but wait! there's more!
Just when I thought I was done posting my friend Eric Blume sent me a link to this Jackson Browne music video. A must watch!
Lives In The Balance (Exclusive Video)
give us this day our daily photograph
City Beach Espresso
gordy's image archive index
The war drums against Iran are reaching a fever pitch. If you think Iraq has turned out badly just imagine what will happen if Bush gets his way in Iran. The first piece is by Seymour Hersh. Hersh has excellent reporter credentials for breaking stories (My Lai, Abu Ghraib). Take this one seriously. The other pieces are in response to Hersh's reporting that Bush plans on nuking Iran.
THE IRAN PLANS
Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?
by Seymour Hersh
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.
A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”
One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”
He went on, “Nuclear planners go through extensive training and learn the technical details of damage and fallout—we’re talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. This is not an underground nuclear test, where all you see is the earth raised a little bit. These politicians don’t have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it out”—remove the nuclear option—“they’re shouted down.”
The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said. “The White House said, ‘Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.’ ”
The US plan to
destroy CENTCOM.....attack Iran
OK, this is really, really simple. If ONE US bomb falls on Iraq, thousands of American soldiers would die in Iraq.
In fact, as talk of this planning grows, Iranian basiji will reenforce the Sadrist and Badr Organization will get better arms.
I would bet the US Special Ops teams are allowed to walk around at the Iranian Army's pleasure. Any indication of an attack would mean a lot of people rolled up and killed.
If Bush is thinking about Hitler and a world war and bunker busters, I have to question his sanity. Forget regime change. Iranians have seen Iraq and want no part of it. Again, this is the voice of American-friendly exiles whispering into Beltway ears without any consideration of reality. If the US uses conventional bombs in Iran, the Shia in Iraq will start a national rebellion. Sadr will be sitting in the Green Zone within two days. If they go nuclear, we will lose Afghanistan as well.
Iran -- Apocalypse Now?
When a child is finally able to read, write and understand some things, there are two lessons that should be taught first, and these are
1. The The Golden Rule which states in one formulation "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
2. Never, ever, engage in a land war in Asia, a remark attributed to General Douglas MacArthur who also said "Anyone who commits the American Army in the Asian mainland should have his head examined."
The Bush administration now appears poised to learn nothing from their first mistake, which violates precept #2 above, the invasion of Iraq. They now seem hell bent on repeating that mistake. Not since the The Cuban Missle Crisis in 1962, which followed the Bay of Pigs fiasco, has the world faced a crisis of this magnitude. Here we'll analyze the Hersh article, the geopolitics & oil issues involved and the possible fallout from a US or Israeli military engagement with Iran. This possibility can't be taken seriously enough--it is tantamount to World War III should it actually occur. If some of you TOD readers believe this is an alarmist post, rest assured, it is.
Bush 'is planning nuclear strikes on Iran's secret sites'
thanks to Drudge Report
Obviously, there are hidden, sometimes contradictory, and always complex games being played when senior elements of the military and intelligence apparatus, and their still-powerful, deeply involved “alumni associations”, find themselves talking to investigative reporter Hersh of New Yorker Magazine...or New York Times reporter Thom Shanker, who interviewed retired 3-star Marine general and Iraq-war planner Gregory Newbold on the general’s call, in TIME Magazine, for DOD Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation...or the sources for the British intelligence briefing delivered last Monday to Prime Minister Blair, but “outed” in a clearly well-sourced leak to the Sunday Telegraph (Nelson Report, 4/3/06).
Looking back over the weeks and months, a pattern emerges which is inescapable and unmistakable, and it’s our argument today that the message being sent by the US military and intelligence apparatus is a clear vote of No Confidence in the management and decision-making capacity of President Bush, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and those who will be involved in any military decision-making on Iran, including Vice President Cheney.
34°4'48" N, 49°42'0" E.
Arak is not an old city, though it is the capital of the Markazi Province, one of the oldest settled areas on the Iranian plateau.
The Human Costs of Bombing Iran
George Bush didn’t exactly deny Seymour Hersh’s report in The New Yorker that the Administration is considering using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran.
Neither did Scott McClellan.
Bush called it “wild speculation,” and McClellan said the United States would go ahead with "normal military contingency planning."
Those are hardly categorical denials.
So let’s look at what the human costs of dropping a tactical nuclear weapon on Iran might entail.
They are astronomical.
thanks to Antiwar.com
by Chalmers Johnson
The problem with calling a book a must read is that then you run across a book that is even more of a must read. (Does that make it a must must read?) Chalmers Johnson wrote Blowback before he wrote Sorrows of Empire, which I also recommend. Blowback was written before 9/11 and gives all the reasons that 9/11 happened. Both books should be read together. Together they are must must must reads. Here is a description from Amazon:
This no-holds-barred indictment of what Johnson calls the post-Cold War American "global empire" is not for the faint of heart. Among the opening images is a plastic bag containing three pairs of bloodied men's underwear gathered as evidence from the brutal 1995 gang rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by two American marines and an American sailor, a crime that was officially passed off as an aberration but may qualify more accurately as another move in the endgame of, in Johnson's astringent phrase, "stealth imperialism." In his highly critical appraisal of the global U.S. military presence, Johnson, president of the Japan Policy Research Institute and prolific commentator on Japan and Asia, focuses on the effects of "blowback," a term coined by the CIA to denote the unintended consequences of policies that were in many cases kept secret from the American public. From anti-Chinese pogroms carried out by U.S.-trained soldiers in Indonesia to the viciously suppressed 1980 pro-democracy demonstration in Kwangju, South Korea, Johnson examines the fallout from what he sees as American "economic colonialism." Detailed assessments of American engagement in Japan, Korea and China are coupled with closer-to-home observations on the liquidation of American jobs in places such as Birmingham, Ala., and Pittsburgh, the latter yet another consequence of the massive U.S. trade deficit with the countries of East Asia. Brazenly spending ever-swollen defense budgets, Johnson argues, the Pentagon is fueling an "antiglobalization time bomb" that could blow up at any moment. His chilling conclusion--backed by copious and livid detail--is that a nation reaps precisely what it sows.
The Long Grey Suck
America's rich, it's powerful, it's professional classes and its politicians have spent a generation now not just betraying ordinary working Americans, but telling them that their endless betrayal was actually good for them, and that just like cod liver oil, they should shut up, suck it down, sit down and wait for the good times to happen again if they just do everything they were told to.
The result, for non-supervisory, hourly employees has been that they haven't made a single wage gain since about 1976. The result for the US's rich is that they have a greater proporiton of the nation's wealth and income than at any time in the United States history, surpassing even the Gilded Age.
But ya'know, I've covered the numbers before, what I want to talk about today is the disconnect and the rhetorical betrayal. Think about it, for a generation the talking heads, the academics, the think tankers, the politicians, the journalists and the chattering classes have all had some nostrum they wanted the middle and working classes to swallow. In the 80's they first had to suffer through Volcker strangling inflation. Then Reagan dropped progressive taxes and told working people that they'd get a "trickle down effect". Well, perhaps I shouldn't be too harsh on Reagan - it was true, they got nothing more than a trickle. Or to put it more vulgarly, all they got was trickled on.
thanks to Conscientious
Israeli action 'is declaration of war'
Hamas has called Israel's decision to sever all ties with the Palestinian Authority "a declaration of war".
thanks to Politics in the Zeros
EU suspends aid to Palestinian Authority
The EU yesterday increased the pressure on the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority to recognise Israel and renounce terrorist violence by suspending all direct aid to the new government.
Europe is the largest single donor to the Palestinian territories, providing €500m (£340m) a year, of which just under half goes directly to the PA. Aid organisations warned that the decision to cut off assistance would simply damage people living on about £1 a day and drive them further into the arms of extremists. Aid accounts for 25% of Palestinians' incomes.
There is no hunger in Gaza
But even if they have bags of flour and rice, the living conditions of the Palestinians are chilling. They live in prison. Their daily routine includes humiliation that is no less terrible than malnutrition. Anyone who has to beg for permission to leave his village, to spend hours crowded in line at a checkpoint just to reach his destination, anyone whose bedroom is brutally invaded in the middle of the night by the occupation army, whose time and life is considered valueless, and whose basic human dignity has been trampled into dust, cannot find any consolation in the fact that flour and rice is available. Those who think that all it takes is providing a quota of flour to be free of any responsibility for the fate of the people they occupy, are suffering from a serious case of moral blindness. Does the fact that a Palestinian youth is not hungry in any way blunt the fact that he cannot dream, cannot aspire to a career, an orderly education, a vacation or simple pleasures of life? Does the fact that his belly is not completely empty cover up for the miserable present and the hopeless future?
The departure of Israel from Gaza does not remove a speck of the responsibility it has for the fate of Gaza's imprisoned residents. Israel, which forbids Gazans from going to the West Bank - a violation of signed agreements - and prevents the provision of supplies from both Israel and Egypt, has never left Gaza, not even for a moment. The world and people of conscience in Israel do not need to wait for the first Palestinian child to die of hunger to raise the hue and cry. Enough Palestinian children have been killed because of too easy trigger fingers or disgraceful health services. The responsibility is not with the international relief agencies, but on Israel's shoulders. But Israel's conscience in recent years operates only according to one index, the index of protest from Washington. If Washington remains quiet, everything can be covered up.
Those who have been silent until now can remain enveloped in their silence. Those whose conscience doesn't torture them and whose sleep is uninterrupted by Israel's behavior in the territories can continue resting in peace. There is no "humanitarian disaster." Israel will find a solution to the food crisis, and the stores in Gaza won't lack for flour. But those who regard the Palestinians as only requiring basic food should remember that even in the zoos, where the animals presumably don't lack for a thing, people are often shocked by the conditions of their imprisonment.
The Earth is Closing in on Us
The shells keep falling. They’ve gotten inside my head, so that its not just my house shaking but but my brain throbbing. It’s like someone is banging a gong next to my ear every few minutes; sometimes 5 times a minute, like last night. And just when I savor a few moments of silence, it starts again as if to say “you're not going to get away that easily.”
We went to sleep to the rattling of our windows and invasive pounding and after-echo of the shells. We sleep as they fall. We pray fajir, and they fall again. We wake, and they are still falling. When they are closer, when they fall in Shija'iya east of Gaza City, they make my stomach drop. And I want to hide, but I don't know where.
The Earth is Closing in on Us.
That's the thing about occupation-it invades even your most private of spaces. And while the shells were falling inside my head, they also killed little Hadil Ghabin today.
Toasting God’s Terrorism and Other Passover Themes
1. Passover is About Liberation; Not Simply About Jews
In that hungry eternity of singing and praying in an alien tongue that spanned from your first taste of haroset on matzoh to the arrival of the matzoh ball soup, you could sometimes get to thinking about the meanings of the passover in universal context rather than in terms of the fetishistic rituals that have in many cases have replaced those meanings. (Does the Jewish God really care if there are a few breadcrumbs nestling undetected at the bottom of your toaster in a week when you’re supposed to constipate yourself on matzoh?) And growing up Jewish in apartheid South Africa, it wasn’t hard to see that the annual pesach seder was an elaborate exercise in missing the point. This from a little memoir thingie I’m working on:
Thus the bizarre spectacle, every Pesach, of our extended family - and countless others — sitting around elaborate Seder tables singing “Avadim Hayeinu” (“Once we Were Slaves”) while women who lived in our back yards in a latterday equivalent of slavery carried in steaming tureens of matzoh ball soup and platters of brisket and tzimmes.
Dai-dai-yeinu, we sang, that table-thumping beerhall-chant of a song praising God for his generosity to our people in bondage. “Had God brought us out of Egypt and not supported us in the wilderness, It would have been enough!” Dai-dai-yeinu. “Had God given us the Sabbath and not the Torah, It would have been enough!” But not only did he free us from slavery and support us in the wilderness and give us the Torah and the Sabbath; he sent us to sunny South Africa and gave us slaves of our own!
Miracles & Co.
Isolated by perpetual fog and the labyrinthine islands of Lake Saimaa, Valhamönde is a small monastic community that is interdenominational and ecumenist. It is a place where monks from all walks of religions come to master miracles, from the "classics" like levitation and weeping blood to the newest postmodernist ones, like dolphin-surfing. Ran by the Esoteric Society of Karelia, Valhamönde in the last millennium has produced "awakenings" in such notable students as Rasputin and L. Ron Hubbard.
The Miracle of Thoughtography
thanks to wood s lot
Asking the Right Question About the President's Involvement in the CIA Leak Affair
The latest in a parade of horrors emanating from the Bush administration appeared Thursday in the form of a revelation buried in papers filed in federal court by Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in his investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, now under indictment on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, told the Grand Jury Fitzgerald convened that President Bush had -- via Vice President Cheney -- authorized him to disclose selected information from a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to New York Times reporter Judith Miller, which he did during a private breakfast meeting at the St. Regis Hotel on July 8, 2003.
On Friday, in a press conference that bore a striking similarity to Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine, President Bush's spokesman Scott McClellan dutifully responded to reporters' questions about the disclosure. No, the increasingly robotic McClellan said, the White House will not comment on an ongoing case. But, he assured the assembled journalists, the President can declassify whatever he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants. So, McClellan implied, it would have been perfectly legal for the President to have taken this action, which he could not, of course, comment on because this was an ongoing case (and so on).
Thus has begun a debate in our media whose starting questions usually run along the lines of: "Is what the President did legal?" or "Does the President have authority to declassify information at will?" (Given the President's failure to deny Libby's allegation, it has largely been accepted as true.) The answer to those questions has generally been: Yes, the President -- as chief executive -- has the authority to declassify information at will.
But it is not only in the TV game show world of Jeopardy! that the correct answer to a problem depends on the question asked. And, as it happens, those are simply not the right questions.
post card art
Redwood Trees, CA
thanks to J-Walk Blog
america the beautiful
Joe Bageant had been quiet lately. He's back.
Springtime in the Republic of Larry
Spring has truly arrived when I once again find myself in the garden shed with my dog Bingo while pretending to fix the lawn mower. Meaning that I need to clean out the stale gas that I purposefully leave in the tank each fall so my wife will have to ask me to tinker with the mower every spring. Screwing around in the garden shed, pretending to do maintenance only a man is supposed to be capable of, is one of the many ruses that keeps me from having to do actual yard work. I love to watch a woman do yard work, what with the bending over in shorts and all.
At the same time there are less savory views from my shed. For instance, from here I can see through the shrubbery into the neighbors' yards. I can see Big Larry, sitting there on his back deck in his skivvies and flip-flops, fresh from the shower boring the wax out of his ear with what appears to be a house or car key, waiting for his wife Linda to yell: "Dammit Larry get in here put some clothes on! Do you know what you look like? Don’t you ever think?"
Based on what Larry looks like, it's hard to imagine him ever having a thought in his life. And it's even harder to imagine anybody would care if he did. But there are folks who do. Two massive political parties fret endlessly over this portly "swing voter," in the belief that there is some internal logic to the way Larry’s vote moves back and forth between the parties. If you ask Larry, he will say: "I vote the man, not the party." Which is an utter crock, because the truth is that Larry has no idea who he will vote for until he is inside the booth and is forced to pick. And then it usually comes down to which party was the loudest or the most fear mongering during the last five minutes before he went into the voting booth.
There is also a "betting on a winner" sports aesthetic that comes into play. But beyond that Larry and millions of voters like him pay no genuine attention to politics. Zilch. To quote Larry on the matter: "I don't really fucking care." And he will never care until he gets the impression that something, it varies from election to election, has gone waaaaaay too far and things are definitely going to hell in a way that he can see affecting him. Then politics will have his attention. For about one week in November.
Art & Fear
by David Bayles and Ted Orland
I will let David and Ted describe their book:
This is a book about the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and about the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way. David Bayles and I are both working artists, grappling daily with the problems of making art in the real world — the observations we make are drawn from personal experience, and relate more to the needs of fellow artists than to the interests of viewers.
Do not mistake Art & Fear for a pop psychology self-help book — we're not interested in freeing your inner child! This is a book about what it feels like to sit down at your potter's wheel or keyboard, easel or camera, trying to do the work you need to do. What we’ve tried to do is illuminate the obstacles you face, and offer some artistic strategies for getting past them.
You could buy this book from a book store or you could go to Ted Orland's website and order an autographed copy. He has some other very interesting books. Great photographs, too. Every artmaker should read this book.
The anti-immigrant thing has always been a puzzle to me. If all the illegal aliens suddenly vanished our economy would be severely hurting. These are hard working people who put more into the system then they take out. I guess I'm just not enough of a racist to get it.
Immigrants Rally in Scores of Cities for Legal Status
Waving American flags and blue banners that read "We Are America," throngs of cheering, chanting immigrants and their supporters converged on the nation's capital and in scores of other cities on Monday calling on Congress to offer legal status and citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants.
The marches prove that immigrants are not alone. They have families -- and they're woven into our nation too deeply to tear out.
The crowds parading up the streets of America on Monday, and for the last two weeks, have been telling us with their bodies, if not always in English, that illegal immigrants are not alone in the United States of America.
Indeed, illegal immigrants, who were supposed to live a shadowy existence, belong to neighborhoods and to church congregations that were willing to stand alongside them. And most important: Many millions of illegal immigrants have U.S. relatives, sons and daughters, in-laws, cousins, grandchildren.
That family tie is the lesson of these parades. In Houston and Boston, in Phoenix and in San Jose, Calif., what we saw were not exactly "protests," nor were they political demonstrations, primarily. We were seeing huge family gatherings, celebrations of the clan.
More Stupidity in my In-box
MICHAEL SAYS: 3. They do not register for selective service and do not serve in the military - forcing legal Americans to defend them.
ALISA SAYS: Sigh. According the U.S. government, all male immigrants – legal and otherwise – are required by U.S. law to register for selective service.
According to the National Center for Immigration Law, one in ten U.S. soliders who have DIED in Iraq have been immigrants. Five percent of those serving in our military are illegal immigrants.
The first soldier to die for the United States in the current war in Iraq was Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala.
He died for you.
You are not in Iraq fighting for anyone. You are home, sending lie-riddled missives to strangers at 3 a.m. on your computer.
thanks to Steve Gilliard's News Blog
Democrats: Sí se puede
As Ted Kennedy ripped the GOP before a roaring, mostly Hispanic crowd, the Bushies saw votes vanishing.
Pumping his fists in the springtime sun, Senator Ted Kennedy looked like he was having fun. Before him tens of thousands of mostly Hispanic protesters cheered and waved American flags as they listened to his condemnation of draconian House Republican legislation that would forcibly expel millions of illegal immigrants from America.
"More than four decades ago, near this place, Martin Luther King called on the nation to let freedom ring," the 74-year-old Kennedy cried out, his voice cracking from the strain. "It is time for American to lift their voices now, in pride for our immigrant past and in pride for our immigrant future."
It was a Democratic media consultant's dream.
I'm not sure why I didn't think of this before. (Actually, I didn't think of it this time — it was Zoe's idea.) There are a number of books I've been wanting to read but haven't been able to afford. The Freeland Library comes to the rescue. The Freeland Library is pretty small but they are part of the Sno-Isle Libraries system, which covers Island and Snohomish counties. What makes this great is the Sno-Isle Libraries website. I can search from home and put a hold on any book in the library system which is then delivered to the Freeland Library for me to pickup. I can track my books on hold and checked out. I can renew online. If the Sno-Isle system doesn't have the book I can order it and they will try to get it from another library system or order the book. It worked for Zoe. I'm trying it for a Harry Callahan book. Everone reading this probably alread knew this but, if you didn't, you might check out your local library. Free books! Who knew?
government of the corporations
Molly Ivins: The Daily Drip of Special Favors for Special Interests
We need to keep up with the daily drip, that endless succession of special favors for special interests performed by Congress, or we’ll never figure out how we got so far behind the eight ball. While the top Bushies lunge about test-driving new wars (great idea—the one we’re having is a bummer, so let’s start another!), Congress just keeps right on cranking out those corporate goodies.
Earlier this month, the House effectively repealed more than 200 state food safety and public health protections. Say, when was the last time you enjoyed a little touch of food poisoning? Coming soon to a stomach near you. What was really impressive about HR 4167, the “National Uniformity for Food Act,” is that it was passed without a public hearing.
“The House is trampling crucial health safeguards in every state without so much as a single public hearing,” said Erik Olson, attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This just proves the old adage, ‘Money talks.’ The food industry spared no expense to ensure passage.”
bigger and better
I should clean my desk more often. I was trying to find a 3x5 card that I keep some of my passwords on and had to start going through the piles on my desk. (I use a chronological filing system.) I found a price list for Panda Lab, where I get my film developing done. I had thought that 4x5 sheet film processing was $5 a sheet. It turns out it is only $2 a sheet. Not only that but they can also do 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 and 5x7. I've been waiting to set up my film darkroom in order to process sheet film. Now I don't need to, yet. I need to start cleaning up my sheet film holders and numbering them. Other than film holders, the Burke & James is ready to go with the G-Claron 210. If that works well I will be mounting the Konica Hexanon 150 next and getting some ground glass for the 5x7 back. It will be so good keeping those verticals parallel.
I would link to Panda Lab but they don't have a website. So here is their contact information:
533 Warren Ave. N
Seattle, WA 98109
give us this day our daily photograph
gordy's image archive index
I've been building a wide ranging camera kit over the last couple of years that I've been reporting on here. I've put it all on some permanent pages that gathers it all into one place.
large Format Handheld
large Format View Camera