Orwell is Alive and Well in the Bush Administration
by Erin Campbell Ź

Yesterday, as a member of the Financial Services Committee, Congressman Bernie Sanders heard testimony from Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez and from HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. The hearing primarily focused on the Bush Administration's proposal to slash federal investments in our nation's towns, cities, and states -which is not surprising from an Administration that is attempting to dismantle almost every federal program for low and moderate income Americans.

What Congressman Sanders did find surprising was the Orwellian nature of the testimony from Secretary Gutierrez and the shameless degree to which the Bush Administration is prepared to turn truth on its head. In his prepared opening remarks, Secretary Gutierrez stated that America is experiencing "tremendous economic prosperity." Really? What America is Secretary Gutierrez living in?

Has the Secretary visited with any of the 21.9% of children in America who are living in poverty? Or did he mix us up with Denmark where virtually 100% of children live poverty-free lives.

Has the Secretary visited with any of the 4 million Americans that have entered the poverty ranks since President Bush was first elected, or is he only attending cocktail parties at country clubs with the rich and famous?

Has the Secretary visited with any of the 5 million Americans who have lost their health insurance since President Bush was first elected?

Has the Secretary ever met any of the 3.5 million Americans who will experience homelessness this year including 1.35 million children and 500,000 veterans? more....

April 9, 2005

Is the Rule of Law A Strategy of the Weak?
by Walter Williams

On the eve of the 2nd anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, March 18th, 2005, the Pentagon released its National Defense Strategy of the United States of America, in which it made clear its views on international law. The document states "Our strength as a nation will continue to be challenged by those who employ a strategy of the weak, focusing on international fora, judicial processes and terrorism." Douglas Feith, the outgoing undersecretary of defense for policy, explained that "the arguments some people make try to, in effect, criminalize foreign policy."

Who is criminalizing U.S. foreign policy? Does Feith think people will believe that victims of U.S. torture are trying to criminalize U.S. policy. Is Maher Arar, the Canadian engineer who was kidnapped by the U.S. government and tortured for 10 months in Syria and is now bringing a lawsuit against the U.S. just trying to criminalize U.S. foreign policy? Are the prisoners in Guantanamo who have sued the U.S. to obtain the constitutionally guaranteed right to legal representation trying to criminalize U.S. foreign policy? No. Make no mistake. George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and their co-conspirators are the ones guilty of criminalizing foreign policy. more....

April 8, 2005

Hunger-Based Lines Lengthen at the Faith-Based Soup Kitchens

The 1,130 soup kitchen guests, as they're respectfully called, began gathering outside the church doors an hour early, curling around the corner in a long line to await a free main meal - their safety-net highlight in another day of being down and out, part of the working poor, or surviving somewhere in between. more....

April 7, 2005

I didn't get home until 4:30 this morning, because of protracted negotiations between the United Faculty, my faculty union, and the Contra Costa Community College District. I have been on the union's negotiating team for the last year and it has been a tough process, but now it's just about over. That's all the news today.

April 6, 2005

Torture Inc. Americas Brutal Prisons Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted With Cattle Prods, Burned By Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq?

By Deborah Davies

They are just some of the victims of wholesale torture taking place inside the U.S. prison system that we uncovered during a four-month investigation for BBC Channel 4. Itās terrible to watch some of the videos and realise that youāre not only seeing torture in action but, in the most extreme cases, you are witnessing young men dying.Ź

The prison guards stand over their captives with electric cattle prods, stun guns, and dogs. Many of the prisoners have been ordered to strip naked. The guards are yelling abuse at them, ordering them to lie on the ground and crawl. ĪCrawl, motherf****s, crawl.āŹ

If a prisoner doesnāt drop to the ground fast enough, a guard kicks him or stamps on his back. Thereās a high-pitched scream from one man as a dog clamps its teeth onto his lower leg.Ź

Another prisoner has a broken ankle. He canāt crawl fast enough so a guard jabs a stun gun onto his buttocks. The jolt of electricity zaps through his naked flesh and genitals. For hours afterwards his whole body shakes.Ź

Lines of men are now slithering across the floor of the cellblock while the guards stand over them shouting, prodding and kicking.Ź

Second by second, their humiliation is captured on a video camera by one of the guards.Ź more, including video....

April 5, 2005

The following is from Riverbend, at Baghdad Burning:

....Two years ago, the major part of the war in Iraq was all about bombarding us with smart bombs and high-tech missiles. Now thereās a different sort of war- or perhaps itās just another phase of the same war. Now weāre being assailed with American media. Itās everywhere all at once.

It began with radio stations like Voice of America which we could access even before the war. After the war, there were other radio stations- ones with mechanical voices that told us to put down our weapons and remain inside our homes, ones that fed us American news in an Iraqi dialect and ones that just played music. With satellite access we are constantly listening to American music and watching American sitcoms and movies. To be fair- itās not just Iraq that is being targeted- itās the whole region and itās all being done very cleverly.


I have a suggestion of my own for a reality show. Take 15 Bush supporters and throw them in a house in the suburbs of, say, Falloojeh for at least 14 days. We could watch them cope with the water problems, the lack of electricity, the check points, the raids, the Iraqi National Guard, the bombings, and- oh yeah- the Īinsurgentsā. We could watch their house bombed to the ground and their few belongings crushed under the weight of cement and brick or simply burned or riddled with bullets. We could see them try to rebuild their life with their bare hands (and the equivalent of $150)· Iād not only watch *that* reality show, Iād tape every episode. more....

April 4, 2005

We had a great vacation in New York City. Lots of museums and lots of walking around the city. We visited friends and family and ate at too many restaurants. There are some great restaurants in the Big Apple. You look in through the window and you think a place is just a hole in the wall and you wonder if there are any tables in the joint. Then you walk in, go towards the back, and there is a huge restaurant inside. Then there's the subways. We bought a Metro card good for a week and went everywhere by bus and subway.
(Click on icons to see larger images.)

girl in bonnet icon
April 10, 2005

two men icon
April 9, 2005

twins icon
April 8, 2005

city chicks icon
April 7, 2005

easter bonnet icon
April 6, 2005

easter parade icon
April 5, 2005

easter parade icon
April 4, 2005


August 21, 2004 - August 27, 2004
August 28, 2004 - September 3, 2004
September 4, 2004 - September 10, 2004
September 11, 2004 - September 17, 2004
September 18, 2004 - September 24, 2004
September 24, 2004 - October 1, 2004
September 2, 2004 - October 8, 2004
October 9, 2004 - October 15, 2004
October 16, 2004 - October 22, 2004
October 23, 2004 - October 29, 2004
October 30, 2004 - November 5, 2004
November 6, 2004 - November 12, 2004
November 13, 2004 - November 19, 2004
November 20, 2004 - November 26, 2004
November 27, 2004 - December 3, 2004
December 4, 2004 - December 10, 2004
December 11, 2004 - December 17, 2004
December 18, 2004 - December 24, 2004
December 25, 2004 - December 31, 2004
January 1, 2005 - January 7, 2005
January 8, 2005 - January 14, 2005
January 15, 2005 - January 21, 2005
January 22, 2005 - January 28, 2005
January 29, 2005 - February 4, 2005
February 5, 2005 - February 11, 2005
February 12, 2005 - February 18, 2005
February 19, 2005 - February 25, 2005
February 26, 2005 - March 4, 2005
March 3, 2005 - March 11, 2005
March 12, 2005 - March 18, 2005
March 19, 2005 - March 25, 2005

No War in Iraq march.
San Francisco, Ca., January 18, 2003
San Francisco, Ca., February 16, 2003

Klezmatics concert photos. (These are uncorrected straight out out of the camera)

On April 3, 2005, Barbara and I went to see the Klezmatics, with guest Joshua Nelson, Jewish gospel singer. To quote the concert program, "Their soul-stirring Jewish roots music recreates klezmer in arrangements and compostions that combine Jewish identity and mysticism with a contemporary zeitgeist and a postmodern aesthetic. Since their founding in New York City's East Village in 1986, the Klezmatics have celebrated the ecstatic nature of Yiddish music with works by turn wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective and danceable." The concert was phenomenal.



This site consists of original photographs and composites by Fletcher Oakes, unless otherwise credited.

Creative Commons License

Photoblogs.org View My Profile

photoblogring | Join | Random | List

Powered by Laughing Squid