Philadelphia Emergency Anti-War Convention: July 4th, 2007

This convention was originally called forth by Cindy Sheehan as a response to the betrayal of the antiwar cause by Congress. Cindy gave a call to, “all citizens”, “to join us in Philadelphia on July 4th to try and figure a way out of this “two” party system that is bought and paid for by the war machine which has a stranglehold on every aspect of our lives. As for myself, I am leaving the Democratic Party. You have completely failed those who put you in power to change the direction our country is heading. We do not condone our government’s violent meddling in sovereign countries and we condemn the continued murderous occupation of Iraq.”
We are convening to explore what to do next? What are we missing, and what can we do better? How do we release the war machine’s stranglehold around us?
In the living tradition of the Declaration of Independence, we convene to form a strategic alliance with anti-war, pro-impeachment, civil liberties, and other groups to develop a comprehensive strategy and implement actions to deal with this emergency.
Join us to deliberate with a wide variety of groups to create viable solutions.
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Sponsors: Peace Action-Delaware Valley, Philadelphia Regional Anti-War Network, Northeast 9/11 Truth, Green Party of Vermont … join us
Location: Independence Visitor Center, 6th & Market, Philadelphia, PA
Time: 1:00-9:00 pm, July 4th
For more information contact, Bruce Marshall [email protected] or Paul
Deslauriers [email protected], 413-232-7888

Iraq – deadliest place to be a child, anywhere.

Experts Tally Iraq War’s Health Cost

Health professionals worry about the war’s long-term impact in Iraq, noting that Iraqi children have the lowest rate of survival to age 5 in the world. [Emphasis mine, TL] One in 8 dies between the ages of 1 and 5, many as a result of combat or diseases, including treatable infections and cholera. Roughly 270,000 children have received no vaccinations since the start of the war, and 68 percent of the population cannot access safe drinking water.

this is success, one to two trillion dollars later?

Foriegn Policy Under Obama – more of the same, with a human face?

Sourced via the UK (and a California Green Party activist):

Kagan [a leading neoconservative and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century in the late 1990s] wrote approvingly that a keynote speech by Obama at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs was “pure John Kennedy”, a neocon hero of the cold war.
In his speech, Obama called for an increase in defence spending and an extra 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 marines to “stay on the offense” against terrorism and ensure America had “the strongest, best-equipped military in the world”. He talked about building democracies, stopping weapons of mass destruction and the right to take unilateral action to protect US “vital interests” if necessary, as well as the importance of building alliances.
“Personally, I liked it,” Kagan wrote.

[Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1752381.ece]

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“Agressive” legislation, DiFi style

Enclosed below is a letter (submitted via her web site) that I wrote to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) tonight in response to a puff piece she sent me announcing her support for Diane Feinstein’s “Ten-in-ten Fuel Economy Act” aka “S. 357”, a bill that DiFi has described as “aggressive” legislation to address oil dependence and global warming, but which I see as anything but: reducing our current baseline gasoline usage by less than 12.5% over twelve years is hardly “aggressive”, and in the context of rapidly rising usage from China and India, represents a drop in the bucket with regards to addressing global warming.
I’ve included Boxer’s original email, along with a email from DiFi in reference to S. 357 containing the “aggressive legislation” quote, which I received earlier this year in response to a letter to her about supporting higher fuel efficiency standards. If this represents the extent of the vision in Washington for reducing domestic gasoline consumption, things are in a sorry state.

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A Reality Check re: Al Gore and the campaign to stop Global Warming

I was going to post this as a comment in response to the item Dave posted about the Draft Gore posting on DailyKos, but it developed into a full fledged posting, on a fundamentally different topic than Gore himself: the utter and complete unsustainability of the American lifestyle, and the fact that we are in massive denial about the scope of the changes that are required in our daily habits of living to create a sustainable society.
Gore is doing good work, but at the same time, I think it is important to acknowledge that Global Warming isn’t a cause, it is a symptom of the much larger problem mentioned above. I’m sure Gore knows this, but what I’m not sure is that he’s come to grips, himself, with the scope of the changes required to address the larger problem (let alone how to make them politically palatable).
Here are the facts that he, and every other “environmental leader” in the developed world are confronted with: we are living way beyond our means, way way beyond. Take the Earth Day Footprint Quiz, and you’ll see why I say this. If any of you score a 1 or better, please let me know… because even though my most fanatical Green minimalist bicycle riding organic farmers market eating friends have “scores” that say if everyone on the planet lived like they did, it would take four “Earths” to sustain them.

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Ted Rall: WHY TO STAY IN IRAQ AND HOW TO GET IT RIGHT

No, Ted hasn’t changed his mind about the unwise nature of the war in Iraq… he’s just being forthright about what he thinks a serious commitment to making it work would require. All the liberals (and conservatives) who say we have to “do the right thing” and fix the mess in Iraq that we’ve made would be well advised to read this posting.
[I haven’t posted in a while. Just too busy with other things, and not much to say that I haven’t said already. Was listening to a Bill Hicks routine from the early 1990’s… 90% of it could have been him talking about today’s events. Everything old is new again.]

Earth monitoring satellites about to be kaput, NASA kills “understanding” the earth from mission statement, Dubya cackles with glee

It has been a while since I’ve posted, but the item below just demanded that I draw attention to it. Apparently, Bush and the Republican Congress have allowed the nation’s earth monitoring satellite infrastructure to degrade to an alarming degree, such that one critical tool used to forcast hurricanes and the El Nino phenomenon “could become inoperable at any time”, and that without action, pretty much the entire system could vanish from the sky by the end of the next decade, according to a report issued by the National Research Council on Monday. Even if the recommendations of this report are followed, the number of active “missions” will fall from 29 to 17 by 2020.

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Video report on South Central Farm and Eviction

I added this as a comment to the South Central Farm post, but after viewing it, I thought it was worth highlighting on it’s own. View it on Current TV’s web site (Al Gore’s cable network): Save The Farm. For more information about the struggle to save South Central Farm, see http://www.southcentralfarmers.org/ and http://www.southcentralfarmers.com (different sites)

Criminal Injustice System

[There are now more corrections officers (29,000) in California than there were state prisoners 20 years ago (24,000) when the individual featured in the article below went to prison. During that period, the prison population has increased more than six-fold, to 160,000. The cost to society to imprison these folks, many of them who belong elsewhere, and the wasted human potential they represent, is breathtaking in its scope.
The article below, printed in this month’s “Street Spirit – Justice News and Homeless Blues in the Bay Area” (a publication of the American Friends Service Committee), highlights the destructive and inhumane nature of our prison system… and also the difficulty that even truly redeemed and repentant individuals face in obtaining parole from a system politically biased against it. I’ve excerpted several paragraphs from it, in the hopes that STF’s readers will be inspired to read the full article off the Street Spirit web site.

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South Central Farm Eviction In Process – Call Mayor Villagairosa Now!

[Call Mayor Villagairosa at 213-978-0600 and let him know that the whole world is watching, and that you want him to put people first, and step up his efforts to facilitate a resolution that preserves the farm as a space where poor urban residents, many of them immigrants and people of color, have an opportunity to grow healthy food and maintain a connection with the natural world. All the farmers need is time, the system is beginning to respond, not only as evidenced by the widespread support from celebrities, but by the fact that the Annenburg Foundation had stepped in and volunteered to help raise the last 8 or 9 million needed to purchase the farm – an activist friend of mine tells me that, in fact, they guaranteed that they’d be able to raise the money. The developer doesn’t stand to lose money, he got the land in a sweetheart deal for less than market value, and will still make quite a bit of profit at a $15 million sale price. -Thomas]
To learn more about the South Central Farmers, visit: www.southcentralfarmers.com
L.A. COUNTY SHERIFFS EVICT THE SOUTH CENTRAL FARMERS IN EARLY MORNING RAID

Circle of Life Family,
This press release was just sent to us from the South Central Farm where Julia had been fasting and tree sitting for over 3 weeks. Daryl Hannah and John Quigley are still there and at last report were still in the walnut tree but about to get removed by sheriffs at any moment.
NEWS FLASH – 8:59am, 8 people have been carried out on stretchers and they have started to bull doze the land!
WHAT: Hundreds of officers with the Los Angeles Sheriff department swarmed onto the peaceful, non-violent South-Central Farmers garden at 5:15am today accompanied by six helicopters buzzing over the sleeping supporters.
Supporters of this 14 acre organic farming community remain outside the locked-down area on the street chanting their protest of this forceful action while 20 are still inside the farm.

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See What Fair Elections Look Like

Dave Robinson of Californians for Electoral Reform (CfER) has created an on-line demonstration of what a ballot might look if our electoral system in California used Instant Runoff Voting (for single seat races) and proportional representation / STV in multi-seat districts for Assembly and Senate, and implemented it live on the web using the open-source Demochoice e-voting software package.
Go cast your vote. … and check out the Center for Voting and Democracy for more information on democracy enhancing electoral systems.

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Google Searches for the liberal family values meme

Prompted by the phrase used in the article below, “conservative family groups say parents should have a choice” and the apparent bias in sourced quotes, I executed the following searches on Google:
“liberal family group” 0
“conservative family group” results? … 61
“liberal family values group” 0
“conservative family values group” results? … 78
“liberal family values organization” 0
“conservative family values organization” results? … 72
Hmm… bad, but not terribly significant. Then I tried the next combination:
“liberal family values” results? … 327 cool?
“conservative family values” results? 26,200! ouch!
How the results for this one: “traditional family values” … try 263,000!!! YIKES!!!
Talk about losing the meme war…
Anyone want to start a “liberal family values” organization?!? How about just using that phrase in your next blog posting? Yeesh!