January 7, 2007

Dark Cloud Over Good Works of Gates Foundation
The world's largest philanthropy pours money into investments that are hurting many of the people its grants aim to help.
by Charles Piller, Edmund Sanders and Robyn Dixon  

Justice Eta, 14 months old, held out his tiny thumb.

An ink spot certified that he had been immunized against polio and measles, thanks to a vaccination drive supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

But polio is not the only threat Justice faces. Almost since birth, he has had respiratory trouble. His neighbors call it "the cough." People blame fumes and soot spewing from flames that tower 300 feet into the air over a nearby oil plant. It is owned by the Italian petroleum giant Eni, whose investors include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. more...

January 6, 2007

Stop This War, Now!
by Molly Ivins  

The president of the United States does not have the sense God gave a duckųso it‚s up to us. You and me, Bubba.

I don‚t know why Bush is just standing there like a frozen rabbit, but it‚s time we found out. The fact is we have to do something about it. This country is being torn apart by an evil and unnecessary war, and it has to be stopped now.

This war is being prosecuted in our names, with our money, with our blood, against our will. Polls consistently show that less than 30 percent of the people want to maintain current troop levels. It is obscene and wrong for the president to go against the people in this fashion. And it‚s doubly wrong for him to send 20,0000 more soldiers into this hellhole, as he reportedly will announce next week.

What happened to the nation that never tortured? The nation that wasn‚t supposed to start wars of choice? The nation that respected human rights and life? A nation that from the beginning was against tyranny? Where have we gone? How did we let these people take us there? How did we let them fool us?

It‚s a monstrous idea to put people in prison and keep them there. Since 1215, civil authorities have been obligated to tell people with what they are charged if they‚re arrested. This administration has done away with rights first enshrined in the Magna Carta nearly 800 years ago, and we‚ve let them do it. more...

January 5, 2007

Impeaching, Prosecuting Nixon Could Have Elevated the Nation
by Amy Goodman  

One of the high points of the U.S. media was the investigation into the Watergate scandal. Now, 30 years later, with President Ford's death, the media are contributing to the cover-up they once exposed.

Most people get their news from television, yet there has hardly been any explanation of what the Watergate scandal was. This is of particular concern, given that roughly half the U.S. population was born after President Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974. Gerald Ford would pardon him a month later. Rather than explain Watergate, we hear the same chorus from all the networks, that the nation needed to move beyond Watergate, needed to "heal," and that the pardon, while controversial, was needed. The pundits agree that prosecuting Nixon would have led the country in a downward spiral.

But there is another scenario. Impeachment and/or prosecution could have shown Americans that no person is above the law, that all governments must be held accountable. more...

January 4, 2007

A 'Surge' to Save Bush's Legacy
By Robert Parry, Consortium News. Posted January 3, 2007.
With 3,000 American soldiers already dead along with possibly a half million or more Iraqis, Bush is determined to escalate the war in the Middle East into a pitched battle for his presidential legacy.

If press reports are correct -- that George W. Bush will approve a troop „surgeš in Iraq of 17,000 to 20,000 soldiers -- the follow-up question must be whether the escalation will do anything but get more Americans and Iraqis killed while only forestalling the defeat of Bush‚s war policy.

Even top advocates for the „surge,š such as retired Army Gen. Jack Keane and neoconservative activist Frederick W. Kagan, have argued that U.S. troop levels must be increased by at least 30,000 for 18 months or more to bring security to Baghdad, what they call a „preconditionš for any successful outcome.

"Any other option is likely to fail," Keane and Kagan wrote in an op-ed article in the Washington Post on Dec. 27, 2006. more...

January 3, 2007

Arrested on the Golden Gate Bridge for the 3,000 US Dead
by Ret. Col. Ann Wright  

On New Year‚s Day, sixty peace activists organized by Codepink Women for Peace gathered on both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge to walk across one of America‚s great landmarks in vigil for the 3,000 US servicemen and women killed in Iraq and for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have died since the US invasion and occupation.

California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers blocked the pedestrian walkway on the San Francisco side of the bridge saying that we did not have a permit for a demonstration. We responded that we were not demonstrating but only wanted to walk peacefully across the bridge to commemorate the 3,000 deaths. Initially the CHP allowed tourists to pass through our group and begin their walk on the bridge. We complained that this was our bridge and we could not be denied access. The CHP then stopped all walkers.

After an hour, a group of ten walkers in pink came into sight. They had come from the Marin County side of the bridge walking peacefully and respectfully to honor those who have died. Finally after two hours CHP announced that the bridge was closed to pedestrians and we had to leave, which we did not do. Ten of us were then arrested for trespass.

In October 2005, several of us were arrested in front of the White House when the US death toll hit 2,000. Now on January 1, 2006, we were arrested to commemorate 3,000 US deaths. more...

January 2, 2007

Silencing Saddam
By Robert Scheer

It is a very frightening precedent that the United States can invade a country on false pretenses, depose its leader and summarily execute him without an international trial or appeals process. This is about vengeance, not justice, for if it were the latter the existing international norms would have been observed. The trial should have been overseen by the World Court, in a country that could have guaranteed the safety of defense lawyers, who, in this case, were killed or otherwise intimidated. more...

January 1, 2007

3,000 Dead: So Who's Counting?
By Cindy Sheehan

Gerald Ford, an incompetent, never-elected past president, is being memorialized today by one of his good buddies and close confidantes, Dastardly Dick. The execution of Saddam Hussein is being celebrated by a bloodthirsty media and another never-elected, execution-happy, incompetent president. Dozens, if not hundreds, more innocent Iraqis were killed today, and more than likely, the 3,000th soldier crossed the threshold from life into the next world.

We have seen this movie and heard this song before. As Yogi Berra once said: "It's déja vu all over again!" In September 2004, our nation crossed the blood-soaked 1,000-troop line during a heated campaign between someone who actually went to war who was branded a coward, and someone who went AWOL from the military at the same time and was glorified as a tough leader.

In October 2005, our inept leaders' policies killed the 2,000th soldier. While I and two dozen others were getting arrested during a "die-in" in front of the White House, MoveOn.org was organizing the second candlelight vigil in little over a year at another 1,000-troop mark.

On June 16th, 2006, the 2,500th soldier was pointlessly killed, and White House press spokes-liar Tony Snow said that it was "just a number." As when the Writ of Habeas Corpus was taken away from all of us; when Bloody George added a signing statement to a Senate bill that institutionalized torture, and when yet another criminal against humanity was approved to replace the previous war criminal as Secretary of War, we, en masse, exclaimed, "That's horrible! What can we do to stop these maniacs?!" Then a vast majority of us, numbering in the millions, "shook it off," shrugged our shoulders in defeatist hopelessness and false helplessness, then went about our business of being Americans, disregarding the fact that while we are "being Americans," there are billions of humans on this planet who are not, and millions of humans in Iraq who are being ravaged by the malevolent forces in DC.

When the "number" reaches 3,000 today, or tomorrow, another pain-draped coffin will be coming home to a mother whose heart will be forever folded in abject despair, whether she agrees with Bloody George's war or not. Another mother's head will be bowed with grief as the flag that covered her child's coffin is handed to her, after it has been as carefully folded as her child was carelessly sent to war. The father will age 10 years in a few hours, and perhaps a husband or wife will lose a life's companion, or a child will have to endure the pain of losing a mother or father way too early.  more...
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