sage at base of tall mountain, flowering trees rise to heaven

Plain country folk with rounded bodies,
Skin turning to bronze in the valley heat.
why talk to the about Tao?
The eat when they are hungry,
They sleep when they are sleepy.
Even a sage with infinite permutations
could not match their simplicity.

Do you want to know about simplicity? Go live with farmers. Their daily activities are coordinated with the seasons, they are close to the earth, and they do not spend their time figuring out how to attain status. They are honest and plain. They make no distinction between who they are as individuals and who they are as farmers.

Those of us who live in cities would be hard pressed to equal the farmer in simplicity. Simplicity, after all, is what Tao most celebrates. Who needs to know all the digits of pi? Who needs to engineer a new monetary policy? Who needs to strive for political office? None of these things is necessary to be a human being.

Give up unnecessary things.

365 Tao
daily meditations
Deng Ming-Dao (author)
ISBN 0-06-250223-9

Peach blossom on the mountain
Xu Jian Ming
Xu Jian Ming

Halliburton gets Katrina cleanup contract: when will people notice????

Halliburton gets Katrina contract, hires former FEMA director
1 Sept. 2005

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 ( -- The US Navy asked Halliburton to repair naval facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the Houston Chronicle reported today. The work was assigned to Halliburton's KBR subsidiary under the Navy's $500 million CONCAP contract awarded to KBR in 2001 and renewed in 2004. The repairs will take place in Louisiana and Mississippi.

KBR has not been asked to repair the levees destroyed in New Orleans which became the primary cause of most of the damage.

Since 1989, governments worldwide have awarded $3 billion in contracts to KBR's Government and Infrastructure Division to clean up damage caused by natural and man-made disasters.

Earlier this year, the Navy awarded $350 million in contracts to KBR and three other companies to repair naval facilities in northwest Florida damaged by Hurricane Ivan, which struck in September 2004. The ongoing repair work involves aircraft support facilities, medium industrial buildings, marine construction, mechanical and electrical improvements, civil construction, and family housing renovation.

In March, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is tasked with responding to hurricane disasters, became a lobbyist for KBR. Joe Allbaugh was director of FEMA during the first two years of the Bush administration.

Today, FEMA is widely criticized for its slow response to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Allbaugh managed Bush's campaign for Texas governor in 1994, served as Gov. Bush's chief of staff and was the national campaign manager for the Bush campaign in 2000. Along with Karen Hughes and Karl Rove, Allbaugh was one of Bush's closest advisers.

"This is a perfect example of someone cashing in on a cozy political relationship," said Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington watchdog group. "Allbaugh's former placement as a senior government official and his new lobbying position with KBR strengthens the company's already tight ties to the administration, and I hope that contractor accountability is not lost as a result."



Rising-Moore in Texas: We Won't Stop

Commissioner orders Prairie Chapel Road cleared

By Thaddeus DeJesus Tribune-Herald staff writer
Friday, September 02, 2005

CRAWFORD – A lone demonstrator and the Crawford Peace House are complying with an order to vacate issued by McLennan County Commissioner Ray Meadows.

Meadows on Wednesday handed letters to demonstrators along Prairie Chapel Road informing them they must immediately leave and remove their belongings from the rights-of-way so that crews can perform road and ditch maintenance. The letter threatens arrest for failure to comply.

“We've got to shred those ditches, and I don't think people should be living in them,” said Meadows, who referred to a roughly five-mile stretch of Prairie Chapel Road where weeds tower from the roadside.

Thousands of demonstrators streamed through Meadows' precinct in the past month because of Cindy Sheehan, a peace activist who sought to get President Bush's attention on the Iraq war by starting a vigil near his vacation home that lasted for almost a month. As of Thursday, one day after Sheehan's protest ended, almost all of the demonstrators were gone, save one. Also, roughly three dozen crosses and three tents remained standing, marking the place where Sheehan and peace demonstrators first pitched their tents on Aug. 6.

Carl Rising-Moore held on Thursday a copy of Meadows' letter, which cited state law in justifying arrest if demonstrators blocked roads or roadsides.

Rising-Moore, 59, of Indianapolis, Ind., said that he, the crosses and the tents could have stayed put in an act of civil disobedience. But acting on the wishes of Sheehan, Rising-Moore and representatives of the Crawford Peace House agreed to remove the tents and memorial markers honoring fallen troops. Those items should be removed by Friday to go on display at the Crawford Peace House.

But Rising-Moore predicts that something permanent will sprout on Prairie Chapel Road some day.

“I would not be surprised if people, the state or the nation build a memorial here in that center tent where Cindy slept,” he said, looking at the tents and crosses. “She has an important message.”


Today's commentary:

ZNet Commentary
Embark Now

September 02, 2005
By Michael Albert

In the U.S. summer is winding down. Soon U.S. students will trek back to school, including college. Would that I was one of them, not because it would mean I was forty years younger - though that would be a nice turn of events - but because this is the first Fall semester in thirty years I have felt the desire to be scaling ivy walls and prowling campus corridors.

What's coming to NYU, Wisconsin, SF State, MIT, Howard, Pepperdine, Morehouse, Purdue, Loyola? What's coming to Drake, Kansas State, Rutgers, Boston University, University of Chicago, Duke, Berkeley, Kent State? What's coming to Reed, Bucknell, Colombia, Vanderbilt, Austin, Evergreen, Concordia, Yale, Jackson State - and all the rest?

Tumult, turmoil, tension, and resistance? Rejection and revolt? That's what ought to happen. It's what I hope will happen.

Flash back to May 1970: Richard Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia. Already intense campus unrest dramatically escalated. National guard shot to death four students at Kent State University. Campuses erupted. Two were killed and twelve wounded at Jackson State. About 2,000 students were arrested in the first half of May 1970. Campuses were declared in a state of emergency in Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and South Carolina.
At least a third of the nation's nearly 3,000 colleges had strikes. Over 80% of all colleges and universities had protests. Approximately four million students, half the country's total, and 350,000 faculty members actively participated in strikes. Buildings were shut down. Highways were blocked. Campuses were closed. Nixon's Scranton Commission reported that roughly three quarters of all students supported the strikes. Pollsters reported that within campuses alone over a million people claimed to favor revolution and called themselves revolutionaries.
In early 1971 the New York Times reported that four out of ten students, about three million people, thought a revolution was needed in the United States. This upsurge and the civil rights and then black power movement, the women's movement, the antiwar movement, and the youth rebellion behind it, together threatened the very fabric of society and thereby helped end a war and turn the country's mentality inside out and upside down.
Racism was under seige. Sexism was in retreat. Suburban culture was tottering. A gigantic war machine felt shackles. Even capitalism had cracks. But the desire to attain a better world did not last sufficiently long or grow sufficiently wide to replace Washington's White House and Wall Street's corporations which, instead, went on producing greed and domination. Capitalism's institutional persistence slowly eroded and even devoured my generation's aspirations for solidarity and self management.

Flash forward thirty five years to next week: Imagine students back on their campuses. Do they discuss what courses to take? Ways to hook up with new guys or gals? Upcoming athletic seasons? I'd be surprised if not, but I hope students' also focus on war and peace. I hope they focus on New Orleans, and why calamities afflict the poor so much worse than all others. I hope they focus on why life in the world is so much less than it could be for the starving, the bombed, the unemployed, and for those working at jobs that rob dignity, stifle creativity, and subject so many souls to stupefying rule by others.

I hope they even talk about working at elite jobs and having no time to live, no space to be humane, and no meaning beyond the next dollar. I hope students' main topic this Fall is what they want out of life, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and yes, materially, and how they are going to get it consistent with their working hard for everyone else getting it too.

Imagine students asking why their curriculums produce ignorance about international relations, ignorance about market competition's violations of solidarity, sagacity, and sustainability.

Imagine students deciding enough is enough. Maybe one particular student who wears a funny hat and has a history of being aloof, or perhaps one who looks straight as a commercial and was high school class most likely to have a million friends, will write a song about masters of the universe - and unseating them. Maybe another student will write about floods drowning people's hopes, and about a rising tide of our own compassionate creation lifting people's prospects. Maybe another student will write about resurgent racism and sullying sexism, and then about combative communalism and feminism and their time finally coming. And maybe students will hum the new tunes and sing the new lyrics - and rally, march, sit in, occupy, all while waving a big, solid fist.

Imagine students not just sending out emails to their friends and allies, but entering dorms and knocking on every door, initiating long talks, communicating carefully-collected information and debating patiently-constructed arguments that address not only war and poverty, but also positive prospects we prefer.

Imagine students earmarking fraternity and sorority members, athletes, and scholars, for conversation, debate, incitement, and recruitment. Imagine students come to see their campuses as places that should be churning out activists and dissent and come to see themselves as having no higher calling than making that campus-wide dissent happen.

Imagine students schooling themselves outside the narrow bounds of their colleges, learning that there is an alternative to cutthroat competition and teaching themselves to describe that alternative and to inspire others with it, to refine it, and especially to formulate and implement paths by which to attain it.

Imagine students, now sharing many views and much spirit, angry and also hopeful, sober and also laughing, sitting in dorms and dining areas forming campus organizations, or even campus chapters of a larger encompassing national community of organizations - perhaps something called students for a participatory society this time around - or even students for a participatory world - and maybe even having each chapter choose its own local name. Dave Dellinger SPS. Emma Goldman SPS. Malcolm X SPS. And for that matter, Rosa Luxembourg SPS, Emiliano Zapata SPS, Che Guevara SPS. And so on.

Imagine, in short, students rising up with information, relentless focus, and some abandon too, becoming angry, militant, and aggressive, but keeping foremost mutual concern and outreaching compassion.

Imagine all this pumping into the already nationally growing U.S. dissent against war and injustice, pumping into the neighborhood associations and union gatherings and church cells and GI resistance, a youth branch willing to break the laws of the land and to push thoughts and deeds even into revolutionary zones. Imagine students singing, dancing, marching, and law breaking up a storm.

That is something the antiwar movement, the anti corporate globalization movement, the movement for civil rights and against racism and sexism, the movements for local rights against environmental degradation, the movements for consumer rights against corporate commercialism, and the labor movement too, all need.

We need youth.

Imagine young people, with time, energy, heart, and mind, discerning that they are being coerced by society most often to become passive victims, sometimes to become passive agents, occasionally to become active perpetrators but only as cruel and rich beneficiaries of society's injustices. Imagine students seek more and other. Imagine they hunker down for the long haul, much better equipped and much better oriented than my generation ever was.

I think, I hope, students are about to not only reject statist war and corporate greed, but to carry that rejection into positive advocacy and anger that gives entire campuses and not small sub communities sustained commitment. That will be a ticket to a new world for everyone, a ticket much better than old style graduation into the morally decrepit world all around us. This trip is long. But why not embark now?

Katrina, God and Social Morality

Katrina, God and Social Morality

by Rabbi Michael Lerner

It didn’t have to happen. And it didn’t have to result in so many deaths and social chaos.

Before going down the route of spiritual analysis, let me pause for a moment of prayer and sadness for the suffering of the people of New Orleans, prayers for comfort of those who are mourning losses, and prayers for the survival of those who are still in danger. Prayer must always be accompanied
by acts of tzedaka, righteousness or charity. The American Red Cross is playing the lead support role here, so you might consider donating to them: call 1 800 HELP NOW.

But this is a classic case of the law of karma, or what the Torah warns of environmental disaster unless we create a just society, or what others call watching the chickens come home to roost, or what goes around come around:

* Environmentalists are making a strong case that the escalated number and ferocity of earthquakes is a direct product of global warming, caused in large part by the reliance on fossil fuels. The persistent refusal of the U.S. to join the nations of the world in implementing the Kyoto Accords emission limits, and to impose serious pollution restrictions on the cars being sold in the US, is a major factor in global warming.

* The development for housing and commercial purposes combinded with massive oil and gas investments destroyed the natural protections from storms that the coastal wetlands has previously provided.

· Funds that were specifically allocated for New Orleans which could have been used in rebuilding levees and for storm protection were cut from the federal budget so that President Bush could use those funds to wage the war in Iraq.
· The white majority of the people of Louisiana elected Congressional representatives who enthusiastically support the war in Iraq and the Bush Administration’s environmental irresponsibility. When economic devastation hit workers in northern cities over the past several decades, Louisianans voted to downsize the federal government and to let others fend for themselves. Many talked about the glories of relying on the free marketplace rather than on the “handouts” from a national government that they abhorred. Or they told the poor and the homeless in northern cities that “if they worked harder or had better habits or were smarter they’d have employment and wouldn’t have to depend on others’ help. Or they saw that suffering of others as “the hand of God.”

And yet, the law of karma or Torah doesn’t work on a one to one basis, delivering “just rewards” to those who have been directly involved in causing evil, as JOB noted in the Bible and as we can note watching global warming play out. The terrible truth is that it is the POOR, the MOST VULNERABLE, who are the first to suffer. The wealthy built their homes on higher ground, had better information, more insurance, and more avenues of escape. So whether it is in facing the rising waters in Bangladesh or Malaysia or Lousiana and Missippi, it’s going to be “the least among us” who will suffer most immediately. This is why it is inappropriate to blame the victim: because the way the world has been created, the consequences of past social injustice, war and ecological irresponsibility come to a whole planet--because from the cosmic perspective we are one, we are all interdependent—and those who suffer most are often not even those who are most culpable. Ditto with environmental cancers—it’s often not the oil company executives but poor people living in proximity to the air and water polluted by corporate irresponsibility and abetted by the lawmakers who depend on corporate contributions and pay them back by imposing the weakest possible environmental regulations.

When some Christian fundamentalists talk about these as signs of the impending doom of the planet, they are laughed off as irrational cranks. It’s true that these fundamentalists see no connection between the doom and the environmental irresponsibility that the politicians they support have brought us. But nevertheless, their perception that we are living at “the end of time” can’t be dismissed by those of us who know that the life support systems of this planet are increasingly “in danger” if politics continues the way it has been going, with politicians in BOTH parties capitulating regularly to the ethos of selfishness and materialism that is sustained by our corporate plunderers but is validated by the votes of ordinary citizens.

Yet the fundamentalist message is deeply misleading also, because it seems to suggest that all this is out of our hands, part of some divine scheme. But it’s not. The biblical version is quite different from what they say: it insists that the choice between life and death is in our hands. After laying out the consequences of abandoning a path of justice and righteousness, the Torah makes it clear that it is up to us. CHOOSE LIFE, it tells us. That choosing of life means transforming our social system in ways that neither Democrats nor Republicans have yet been willing to consider—toward a new bottom line of love and caring, kindness and generosity, ethical and ecological responsibility, and awe and wonder at the grandeur of the universe replacing a narrow utilitarian approach to Nature. This is precisely what we have been calling for in our Interfaith organization, the Tikkun Community, and in our new project of the Tikkun Community called The Network of Spiritual Progressives. We need a New Bottom Line—a fundamental transformation of what we value in this society. We want to take that message into the public sphere, into the political parties, into the media, into the schools, into the corporations.

What too frequently happens when disasters like this hit is that everyone gets momentarily worked up about helping the victims, then a few weeks later forgets the whole thing, and rarely do we get a serious discussion (much less “follow through”) about how to solve the underlying problems. Let’s not let that happen again. Please join the Network of Spiritual Progressives of The Tikkun Community. For more information about our perspective, go to the Core Vision at To Join, click here:

There is one beautiful thing that sometimes happens during these kind of emergencies: the cynical realism that teaches us that people just care about themselves, a teaching that makes most of us feel scared to be “too generous” or “too idealistic” temporarily falls away, and people are allowed to be their most generous and loving selves. When the restraints are momentarily down, there is a huge outpouring of love, generosity and kindness on the part of many Americans. People do things like this that I saw yesterday: advertising on the internet’s Craig’s List that they are willing to take in to their own home for many months a family that has been displaced by the floods. This kind of selflessness is something that people actually yearn to let out, but under ordinary circumstances they’d fear to do so. So watch the goodness show itself.

Not to deny that ugliness will also appear. The looting of stores in New Orleans momentarily revealed the “bottom line” of government responsibilities when the New Orleans police announced that they were going to switch policing priorities from saving lives (of the poor) to saving the property of the wealthy and the corporations from the looters. It’s this kind of misplaced priorities over the course of many decades that makes some poor people (and not only poor people, but others who feel that they have a deep sense of social grievance) think (mistakenly and unjustifiably) that it makes sense to take advantage of this moment to rectify a long history of social injustice by taking from the “haves” to provide for themselves as the “have-nots.” It’s hard to witness this perversity on the part of both looters and police without a deep sadness of heart about the depths of depravity that reveal themselves in these moments, alongside the heights of goodness mentioned in the previous paragraph.

For me, this is a prayerful moment, entering the period just before the Jewish High Holidays (starting Oct. 3), realizing that the Jewish tradition of taking ten days of reflection, repentance and atonement is so badly needed not just by Jews but by everyone on the planet. I hope we can find a way to build this practice among secular as well as religious people, because America, indeed the whole world, so badly needs to STOP and reflect,repent and atone, and find a new way, a new path, and return to the deepest truths of love, kindness, generosity, non-violence and peace.

--Rabbi Michael Lerner
Editor, Tikkun and co-chair (with Cornel West and Sister Joan Chittister) of the Tikkun Community
Author, The Left Hand of God (forthcoming in January from HarperSanFrancisco)

P.S.--if you live in the Bay Area, and wish to be involved in the next stage (after our July Conference on Spiritual Activism) in building the Network of Spiritual Progressives(NSP), you are invited (whether or not you came to the conference) to the first Bay Area meeting of the NSP: Sunday, September 11. 4 p.m.-7 p.m. at the New College of California, 777 Valencia Street (near 19th in the Mission district) San Francisco. We will also commemorate the loss of live on 9/11 and in the subsequent misuse of 9/11 to justify more wars and militarism and torture and restrictions on civil liberties. Admission: a. Only for those who have read and agree with the organizational vision described fully in the Q&A about the Network of Spiritual Progressives which you need to read at :
and b. You must bring a main course vegetarian dish to share for the pot-luck dinner that we will be having as part of this gathering.

If you don't live in the Bay Area, let us know when your next meeting of a local Network of Spiritual Progressives or TikkunCommunity chapter is going to take place, so that we can publicize it (to

If this message made sense to you, send it to everyone you think might benefit from hearing its message! And please help us out by clicking HERE to join The Tikkun Community so that we can continue to send these messages.

(Please email or

Rising-Moore to remain near Bush Ranch for duration of war

Sheehan, war protesters leave camp near Bush ranch

Associated Press

As Cindy Sheehan and other military families who oppose the war take their protest on the road after a 26-day vigil, a few demonstrators plan to keep camping out near President Bush's ranch until the war with Iraq ends.

Sheehan, whose 24-year-old son Casey died in Iraq last year, and other protesters plan to go Thursday afternoon to U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's office in the Houston area.

Sheehan and several dozen demonstrators left Crawford on Wednesday in three buses for the 25-state "Bring Them Home Now Tour," which will end with an anti-war march Sept. 24 in Washington.

One bus went to U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's Dallas office. Sheehan's bus went to Austin, where nearly 2,000 attended a rally at City Hall after many of them marched from the state Capitol chanting and holding anti-war signs. About two dozen Bush supporters held a counter rally nearby.

"Thank you for being a bright spot in what is so-called Bush country," Sheehan, of Vacaville, Calif., told her cheering supporters.

Sheehan had vowed to stay in Crawford until Bush's monthlong vacation ended or until she could question him about the war that has claimed more than 1,870 U.S. soldiers' lives. She missed a week of the protest because of her mother's stroke.

"We're going to keep on questioning him, and we're going to keep on until our troops are brought home because there's no noble cause," she said. "And that's why George Bush couldn't come out and talk to me because he doesn't have a noble cause" for the war.

But the makeshift campsite she started Aug. 6 in ditches off the main road leading to Bush's ranch - visited by some 10,000 people - isn't gone. A few tents remain so several people can keep camping until the war with Iraq ends, said Carl Rising-Moore of Indianapolis, a member of Veterans for Peace.

"What happened here has created a shift of conscience on a global basis. It's famous. It needs to be remembered," Rising-Moore said. "And President Bush spends an incredible amount of time here."

But even a smaller camp may not continue if McLennan County commissioners approve an ordinance banning parking and congregating off any road within seven miles of the ranch. Commissioners are to vote next month on that ordinance, proposed by landowners upset over traffic problems caused by the protest camp.

Bush, who has said he sympathizes with Sheehan, returned to Washington on Wednesday without meeting with her in Texas. Two top administration officials talked to Sheehan the first day of her protest.

On Wednesday at a smaller pro-Bush camp in a ditch across the street from Sheehan's site, about a dozen people began taking down their tents, canopies and signs, and putting away cases of water and food.

The counter camp took shape slowly about a week after Sheehan arrived, starting with a few people holding pro-Bush signs and expanding to crowds of several hundred on weekends.

Even presidential adviser Karl Rove stopped by the site Tuesday night and hugged and thanked the Bush supporters, said Valerie Duty, who helped expand the pro-Bush camp two weeks ago.

"I love the troops, and I love President Bush, and I support his decision on the war all the way - 100 percent," said Mary Hitt of nearby Valley Mills, who spent much of the past 10 days at the site that Bush supporters dubbed "Camp Reality."

Many Bush supporters said the war protest hurt U.S. troop morale. Critics also said Sheehan never spoke out against Bush or the war when she and other grieving families met the president about two months after her son died last year.

Sheehan said she was still in shock over Casey's death during that meeting. She said she became enraged after independent reports disputed Bush administration claims that Saddam Hussein had mass-killing chemical and biological weapons - a main justification for the March 2003 invasion - and when she heard Bush say soldiers' deaths were noble.


AP staff writer Jim Vertuno in Austin contributed to this report.

© 2005 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

Immigrant Teens Subject to Aggressive Military Recruiting

Immigrant Teens Subject to Aggressive Military Recruiting

World Journal, News Feature, Isabelle Hsu.
Translated and compiled by Eugenia Chien,

Aug 31, 2005

At the pivotal time of graduating from high school, a military recruiter showered a Chinese high school student with friendship and promises of a speedy citizenship application. In two weeks, Wong Ken Moon, a high school student from Encinal High School in Alameda, California, signed a contract for at least eight years with the U.S. Marines.

Two months after signing the contract, Wong regretted his decision and wanted to back out of the contract on August 12. But he did not even know what type of contract he had signed or how to withdraw from it.

Wong is among the thousands of high school students targeted by campus military recruiters. Recruiters are using visa help to attract immigrant high school students, who are sometimes unaware of the obligations of the contract and how they can pull out of the contract if they change their minds.

Two weeks before graduation, with no definite future plans in mind, Wong met a young female Marine and agreed to be contacted by the Marine recruiter. Newton Dodson, a Marine recruiter based in San Leandro, met with Wong at the beginning of June. Just ten days after Dodson’s first meeting with Wong, he renewed Wong’s expired green card and promised him a speedy U.S. citizenship application.

The military offers non-immigrants expedited processing of visas, says Marti Hiken, co-chair of Military Law Task Force. The process can be as short as three years, compared to the normal five-year waiting period. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a 2004 legislation also allows members of the military to apply for naturalization for free.

Dodson told Wong he would receive $3000 when he reported for boot camp, and a pay raise every six months “because the government won’t go bankrupt.” Wong’s most pressing concern – how he would pay for college – was relieved when Dodson told him that he could go to college for free and serve at the same time. The chance of actually going to war, Dodson told Wong, was about 11 percent.

Dodson says that he does not remember if he told Wong that he could speed up the citizenship process. When asked about the chances of going to battle, he told the World Journal that everyone has a probability to go to war.

Wong was even more convinced that he should join the Marines when Dodson came to his high school graduation. His parents could not attend the graduation because they had to work that day.

Dodson even brought Wong to meet other young people who wanted to join the Marines. They listen to enlisted Marines telling cool war stories.

But when Wong signed the contract on June 11, Dodson was not with him. Under the prodding of officials at the Marines office, Wong signed what he thought was a five year contract. Dodson told the World Journal that the contract that Wong signed includes four years of active duty and four years of reserve duty. In a national emergency, he says that Wong can be on duty indefinitely. Wong says the Marines office did not give him a copy of the contract.

Although Wong’s parents were aware of his plans to enlist, they decided to let him make his own decisions. Dodson brought a Cantonese-speaking Marine representative to meet Wong’s parents and to welcome him to the Marines.

In July, after much consideration, Wong decided he wanted to withdraw from his contract. He decided that he was against the war, and that the military is not his only option. At an anti-war protest, he met Aimee Allison, a specialist who helps enlisted people withdraw from their contracts. Allison, a former G.I and a Gulf War resister, told him that as long as he had not reported to boot camp, he could legally pull out of his contract. She said there would be no negative impact on his career or citizenship application process and that the “no report, no enlist” policy applies to citizens and non-citizens.

Although it is optional, Wong sent a certified mail to the recruiting office to say that he had changed his mind.

Dodson says that every recruiter goes through recruiting training and is required to recruit at least two people every month. In the two years that he has been a recruiter, Wong is the second person to withdraw from his contract.

The military recruiting handbook suggests recruiters provide donuts and coffee for school staff, request to be a time keeper at football games, and gain an “indispensable” role in the school.” They are encouraged to seek out “student influencers,” students who stand out among their peers, and talk to them in front of other students.

Various military branches say that they do not target specific races in recruiting. The number of minorities has decreased in the military. According to Army records, minorities make up of 31 percent of the enlisted now, down from 37 percent five years ago. But the number of Asians has steadily increased from 2.6 percent in 2001 to 3 percent in 2005.

Wong says he changed his mind because he had been against the war in Iraq because the United Nations had been against American involvement from the beginning. He says he is for peace, so he does not want to participate in the military.

Life is too big of a question, Wong says, and he signed the contract too quickly. After he sent the certified letter to the recruiters, he registered for classes at a community college, hoping that in a short time, he can transfer to U.C. Berkeley. The Marine training camp in San Diego isn’t the next step in his life, he says.

Dozens of Vietnamese Americans Stranded Outside of New Orleans

Dozens of Vietnamese Americans Stranded Outside of New Orleans

Saigon Broacasting Television Network,
News Report, Staff -Compiled by Calitoday and translated by Andrew Lam,
Sep 01, 2005

According to Saigon Television Broadcasting Network there are dozens of Vietnamese Americans who are still stuck behind in a small town outside of New Orleans called Versailles. Versailles has been the home of more than 10,000 Vietnamese Americans since the Vietnam War ended.

In the last 3 days, without electricity and telephone contacts, the health of the Vietnamese community in Versailles is virtually unknown. Yesterday, Father Vien The Nguyen, of Lavang church in Versailles, managed to contact Saigon Broadasting Television Network to let them know that the majority of Vietnamese living in the area had evacuated before Katrina hit New Orleans, but there are dozens of senior citizens who did not leave because either they have no children or grandchildren to help them, or because they were hoping that they could withstand the storm. When the storm hit, they fled to the church for shelter and there they remained.

The town of Versailles is flooded, some places the water rose to 4 meters, accoridng to father Nguyen. Father Nguyen had decided to stay with those who took shelter in his church. The church is flooded as well but they have taken shelter upstairs. The priest said that he didn’t know if any Vietnamese had died in the Versailles but he was unable to leave the church to find out due to the flood.

Father Nguyen told SBTN that everyone in his church was listening to the news on the radio and had heard of the orders to evacuate. Since then they have been trying to contact the police for help and have been told that help will come. He also noted that he and his flock were still waiting for rescue but among those who were taking shelter at his church, many were beginning to show signs of failing health. Most didn’t have their medications with them, and many remained in shock. He asked all listeners to pray for them and for their rescue. The telephone line he was using was weak and his voice was often inaudible. Father Nguyen said that he will try to contact SBTN once they were rescued.

The Vietnamese American communities in Biloxi, Mississippi, and in Gulfport have also been evacuated, and the majority of this population have reached Alabama and Atlanta.

under the big muddy

'Desperate SOS' for New Orleans

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has issued a "desperate SOS" for thousands of people stranded with no food or water at the city's convention centre.

Up to 25,000 people are at the centre, in addition to tens of thousands more still trapped by the flood waters unleashed by Hurricane Katrina.

The state governor has called for 40,000 troops to restore order after a spate of lawlessness, AFP reports.

President George W Bush plans to visit the Gulf coast disaster zone on Friday.

Launching an appeal for financial help, President Bush said this was an agonising time for the people there but he promised help was on its way.

Hundreds or even thousands of people are feared to have drowned in New Orleans, most of which is under water. In Mississippi, 110 people are confirmed dead, but officials warn the toll is expected to rise.

According to the White House, nearly 155,350 sq miles (250,000 sq km) has been affected by the hurricane - an area roughly the size of the UK.

In New Orleans, people made homeless by the flooding have grown increasingly desperate, with outbreaks of shootings, carjackings and thefts.

Police chief Eddie Compass said there were reports of women being raped.

He told AP he sent 88 officers to quell the unrest at the convention centre but they were beaten back by an angry mob.

State governor Kathleen Blanco has said she is "furious" at the unrest and vowed to restore order.

Squalid conditions

Earlier, medical evacuations from the city's Superdome stadium were disrupted after reports that a gun shot was fired at a rescue helicopter. Similar reports have come from the city's hospitals.

"We are out here like pure animals. We don't have help," Rev Issac Clark told the Associated Press news agency outside the convention centre, where dead bodies are still lying in the open.

People were chanting: "We want help".

"Right now we are out of resources at the convention centre and don't anticipate enough buses," Mayor Nagin said in a statement read out by CNN.

"Currently the convention centre is unsanitary and unsafe and we are running out of supplies for 15,000 to 25,000 people."

There is no electricity in the city, and people who have lost everything are struggling to find food and clean water, reports the BBC's Alastair Leithead in New Orleans.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said more national guards were being sent to New Orleans in the next few days - more than quadrupling the 2,800 already there.

The mayor has ordered a total evacuation and warned it will be months before people can return to their homes.

More than a million people fled before the hurricane arrived on Monday, but at least 100,000 were unwilling or unable to leave.

At the city's Superdome stadium, the numbers of people seeking refuge has swelled to at least 20,000 and conditions there are appalling. Mass evacuations are under way.

The first bus-loads of people have arrived at Houston's Astrodome stadium in Texas, 560km (350 miles) away, where beds and blankets for up to 25,000 people have been set up.

The most vulnerable are going to the Louisiana state capital, Baton Rouge.

In Mississippi, curfews are in place in the hard-hit towns of Biloxi and Gulfport as the authorities try to prevent the scale of looting seen in New Orleans.

... :: last night's asthma :: ... ©2005 lisbethwest

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In Praise of Looting

In Praise of Looting

Blaming Katrina's victims for not being rich

By Harry Looter
For Infoshop News
September 1, 2005
“The Iberville Housing Projects got pissed off because the police started to "shop" after they kicked out looters. Then they started shooting at cops. When the cops left, the looters looted everything. There's probably not a grocery left in this city.”

The devastation wrought on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina is clearly evident three days after the winds started blowing and the journalists scampered out from their hotels. Most of New Orleans is under water. The Mississippi and Alabama coasts are obliterated. The situation in New Orleans is dire as thousands of people struggle to survive and get out of the worsening toxic cesspool that the city is becoming.

In the midst of all of this pain and misery, the media and the authorities have decided that the central story now is the looting and “lawlessness” that are taking place around the city. The poor, mostly black, victims of Hurricane Katrina are being blamed for their response to the situation. Their logical response to having the homes and neighborhoods destroyed is understandable given that this disaster has been happening for a long time in their neighborhoods and lives. The ongoing disaster that they are reacting to is the catastrophe known as capitalism.

The media knows that playing up the looting on TV plays well in Peoria. Comfortable middle class white people watch the New Orleans situation on TV and resort to simplistic Christian judgments about right and wrong. Some of them understand that the “looters” have a moral right to take food and medicine, but they seize on news that looters have taken guns and TVs as evidence that the looters are bad people. The authorities help reinforce these beliefs with their constant pontification about how looters will be punished. This morning the authorities are further demonizing the poor people of New Orleans by suspending rescue efforts because some person fired at a Coast Guard rescue worker. We all know that if some white dude in a rich neighborhood that was under water fired at rescue workers the rescue effort would continue uninterrupted.

What exactly is so evil about taking a package of Pampers or some cans of food from a Winn-Dixie or a Wal-Mart store? These people are trying to survive in neighborhoods that are under water, with no services of any kind. Are the rescue workers, the media, or the state dropping pampers and bottled water into the flooded neighborhoods of New Orleans? Are the on-the-scene Fox News anchors putting down their microphones, rolling up their sleeves, and helping rescue people?

The media and authorities’ obsession with looting is racist, capitalist and simply inhumane. What difference does it make what people take from the stores near their neighborhoods? They have no access to food, clean water, diapers, medicine, shoes, liquor, cigarettes and all the things that they need to get through this crisis. It’s not like these corporate grocery stores are going to go bankrupt because hungry people clear out an inventory that will have to be destroyed once the waters recede. People are “dumpster-diving” from stores who are insured, well capitalized, and which will have to throw away all of their stock anyway.

The Government Can’t Help You

The failure of the American state to respond to this tragedy is abundantly clear at this point. In its typical fashion, the state will turn the situation into a circus before the capitalist profiteers move in. On Friday, American president George W. Bush will fly into New Orleans to perform a photo op while some residents of New Orleans are still trapped in their attics. Many poor residents will be dying as Bush speaks useless words about the catastrophe. The hungry and wet people won’t be fed by Bush’s visit, but perhaps if he falls out of a helicopter while surveying the damage, the residents can make a good jambalaya with the presidential corpse. Meanwhile, there are reports that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was laughing it up last night at a production in New York City of 'Spamalot'.

The catastrophe in New Orleans once again demonstrates the inability of the state to take care of its subjects, especially its poorest citizens. For all of the talk about “homeland security” over the past few years, very little homeland security was available for the residents of New Orleans. There are reports now about how the government cut back on programs that would have helped New Orleans weather this disaster. The immediate response by rescue workers was hampered by the fact that the Louisiana National Guard is stuck in Iraq, fighting and losing an imperialist war staged by Bush and his Halliburton cronies. The evacuation plan worked for middle and upper class people with cars, but apparently there was no effort to bus poor people out of the city as Hurricane Katrina approached.

If there is a silver lining in this ongoing tragedy, it involves the small acts of mutual aid being done by New Orleans residents for each other. This includes people rescuing people from flooded houses, people helping move sick people to dry ground, people sharing food and materials with each other, and much more. In times of natural or manmade disasters, humans have shown time and time again their ability to help each other out via mutual aid. These responses play out organically and can’t be organized by the state. In many instances, the state’s efforts interfere with this mutual aid and make situations worse. It’s pretty clear in New Orleans that the state totally failed the poor residents of the city.

Looting is not a problem in New Orleans right now. People have a right to take what they need to survive. Even if they take things that aren’t needed for survival, those of us watching from the comfort of our dry homes have no reason to complain about these actions. Finally, let’s remember that looting is a form of wealth redistribution. When rich people loot, they call it capitalism, good business practices, third quarter dividends, the new economy and “giving people job.” When your neighborhood is under water and there are no relief services in sight, taking diapers from a Wal-Mart is not a criminal or immoral act.

Hooray for the looters!

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New Orleans Disaster: Where’s the National Guard?

Lessin is a founder of Military Families Speak Out. She said today: "The numbers we have are that there are 11,000 National Guard personnel from Louisiana, of whom about 3,000 are in Iraq with most of the heavy equipment. This included generators and high-water and other vehicles which could assist with the rescue effort."

She added: "My daughter is in New Orleans in a hotel with no plumbing and no electricity. Meanwhile, the residents of New Orleans -- particularly working and/or poor people -- do not appear to be having the rescue attempts that they desperately need right now."

CELESTE ZAPPALA, via Ryan Fletcher,
Celeste Zappala’s eldest son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was killed in action in Baghdad on April 26, 2004. She said today: "The disaster in New Orleans is the kind of thing that Sherwood signed up to help with. Instead he ended up being the first member of the Pennsylvania National Guard getting killed in combat since World War II -- while searching for alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction."

Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death." He said today:
"The same priorities that sent U.S. troops into Iraq nearly 30 months ago have hampered the rescue effort after this catastrophic hurricane. If not for the White House's determination to pursue the war in Iraq, thousands of men and women in the National Guards of Louisiana and Mississippi would have been on the scene when the hurricane struck. Now, the administration is refusing to hasten the return of the 3,700 soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard who are currently in Baghdad and not scheduled to come home for several more weeks. Another 3,000 men and women in the Mississippi National Guard are scheduled to stay in Iraq, according to the Associated Press. These National Guard members, who are intimately familiar with their own communities, were -- and remain -- uniquely suited for crucial tasks back home. But the administration is determined to 'stay the course' in Iraq. This is symptomatic of White Houses priorities that have placed the president's fixation for war in Iraq above all else."

PHILIP CROWLEY,, [or via Jay Heidbrink,]
Senior fellow and director of national defense and homeland security at the Center for American Progress, Crowley organized the conference "Transforming the Reserve Component for the 21st Century" in September 2004.

He said today: "What Katrina brings home is the reality we are pulling the Guard in several directions. ... Given the additional strains of Iraq and Afghanistan, right now, the National Guard [at home] only has about half the equipment it normally would."

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167


Act Now to Save Critical Medicaid Services

* Congress on the Verge of Decisions *

Congress returns from its August recess on Tuesday, September 6 poised to make decisions on Medicaid that will have a far-reaching impact on all state and local mental health services.
The Administration has proposed changes to Medicaid that would have a crippling effect on the provision of community mental health services for children and adults. (For details, see the Bazelon Center's August 18 Action Alert,

Act Today - There's No Time to Delay

House and Senate Committees must complete work by September 16 on legislation to cut Medicaid spending by $10 billion over five years (although the Senate may shift some of these cuts to Medicare). This legislation, the budget-reconciliation bill, is required under the Budget Act in order to reconcile spending with the already-approved FY 2006 budget.

Decisions will be made soon, possibly as early as Tuesday, September 6.

Concentrate on Senators

While both houses will vote on this legislation, the Senate is more likely than the House to reject the Administration's language. Key Senators who will hold the key the outcome are listed below.

Call these Senators and urge them to reject the Administration's proposed amendments to Medicaid Rehabilitation and Targeted Case Management services. Tell them that:
  • Adults and children with serious mental disorders require the range of intensive, comprehensive community-based services now funded through the Rehabilitation and Targeted Case Management Medicaid service categories.
  • These services foster recovery far more effectively than the institutional care they have replaced.
  • The Administration's language would effectively gut your state's community mental health system

Senate Finance Committee Target List:

Charles Grassley (R-IA)- Chair

Max Baucus (D-MT)-Ranking Member

Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

Kent Conrad (D-ND)

Mike DeWine (R-OH)

Susan Collins (R-ME)

Arlen Specter (R-PA)

Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)

Norm Coleman (R-MN)

Call Today

Call the Capitol switchboard, 202-224-3121, or go to to find the Senator's direct line. If you're a constituent from the Senator's state, be sure to say so.

Email is less effective, but still counts, so if you can't call, use the email link you'll find on each Senator's page at

For More Information

Talking Points on the Administration's Proposals to Cut Key Medicaid Services, at

The Bazelon Center's August 18 Alert at

Our Update on Mental Health-Related Legislation

Fair Use Policy

Please feel free to forward our alerts as long as you credit the
Bazelon Center with a link to our website:
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ISRAEL: Update on imprisonment of conscientious objectors

In recent weeks, several Israeli objectors went in and out of prison. It is especially worrying that some objectors already served more than 100 days in prison, with no end in sight.

Alex Cohn (ISR14726) was released from Military Prison No 4 on Friday, 26 August 2005, after completing his sixth prison term - a total of now more than 100 days in prison for refusing to enlist. He was ordered to present himself at the Induction Center again this week - and might well be imprisoned again.

Wissam Qablan (ISR14735), a Druze conscientious objector, was released after his seventh prison term last week, after spending more than 112 days in prison. He too was ordered to present himself at the Induction Center again this week.

Orwa Zidan (ISR14753) was released from Military Prison No 4 last two weeks ago after completing his first prison term. On Sunday, 21 August, he again presented himself to the Induction Base near Tel Aviv and again declared his refusal to enlist in the IDF. He was sentenced to another term of 21 days, and sent to Military Prison No 4.

Shaul Mograbi-Berger (ISR14754) was released from his first prison term on 26 August 2005. He too is likely to be reimprisoned again this week.

War Resisters' International calls for letters of support to the imprisoned objectors:
Orwa Zidan
Military Prison No 4
Military Postal Code 02507, IDF

War Resisters' International calls for letters of protest to the Israeli authorities, and Israeli embassies abroad. An email letter can be sent at .

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of conscientious objector Orwa Zidan, and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International


Shaul Mofaz

Minister of Defence,

Ministry of Defence,

37 Kaplan st.,

Tel-Aviv 61909,


e-mail: or Fax: +972-3-696-27-57 / +972-3-691-69-40 / +972-3-691-79-15

Commander of Military Prison No. 4,

Military Postal Code 02507

IDF, Israel

Fax: +972-3-957-52-76

Commander of Military Prison No 6

Military Prison No 6

Military postal number 01860,

IDF, Israel.

Fax: +972-4-869-28-84

Addresses of Israeli embassies can be found at

Addresses of Israeli media:


2 Karlibach st.

Tel-Aviv 67132


Fax: +972-3-561-06-14


Yedioth Aharonoth:

2 Moses st.



Fax: +972-3-608-25-46

Ha'aretz (Hebrew):

21 Schocken st.

Tel-Aviv, 61001


Fax: +972-3-681-00-12

Ha'aretz (English edition):

21 Schocken st.

Tel-Aviv, 61001


Fax: +972-3-512-11-56


Jerusalem Post:

.O. Box 81

Jerusalem 91000


Fax: +972-2-538-95-27

e-mail: or

Jerusalem Report:

Fax: +972-2-537-94-89

Radio (fax numbers):

Kol-Israel +972-2-531-33-15 and +972-3-694-47-09 Galei Tzahal +972-3-512-67-20

Television (fax numbers):

Channel 1 +972-2-530-15-36

Channel 2 +972-2-533-98-09

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International

Archives of co-alert can be found at

Conscription and Conscientious Objection Documentation
War Resisters' International
5 Caledonian Road - London N1 9DX - Britain
tel +44-20-7278 4040 - fax +44-20-7278 0444

Support War Resisters' International! Donate today!

Bring Them Home Now Tour

Bring Them Home Now Tour

Press Release,, 31 August 2005


From George Bush’s door step to communities along the way, we demand that:

* Elected Representatives Decide Now to Bring the Troops Home
We Take Care of Them When They Get Here
We Never Again Send Our Loved Ones to War Based on Lies!

* duckdaotsu would restate these demands to :
  • We Never Again GO TO War

We are currently at a significant turning point in how the American public views the war in Iraq. As the death toll in Iraq rises, Cindy Sheehan’s vigil near President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of Americans. Bush’s approval rating is falling. The voice of military families, who have lost loved ones and those with loved ones in harm’s way or about to deploy, can activate the American people. The voice of veterans, both of this war and of previous wars will also build the movement to end the war. Together these critical voices can demand that President Bush make the decision now to bring the troops home.

On August 31st, the last day of the encampment, the Bring Them Home Now Tour will launch three buses from Crawford, Texas, each carrying military and Gold Star families, veterans of the Iraq War and veterans of previous wars. These buses will travel different routes across the country, converging in Washington, DC on September 21, for the United for Peace and Justice Mobilization September 24th-26th.

The tour will amplify the voice of Gold Star families, who show the devastating human cost of this war; the voice of military families, for whom each and every day that this war continues brings the potential for the most devastating of consequences; and the voice of veterans, who can share the ground truth about war and the impact on those who were sent off to fight it.
Over the course of the tour, members of the sponsoring organizations will reach out to military families, veterans, and concerned citizens in cities and towns in the heartland, the north, and the south. The Tour will spread the truth about the war in Iraq, mobilize people to Washington DC for September 24-26th and ask Congressional decision-makers the hard questions Cindy has asked President Bush and to learn what our elected representatives are doing to bring this war to an end.

The Bring Them Home Now Tour is sponsored by Gold Star Families for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and Veterans For Peace.

Related Links
  • BY TOPIC: Cindy Sheehan & Camp Casey (Summer 2005)

    Recent articles on Electronic Iraq
  • Opinion/Editorial: There is Such a Thing as “Too Late” (31 August 2005)
  • Action & Activism: Bring Them Home Now Tour (31 August 2005)
  • BY TOPIC: Cindy Sheehan & Camp Casey (Summer 2005) (29 August 2005)
  • Opinion/Editorial: Two "Green Zones" (29 August 2005)
  • Action & Activism: Camp Casey Diary: Tuesday 23rd to Sunday 28th August 2005 (29 August 2005)
  • Iraq Diaries: Waleed's Quest (28 August 2005)
  • Iraq Diaries: The Good, the Bad and ...the Innocent (26 August 2005)
  • Action & Activism: Casey (25 August 2005)
  • News & Analysis: People falling ill from contaminated water (25 August 2005)
  • The Media: Reuters journalist held without charge by US military (24 August 2005)
  • September 1968: Women Protest Miss America

    September 1968: Women Protest Miss America

    By Louise Bernikow
    WeNews historian

    September 7, 1968: Women's Liberation Protests Miss America.

    (WOMENSENEWS)--On the boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., bathing beauties had been cavorting and competing for a title, a tiara and some cash since 1921.

    In 1968, young members of a group called New York Radical Women focused on the enormously popular Miss America contest, with its runway parade mimicking the judging of animals at a county fair, forced competition for male approval and ludicrous beauty standards as a symbol of American women's oppression.

    After alerting the media, over 100 women went to Atlantic City on Sept. 7, planning an afternoon of sloganeering--"women are not meat," for one--and street theater on the boardwalk. Into a large "Freedom Trash Can" they flung "instruments of female torture," including make-up, high heels, Good Housekeeping magazine, girdles, garter belts and bras. A jeering crowd of several hundred surrounded the protesters, along with newspaper and television cameras. Later, while the "show" went on in the convention hall, a few demonstrators dropped a banner over the balcony railing. It was the nation's first look at the words: "Women's Liberation."

    Bra Burners

    The bras stuck in the public imagination. Although the plan had been to set fire to the objects in the trash can, authorities withheld a permit to do so. Nonetheless, "bra burners" became the derisive shorthand for women's liberation, partly because reporters had been told everything would burn and partly because, escalating protests against the Vietnam War featured draft card burning. The phrase seemed to some a gender equivalent.

    The demonstration and its coverage inspired some women in simple ways--no more leg shaving, for example. Others responded to the larger political message and went in search of a women's liberation group.

    For several decades, in many parts of the country, beauty contests continued to be the targets of feminist protestors. Actions against Miss California pageants, for example, came to include thousands of people and theatrical touches such as a protestor's dress made of bologna skins.

    While Miss America was losing her home grown commercial appeal--the show was dropped from national television because of failing viewer interest--international beauty pageants thrived, along with those for children like Jon Benet Ramsey and a spate of make-over and plastic surgery shows hit the airways. By the time Atlantic City asked Miss America to leave town, as they did this year, she seemed less like a piece of meat than a lady with a demure tea-cup left over from a bygone era.

    Louise Bernikow is the author of seven books and numerous magazine articles. She travels to campuses and community groups with a lecture and slide show about activism called "The Shoulders We Stand On: Women as Agents of Change." She can be reached at