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Tell Your Mayor to Oppose an Attack on Iran

Posted by libhom Saturday, May 31, 2008 0 comments

The fabulous women from CODEPINK have started a campaign to build an important platform for opposing the Bush regime's lunatic idea of attacking Iran. Peace Action has supported it too.

Dear Friends,

CODEPINK has started a new effort to get mayors around the country to sign a resolution against going to war with Iran. The resolution will be presented at the US Conference of Mayors on June 20 in Miami. It is cosponsored by 11 mayors, and we are seeking more sponsors. Below is a copy of the resolution and a sample cover letter. Please consider sending this to your mayor and following up with a call encouraging him/her to sign on. The passage of a resolution against war with Iran on behalf of mayors nationwide will send a strong message to the White House and Congress that the American people want diplomacy, not war!

Sincerely,

Kevin Martin/Peace Action


Here is the wording of the resolution.
RESOLUTION OPPOSING MILITARY INTERVENTION IN IRAN
SUBMITTED TO THE US CONFERENCE OF MAYORS

1. WHEREAS, the President and members of his Administration have alleged that Iran poses an imminent threat to the United States, U.S. troops in the Middle East and U.S. allies; and

2. WHEREAS, these allegations are similar to the lead-up to the Iraq War and U.S. occupation, with the selective use of information and unsubstantiated accusations about Iran's nuclear program and its supply of weapons to Iraqi forces as centerpieces of a case to the American people for aggression against Iran; and

3. WHEREAS, Iran has not threatened to attack the United States, and no compelling evidence has been presented to document that Iran poses a real and imminent threat to the security and safety of the United States that would justify an unprovoked unilateral pre-emptive military attack; and

4. WHEREAS, we support the people of Iran who are struggling for freedom and democracy, and nothing herein should be misconstrued as support for the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but it should be understood that a unilateral, pre-emptive U.S. military attack on Iran could well prove counterproductive to the cause of promoting freedom and democracy there; and

5. WHEREAS, a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), representing the consensus view all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, concluded that Iran froze its nuclear weapons program in 2003, and an earlier NIE concluded that Iran’s involvement in Iraq “is not likely to be a major driver of violence” there; and

6. WHEREAS, an attack on Iran is likely to cause untold thousands of American and Iranian casualties, lead to major economic dislocations, and threaten even greater destabilization in the Middle East; and

7. WHEREAS, a pre-emptive U.S. military attack on Iran would violate international law and our commitments under the U.N. Charter and further isolate the U.S. from the rest of the world; and

8. WHEREAS, an attack on Iran is likely to inflame hatred for the U.S. in the Middle East and elsewhere, inspire terrorism, and lessen the security of Americans; and

9. WHEREAS, the Iraq war and occupation has already cost the lives of over 4,000 American soldiers, the maiming and wounding of over 38,000 American soldiers, the death and maiming of over one million Iraqi civilians; and

10. WHEREAS, the Iraq War and occupation has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $500 billion, depriving our cities of much-need funds for services and infrastructure; and

11. WHEREAS, except at our peril, we cannot ignore the history of U.S. government misinformation used to inspire U.S. aggression in Vietnam and again in Iraq, as embodied in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and more recently in the what we know now as false claims of weapons of mass destruction; and

12. WHEREAS, any conflict with Iran is likely to incur far greater costs and divert more precious national resources away from critical human needs,

13. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors hereby urges the Bush Administration to pursue diplomatic engagement with Iran on nuclear issues and ending the violence in Iraq; and

14. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to prohibit the use of funds to carry out any military action against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization; and

15. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that suitable copies of the resolution be forwarded to President George W. Bush and all members of Congress.

CODEPINK has provided a copy of the resolution and a sample cover letter.

I was thinking when I read about this that the above campaign also sounds like a good idea for nonbinding resolutions for City Councils to pass. It turns out CODEPINK was way ahead of me, and they have a page on their website with just such an action. Oakland already has passed just such a resolution.

Go forth and kick ass.

 

It Sucks to Be a Farmer in Iraq

Posted by libhom Wednesday, May 28, 2008 6 comments

Of course, it sucks to be in Iraq period.

However, one underreported aspect of how bad things are under the occupation is the plight of Iraqi farmers, as reported by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail on 3/29/08.

New plant diseases, attacks by occupation forces and escalating fuel prices are strangling farmers in Diyala province.

Prior to the U.S.-led invasion of March 2003, farmers in Baquba, the capital city of Diyala province 40 km northeast of Baghdad, struggled with plant diseases they believed were caused by bombs dropped during the U.S.-led war against Iraq in 1991.

Trees were infested with white fruit fly, aphids and plant louse, and there was a shortage of water for irrigation. The directorate-general of agriculture used helicopters to spread insecticide.

After the invasion, the situation has worsened. Helicopter spraying seems unthinkable.

"With helicopters large distances can be sprayed in one stroke," Aboud Ibrahim, a 55-year-old local farmer told IPS. "In the case of white fruit fly, when a farmer sprays the insecticide, the disease can move back to his farm again from the neighbouring farm within six hours. This is why simultaneous treatment of all farms is so efficient."

Helicopters now mean something else. "Helicopters and fighters of the coalition forces attack farmers who work at night on their farms," said a local farmer who did not want to be named. "Due to the water quotas, farmers are forced to water their farms even at night. Some farmers have been shot in firing by coalition forces. Farmers would rather neglect their farms than risk death."

You may not know this, but Iraq had a thriving agriculture sector before Bush invaded that country. A supervisor at the directorate-general of agriculture in Diyala said on condition of anonymity:
"Iraq now imports almost all its crops from neighbouring counties like Syria, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, after decades of exporting to these same countries."

Bush/Clinton/Cheney/McCain/Faux News/the NY Times et. al. have liberated Iraq, from food self-sufficiency.

As one would expect, the corporate media did not pick up on this story. They would rather bombard us with how the escalation in Iraq is cutting back on "the violence." Of course, "the violence" doesn't included US violence against the Iraq people, which has gone up during the escalation.

We are all supposed to be so bored with the war that we won't pay attention to it. Now that the Obama/Clinton feud is winding down, I wonder what shiny new thing the corporate media hacks will point us at instead of what is going on in the war on Iraq.

Britney Spears, Martha Stewart, Linday Lohan, etc. need to get cracking. We need something to distract us from the elephant in our national living room.

 

CODEPINK Gives Voice to War Mother for Memorial Day

Posted by libhom Monday, May 26, 2008 2 comments

From a 5/22/08 CODEPINK email blast:

May the words of Gilda Carbonaro whose only child, Alessandro, died from injuries received in Iraq, move you to take action this Memorial Day weekend:
It still seems unreal that Alex did not return from Iraq, that his bright future was cut short, that his young bride was left a widow.

A silent scream wants to break out of my chest as I contemplate his stark absence and think of the young men and women who will die today and tomorrow to fill the other graves that have been prepared at Arlington.

We do not honor our loved ones by accepting the continued loss of life in a reckless, irresponsible war that has no military solution. We do not honor the troops by standing by indifferently as members of the Congress give their sneering Commander-in-Chief a blank check to continue a war based on a tidal wave of lies and hubris.

We honor the fallen by beginning an immediate redeployment from Iraq and by showing our determination to stop a new war with Iran. We honor the fallen by making sure that those who return from Iraq and Afghanistan receive all the help they need for their education, and their physical and mental health. We honor the fallen by taking action, by making peace.


 

Admiring Elders: The Granny Peace Brigade

Posted by libhom Sunday, May 25, 2008 5 comments

We often are encouraged to disregard wisdom accumulated by elders by corporate media, both news and entertainment. The wealthy and the CEOswould much rather us blindly follow the boob tube than learn real lessons about life. This is one of many areas where we could learn a lot from the indigenous peoples' of this continent.

One group of elders we should all learn from is the Granny Peace Brigade. In addition to their website, they have a blog which keeps up with their activities to resist the Iraq war, promote peace, and defy complacency.

They show us a model of strength, compassion, and concern while managing to keep a sense of humor about themselves. Their use of parodies of songs from the days of their youth provides a way for them to get peoples' attention in an era of information overload.

They even let me sing with them once at Union Square a while back.

Of course, they don't just sing. They picket, march, and use a particularly pragmatic tactic to get people to call their congresscritters, PHONE-A-THONS.

Keep the pressure on Congress!
Response to our Phone-a-Thons has been so enthusiastic that we are repeating them regularly in different locations. We ask people to call Congress on the spot (using our phones) and urge their Senators and Representatives to stop the war by stopping the funding.

YouTube video of their singing at a recent Phone-A-Thon.


Here are links to a couple of their flyers (PDF - quarter sheet):

- Stop Funding the War

- Impeach Cheney Before He Attacks Iran

- Filibuster War Spending

They also have a great page that you shouldn't miss:

Resources for Lobbying Congress


 

I've already posted on the similarities between the political agendas of Bush and Hillary Clinton. Since then, Clinton has become even more rabid in her saber rattling with Iran, making her more like Shrub.

This month, Bring it On! also had an excellent post on similarities in personalities, histories, and behavior between the two of them. Here are the first three paragraphs.

History sometimes cycles through repeating patterns that aren’t easily noticeable. Political history - obfuscated as it is by partisan squabbling and self-interest - is a particularly difficult place to notice them. Sure, there are plenty of polls, records galore, and election results to ponder, but ideological differences tend to make us think of politicians in opposing parties as completely different from one another.

As hard as it is to see, and as appalled as both would be to hear it, George Bush and Hillary Clinton are two of those politicians who are so alike they’re almost the same. From their membership in privileged political dynasties to their ability to effortlessly divide constituencies, they become more and more alike as time goes on. Both have squandered political capital like shore-leave sailors spending money on cheap hookers and booze. Both have an affinity for scorched earth policies and little tolerance for those mere mortals who question them. Compromise and easy forthrightness are anathema to them and the day either of them admits a mistake is the day the planet will reverse direction.

But their quixotic pursuit of unattainable goals, regardless of the cost to others, is perhaps their single most noticeable parallel.

Read More

 

This is a follow up to a previous post on George Galloway's homophobic comments on the Kazemi case. Hat tip to Blazing Indiscretions. From the Independent UK 5/21/08:

Gay student who faced execution in Iran granted asylum in Britain

By Robert Verkaik, Law Editor
Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A gay man who faces the death penalty in Iran has won asylum in the UK after protests prompted the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to reconsider his case.

Family and supporters of Mehdi Kazemi, now 20, welcomed the decision yesterday not to send him back to Iran where his boyfriend was arrested by the state police and executed for sodomy.

Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey, said: "I am delighted by the Home Office decision that my constituent Mehdi Kazemi can now stay in this country. This is great news for a very decent guy."

Mr Kazemi came to London to study in 2005, but in April 2006 discovered his gay partner had been arrested and named him as his boyfriend before his execution. Fearing he might suffer the same fate if he returned, Mr Kazemi decided to seek asylum in Britain. His claim was refused and he fled to the Netherlands where he also failed to win asylum before returning to Britain last month.

His case won support from MPs and peers who signed petitions supporting his claim for refugee status in this country, prompting a surprise intervention by Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, who agreed to reconsider the case.

In an open letter to the British Government, Mr Kazemi told the Home Secretary: "I wish to inform the Secretary of State that I did not come to the UK to claim asylum. I came here to study and return to my country. But in the past few months my situation back home has changed. The Iranian authorities have found out that I am a homosexual and they are looking for me."

Yesterday, the UK Border Agency said it had decided to allow him asylum, granting him leave to remain for five years. A spokesman for the agency said: "We keep cases under review where circumstances have changed and it has been decided that Mr Kazemi should be granted leave to remain."

I just hope that five years is long enough or that his asylum is renewed. It is terrible enough that his boyfriend was murdered by the heterosexist, fundamentalist regime in Iran. It would be even worse if Kazemi was murdered too.

Read Kazemi's Thank You Note to His Supporters

 

The code for this was emailed to everyone in the Out of Iraq Bloggers Caucus, which I am a member of through my efforts in the March 19 Blogswarm Against the Iraq War.



"Impeachment is off the table," said Pelosi, D-Calif. "Democrats are not about getting even. Democrats are about helping people get ahead."
...
She used the word "bipartisan" at least eight times in her few minutes before the media, and said that she had promised the president that she would cooperate with him as much as possible.
-- Two days after the 2006 midterms, by Bill Moyers, National Examiner, November 09, 2006

They are inviting people to spread it around. Here is a version of the code I modified slightly to fit better within a Blogger Blog.



 

Tell Clinton to Drop Out Already

Posted by libhom Saturday, May 24, 2008 3 comments

It's no secret that Hillary Clinton can't win the Democratic nomination, she can only steal it with a superdelegate scam. Obama has won an absolute majority of the legitimate delegates to the Democratic National Convention.

Sign the Petition for Clinton to Drop Out of the Presidential Race!

Now that Clinton has made an apparent death threat against Obama, there is absolutely no excuse for supporting her. The horror of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is far too fresh in our minds. I just hope Clinton hasn't brought that horror to the US with the result being the death of Obama.

 

I thought that there was nothing that an evil racist, heterosexist, corrupt, Republican, war criminal like Hillary Clinton could do that would shock me.

I was wrong. This news is astonishing and perhaps criminal.

Clinton was responding to a question from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader editorial board about calls for her to drop out of the race.

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it," she said, dismissing the idea of dropping out.

Clinton shouldn't just drop out of the race. She should resign in disgrace from the Senate and never show her face in public again.

The Justice Department also should launch a criminal probe into the matter and determine if Ms. Clinton made a terrorist threat.

 

"Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran"

Posted by libhom Thursday, May 22, 2008 0 comments

Just a reminder that John McCain seems to have lost his filter.

When John McCain refers to "straight talk," the "straight" part refers to heterosexuality, not directness or honesty. "Keating Five" McCain is as dishonest and deceptive as they come.

Brave New Films does a great job of film editing to demonstrate McCain's dishonesty. This YouTube video also shows McCain looking very confused at several points.

Just when you thought there already were too many obstacles to decent healthcare coverage in America...

From NYC Indymedia 5/10/08:

Coalition Against Privatization Protests GHI/HIP Privatization

On May 9th, a group of determined protesters gathered in front of the office of State Superintendent of the Insurance Eric Dinallo at 25 Beaver Street in Downtown NYC to oppose the proposed conversion of GHI & HIP to a new for-profit company. The march sent a clear message in opposition to the proposal and recommended that Superintendent Dinallo refuse to sign off on it.

...

Protesters highlighted the negative aspects of the unregulated private health insurance system in the United States. Payments for medical care now eat up the highest percentage of household disposable income and premiums have increased by 80% from 2001-2006. The conversion (privatization) of GHI & HIP will fully expose 4 million people in NY State to the worst effects of this system. A number of speakers at the demo spoke not only against the privatization but in favor of an all-inclusive single-payer national health insurance plan.

The demonstration was the first public act of the Coalition Against Privatization and speakers at the event included representatives from the Independent Community of Educators (UFT), rank-and-file members of the Transit Workers Union Local 100, rank-and-file members of D.C. 37, the Metro New York Health Care for All Campaign, the Socialist Party USA (NYC) and Socialist Action.


Consumer's Union has some information on conversion of healthcare plans from non-profits to profit making corporations. I remember hearing from Californians how Blue Cross cut back on benefits and shot up rates when they went for profit.

When people are talking about privatization in this context, they are referring to changing a non-profit public interest group to a for profit corporation with private owners.

Here's some info from a call for a demo on Friday May 30th. If you are in NYC and can get off work early that day, you might want to go.
Join the movement to prevent GHI-HIP from converting to a for-profit company & jeopardizing the healthcare of 4 million policy holders, including 500,000 NYC workers (93% of the [public --t.] workforce) & retirees. Help send a "no privatization" message to Gov. David Paterson & GHI.

Bring friends & signs.

4:30 pm - Meet at Office of GHI, 441 9th Avenue (34th & 9th)
5:00 pm March to the Governor`s Office, 633 3rd Avenue (441st & 3rd)
(A/C/E or 1/2/3 to 34th Street)

Video from a demo earlier this month.

Although Clinton and Obama traded lopsided primary victories in Kentucky and Oregon respectively, the big news is that Barack Obama has won the majority of legitimate delegates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Obama's standing:

Legitimate Delegates Pledged to Obama
1,636

Majority of Legitimate Delegates
1,627

It's time to celebrate! Obama has won!

It's time for Clinton to withdraw. It now is impossible for her to win the Democratic nomination. She can only steal it with a superdelegate scam that would ensure that she would lose at least 40 states in November.

 

[PDA - Progressive Democrats of America - Stand Up. Take Action. Vote.]One reason why corporate media get away with their pro-war, right-wing bias is that they have much less competition. Media consolidation (ownership of more media outlets by fewer companies) creates a situation where TV stations and newspapers don't have to provide balanced and accurate news, because there isn't anywhere else to go.

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has an Action Alert on legislation to block even more media consolidation than we have today.

On May 15, the Senate passed S.J. Res. 28, a joint resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to broadcast media ownership. The resolution enjoyed wide bi-partisan support and passed by near unanimous voice vote.

The rule would allow cross-ownership of local media outlets; the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved it in December 2007, despite a huge public outcry led by the ACLU. The resolution, if it passes in the House, will prevent the rule from taking effect.

The resolution will be taken up in the House soon, as H. J. Res. 79, so please contact your member of Congress and ask them to vote yes to disapprove the rule.

Common Cause has good background information and their own Action Alert.

Common Cause also has a page explaining media ownership rules.

If you would like to follow the issue on an ongoing basis, an excellent resource is StopBigMedia.com.

 

Obama with two elder women supporters
Obama campaign photo with American elders.

It's time to quote a comment from my blog posting on Obama's enormous rally in Oregon. Chandira of Diary of a Hope Fiend mentioned something that is quite important.

I was reading an article about Obama's fund raising, and how it's all been done by a ton of small internet donations, rather than at fund-raising dinners for 'big money', I think they said $55 million, which is a lot of money and people, when you consider that an individual can only give $2300. Most of it has trickled in in $20's and $50's..
This has been a ground-breaking grassroots campaign, and that makes me happy.

This is good news, even for us more cynical folk. The economics of Obama's fundraising model mean that he is more dependent on middle class donors than the rich. This should have important policy implications.

What about the poor? If people start catching onto the fact that the economic interests of the poor and middle class almost always are the same, this could really help impoverished Americans at the public policy level. Of course, the wealthy use a lot of their resources trying to trick people into thinking otherwise.

 

Enormous Obama Rally in Portland

Posted by libhom Monday, May 19, 2008 3 comments

Hat tip to From the Left for Pointing This One Out.

Barack Obama drew the largest crowd of his campaign so far on Sunday, addressing an estimated 75,000 people who had gathered here on the banks of the Willamette River, in Portland, OR.

Obama seemed stunned by the enormous size of the crowd of supporters.

“Wow! Wow! Wow!” were his first words as he surveyed the multitude, which included people in kayaks and small pleasure craft on the river on an unseasonably hot day in Oregon. It is “fair to say this is the most spectacular setting for the most spectacular crowd” of his campaign, he told the audience. His wife, Michelle Obama and their two adorable daughters joined him on the stage at the event.

Photos from the rally make me want to say "Wow! Wow! Wow!" This kind of enthusiasm will give Obama a kind of mandate no president has had in my lifetime.

Check out the local (KOIN) news coverage on video.



Links to pics from the rally:

Times Online UK

New York Times

VB Dems (one pic, but it gives you a much better perspective of the size of the rally)




YouTube:


Video clip focusing on size of event.


Slideshow of photos from rally attendee.


 

This Blog's Naughty Sibling

Posted by libhom Sunday, May 18, 2008 0 comments

I've started getting interested in posting about things that are a bit silly for this blog, so I have decided to start a new blog:

GLH Playground

Visit if you dare.

Don't worry, I'll still be annoying you with serious rantings on this blog.

The efforts by the Democratic Party insiders to silence Dennis Kucinich continue to this very day. Hat tip to Dandelion Salad.



The efforts to censor Kucinich are typical of the behavior of Nancy Pelosi and her cronies. It's just another reason to support Cindy Sheehan.

 

I'm a Chick Rocker

Posted by libhom 4 comments

An online blog quiz says so, so it must be true. ;)







You Are a Chick Rocker!



You're living proof that chicks can rock

You're inspired by Joan Jett and the Donnas

And when you rock, you rock hard

(Plus, you get all the cute guy groupies you want!)






I'll take the guy groupies.

 

Those schmucks in DC are at it again. Congress has another Iraq war funding bill which they actually are giving serious consideration to. It is important to remind our Senators who they represent, and that they need to stop voting for the slaughter in Iraq.

From a Peace Action West Action Alert:

Tell the Senate to Stop Funding the Occupation of Iraq
When the House voted on the supplemental last week, Republicans decided to protest the process the Democrats used by voting “present” on the funding. The good news is that more members of Congress than ever before took a real stand by voting against the funding, and it went down in flames. The bad news is that the Republicans felt comfortable letting the funding fail because they are confident that it will be added back in by the Senate.

The Senate is planning to vote on the funding early this week. Help stop another blank check by writing to your senators today.

Take Action!

 

Even the Post Office Has Gone Downhill Under Bush

Posted by libhom Friday, May 16, 2008 8 comments

During the era of the Bush regime, I have noticed the following in places I have lived and have heard similar reports from individuals in other parts of the country.

- They refuse to forward mail that comes to your home from a previous occupant.

- Sometimes they throw away your mail when it is on vacation hold.

- Lines are getting much longer at post offices.

- Stamp vending machines are poorly maintained.

- "Return to Sender" for former occupants is ignored. They just leave the letter in your mailbox.

Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq "reconstruction" will be the most infamous examples of the Bush regime's complete inability to govern, but the Post Office will be another obnoxious legacy of their incompetence.

 

Local Paper Calls for Fossella to Resign

Posted by libhom Saturday, May 10, 2008 2 comments



The local Staten Island Advance finally called for Rep. Vito Fossella (Rep. Staten Island/Bay Ridge NY) to resign yesterday. The bizarre and innapropriate thing is that they were more bothered by the extramarital affair revealed by Fossella's DWI arrest than the actual DWI arrest.

Serious as drunk driving is, we, like many people, were prepared earlier this week to say he should accept his legal punishment, including mandatory jail time, and warranted public scorn for the DWI charge, and then return to the House of Representatives a chastened man.

We thought he could come back from this severe setback as a strong, visible advocate against drinking and driving.

It's true, as many have said, that he could have seriously injured or killed someone as a result of this irresponsible act; fortunately, he didn't. The actual result of a reckless act must be weighed in assessing its consequences, we believe. A person who has had such a close call is often a far more ardent and persuasive proponent of avoiding the risks of DWI.

You can tell the influence of the conservative Catholicism on Staten Island, where doing something that endangers peoples' lives is less of a problem than a personal sexual matter.

Anyway, even if their reasoning bites, they are finally calling for Fossella to go.

Here we have yet another sanctimonious, pro-war, heterosexist, anti-choice Republican getting in trouble on "morals" critiques. I suppose there is some irony in it all.

 

From USA Today 5/8/08 (hat tip to From the Left):

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.

Yes, and that pattern is sickening.

That psycho Republican acts like the only people who work hard are 100% Aryan pure white. She should resign from the Senate and live the rest of her life in obscurity after this.

If she steals the nomination via superdelegate scam, I will work hard to support the Green candidate. And, I'm not 100% white.

 

Burma Cyclone Nargis Relief

Posted by libhom Friday, May 09, 2008 1 comments


NASA image of Nargis in Indian Ocean


Hat tip to Ten Percent, which has a list of charities offering assistance to the people of Burma. That blog has been one of the best portals for information on Burma for some time now. Below, I've weeded out the list, taking out charities that are religious, discriminate on the basis of age, aren't offering specific cyclone relief, or who don't have online donations capacity.

Direct Relief International [In the "Designation" field, choose Myanmar (Burma) Cyclone.]

Mercy Corps

US Campaign for Burma (Check the "Check Here to make your donation go to relief efforts" box at the bottom of the form.)

Action Against Hunger (UK - donations in pounds - in "I want my donation to go" choose "to the Burma emergency appeal")

CARE UK (donations in pounds)

Rick from Ten Percent also linked to this Photo Gallery of the Effects of Cyclone Nargis.

One has to wonder if Global Warming played a role in the severity of the cyclone.

 

My Email to Citizens for Legitimate Government

Posted by libhom Wednesday, May 07, 2008 2 comments

Citizens for Legitimate Government (CLG) has been an excellent voice in speaking against the thefts of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections and the enormous corruption of the GOP. However, they have this weird blind spot when it comes to the Clintons. After a silly softball encounter/interview with Bill Clinton, it became obvious that somebody needed to contact them and let them know that there is no excuse for pandering to corrupt, racist, homophobic, Republican war criminals like the Clintons.

I generally admire your organization, but I find it disturbing the way you pander to the Clintons, who are right-wing Bush Republicans pretending to be Democrats. The softball interview that was done with Bill Clinton as he was campaigning in North Carolina is an example of the irrational attachment you have with those Phonycrats.

Hillary and Bill Clinton always make nice promises, but their economic record is about NAFTA/WTO/other corporate trade deals. Clinton trade policies, along with Bill Clinton's successful financial markets deregulation push, are playing a major role in our current financial crisis.

On the international front, the Clintons are literally guilty of crimes against humanity. Bill Clinton murdered over 1 million Iraqis with his sanctions, and Hillary helped Bush murder over 1 million with the Iraq War, which she pushed for ruthlessly, and she is committed to continuing throughout any administration of hers.

Hillary Clinton is so crazy she voted for war with Iran in 2007, and she keeps threatening to launch a massive nuclear attack against that country. She is even more bellicose than Bush.

Don't forget that Hillary and Bill Clinton also are viciously racist and homophobic, while pretending to be the opposite. "Welfare Reform" and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are two examples of this. Bill Clinton's gradual push against Affirmative Action is another. Hillary Clinton's campaign to erode the Democratic Party's position supporting abortion rights is still another example of why the Clintons can never be trusted on any civil rights issue.

One of the most ugly aspects of their political behavior is how the Clintons have made Aryan supremacist hate one of the main campaign themes. Of course, the white supremacy is hardly limited to the rhetoric of this campaign. Don't let the corporate media blind you to all the racist/GOP-style voter suppression the Clintons have used in this campaign.

Hillary Clinton also keeps threatening to steal the Democratic nomination via a superdelegate scam. The Clintons steal elections just like Bush/Rove.

Please, look at records, not rhetoric. Please don't be fooled by bigoted, corrupt, war criminal Republicans like the Clintons. The Clintons and the Bushes are just different brand names on the same product.

Rep. Vito Fossella Should Resign

Posted by libhom Monday, May 05, 2008 1 comments

Here's yet another GOP mugshot courtesy of the Fossella Five.



The corporate media haven't given Vito Fossella's DWI arrest as much play as it would have gotten if the only GOP representative in NYC was a Democrat. (Fossella misrepresents Staten Island and the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn.)

NY-13 has called for Fossella to resign from Congress, and that blog has some valid reasons.

My reasoning is simple. DWI is far more serious and dangerous than paying for some hookers, and Eliot Spitzer was hounded out of office by the corporate media after being accused of that lesser crime. The corporate media have one standard for wealthy and prominent Republicans and another for everyone else. This hypocrisy must end.

Vito Fossella needs to get out of Congress now!

 

Racist Voter Suppression from the Clinton Campaign

Posted by libhom Sunday, May 04, 2008 5 comments

From Notes from the Underground 5/3/08:

The pro-Clinton group Women's Voices has been robo-calling minority neighborhoods in North Carolina with a message stating that voting registration materials will be sent to their homes in the next few days. These calls have gone out to registered voters, and the NC voting board says the distributed information is completely false. The purpose of the phone calls is to create doubts in the minds of potential Obama voters regarding their registration, in hopes that they'll stay home on Election day.

The group is run largely by pro-Clinton operatives, included Clinton Campaign Manager Maggie Williams. Women's Voices has admitted to making the calls, and apologizes for any inconvenience they may have caused. In fact, the group has run these same calls in several states with contested primaries, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. In each instance, Women's Voices admits the deception, apologizes, then moves on to run the same scam in another state.

...

The real story is the mainstream press's odd refusal to report on voter suppression of minorities, including Karl Rove's vote caging schemes that were described in detail last year by Greg Palosi, and ignored elsewhere. To find out more about vote caging, go to Google and type "vote caging," and wonder, as I did, why we haven't heard more about this.

White supremacy has been the main campaign theme for Hillary Clinton and her band of bigots. They are using tactics that reflect their sickening values.

Once again, there just isn't any excuse for supporting Hillary Clinton. She is pure evil.

 

It's official. Hillary Clinton is a batshit crazy Republican.

From ABC News 5/4/08:

ABC News' Mary Bruce reports: Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., defended this morning her comments that she would "obliterate" Iran if Iran ever attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.

"Why would I have any regrets?" she asked in an exclusive appearance on a special edition of "This Week" from Indianapolis, Ind. "I'm asked a question about what I would do if Iran attacked our ally, a country that many of us have a great deal of, you know, connection with and feeling for, for all kinds of reasons. And, yes, we would have massive retaliation against Iran.

"I don't think they will do that, but I sure want to make it abundantly clear to them that they would face a tremendous cost if they did such a thing," she added.

Rival candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has said her comments are reflective of George W. Bush and could further harm America's reputation abroad.

Obama is absolutely correct in comparing Hillary Clinton to Bush. Last year, I blogged about some of the many similarities between Clinton and Bush.

There is just no excuse for any Democrat to continue supporting Hillary Clinton.

 

The first eight reasons apply to people within the US and abroad, while the last two primarily relate to us American folk. I'm sure that there are more reasons to boycott that I have neglected to mention.

1) Dangerous and shoddy Chinese products

The fascist regime in China has very few workplace or consumer safety standards, and consumers around the world are suffering for it. Here in the US, the crappiest junk made in China is targeted towards 99 cent stores, who have a customer base that primarily is latino and black.

The US and Chinese governments needs to stop pandering to corporate interests and set up/enforce some real safety regulations.

2) China's Occupation of Tibet

China has no business occupying Tibet. They are different countries with dramatically different cultures. Obviously, the first responsibility of those of us from the US is to oppose the Bush/Clinton/Cheney/McCain occupation of Iraq. However, we also have a duty to show solidarity with the Tibetan people and their right to self determination.

The brutal crackdown against the Tibetan people ahead of the Olympics makes watching the Olympics morally unacceptable.

3) Lack of respect for the right of Taiwan to self-determination

Like the Bush regime, the Chinese fascists need to get over their imperial designs and their hegemonic behavior. Taiwan is a separate country from China in terms of actual facts on the ground, and the cultural landscapes are quite different considering Taiwan's lack of involvement in the Cultural Revolution and the influence of Taiwan's large indigenous population.

China's sabre rattling is irresponsible and counter productive. Let the Taiwanese make up their own damned minds.

4) Spectator sports promote obesity

One of the dirty secrets of the obsession with spectator sports is that it is sedentary and treats physical activity as something that can be experienced vicariously. It is far more athletic to take a leisurely stroll in the park than it is to watch the most talented and skilled athletes while sitting on your ass.

The Olympics could learn a lot from the Gay Games' open participation and emphasis on building grassroots athletic clubs.

5) Human rights violations inside China

Amnesty International has yet to call for a boycott, but their website gives plenty of grounds for such an action merely on their page for human rights violations in China.

Issues AI mentions include:

- Executions
- Abuse of human rights activists
- Censorship


6) China's Role in Darfur

Addiction to oil causes countries to do terrible things. In the case of China, their lust for Sudan's oil reserves has caused the fascist government to finance the Muslim fundamentalist regime in Sudan and that regime's genocide in Darfur. Save Darfur has called on Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. They should take it one step further and call for people to skip the entire thing.

Save Darfur makes some good points, though.

The peacekeeping force, known as UNAMID, was authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 on July 31, 2007. China was president of the Council at that time and pushed for the resolution's passage. Thus, after years of thwarting UN action against Sudan, China seemed to begin to play a modestly constructive role. China, itself, claimed credit for advancing peace and security for the people of Darfur.

Unfortunately, Beijing's assertion was both premature and inaccurate. The Government of Sudan has put up a series of obstacles to UNAMID's deployment. Even more dishearteningly, Sudan has again stepped up its campaign of terror in Darfur, destroying villages in West Darfur, killing innocent civilians, and displacing tens of thousands more. A robust peacekeeping force is an essential element of a strategy to stop the violence and allow people to return home.

In substantial part, Khartoum has been able to ignore the UN's will and continue its violent acts because of China's fierce diplomatic protection. Beijing helped strip sanctions language from UNAMID's authorizing resolution, signaling to Sudan that it could block deployment of the force with impunity. Soon after the resolution's passage, China also resumed its role as apologist for the actions of Khartoum at the United Nations.

As Sudan's largest economic partner, major military supplier, and chief diplomatic supporter, Beijing is in an unrivaled position to persuade Sudan to change its behavior. Beijing can use its vast influence to insist that Khartoum consents to the swift and effective deployment of UNAMID; that Khartoum halts its military operations, as well as those of the Janjaweed, that directly or indirectly target civilians; and that Khartoum engages constructively in the peace process. By not using that influence, China remains the primary enabler of the atrocities committed by the Government of Sudan against the people of Darfur.

7) China's Role in Zimbabwe

The Chinese government has sent arms to the brutal, and semi-dictatorial government in Zimbabwe. From the Independent 4/18/08:
A Chinese ship docked in Durban harbour late on Wednesday carrying three million rounds of ammunition for small arms, 3,500 mortar bombs and mortar tubes, as well as 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades, according to local media.


8) China's currency and trade policies

The fascist government is using predatory trade and currency policies which make the wealthy in China and abroad wealthier, but those policies create poverty and misery throughout the world. "Made in China" has become a global symbol of job losses and despair.

9) Right-wing Bias on NBC and MSNBC

The Beijing Olympics will be broadcast by General Electric's TV networks, including NBC and MSNBC. NBC News has a truly obnoxious pro-war and general rightist bias that fits too well with GE's profit motives for its war business. The same goes for the vast majority of programming on MSNBC. Watching the Olympics on GE's networks rewards them for their deceptive propagandizing of the American people.

10) GE's War Profits and Other Deeds

GE's networks propagandize for war largely because GE makes so much money off of war. From Responsible Shopper's Profile of GE.
• GE is responsible for toxic Superfund sites, knowingly exposing people to radioactive material, and has been fighting Superfund clean-up laws that hold the company accountable for damage caused by years of careless PCB dumping.

• GE has also secured millions of dollars in defense and military contracts, earning itself a place among notorious war profiteering companies.

• General Electric is the largest, most influential corporation in terms of revenue and scope of its media operations and ownership.

The full profile goes into much more detail. Boycotting their broadcasts of Olympic events is a way to turn an expensive investment (Olympic broadcasting fees) into a big dud.

All of the first eight items are valid arguments for a total boycott of products made in China. However, unpatriotic corporations in the US have shipped so much of our manufacturing base to China that it would be difficult to stop buying items made in China entirely. A good place to start is to look for "Made In China" labels and beginning to seek alternatives.

 

"Choice" is wonderful when the subject is abortion rights. However when crazed religious extremists natter on about sexual orientation being a "choice," it gets annoying. It is used as a pretext for bigotry, and it dismisses the life experiences of queer people.

Pagan Sphinx has pointed out a fabulous protest her daughter was involved in against a militant fundamentalist who chose Smith College as a venue for publicizing the book, The Born Gay Hoax. Catch the Feministing post on the protest.

I've never quoted comments from anyone else's blog before, but one from ann bran on this posting is brilliant.

You know what’s ridiculous? Pretending that it actually matters whether sexuality (excuse me, ‘sexual deviance’) is innate, a choice, or some more fluid mixture of a sundry of things. Last I checked, it isn’t hurting anybody, and I’m gonna do as I damn well please, thank you. Though I love that I’m to blame for the end of civilization, God, and probably kittens too. (And this wouldn’t be complete w/o a reference to DTWOF.) You’ve got a lot of nerve, blaming your crack-smoking children on me.

If people weren't so nutty, they would realize that homosexuality and bisexuality would be perfectly valid choices, if this were an area where people actually get to make those decisions. Too much of queer discourse on sexual orientation is just too damned defensive. So many people discuss being queer as something they have to excuse or apologize for. Even many of our "leaders" are far too defensive about who and what they are.

We need to gain the subtlety of thought and expression necessary to reject the agenda and arrogance of claims that sexual orientation is a choice or that gender identity is a choice, while also rejecting the notion that there would be anything wrong with choosing to be transgender, bisexual, lesbian, or gay.

We're here! Were queer! We're faaaaabulous! Get used to it!

(I know it's retro, but it's still as valid today.)

Keep the Gay Characters on As the World Turns

Posted by libhom Thursday, May 01, 2008 2 comments

The militant, Christian fundamentalists at the deceptively named "American Family Association" (AFA) are on a new jihad. They are angry because two gay characters have fallen in love and kissed on As the World Turns.

Here's the Advertising Age article on the subject.

A gay character has been on ATWT for a while now. Last year, he finally got a storyline involving a same-sex relationship with a new character named Noah. The Christian Taliban is calling a boycott of Proctor and Gamble, which owns the show. It's time to counter the nuts. Hat tip to Nichevo for posting contact information for P & G.

If the enemy succeeds, they will feel empowered to continue. That's
why even non-ATWT viewers need to call. You can be sure that
homophobes won't end with ATWT. So please mobilize your friends and
ask them to call fast and often.

800-331-3774

Press 2 - to choose the Nuke storyline
Press 1 - to say you want it to continue

You may have no interest in watching ATWT or any other soap, but the reality is that soaps have cultural power, especially among the working class. It is important to resist the efforts of Christian extremists to censor soaps, and impose their Christian supremacist agenda.

By the way, the AFA has posted video of Luke and Noah on YouTube. Thanks to them, you can watch two guys kissing. They call it "repulsive." I call the AFA repulsive.

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