June 26, 2005

Flag Proposal Threatens First Amendment
by Hank Kalet  

"If the flag needs protection at all, it needs protection from members of Congress who value the symbol more than the freedoms that the flag represents." ų U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., speaking on the floor of the House on Wednesday (quoted by the Associated Press).  

The Bill of Rights is the lodestar that has guided us through nearly 214 years of our history.  

It is the script on which our freedoms are built, the blueprint of our democracy.  

That's what makes the passage on Wednesday of a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment that essentially would rewrite the First Amendment so troubling. more....

June 25, 2005

Durbin, Daley, Democrats, and the New American Militarism
by Paul Street

United States Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) should resign - for backing down to ignorant and authoritarian militarists like Richard M. Daley, the longtime „Democraticš Mayor of Chicago.

Durbin, as most ZNet readers surely know, recently faced a barrage of criticism from the White House, Fox News, and other hyper-militarist outposts of the in-power American right. The reason? He dared to tell a small part of the terrible truth about how Uncle Sam is conducting its terrorist „war on terror.š


Then came Durbin‚s damning 76 words: „If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others-- that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners. „ more....

June 24, 2005

This Soldier's Iraq Diary
by tricky dick

You know that Marvin Gaye song "What's going on"? Of course you do. I ask myself that question quite often. Much of what happens in country I never see. In many ways I am as in the dark as everyone else. But, for what it's worth, today I will throw in my two cents. Perhaps by adding the small part of the picture I see, it will put into sharper focus all of the reports you read every day. I don't really see myself as a Soldier blogger such as Soonergrunt or Nameless Soldier. I would much rather have pie flame wars than discuss what I do for a living. But I have decided that there are some things you should know...

This is a diary about torture. Torture and cruelty. It's been in the news quite a bit lately, so I have decided to tell you what I know about torture and cruelty in Iraq. Many of the Iraq War apologists are quick to point out how much better off Iraq is today with Saddam Hussein in prison. They cite the closing of Saddam's torture chambers as a central justification of the Iraq campaign. Well, there's a problem with that theory. The torture hasn't stopped. It continues to this day, under new management.

June 23, 2005

Recruiters Sink to New Lows

During the Vietnam War, protesters burned draft cards, rallied on campuses and marched on Robert McNamara's Pentagon. Today, with the war in Iraq raging on and on, parents, teachers and other community leaders are spearheading a new antiwar effort, telling the military to keep their hands off the children. The Times' Bob Herbert put it well: "The parents of the kids being sought by recruiters to fight this unpopular war are creating a highly vocal and potentially very effective antiwar movement."

The debacle in Iraq has made recruiting an impossibly difficult job and recruiters are sinking to new lows in the face of growing pressure to fulfill monthly quotas as well as fierce opposition from parents who don't support the President's botched Iraq war mission.

While the stunning list of recruiting abuses has received some needed media attention, it's worth reviewing the extremes to which the military has gone to fill its ranks. In Houston, one recruiter warned a potential recruit that if he backed out of a meeting, "we'll have a warrant" for the potential recruit's arrest. In Colorado, a high school student, David McSwane, who wanted to see "how far the Army would go during a war to get one more soldier," told recruiters that he didn't finish high school and that he had a drug problem. "No problem," the recruiters responded. McSwane was told to create a diploma from scratch and to buy products at a store that would help him beat the drug test. more....

June 22, 2005

If you missed Frontline's show last night, called Private Warriors, you can see it online. Over 120,000 private contractors are preparing the food, fueling the planes and protecting the pipelines and generals in Iraq. But what are the dangers in bringing in the private sector to prosecute the war?


I'm From the Private Sector and I'm Here to Help (Broadcast on This American Life the week of June 4)

Today's show is devoted to just one story. Contributing Editor Nancy Updike went to Iraq to try to figure out what it's like to be a private citizen working in the middle of a war zone. Private contractors are a part of this war in unprecedented numbers, but we don't know that much about the people doing these jobs - why they chose to come to Iraq, and what they're seeing that we can't.

There are at least 20,000 people in Iraq working just as soldiers of hire. This is more than the entire coalition of the willing combined; Britain only sent 9000 troops.

June 21, 2005

I try to stay tuned to the blog, Baghdad Burning, which I've linked to many times. Riverbend, the young woman who writes this blog has a new posting dated today. As always, it gives me a feeling of knowing a little of what it's like in Baghdad, and it ain't good.

June 20, 2005

Why the Memo Matters
by Mark Danner  

On May 16th, the New York Review of Books put the original Downing Street memo in print in this country for the first time. Mark Danner wrote the accompanying analysis, "The Secret Way to War." In response to that piece, John Walcott of Knight Ridder news service wrote a brief letter and Danner, in answering, has now taken the opportunity to return to the significance of the Downing Street memo and the press coverage of it. This exchange will appear in the July 14th issue of the New York Review of Books, on newsstands June 20th.
See Walcott's letter and Mark Danner's response: Why the Memo Matters

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June 26, 2005

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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
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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
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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
April 4, 2005 - April 10, 2005
April 11, 2005 - April 17, 2005
April 18, 2005 - April 24, 2005
April 25, 2005 - May 1, 2005
May 2, 2005 - May 8, 2005
May 9, 2005 - May 15, 2005
May 16, 2005 - May 22, 2005
May 23, 2005 - May 29, 2005
May 30, 2005 - June 5, 2005
June 6, 2005 - June 12, 2005
June 13, 2005 - June 19, 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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