Friday, December 29, 2006

yawn


Convicted for the killing of 143 people in the town of Dujail in 1982. Also accused of the killing of 5,000 Kurdish civilians in a 1988 chemical attack on Halabja. Likely responsible for the deaths of thousands of other Shia and Kurdish civilians after Gulf War I.


Hundreds of thousands slaughtered in East Timor after he and Henry Kissinger gave Indonesia's General Suharto "permission" to occupy the country.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jesus Is The Reason. Accept It Or Die!

Me and MichaelI just spent a few days in Corpus Christi, Texas with family celebrating the birth of Jesus, though none of the celebrations involved acknowledgement of this. After all, baby Jesus is so 1877. This is the year of the baby Michael - my nephew who was conceived biologically. He's much cuter than your nephew, and I met him for the first time during my holiday trip.

I also had the opportunity (burden?) to listen to country music. Besides gospel, it is the most Christian music genre in existence. I like some country music, but can't stand most of it. Just after a song about roping cattle, there was a number about God on the radio in my dad's car. My favorite line from Josh Turner's song "Me and God" is "You could say we're like two peas in a pod, Me and God." I laughed when I heard that. I'm not one for ridiculing faith, but some Christians make it far too easy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Immigrants a Boon to Texas

blogging from the Corpus Christi "International" Airport ...


Texas benefited by over $17 billion from undocumented immigrants according to the State Comptrollers office. I found it interesting that we spend more to incarcerate undocumented immigrants than to provide them health services. In some ways that sounds like a big negative for the pro-immigrant side - immigrants are costing our health system a lot, but they just commit so many crimes, the drain on our prison/jail system is worse. But I wonder how many of these incarcerated immigrants are there for nonviolent crimes, like drug possession - crimes that result in punishments which burden this State anyway. Also crimes that probably result in more prosecutions for people of color and immigrants than Anglos.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Well is Poisoned
Victory Requires an Immediate Pull-Out of US Troops

By CARLOS VILLARREAL

Published today on counterpunch ...

For the vast majority of Americans and Iraqis the only victory regarding the war in Iraq requires an immediate pullout of all foreign troops. While politicians and pundits have framed the debate over the war in terms of military victory versus cutting and running versus redeployment, we must make it clear to each other and the new Democratic leadership in Washington that Americans--soldier or civilian--and Iraqis are losing every second this disaster of a war continues, and the muddled debate over timetables is just delaying ending a policy that was a mistake from day one.

The war serves no purpose for most of us. There are no weapons of mass destruction and never were. There were no ties to Al Qaeda or plans to support a terrorist attack on Americans. The Iraqis want us to leave, most Americans want our soldiers out, even our "volunteer" soldiers are coming forward with their discontent in increasing numbers.

The Nation is reporting this week that hundreds of American soldiers have been signing onto an internet Appeal for Redress. As one of the signers--a U.S. Army Sergeant deployed with the 20th Infantry Regiment near Mosul--explained, "So far in three years we have succeeded in toppling a dictator and replacing him with puppets. Outlawing the old government and its standing army and replacing them with an unreliable and poorly trained crew of paycheck collectors. The well is so poisoned by what we have done here that nothing can fix it."

Yet we continue to kill Iraqis, send our young people to die and spend billions on this war either because we've yet to reach some undefined "victory," or as others argue, we can't abandon Iraq to chaos and civil war. Both reasons to stay are hollow rationales for pure Western imperialism.

Last week Donald Rumsfeld left his position as Defense Secretary and during a farewell address said, "It may well be comforting to some to consider graceful exits from the agonies and, indeed, the ugliness of combat. But the enemy thinks differently." As usual, "the enemy" was not easily defined. But Rumsfeld's enemies are certainly different from the enemies of most Americans.

A victory for the Bush administration, most politicians in Washington, or the executives at Halliburton and Lockheed Martin is not the same as a victory for working-class American soldiers or the average American facing cuts to social services, difficulty affording health care and other problems that continue to mount as billions of our tax dollars go to war. For Washington and much of corporate America, the reasons are clear: Maintain dominance in the region, particularly because of the oil that exists there, and keep the war machine a strong, profitable and necessary part of what defines our foreign policy. This isn't how they sell the war to Americans of course, because none of this benefits us, and most of us would never support such an endeavor.

Indeed most of us don't support this war despite all the lies of the Bush administration and spin of the cable news cheerleaders. Demanding and getting an immediate pullout would be an incredible victory for democratic principles. Demanding and getting an immediate pullout from the new Democratic leadership, which is now content with calls from Bush and McCain for more troops in Iraq, would be a rare blow against U.S. imperialism.

Politicians from both political parties are trying their best to take the clear mandate of the November elections--widespread desire for an end to the Iraq war--and come up with a policy that will both silence opposition and bring about their narrow victory. They are committed to continuing war and occupation regardless of the sentiment of the American people. They must believe they know what is best for America; they believe the American people can't be trusted with or don't understand matters of foreign policy. And those who insist we must remain in Iraq to clean up the mess we caused apparently know better than the Iraqi people what they need, since large majorities of Iraqis want us out.

It is most Americans and the Iraqi people who pay while these politicians discuss "options," "timetables," and "redeployment." Every day millions of Americans are spending part of their day working to fund this war on behalf of the handful of politicians, executives and shareholders who might actually benefit. Each day American soldiers and Iraqis are dying for the selfish interests of a few. Every day that it continues we all continue to lose. Victory for most; victory for all of us requires immediate withdrawal.

Monday, December 18, 2006

MSNBC Headline: Small businesses brace for minimum wage hike

Why doesn't the headline read "Low Wage Workers Look Forward to Increase in Purchasing Power"?

There is a quote from an employee at the end of the story. Diana Parker, a 43-year-old server at The Boathouse with 25 years as a waitress, said, “I think the economy is ready for something like this ... It means a lot to me. Servers are finally getting a break.”

What a greedy, fat-cat, waitress.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Chance Meeting

MeAndDave

The former college activists as professional activists.

Dave and I met at this picket of Hornblower Cruises - the boats that take tourists to and from Alcatraz. I had planned to go, and he was in town for a wedding and stopped to see what all the commotion was about. He is a union organizer himself after all.

Back at the University of Texas we spent the night together in the UT Tower during a sleepless sit in and we made UC Regent Ward Connerly's visit to UT a disastrous affair. Dave was even featured on a John Stossel special about the grave threat to free speech rights on college campuses because of the Connerly protest. True we did heckle Ward (or as Dave would say "Wardell"), but somehow at the end of the day Connerly and Stossel still had a slightly more powerful voice than any of the affirmative action activists back then.

Oh yeah, we also went to Millions for Mumia together - the bus ride to Philly and back from Houston was about a day longer than the amount of time we spent in Philly. Hey Mumia's still alive!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Democrats Follow Mandate for More Troops in Iraq

Was the 2006 election a resounding call to increase the number of troops in Iraq?

According to the progressive polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, "By a 54-39 percent margin, voters favor setting a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq."

Yet Nancy Pelosi's choice to head up the House Intelligence Committee, Texas Democrat Silvestre Reyes, who voted against the Iraq war in 2002, now tells Newsweek he would support an increase of troops in Iraq by 20,000-30,000: "We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq … We certainly can’t leave Iraq and run the risk that it becomes [like] Afghanistan."

To which Newsweek added the paraphrase explaining he means like Afghanistan "was before the 2001 invasion by the United States," and not the mess it continues to be in today.

It's bad enough that some Democrats claim the election was a call for the redeployment of troops to Northern Iraq, Afghanistan or other nearby countries. Apparently as the democratic (small "d") furvor of the election fades, the Democrats (big "D") are once again easing into their more comfortable position of selling out their base and ditching the peaceniks for their own imperial strategies.

We still have a lot of work to do.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

tattoo

tattoo

Yes, it hurt. And, yes, I did feel strangely euphoric afterward.