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By David Swanson
So, we elected a president who promised a withdrawal from Iraq that he, or the generals who tell him what to do, is now further delaying. And, of course, the timetable he's now delaying was already a far cry from what he had promised as a candidate.
What are we to think? That may be sad news, but what could we have done differently? Surely it would have been worse to elect a president who did not promise to withdraw, right?
Looks like Senate wants to add LOTS of gloss to this pig including aid for every known type of disaster except war (although a bit of that too, with Agent Orange victims), and House wants to vote only once and only on the glossed-up Senate version.--DS
Senate panel readies war funding bill, flood aid
By ANDREW TAYLOR (AP)
WASHINGTON — A top Senate Democrat is fashioning a nearly $60 billion measure mixing war funding with U.S. disaster funds and aid for Haiti in hopes of jump-starting the long-delayed measure and clearing it through a nasty legislative thicket by Memorial Day.
The emerging measure, by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is one of the few must-pass money bills remaining on the Senate's agenda in this election year. As such, it's attracting lots of attention from lawmakers hoping to win money for priorities that would otherwise have to wait until the fall — or later.
By David Swanson
Three of us constituents of Congressman Tom Perriello (D., Va.) talked with him for about 45 minutes on Tuesday, asking him to commit to voting against $33 billion to escalate war in Afghanistan. The congressman was polite, intelligent, and knowledgeable. He didn't rant about evil Muslims or Mexicans or anything his predecessor might have done. He even agreed with us on many of the downsides to dumping another $33 billion into escalating a war opposed by a majority of Americans. But he would no more commit to voting against the bill than Virgil Goode would have -- possibly less so. There are libertarian Republicans voting against war funding.
Isn’t it time to call what Congress will soon vote on by its right name: war escalation funding?
Early in 2009, President Barack Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan with 21,000 "combat" troops, 13,000 "support" troops, and at least 5,000 mercenaries, without any serious debate in Congress or the corporate media. The President sent the first 17,000 troops prior to developing any plan for Afghanistan, leaving the impression that escalation was, somehow, an end in itself. Certainly it didn't accomplish anything else, a conclusion evident in downbeat reports on the Afghan war situation issued this month by both the Government Accountability Office and the Pentagon.
Nobody wins this debate, and Greenwald fails to point out Kagan's right-wing tendencies, but Greenwald rightly points out, and Raskin agrees, that we just don't know much about her. This wouldn't be a problem if Congress could be expected to compel her to tell.
By David Swanson
Chris Hedges is one of the best, one of the most morally useful, writers we have. He's free of loyalty to political party or dogma. He knows war first hand and describes it without flinching. He's an almost ideal gadfly to our corporatocracy. But he has a hangup on religion that holds him back.
Hedges will tell you that he has no use for fantasies about life after death. He'll profess no interest in gods or prayer or a divine plan or anything of the sort. He's perfectly aware of what lies on the negative side of the balance sheet for religion (or what he would call institutional religion), how it trains blind obedience, how it diminishes the value of life before death, how it shifts responsibility from people to imaginary beings, how it divides groups of people who kill in its name. But when you ask what, then, lies on the positive side of the account for religion that justifies supporting it, Hedges' answers range from slim to silly.
"US Army UAS Road Map 2010-2035" (PDF).
Brown Bag Lunch Vigil for Peace -- May 19, 2010
VA's 5th District One of Over 100 to Hold Vigils Against War Funding at Congressional Offices on May 19th
WHAT: A mid-day vigil against funding an escalation in Afghanistan, bring your brown-bag lunch
WHERE: Tom Perriello’s Congressional Office 313 2nd Street, SE, Charlottesville, Va.
WHEN: Noon on Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Sponsored by: Progressive Democrats of America, WarIsACrime.org, Democrats.com, Socialist Party of Central Virginia, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, Food Not Bombs, Priority for Community Transportation, Joyful Dissent, Amnesty International, May Day RVA, Virginia Defenders of Freedom, Justice, and Equality
That's the latest. So, do you think Congress will take that to mean it should FUND AN ESCALATION? Ask your rep!
By David Swanson
Tad Daley writes, in his new book, "Apocalypse Never: Forging the Path to a Nuclear Weapon-Free World," that he would like his book to have the impact of "Common Sense," "Uncle Tom's Cabin," or "The Jungle." Yeah, buddy, what author wouldn't? But Daley has a unique argument for the moral necessity of sharing his goal and promoting either his book or others like it: our only alternative is the annihilation of all life on earth.
By the time you've read this book, you will in fact be persuaded that if others do not grasp its central points, not just tyranny or slavery or unsafe workplaces will continue, but all trace of humanity and every other life form in the world will be eliminated.
The New York Times recently reported that “some academics” assert that the Senate financial reform bill now under consideration is misguided, while others disagree. We strongly dispute the article’s central premise: that we don’t know enough about the causes of the crisis.
Many observers anticipated the calamitous effects of radical deregulation as it was occurring. Their warnings only rarely made it into the Times and other major newspapers. We and others warned that deregulation would lead to a fragile, highly-leveraged system of interconnected banks and shadow banks that lacked external checks either in the market or in the government.
That is why we are prepared to support an amended version of the financial reform bill under consideration now in the Senate. Contrary to the assertions in the article, the bill in the Senate, which currently has some effective features, can readily be amended to address key causes of the financial crisis. Here are some specifics:
Email and calls are coming in today. Thanks to Anthony: "i don't know if i say this enough but ... World Can't Wait ROCKS!!!!!!!" and to Gene: "The ad arrived in my mailbox. It looks awesome and reads awesome... It's a great piece of work. Let's do some more!"
The statement, Crimes Are Crimes - No Matter Who Does Them, for which you donated almost $12,000, began appearing in mailboxes in The New York Review of Books on Wednesday. We will be posting comments from people whose names appear in the ad:
Interrogator: I used false rape claim on detainee Omar Khadr
An interrogator at the Guantánamo Bay hearing for detainee Omar Khadr said he told Khadr about a false rape scenario.
BY CAROL ROSENBERG, Miami Herald
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- To get teen terror suspect Omar Khadr to cooperate, a former U.S. Army interrogator testified Thursday, he told the wounded Canadian a "fictitious" tale of an Afghan youth who was gang-raped in an American prison and died.
"We'd tell him about this Afghan who gets sent to an American prison and there's a bunch of big black guys and big Nazis," said the former interrogator, who was since convicted of detainee abuse and was identified in court only as Interrogator No. 1.
I realize it's not quite Friday yet, but I went ahead and gave my $5 Fridays five dollars to Woodstock International. Why? For producing the best newspaper I've seen in . . . well, ever.
Bomb Attempt in NY Possible Result of Drone Strikes in Pakistan and Foreclosures in Connecticut: So We'll INCREASE Both
You know the financial failures. Here come the increased drone crimes, now to kill unknown people in Pakistan in -- get this -- "self defense":
US to Expand Pakistan Drone Strikes
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been granted approval by the US government to expand drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions in a move to step up military operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters, officials have said.
Federal lawyers backed the measures on grounds of self-defence to counter threats the fighters pose to US troops in neighbouring Afghanistan and the United States as a whole, according to authorities.
The US announced on Wednesday that targets will now include low-level combatants, even if their identities are not known.
Barack Obama, the US president, had previously said drone strikes were necessary to "take out high-level terrorist targets". . . .
Congressman David Obey
2314 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-4907
Dear Congressman Obey,
In recent years you've expressed your opposition to war spending. I'd like to encourage you to cap off your congressional career by actually refusing to provide the funding for the current escalation in Afghanistan, and by simultaneously introducing a bill to spend $33 billion on green energy jobs, including for former soldiers.
You know better than I do that the power to begin, end, oversee, and control the escalation of wars lies in Congress. That the president has gone ahead with the escalation unfunded cannot legitimate it, and those troops can certainly be turned around and be brought immediately home.
I just got 100 of these new stickers in exchange for linking to the place that makes them (see link in left column). So ask me for one when you see me. If there's a big demand, we'll figure out how to sell them or give them away. Feel free to take the graphic and make your own signs, decals, whatever.
What good will THIS do?
NAACP Legal Defense Fund to hold
Annual Spring Luncheon & Conversation;
Solicitor General Elena Kagan will be the speaker
Washington, D.C., April 20, 2010 – The annual NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Spring Luncheon & Conversation will be held at the National Press Club on May 12, 2010, at noon.
Elena Kagan, Solicitor General of the United States, will be the featured speaker at the luncheon, which will also celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of LDF in 1940.
“Ms. Kagan has had an outstanding and exemplary career as a litigator, a scholar and an adviser to presidents, and we are honored to have her as our guest,” says John Payton, President and Director-Counsel of LDF.
Here is how low turnout is for Democratic primaries. I don't know if I can prove that it's because the Democrats HAVEN'T TRIED TO CHANGE A DAMN THING, but that's my leading theory.
Afghan & international youth peace volunteers say that
“Love is How We'll Ask for Peace.”
With love, we ask the 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate President Obama to answer the Afghan youth peace message ‘Reconciliation of Civil Hearts’
We are a group of Afghan youth and college students who, together with international volunteers, wish to recover humanity’s smile.
In the midst of war, we wish for non-violence and ordinary peace and and end to violence.
As ordinary, dignified human beings.
To recover trust and hope. And smile.