This week I'll be featuring photos from the Springfield International Mail Art exhibit which was on display through November 30 at the Springfield City Hall, Springfield, Oregon.

December 9, 2005

from Tom Dispatch. com:
Brecher and Smith on the Imperial Presidency

Typically, when faced with a problem, the first thing Bush administration officials do is reach for their dictionaries to pretzel and torture words into whatever shape best suits them. Then they declare themselves simply to be following precedent (which turns out, of course, to be whatever they've wanted to do all along). In this way, in the famous torture memos that flowed from the White House Counsel's office, the Justice Department, and the Pentagon, the meaning of "torture" was at one point in 2002 redefined into near nonexistence ("must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death") and then made dependent on the mind and intent of the torturer. As a result, "torture" became, by definition, a policy we didn't engage in even as we waterboarded suspects in our global network of CIA-run (or borrowed) secret prisons. In a similar fashion, this administration has managed to redefine aggressive war, kidnapping, the President's powers to detain both citizens and non-citizens, assassination, the meaning of various international agreements and American laws, and the Constitution itself. Then, definitions in hand, administration officials have marched defiantly into the world, armed to the teeth, and done exactly what they pleased.


"During his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush bragged of such extrajudicial killings, claiming that more than three thousand suspected terrorists 'have been arrested in many countries. And many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way: They are no longer a problem for the United States.'" more...

December 8, 2005

That End-Of-Empire Feeling
David Corn

Is the United States in the last throes of empire? That sounds like an ideologically loaded, fatalistic and defeatist question. But it's what I've been wondering about at the start of this holiday season. Might future historians look back at the Bush II days and ask if this was the point when the country started slipping? Might the war in Iraq be regarded as a desperate act of a superpower that had already peaked? Will economists of the latter 21st century examine our economic decisions and say, "What were they thinking?" Or has the Grinch gotten to me?

Treasury Secretary John Snow says 'tis the season to be merry because the malls are crowded and the American economy, under the watchful gaze of George W. Bush, is on the move. But perhaps a touch of foreboding is merited. The White House and its conservative pals, trying to take advantage of the cheery season, have recently started a new campaign that claims Bush has been denied the credit for an economy that is expanding at a decent clip and that produced 215,000 jobs last month. In fact, polls show that most Americansųwhether they're happy in the malls or notųhave a downbeat view of the economy. And there are solid reasons why Americans should not put aside concerns about the country's long-term economic prospects and why Bush should not be pronounced the savior of the American economy. more...

December 7, 2005

America can't take it anymore
The Bush administration has embraced torture as a key part of the "war on terror." Finally, members of Congress, the military and the CIA are speaking out against the abuse.
By Mark Follman

Five days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney instructed the nation that the U.S. government would begin working "the dark side" to defeat its enemies in a new global war. "A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion," Cheney declared on NBC's "Meet the Press." He added, "It's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal."

  More than four years later, the Bush administration has delivered on Cheney's vow to wage war in the shadows, free from oversight and accountability. Policies for seizing and interrogating suspects -- conceived and commanded at the highest levels of the White House -- have permitted numerous acts of torture and even murder at the hands of American soldiers and interrogators.

  The grim acts unleashed by those policies are no secret today. Cruel and wanton abuses have been exposed at Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay, and other lesser known U.S. military bases and prisons around the world. In November, the Washington Post uncovered a global network of covert CIA prisons known as "black sites," top-secret interrogation facilities reportedly operating in far-flung locations from Eastern Europe to Thailand. Still, many dark details remain unknown.

  "There is no instance in American history where we've been exposed as being so deeply involved in actually conducting torture on a routine and regular basis," says Thomas Powers, an expert on national security and the author of two books on the CIA. more...

December 6, 2005

An Anti-War Challenge to Hillary Clinton
by John Nichols  

Former National Writers Union president Jonathan Tasini, one of the most outspoken progressive activists in the U.S. labor movement, is expected this week to launch a Democratic primary challenge to New York Senator Hillary Clinton on a progressive platform that features a call for bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq.  

Tasini has scheduled an announcement for Tuesday morning in New York City, setting up a campaign that could put unexpected pressure from the left on Clinton, the unannounced frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination who until recently has been one of the strongest Democratic backers of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.  

Tasini plans to campaign in support of the call by U.S. Representative John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, for the rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from that Middle Eastern country.  

"Senator Clinton is out of step with the values of a majority of New Yorkers. While a majority of New Yorkers support an end to the war, Senator Clinton has repeatedly voiced her support for a war that continues to accumulate unacceptable costs, in terms of American and Iraqi lives and our own government spending," explained Tasini, decribing a central theme of a campaign that is also expected to advocate for fair trade, economic reforms and universal health care. more...

December 5, 2005

W.'s Head in the Sand
By Maureen Dowd

In the Christmas spirit, the time has come for the reality-based community to reach out to the White House.   

The Bush warriors are so deluded, they're even faking their fakery.   

This week, the president presented a plan-like plan for "victory" in Iraq, which Scott McClellan rather pompously called the unclassified version of their super secret master plan. But there's no way to achieve victory from the plan even if there were a real plan. If this is what they're telling themselves in the Sit Room, we're in bigger trouble than we thought.  

Talk about your unknown unknowns, as Rummy would say.  

The National Strategy for Victory must have come from the same P.R. genius who gave President Top Gun the "Mission Accomplished" banner about 48 hours before the first counterinsurgency war of the 21st century broke out in Iraq.  

It's not a military strategy - classified or unclassified. It's political talking points - and not even good ones. Are we really supposed to believe that anybody, even the most deeply delusional Bush sycophant, believes the phrase "Our strategy is working"? more...

December 4, 2005

Coffee shop‚s name gets bucked from business
Judge rules that Sambuck‚s infringes on the Starbucks trademark; business must change name

Astoria business owner Sam Buck must change the name of the downtown coffee shop she dubbed after herself, a federal district judge ruled Tuesday.

She also must pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover the legal fees incurred by Starbucks Coffee following a legal battle that lasted three and a half years. more...

December 3, 2005

Bush Knew 10 Marines Had Died Prior To Rose Garden Remarks, Didn‚t Mention It

Dec 2....Yesterday, 10 Marines were killed in Fallujah by a roadside bomb. President Bush knew about it before he made remarks at 10:45AM (Dec 2) in the Rose Garden. From today‚s White House press conference:

QUESTION: Can I ask, when the president came to the Rose Garden this morning about 10:45, at that hour, did the White House already know about this attack on the Marines in Fallujah?

MCCLELLAN: Yes, we did. The president was informed about the loss of the Marines last night and those that were injured, and then he was briefed again this morning.

But Bush didn‚t mention it. He didn‚t want to take the focus off today‚s message, the „good newsš about the economy.

(Click on icons to see larger images.)

icon of portrait - guido bondioli
December 9, 2005

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December 8, 2005

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December 7, 2005

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December 6, 2005

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December 5, 2005

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December 4, 2005

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December 3, 2005


August 21, 2004 - August 19, 2005

August 20, 2005 - August 26, 2005
August 27, 2005 - September 2, 2005
September 3, 2005 - September 9, 2005
September 10, 2005 - September 16, 2005
September 17, 2005 - September 23, 2005
September 24, 2005 - September 30, 2005
October 1, 2005 - October 7, 2005
October 8, 2005 - October 14, 2005
October 15, 2005 - October 21, 2005
October 22, 2005 - October 28, 2005
October 29, 2005 - November 4, 2005
November 5, 2005 - November 11, 2005
November 12, 2005 - November 16, 2005
November 26, 2005 - December 2, 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.

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