May 29, 2005

Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity
by Matthew Rothschild
"...The Bush Administration‚s legal troubles don‚t end with Sanchez or Gonzales. They go right to the top: to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush himself. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International USA say there is "prima facie" evidence against Rumsfeld for war crimes and torture. And Amnesty International USA says there is also "prima facie" evidence against Bush for war crimes and torture. (According to Random House Webster‚s Unabridged Dictionary, "prima facie evidence" is "evidence sufficient to establish a fact or to raise a presumption of fact unless rebutted.")

Amnesty International USA has even taken the extraordinary step of calling on officials in other countries to apprehend Bush and Rumsfeld and other high-ranking members of the Administration who have played a part in the torture scandal." more....

May 28, 2005

Sign This Letter! Rep. Conyers: "I believe the American people deserve answers about [the Downing Street Memo] and should demand directly that the President tell the truth about the memo." John Conyers is a Profile in Courage and a Modern Day Diogenes! He is Asking for Your Help. Just Lend Your Good Name. That's Easy Enough.


Readers of the New York Times recently demanded coverage of the British memo, and the newspaper finally wrote a full story last week. We can do the same for network news.

Please call or email the nightly news programs you watch, at:

ABC World News Tonight Phone: 212-456-4040

CBS Evening News Phone: 212-975-3691

NBC Nightly News Phone: 212-664-4971

PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer Phone: 703-739-5000

May 27, 2005

Operation Truth is a nonprofit, non-partisan veterans advocacy organization that seeks to amplify the soldiers' voice in the American public dialogue. Paul Rieckhoff, a First Lieutenant in the Army Reserves, founded Operation Truth in June 2004, only months after he returned from a year-long tour in Iraq.

from Hear It From the Troops:
Stabbed in the Back (Herold Noel)

Herold Noel, 25, from Brooklyn, NY, served as a Private First Class with the 3rd Infantry Division. Less than a year after driving trucks to the front lines, delivering fuel as U.S. troops invaded Iraq, Herold found himself back in the United States, homeless, and struggling to find a place for himself and his family.

May 26, 2005

Amnesty: U.S. leads global human rights violations
By Aljazeera

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International accused the United States of violating human rights, ignoring international law and sending a "permissive signal to abusive governments".

"When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a license to others to commit abuse with impunity and audacity," the rights group said in its annual report. 

Amnesty also slammed the Bush administration and the U.S. Congress for failing to call for a complete and independent probe into abuses against prisoners in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

"During his first term in office, the U.S. proved to be far from the global human rights champion it proclaimed itself to be," the report said, citing Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.

It also condemned the U.S. government for failing to implement the Geneva Conventions, and for trying to justify the use of harsh interrogation techniques, the practice of holding "ghost detainees" and the "rendering" of detainees to third countries where torture is not outlawed.  more....

May 25, 2005

Bad Deal on Judges
by John Nichols  

As the showdown on the so-called "nuclear option" approached, polls showed that the American people opposed scheming on the part of Senate GOP leaders to eliminate judicial filibusters by an overwhelming 2-to-1 margin.  

Even among grassroots Republicans, there was broad discomfort with the idea of creating a tyranny-of-the-majority scenario in which the minority party in the Senate would no longer be consulted regarding lifetime appointments to the federal courts.  

So there were plenty Republican senators who were looking for a way out of the corner into which Senate majority leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., had maneuvered them. Democrats simply needed to hold the line, while attracting Republicans who were uncomfortable with Frist's machinations, and they could have secured the will of the people.  

Unfortunately, the Democrats buckled. So Republicans will get the votes they want on at least three federal appeals court nominees who should not be allowed on the bench. more....

May 24, 2005

It looks to me like the Democrats came to an agreement which saves the filibuster by agreeing not to exercise their right to use it.

Senators Reach Deal to Avert Showdown on Judicial Nominees

A bipartisan group of 14 senators struck a last-second agreement on Monday that defused - at least for now - a potentially explosive parliamentary showdown over eliminating Senate filibusters against judicial nominees.

Under a compromise reached by an assortment of moderates, mavericks and senior statesmen just as the Senate was headed into its climactic overnight debate over the filibuster, three previously blocked appeals court nominees, Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor and Priscilla R. Owen - will get floor votes. No commitment was made on the fate of two others, William Myers and Henry Saad.

In addition, the seven Democrats in the deal said they were committed to filibuster future judicial nominees only under "extraordinary" circumstances, while their Republican counterparts promised to support no changes in Senate rules that would alter the filibuster rule, effectively denying the 50 votes it would take to enact such a rules change. more....

May 23, 2005

The unknown unknowns of the Abu Ghraib scandal

Seymour Hersh: The 10 inquiries into prisoner abuse have let Bush and Co off the hook

Seymour Hersh

It's been over a year since I published a series of articles in the New Yorker outlining the abuses at Abu Ghraib. There have been at least 10 official military investigations since then - none of which has challenged the official Bush administration line that there was no high-level policy condoning or overlooking such abuse. The buck always stops with the handful of enlisted army reservists from the 372nd Military Police Company whose images fill the iconic Abu Ghraib photos with their inappropriate smiles and sadistic posing of the prisoners. more....

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August 21, 2004 - August 27, 2004
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May 16, 2005 - May 22, 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.


Campus Bay

On April 28, 2005, More than 50 people representing many officials, community groups, and other concerned citizens gathered at the Campus Bay site to demand strict oversight of health and safety standards designed to protect the community during and after cleanup of these former industrial sites. Two months have gone by since the Richmond City Council asked the state to authorize the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) to take the lead on environmental cleanup for the entire Stauffer Chemical / Zeneca / Campus Bay (called Campus Bay in short) site. Meanwhile, DTSC does have oversight on a portion of the site and cleanup will continue before development plans are approved.

The main health concerns include:
That the soil is so toxic that future residents would be exposed in the long term with unknown health effects due to gases from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and direct exposure to toxic soils. They would almost certainly not be informed about the site history or any potential health threats. The developers idea of mitigation, by the way, includes fans inside the high rises to prevent buildup of VOCs where residents live (!!!!!).

Additional concerns:
Many organizations have additional concerns including the visual impact of the high rises on adjacent neighorhoods, visual impact on the coastal zone, proper clean up and restoration of the site in general and the marsh in particular which is critical habitat for many species including the endangered Clapper Rail etc.

A few additional Photos (Most of these photos are not edited or corrected in Photoshop).


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

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