report on GE's outsourcing of jobs to China. Rupert Murdoch's agreement ensures preservation of Murdoch's Chinese media interests.
Liberal pundits on today's conservative-liberal debate programs, e.g., Hannity & Combs and Larry King Live, are weak and retained when non-threatening to corporate or Bush administration interests. For example, Phil Donahue and Cohen were axed for presenting anti-rush-to-war opinions, while Combs is retained because "his job is to make Hannity look good."
U. S. Elections are so fouled with tampering that "they wouldn't come close to passing the Carter (free and fair, Democratic) election smell test."
European news is comprehensive and provided freely for all, regardless of economic status. Europeans have a much better understanding of U.S. social, political, economic, health, and education conditions than we do.
The weakest (most non-threatening) journalists are selected for top media management positions today.
Mainstream news goes all out to report lurid stories because: a) it's cheap; b) It's non-threatening to political or corporate power; and c)The public swallows it for distraction.
The high standards of Journalistic ethics adopted by all credible schools are routinely abandoned or ignored by today's half-dozen media conglomerates.
MOST PROMISING ALTERNATIVES are BLOGS which have the power to debunk false claims by the Limbaughists, and are especially effective when providing direct links to factual sources, e.g.,
Cohen says maintaining NET NEUTRALITY is crucial. Visit http://www.savetheinternet.com
For important discussions of Journalism issues, see http://www.fair.org. FAIR is the organization that Cohen co-founded about twenty years ago.
NOTE: Michael Moore attended but declined to speak or mingle. Jeff lauded SIKKO, Fahrenheit 9-1-1, MM's Roger & Me as important, mobilizing efforts.
Said he's been greatly impressed by the Obama Movement for its catalytic effects for youth. He claims it's more powerful, and potentially much more productive than anything JFK could do because of campaign ties to the Southern Dixicrats.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) plans to permit CMS Energy to dispose of Bay Harbor's highly-toxic cement kiln dust (CKD) leachate, in a deep injection well in Alba. We need to take immediate action to:
- Insist that Governor Granholm petition the EPA to designate CKD leachate a hazardous waste per U.S.C. Title 42, Chapter 82, Subchapter III, Sec. 6921(c); and
- Prohibit the creation of a deep injection well for Bay Harbor's hazardous waste at Alba or any other site in Michigan; instead insist that dry CKD be removed and contained.
Alba and Mancelona are the headwaters of the great rivers of Michigan:
the Black, Jordan, Boyne, Manistee, Sturgeon, Cedar, and Au Sable. These rivers flow into the Great Lakes, which supply 20% of the fresh water of the world. The DEQ plans to permit CMS to dispose of CKD leachate, a liquid waste laced with heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, chromium, zinc, and mercury, into a deep injection well in Alba. In spite of recent scientific studies that show fractures in the containment layer, the DEQ has given the green light to CMS.
CKD leachate has a pH of 13, about the same as lye or bleach. Not only is it highly toxic to humans, but it will kill fish and destroy spawning beds. However, although it contains very high levels of mercury and lead, dry CKD is inert. Like a tea bag, it makes a brew only when water is added. The EPA does not distinguish dry CKD from CKD leachate, and neither is currently designated hazardous.
DEQ previously allowed CMS to deposit tons of dry CKD in unlined pits, which were topped off with a golf course. When it rains, or the golf course is watered, the highly-toxic leachate is created, and it drains toward the lake. It is this leachate which CMS intends to capture and inject into deep wells in Alba. Unfortunately, less than 1% of the leachate will be captured; the rest will make its way into Little Traverse Bay.
So what is the right solution? Legal action is limited by a covenant not to sue, which then Governor Engler and Bay Harbor's developers signed in 1994, paving the way for the development. In return, CMS Energy, which had acquired the abandoned property for $3 million and was one of the original Bay Harbor partners, was to begin remediation measures on the site. Although extensive and expensive, the measures have proven to be inadequate.
The right thing to do is to protect the dry CKD, to prevent it from being converted to CKD leachate through exposure to water. About 50% of the CKD is close to the surface and could be removed and contained per the EPA's order of February 22, 2005, which instructed CMS to "remove, isolate, and contain" the CKD. Medusa / St. Mary's, the cement plant just a few miles away in Charlevoix, moved its CKD piles to lined pits, capped them, and installed French drains. So why is CMS not taking this approach?
The answer is in part that the Bay Harbor Golf Course was built over the CKD. Removing the CKD means digging up the golf course. Most of us think protecting a golf course at the expense of Lake Michigan and the rivers of Michigan doesn't make much sense.
"Alba residents are right to distrust injection well" in the Traverse City Record Eagle, 07/03/2007, online at http://archives.record-eagle.com/2007/jul/03edit.htm
The Jordan River Watershed, online at http://www.friendsofthejordan.org/summary_statements.htm
The text of the EPA's response to concerns about the injection well:
Posted by Raechel Wright for Jo Anne Beemon
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Northern Community Mediation is the Community Dispute Resolution Programs Center for northwest, lower Michigan. It has had an active and well-received mediation training program for many years. Its 40-hour, general civil mediator training is now State Court Administrative Office approved. The next 40-hour mediator training is scheduled for the following dates at the City Hall in Charlevoix:
Thursday, May 8 5:00pm - 9:00pm Thursday, May 15 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Friday, May 9 8:00am - 5:00pm Friday, May 16 8:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday, May 10 8:00am - 5:00pm Saturday, May 17 8:00am - 5:00pm
The mediation process has great applicability to dispute resolution in the workplace. Human Resources professionals and customer/client relations staff find the skill learned in these programs to be highly valuable. The facilitative process learned in this training empowers participants and results in agreements that are more viable and valued than those imposed by outsiders. This is one of the key benefits this approach provides for employee relations. We hope you or a staff member can attend. For more information, call Jane at 231-487-1771 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tom Engelhardt explores the implications of normalizing air war from Guernica to Arab Jabour, Iraq; White House reconsidering troop reductions in Iraq; Congress extends eavesdropping law for two weeks; Democrats warn no judicial nominees until Mukasey gives opinion on torture; 14 companies under investigation for fraud related to subprime mortgages; new study looks at connection between campaign contributions to judges and judicial decisions; and more ... Browse our continually updating front page at http://www.truthout.org
Tom Engelhardt | Bombs Away Over Iraq
Tom Engelhardt writes on TomDispatch.com: "A January 21st Los Angeles Times Iraq piece by Ned Parker and Saif Rasheed led with an inter-tribal suicide bombing at a gathering in Fallujah in which members of the pro-American Anbar Awakening Council were killed.... Twenty-six paragraphs later, the story ended this way: 'The U.S. military also said in a statement that it had dropped 19,000 pounds of explosives on the farmland of Arab Jabour south of Baghdad. The strikes targeted buried bombs and weapons caches. In the last 10 days, the military has dropped nearly 100,000 pounds of explosives on the area, which has been a gateway for Sunni militants into Baghdad.'"
White House Shows Signs of Rethinking Cut in Troops
Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Thom Shanker, writing for The New York Times, report, "Four months after announcing troop reductions in Iraq, President Bush is now sending signals that the cuts may not continue past this summer, a development likely to infuriate Democrats and renew concerns among military planners about strains on the force." While Julian E. Barnes and Kimi Yoshino report for The Los Angeles Times, "U.S. Army officials are investigating allegations that American soldiers killed several detainees after they were captured on a battlefield in southwest Baghdad last year, officials said Tuesday."
Congress Extends Eavesdropping Law
Pamela Hess reports for The Associated Press, "Congress on Tuesday gave two more weeks of life to a law that allows the government more freedom to eavesdrop on suspected terrorists inside the United States, buying the Senate time to pass a bill to replace it."
Justice Nominees Hindered by Mukasey Silence on Torture
Keith Perine reports for Congressional Quarterly, "Two Democrats warned Tuesday they will consider blocking Justice Department nominees unless Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey is more forthcoming about harsh interrogation techniques."
FBI in Subprime Crackdown
Jeremy Grant, of the Financial Times of London, reports, "The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating 14 companies for possible accounting fraud and insider trading offences related to subprime mortgages."
Looking Anew at Campaign Cash and Elected Judges
In two separate articles for The New York Times, Adam Liptak reports on the US judicial system. In the first, he covers a new study that links campaign contributions to judicial decisions; and in the second, he uncovers the role for-profit bail bondsmen play in the US judicial system.
Serge Halimi | Jacques Attali, Magician
Le Monde Diplomatique's Serge Halimi's critique of France's Attali Commission Report on Growth focuses on the dangers of co-optation in supposedly "diverse" or "pluralistic" government bodies. The commission made 316 highly controversial recommendations that would largely do away with France's protections for professions, small businesses, workers and the environment.
Bush Ignores Afghan School Violence
Jason Straziuso, reporting for The Associated Press, writes: "In his State of the Union address, President Bush called Afghanistan a young democracy where children go to school and Afghans are hopeful. But he didn't mention the violence that has killed 147 students and teachers, and closed 590 schools in the last year - almost as many as the 680 the U.S. has built."
Wednesday, January 16, 2008