Street, video, blogger, coffee table, media, and ivy league activists: IT'S THE WAR, STUPID!

Number Of Iraqi Civilians Slaughtered In America's War? More Than 655,000

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In Bush's War 2863

The War in Iraq Costs $342,801,812,323

See the cost in your community

  Perhaps my thoughts about balance were not clearly stated, although I do not go back on my strong feelings about the end of the war being priority. My (candidly used) word "revenge" may be semantically similar to your word "justice" and comes from my view that there is no justice anywhere on this earth. When we speak of justice we speak fear. When we speak of revenge, we speak violence. The first is defined by the individual and is rhetoric used by the state. The second, defined by the aftermath of such action.

I do not just meditate and believe that peace will come through spiritual "energy" around the world. No, as an activist and one who spends ten hours per day gleaning news and keeping up a blog, website, and list serve, I do not think that "nonaction" in the sense of the political is the "spirit way'.. and in fact the Tao does show us instances when we must respond to the "emperor" with such just enterprises as response and responsibility.

The impeachment movement has been trickling in to my abundant resources and indy journalism, as well as indy opinionated columnists for the last six years. During that time I felt the energy was misspent. A way to keep the progressive talking heads away from the slippery slope of impeachment and war crimes against the bastards. I note that it is easier to recognize that the bastards are destroying our rights, liberties, and privacy. However, when we become (as referred to in the sixties) coffee table activists, and revolutionaries, nothing gets done in the street. Of course there must be a move to create some justice against the powers that be. But just as the fractioning of the civil rights and antiwar movements in the '60s and '70s, as well as the feminist movement, the GLBT movement, the disability rights movements and most any social change, the discussion turns inward and the actions create the splintering I spoke about earlier. What are we to learn from history and not repeat the same mistakes?

I have a sister who is (what those in the street rebellions call) an Ivory Tower activist, spending the occasional evenings or weekend hours discussing the futility of the movement and the right to stand aside as she has already "done her thing". "Thing = talking with upper level echelon and creating inane maps for change, and speaking for the elite who have the privilege (faculty, students) to listen across the ivy league campuses. She doesn't feel she needs to do more. Resentment may be creeping out of that experience into this dialogue, and I apologize if it had been taken wrong or misunderstood as MY history and not the importance of work today.

When in domestic violence work and teaching change through generational education about the soldier-creation among men and boys in the linear view of schools, as well as the ongoing patriarchy that is inherent in all our systems that affect young minds, I do know that this type of social change, revolution as we once called it, was the silent giant that created the enlistment of so many through belief in the lies an "extended truths' of the military recruitment on campuses and in the streets. They will go to any end to justify the means.

These, my friends, are our children and our children's children. These are the new casualties of such education and propaganda. When a war resister speaks out and creates change in the one person - one world view, there is great value in the new "courage to resist" and for that, I am most honored to create my own little portal of escape for these brave soldiers and to bring to light the propaganda that inspires generational awareness whenever possible.

The message to our children must be the understanding not just that the immediate action of war crimes tribunals and impeachment proceedings for the bastards in power; I DO understand the need to show you children and our grandchildren the result of activism on the internal level. But how much of the corruption is due to the "insinuated" history of Watergate pardons and MyLai coverups, and Ollie 'shreading' passes. No. We are a very cynical nation. We are trained to listen to the next sound byte and to learn our news from the television and radio: A recent study of media influence on teens and college aged kids showed that most don't even read the papers and get their news from either tv or Mtv snippets. Do we fool ourselves into believing that this time, social change with be created through exposing the emperor as a naked war monger billionaire whose daddy and brother continue to use all the dirty tricks in the book to pay their way into what was once an office of presidential power for the people, no TO or OVER the people.

Our level of media propaganda is astounding. Media reform groups, media watchdog groups, and the higher education about the complicit and unaccountable rulers is usually filled with journalism majors (we had a brief 4 hours of classes on media ethics, then it became "how to write a feature story to slant it to you readership.) This university education is recent. I see the young people who stand up against the wave of cynicism and denial, and watch them as they are overwhelmed by the onslaught of the information highway and its foibles.... Hell we go through it ourselves when we don't use our full energy tracking down fair and balanced from around the world -- not just through the NYT op-ed columns.

That said. The discussion and education about impeachment is important. But if it creates credibility issues with the antiwar movements main objective, then again I say ITS THE WAR and focus on this as the most important change and focus for the new congress. Bush's supporters, though down in numbers by (who is slanting the) polling are still waving flags and calling him a new Christian saint, finally one of "us/them" in power. Political propaganda in churches around the country is loud, screeching, and testing the faith that if you don't vote or believe this or that way, then you aren't Christian "enough'.

After the infiltration of my home by a health care worker who was strongly Conservative Baptist and strongly conservative politically, I have listened to the outrageous creeping of using the weapons of faith against a system that "does not have enough power" over women's uterus , gays as humans with rights, and understanding cultural and religious diversity. Five years around her for 6 hours per week gave me insight into how to balance as well as how to keep aware of the "other side". I watch the propaganda from all sides when I can find representation and subscribe to AFA, and other extreme religious right groups. This country has always been grounded in tolerance for the "right" religious belief systems and the freedom that is penned and spoken so valiantly in our country's inception paperwork (constitution, Bill of Rights) is, in fact, creating a bigger and bigger gap among the 'believers' and the "cynics" and the "mainstreamers" and the "activists" and the "radical systems change".

Unfortunately we are just as overwhelmed by this information age as the student in her first polysci class or media education systems. Don't think for a minute that the balance between conservative and liberal political and social leanings is tilted to the extremes in campuses and classrooms around the country. In the grand history of campus integration of peoples and the ideological movement's rhetoric and unspoken social psychology, we are following in the footsteps of those who paved the way through patriarchal power, instruction, mores and a sliding scale of balance for each generation; the founders have created a rhetoric that creates young soldiers and "citizens" in the Jeffersonian and puritanic traditions.

SO here we go. Back to my point. Nope, I don't believe that meditations toward a universal conscience is a way to make social, spiritual, lasting or even obvious change in anyone but those who spent time calming their minds for a cause. I don't just keep my third eye focused and my mantras sung. I am a radical activist and have been for over 45 years. Watched the infighting that creates factions spinning off from the movement and into self-serving but respectful ideologies that often do not continue within the main groups, but actually pan out into smaller and more vulnerable groups. The country doesn't see the "bad apple" reality, it sees the infighting and subsequent weakening of the activists' charge in their wake. No better way to find vulnerable and politically charged "sound byte" groups that do not agree among themselves on every level; and those activist, in turn, spin off into less and more radical in groups.

My thesis has not changed. It is the war, brilliant writer. We must align ourselves to the one, the most important, the "can't wait for the waters to smooth" act of GLOBAL action against the wars created by this corrupt power, the history of corruption and the commander's continuation of murder for murders' sake on foreign soil. We must unify to keep the focus.

Yes, impeach the bastards. How are you, how am I, going to devote and manage time and focus between the inexorable response to both atrocities? How will the action against war show our children that we cling to the values we have set as antiwar activists? How will a massive drive to impeach (recent meetings about the impeachment of the bastards, set up by the Progressive Democrats on Veterans Day, were advertised as a forum where '"tickets must be purchased in advance.") When the hell are we going to create such rudimentary but colossal need for access to the people, all the people? Ivory tower, coffee table activism aside, how the hell can we change and hear leaders of the progressive (and new media: Bloggers) community and energy when the class war is part of the "solution" and not one of the main sources of the problem?

It IS the war. Support war resisters. Bring the troops home NOW. Impeach the bastards that created abhorrent act of violence against our children, or liberties, and our activism. We have all had our "Cambodian Moment," Fritz Hollings just didn't scream his enlightened awareness in the halls of congress, he mentioned it to the media.

I do not believe that media ethics is an oxymoron. Anyone familiar with my website knows the philosophy and attempts to live up to my mission statement knows where this beating heart of a radical activist resides. A wakened meditation simply means focus on what is the most important for personal balance--with the responsibility of complete focus on the universal balance. Don't find the easy way out and create the illusion that those of faith, any faith, are simply forces to be tolerated. AFSC has taught us that a history of non-violence in an activist faith community works. The civilian monitors who infiltrated Iraq were led by Christian groups and organized as humanitarian relief workers. Where were we when the nuns who created awareness of our missile silos and blood hungry ships sailing toward the war zones were charged, arrested, and imprisoned for their actions? Where is our support of those who chose prison over personal comfort and blogger activism? What have we done to keep the public aware of the information shown at the top of this page?

Those "missile silo nuns" sat, stood, and showed their strength in civil disobedience a few miles from my home. They were imprisoned. A personal friend headed their legal defense and is now teaching. Maybe you have written to, or on the behalf of, the "spotlight" prisoners around our nation. Of course I support the freedom campaigns for Peltier and Abul-Jamal; have you considered that their spotlight could be shared by the guy thrown in prison in California for his blog, the New York attorney who was arrested for wearing a PEACE t shirt (Cindy Sheehan's arrests aside), the 'Ghost Prisoners' of Guantanamo, and the seizure of the web-server from an IndyMedia e-publishing hub in Britain?

War MUST BE our focus. The pundits claim that the recent blue "sweep: (must have been a whisk broom) of the recent election was a result of American's fed up with the War in Iraq and the Bush policies that continue to generate body bags and Iraqi citizen murders. This is the one issue for which we must, as anti-war writers and bloggers, stand up and be counted.

Many compassionate dreams go into these ideals and ideas, as do many who believe that we are all inexorably entwined in universal suffering. The most important tool we have today is to ride the tide of the American public who voted against the policies and keep surfing that wave until the murders stop. Must we wait for a tsunami, as we did during the Viet Nam/Cambodia war era?

In solidarity,
lisbeth west

Those who can make you believe absurdities
Can make you commit atrocities. - Voltaire


Local election account to Canadian readers

Friends in Canada ask:


what does the bird's eye say?

d'ya got a scenario for how the republicans will win white house again, by spinning the past 7 years onto the new house and senate?

snowbirds want to know the sqwaaaak.


Oh dear oh dear, I feel somewhat like the white rabbit with the confused thoughts of nothing ... I wondered if my friends in were even alive, and then to discover that my email has been bouncing, oh, my. No Cheshire grin here... )

I think the demoplicans are always going to be around, their shape and form a bit like Alice and her pills. there was true voting machine fraud, colorado IS one of at least 5 states that are suing.

The voting lines were 4 hours long, from some 380 voting places (at the last election) to only 70 in the entire Denver metro area. Screens crashed, computers gagged, and people actually waited. It WAS 70 degree weather. I saw a news report outside the Botanical Gardens where a young man was playing a swingin electric piano to woo the crowds. They seemed pleased at his antics and someone went for ice cream (but that is capitol hill, my old stomping grounds)..

I was awake the entire night. Went to acupuncture the next day and knew he was hitting the right qi, but damned if I knew how.

Many progressives are now calling for impeaching the bastards. (cheney included) and its going to be just another thing for the antiwar movement to split energy over.. ITS THE WAR, STUPID! and isn't it convenient that we get to thing, alas to dream of seeing heads Roll.

Around here there were no rolling heads. Musgrave (progressives refer to her as "Muskrat") won afuckinggain, even though she is on the top all-time most 10 corrupt politicians list and her main campaign platform was to ensure that queers couldn't marry. does that give ya an idea of where I live?

I voted three weeks ago. Mail. Love it.

The campaigns were very very very nasty. I AM pleased that we have Bill Ritter (D) as gov, as I have actually worked with him on several domestic violence issues (he was a DA) and find he is actually quite a bit human. Not quite like the turncoat like Ben WhiteHorse Campbell, who (literally) stood at my side when we were fighting for rights for queers; and the bastard went to DeeCee and became a repunganten once in office.

The abortion ban in South Dakota did NOT go through. Had it gone through, women would have been in the same situation as I was in when I first had to endure the battle over my uterus. "health of mother, rape, incest. gotta prove mom would die" (by the time I got through the four different panels of judges and doctors, I was too late and had to fly to Portland for a saline induced delivery) I do digress, but at least now you know why I was ready to go to my mother's home town to fight the damned war...

Lets see. No, an ounce of pot is still a slap on the wrist instead of the proposed In You Face attitude that the law would have created. We got a minimum wage amendment in the CO. constitution, which was seen as a hideous and horrid tax on the community, bound to cause a fall on Wall Street. Queers can't legally marry here, but now they can pull the plug on their partners and get health insurance together.

In the entire race? Knowing that Peloski is going to be House Speaker gives me giggles, but then again, so does seeing the ducks chasing each other.

They are letting Rummy out to dry, and there are already war crimes charges against him. NOTE about the scenes behind the curtain: (thanks to Greg Palast)
[President Bush is one lucky fella. I can imagine him today on the intercom with Cheney: "Well, pardner, looks like the game's up." And Cheney replies, "Hey, just hang Rummy out the window until he's taken all their ammo."]

So it appears to more than this duck that Saddam's trial should be appended to include Bush and Cheney indicted for war crimes. Rather (Center for Constitutional Rights) is en route to Germany to file a case against Rummy for Guantanamo crimes.

What will change? The bull is already out the chute, and the rodeo clowns sent to keep it calmed down are only fooling themselves. When Saddam was captured (well, when we SAW the media coverage of the hole thing) Bush and sonsofB had the second half of the PATRIOT Act signed. I guess he thought the trial would give him a few extra numbers. But October was one of the deadliest for our military and now the wounded are returning with a super bug.

The Fascist Act (my term) is deeply embedded in our law now. It will be like cleaning up after a roomful of three-year old children to make change. We lost our civil liberties (as they were) years ago. I still miss Carter, and remain aghast that the amerikan people knew that Regan loaned him AirForceOne to meet the hostages being released from Iran.. and that Ollie is back in the saddle (not the one with Stanley, that's for certain)...

Bulls hit aside, here is a bit of subject matter from my inbox:
  • OUTLAW EMPIRE MEETS THE WAVE (counter currents);
  • U.S. Foreign Policy Set to Change Dramatically (from IPS Jim Lobe);
  • The Secret World of Robert Gates (Tom Paine) hey, he was part of the Iran Contra "scandal" (I always called it the blood barter, but thats beside the boot);
  • The Nation (I lose respect for them each day) are thrilled about the BLUE WAVE;
  • IN THESE TIMES tells us of the small demo in front of the WH were torture survivors and over 100 religious leaders were drizzled on while wearing Gitmo jumpsuits (I predict Calvin Klein will be releasing the new spring line, more of a peach colored one-piece, natural fibers of course..);
  • OP ED ROB, who usually is somewhat balanced, is calling it a "Joyful Day";
  • the Gals IN PINK who tend to not speak in CODES are calling for celebration (wait ladies, there is more to see behind the curtain;
  • SOJOURNERS is calling it a defeat for the religious right, and all my "Know Thine Enemy" subscriptions are calling it a travesty, Armageddon coming...;
  • DAVE LINDHORFF was in Philly today, calling for impeachment (to match those new colors of jumpsuits);
  • Ron Zucker of 20/20 thinks its a bright new day;
  • while dear Danny Schechter, the News Dissector wonders if the impeachment might just be a bit too late
  • Marxists are certain that the Latinos were the driving force behind the change at the polls (why did they vote republicrat before, to make such a change? I will never understand politics no matter how many hours I steam over these papers;
  • What matters most to me today is not the Philly demonstration, the imminent death of an Amnesty International supported twenty-something year old on death row... but focus, focus, focus. Ed Bradley kicked just in time to wipe those minds clean again. We all know what will be discussed on 60 minutes this Sunday.
The Independent media isn't really noticing the change in the movement of war resisters. I talked to Gerry Condon and Kyle Snyder today. They were just leaving a Vets demonstration where Snyder spoke, (Kyle Snyder, not the baseball player, left Your Fair Country to turn himself in to Fort Hood after his lawyer arranged a deal to get "less than honorably discharged". Instead, he was told to report to his unit in Iraq. Gerry got his ass outa there and they are working their way home)

Ivan Brobeck returned from Canada and arrived on Veteran's Day to bring the Shrub a letter requesting that he end the war NOW (and was arrested)... And the conscientious objector that I have "adopted" still is imprisoned in Germany, where the powers think he will be forgotten..

Pablo Parades refused to step foot on the Navy's warship a year ago is now out of prison and heads up one of our most important GI hotlines, and Carl Webb called me the day he got out of jail, saying that they were getting tired of him and thought the wind had shifted...

What matters to me is that you remain gracious hosts to at least 30 (that's the official media account, ha!) war resisters and more are on their way. Thank you.

Thats what I think of the changes. I am sorry, though... what was the question? Oh, yea.

Am I blue? Are these tears in my eyes because of ...

ducks are free and some can fly
( '?

(is my time up yet?)

To see what I thought of the election results Wednesday morning, hoarse from screaming about muskrat, go to

When people no longer fear authority
a greater authority will appear
don't restrict where people dwell
don't repress how people live
if they aren't repressed
they won't protest
thus the sage knows herself
but doesn't reveal herself
she loves herself
but doesn't exalt herself
thus she picks this over that

Dao de Jing # 72
translated by Red Pine

more to come on Socialist winner!


I have been discussing the issues of "impeachment" v "out now!" with a group of writers. Some don't understand my strong belief that the most important issue facing us today is SILENCE = COMPLICITY over TROOPS OUT NOW. SUPPORT WAR RESISTERS! but I continue to harp on the subject. Following this post is an excellent blog/glean that has given me the gaul to write about my feelings directly. Here ya go. Hope it generates comments, as opionated bloggers should keep that comment box open for all.
November 14, 2006

I think the issue (of impeachment, of war crimes tribunals, of accountability) is one to revisit; but at this point it is keeping the antiwar movement splintered, fractured, not able to focus. Of course I think they should be tried for war crimes. But if we continue to look at revenge and not face the most important issue, then none of us are able to keep our balance.

As a Taoist I have learned that things equal out. We cannot keep asking why. It will show later. Just as losing Amendment two -- leading to the denial of any sort of anti-discrimination laws for gay people in Colorado... it was a cold day wakening to that reality. I was on the board that fought that amendment. But we took it to the State Supreme Court and finally, to the BoysInBlackRobe. It was overturned. Soon the religious right found that they could not win with that attempt to deny civil rights. The country heard about it. We weren't just alone in it any more. There was justice.

It took time but we kept focus. Yes, waking up with my lover the next morning and knowing that we were denied rights was tough. We asked WHY. But the purpose for the times, the reason for the unjust treatment, was to keep the country aware of the religious right's efforts.

Now its time to quit asking why.

ITS THE WAR, STUPID. That's all that matters. If we continue to splinter over the issue of revenge to these beasts in Washington, then we are guilty ourselves of keeping the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps even complicit. We must STOP THE MURDERS of Iraqi citizens, of stop-loss injustices against those who signed up for a national guard duty and ended up going two, three tours in another country that did not want us there.

We must focus. And those who see the big picture have faith in balance. Even if we do not see the picture until later, it is going to be an important movement and even though we live in a fascist state, we have the opportunity to stop the murders and bring the troops home. I have two pages on my website that show me every month what the losses look like. It is called the NOT JUST NUMBERS project and I never thought it would go on this long. One page is the names, ages, hometowns of those (troops) killed in the wars and the other is a page of postage-stamp sized photos of the casualties. I have to see them every month, and every month I do the work with tears in my eyes. We don't see the body bags. We don't see the war on tv, as we did in Viet Nam era. But we can look to see what impact this has on our universal psyches.

ITS THE WAR. We must stop it and stop it now. The bastards will be held accountable and if not, we have another part of history to learn that the destruction of human rights can never happen. Yes, the world must make them accountable.

I just want to stop the horrible symbolism of adding those pictures, those names, watching the Iraqi death tolls mount. Focus. We are against war. Those of faith do know that we must support the war resisters and we must act to bring the movement back to the issues that are most important. And that is stopping murder.

Let the balance work out, keep doing the education and the awareness of the fact that war crimes have been committed, that our constitution has been splintered, that we have lost so many privileges afforded us by "democracy" through the PATRIOT act and the steps taken by the Bastards.

Privilege comes with it the necessity to act, to educate, to write and to continue with the first brick in that huge stone wall that is in our grasp. One brick at a time. Bring the troops home. Support the war resisters.

In Solidarity,


there is strong poetry linked to those pages. Feel free to submit yours to the site after you have viewed both pages. peace.


"The Greatest Threat to the Peace of the World"
Trapped in Denial
Simon Jenkins

No Way Out -- But Out

posted by Arthur Silber at 8:35 AM on
I remember asking a western intelligence officer in Baghdad, six months after the American invasion, what he would advise the Iranians to do. "Wait," he said with a smile. Iran has done just that. If I were Tehran I would still wait. I would sit back, fold my arms and watch my tormentors sweat. I would watch the panic in Washington and London as body bags pile up, generals mutter mutiny, alliances fall apart and electors cut and run.


As we approach the beginning of the end in Iraq there will be much throat-clearing and breast-beating before reality replaces denial. For the moment, denial still rules. In America last week I was shocked at how unaware even anti-war Americans are (like many Britons) of the depth of the predicament in Iraq. They compare it with Vietnam or the Balkans - but it is not the same. It is total anarchy. All sentences beginning, "What we should now do in Iraq ... " are devoid of meaning. We are in no position to do anything. We have no potency; that is the definition of anarchy.


To talk of a collapse into civil war if "we leave" Iraq is to completely misread the chaos into which that country has descended under our rule. It implies a model of order wholly absent on the ground. Foreign soldiers can stay in their bases, but they will no more "prevent civil war" than they can "import democracy". They are relevant only as target practice for insurgents and recruiting sergeants for al-Qaida. The occupation of Iraq has passed from brutality to mere idiocy.


Bush and Blair are men in a hurry, and such men lose wars. If there is a game plan in Tehran it will be to play Iraq long. Why stop the Great Satan when he is driving himself to hell in a handcart? If London and Washington really want help in this part of the world they must start from diplomatic ground zero. They will have to stop the holier-than-thou name-calling and the pretence that they hold any cards. They will have to realise that this war has lost them all leverage in the region. They can insult and sanction and threaten. But there is nothing left for them to "do" but leave. They are no longer the subject of that mighty verb, only its painful object.

Norman Solomon:
In the latest media assault, right-wing outfits like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial page are secondary. The heaviest firepower is now coming from the most valuable square inches of media real estate in the USA -- the front page of the New York Times.

The present situation is grimly instructive for anyone who might wonder how the Vietnam War could continue for years while opinion polls showed that most Americans were against it. Now, in the wake of midterm elections widely seen as a rebuke to the Iraq war, powerful media institutions are feverishly spinning against a pullout of U.S. troops.


If a New York Times military-affairs reporter went on television to advocate for withdrawal of U.S. troops as unequivocally as Gordon advocated against any such withdrawal during his Nov. 15 appearance on CNN, he or she would be quickly reprimanded -- and probably would be taken off the beat -- by the Times hierarchy. But the paper's news department eagerly fosters reporting that internalizes and promotes the basic worldviews of the country's national security state.

That's how and why the Times front page was so hospitable to the work of Judith Miller during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. That's how and why the Times is now so hospitable to the work of Michael Gordon.


These days, media coverage of U.S. policy in Iraq often seems to be little more than a remake of how mainstream news outlets portrayed Washington's options during the war in Vietnam. Routine deference to inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom has turned many prominent journalists into co-producers of a "Groundhog Day" sequel that insists the U.S. war effort must go on.


The standard media evasions amount to kicking the bloody can down the road. Careful statements about benchmarks and getting tough with the Baghdad government (as with the Saigon government) are markers for a national media discourse that dodges instead of enlivens debate.

Many journalists are retreading the notion that the pullout option is not a real option at all. And the Democrats who'll soon be running Congress, we're told, wouldn't -- and shouldn't -- dare to go that far if they know what's good for them.

And the Democrats have learned the lesson:

In the Senate, under Democratic control starting in January, incoming Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D- Mich. said he hoped to form a bipartisan group of senators to pass a resolution urging Bush to begin withdrawing American troops.

"We should pressure the White House to commence the phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq in four to six months… and thereby to make it clear to the Iraqis that our presence is not open-ended and that they must make the necessary political compromises to preserve Iraq as a nation," Levin said.

"I’m not prepared to go beyond that," the Michigan Democrat added, fending off talk of resolutions demanding troop withdrawal or cutting off funds for U.S. operations in Iraq.


Levin’s colleague on the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Bill Nelson, D- Fla., who voted against Levin’s resolution last June and who won reelection by a landslide last week, took a different tack than Levin.

Success in Iraq is still necessary, Nelson emphasized, because "the alternative is not very palatable. The alternative is to turn it over to the terrorists, and if the terrorists take over Iraq and are sitting on top of that oil, where do they go next? They look south, they head for the Saudi royal family; if they take over (Saudi Arabia), they are sitting on the world’s oil reserves. That’s not a situation the free world wants to face."

The message from Florida voters last week, Nelson said, was that they "want the United States to have a chance of success in protecting its interests which is by stabilizing Iraq."

Newly elected House Democrats acknowledged that voters wanted a new Iraq policy, but were reluctant to speak of forcing Bush to withdraw troops.

And here is one of Harry Reid's highest priorities:
But it was on the issue of Iraq that [Reid] was most passionate. Voter anger over the war swept his party to power with the unlikely defeat of six Republican senators, he said. Democrats must respond to that anger, he added, with hearings to keep the heat on the Bush administration, and with calls for a regional Middle Eastern conference and a revitalized Iraqi reconstruction effort.

To that end, he said, one of the first acts of the new Democratic Congress will be a $75 billion boost to the military budget to try to get the Army's diminished units back into combat shape.

Democrats will not try, Reid pledged, to play the strongest hand they have -- using Congress's power of the purse to starve the war effort of money and force the president to move. Such an effort would only elicit a veto from Bush. But he said Democrats will marshal their newly acquired power -- in hearing rooms and on the Senate floor -- to stoke public opinion and drive the debate.

The Democrats won decisively on November 7 -- and, just as in the case of Vietnam, they will do nothing to hasten the end of this murderous nightmare. They will be dragged out of Iraq screaming and protesting every inch of the way, just like the Republicans.

As most Democrats and their supporters recognize, the catastrophe of Iraq was the single most critical issue in the election. And yet, the new Democratic Congress will do nothing to significantly alter our course.

So remind me again: just why do we even have elections?

At the conclusion of his column, Norman Solomon excerpts an interview with Senator Wayne Morse on CBS's "Face the Nation" -- from 1964. Morse eloquently demonstrated the falsity of the lie that "the Constitution gives to the president of the United States the sole responsibility for the conduct of foreign policy." Morse said that this power ultimately lies with "the American people," but that they needed to be given "the facts." He might also have added that the Constitution explicitly vests the power to declare war with Congress alone -- but Democrats and Republicans alike have been content, even eager, to unconstitutionally cede that power entirely to the President, where it has remained ever since World War II.

Solomon ends with this:
And, prophetically, Morse added: "We're going to become guilty, in my judgment, of being the greatest threat to the peace of the world. It's an ugly reality, and we Americans don't like to face up to it."

So it has come to pass.

Related: Battling the Ghosts of Vietna
A Genuine Mission Impossible

Get Out Now -- Just Do It

Dem Majority Leader Signaling "pressing Bush" on Iraq

( '? note

Reid Pledges To Press Bush On Iraq Policy
Senator Is Elected Majority Leader
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 15, 2006; A01

Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who was elected Senate majority leader yesterday, said last night that President Bush still has not grasped the urgent need to change course in Iraq. Reid vowed to press quickly for phased troop withdrawals, a more international approach to Iraq's problems and a rebuilding of the depleted U.S. military.

In his first extensive interview since the Senate Democrats' leadership election, Reid also said members of his party will have to think big on the nation's domestic issues. That includes tackling the budget deficit with strict new rules on spending, exploring an eventual expansion of Medicare to address the uninsured, and examining an increase in tax rates on upper-income Americans.

But it was on the issue of Iraq that he was most passionate. Voter anger over the war swept his party to power with the unlikely defeat of six Republican senators, he said. Democrats must respond to that anger, he added, with hearings to keep the heat on the Bush administration, and with calls for a regional Middle Eastern conference and a revitalized Iraqi reconstruction effort.

To that end, he said, one of the first acts of the new Democratic Congress will be a $75 billion boost to the military budget to try to get the Army's diminished units back into combat shape.

Democrats will not try, Reid pledged, to play the strongest hand they have -- using Congress's power of the purse to starve the war effort of money and force the president to move. Such an effort would only elicit a veto from Bush. But he said Democrats will marshal their newly acquired power -- in hearing rooms and on the Senate floor -- to stoke public opinion and drive the debate.

"Three Americans killed yesterday, four British; 150 Iraqis taken out of that building and kidnapped; 1,800-plus went through that one Baghdad morgue but that doesn't count all the dead," Reid recounted. "My displeasure with the president, he doesn't understand the urgency of this. It's all victory for him, but I don't know what that means anymore in Iraq. I do know what we are doing now doesn't work."

Reid said he will be able to work well with Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the incoming House speaker, whom he described as resilient and "a very astute politician." But he said the Senate will work differently from the House, given the Senate Democrats' very narrow 51 to 49 majority, which will necessitate close cooperation with Republicans.

"The speaker of the House has to be aggressive," Reid said. "It's like the British Parliament. If you've got the votes, you ram it through. But the Senate works differently."

Democrats also elected Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) yesterday as assistant Senate majority leader. Durbin has been assistant minority leader since January 2005. Senate Republicans will elect their leaders for the 110th Congress today.

In January, after two years as a Senate minority leader who bedeviled the Republican legislative agenda and sharply criticized Bush, Reid will take the helm of a body that has been notoriously difficult to control.

To the casual observer, Reid comes across as a reserved, soft-spoken, deferential politician who appears more comfortable in the backrooms of the Capitol than in the spotlight. But to those who have watched him close up, Reid's reputation is quite different -- that of a brawler who moves with the alacrity he acquired in his days as an amateur boxer.

The consummate pessimist in a political world full of sunny optimism, Reid is fond of saying that he would rather expect the worst and accept the occasional pleasant surprise than forever live with disappointment.

Reid, 66, came by his dour outlook honestly. He grew up in a tin-roofed shack in the gold-mining hamlet of Searchlight, Nev. His father was a hard-rock miner and a hard drinker whose battles with alcoholism and depression ended in suicide at age 58. His mother was a laundrywoman. Reid hitchhiked to high school 40 miles from home.

Upon graduation, local merchants raised money for his college tuition. He helped put himself through George Washington University Law School, working nights as a U.S. Capitol police officer.

But most of Reid's adult life has been in politics, becoming city attorney in Henderson, Nev., in 1964; a member of the Nevada State Assembly in 1968; and lieutenant governor in 1970. He clashed with the mob as head of the state's Gaming Commission, then went to the House in 1982. He reached the Senate in 1986.

In that time, he has been beset by controversies that continue to pose political problems for him. A $400,000 land purchase in Clark County, Nev., that Reid made in 1998 with a friend and business partner grabbed headlines in October when the senator had to amend four years of ethics reports to Congress to more fully explain the transaction. The sale brought in $1.1 million, netting a $700,000 profit in six years.

"Windfall?" he bristled yesterday. "I shouldn't have sold it. That was my big mistake. You know what that property is worth now? Thirteen million dollars."

This week, the Los Angeles Times published a report suggesting that the $18 million that Reid secured for a bridge connecting Laughlin, Nev., to Bullhead City, Ariz., may have boosted the value of land Reid owns nearby. Again, Reid scoffed at any hint of wrongdoing. The bridge, he said, is needed because heavy truck traffic has been limited on the Hoover Dam since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The land in Arizona has been in his family since the 1960s, he added, noting that he has never seen it, much less thought of boosting its value. He said that it could take until 2013 to build that bridge.

Last month, the National Republican Senatorial Committee cited the controversies around Reid as it goaded Democratic candidates to return the party leader's campaign donations.

Reid's loyalty to the mining industry, which plays an important role in his state's economy, has created run-ins with fellow Democrats who seek to raise royalty fees on federal land and impose stronger environmental standards. He also opposes abortion rights, a position derived from his Mormon religion, which has put him at odds with many other Democrats.

Yet, Senate Democrats have strong faith in their leader.

"We went through combat together; and when you go through combat together, you learn everything," said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which helped Democrats take control of the Senate.

In the run-up to the Nov. 7 midterm elections, Democrats kept their legislative agenda carefully circumscribed to a set of initiatives that conservatives, moderates and liberals could all agree on. But in yesterday's interview, Reid hinted that Democrats will have to go further to address what he sees as the widening gap between rich and poor, and a middle class squeezed by health care costs and rising tuition.

Budget rules will be passed to require that any new spending or tax cuts will have to be offset by equal spending cuts or tax increases, he said.

"We can do this," he added. "People might not like what we do," but Democrats will stick to the rules.

He pledged an "unalterable commitment" not to touch the middle-class tax cuts Bush secured in his first term. But he said Democrats "would be crazy" to rule out rolling back tax breaks that benefited the top 1 percent of earners. He also spoke volubly about federal health-care programs for the elderly and for veterans that he said should be a model as Congress looks to address the growing problem of the uninsured.

"We have to look at the uninsured because it's bankrupting our country," he said.

Asked about a proposal floated by former president Bill Clinton to expand Medicare for those who could buy into it, Reid said, "we're not there yet," but he added that it should be studied.

"Someday, someday," he said, "what we have to do is cinch up our belts and take on the insurance industry."


ZNet | Anti War

Ten Reasons Congress Must Investigate Bush Administration Crimes

by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith; Common Dreams; November 16, 2006

Few elections in history have provided so clear a mandate. As the New York Times put it, Democrats were “largely elected on the promise to act as a strong check on [Bush’s] administration.” [1] But the first response of the new Congressional leadership has been to proclaim a new era of civility and seek accommodation with the very people who need to be held accountable for war crimes and subversion of the Constitution.

Democratic strategists who argue for this kind of bipartisanship maintain that the American people want their political leaders to address the problems of the future, not pursue recriminations about the past. They therefore oppose the kind of penetrating investigation that a White House strategist told Time would lead to a “cataclysmic fight to the death”[2] if Democrats start issuing subpoenas. If such “peace at any price” Democrats prevail, the result will be a catastrophe not only for the Democratic party but for American democracy.

Establishing accountability will require a thorough investigation of the actions of the Bush administration and, if they have included crimes or abuses, ensuring that these are properly addressed by Congress and the courts. The purpose of such action is not to play “gotcha” based on hearsay and newspaper clippings. Investigation, exposure, and even prosecution or select committee proceedings, should they become necessary, are primarily means for reestablishing the rule of law. But such investigations may be blocked by the Democratic leadership unless American citizens and progressive Democrats in particular demand them. Here are ten reasons why they should:

  1. The US faces a constitutional crisis that goes far beyond either partisan politics or isolated acts of wrongdoing. The Bush administration has tried to replace the constitutional rule of law with the power of the Executive branch to disregard both the laws established by the Legislative branch and the judgments of the Judicial branch. It has cloaked this power grab with a mantle of secrecy. Only by demonstrating the power of Congress to know what the Executive branch does can even the possibility of constitutional checks and balances be restored. The prerequisite for oversight is the right to know. Unless Congress successfully asserts that right, the Executive’s usurpation of power will be permanent and unlimited.

  1. The Democrats are in danger of walking into a death trap the Bush administration and the Republican leadership are setting for them. The Democrats won the election on ending the Iraq war and holding the President accountable. In the current courtship they are being invited to come up onto the bridge of the Titanic and share responsibility for the catastrophe. If they do that, they will end up at the 2008 election with a disillusioned public (especially their own base) who give them equal blame for the war and its catastrophic consequences. As the Nationl recently editorialized, “Democrats must not forget the voters' message. If they collaborate in allowing continued bloodletting in Iraq, they will pay the price themselves in future elections.”[3]

  1. Defending the Constitution by investigating breaches in the rule of law will allow Democrats to appeal to new bases of support among independents and others concerned about the rule of law. It provides a way of reaching out without selling out. The potential for such a broad and powerful coalition is exemplified by a recent statement by the Constitution Project -- which includes both liberals and conservatives like David Keene, Chair of the American Conservative Union -- that hails the election result as "an opportunity to restore checks and balances." It says, "The president has asserted that he has virtually unrestrained authority and that Congress and the courts have none. Congress must exercise, and the president must respect, its constitutional obligation to legislate and conduct oversight on issues like NSA wiretapping, military commissions, the detention and treatment of 'enemy combatants,' habeas corpus, and the power to declare war." If the Republicans were able to win by running on the Bible, Democrats can do far better by running on the Constitution and restoring the rule of law.

  1. Bush still holds most of the institutional cards on foreign policy, especially given his claims that the President can exercise authority without Congressional constraint. Short of an unlikely cutoff of funds, he can continue to conduct foreign policy and command the military as he chooses. Congress has few direct levers to impose Democratic proposals for new diplomatic initiatives or troop redeployments. It does not even have effective institutional means to stop further Bush administration adventures, such as an attack on Iran. The key to establishing power over foreign and military policy is to so discredit the Administration in the eyes of the public that neither Republican politicians nor the military, the intelligence agencies, the foreign policy establishment, or the corporate elite will allow it to continue on its catastrophic course. And that requires not friendly negotiations with the White House to find a formula for bipartisan packaging of policy decisions Bush has already made, but a devastating exposure of the criminality, corruption, stupidity, and false premises of those who are making the decisions.

  1. A Democratic Congress that fails to assert its prerogatives against the President will soon find itself losing the initiative in the face of the President’s capacity to frame issues. While investigations are sometime portrayed as purely negative acts, by putting the Administration on the defensive they may actually lay the groundwork for constructive Democratic proposals.

  1. A majority of the American people and an overwhelming proportion of grassroots Democrats want the President impeached. A mobilization for impeachment was kicked off last weekend with speeches by Elizabeth Holtzman, Cindy Sheehan, and others. Serious investigation of Bush administration malfeasance is probably the only way that Democratic leaders reluctant to pursue impeachment can avoid themselves becoming the target of this constituency. Indeed, impeachment advocates can be encouraged to direct some of their energy to supporting such investigations on the grounds that exposure of high crimes and misdemeanors might be the only way to put impeachment “on the table.”

  1. Exposing the truth about America’s actions in the world over the past years, and holding those responsible for it accountable, is the prerequisite to setting relations with the world on a new, more constructive basis. As Philippe Sands, professor at University College London and a leading international human rights lawyer, puts it, “If the United States is to re-engage effectively with the rest of the world they have to resurrect accountability for their high officials.”

  1. The US government under the Bush administration has systematically and flagrantly violated national and international law. If the perpetrators of these crimes are given permanent impunity with the collusion of Congress, future law-breakers will assume that they can commit similar crimes with impunity. Whether or not Bush administration officials can be subject to criminal prosecution or impeachment, the exposure of their acts can subject them to the kind of public repudiation they deserve. That can begin setting us back on a track toward international law that restrains crimes by the leaders of all nations, however great or small. For as Antoine Bernard, executive director of the International Federation of Human Rights, has said, “The key to peace and democracy building world-wide is accountability for international crimes.”

  1. Hearings and investigations are crucial means to establishing institutional and cultural barriers to future crimes. At the close of the Vietnam war, the Church Committee established significant limits on executive authority, such as a strengthened Freedom of Information Act and a ban on assassination of foreign leaders. These were originally passed over the objection of then presidential aide Dick Cheney, and he devoted his Vice-Presidency to dismantling them. Investigation of such Executive abuses is the prerequisite for restoring public access to government information and developing new oversight mechanisms to enforce bans on torture, wiretapping, aggression, executive secrecy, and other illegal and unconstitutional executive activity.

  1. Setting the public record straight about what has happened over the past six years is essential for reestablishing discourse based on reality that can be tested by evidence and argument, rather than on fantasy propagated by national leaders and amplified by their media sycophants. A respect for truth pursued through honest dialogue based on evidence and argument will be essential not only for beginning to heal the wounds created by Bush’s illegal war of aggression, but for addressing problems like global warming that a fantasy-based public discourse has evaded.

52% of Americans believe that investigating the origins of the Iraq war is a high priority and 58% want Congress to pursue contracting fraud in Iraq.[4] But that will not automatically translate into action by Congress. Convincing the Democratic leadership to support investigations will require sustained pressure from outside groups. This pressure needs to build early—before the new legislative session begins—so the Leadership perceives efforts to squash committee action as politically hazardous.

Fortunately, progressive activists are elegantly positioned to mobilize such pressure. They were the troops on the ground for virtually every victorious Democrat. They can set up district meetings with Members, organize phone banks for support calls, submit op-eds and letters to the editors, and organize town meetings on accountability. The time to start is now.


Jeremy Brecher is a historian whose books include Strike!, Globalization from Below, and, co-edited with Brendan Smith and Jill Cutler, In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond (Metropolitan/Holt). He has received five regional Emmy Awards for his documentary film work. He is a co-founder of more...

Brendan Smith is a legal analyst whose books include Strike! Globalization From Below and, with Brendan Smith and Jill Cutler, of In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond (Metropolitan). He is current co-director of Global Labor Strategies and UCLA Law School's Globalization and Labor Standards Project, and has worked previously for Congressman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and a broad range of unions and grassroots groups. His commentary has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, CBS, YahooNews and the Baltimore Sun. Contact him at


[1] RobinToner, “A Loud Message for Bush,” New York Times, ll/8/06.

[2] Karen Tumulty and Mike Allen, “It’s Lonely at the Top,” Time Magazine, October 29, 2006.

[3] Posted 11/9/06.

[4] Marcus Marby, “Are the Faithful Losing Their Faith?” Newsweek, Oct 21, 2006.


Taoist thought: Swimmer

The Way begets them
Virtue keeps them
matter shapes them
usage completes them
thus do all things honor the Way
and glorify Virtue
the honor of the Way
the glory of Virtue
are not conferred
but always so
the Way begets and keeps them
cultivates and trains them
steadies and adjusts them
nurtures and protects them
but begets without possessing
acts without presuming
and cultivates without controlling
this is called Dark Virtue

daodejing #51
translated by Red Pine

Though life is a dream,
Act as if it isn't.
Act with no weight.

You may understand that life is but a dream, but that doesn't free you from the responsibility to act. This dream may not be of your own making, but you must still engage it and operate within the parameters of the fantasy. You must become the producer, director, and actor of a phantasmic stage play. Otherwise, you are aimlessly adrift.

Meditating is to wake up. Few of us have acquired the skill to be in constant meditation. Therefore, we awake and dream, awake and dream. The moments of enlightenment are like the times when swimmers come up for air. They gain a breath of life,but they must submerge once again. We are all swimmers on the sea of sorrow, bobbing up and down until our final liberation.

The initial difficulty of spirituality is a schizophrenia between true understanding and the sorrow of everyday life. Our enlightenment clashes with the outer impurities. that is why some novitiates withdraw into isolation. They can live in this world and yet not be stained by it. They are the strongest and most serene swimmers of all. They act, and yet they barely disturb the water. their actions are outwardly no different from ordinary actions, but they leave no wake.

Deng Ming-Dao
365 Tao Daily Meditations
ISBN 0-06--250223-9
"Our House Chicken"
(whose name is "seven")
© 2006 lisbethwest

don't forget our new message board
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conscientious objector (dedicated to all war resisters; their families and supporters

Chinese brush and ink on paper HORSE by XU YUN

I shall die, but

that is all that I shall do for Death.
I hear him leading his horse out of the stall;
I hear the clatter on the barn-floor.
He is in haste; he has business in Cuba,
business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.
But I will not hold the bridle
while he clinches the girth.
And he may mount by himself:
I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip,
I will not tell him which way the fox ran.
With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where
the black boy hides in the swamp.
I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death;
I am not on his pay-roll.

I will not tell him the whereabout of my friends
nor of my enemies either.
Though he promise me much,
I will not map him the route to any man's door.
Am I a spy in the land of the living,
that I should deliver men to Death?
Brother, the password and the plans of our city
are safe with me; never through me Shall you be overcome.

"Conscientious Objector"
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Taoist thought: Rest

Appearing means life
disappearing means death
thirteen are the followers of life
thirteen are the followers of death
but people living to live
join the land of death's thirteen
and why
because they live to live
its said that those who guard life well
aren't injured by soldiers in battle
or harmed by rhinos or tigers in the wild
for rhinos have nowhere to sink their horns
tigers have nowhere to sink their claws
and solders have nowhere to sink their blades
and why
because for them there is no land of death

daodejing #50
translated by Red Pine

Chinese characters for the word "rest"

reba as a warhol design

The year's end is coming
I feel great contentment.
Completion means rest.
Rest means renewal.
Renewal means new beginnings.

Perseverance is a great virtue, but perseverance cannot be cultivated without endings. Perseverance does not mean an endless engagement in Sisyphean tasks. It means beginnings, middles, and ends, and then starting over again. We are nearing the end of our year, but we could not contemplate this ending without having gone through the completions of all the days and months that have come before.

It's good to look toward the end of things. Not only does it provide perspective, but it also provides the stepping-stone to our next endeavor. When things end, it should ideally mean the attainment of our goals. We should start everything with a definite goal in mind; otherwise our lives will lack purpose . Once we attain our goals, we should be glad and rest. We need the time for our psyches to absorb the significance of our acts. With rest comes renewal, and with renewal we can build the force of our characters and thereby stand stronger for our futures.

In the countryside farmers frequently nap in their carts of hay as their mules automatically take them back home. They know how to make achievements and rest at the same time!

Deng Ming-Dao
365 Tao Daily Meditations
ISBN 0-06--250223-9
"RebA WArhOL"
© 2006 lisbethwest

don't forget our new message board!
New topic for discussion:
when do you find yourself
renewing for the "new year"? is it gregorian
new year, lunar new year, the new semester ... ?

for a short reading list of Taoist and Zen material,
please go to
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when books are purchased from that location)

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write SUBSCRIBE TAO in the subject line

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in the online store

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click to continue to paypal site!

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to assist with out monthly expenses!

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