Saturday, September 30, 2006

Newsweek's different front pages

This I found courtesy of Lenny Bruce's 'Thru Other Eyes', check out Newsweek's different front pages in Europe and the US. How telling..Rob, since you mentioned how much you 'appreciate' Newsweek...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Open floor..

Hello lovelies, tuesday I posted on the Euston Manifesto and promised Rogel that I would try to get people's comments on it. So I'm putting it out again. I will give him my opinion, but don't want to 'taint' anyone else's (if that's possible) so I am going to refrain until I get a few responses! Please check it out and scroll below..I'm off to get kiddy number two from school.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bolton going bye bye

Whadda ya know. Bolton detractors rejoice, he's going to have to go.. auf wiedersehen!

Banned Book Week

I know that any self respecting progressive person will automatically react and say a resounded NO to any form of censorship. Will also react to anyone seeking banning books. Now when I thought of 'banned books', I automatically thought of politically banned books. Goes to show what is in my head, figures. But no, the bulk of challenged books that sometimes end with being banned are due to considered vulgar language, pornographic descriptions, homosexual content, and what is considered pornographic depictions.
Now I'm going to pull a Sophia on you for a minute (Golden Girls): picture this, Holland 1976, I was 12 years old. One lazy saturday morning when I was still in bed contemplating getting up, my mother came into my room and sat herself down on the end of my bed. She started to talk about 'things' I had probably heard in school from other kids etc etc. As it dawned on me what she started to talk to me about, my sheet went up a little higher and higher until I had almost covered my face (it went up to my nose) in embarrassment. My mother, not being one to torture her child, said, do you want me to continue? Or do you want me to give you a book? Well, I wanted her to get the hell out of my room (it was getting hot under that sheet) so I said, book!! (now go!) And hence, a few days later, when I was cleaning my room, she came in and said, I got that book for you. I very casually (I was good)said, oh, just put it on my desk. Waited for her to leave than went straight to the book and opened it up. Well, it had pictures all right. Naked pictures! The middle part of the book even had a couple laying on top of each other. (not moving or anything, this was totally clinical and no harry potter special effects). It explained the birds and the bees quite well, and it had the appropriate pictures to illustrate. No worries, no banning there! (yeah yeah, I heard it all before, "what can you expect, you're from Holland!")
As a parent now, I cannot totally dismiss the originating idea of why to challenge a book. I can appreciate their concern. However, if there is such a fear for the content, why not ask for a compromise and ask for an age limit or like with films, let the child be able to take it out only with the consent of the adult. I consider myself open minded, but I know people who are much more so with things/issues that I do not think are age appropriate so there are people who would totally not be comfortable with my level of openness.
Still, in order to at least appreciate what people have objected to, plse follow this link and click on 'what's in the books'. You might be surprised.
Parents protecting the minds of children

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Osterley Times: Snow refuses to engage with Clinton's argument

The Osterley Times: Snow refuses to engage with Clinton's argument
What is good for the goose, is good for the gander, thank you Kel.

Is America Burning?: Article from 2000; what's it like now?

Is America Burning?: Article from 2000; what's it like now?

The 7 stages of democracy, a worthwhile check to see where we're at.

Euston Manifesto

And so an online discussion is born. Rogel (rogel's view) brought up some interesting points regarding the 'left's' tendency to be in essence mostly against anything America stands for. Which, I would agree with to the extent that on any side, left or right, people will always see the negative, real or perceived, and react each time, than looking at something on its own merit. Or not giving credit for something positive. Ok rogel, that was very much paraphrased, I hope I got it right. I was fatigued when I read your post last night and now (time 'crunched' again) I want to quickly put it out on the floor. Please read Rogel's complete post before commenting and tell me what you think, excerpt:
I wonder what is the reason many good intention people loose the perspective and the magnitude of human rights violations, oppression and tyranny. After all, and with all the problems the US is a strong liberal democracy – much more than Iran. The US policy, including its foreign policy, is being criticized publicly without the fear of ant secret police. And most importantly in US the regime changes periodically, through elections and not revolutions.

Fundamentalism and extremism are usually bad traits and have devastating effect on every society. In the US a president might be a fundamentalist, much like in Iran. In the US, however, its power is limited by many restraints such as constitution , political system and most importantly – length of term.

I can only hope that the left will hurry to adopt the Euston Manifesto. It is a demonstration to the left that they can be loyal to its ideals without committing suicide.Moreover, and although I don't agree with big portions of the left's social agenda, I can see much more sense in left's logic when in the context of the Euston Manifesto.

I do believe that Rogel is actually being quite reasonable and I can even understand his position. So check out his post, the Euston Manifesto and think about it. On my way home from dropping off my kids at school I was looking at the traffic and contemplated how it's almost a schizophrenic society where, when you dig deeper, really bad things happen while on the surface, everything seems just fine. The issues I'm referring to is the continuous attempts to limit civil liberties, the subversive attempts in Latin America still in order to keep the countries under the US' hegemonies clout, Iraq, torture (and what a 'fine' compromise they made on that)..etc.
Anyhow..Rogel is to me not extreme by no stretch even if I don't agree with him fully ,but I think he does represent a proportion of people who are reasonable and do not just dismiss things the way the RR does quote 'baby face Nelson' (oh brother where art thou); give it a think!

Monday, September 25, 2006

'Bringing Light Into Darkness: Monday KOOP News & Analysis'

It is time for my apprencticeship again. Tonight, I will sit in with Pedro and watch and listen as he interviews. I strongly advice you to listen as unfortunately at this point 'we' do not have any transcripts yet. I will work with Pedro to start making a transcript of some his interviews and put it on his own (future)blog. Until then, reserve this hour for some interesting dialogue.

'Bringing Light Into Darkness: Monday KOOP News & Analysis'
hosted by Pedro Gatos in Austin, TX.

Don't Believe Everything You Think!

Join us Monday, September 25th , 2006

from 6:00 - 7:00pm CST at KOOP 91.7 FM, Austin TX (check time zone converter here for when it will be on in your time zone)

Special Guest: Mr. Jose Pertierra, Attorney for the Government of Venezuela

Streaming Live by going to our website or to
Please join us for Monday's show that shall focus on the content of both President Hugo Chavez and President George Bush's speechs to the UN Genreal Assembly last week. As the emotions recede following the fiery (literally) words of Hugo Chavez UN speech, it is important to examine the charges that both sides are alleging about each other. We will examine the words and recent critiques being made in each camp in hopes of 'Bringing Light' to the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the assumptions and claims that underlie their arguments.

Our special guest will be the honorable Mr. Jose Pertierra, Attorney for the Government of Venezuela. Mr. Pertierra is an esteemed Immigration Attorney practicing in Washington D.C. Jose is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and has a Masters Degree in Philosophy from Georgetown University. He is a past recipient of the prestigious Human Rights Award from the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA) for his work on behalf of victims of human rights abuse in Guatemala. He has also received AILA’s President’s Commendation for excellence in advocacy work on behalf of immigrants in the United States.

I invite you to please tune in with us as Mr Pertierra helps us bring light into the darkness of the history and reality in Venezuela and its efforts to find an alternative path to the neoliberal free market model that we often hear described as synomous with 'democracy'. to another country. You may go or to access the radio link at KOOP 91.7 FM online.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Banned Book Week

Thank you Zazou (and belated happy birthday) for bringing this to my attention; this week it's banned book week. So in order to learn more about this, I'll post something on it each day. I myself cannot take in all info at once, and this way, you and I will have something to ponder about, one little salami slice at a time. (pattern!lol, inside joke for those who actually read my posts)

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us upreme Court Justice William O. Douglas," The One Un-American Act." Nieman Reports, vol. 7, no. 1 (Jan. 1953): p. 20.

To start, let's read why 'banned book week':
Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, the annual event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.

Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met. As the Intellectual Freedom Manual (ALA, 7th edition) states:

“Intellectual freedom can exist only where two essential conditions are met: first, that all individuals have the right to hold any belief on any subject and to convey their ideas in any form they deem appropriate; and second, that society makes an equal commitment to the right of unrestricted access to information and ideas regardless of the communication medium used, the content of the work, and the viewpoints of both the author and receiver of information. Freedom to express oneself through a chosen mode of communication, including the Internet, becomes virtually meaningless if access to that information is not protected. Intellectual freedom implies a circle, and that circle is broken if either freedom of expression or access to ideas is stifled.”

Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) is asked why the week is called “Banned Books Week” instead of “Challenged Books Week,” since the majority of the books featured during the week are not banned, but “merely” challenged. There are two reasons. One, ALA does not “own” the name Banned Books Week, but is just one of several cosponsors of BBW; therefore, ALA cannot change the name without all the cosponsors agreeing to a change. Two, none want to do so, primarily because a challenge is an attempt to ban or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A successful challenge would result in materials being banned or restricted.

Although they were the targets of attempted bannings, most of the books featured during BBW were not banned, thanks to the efforts of librarians to maintain them in their collections. (See also Censorship and Challenges and Notable First Amendment Cases.) Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society
read more HERE
Check out AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS FOUNDATION FOR FREE EXPRESSION for the background of some of today's banned books.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Osterley Times: Clinton blasts Fox.#links

The Osterley Times: Clinton blasts Fox.#links

Credit where credit is due. As much as I have not always been too fond of Clinton, he's a lot more genuine than...what the hell..there is no 'more genuine than' to compare it with who's in govt these days. Every gov't will have their own biases, their own mistakes and scandals, it seems to come with the territory (not condoning it in the least) but..the degree of decency is a whole lot more pallatable when all Clinton's been officially accused of is having a speck of sperm on someone else's dress (aka not his wife)..with all the wailing of the republicans to have him impeached for that, it's amazing that the democrats have not cried foul and called for Bush's impeachment any louder nor any sooner! But, I'm an independent, you can expect that kind of complaint from me, ha!

Donkephant: Debunking 9-11 Conspiracy Is Not That Easy

Donkephant: Debunking 9-11 Conspiracy Is Not That Easy

This is not for the faint hearted. It is not even intended to promote a 'conspiracy' notion as much as it is saying, do not automatically dismiss it solely because you cannot imagine it. I come back over and over again to 'history'. What have you learned in history class and was it all, we are the greatest? Or were you taught the good and the bad? Did you learn about previous historical events, in your own country or others where situation were used or created in order to further an agenda? Somehow the trigger to the first World War comes to mind. The more you educate yourself, the more you see patterns. I keep coming back to it. I guess that's another pattern.

Public Expression of Religion Act (PERA)

The ladies at Is America Burning have their fingers on the pulse as usual (get well soon Worried!) and they posted another call to action with the latest 'salami slice':

At the urging of the religious right, the House of Representatives is poised to vote on the Public Expression of Religion Act (PERA) this week; a bill that would weaken our nation’s commitment to the separation of church and state.

Take action now and demand your Representative put the Constitution above the religious right and vote NO on this bill.
Protect Separation of Church and State: Oppose Public Expression of Religion Act

Dear [decision maker],

I am writing to express my deep concern over the Public Expression of Religion Act (PERA) and to urge you to vote against this proposal should it come up for a vote.

Under the guise of "religious freedom," PERA seeks to undermine the Establishment Clause, weakening our nation's commitment to the separation of church and state and actually threatening the religious freedom of millions of Americans.

Currently, citizens who win lawsuits challenging infringements of the Establishment Clause - such as Ten Commandment displays on government property and prayer in public schools - are able to receive reimbursement for the legal fees they collect in the process. This ensures that all Americans are free to challenge legitimate threats to the freedoms promised in the Constitution - and that this fundamental right will be extended to all Americans, not just those with the financial means to fund a legal challenge.

By ending this reimbursement, PERA would deal a massive blow to our nation's enlightened commitment to the separation of church and state.

Please put the religious freedom of all Americans above the interests of the religious right, and vote NO on this proposal.

These are serious times. Not least of it because so many do not recognize that it is.

Rosh Hashana and Ramadan

Happy New Year to my Jewish friends (ok, a wee bit belated as it was yesterday) and good luck to all my Muslim friends who are starting the fast today. Luckily, it's not in the middle of the summer when the days are long and how nice that you get to start on the weekend when there's no work (well, for those who don't work on weekends anyway) and you can ease into it.

When I lived in Saudi Arabia shortly after the first Gulf war, I remember being paranoid in not even daring to chew gum whilst shopping because I had heard that the religious police was out looking for any infraction. Of course, that could have been rumours because, with no official announcements, rumours abound. I always liked the evenings though, when walking 'downtown' (Alkhobar in my case) the mood was festive, and people naturally went out to eat. Another fond memory was being invited by our Muslim friends to break the fast. Somehow, when I think of it now, rituals are a nice bonding factor. So I'll feel out my new Yemeni neighbour and see if he would like us to join him breaking the fast.

Do people with Rosh Hashana also make new years' resolutions? Just wondering?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Call on Congress (US) to counter human rights legislation

I know that Gary (Withinsight) won't mind my copying the letter he received from a collegue from Amnesty International, US division:
Dear Gary

Yesterday, President Bush and several members of the Senate struck a deal on human rights. In the process, they dealt away America's commitment to fundamental human rights principles.

Make no mistake about it, this deal is a betrayal of the America we believe in. No human rights activist can remain on the sidelines in the days ahead. Call on your Senator to oppose these dangerous provisions. We are literally days away from action in Congress on a proposal to:

Abandon the rule of law and give the President the freedom to interpret the Geneva Conventions any way he sees fit.
Provide immunity to those responsible for past human rights abuses.
Exempt from prosecution those who authorize treatment traditionally considered torture.
Strip detainees of access to US courts.

The soul of our nation is in jeopardy. Everything we believe in is on the line. That's why we're mobilizing the entire Amnesty community. We're going into action today and we won't stop until every last Senator has made it clear whether he or she is willing to stand up for the America we believe in.

Please act today. Those behind this dangerous deal are doing everything they can to quickly build momentum. We have to break that momentum and we have to do it now.

We implore you to call Congress immediately.

If America renounces the Geneva Conventions like President Bush wants to do, nations all over the world will follow. American soldiers will be placed in greater threat of torture and cruel treatment when captured, not just by one or two rogue nations, but by many nations that follow America's lead.

Call 1 800 AMNESTY and our operators will connect you to your official or call the Congressional switch board directly at 202-224-3121. Let the person on the phone know that you are a constituent, and tell them that the deal President Bush has struck is a betrayal of the America you believe in. Ask your Senators and Representative to stand firm in defense of human rights.

After you've made your call, report back on how it went.

Thank you.

Larry Cox
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

Mash, if you're reading this, pls copy and paste as well, I know you get quite a few more readers than I do, and anyone else for that matter:spread the word! Bloggers against Torture: you know what you've been writing against, pick up the phone and make your voices heard! I'll cross post this on bloggers against torture.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Assailing Mainline Protestants -- "warming the heart of Goebbels"

This is a title of one of Rev. Andrew Weaver's essays on the IRD (Institute of Religion and Democracy, a Washington-based think tank):
When President George W. Bush met with religious journalists in May of 2004, the religious authority he cited most often was not a fellow United Methodist or even another Protestant. It was a man the president affectionately calls "Father Richard." He is Catholic priest Richard John Neuhaus, who, the President explained, "helps me articulate these [religious] things" (Time, 2005). A senior administration official confirmed to Time magazine that Neuhaus "‘does have a fair amount of under-the-radar influence' on such policies as abortion, stem-cell research, cloning and the defense-of-marriage amendment" (Time, 2005).
Father Neuhaus, 69, has been a leading culture warrior in the Neoconservative camp (Berkowitz, 2003). Although his ideological positions have been challenged by fellow Catholics as inconsistent with church teachings (Cocozzelli, 2006; Commonweal, 2006; Linker, 2006), few mainline Protestants are aware of his activities or those of other influential Neocon Catholics such as Michael Novak, George Weigel, and Robert P. George. Fewer still realize that these Catholics direct a group of paid political operatives who work ceaselessly to discredit mainline Protestant leaders and their Christian communions (Swecker, 2005; Weaver et al, 2005). The Washington-based think tank that they lead is the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD - website).
Click on title to read the whole article, somewhere mid-way, you'll see this:
Assailing Mainline Protestants -- "warming the heart of Goebbels"
Recently, Rev. Robert Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches and a United Methodist minister, observed "there is a growing body of evidence that groups like the IRD" are working to "deliberately divide and undermine institutional churches...This is a concerted effort, not just against the National Council but the mainline churches themselves, to erode the confidence in leadership of these churches" (Guess, 2006).

Here is how the attacks are carried out. In November of 2005, in an unusual move, 99 (now 109) United Methodist bishops from every region of the United States as well as Europe, Africa, and Asia released a joint Statement of Conscience entitled, "A Call to Repentance and Peace with Justice" (United Methodist Reporter, 2005). The bishops are the elected officials who constitute the consecrated leadership of the 11 million member United Methodist Church (UMC), which includes among its members President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.

In the Statement of Conscience the bishops confess, "In the face of the United States Administration's rush toward military action based on misleading information, too many of us were silent." The bishops commit themselves to pray for the end of war in general and "the unjust and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq" specifically, to reclaim their prophetic authority to speak out against war and injustice, and to engage in advocacy and peacemaking as integral to Christian discipleship (UMR, 2005). The signers reflect a wide consensus and are comprised of a broad national, age, gender, and theological diversity.

A few days after the bishops' Statement of Conscience was made public, the Weekly Standard published an IRD response (Fred Barnes is the executive editor of Weekly Standard and a board member at IRD). In IRD's attack piece on the bishops for the Weekly Standard, it accused them of "flogging the President." Its graphic denunciation of the bishops followed the Neoconservative party line, condemning the bishops for being out-of-touch "liberal elites" who promote "anti-Americanism" and have "hostility to capitalism" (Tooley, 2005a).

This was followed by a Christmas fundraising appeal from IRD dated December 22, 2005, in which it smeared the bishops a second time. IRD claimed that the bishops' Statement of Conscience is "insulting" to the "brave young men and women" who are serving in Iraq (Tooley, 2005b). Never mind that family members of the bishops have been and are serving in Iraq. IRD sneers at the bishops' call for peace, justice, and reconciliation in Iraq as sounding "like warmed-over 1960s utopianism" and proceeds to mock them as "flower children and chronic demonstrators who never really grew up and faced the real, sinful world" (Tooley, 2005b). In a direct challenge to the basic patriotism of the bishops that would warm the heart of Joseph Goebbels, IRD declares:

No doubt, if transported back in history, these bishops likewise would have impartially "lamented" the "continued warfare" between Allied and German forces in Normandy in 1944, while blaming the plight of millions of victims of fascist aggression on the United States (Tooley, 2005b).
This malicious accusation, typical of IRD, is made despite the fact that among the bishops are decorated World War II and Korean Era combat veterans

Again, I encourage you to read the whole article. Click on the title.
Religion and faith have been coopted, and as far as this believer is concerned, too many 'religious' people are serving Mammon, not God. But that's just my opinion.

True Blue

"I have the best daddy in the whole world and I will miss him every day," said Irwin's eight-year-old daughter Bindi. "When I see a crocodile, I will always think of him."You're a brave little girl Bindi, and I hope that the future of the world will be filled with more passionate and caring souls like your dad, and not with war and fear mongers who threaten human and animal life the world over. True Blue.:Fair Dinkum
Virtually the same as True Blue - honest, reliable, trustworthy, dinki-di; someone who has embraced the Aussie attitudes to everything, especially mateship. 'Are you fair dinkum?' means 'are you telling the truth?'

Monday, September 18, 2006

Canadians speak out against Afghan involvement

The Toronto Star queried its readers what they thought about their (Canadian)troops being in Afghanistan, overwhelmingly, the answers were not favourably:
We should not be in this war. It is not our war. If we should be in Afghanistan, it should be under the role of peacemakers and peacekeepers. Let us regain this role, and the world's goodwill that went with it.
I think Canada's commitment to the mission in Afghanistan is foolhardy. How can one realistically believe that the West can impose democratic reform to this divided country that has been built upon the illicit opium trade? The Russians had the right idea when they finally decided to leave.
People should know that this mission is impossible when the General (Fraser) in charge won't tell us about the number of injured soldiers. What is this government hiding from us?
The Bush plan is a failure. Bullets, bombs and funerals are not the stepping stones to peace. Education, health, agriculture, clean water, just legal systems, sustainable industry ... these line the road to peace. As long as the Canadian mission is the Bush mission we are doomed to painful failure.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Krazy like a Krauthammer

No, this is not my title, but Jeff Huber's. I have referred to him before and since I am into browsing and not really 'thinking of what to post' (but still post, i.e. refer), I am finding some goodies out there. (see below)Click on the title for the full a la carte. Excerpt:
Where Krauthammer's Wheels Come Off

Here's where Krauthammer reveals the fundamental flaw in the neoconservative rhetoric:

These are the costs. There is no denying them. However, equally undeniable is the cost of doing nothing.

In propaganda terms, this is often called a "limited choices fallacy." It's also called "binary thinking," a malignant practice that reduces the entire spectrum of possibilities into terms black and white absolutes. It's a common practice of ideological regime propagandists who practice a form of mass hypnosis over large populations. And Krauthammer's as good at this sort of thing as anybody. He should be. He has an MD degree in psychiatry.

This man is smart and has some insight knowledge, being a retired Navy person an' all. Click on the title and enjoy.

Et tu?

Gary, from Withinsight reminded me of this great Herman Goering quote:
"Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along...All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism. It works the same in every country."

Goering did not speak this at his trial, as usually attributed:
The quote cited above does not appear in transcripts of the Nuremberg trials because although Goering spoke these words during the course of the proceedings, he did not offer them at his trial. His comments were made privately to Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail. Gilbert kept a journal of his observations of the proceedings and his conversations with the prisoners, which he later published in the book Nuremberg Diary. The quote offered above was part of a conversation Gilbert held with a dejected Hermann Goering in his cell on the evening of 18 April 1946, as the trials were halted for a three-day Easter recess:

Sweating in his cell in the evening, Goering was defensive and deflated and not very happy over the turn the trial was taking. He said that he had no control over the actions or the defense of the others, and that he had never been anti-Semitic himself, had not believed these atrocities, and that several Jews had offered to testify in his behalf. If [Hans] Frank [Governor-General of occupied Poland] had known about atrocities in 1943, he should have come to him and he would have tried to do something about it. He might not have had enough power to change things in 1943, but if somebody had come to him in 1941 or 1942 he could have forced a showdown. (I still did not have the desire at this point to tell him what [SS General Otto] Ohlendorf had said to this: that Goering had been written off as an effective "moderating" influence, because of his drug addiction and corruption.) I pointed out that with his "temperamental utterances," such as preferring the killing of 200 Jews to the destruction of property, he had hardly set himself up as champion of minority rights. Goering protested that too much weight was being put on these temperamental utterances. Furthermore, he made it clear that he was not defending or glorifying Hitler.
Later in the conversation, Gilbert recorded Goering's observations that the common people can always be manipulated into supporting and fighting wars by their political leaders:

We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.
"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."

"There is one difference," I pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."

"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

As we tell our oldest child, look for patterns.

Is America Burning?: Your Real American Values

Is America Burning?: Your Real American Values

These ladies are veritable gatekeepers, I've said it before. If people are worried about Islamic extremists, so should they worry about fundamentalism in the United States. It is not about whether you have the right to think and be fundamental, but it is about the right not to be controlled by anyone's views which the Religious Right are having a field day with what with Bush and the neocons in charge. It is shameful and as a believer, I am totally against their reactionary attempts to keep this country their version of patriotic and moralistic. Pls, put these ladies in your sidebar (I'm still working on my blog roll yes, I know, I should ask..) if you haven't already..

Documentary preview

I missed the two showings of this documentary, and hopefully (no doubt) I'll catch it the next time around. It is disturbing, it makes you think. It will leave you to test the theories presented and I would encourage anyone to do so;
Terror Storm by Alex Jones:

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The People vs the Powerful

aka, one salami slice at a time.
Cecilia from Mariposa Rhythms lived in Germany until she was 19. The Germans are in the perfect position to warn the Americans, how easy it is to fall for a tyrant, or tyrannical laws. As she calls it, it's like a slice from a salami, slice after slice, liberties are taken away, until that one moment, when there is no salami left (liberties and freedoms= democracy) and then you wonder, much too late, how and when it all happened:
The U.S. has been engaging in a “salami-tactic” for a long time now, and we are all being roped into the project. Someday soon we are going to wake up and wonder where the hell the salami went and how we could have all been complicit in so many ways and with so many good intentions: through joining the military, through directly and indirectly working for the military/industrial/congressional complex, through paying our taxes without insisting on the ways they should be spent, through where we spend the money we have left after taxes, through leaving the policy-making and breaking up to the politicians and those that can afford to court them, through inaction, through silence.

It might take us a little longer than the Germans to wake up since many of our most dramatic crimes (wars, massacres, torture) now take place in other countries rather than on “our own” soil. The obscene number of people caged up in our massive prisons are kept relatively invisible, and on most days those of us with full bellies and living wages are not faced with the inconceivable number of people at home and abroad dying the slow deaths of our policies of exploitation, poverty and pollution.

We who reside safely (now) in the U.S. can sit and debate whether or not we support the armed resistances in the Middle East and what that does or doesn’t have to do with our (lack of) understanding and opinions of Islam. But while we sit and debate and sit and wait for the perfect revolution with the perfect ideology and the perfect methodology that we can fully get behind, the U.S. government (in collaboration with multinational corporations and other corrupt leaders around the world) is slicing away at that salami. The intricacies of what we think about Hizbullah, Hamas, the FMLN, Chavez, Morales, Castro, Mao, etc.—the aspects we want to support and those we want to critique—all that may help us formulate the details of our utopian visions (and I do think it is important to have these) but it should not get in the way of our taking immediate action against our criminal government (and I am not just referring to the current administration) and its local and global policies which have necessitated the emergence of these and other resistance movements.
read her full post HERE. Now read this:
The Project for the New American Century, or PNAC, is a Washington-based
think tank created in 1997. Above all else, PNAC desires and demands one
thing: The establishment of a global American empire to bend the will of
all nations. They chafe at the idea that the United States, the last
remaining superpower, does not do more by way of economic and military
force to bring the rest of the world under the umbrella of a new
socio-economic Pax Americana.

The fundamental essence of PNAC's ideology can be found in a White Paper
produced in September of 2000 entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses:
Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century." In it, PNAC outlines
what is required of America to create the global empire they envision.
According to PNAC, America must:
* Reposition permanently based forces to Southern Europe, Southeast Asia
and the Middle East;
* Modernize U.S. forces, including enhancing our fighter aircraft,
submarine and surface fleet capabilities;
* Develop and deploy a global missile defense system, and develop a
strategic dominance of space;
* Control the "International Commons" of cyberspace;
* Increase defense spending to a minimum of 3.8 percent of gross domestic
product, up from the 3 percent currently spent.

Most ominously, this PNAC document described four "Core Missions" for the
American military. The two central requirements are for American forces to
"fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars," and
to "perform the 'constabulary' duties associated with shaping the security
environment in critical regions." Note well that PNAC does not want America
to be prepared to fight simultaneous major wars. That is old school. In
order to bring this plan to fruition, the military must fight these wars
one way or the other to establish American dominance for all to see.

Why is this important? After all, wacky think tanks are a cottage industry
in Washington, DC. They are a dime a dozen. In what way does PNAC stand
above the other groups that would set American foreign policy if they could?
Two events brought PNAC into the mainstream of American government: the
disputed election of George W. Bush, and the attacks of September 11th.
When Bush assumed the Presidency, the men who created and nurtured the
imperial dreams of PNAC became the men who run the Pentagon, the Defense
Department and the White House. When the Towers came down, these men saw,
at long last, their chance to turn their White Papers into substantive
This article, written a few years ago, is for a lot of people 'old' news..but for those of you who this is new, read the full article HERE.
As I saw Ann Richards'memorial this morning on tv (ex-Texas Governor who passed away), I saw Clinton who spoke and offered his condolences to grieving family members. I turned to my husband and said, you know, Bush would not know how to deal with real people in real pain. He's too dissasociative of people outside of his Ivy league realm. This is why a President who has some genuine notion and understanding of 'regular' people, needs to get back at the helm of this country. Not someone who is devoid of actual paineful, devastating and traumatic consequences of his actions, like Bush is. Just watch how he reacts to people in pain. He doesn't know how to. What can you expect from a guy who is part of an unprecedented attempt at a global economic takeover? Israel, beware, and don't be his patsy!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Is America Burning?: NO MERCY

Is America Burning?: NO MERCY

Once again, the women at 'Is America Burning' are right on top of things.. check out the fun proposed past time for kids, war games fundamental Christian style..

Question to the floor...

After reading Dahr Jamails' piece on some of the emails he has received from people in Iraq, I was wondering..which newspaper or printed media outlet would publish this? In Austin TX, I think the most likelihood is the free, and much read alternative weekly 'The Chronicle. In your town/city, who do you think would publish this?
Why do I ask? Well, perhaps it's time for another concerted effort, one along the lines of the bloggers against torture, to compile a list, and do some mass e-mailing in the hopes of some broader attention other than online exposure.
This is an excerpt of one of those emails Dahr Jamail received:
Here is an email from a doctor living in Baghdad:

Although I have perfect job satisfaction as a full professor with an MRCP, FRCP, and two more degrees from London and France, things are so unhappy here in Baghdad. There is no quality of life at all. There are no services; we are loaded with garbage as it is not collected more than once every so many weeks. Garbage collectors are also afraid of being killed. We have almost no electricity, no fuel, bad water supply and what is more, you could get killed whether you are Shi'ite or Sunni if you fall into the wrong hands! I nearly got killed on several occasions!
I work no more than one hour and a half hour in the afternoon. I come back rushing to my house after that. We lock our doors and do not leave at all. What about shopping? It is called "Marathon Buying," for I try to spend no more than ten minutes getting all the needed vegetables, fruits and food items. This is on my way back from university, three times a week. I also spend another ten minutes in the afternoon on my way back from the clinic buying car fuel for my home electric generator. It is all black markets now since the lines are so long at the pumps, reaching four to five times the official price. If I need to get it officially, I have to spend the night in line in front of the gas station where people bring their blankets, water, food and sleep in the street in front of the gas stations. Sometimes I speak nicely to the guard of the gas station, presenting my ID and my business card and ask them if I can fill my car out of line. Sometimes they kick me out, other times I am lucky and the guard has some rheumatic complaints, back pain or knee pains, and bingo, I can fill my car out of line with a promise to bring him medicines to where he is. Of course, this is without any physical exam or investigations. If I was really lucky and the stars were on my side that day, then I might even be allowed to get an extra 20 liters of gas for my generator!!!

One month ago there were militia men with their guns storming the dormitories of the resident doctors in the medical city. They were looking for doctors from Mosul or Al-Anbar province. There was a big fuss, and the targeted doctors went into hiding so none were caught. The next day, two of them who were rheumatology post-graduates under my supervision asked me to give them leave to go to their hometowns and not be back except for their exams. I agreed, because they were leaving anyway. They would have been killed if they were caught, not because they have done any crime, but just because they are Sunni from Mosul or Al-Anbar. I believe that many doctors from southern parts of Iraq who were Shi'ites also left the dormitory that day because they feared that they were not safe anymore and it would be their turn with maybe Sunni militia gunmen who will come sooner or later. So everyone left!!!!

Here is another email from Souad:

I know it is hard to imagine the situation. Baghdad turned into a ghost city this summer. Things are beyond the tolerance of any human being. No electricity, no fuel in the richest oil country to run even small house generators. 90% of the stores are closed because of the kidnappings and explosions. Some of my women relatives couldn't leave the house to their garden for six months. Can you imagine the house-prisons women are locked in here in Iraq these days? Some of them PhD holders. About two million Iraqi have left since June of this year to close-by countries waiting for a miracle to happen. We have no clue what will happen the next day. There is no planning and no reconstruction. Where are all the oil revenues going? Nobody knows. Every single dollar is being spent on security plans, and we have no security.
The following email is from Rizgar Khosnow, who is a Kurdish man with US citizenship and author of the book, Nothing Left But Their Voices. Khosnow lives in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where most people in the US are led to believe things are so much better than the rest of Iraq. This first email is from August 12:

We have been stuck at home this summer because it is so hot here and we have very little electricity. Things are not that great here. As I have said in the past, I am considered wealthy here and I am just barley keeping my head above water. Believe it or not, I am spending $600-700 a month in gas alone! This gas I use to run my two generators, at different times in the day, and I must use them to run lights and fans. The rent is getting so ridiculous that the president of Kurdistan came on TV last night and said that he will do something about the rent increase that is going on here.

Three years ago, I rented a furnished home for $100 in the city of Arbil. Now, I pay $1500 a MONTH without furniture! My next door neighbor rented his home for $3,500 a month. Things are extremely bad here. The rich are robbing the poor. I wish I knew how people here are living when their monthly salaries are no more than $200 a month! Last year, a gallon of gas cost 25 cents and now the same gallon cost $6.00.
Here is another email from him:

I am glad that you are trying your best to get the word out. I feel that we need to let all Americans know what is going on. I have moved to my new home and it has taken me one week to do so. I have help from three of my relatives who are staying with me till I finish everything, and we still cannot seem to complete all that work that is needed. You will not believe how difficult things are here and how much I needed to do in my new home. Things are not easy here. At the new home we have electricity one hour a day. I have now bought another generator, now I have three of them, to give me power to run lights and fans. We also have not had water for three days so I had to buy water worth $20 a day! That is life here even for the well-to-do like myself!
bold added by your truly.
So tell me guys, do you think we could do a little more to get the word out other than writing about it on our own blogs? Tell me.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Her Daily Struggles

It struck me the other day, as I read one of my blogger friends' entry, how she must reflect her compatriots' experiences. How deeply this war in Iraq is affecting her. You'll say, well, of course, you're in a war zone, you're going to be affected, duh! But I tell you, if you're even a wee bit like me, reading about war, reading about attacks and resulting deaths, than you can only conceive of it conceptually. You'll feel sorry, even indignant that another human being has to go through that, but when I read Miraj's entry, the depth of her pain and justified anger just hit me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes, you just 'get it' and that sometime was with her post.
I stood in line in gas stations for 6 hours before and had to get back home one time at 8 pm in a dark city filled with killer monsters from all over the countries around us. I cried , I had body cramps , I felt I can’t get out of the deep dark hole I felt I’m laying at its bottom. Looking up searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. Have I stayed there? No! I stood up again and filled my car with gasoline and my generator with fuel.

I spent weeks and months under 50 centigrade degrees where is no electricity , where you feel your soul is struggling to get out of your body to feel relieved , where I had to suffer watching my old father begging for air at nights. I cried again, I felt sick, I thought I lost my faith. Have I given up? No! August is finished already and I passed the test and September is way better and I do not wake up anymore in the nights to take showers or to use my manual fan. I wake up only to operate our generator with Dad who holds the gun behind me protecting my back.

I was attacked in my own house by a filthy animal. I screamed, I fell ,I injured myself while running away cowardly , I cursed my life and shouted why me, I couldn’t sleep for weeks, I still cannot walk in the dark without turning around every second and I still cannot sleep in my dark room. Have I given up? No! I still have to go out in the night to operate the generator even though I have to get help from my father. I still take my father’s gun and search the house, room by room when ever I hear noise. Amazingly when I travel and find myself out of Iraq , I do not look around anymore, I do not fear that someone would attack me from behind in the dark while I walk alone in the streets , I do not open my eyes widely until it hurts searching for explosive bombs planted in the pavement whether I am the one who is driving or not.

I , with millions of my people, were and still are exposed to the most savage mental and physical destructive attacks from the most powerful country in the world, The United States of America .

She's a fighter and the spirit inside her is keeping her mind afloat amidst her daily struggles to survive emotionally and mentally, never mind physically. But there is pain my friends, a lot of pain. With pain comes anger. I so wish I could help get rid of both. It is time to start thinking about sending the Bush administration and its lackeys packing. Start thinking how you can be involved other than voting. Because there is more at stake than 'just Iraq'. We have to prevent a veritable WW3. Really.

Read about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Read about how you can help ousting the Bush administration

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Americans, before you get suckered into another war..

consider this:

Cost of War

Check out the National Priorities Project. And thanks be to Jeremiah Bullfrog, inspiration comes from the darndest places.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Israel Factor ranks Presidential Candidates + Part 3, Dahr Jamail's interview with Ray McGovern

These are two separate articles, but one very clear connection; the US-Israeli 'entanglement'. I will let you read and do your own manner of deducing. Excerpt from part 3, Dahr Jamail's interview with Ray McGovern:
In the final installment of this interview series for Truthout, McGovern discusses links between US/Israeli policy, the need for change if there is to be true security for either country, the Bush administration's use of torture, and the likelihood of a US attack on Iran.

DJ: What is the solution for this dysfunctional entanglement between the US and Israel regarding their failed policy in the Middle East?

RM: It is very hard to perceive a solution to the entanglement between our country and Israel. No one has more power than the Israeli lobby. We know the study that professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt did was criticized, as they predicted, as being anti-Semitic. But they didn't tell half of the story. They omitted, for example, the USS Liberty.

Let me tell you about the USS Liberty. It was off the coast of Israel during the 1967 war. It was an intelligence collection ship. The Israelis knew what it was. The ship had a great big American flag flying on top of it. On the 8th of June, three days into the war, Israeli fighter bombers reconnoitered the ship and then came back an hour later and did their damnedest to sink it. Not only that, but torpedo boats participated in this, knowing that it was a US ship. 34 US sailors were killed, 171 US sailors were severely wounded. The ship limped back on its own power into Malta.

In the midst of all this, during the engagement, the commander of the 6th Fleet, having been apprised of what was going on, immediately ordered fighter bombers to do battle with whoever was attacking the USS Liberty. Guess what happened? They were called back halfway. They were called back halfway. By whom? By President Lyndon Johnson and by Defense Secretary Robert MacNamara.

When the sailors who survived got off that ship, they were allowed to sleep one night. The first thing the next morning, they were told they would be court-martialed if they ever mentioned that Israel had deliberately tried to sink their ship. They were sworn to secrecy. And that secrecy held for about 20 years, but now the story is out. The navy lawyers who were cajoled into suppressing the real story have come out and told exactly what the story was.

Why do I mention all this?

Among other things, Admiral [Thomas Hinman] Moorer, who had been chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, did his own investigation and came up with the fact that the Israelis did this.

Now, Congress suppressed this information, our press suppressed this information, so what effect did this have on the Israelis? I think the Israelis concluded that this was pretty good - that they could literally get away with murder. They could literally get away with murder, and the US government would not criticize Israel even if they killed 34 US soldiers and wounded 171. That was 1967.

Since then, the Israeli lobby in this country has become even more powerful. And the money they disperse to various candidates, congressman and senators has become even more grandiose, and it's not possible to discuss this or get politicians to be honest about this sort of thing. So what do we have to do? I think we just have to plug away at the media and do alternative media, studies and articles and point out that this is precisely what George Washington warned against and that Israeli interests are not the same as ours. That the neo-cons have great difficulty distinguishing what they perceive to be Israeli interests and those of the US and we have to adopt a more balanced policy.
Beware of being called an anti-semite, even though any reasonable person who'd criticize these policies and political maneuvring would consider any ordinary American, Israeli and ultimately, anyone else in that region worthy of being saved from the political elites who play these games and manipulate their 'own'. Whoops, I said I would just let you read for yourself and make up your own next; The Israel Factor; ranking the Presidential candidates (from 1 being bad to 10 being great):
It's been a week since our first Israel Factor survey, and my initial analysis rightly dealt with the clear winner, Rudy Giuliani. All the while, however, a question about the loser was troubling me: Why was Barack Obama ranked bottom?

Talking to some of the panelists this week, I tried to understand if there was anything significant about the fact that the popular senator from Illinois came last, or if it was just coincidence. I got different answers from different panelists, and, delving into Obama's numbers again, now I think it's time to present some limited conclusions.

Let's start with the data:

The panel involved in this project were taking from a wide selection of the political spectrum, read more HERE to see how the panel was put together and the type of questions that were asked in order to implement the point system. There are some honest questions asked and questions addressing two sides are represented.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

100 years ago, Ghandi made his first declaration of non violence as a viable answer as opposition to oppression in South Africa. Satyagraha as this is called, has been used successfully by Ghandi to achieve India's independence, Martin Luther King's quest for black civil rights, and Nelson Mandela's pursuit of South Africa's direction of black liberty.

9/11 will be commemorated by many Americans as a vacuum filled attack on the US. No doubt in surfing the blogosphere, you will read anything from critiques and conspiracy (should they be called that?) theorists questioning the Bush's administration's involvement (especially Cheney) and foreknowledge, to emotional commemorations of a day that burtst the average and not very worldly American. This post is neither. I am tired of violence perpetrated by all people, we have plenty to go around in this world. Fractions, sects, inter and intra-religious conflict, tribal, and countries at war. It ought not to happen in this day and age but it does. I often wonder if those who are involved in the plotting of killing, avenging, amassing of power, if that is what they thought they wanted to be when they were kids. I look at my kids and think, would I ever expect them to use guns, or to push that button that drops one of those nasty bombs and kills many people? I tell my son especially, who, as can be expected of any boy his age the world over, is interested in weapons and 'fighting the enemy' (which could be the Wraith from Stargate Atlantis to some ghost from Danny Phantom, you don't know, don't ask)..I do not want you EVER to join the military!

Awareness needs to achieve a critical masse before it can influence a people culturally and socially. It needs to start with me, and my family, and hopefully you, and then you and then your families. Anger, agression, violence and the ubiquitous 'me vs you' comes from a place of emotional imbalance, unhappiness, and most importantly, a lack of peace. The latter includes the many religious people who keep killing and perpetrating crimes in the name of their religion, and they are not solely Muslim. Read history, and other histories. The world over is filled with repeated stories that are veritable templates of when religion rules and spiritually is non existent.

You come from your 'place'..your particular baggage and previous hurts. Bag it, and throw it out. How you perceive events of the world around you depends on what you know and how you feel. Literally. I am not going to ask for a commemoration of 9/11, there are plenty forgotten souls in Africa, Asia and the Middle East who could use some commemorating. 9/11 to me was a 'welcome , join the club of terrorism'. For those experienced with it in Europe (England, Ireland,France, Germany, Spain, Turkey to name a few) it was a moment of recognition. This is what happens, now you have to counter it. The US under Bush has been supremely dumb and ignorant and naive and inexperienced. Most definitely not smart and wise and hence, now we will wonder how much more worried we need to be. The only way to counter this is Satyagraha. It is not only the act of non violence, but the emotional and spiritual space you need to enter before you can act upon it that is the key. For that, you need maturity, you need honesty, you need the desire to bring about peace and most of all, see the 'other' as your fellow human being, not as your enemy or antagonist.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

So when are they going to be impeached?

This Washington Post article "Iraq's Alleged Al-Qaeda Ties Were Disputed Before War" is saying nothing new;
Democrats and Republicans agree that analysts and politicians of all political stripes were wrong about the prewar assessments of Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. But the committee report indicates that intelligence analysts were substantially right about Hussein's lack of operational links to al-Qaeda. And Democrats compared the administration's public statements with newly declassified intelligence assessments to build their case that efforts to link Iraq to al-Qaeda were willfully misleading.
emphasis added
In a classified January 2003 report, for instance, the CIA concluded that Hussein "viewed Islamic extremists operating inside Iraq as a threat." But one day after that conclusion was published, Levin noted, Vice President Cheney said the Iraqi government "aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda."
Intelligence reports in June, July and September 2002 all cast doubts on a reported meeting in Prague between Iraqi intelligence agents and Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta. Yet, in a Sept. 8, 2002, appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press," Cheney said the CIA considered the reports on the meeting credible, Levin said.

In February 2002, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that "Iraq is unlikely to have provided bin Laden any useful [chemical and biological weapons] knowledge or assistance." A year later, Bush said: "Iraq has also provided al-Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training."

Plenty of reasons for impeachment one would think. The deliberate falsification of their information, their use of the military for their own gains (which ought to be tackled next by the media) and the numerous deaths of US soldiers AND many Iraqi civilians combined with the unstable situation it has wrought, PLUS the increase of actual terrorism and their recruits, it would have brought any government down anywhere else in this world..but here:
Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.), an intelligence committee member, said it was unfair for Democrats to compare the intelligence assessments in the report with the administration's statements. He said such comparisons go beyond the scope of the chapters released.

But Democrats were unequivocal in asserting that the chapters chronicle an indisputable pattern of deception.

It is such a blatant misleading of the United States, its people, to prepare them, to position them, to, in fact, make them enthusiastic or feel that it's justified to go to war with Iraq," said Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), the committee's vice chairman. "That kind of public manipulation I don't know has any precedent in American history."

Boys and Girls Democrats/Independents/Other in elections around the country, this is your time to go in for the kill. The Republican party moderates and those who consider themselves true conservatives (fiscally etc) can use this opportunity to rid themselves from the 'crazies' as Ray McGovern called them. The Neoconservative agenda does not serve any intelligent and sane soul, and least of all, the world as a whole. We are more in danger of traveling anywhere in the world. 'We', being any Westerner really. The world has been set up in terms of us vs them and the increase of hatred cannot be dismissed for a lot of the times as something irrational, but sadly as understandable. We need to restore a true and respectful world order. One of peaceful relations amongst those who ought to know better. Everything else will fall into place.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Something personally 'freaky'

Today I decided to go to my doctor because of certain symptoms that sort of reminded me when I had them much more severely about 6 yrs ago and I ended up having an interior tear of the carotid artery. My doctor was new to the practice where I had been going but he was pretty thorough. He noted that, taking my blood pressure twice it was too high and had been (after looking at my chart) for quite a few months. I had dismissed it as early as this winter with another doctor since I figured I was big time sleep deprived and had a few stressful years behind me. The doctors I had seen (for other things) has also noted my, at times, high(urr) blood pressure and said that it 'wasn't good'. But never said why, and wanting to prescribe me something while exercising, taking my bloodpressure on a regular basis to get a base reading which, shame on me, I never did. I had visions of taking the kids to the pharmacy's bloodpressure machine thinking, phuh..that's going to give me a good reading. Of course, ding dong me, you can buy those machines which we finally did a few months ago and ahm..tonight took out of the box.
This morning, this new doctor checked me out, figured I probably have nothing wrong with my carotid artery, everything sounded clear, but he said I should take bloodpressure medicine because I could get a stroke! That got my attention and of course, he wanted to take my blood pressure again which I said, why bother, it's definitely high now!!
He also ordered an MRI which I had done before and tonight, I waited for over an hour after my scheduled appointment only to find out that they were going to inject me with this metal based dye for contrast. Whoa! If I had known (all my other MRI's in the past did not include that) I would have scheduled it and taken my husband along in the event I had a reaction. With enough 'freaky' medical things under my belt (Cushings syndrome, now living large on one adrenal gland, sorry Hippa people, I can say what I want, plus this carotid artery thing), I just don't want to take any chances. So anyhow, I have to reschedule and I still feel some of those symptoms even though my doctor doesn't think it's anything related to that but solely the high blood pressure. Well, I'm a 'good girl' now and took my first BP pill tonight. As I was reading the Austin Woman magazine in the waiting room, an add with a local celeb said, I wear red! Meaning, it was an awareness ad for women because the number one killer of women is heart disease and strokes! Freaking me out even more.
Part of me feels rebellious. Good grief, I am 'only' 42 (and yes, for you who are younger, you'll get there soon enough, don't blink) and I don't want to pop pills for the rest of my life. I told the doctor I have a hard time swallowing pills and in this multiple doctor practice, most of the people are geriatric. I told him, I'd have a hard time as an old lady swallowing ten or so of those horse pills they need to take, yikes! So he found me the smalles BP pill which I was able to take with a big 'swig' of yoghurt. Sure, laugh away. After my son's birth, all the women were drugged up looking totally out of it, me.. I took a children's liquid tylenol and the nurses thought, doesn't she need more?
I'm good with pain, but swallowing pills? I'm impossible..
oh well, I think I might have to really work on thinking happy thoughts (what, no more political posts?), meditating or! No more coffee, well, the doc did not say that, he said no salt but I hardly use salt when I cook, and my husband informed me (who's taking BPpills as well)no sugar..
pass me the carrots!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dahr Jamail Interviews Ray McGovern, part 2

For Truthout, Dahr Jamail interviewed Ray McGovern during a national convention for the Veterans for Peace in Seattle in August. This is part 2:
In the second installment of this interview series for Truthout, McGovern discusses US policy regarding Iran, a US/Israel "mutual defense treaty" and the security ramifications for Israel.

Dahr Jamail: What is your perspective on the possibility that the US could take the present day situation in Lebanon and use it as a pretext to wage war against Iran?

Ray McGovern: If you are talking about pretexts, there doesn't have to be much reality behind the pretexts. We saw that in Central America. We were told that the Soviets were going to use the Nicaraguans as pawns to come up into Texas, remember? Did Ronald Reagan really believe this?

They don't really have to plant anything - they've got the Iranian missiles there [southern Lebanon] there are stories about Iranian soldiers in there advising them, stories which to my knowledge are not true. But if they want to use this as a pretext to take off after Iran, they are free to do so.

Who would do it? As with the case with respect to Iraq, Iran poses no danger to the US. I repeat, no danger to the US. Iran has not started any wars in that part of the world. They hate us for other reasons. They hate us because they had a democratically elected government in 1953 and we overthrew it because we wanted their oil, pure and simple. They know that, and they are used to it, and they don't want it anymore.

DJ: How does this lead into Iran, if you are the policy-makers in Israel/US?

RM: What we have here is that Israel does feel threatened. Why? Because the Israelis have a nuclear monopoly now in the Middle East, and most people believe they have about 300 nuclear weapons which they can fire from missiles and submarines and whatever else. And Iran and their other neighbors have none.

Now, if Iran were to develop a nuclear weapon, would that be a threat to Israel's security? I don't think so. They'd have to be suicidal to mount an attack on Israel because they would be obliterated. What would it give Iran? It would give Iran a certain modicum of what we used to call deterrence. It's a word that's dropped out of the vocabulary of Washington but it worked for 40 years after WWII. It would give them a measure of deterrence. So if the Iranians, say 10 years from now, saw the Israelis about to pounce on Syria and do what they are doing to Lebanon, in this case to Syria, perhaps the Ayatollahs would say, "Now wait a minute, we know of your plans. Don't think that you can do this with impunity."

And this would give the Israelis pause. Up until now, they have had free reign, they have been unencumbered in doing whatever they hell they please in the West Bank, in Gaza, and now in Lebanon, with the support of the US government and military, and they don't want to lose that kind of freedom of action. So they are hell bent on preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. In that sense they see a threat.
bold added by yours truly. Click HERE for full article.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

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Last night, I started my apprenticeship with Pedro Gatos, dj at KOOP radio, 91.7FM who hosts his show 'Bringing Light into Darkness' from 6-7pm, Monday nights. Pedro recently retired from County gov't, and having just returned from Camp Casey this weekend where he met, for the second time, Dennis Kyne. Dennis is a Gulf war veteran, a disabled war veteran, an activist and someone who has been speaking out on the state of the American military. An article he wrote about depleted uranium might be something some of you remember, especially those who live in the Bay area; What Happened to the Test Tube paradigm?
Last night's interview that Pedro had while Dennis was en route to New Mexico for a speaking engagement was very interesting and I wish I could post the transcript or an online streamline version or something but..we're not that far yet!

I realized while listening to his comments relating New Orleans (he and other Veterans for Peace set up shop post Katrina to help out when no one did), the wild spread use of depleted uranium etc. was, that I have learned and uncovered so much since I started blogging. Snippets of his commentary rang true and made sense because of a bigger overall picture I have been developing of the real state of this Union, and how by sheer vigilance in reading and self educating, so many others who are in the dark (and who for the most part wish to stay there), could know it too. The information IS out there. It is not like Nazi Germany where German citizens could say, oh, we did not know these things happened. All the moral, legal, and economical violations that are occurring are happening right under our noses. It is when you channel surf and you see local cable tv where someone is talking alternative news, do you stop to listen for a bit? Or do you automatically dismiss it and move on to something that will lull you to sleep at night?
Here is to Independent media,; independent voices, Austin's community radio, KOOP 91.7FM.
Seek to know the truth.

Monday, September 04, 2006

US Jews protest Israel's actions

Gaza re-occupied

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Thanks to Gideon Levy from Haaretz for bringing this out in the open:
Gaza has been reoccupied. The world must know this and Israelis must know it, too. It is in its worst condition, ever. Since the abduction of Gilad Shalit, and more so since the outbreak of the Lebanon war, the Israel Defense Forces has been rampaging through Gaza - there's no other word to describe it - killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling, indiscriminately.

Nobody thinks about setting up a commission of inquiry; the issue isn't even on the agenda. Nobody asks why it is being done and who decided to do it. But under the cover of the darkness of the Lebanon war, the IDF returned to its old practices in Gaza as if there had been no disengagement. So it must be said forthrightly, the disengagement is dead. Aside from the settlements that remain piles of rubble, nothing is left of the disengagement and its promises. How contemptible all the sublime and nonsensical talk about "the end of the occupation" and "partitioning the land" now appears. Gaza is occupied, and with greater brutality than before. The fact that it is more convenient for the occupier to control it from outside has nothing to do with the intolerable living conditions of the occupied.

Ilan Pappe has harsher words:
A genocide is taking place in Gaza. This morning, 2 September, another three citizens of Gaza were killed and a whole family wounded in Beit Hanoun. This is the morning reap, before the end of day many more will be massacred. An average of eight Palestinian die daily in the Israeli attacks on the Strip. Most of them are children. Hundreds are maimed, wounded and paralyzed.

The Israeli leadership is at lost of what to do with the Gaza Strip. It has vague ideas about the West Bank. The current government assumes that the West Bank, unlike the Strip, is an open space, at least on its eastern side. Hence if Israel, under the ingathering program of the government, annexes the parts it covets – half of the West Bank – and cleanses it of its native population, the other half would naturally lean towards Jordan, at least for a while and would not concern Israel. This is a fallacy, but nonetheless it won the enthusiastic vote of most of the Jews in the country. Such an arrangement can not work in the Gaza enclave – Egypt unlike Jordan has succeeded in persuading the Israelis, already in 1948, that the Gaza Strip for them is a liability and will never form part of Egypt. So a million and half Palestinians are stuck inside Israel – although geographically the Strip is located on the margins of the state, psychologically it lies in its midst.

The inhuman living conditions in the most dense area in the world, and one of the poorest human spaces in the northern hemisphere, disables the people who live it to reconcile with the imprisonment Israel had imposed on them ever since 1967.

Revisiting Mohammed from Rafah, this is what he has to say:
I have not slept yet. The Israeli attack on the Eastern part of Gaza is ongoing, and the world is, as usual silent. Israel public opinion is falling and international community is no longer moving from its murderous silence. To whom should we complain? The Palestinian Authority? They are already broken and have no control. The USA? They are no longer interested in stability in the region. The EU or the Security Council? That is, of course, none of their business, since they have other things to care about.

In the past few days tens of people were killed and the number is increasing even as I type this text. This is the result of ongoing Israeli attacks. Schools have started and the children have no new uniforms or school bags; even the teachers have not been paid for the last six months. " I don’t know how I'm going to manage without a salary, where should I go and how should I feed my family?" asked the school teacher Majdi Salem, 29. He is a new teacher working for a governmental school, together with other 170,000 other employees, doctors, teachers and other security members. There are simply no salaries. Ismail Haneya, the Palestinian Prime Minister went to visit schools today.

Ain't he a beaut!

More pics, go to ABC.COM

This morning I found out that, whilst filming a piece on corral for his kid show, he got stung by a stingray while swimming over it. This freak accident was actually not sought out and, as you must have seen on tv numerous times by now, stingrays burrow in the sand and people get stung by them often when they step on them. Normally not fatal, but Steve died within minutes after he got pierced straight into his heart. He had little chance of survival even if had been closer to land:
Sea World's marine science director Trevor Long says stingrays have killed a total of 17 people worldwide.

"All of those fatalities have occurred in the trunk of the body," he said.

"Many people, many fishermen have been stung by sting rays in the feet and the hands and it's not an unusual occurrence but it doesn't cause a great deal of problem.

I am saddened by this as he was one of the few people I admired. I am not really into celebrities but I can appreciate, or in Steve's case, 'covet' what they have: a lust for life, a clear and purposeful life. He was born to pursue his obvious passions and I know what are mine, but I don't feel that they are as pronounced as his were. That enthusiasm and his obvious reference and excitement about any little creature, great or small, cute or, not so (except in his eyes; ain't she a beaut!) was contagious. Who does not covet another person's love for life and what they are doing? How many of 'us' feel stuck in our ruts, in our abilities to lead that purpose driven life (yes, I read the book but unlike the other million Christians, hated it!! ) that says; this is what I am on earth to do and I love doing it.
I think that was his appeal, and this is why so many people are sad. The one person with one of the most obvious purpose has passed on. Rest in peace Steve and now, I think I need to figure out how to live my purpose driven life, and not look to you anymore.

Tributes to Steve Irwin
Visit Animal Planet
Visit Australia Zoo

Place of Steve Irwin's accident

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Light fare...

I am a thinker. I am in my head when I clean house and do the mundane things in life that do not require close attention, and when I listen to music. When I write, I need silence, when I listen to music, my mind processes and sorts, sees images, snippets of stories in my head of what I want to post, or how I would want to write my screenplay. This is what I am currently listening to, when no one's at home and I have an hour to get in my 'space':
Om Kalthoum -Anta Omri
Kate Bush - The Kick Inside
Deep Forest -
Eddie Palmieri- Ritmo Caliente
Status Quo- 12 Golden Bars

What are you listening to these days?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Keith Olbermann, you da man!

I know it's been ages in terms of blogosphere time, but thanks to Jim Benton, my week off from blogging ended when he emailed me about, as he called it, a great moment in tv history.

I am looking for independent thinkers; independent commentators, and people who call upon others to think independently, AND who know their history. As Albert Camus said;
A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.
Free being a relative word in the US, but I found that people are really not that 'free' to criticize as much as one would expect in a democratic country. But that is a topic for another post.
Thank you Keith Olbermann! (Check out his blog which includes the transcript of his commentary)