Kellia’s World – Recommended Reading

Challenging the assumptions we live by — Because I want to.

Archive for January, 2009

Cynthia McKinney: Pres. Obama – Don’t be complicit in their crimes!

Posted by kelliasworld on January 30, 2009

On Thursday, January 29th, I sent President Obama this message:

“Mr. President: The Bush Administration lied to the people in pursuit of war. As a result, at least one million Iraqis and thousands of U.S. soldiers are dead. Thousands more are maimed. The stature of the U.S. is severely damaged. The U.S. Constitution is in shreds after signing statements, wiretaps, and torture. Your obligation is to investigate and bring to justice those who violated U.S. and international law, such as the torture treaty. Failure to do so makes you complicit in their crimes.”

On Wednesday, January 28th, I sat in front of the television and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Exactly what I’ve been saying, myself.  But it was coming from an unexpected source:  the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak.  I wrote down every word.  He said that the United Nations has proof that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld knowingly approved of torture as a policy for the United States.  He said that President Barack Obama has a responsibility to investigate and prosecute those who condoned, conducted, or approved of torture.

Further, Jonathan Turley, in an MSNBC interview stated that if Obama fails to investigate or prosecute that he would be an “accessory.”

This is significant.  It means that all of us, sadly, were right to pursue impeachment of the key figures in the Bush Administration.  Impeachment was the Constitutional imperative; but the Constitution didn’t mean anything to either the Republican or Democratic national leadership.

And to think, on this day filled with impeachment news, Nancy Pelosi took impeachment “off the table” for this cast of villainous characters.  I never will forget watching Rocky Anderson, former Mayor of Salt Lake City, say on national television that Nancy Pelosi should be impeached for impeding impeachment.  But Nancy Pelosi isn’t the only one who obstructed justice.

In fact, how could Dick Durbin and Harry Reid, so voluble in standing up to Roland Burris because he was Governor Blagojevich’s pick for Obama’s vacated Senate seat, sit as quiet as church mice in the face of repeated calls for impeachment because of the reckless criminality of the Bush Administration?

And now, we have the United Nations tell us the equivalent of “Houston, we have a problem.”

Some of us knew all along, from the very beginning, that the Bush Administration was the quintessence of election theft, graft, corruption, and war criminality.  Some of us recognized early on that our struggle was “against principalities, against powers, . . . against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  It is impossible to “go along and get along” with illegal and immoral acts.  But that is exactly what the national leadership of this country asked us all to do, and that is exactly what they did.

Dr. King was confronted with the expediency of staying on the civil rights track, remaining with his friends in the civil rights movement, or doing what his conscience impelled him to do.  That’s when he made his famous statement, that popular chroniclers of Dr. King seem to have forgotten:

“When I first decided to take a firm stand against the war in Vietnam, I was subjected to the most bitter criticism, by the press, by individuals, and even by some fellow civil rights leaders. There were those who said that I should stay in my place, that these two issues did not mix and I should stick with civil rights. Well I had only one answer for that and it was simply the fact that I have struggled too long and too hard now to get rid of segregation in public accommodations to end up at this point in my life segregating my moral concerns.”

Dr. King had to leave behind some of his best friends in the movement when he decided to speak out against the Vietnam War.  Dr. King could have bowed to the pressure and stayed in his “civil rights” lane.  But he knew that the war was wrong and he had to use every fiber in his being to stop it.  Even his life, itself.

One of the first underreported acts of President Obama was to sign an order continuing the drone airstrikes, resulting in at least 22 killed so far.  For the dead children of Afghanistan or Pakistan or Gaza, it doesn’t matter to their parents if the bomb was dropped by Bush or Obama or the client state they support.  And President Obama has made it clear that the bombs will continue to drop; it is up to us–the people of the United States–to stop them.  That’s why it was on my birthday, in front of the Pentagon in 2007, that I declared my independence from every bomb dropped, every child killed, every veteran maimed in the name of U.S. wars.  I said it, and I meant it, and I knew I was going to have to do something I’d never done before if I was ever going to have something I’d never had before.  So I left the Democratic Party.

I don’t regret my decision one minute.  I draw my strength from Dr. King, who in his own way, did the same thing when he refused to segregate his moral concerns.

My neighborhood in Los Angeles, Watts and South Central, is already a police state.  Tonight, 25 to 30 young black men, standing handcuffed, outside the barber shop.  Every night, routine dehumanization is carried out in black and brown neighborhoods by LAPD.  I see it.  I never miss it.  It’s all around me.

Oscar Grant murdered in cold blood by law enforcement.  Robert Tolan, murdered in cold blood by law enforcement, for driving his father’s car, mistaken for stolen.

Filiberto Ojeda Rios assassinated by the U.S. government; I met his wife and heard the entire story of what happened as he was shot by the FBI and then bled to death.

Innocent black and brown and poor white men on death row.  How many Troy Davises and Mumia Abu Jamals will we allow to exist in our country?

Native Americans trying to survive despite genocide and ethnic cleansing, struggle against drug and alcohol abuse and poverty, and try to keep their culture alive.

And yet the likes of Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi, and now Barack Obama say nothing about the pain I see on the mean streets and reservations across our country, and the miscarriages of justice that are its regular feature, but they allow Bush and company to get away with the highest of crimes, involving millions of deaths.

In each of these writings, I ask you, too, to write to the White House and let them know that you exist.  We didn’t recruit President Obama to run, so I am clear on the limitations of a White House letter writing campaign.  But trust me, our collective efforts will congeal into the movement for dignity, real peace, and true justice that we so desperately need for ourselves and the rest of the world.

http://lists.allthingscynthiamckinney.com/pipermail/updates-allthingscynthiamckinney.com/2009-January/000080.html

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Posted in Cynthia McKinney, Obama | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

In America, Speaking the Truth Is a Career-ending Event

Posted by kelliasworld on January 26, 2009


By Paul Craig RobertsJanuary 26, 2009 “Information Clearinghouse— – “The evidence is sitting on the table.  There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.”

These are the words of Manfred Nowak, the UN official appointed by the Commission on Human Rights to examine cases of torture.  Nowak has concluded that President Obama is legally obligated to prosecute former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

If President Obama’s bankster economic team finishes off what remains of the US economy, Obama, to deflect the public’s attention from his own failures and Americans’ growing hardships, might fulfill his responsibility to prosecute Bush and Rumsfeld.  But for now the interesting question is why did the US military succumb to illegal orders?

In the December 2008 issue of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn, in his report on an inglorious chapter in the history of the Harvard Law School, provides the answer. Two brothers, Jonathan and David Lubell, both Harvard law students, were politically active against the Korean War.  It was the McCarthy era, and the brothers were subpoenaed. They refused to cooperate on the grounds that the subpoena was a violation of the First Amendment.

Harvard Law School immediately began pressuring the students to cooperate with Congress.  The other students ostracized them.  Pressures from the Dean and faculty turned into threats. Although the Lubells graduated magna cum laude, they were kept off the Harvard Law Review. Their scholarships were terminated. A majority of the Harvard Law faculty voted for their expulsion (expulsion required a two-thirds vote).

Why did Harvard Law School betray two honor students who stood up for the US Constitution?  Cockburn concludes that the Harvard law faculty sacrificed constitutional principle in order not to jeopardize their own self-advancement by displeasing the government (and no doubt donors).

We see such acts of personal cowardice every day.  Recently we had the case of Jewish scholar and Israel critic Norman Finkelstein, whose tenure was blocked by the cowardly president of DePaul University, a man afraid to stand up for his own faculty against the Israel Lobby, which successfully imposed on a Catholic university the principle that no critic of Israel can gain academic tenure.

The same calculation of self-interest causes American journalists to serve as shills for Israeli and US government propaganda and the US Congress to endorse Israeli war crimes that the rest of the world condemns.

When US military officers saw that torture was a policy coming down from the top, they knew that doing the right thing would cost them their careers.  They trimmed their sails.  One who did not was Major General Antonio Taguba.  Instead of covering up the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal, General Taguba wrote an honest report that terminated his career.

Despite legislation that protects whistleblowers, it is always the whistleblower, not the wrongdoer, who suffers.  When it finally became public that the Bush regime was committing felonies under US law by using the NSA to spy on Americans, the Justice (sic) Department went after the whistleblower.  Nothing was done about the felonies.

Yet Bush and the Justice (sic) Department continued to assert that “we are a nation of law.”

The Bush regime was a lawless regime.  This makes it difficult for the Obama regime to be a lawful one. A torture inquiry would lead naturally into a war crimes inquiry.  General Taguba said that the Bush regime committed war crimes.  President Obama was a war criminal by his third day in office when he ordered illegal cross-border drone attacks on Pakistan that murdered 20 people, including 3 children.  The bombing and strafing of homes and villages in Afghanistan by US forces and America’s NATO puppets are also war crimes.  Obama cannot enforce the law, because he himself has already violated it.

For decades the US government has taken the position that Israel’s territorial expansion is not constrained by any international law.  The US government is complicit in Israel’s war crimes in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.

The entire world knows that Israel is guilty of war crimes and that the US government made the crimes possible by providing the weapons and diplomatic support.  What Israel and the US did in Lebanon and Gaza is no different from crimes for which Nazis were tried at Nuremberg.  Israel understands this, and the Israeli government is currently preparing its defense, which will be led by Israeli Justice (sic) Minister Daniel Friedman.  UN war crimes official Richard Falk has compared Israel’s massacre of Gazans to the Nazi starvation and massacre of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. Amnesty International and the Red Cross have demanded Israel be held accountable for war crimes.  Even eight Israeli human rights groups have called for an investigation into Israel’s war crimes.

Obama’s order to close Guantanamo Prison means very little. Essentially, Obama’s order is a public relations event.  The tribunal process had already been shut down by US courts and by military lawyers, who refused to prosecute the fabricated cases.  The vast majority of the prisoners were hapless individuals captured by Afghan warlords and sold for money to the stupid Americans as “terrorists.”  Most of the prisoners, people the Bush regime told us were “the most dangerous people alive,” have already been released.
Obama’s order said nothing about closing the CIA’s secret prisons or halting the illegal practice of rendition in which the CIA kidnaps people and sends them to third world countries, such as Egypt, to be tortured.

Obama would have to take risks that opportunistic politicians never take in order for the US to become a nation of law instead of a nation in which the agendas of special interests override the law.

Truth cannot be spoken in America.  It cannot be spoken in universities.  It cannot be spoken in the media.  It cannot be spoken in courts, which is why defendants and defense attorneys have given up on trials and cop pleas to lesser offenses that never occurred.

Truth is never spoken by government.  As Jonathan Turley said recently, Washington “is where principles go to die.”

Posted in America, George W. Bush, Obama | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Laid-Off Workers Struggle to Pay for Health Insurance

Posted by kelliasworld on January 26, 2009

The United States began the New Year with 11.1 million people unemployed. In December alone, construction companies slashed 101,000 jobs, manufacturers axed 149,000, and professional and business services issued 113,000 pink slipped.  A report issued by a group advocating for health care consumers says the unemployed are finding it extremely difficult to pay health insurance premiums with their paltry unemployment benefits and alternatives are inadequate or non-existent.

Audio news story:

cobra-bites

The “health insurance through employment” system was devised during WWII. During a wartime wage and price freeze,  businesses were allowed to compete for employees by offering fringe benefits. It worked under the conditions of the time.

But now we see that the system is seriously flawed. Everyone needs health care at some point. Why should one’s access depend on whether other not one has a job with enough hours at a big enough company? Why should businesses bear the cost (including the administrative costs) of health care? Why should insurance companies be allowed to profit from people’s health needs and be allowed to “cherry pick” the healthiest of us to pay premiums to line their pockets, while ignoring the sick?

Universal single-payer health care is the only way to handle the issue fairly for consumers and for businesses. The United States is the only industrialized nation to not have it. Here it is decried as “socialized medicine.” We hear arguments  about waiting times under national health programs in other countries; the propaganda in this country is that “socialized medicine” is inefficient. But I am sure you or someone you know has dealt with unacceptable wait times. We have the most expensive health care in the world and millions who can’t access it, or who go bankrupt trying to do so. This is efficient?

Just what is wrong with “socialized” medicine? We have socialized police and fire protection. The very politicians who decry “socialized medicine” don’t seem to mind the bloated budget and inefficiences of the “defense” system we all pay for! Why should we have to be profitable to someone (or married to or the minor child of someone who is) before we can get health care?

Posted in America, Health Insurance, Kellia's News Reports | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Work Ethic or the Slave’s Disdain for Leisure

Posted by kelliasworld on January 23, 2009

By HARRY BROWNE

(originally published on Counterpuch.org)

It wasn’t a very good speech. Even his brother-in-law yawned.

The oration’s first problem was accidental: how he must have regretted opening with a reference to all the men who have said the Oath of Office, given that (ouch) his own oath had just got mangled — but he passed on the opportunity to ad-lib a joke about that. From that point on its larger problems were fundamental to Barack Obama’s politics: CounterPunch readers won’t have been surprised at his dull technocratic insistence that there’s no more room for argument about the path forward; we know the code when he talks of “hard choices” and “unpleasant decisions”; and we’ve seen enough of Washington’s idea of ‘change’ to know that 98 per cent of the speech would have fit comfortably in John McCain’s mouth.

But there was one largely overlooked passage that was so stupid, and so disturbing, that I may have to withdraw my standard concessionary, “Well, sure, I admit he’s obviously a smart guy with some decent instincts.”

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.

Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor — who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

Okay, partly this passage is standard, put-on inverted snobbery from a man whose own CV is short on making things. The right-wingers who claim Obama is a closet Marxist might find the labor theory of value lurking dangerously in it. But for me its most striking phrase is the denigration, alongside the despised “faint-hearted” and fame-seekers, of “those who prefer leisure over work.”

It gets worse, a lot worse, if you follow the rest of the passage logically in terms of the contrast he has set up. The productive good guys of the next sentence, the doers and makers who brought not just prosperity but freedom – those folks clearly must have preferred work over leisure, or maybe they scored them even. And the final sentence tells us explicitly who he is talking about: farmers and settlers, sweatshop-workers and … slaves.

The idea that slaves helped build American greatness because (among other things) they preferred work to leisure is so offensively stupid that it clearly wandered into Obama’s speech via sloppiness rather than by design. (This is in itself undermines his reputation for wordcraft and attention to detail: the only reference to slavery in the inaugural speech of the first African-American president was permitted to carry this crazed logic.) Maybe we can just write it off as the sort of thing that happens when you’re absent-mindedly knitting together clichés and you drop a stitch. Nobody seems to have noticed it or taken offence anyway.

All the same, I say, in the light of that striking phrase: leisure-lovers of the world unite, and watch out for this guy’s moralizing work ethic. No one would wish to deny the pleasures of a job well done; but so much of the work of the industrial era has been short of such satisfactions, and so many of the great struggles of that era have focused on having the time and money to enjoy the time away from the job. Remember “eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for what you will”? Those sweatshop workers weren’t preferring work over leisure, they were earning a crust and fighting to get out of there with enough energy left in their bones to enjoy life.

Meanwhile, while American capitalist prosperity was built on the blood and sweat of slaves, it was at least partly their leisure-time and that of their laboring descendents that gave us the greatest musical culture we have known.

“Those who prefer leisure over work”? You’d want to have some great job (President?) not to be one of “those”. Me, I think I’ve got something approaching the world’s best gig, as a college teacher in a public institution, paid well to talk and think and read and write about stuff that interests me, encouraged to have an active involvement in public affairs, in the company of open-minded young people, never lugging anything heavier than a bundle of student newspapers or an overhead projector. Here’s a partial list of things I like even better: going to the movies; reading John Le Carré; pretending to be a cat with my three-year-old; shopping for pretty things with my 16-year-old; a few pints with pals; a morning in bed with my beloved; a walk on the beach; cooking a needlessly complicated meal; reclining on the sofa with a glass of wine and Wayne Shorter on the stereo…. You get the idea: your basic personal-ads stuff. (As personal ads reveal, we see ourselves as we wish to be seen in our leisure loves, not in our job titles.) I can do all those things because forbears, especially in the trade-union movement, fought for my wages and my leisure.

Leisure should be a crucial political priority, especially in recession. There’s not enough work for everyone to do? Sure there is, if everyone worked less. Our preference for leisure, frankly confessed and proclaimed, can serve the common good, and point the way toward a more equitable distribution of hard-work, soft-work and no-work in our societies. A leisure rebellion in the US would also help to break the world’s most enduring stereotype of Americans: that they ‘live to work.’

Meanwhile, in Washington, at the end of his big day, Obama couldn’t be bothered to party. His visits to inaugural balls were supposed to finish at 2:55am, but he rushed through and wrapped up more than two hours early, before 12.45. One hopes he eschewed a late night of pleasantries, and messed with his supporters’ and donors’ timetables, because he and his wife longed for some intimate leisure after their long, extraordinary public day. But I’m worried he just wanted to be well-rested for work.

Harry Browne lectures in the School of Media at Dublin Institute of Technology and is author of CounterPunch’s Hammered by the Irish. Contact harry.browne@gmail.com

________

I think Mr. Browne makes a good point. Does the American mythos overglorify work? Make your comments below.

Posted in America, Obama | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

New CA law Protects H.S. & College Journalism Advisers

Posted by kelliasworld on January 23, 2009

California grants broader First Amendment rights to student journalists than does the Federal Constitution. A law that went into effect on January 1st now protects school personnel who stand up for student journalism.

journalism-teacher-protection-act_ne

Posted in First Amendment, Kellia's News Reports | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Prop 8 First Amendment Lawsuit

Posted by kelliasworld on January 23, 2009

This is a headline story I did able a lawsuit filed by proponents of Proposition 8, which amended California’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage.

prop-8-donations-headline_ne

The suit raises some interesting First Amendment questions. I am planning a longer story for the time of the hearing on the matter.

Posted in First Amendment, Kellia's News Reports, Prop 8 (CA) | Leave a Comment »

And so we begin

Posted by kelliasworld on January 21, 2009

A column I read stated that the swearing in of Barack Obama was the most anticipated inauguration since that of John F. Kennedy. I was only 5-1/2 when JFK took the oath and I have no memory of seeing it. But I have noticed that, everywhere I’ve gone in Oakland, spirits have been high and unprecedented celebrations were planned for Inauguration Day.

For weeks, local buses bore signs telling people which routes to take to the Oracle Arena,  (where the NBA Golden State Warriors play their home games), to view the Inauguration Ceremonies. Tickets were $5.00 a piece, a small price to pay for purchasing a lot of company if you did not want to watch for free on your computer or television by yourself or with an intimate group of family, friends and neighbors. The Oracle event turned out to be one of the largest Inaugural gatherings, if not the largest, outside Washington D.C. itself.

The espresso machine at my corner coffee shop was so heavily used it ran out of steam Inauguration morning. The local trattoria had an all day happy hour.

The festive mood wasn’t just in Oakland and Washington D.C., both majority black cities. And it wasn’t restricted to black people celebrating the inauguration of the country’s first black President. There is a sense that a great weight has been lifted from the shoulders of the nation. Away, with the oath of office botched by the Bush-appointed Supreme Court justice, and away, with the limo and the helicopter than took Cheney and Bush out of the capital, went the burden of acute embarrassment over a regime that stole two elections, lied to get us into war, destroyed our reputation in the international community by engaging in torture, let a major American city drown, expounded theories of government that do as much violence to our democracy as could any terrorists’ bombs or bullets,  and handed over our treasure to financiers and war profiteers like children sneaking to their friends the ill-gotten gains of a raid on mama’s cookie jar.

In a permitted protest in front of the FBI building, people waved placards that said “Arrest Bush.” And as Bush’s chopper flew over the National Mall, people sang

NAH! NAH! NAH! NAH!

NAH! NAH! NAH! NAH!

HEY! HEY! HEY!

GOOD-BYE!

During that flyover, I recalled the words of Gerald Ford when he addressed the people after taking the oath with far less ceremony but just as much urgency as today: “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.  Our Constitution works ; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men.”

Today’s national nightmare is far from over. But after speculation in some quarters  that we would not even have a Presidential election in 2008, that the Bush-Cheney cabal would find a way to precipitate a crisis necessitating the declaration of martial law, we saw, on January 20, the peaceful transition of power that has marked our Republic’s history in uninterrupted fashion since George Washington handed over the reins to John Adams.

So now we begin to set aright a nation devastated by a political force no less powerful as the hurricane that devastated New Orleans. Our new President has much to do; he can’t do it overnight and he can’t do it alone.

But, despite the rhetoric of responsibility, the proclamation that we all must do our part to rebuild the country, the fact remains that much damage was done behind our backs or otherwise without our consent, and by means that were beyond our control as ordinary citizens. And repair of that damage is equally out of our hands. The fact remains that Obama is the leader and the question remains as to what he is willing and able to do.

I take a skeptical view of him because I do not see how a young, black, first-term Senator gets to be President of the United States without the consent and help of  “The Powers That Be,” those “Malefactors of Great Wealth”, as Theodore Roosevelt called them, who caused the problems in the first place.  For example, the financial interests (Wall St.) were the largest donors, by sector of the economy, to the inaugural festivities. What will Obama do to rein in their influence, to set up an economy where finance is the servant of real productivity, not its master?

Will the man who, as Senator, voted for Telecom Immunity, dismantle the machinery of fascism left to him by the neo-cons, or will he prove right a colleague of mine who recently said that government never gives up a power it has acquired?

What does it mean for the prospects of true and lasting peace in the Middle East that Obama’s inaugural address contained a message to the Muslim world, but none to Israel?

I celebrate our new President’s intelligence and articulateness. Yet I think Jon Stewart of The Daily Show made an interesting point Inauguration Night in comparing the  rhetoric of  Obama’s inaugural address to various of Bush’s speeches. The similarities were discomfiting. Are certain themes  expected in a presidential address or are the leaders of both heads of our one corporate party fundamentally the same? Time alone will tell.

This is not to say that we won’t get anything refreshingly new from Obama, if he meant what he said in his inaugural address.  He said three things that really struck me as signaling his intention to steer a new course. One was the comment that “we will restore science to its rightful place…” This was  a direct rebuke of Bush’s politicization of science, especially as it relates to climate change.  NASA scientist and noted climate-change expert James Hansen recently said, “We cannot afford to put off change any longer. We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.” If that’s the case, Obama’s inaugural words about science were encouraging indeed.
Hansen

The second was, “[a]s for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our founding fathers … our found fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.” This suggests that Obama wishes to restore respect for our Constitution and treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions, that the Bush Administration disparaged, treaties that our Constitution makes part of the supreme law of the land.

Obama can start that process by asserting what he, as a former professor of constitutional law, should know: that no statute, including the Patriot Act, can defeat rights granted by the Constitution. Our  Constitution, unlike constitutions of some other nations, has no provision for its suspension, and is supreme over any statute, no matter what trying circumstance inspired the passing of that statute. That he voted for the reauthorization of the Patriot Act makes me doubt that he will make such an assertion.

The third was “[r]ecall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please.” I hope this means that the era of pre-emptive war and willingness to use nuclear weapons as a first strike against non-nuclear nations is at its ignominious end.

What Obama will accomplish, assuming he is willing to try, is circumscribed by the people around him, not only those pulling strings (his?) behind the scenes, but the people in the Congress with whom he must work. Let us not kid ourselves by thinking he can accomplish a lot  just because the Democrats control both houses of Congress. The Democrats were behind the Wall St. bailouts (as was Obama himself). Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D.-CA) took impeachment off the table and Rep. John Conyers (D.-MI) head of the House Judiciary Committee quietly went along with that.

We need to look into our past, as the South Africans did post-apartheid, to get at the truth of why we do the things we do and who benefits from our actions. We need another investigation into 9/11. A thorough exposition and destruction of the government’s lies with regard to that terrible day would destroy the legitimacy of the Bush regime and everything it did against peace and civil liberties in the name of 9/11 and our security.

We also need an investigation into the war crimes of the Bush regime.  A special prosecutor is a must. And we must also remember that Bush was not the first, just the worst. Bill Clinton was the table setter for the Bush Administration disasters at home and abroad. He signed telecom deregulation in ’96 and financial industry deregulation in ’99. He called for government backdoors into our personal computers (something Joe Biden championed in the Senate). And when the Taleban expressed willingness to turn Osama bin-Laden over to the US in the late 90’s, Clinton rebuffed them. With Hillary Clinton and so many other Clintonites in the Obama Administration, we are not likely to get a full accounting of the Clinton Adminstration’s role in getting us into the mess we are in today.

I think that while Obama will do some good things, we will not get the “change you can believe in” unless we punish the criminals, restore and rehabilitate the victims, and tell the people who committed unethical but not criminal deeds, or for whom the statute of limitations has run, that the game is over and they should take their marbles and go home. Anything less  will only serve, to borrow a phrase from this summer’s campaign, “to put lipstick on a pig.”

As to what we the people do to hold Obama’s feet to the fire, I am frankly at a loss. That millions throughout the world demonstrated against the invasion of Iraq but it happened anyway, tells me we the people don’t have much influence over foreign policy.

At home, we can vote with  our wallets to a certain extent, but only if we have alternatives. For example, I have my bank account at WAMU/CHASE. In my neighborhood they, Bank of America, and Wachovia dominate the landscape. There is not a credit union I can join.

Politically, we can join third parties, but that is a strategy for the very long haul, not for those who want major change now.

The Internet has broadened the media. Gone are the days when a writer could wallpaper her room with rejection slips. Ideas about alternative political philosophies or economic systems can now be published readily. But they can also be lost in the din as millions of people worldwide publish billions of ideas but the major media dominates the Internet and people seldom look past the first two pages of any search.  Writing and journalism have become more and more the careers of an elite few as the rest of us are forced to publish for free, or worse yet, to pay for the privilege.

Alternative healers, farmers’ markets and such exist. They are of some help to some people, but they are of no help to people who need an operation they can’t afford, or who reside in an inner city with no access to a standard grocery store, let alone a farmers’ market. We still look to the large corporate systems to meet most of our needs and will do so for a long time yet, even as we develop different ways of doing things. That’s their power and they know it, as do the politicians who know on which side their bread is buttered.

The first thing we need to do it to imagine the world we want. Then we have to work toward it in any non-violent way we can.  We have inaugurated a President who, at the very least, does not seem to want to obstruct the development of different ways of doing things as much as his predecessor did, at least where science and technology (especially energy use) are concerned.

How far he will take us, or we will take him, is still an unknown.

And so we begin…

Posted in 9/11, America, Congress, George W. Bush, Internet, Israel, Obama | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Keith Olbermann: Bush’s 8 years in 8 minutes

Posted by kelliasworld on January 18, 2009

Actually more like 9.

Posted in America, George W. Bush | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

3,000 in Front of FBI Building for Inaugural Parade to Demand Bush’s Arrest

Posted by kelliasworld on January 14, 2009

For January 20th, 2009, http://arrestbush2009.com has secured a permit for the front of the FBI building for a Yes We Can Arrest Bush event during the Inaugural Parade.

We intend to fill the permitted area with attendees with ARREST BUSH signs who will demand the arrest of outgoing President Bush for crimes against humanity and numerous constitutional violations.

An ARREST BUSH sign that can be downloaded from our website, and is a free inaugural parade ticket that is required to enter our permitted area.

We call for the arrest of George W. Bush for instigating war against a sovereign nation that posed no threat, wanton attacks on civilian populations, use of torture, and violations of the U.N. Charter.

We call for the arrest of George W. Bush for lying to Congress and the American people about the reasons for invading Iraq, for the deaths of US service members and Iraqi civilians, and for the abuse of the United States Constitution.

US Park Service permit # 09-18 allows for 3,000 participants.

http://arrestbush2009.com is also the sponsor of Dupont Circle Speakout with speakers and music on January 18 & 19th from 11am – 5 pm.

Please join us as we do our duty as citizens and bring justice to the United States of America.

http://arrestbush2009.com is people joining together with one mission in mind: to arrest George W. Bush for perpetrating crimes of the very gravest of matters concerning war and peace.

Posted in George W. Bush | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Fox News Censors Political Expression

Posted by kelliasworld on January 13, 2009

January 7th, 2009

Commentary by Corynne McSherry

In a scenario that has become depressingly familiar, a news organization has again used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to censor legitimate political speech. Citizen Media Law Project reports that YouTube cancelled Progress Illinois’ YouTube channel after Fox News had sent three notices of copyright infringement demanding the takedown of Progress Illinois’ videos. In the videos, Progress Illinois, a union-sponsored blog, apparently used short clips of Fox News coverage of local and national political events to set up political commentary about those events. Progress Illinois sent a counternotice asking YouTube to restore the video, but that won’t happen for several days, i.e. long after public interest in the event Progress Illinois is talking about has waned.

We haven’t been able to view the videos, but from what we’ve heard it seems likely that the uses in question were fair, and therefore noninfringing. If so, it is especially shameful that a news organization, which itself depends heavily on fair use to do its own reporting and commentary, should ignore fair use and thereby chill the free speech of others. Moreover, Fox News may have lost sight of its own best interest in another way. As CMLP put it:

Fox’s heavy-handed response to Progress Illinois’ use of its clips highlights the network’s myopic view of the media ecosystem in which it operates. Rather than seeing Progress Illinois as a competitor attempting to steal website traffic from WFLD-TV, the network should be grateful that its political coverage is generating buzz in the blogosphere.

It’s also disappointing that YouTube hasn’t already restored the videos. When similar shenanigans took down campaign videos by Senators McCain and Obama during the presidential election season, we called on YouTube to take steps to protect online speech, among them human review of videos that have been subject to a counternotice, and immediate restoration of videos that are clearly noninfringing fair uses.

Fox News bears the primary blame here, but we’ve said it before and it bears repeating: the Internet can continue to revitalize our political lives in exciting and unforeseen ways—if, and only if, service providers, users and content owners all do their parts to protect free speech.

http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/01/fox-news-censors-political-expression

Posted in Censorship, Internet | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »