July 3, 2005

From the Toronto Star:
Linda McQuaig says pliant American press behaving like Pravda in coverage of the U.S. president

If clear evidence emerged showing George W. Bush had written in his diary that he had lied to the American people to justify his invasion of Iraq, would the U.S. media even consider that a story?

I'm not sure any more. To an astonishing extent, the U.S. media have avoided scrutinizing this U.S. president, even after it became clear he'd launched a war in the name of disarming Iraq of weapons that didn't exist. more...

July 2, 2005

Maybe Bush will nominate a moderate like Gonzalez to replace O'Conner; just what we need. See references to him in the article by Holtzman.


Torture and Accountability

Although the terrible revelations of torture at Abu Ghraib hit the front pages in April 2004, no senior officials in the US military or the Bush Administration have yet been held accountable. The scandal has shamed and outraged many Americans, in addition to creating a greater threat of terrorism against the United States. But it has prompted no investigative commission (in the manner of the 9/11 commission) with a mandate to find the whole truth, or full-scale bipartisan Congressional hearings, as occurred during Watergate. Indeed, it is as though the Watergate investigations ended with the prosecution of only the burglars, which is what the cover-up was designed to insure, instead of reaching into the highest levels of government, which is what ultimately happened.

In just the latest sign of the current Administration's nose-thumbing at accountability for higher-ups, Lieut. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander in Iraq when the Abu Ghraib abuses occurred, is reportedly under consideration for promotion.

Nonetheless, higher-ups can be held to account. Difficult as it may be to achieve, our institutions of government can be pressured to do the right thing. If the public and the media insist on thorough investigations and appropriate punishments for those implicated--all the way up the chain of command--they can prevail. more...

July 1, 2005

How They Get Away With It
by Scott McConnell

Three reasons Washington’s empire-builders don’t have to worry about ’60s-style dissent—not including the volunteer Army

In the absence of an antiwar movement or serious domestic political opposition, only the outside world can put the brakes on American policy—only when Bush’s war plans come up against foreign obstacles that produce a dramatic defeat or humiliation or generate a financial crisis that the administration can’t overcome. Barring that, the American future may be war for as long as anyone can foresee.  more...

June 30, 2005

War or Impeachment
by Robert Parry  

In the days ahead, American politicians and pundits will talk a lot about “leveling” with the people by speaking the hard truth about Iraq, meaning an admission that the war is sure to rage for years and require an even heavier sacrifice in money and blood.  

But this “leveling” will be just the latest spin. What they won’t tell you are these two other hard truths:  

First, whatever lies ahead in the Iraq War, the outcome is almost certain to be far worse for Iraqis and Americans than it would have been if the U.S.-led invasion had never happened. Despite the uplifting political rhetoric about democracy and peace, the smart money is on a staggering death toll, a grisly civil war, possibly even genocide, with Sunnis killing Shiites and Shiites killing Sunnis. more...


Bush's Alternative Speech
By Robert Parry

It is hard to even imagine what George W. Bush would have to say if he were serious about “leveling with the American people” over the Iraq War. Here is a draft that would surely not get past the White House speechwriters:

“My fellow Americans, let me explain to you what really went wrong with the Iraq policy and why so many young Americans have died in what looks like a futile war without end. more...

June 29, 2005

Why the US and Iran love to hate each other
Despite harsh rhetoric, some say Iran may be the most pro-US nation in the region.
By Scott Peterson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

TEHRAN, IRAN - The ritual burning of the US flag is not going to stop. Nor will the chants - especially on Iranian revolutionary anniversaries - of "Death to America."

Unlike every other presidential candidate who hinted at a thaw in relations, to appeal to the majority of Iranians who say they want better US ties, hard-line president-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran "has no significant need" for the US.

But beneath the anti-US façade is a nation that has much in common with its stated nemesis - from an ambitious self-image and public reliance on the divine, to a habit of often defining itself in terms of its enemies. more...


From Tehran to Washington, an Axis of Demagogues Just Got More Dangerous
by Norman Solomon

Ten days ago, in one of southern Tehran’s poor neighborhoods, I interviewed some voters in line to cast ballots for Iran’s next president. After a while, when an official at the polling station asked who I thought would win, I repeated the conventional media wisdom: “Rafsanjani.”

“It will never happen,” he replied flatly. “I promise you.”

During the interviews, the name Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had often come up -- in response to the question “Who will you vote for?” -- with several people making comments along the lines of “he has helped us.” At the time, I chalked it up to local loyalty to the city’s mayor.


Now the Tehran-Washington axis of demagogues is more dangerous than ever. They’re very likely to feed off each other, satisfying rabid domestic constituencies and stoking international tensions. Yet as usual, despite the rhetoric of government leaders, most people want peace. more...

June 28, 2005

Scott Ritter: US at War with Iran
"We declared a war on terror and those who practice terror," said Ritter. "Are we going to declare war on ourselves?"

On June 23, 2005, Scott Ritter spoke to 110 people at a fundraiser for Traprock Peace Center at the Woolman Hill Meeting House. Before the presentation, Ritter met with 30 people over dinner at Woolman Hill. Hear his presentation and the question and answers, complete and unabridged. Sunny Miller moderated the event, introducing Ritter and reading questions from the audience.

June 27, 2005

The Business of Hunger
ICT and Millennium Development Goals
by Devinder Sharma

It was too late. By the time, Jai Lal, a landless agricultural worker of Bandali village, in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh, in the heartland of India, returned to share the good news with his wife - that he finally managed to get a petty job with a shopkeeper - she had succumbed to hunger. A week later, graves were dug for his two children, both unable to continue with the prolonged fight against hunger.

Jai Lal’s family paid a heavy price for the faulty agricultural policies that are being relentlessly promoted and pushed in the name of economic growth and development. Jai Lal is not the only victim of a development paradigm that turns a blind eye to the resulting human suffering. Travelling around the country, I am no longer shocked at the plight of the rural masses, unknowingly who continue to pay a heavy price for the agrarian policy thrust upon them. What hurts me is to see that even fifty-seven years after Independence, growing hunger and inequalities do not prick the conscious of the nation.

There is no other plausible reason that can explain why Jai Lal lost his family. After all, Jai Lal’s family died of hunger when more than 45 million tonnes of foodgrains were stacked in the open, much of it rotting for want of adequate storage facilities. This was in early 2003. Two years earlier, the country had a record 65 million tonnes of food surplus, at a time when nearly 320 million - a third of the world’s estimated 840 million hungry - looked in disbelief at the mountains of the food stocks that lay decaying in front of their dry eyes. None of the Nobel laureates or distinguished academicians or the chief executive officers of the IT companies, who never get tired of swearing in the name of poverty eradication, even made a passing reference to the criminal apathy exhibited through the shameful paradox of plenty - mountains of food rotting at a time when millions were living in hunger. more....

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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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