July 10, 2005

Open Letter to George W. Bush
by Ralph Nader  

On June 28, 2005 you addressed the nation in prime time about the situation in Iraq. You called the casualties, destruction and suffering in that country "horrifying and real." Then you declared: "I know Americans ask the question: Is the sacrifice worth it? It is worth it," you asserted and went on to explain your position.  

My question to you is this: "Who is doing the sacrificing on the US side besides our troops and their families and other Americans whose dire necessities and protections cannot be met due to the diversion of huge spending for the Iraq war and occupation?"  

Let's start with the wealthy. In the midst of the ravages of war, you gave them a double tax cut, pushing these enormous windfalls through Congress at the same time as concentrations of wealth among the top one percent richest were accelerating.  

You also cut taxes for the large corporations that benefit most from arcane, detailed tax legislation. Many of these corporations have profited greatly from the tens of billions of dollars in contracts which you have handed them. more...

July 9, 2005

A look in the mirror for America
By Derrick Z. Jackson

In his initial reaction yesterday to the London transit bombings, President Bush decried ''people killing innocent people." He said: ''The contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty and those who kill -- those who have got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks."

---snip---

Bush also said the enemy will fail. ''The terrorists can kill the innocent, but they cannot stop the advance of freedom," he said. Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair said the ''slaughter of innocent people" will fail to cower the British people, and Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin called the attack an ''unspeakable attack on the innocent."

It was all appropriate in the moment. In a greater context, there is a tragic hollowness. The world, of course, shares the sympathies of Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York, who said the London bombings were a ''despicable, cowardly act." Yet every invoking of the innocents also reminds us of our despicable, cowardly killing of innocent Iraqi civilians.

Or perhaps you forgot about them. That was by design. We have rightfully mourned the loss of nearly 3,000 people on 9/11. We have begun mourning the loss of about 40 people in London. We have mourned the loss of 1,751 US soldiers, who, bless them, were following orders of their commander in chief. But to this day, there has been no major acknowledgement, let alone apology, by Bush or Blair for the massive amounts of carnage we created in a war waged over what turned out to be a lie, the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. more...

July 8, 2005

Why London, Why Now?
by Patrick Doherty  

As I write this, the reports are still coming inon the extent of the casualties from the London subway bombings. The latest AP report says 40 have been killed and 1,000 wounded. There can be no justification for such an attack, which must be condemned and the perpetrators must brought to (British) justice. My condolences go out to the people of London and I can only hope that my friends and former colleagues there are safe.

---snip---

So now it is time for progressives to keep the focus on draining the swamp, not on counterproductive military adventures that will only reinforce Al Qaeda propaganda. Aggressive and innovative policies to address climate change and poverty are two of the most powerful ways accomplish this. So is a smart exit strategy from Iraq and a final settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. more...

July 7, 2005

Hinges of History
By Ernest Partridge, Co-Editor The Crisis Papers

  For want of a nail, the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost.
For want of a horse, the rider was lost.
For want of a rider, the battle was lost.
For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Anon

It‚s tough to make predictions, Especially about the future.
Yogi Berra

History teaches us that „the course of human eventsš has many surprises, born of random chance and simple luck. History‚s „winnersš are those who are alert, flexible and creative in the face of these surprises. And that fact should lend comfort to embattled progressives today.

For centuries, philosophers have spun elaborate „theories of history,š spelling out the fates of peoples and nations, as, they claim, the engine of history rolls inexorably along its fore-ordained course.

Plato, Hegel, Spengler, Marx, and in our time Frances Fukayama, have all endeavored to sketch a „mapš of the course that history „mustš take. They have no use for the lost nail that threw the rider that lost the battle and the empire.

However, the details of actual recorded history indicate that time and again the course of history turns on trivial and unpredictable contingencies. Put simply, on plain dumb luck. more...

July 6, 2005

Withdrawal Would Cripple U.S. Credibility
by Norman Solomon

not!!!

After more than a year of U.S. occupation warfare in Iraq, the editorial positions of major dailies were much more conformist than the American public. In midspring 2004, a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll was showing that "one in four Americans say troops should leave Iraq as soon as possible and another 30 percent say they should come home within 18 months." But as usual, when it came to rejection of the latest war, the media establishment lagged way behind the populace. Despite sometimes-withering media criticism of the Bush administration's foreign policy, all of the sizable newspapers steered clear of urging withdrawal. Many favored sending in even more troops. On May 7, 2004, Editor & Publisher headlined a column by the magazine's editor this way: "When Will the First Major Newspaper Call for a Pullout in Iraq?" more...

July 5, 2005

Court Fight: It's More Than Left vs. Right

"A nation's success or failure in achieving democracy is judged in part by how well it responds to those at the bottom and the margins of the social order...The very problems that democratic change brings--social tension, heightened expectations, political unrest--are also strengths. Discord is a sign of progress afoot; unease is an indication that a society has let go of what it knows and is working out something better and new."

Those are not the thoughts of a great civil rights leader, nor of a prominent progressive reformer.

They are the words of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the "swing" vote on the US Supreme Court, who on Friday announced that she is stepping down.

---snip---

With O'Connor's exit, the court will move in one of two directions. No, not right or left. With O'Connor out, the court will either go backward or forward. more...

July 4, 2005

Celebrating Independence in the Era of Empire
by Medea Benjamin  

This Fourth of July, while Americans are marching in parades and oohing and aahing at the fireworks, it would be a patriotic gesture to also spend some time thinking about what independence means today.  

Our nation was founded on a determination to be free of domination by the British empire. The US Declaration of Independence proclaimed the need to fight the War of Independence against Britain because King George III had 'kept among us standing armies' that committed intolerable 'abuses and usurpations.' Today it is our government whose standing army is committing abuses and usurpations in foreign lands. Today it is our government that is in the business of empire-building. Even before 9/11, the US military maintained over 700 foreign military bases and installations and almost 250,000 troops in 130 countries.  

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison all warned that the invasion and occupation of other lands would turn America into precisely the sort of empire against which they had so recently rebelled. "We should have nothing to do with conquest," asserted Jefferson in 1791. more...

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Archives

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June 27, 2005 - July 3, 2005

No War in Iraq march.

San Francisco, Ca., January 18, 2003
San Francisco, Ca., February 16, 2003

Klezmatics

Klezmatics concert photos. (These are uncorrected straight out out of the camera)

On April 3, 2005, Barbara and I went to see the Klezmatics, with guest Joshua Nelson, Jewish gospel singer. To quote the concert program, "Their soul-stirring Jewish roots music recreates klezmer in arrangements and compostions that combine Jewish identity and mysticism with a contemporary zeitgeist and a postmodern aesthetic. Since their founding in New York City's East Village in 1986, the Klezmatics have celebrated the ecstatic nature of Yiddish music with works by turn wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective and danceable." The concert was phenomenal.

**********

Campus Bay

On April 28, 2005, More than 50 people representing many officials, community groups, and other concerned citizens gathered at the Campus Bay site to demand strict oversight of health and safety standards designed to protect the community during and after cleanup of these former industrial sites. Two months have gone by since the Richmond City Council asked the state to authorize the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) to take the lead on environmental cleanup for the entire Stauffer Chemical / Zeneca / Campus Bay (called Campus Bay in short) site. Meanwhile, DTSC does have oversight on a portion of the site and cleanup will continue before development plans are approved.

The main health concerns include:
That the soil is so toxic that future residents would be exposed in the long term with unknown health effects due to gases from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and direct exposure to toxic soils. They would almost certainly not be informed about the site history or any potential health threats. The developers idea of mitigation, by the way, includes fans inside the high rises to prevent buildup of VOCs where residents live (!!!!!).

Additional concerns:
Many organizations have additional concerns including the visual impact of the high rises on adjacent neighorhoods, visual impact on the coastal zone, proper clean up and restoration of the site in general and the marsh in particular which is critical habitat for many species including the endangered Clapper Rail etc.

A few additional Photos (Most of these photos are not edited or corrected in Photoshop).

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This site consists of original photographs and composites by Fletcher Oakes, unless otherwise credited.


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