Monday, December 21, 2009

Open Letter to OBomBa from Michael Moore

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point
tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than
withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and
simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do --
destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one
speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the
backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what
they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't
believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it
isn't so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run
government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around.
That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President
Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're
fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen.
McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU
had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we
f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin
Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought
redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday
(Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade
Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.

There's a reason they don't call Afghanistan the "Garden State" (though they
probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his
brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan's nickname is the
"Graveyard of Empires." If you don't believe it, give the British a call. I'd
have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev's number
though. It's + 41 22 789 1662. I'm sure he could give you an earful about the
historic blunder you're about to commit.

With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and
women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of
this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion
if you become the "war president." Empires never think the end is near, until
the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the
line -- and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.

Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn't have
to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own
clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops
halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve
an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not
want us there. You can feel it in your bones.

I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan!
A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are
you serious? Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you're doing it so
you can "end the war") will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the
great things you've said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone
from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless
may be gone -- and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker
than you can shout "tea bag!"

Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you
as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be
safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be
Wednesday morning.

We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we
the people can't take it anymore. We can't take your caving in, over and over,
when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get
the job done. What part of "landslide victory" don't you understand?

Don't be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan
will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not
stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from
the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the
crazy Right still wouldn't be happy. You would still be the victim of their
incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you
can't change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.

The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can't be won over by
abandoning the rest of us.

President Obama, it's time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the
parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want
more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say,
"No, we don't need health care, we don't need jobs, we don't need homes. You go
on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters
overseas, 'cause we don't need them, either."

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send
more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's
what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American
children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.

All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have
endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name:
torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had
not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam "might" be in (but never
was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of
thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave
young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish -- the full
terror of which we scarcely know.

When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much
change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the
killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that
doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan
civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our
nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.

Tonight we still have hope.

Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this.
You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.

We're counting on you.

Yours,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

P.S. There's still time to have your voice heard. Call the White House at
202-456-1111 or email the President.


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Friday, October 9, 2009

OBomBa Wins Nobel Peace Prize



Still waiting for an official response from the Whitehouse in regards to a military commanders request for 40,000 more U.S. troops in Afganistan, and with the recent announcement only days ago, that troop withdrawal in Afganistan "is not an option,".....isnt this designation a wee bit pre-mature?

In a surprise, Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

AP – File - U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly, …
By KARL RITTER and MATT MOORE, Associated Press Writers Karl Ritter And Matt Moore, Associated Press Writers – 57 mins ago
OSLO – President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.

Nobel observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline.



White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. EDT. The White House had no immediate comment on the announcement, which took the administration by surprise.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided not to inform Obama before the announcement because it didn't want to wake him up, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.

"Waking up a president in the middle of the night, this isn't really something you do," Jagland said.

The Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation but recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," Jagland said.



Obama's election and foreign policy moves caused a dramatic improvement in the image of the U.S. around the world. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.

Still, the U.S. remains at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Congress has yet to pass a law reducing carbon emissions and there has been little significant reduction in global nuclear stockpiles since Obama took office.




"So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act," said former Polish President Lech Walesa, a 1983 Nobel Peace laureate.

"This is probably an encouragement for him to act. Let's see if he perseveres. Let's give him time to act," Walesa said.

The award appeared to be a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama's predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The Nobel committee praised Obama's creation of "a new climate in international politics" and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage.

"You have to remember that the world has been in a pretty dangerous phase," Jagland said. "And anybody who can contribute to getting the world out of this situation deserves a Nobel Peace Prize."

Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by Swedish institutions, the peace prize is given out by a five-member committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament. Like the Parliament, the committee has a leftist slant, with three members elected by left-of-center parties. Jagland said the decision to honor Obama was unanimous.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said Obama's award shows great things are expected from him in coming years.

"It's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all," Tutu said. "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope."

Until seconds before the award, speculation had focused on a wide variety of candidates besides Obama: Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator, a Chinese dissident and an Afghan woman's rights activist, among others. The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year's prize, though it was not immediately apparent who nominated Obama.

"The exciting and important thing about this prize is that it's given to someone ... who has the power to contribute to peace," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.

Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award: President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919.

Wilson received the prize for his role in founding the League of Nations, the hopeful but ultimately failed precursor to the contemporary United Nations.

The Nobel committee chairman said after awarding the 2002 prize to former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, for his mediation in international conflicts, that it should be seen as a "kick in the leg" to the Bush administration's hard line in the buildup to the Iraq war.

Five years later, the committee honored Bush's adversary in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, for his campaign to raise awareness about global warming.

Obama was to meet with his top advisers on the Afghan war on Friday to consider a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to send as many as 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as the U.S war there enters its ninth year.

Obama ordered 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan earlier this year and has continued the use of unmanned drones for attacks on militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a strategy devised by the Bush administration. The attacks often kill or injure civilians living in the area.

In July talks in Moscow, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed that their negotiators would work out a new limit on delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads of between 500 and 1,100. They also agreed that warhead limits would be reduced from the current range of 1,700-2,200 to as low as 1,500. The United States now as about 2,200 such warheads, compared to about 2,800 for the Russians.

But there has been no word on whether either side has started to act on the reductions.

Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.

"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself," ElBaradei said. "He has shown an unshakeable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts."

Obama also has attempted to restart stalled talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but just a day after Obama hosted the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York, Israeli officials boasted that they had fended off U.S. pressure to halt settlement construction. Moderate Palestinians said they felt undermined by Obama's failure to back up his demand for a freeze.


Nominators for the prize include former laureates; current and former members of the committee and their staff; members of national governments and legislatures; university professors of law, theology, social sciences, history and philosophy; leaders of peace research and foreign affairs institutes; and members of international courts of law.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation welcomed the award on behalf of its founder Nelson Mandela, who shared the 1993 Peace Prize with then-South African President F.W. DeKlerk for their efforts at ending years of apartheid and laying the groundwork for a democratic country.

"We trust that this award will strengthen his commitment, as the leader of the most powerful nation in the world, to continue promoting peace and the eradication of poverty," the foundation said.

In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."



The committee has taken a wide interpretation of Nobel's guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change. ___





Associated Press writers Ian MacDougall in Oslo, Celean Jacobson in Johannesburg, George Jahn in Vienna and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland contributed to this report.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/eu_nobel_peace

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The World Future Counsil: Working for a Sustainability, Social Justice & PEACE!

Wont you join?
Click on title above to learn more about this wonderful new GLOBAL organization.

http://earth-folk.blogspot.com/2009/07/world-future-counsil-for-sustainability.html

Saturday, July 4, 2009

U.S. 'ready' for N. Korean missile

July 2, 2009
By Bill Gertz

COLORADO SPRINGS | U.S. missile defenses are prepared to try to knock down the last stage of a Taepodong-2 missile that North Korea is expected soon to launch if sensors detect the weapon threatens U.S. territory, the commander of the U.S. Northern Command told The Washington Times.

"The nation has a very, very credible ballistic-missile defense capability. Our ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California, I'm very comfortable, give me a capability that if we really are threatened by a long-range ICBM that I've got high confidence that I could interdict that flight before it caused huge damage to any U.S. territory," said Air Force Gen. Victor E. "Gene" Renuart, Northcom commander.


The general said the United States won't activate its missile defenses if the North Korean missile appears it will fall safely into the water as the country's last test missile did.

(Corrected paragraph:) Asked if North Korea is likely to conduct a July 4 Taepodong-2 test, as occurred in 2006, Gen. Renuart said in an interview this week with The Times at Northern Command headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, "I think we ought to assume there might be one on the first of July and continue to be prepared and ready."

Gen. Renuart, who is commander of the military's first combatant command devoted to defending against threats to U.S. territory, is also the commander of the U.S.-Canada North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, which monitors missile launches around the world and also foreign military aircraft intrusions of U.S. air space. Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD is also in charge of tracking civilian aircraft to be ready to respond to a terrorist hijacking.

Gen. Renuart said North Korea's leaders are unpredictable and their "decision logic does not always follow in the same vein as ours does."

The four-star commander said that in addition to long-range interceptors, U.S. missile defenses in the Asia Pacific region include U.S. ground- and sea-based defense systems.

They include ground-based Patriot anti-missile defenses deployed in South Korea, and U.S. Navy Aegis system missile-defense ships deployed to waters near Japan. Recently, the Pentagon also activated units of the Army's new Theater High-Altitude Area Defenses that were undergoing testing in Hawaii, in response to indications that North Korea is set to fire a Taepodong-2.

The regional defenses augment the long-range interceptors based at two sites, one in Alaska and one in California, Gen. Renuart said.

The Pacific Command missile defenses provide "a pretty well-integrated ground-based theater defense capability," he said.

"I think we are certainly ready and capable of responding," Gen. Renuart said.

The wild card in any future North Korean missile test remains the many unknowns about the regime in Pyongyang and whether it will attempt the test or irrationally fire a warhead toward Hawaii, he said.

"In terms of what North Korea's decision process may be, or their logic, you got a Ph.D. in intentions, and you probably can't figure that out," Gen. Renuart said.

The recent U.N. Security Council resolution condemning North Korea's May 25 nuclear test and authorizing unified international action to stem Pyongyang's arms and missile proliferation has affected the regime, he said.

Additionally, North Korea has said that any attempt to interdict its ships, an action authorized in a limited way by the U.N. resolution, would be regarded as an act of war.

"We've all been watching the North Korean ship that was headed south, and it continues to be one in a number of ways the North Korean leadership seems to try get attention and create an effect," Gen. Renuart said.

The North Korean ship, Kang Nam 1, was being tracked with a suspected weapons-related shipment to Myanmar, but a defense official said Wednesday the latest reports indicate the ship had turned away from its planned route.

Asked the threshold for a U.S. military missile-defense strike on the North Korean missile, Gen. Renuart said, "We will not intercept something that is not a threat to North America or U.S. land space in Hawaii."

If the missile falls harmlessly in the ocean, there is no reason to conduct an attempted intercept using regional or strategic interceptors, he said.

"The system is designed to tell us, A, where it's coming from, and roughly where it's going," he said. "And if that where-it's-going piece begins to threaten U.S. land mass, whether we know it's a live or training [warhead], the system will allow us to engage it.

"Prudence will dictate that, even if the warhead configuration of the missile is not a real warhead," Gen. Renuart said, "It's hard to allow that to threaten our territory without doing something about it. It would be hard to tell the American people we didn't do anything."

The current system is "up and ready" for any North Korean launch, he said.

However, a U.S. defense official said it is unlikely that the Taepodong-2 being monitored at a North Korean launch site will be ready for launch by July 4. The liquid-fueled missile takes days to prepare for launch, including the loading of large amounts of liquid rocket fuel. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

The North Koreans could launch short- or medium-range missiles around the July Fourth holiday, however, the official said.

Press reports from South Korea and Japan recently stated that North Korea planned to launch the Taepodong-2 toward Hawaii, but U.S. defense officials said the direction of the shot will not be determined until shortly after launch.

The National Air and Space Intelligence Center, in its latest report on missile threats made public in May, lists the single-warhead Taepodong-2 as having a range greater than 3,400 miles.

"The missile can hit Hawaii and Alaska, and it may be able to reach the western continental United States with a lighter, chemical warhead," said Richard Fisher, a specialist on missiles with the private International Assessment and Strategy Center.

Gen. Renuart said a large sea-based X-band radar, a very high-powered radar system used to track and target missiles, has sailed from Hawaii in preparation for the test.

The ground-based missile-defense interceptors, the ground-based radar and the Aegis cruisers around Japan "have been in place for a period of time," he said.

"I'm comfortable we have all we need," he said.

Gen. Renuart said he had requested using the X-band radar, which is built on a floating oil-rig platform, for use in an April test-firing of a long-range rocket by North Korea.

Defense officials said the general's request at that time was turned down by the Pentagon, prompting some critics to say that not deploying the radar -- which was undergoing maintenance at the time in Hawaii -- was a missed opportunity to collect test data on the missile.

"We had requested the X-band radar [earlier this year] before we really knew what was going on at the launch site," Gen. Renuart said.

A risk assessment was done on whether to halt the upgrading of the radar and send it to sea.

"Once it became clear that this was not an ICBM launch, but rather a space-launch test, and understanding that we don't intercept space launches, there really wasn't the need to interrupt the modification and improvements," Gen. Renuart said.

Regarding the current North Korean preparations, Gen. Renuart said current indications are "this seems to be that if something occurs, it will be ICBM-focused."

The X-band radar will provide technical information on the North Korean missile, he said without elaborating.


http://license.icopyright.net/user/viewContent.act?clipid=321118231&mode=cnc&tag=3.7280%3Ficx_id%3D%2Fnews%2F2009%2Fjul%2F02%2Fus-ready-for-n-korean-missile%2F

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Military "Take-Over" of Local High School?

Brian Roa | The Chicago Model of Militarizing Schools
http://www.truthout.org/062909T?n


For the past four years, I have observed the military occupation of the high school where I teach science. Currently, Chicago's Senn High School houses Rickover Naval Academy (RNA). I use the term "occupation" because part of our building was taken away despite student, parent, teacher and community opposition to RNA's opening.

Senn students are made to feel like second-class citizens inside their own school, due to inequalities. The facilities and resources are better on the RNA side. RNA students are allowed to walk on the Senn side, while Senn students cannot walk on the RNA side. RNA "disenrolls" students and we accept those students who get kicked out if they live within our attendance boundaries. This practice is against Chicago policy, but goes unchecked. All of these things maintain a two-tiered system within the same school building.

This phenomenon is not restricted to Senn. Chicago has more military academies and more students in JROTC than any other city in the US. As the tentacles of school militarization reach beyond Chicago, the process used in this city seems to serve as a model of expansion. There was a Marine Academy planned for Georgia's Dekalb County, which includes 10 percent of Atlanta. Fortunately, due to protest, the school has been postponed until 2010. Despite it being postponed, it is still useful to analyze the rhetoric used to rationalize the Marine Academy. Many of the lies and excuses used to justify school militarization in Chicago and Georgia may well be used in other cities as militarism grows.

Not for Recruiting?

A favorite lie used to defend the expansion of military academies is that they are not used to recruit for the military.

"This is not a training ground to send kids into the military," Dekalb Schools' Superintendent Crawford Lewis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in March. Those same words could have come straight from Col. Rick Mills, director of military academies and JROTC in Chicago, who explained away recruitment in a similar fashion.

"This is not a recruiting tool, but a way to help students succeed at whatever career they might choose," Mills told the Chicago Tribune.

Yet military academies receive money from the Department of Defense (DoD). The DoD would be derelict in its responsibilities were that money not spent as an investment in future soldiers. Accepting the claim that there is no recruiting in military academies makes about as much sense as allowing gangs to fund and operate within schools, on the assumption that they won't recruit on school grounds.

Moreover, since military academies are staffed with ex-service members (many don't even require valid teaching certificates), students are likely to receive career advice that favors a military path.

There are more blatant examples of recruiting at RNA. The cadets - the label applied to students at military academies - have taken a school-sponsored field trip to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Furthermore, last year the school hosted Adm. Michael Mullen, the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mullen told the cadets that the Navy was a "great career choice." RNA has hosted ten admirals in their short four-year history.

In addition to these direct tactics, the academies use more insidious approaches. A military culture permeates these schools. Students dress in uniform, receive demerits, and are introduced to the military hierarchy and way of life. For example, I have witnessed students marching with fake rifles. This cultivation of a militarized mind is the best explanation for why 40 percent of all Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program graduates wind up entering military service. This statistic is especially telling, considering that less than one percent of the population has served in the military at any given moment since 1975.

The Choice Argument

Military academies are promoted as an option within the public school system for parents. We heard it from Arne Duncan (ex-CEO of CPS and current secretary of education) and we hear it from Dale Davis, public information officer for the Dekalb County School System, who calls the military school "an addition" for parents to consider. Compare that with what Colonel Mills said in December 2007 in the Online News Hour: "The purpose of the military academy programs is to offer our cadets and parents an educational choice among many choices in Chicago Public Schools and to provide an educational experience that has a college prep curriculum, combined with a military curriculum."

We must dissect what kind of "choice" parents are given. If one's only choices are a school in desperate need of repair or a shiny new military academy, parents will often "choose" the "better" school.

The unbalanced funding presents an incredibly difficult decision for many parents, as Marivel Igartua, mother of a cadet inside the Naval Academy, told me. She didn't want to have to send her daughter to RNA, but she felt squeezed into the choice because her area school was in such bad shape. The unequal allocation of resources, which favors military academies, can serve as a form of economic coercion upon parents.

If public schools were given the resources they need to improve, then we could offer parents a more real choice.

Military pushers also argue that the academies are a popular option among parents. According to Mills, quoted in In These Times in 2005, "These kinds of programs would not be in schools if there weren't kids who wanted it, parents who supported it and administrators who facilitated it."

Arne Duncan claimed there were waiting lists filled with children hoping to attend a military academy. However, CPS has never released the so-called waiting lists, and concrete numbers tell a different story. RNA's goal for student enrollment for this year was 500-600 students. RNA finished the year with 376 students. Where's the demand?

Military Academies in the Context of Dismantling Public Education

Viewing militarization in the broader scope of "school improvement" can provide a helpful lens. In Chicago, military academies often represented one offshoot of a general plan to break down public education and replace it with charter schools and contract schools, siphoning public money to business people and "nonprofits." However, these "chosen" schools don't perform any better than public schools. A recent Chicago study compared ACT scores between charter schools and neighborhood schools, and no statistically significant difference was found. There was a difference in the number of English language learners and special-needs students accepted. Charters received fewer of both students. We see the same dichotomy with Senn and RNA.

What may be more problematic is that sometimes the charterization movement masks hidden agendas Sometimes the hidden agenda is union busting. Sometimes it's gentrification. Sometimes it is militarization. We have seen all of these hidden agendas in Chicago. We all agree that public schools are in desperate need of renovation and repair. But simply demonizing public schools as failing without giving them the resources to succeed - and replacing them with experimental schools - is unjust.

The push to destroy public schools and replace them with military academies and charter schools was further facilitated under the mayoral control of schools in Chicago. Mayoral control means that a city's once publicly elected school board is replaced by mayoral appointees partial to the agenda set forth by the mayor. In Chicago, it also meant replacing the school superintendent, who was legally mandated to have public education experience, with a CEO, who is only mandated by his scruples. Duncan served as the CEO for several years. He helped administer and finish off the largest militarization of a school system in the US, under the banner of "school improvement."

If we look at the history of Chicago's "school improvement" plan, we can see the hidden agenda pushed by the charter movement. According to Pauline Lipman, writing in Substance News in 2005, it is a plan whose blueprint was ripped from the Commercial Club of Chicago, a conglomerate of Fortune 500 companies in Chicago. Schools are closed and reopened while students are shuffled around to other schools, which are often performing worse than their original school. Little regard is paid to the education of the majority of students, almost all of them poor, black and Latino/a. Simply put, Chicago's plan is not a school improvement plan. It is the dismantling of a public good for the benefit of a chosen few. School militarization was accelerated as this plan was being implemented in Chicago.

The pushing of similar plans can be expected throughout the US now that Duncan is secretary of education. With the stimulus bill's $100 billion in emergency aid for public schools and colleges, Duncan is in an incredible position of power. He could use it to promote renovation and increase resources to existing public schools. Or he could spend it on costly privatization and militarization, squandering our tax money and endangering our children's futures.

--------

Brian Roa is a science teacher at Chicago's Senn High School and a member of CORE (Caucus of Rank and File Educators), a caucus in the CTU which works for equitable education for all students and against the charterization schemes in Chicago

Click on title above to see original article and a place for comments;
http://www.truthout.org/062909T?n

Friday, June 12, 2009

UN Security Council imposes tough new sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear test

By EDITH M. LEDERER , Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Security Council imposed punishing new sanctions on North Korea Friday, toughening an arms embargo and authorizing ship searches on the high seas in an attempt to thwart the reclusive nation's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The unanimous support for the resolution reflected international disapproval for recent actions by North Korea, which defied the council by conducting a second nuclear test on May 25 and heightened global tensions with recent missile launches that raised the specter of a renegade nuclear state.

North Korea has repeatedly warned that it would view new sanctions as a declaration of war, but it boycotted Friday's vote — in sharp contrast to the October 2006 Security Council meeting where sanctions were imposed after the country's first nuclear test. Then, the North Korean ambassador immediately rejected the resolution, accused council members of "gangster-like" action and walked out of the council chamber.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who shepherded the resolution through two weeks of complex and sometimes difficult negotiations, told reporters in Washington that the administration was "very pleased" with the council's "unprecedented" and "innovative" action.

She cautioned that North Korea could react to the resolution with "further provocation."

"There's reason to believe they may respond in an irresponsible fashion to this," she said.

North Korea said Monday in its main newspaper that it would respond to any new sanctions with "corresponding self-defense measures." On Tuesday, the North said it would use nuclear weapons in a "merciless offensive" if provoked.

The resolution seeks to deprive North Korea of financing and material for its weapons program and bans the communist country's lucrative arms exports, especially missiles. It does not ban normal trade, but does call on international financial institutions to halt grants, aid or loans to the North except for humanitarian, development and denuclearization programs.

China and Russia, the North's closest allies, supported the resolution, but stressed that it did not authorize the use of force against North Korea, a key demand by both countries. Diplomats said during the negotiations both countries pushed to ensure that the measures not hurt ordinary people in North Korea who face daily hardships.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called the North's repeat nuclear test "a serious blow" to efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and said the resolution was "an appropriate response," targeted at the weapons programs.

China's U.N. Ambassador Zhang Yesui said the nuclear test had affected regional peace and security. He strongly urged North Korea to promote the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and return quickly to Beijing-hosted six-party talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear program.

The resolution demonstrates the international community's "firm opposition" to the atomic test, Zhang said, but it also "sends a positive signal" by showing the council's determination to resolve the issue "peacefully through dialogue and negotiations."

The provisions most likely to anger the North Koreans deal with searches of cargo heading to or from the country.

The resolution calls on all countries to inspect North Korea cargo at their airports, seaports or on land if they have "information that provides reasonable grounds to believe" it contains banned arms or weapons, or the material to make them.

It also calls on all 192 U.N. member states to inspect vessels carrying suspect cargo on the high seas if approval is given by the country whose flag the ship sails under. If the country refuses to give approval, it must direct the vessel "to an appropriate and convenient port for the required inspection by the local authorities."

The resolution does not authorize the use of force. But if a country refuses to order a vessel to a port for inspection, it would be violation of the resolution and the country licensing the vessel would face possible sanctions by the Security Council.

As a sign of China's uneasiness about ship searches, Zhang stressed that "countries have to act prudently, in strict accordance with domestic and international laws, and under the precondition of reasonable grounds and sufficient evidence."

Rice said the United States would "intensify our existing efforts to gather information that would allow us to determine if there is a suspect vessel on the high seas," she said.

If a vessel refuses inspection, Rice said, the United States will "shine a spotlight on it, to make it very difficult for that contraband to continue to be carried forward."

However, she said, while the U.S. will work to ensure that full implementation is achieved and "the bite is felt ... we're not going to get into a tit-for-tat reaction to every North Korean provocative act."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a former South Korean foreign minister, urged all concerned parties "to refrain from taking any measures that can exacerbate tensions in the region and to exert their best efforts to re-engage in dialogue, including through the six-party talks," U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

In other key provisions, the resolution demands a halt to any further nuclear tests or missile launches and reiterates the council's demand that the North abandon all nuclear weapons, return to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, allow U.N. nuclear inspections, and rejoin six-party talks.

The previous sanctions resolution imposed an arms embargo on heavy weapons, a ban on material that could be used in missiles or weapons of mass destruction and a ban on luxury goods favored by North Korea's ruling elite. It also ordered an asset freeze and travel ban on companies and individuals involved in the country's nuclear and weapons programs.

The new resolution calls on all countries to prevent financial institutions or individuals in their countries from providing financing or resources that could contribute to North Korea's "nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related, or other weapons of mass destruction-related programs or activities."

U.S. deputy ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo called the measures "innovative" and "robust."

"This resolution will give us new tools to impair North Korea's ability to proliferate and threaten international stability," she told the council.

http://www.startribune.com/nation/47921737.html?elr=KArksUUUU

Thursday, June 11, 2009

25 House Progressives Can End the Wars

1.

On Monday, we said just 40 House Progressives could end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan (Af/Pak) by opposing the Pentagon's demand for another $95 billion. That's because all 178 Republicans will vote no over $5 billion for the IMF.

Nearly 10,000 of you emailed your Representatives, and 15 House Progressives responded to you by opposing the $95 billion. So now we need just 25 more.



Tell Congress: Healthcare Not Warfare
http://www.democrats.com/healthcare-not-warfare

For a glimpse of the impact of U.S. bombs on the children of Afghanistan, watch this 1 minute video from our friends at BraveNewFilms:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzyfAHvvXDU

If you have time to call Congress, pick a few from this list:
http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/Supplemental
Report the response you get using the webform.

If you use Twitter, you can "retweet" four quick messages to key Members of Congress:
http://www.democrats.com/tweet-against-war-funds

You can follow my tweets here:
http://twitter.com/bobfertik
And you can follow our action-only tweets here:
http://twitter.com/democratscom

Thanks for all you do!

Bob Fertik


2. Help With Local Event for David Swanson's Book Tour

David Swanson's exciting new book is " Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union " which will be published on September 1. With help from many of you, David has scheduled events all over the country:
http://davidswanson.org/book

There is contact info for a local organizer for each event, and all could use some help. Can you email friends, distribute flyers, place notices in calendars, book interviews to promote an event, or otherwise spread the word? If so, please contact our local organizer. Thanks!
http://davidswanson.org/book

Forward this message to everyone you know!

To subscribe, create a free Democrats.com account here:
http://www.democrats.com/user/register

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

U.S. War Funding Bill Loaded w/ Pork




U.S. war funding bill brims with unrelated extras
Mon Jun 8, 2009 5:47pm EDT


By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A $100 billion bill to fund U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is rapidly accumulating extra items such as money for military aircraft the Pentagon doesn't want and possibly a scheme to jump-start sagging auto sales.

The cars and planes are not directly linked to the U.S. war effort. But they are typical of Congress' penchant for loading bills with unrelated spending in hopes the funds will sail through on the strength of the main legislation.

President Barack Obama originally sought $83.4 billion for the two wars and more foreign aid for countries like Pakistan.

But then he too sought more -- $4 billion extra to combat H1N1 swine flu and $5 billion to back credit lines to the International Monetary Fund, which is trying to help developing countries weather the global economic downturn.

The unrelated provisions have slowed the bill down, especially for the IMF because Republicans have argued the extra items should be vetted through the normal congressional process rather than jammed into an emergency spending bill.

Fights have also erupted about add-ons for the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and an attempt to bar the release of photos of detainee abuse. While Republicans do not have the votes to block the bill, they have said they will oppose it and that forces Democrats to ensure most of their members back it.

"This supplemental was supposed to be about providing funding for our troops," one House Republican aide said. Instead, it has become a mish-mashed, taxpayer funded 'Christmas tree' bill that will propagate bad policies and unnecessary spending."

Some 51 anti-war House Democrats had opposed the bill but now are under pressure to switch to give Obama a victory. But a House Democratic leadership aide said Republicans will have to answer to constituents for opposing a war funding bill.

CASH FOR CLUNKERS

The House and Senate are working out differences between the two versions of the war funding bill they each approved last month and hope to pass a final, single version this week.

Congress was on the verge of giving Pakistan roughly $1 billion in the bill, but Obama last week sought another $200 million for Islamabad as it fights Taliban militants crossing its border from Afghanistan.

And lawmakers are also considering adding money for a plan to spur domestic car sales by offering up to $4,500 in vouchers for buyers to trade in their less fuel-efficient vehicles for ones that get better mileage, known as "cash for clunkers".

The White House declined to directly address adding in extra provisions, but said officials continue to work with lawmakers "about the core priorities in the legislation and hope that it can get to the president soon."

When the House and Senate originally approved their separate versions of the war bill, the White House praised lawmakers for not inserting their own pet projects in the legislation -- though some pet priorities were included.

Democratic Representative John Murtha, who heads the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, managed to get $3.1 billion for eight C-17 and 11 C-130 military transport planes included. However, that has been pared back by four C-130s.

The Pentagon did not request the aircraft but lawmakers want them to preserve jobs in their home states and Murtha disputes the military's contention that they are not needed.

A senior Democratic House aide said the requests for flu and Pakistan money were appropriate to include in the bill because they were emergency needs Obama cited. The aide also noted that Republicans in the past backed items like the IMF funds.

"This is a dangerous game Republicans are playing by jeopardizing the well-being of our soldiers to score political points," the aide said. "The supplemental will be passed, but they will have to answer for their actions if they oppose it."


http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE5575ZG20090608

--------------------------

Monday, June 8, 2009

Israel Behind 9/11 Attacks?

Click on title above to see the preponderance of circumstantial evidence; http://theinfounderground.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5367

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Things You Wouldnt Know if We Didnt Blog Incessantly

Click on title above to go to a great site which I have marked in my favs, you should too!

Fire Casey -- We Need a New Top Dog in the Army!

Recent headlines read -- "Army Chief Says US Ready to be in Iraq 10
Years." Did General George Casey, the Army Chief of Staff, somehow
miss the message of the Presidential election? Marcy Winograd, 36th
congressional district candidate, reminds General Casey that the
American people voted for a President who promised to get us out of
Iraq, not to prolong the agony of occupation. Winograd says -- "Fire
Casey!"

President Barack Obama campaigned on a plan to bring U.S. combat
forces home from Iraq in 2010 -- that's one year, not ten years,
away. In addition, the United States and Iraq have agreed that all
American forces would leave by 2012. We must demand those promises be
kept.

Fire General Casey Action Page:
http://winograd4congress.com/petitions/pnum988.php

Marcy Winograd, who is leading the charge on this action, is a
courageous progressive advocate, who pulled a very strong 38%
challenging Jane Harman for the Democratic congressional nomination
in CA-36, and is doing so again. With recent revelations that Harman
helped Bush get elected in 2004 by personally pressuring the NY Times
not to publish the NSA wiretap story before the election, and
Harman's complicity of knowledge and failure to act to stop the Bush
torture program, make this a MUST congressional replacement.

The return page from the action page submission link above will give
you an opportunity to make a contribution to Marcy Winograd's
campaign. Or you can use this link below to do so directly, which
provides for both ActBlue and donation by mail options.

Marcy Winograd For Congress Contributions:
http://winograd4congress.com/petitions/contributions.php

General Casey claims his comments were not meant to conflict with the
President. Really? Was Casey testing the waters, taking the pulse,
waiting to see what our reaction would be to a continuous occupation?
Let's show the General and the President that we are sick and tired
of the goal post forever moving -- and we want to bring our troops
home now! Fire Casey!

Truman fired general Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War, because
MacArthur made statements that were contrary to the official position
of Washington. Is Casey speaking for Obama or not?? Is Casey a
greater and more indispensable general than MacArthur was? Either
President Obama needs to set Casey straight, or we need to set Obama
straight. So the action page below will send your message to
President Obama calling on him to fire General Casey, and it will go
to your members of Congress as well, and also your nearest daily
newspaper if that option is selected.

Fire General Casey Action Page:
http://winograd4congress.com/petitions/pnum988.php

There are some very deceptive things going on already with U.S. Iraq
policy, like REDRAWING the boundaries of cities so that existing U.S.
Bases are magically no longer within the city limits, as if that
makes them compliant with our agreement to remove them. These forked
tongue maneuvers must STOP. And it is our job as citizens to demand
that they do.

And yes, you can also respond to this action through the new Twitter
gateway. Just send the following Twitter reply, and add any personal
comment you like.

@cxs #p988

And if you want a step by step explanation of how to set up the
Twitter thing here is the link for that.

Twitter Activism Step-By-Step: http://tcxs.net/step_by_step.php

Paid for by Winograd for Congress 2010

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed
to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at
http://www.peaceteam.net/in.htm

Click on title above to go there

BloggersNote: Whats the big deal about getting out of Iraq? What does it matter if we have troops there, Afganistan, Pakistan, N. Korea, or anywhere else? War is war and we must not content ourselves with removing the troops from Iraq, we must END the (fake) war on terror and bring our troops home from everywhere.

The only war we support is the war to end the war on terror and to establish peace and prospairity for all Americans.

Pictures of War: A Reminder; War IS Terror

Particularly for the innocents




















END the Terror END the War on Terror END all Wars
Except the War on Poverty
and Injustice

Monday, June 1, 2009

The War Prayer



THE WAR PRAYER: Perhaps author Mark Twains most important work and greatest legacy to America, nay, the world.

THE WAR PRAYER


Below is a link where you can read the complete history of its making, its suppression until his death at the authors own request, the movie and historical significance of the poem:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_Prayer_(story)

Click on title above to go to THE WAR PRAYER website:

http://thewarprayer.com/

Friday, May 29, 2009

One War we are FOR

The War on Poverty;

NYC to Charge Homeless for Shelter Stays

Geezum. Why dont they just re-establish debtors prison so they can throw all (of us) poor folk in there and not have to worry about our housing, food, or clothing? Once we are tossed into these prisons, we will probably be forced to under-go mental health evaluation, be diagnosed as "social-defectives," and be forced to take mental health meds. We will most definatley lose our right to vote and/or bear arms as well, as they are working on that already. How long before debtors prison or work-houses for the poor are a reality in the USA again? Seems like that is where we are heading. None of the Powers-That-Be seem to give a dam about the poor anymore. Nevermind the war on "terror," lets get back to the war on poverty! Note to the PTB: Fix America First, and Move forward, not back.

Charging Homeless Families Rent is Wrong Take Action!

Write a Letter NOW to Lawmakers

On May 1, New York City started charging families living in homeless shelters for their stay in shelter. Children living in shelter have gone through the traumatic experience of losing their home and their families struggle every day. Now these families must struggle against another wave of misguided policies.

Under rules proposed by the City of New York, many homeless children and adults will be ejected from shelter to the streets for failing to pay shelter "rent," or if a homeless family's welfare case is suspended or closed, which happens routinely due to bureaucratic error.

CHF believes this policy is WRONG. We need your support to tell state lawmakers to pass legislation barring this practice. Please write a letter now. Click on title above to go to the Childrens Health Fund Action Center;


http://advocacy.childrenshealthfund.org/childrenshealthfund/issues/alert/?alertid=13438826&type=ML&azip=10002

Exploding debt threatens America



John Taylor

Published: May 26 2009 20:48 | Last updated: May 26 2009 20:48

Standard and Poor’s decision to downgrade its outlook for British sovereign debt from “stable” to “negative” should be a wake-up call for the US Congress and administration. Let us hope they wake up.

Under President Barack Obama’s budget plan, the federal debt is exploding. To be precise, it is rising – and will continue to rise – much faster than gross domestic product, a measure of America’s ability to service it. The federal debt was equivalent to 41 per cent of GDP at the end of 2008; the Congressional Budget Office projects it will increase to 82 per cent of GDP in 10 years. With no change in policy, it could hit 100 per cent of GDP in just another five years.

“A government debt burden of that [100 per cent] level, if sustained, would in Standard & Poor’s view be incompatible with a triple A rating,” as the risk rating agency stated last week.
I believe the risk posed by this debt is systemic and could do more damage to the economy than the recent financial crisis. To understand the size of the risk, take a look at the numbers that Standard and Poor’s considers. The deficit in 2019 is expected by the CBO to be $1,200bn (€859bn, £754bn). Income tax revenues are expected to be about $2,000bn that year, so a permanent 60 per cent across-the-board tax increase would be required to balance the budget. Clearly this will not and should not happen. So how else can debt service payments be brought down as a share of GDP?

Inflation will do it. But how much? To bring the debt-to-GDP ratio down to the same level as at the end of 2008 would take a doubling of prices. That 100 per cent increase would make nominal GDP twice as high and thus cut the debt-to-GDP ratio in half, back to 41 from 82 per cent. A 100 per cent increase in the price level means about 10 per cent inflation for 10 years. But it would not be that smooth – probably more like the great inflation of the late 1960s and 1970s with boom followed by bust and recession every three or four years, and a successively higher inflation rate after each recession.

The fact that the Federal Reserve is now buying longer-term Treasuries in an effort to keep Treasury yields low adds credibility to this scary story, because it suggests that the debt will be monetised. That the Fed may have a difficult task reducing its own ballooning balance sheet to prevent inflation increases the risks considerably. And 100 per cent inflation would, of course, mean a 100 per cent depreciation of the dollar. Americans would have to pay $2.80 for a euro; the Japanese could buy a dollar for Y50; and gold would be $2,000 per ounce. This is not a forecast, because policy can change; rather it is an indication of how much systemic risk the government is now creating.

Why might Washington sleep through this wake-up call? You can already hear the excuses.

“We have an unprecedented financial crisis and we must run unprecedented deficits.” While there is debate about whether a large deficit today provides economic stimulus, there is no economic theory or evidence that shows that deficits in five or 10 years will help to get us out of this recession. Such thinking is irresponsible. If you believe deficits are good in bad times, then the responsible policy is to try to balance the budget in good times. The CBO projects that the economy will be back to delivering on its potential growth by 2014. A responsible budget would lay out proposals for balancing the budget by then rather than aim for trillion-dollar deficits.

“But we will cut the deficit in half.” CBO analysts project that the deficit will be the same in 2019 as the administration estimates for 2010, a zero per cent cut.

“We inherited this mess.” The debt was 41 per cent of GDP at the end of 1988, President Ronald Reagan’s last year in office, the same as at the end of 2008, President George W. Bush’s last year in office. If one thinks policies from Reagan to Bush were mistakes does it make any sense to double down on those mistakes, as with the 80 per cent debt-to-GDP level projected when Mr Obama leaves office?

The time for such excuses is over. They paint a picture of a government that is not working, one that creates risks rather than reduces them. Good government should be a nonpartisan issue. I have written that government actions and interventions in the past several years caused, prolonged and worsened the financial crisis. The problem is that policy is getting worse not better. Top government officials, including the heads of the US Treasury, the Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Securities and Exchange Commission are calling for the creation of a powerful systemic risk regulator to reign in systemic risk in the private sector. But their government is now the most serious source of systemic risk.

The good news is that it is not too late. There is time to wake up, to make a mid-course correction, to get back on track. Many blame the rating agencies for not telling us about systemic risks in the private sector that lead to this crisis. Let us not ignore them when they try to tell us about the risks in the government sector that will lead to the next one.

The writer, a professor of economics at Stanford and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the author of ‘Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis’

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009


http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/71520770-4a2c-11de-8e7e-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1

Thursday, May 28, 2009

House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Hearing

May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009 (Congressional Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) --

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for having me here today to discuss the fiscal year (FY) 2010 Army Science and Technology (S&T) Program and the significant role we play in supporting the Warfighter today, while developing the technologies that drive the Army's transformation. We appreciate the members of this Committee for your sustained support of our Soldiers currently at war, and for funding the investments that will provide our future Soldiers with the equipment and capabilities to defend America's interests and those of our allies around the world.

The Army's S&T investment strategy is shaped to foster innovation and accelerate/mature technology to enable Future Force capabilities while exploiting opportunities to rapidly transition technology to the Current Force. The S&T program retains flexibility to be responsive to unforeseen needs identified through current operations. We have rapidly responded to a broad range of these needs. Our Fiscal 2010 budget priorities are in line with Secretary Gates' recently announced objective to "reshape the priorities of America's defense establishment." I would like to take the opportunity today to focus on some important areas of investment for our program: Force Protection, Lightening the Soldier's Load, Force Health Protection, Power and Energy, Battle Command and Basic Research.

Force Protection

Army S&T transitions to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have significantly reduced Soldier and vehicle weight burdens while increasing protective capability. Vehicle armor upgrades for advanced IED defeat, fuel tank hardening, and crew protective opaque and transparent armors have all stemmed from Army S&T investments that have been accelerated and deployed on the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicle. In FY08, for example, Army S&T responded an OSD/DDR&E request to develop near-term options for armor enhancements at reduced weight for MRAP vehicles. A number of solutions were quickly developed that increased protection against the largest threat and reduced package weight by one-third. This effort resulted in over 50% (8000) of MRAP vehicles outfitted with enhanced, reduced weight armor by December 2008, using Army S&T designs and engineering.

Additional vehicle transition successes in reactive armors, ceramic armors, and transparent armors (both in materials and manufacturing efficiencies) have been notable and have transitioned to several military-use vehicle prime contractors.

To further individual soldier protection systems, Army S&T is pursuing improvements in body armor component fabrics and materials through two technical design paths. The first path will provide increased levels of protection at equal weight and/or in better, flexible configurations. The second path will provide the same level of protection at significantly reduced weights. For both designs, performance enhancements will be achieved through advances in high performance ballistic fiber and textile technologies, transparent polymers, composites, and materials systems integration. For example, Army S&T efforts are currently focused on improving the high performance ballistic fiber technology needed to obtain a 50% increase in textile material strength to reduce soft body armor weight by 40-50%. In addition, new ceramics technology and manufacturing techniques are being investigated, to include silicon carbide materials and the ability to form ceramic materials into complex shapes.

Lightening the Soldier's Load

Army S&T is seeking to optimize our future investments to mature both vehicle and soldier protection and efficiently reduce weight burdens as collective systems. In the area of enhanced soldier protection and lighter-weight loads, we are continuing efforts to lighten soldier helmets and body armor through manufacturing technology and advanced material solutions. We are developing new protection enhancements and weight reduction for body armor applications with efforts to address protection for the head, face, torso and extremities, focusing on fragmentation protection, protection from small arms threats, and blast protection for the thorax area of the body. For example, improved transparent armor materials that provide enhanced fragmentation protection have been demonstrated with a weight savings of 20%.

S&T investments contributing to soldier weight reduction above and beyond helmet and body armor are approached in a holistic method to address personnel load issues. Exploitation of advanced materials and manufacturing processes allow for 10-20% weight reduction of individual components with an overall weight savings estimated at 20 lbs, while increasing the capability in the areas of advanced fibers for carrying equipment (rucksack and utility systems), powered equipment and battery weight reduction (efficient batteries, night vision, communications and sight augmentation systems), combat ration packaging efficiency, and weapon/ammunition modernization. As the emphasis on deployed forces is placed more on light infantry type operations, continued investment and maturation of materials and processes to lighten the load on individual Soldiers is paramount to a target goal of achieving true fighting load weights for all Soldiers regardless of specialized weapons or communications.

Force Health Protection

Our investment in medical S&T provides the basis for maintaining the physical and mental health of Soldiers as well as enhancing their performance. We are currently researching novel methods for screening and treating for Traumatic Brain Injury, by identifying physical and functional changes in the injured brain, and countering the post-injury inflammation. Battlemind, the U.S. Army's psychological resiliency building program, prepares Soldiers for the psychological rigors faced during deployment and improves the Service Members' ability to transition home. The Army is currently developing and validating advanced group-level Battlemind Training to further reduce deployment-related psychological problems, including symptoms from combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For Battlefield Trauma Management, a primary focus is to address the single greatest potentially preventable cause of combat - internal hemorrhage. This requires an integrated approach which includes controlling bleeding, replacement of lost fluid volume, cells, and clotting capability, and providing fluids and adjuncts to maintain adequate delivery of oxygen to critical tissues.

Army S&T is also a core partner in the Joint Trauma Analysis and Prevention of Injury in Combat (JTAPIC ) program, a component of the DoD Blast Injury Research Program Coordinating Office. JTAPIC links the DoD medical, intelligence, operational, and materiel communities to facilitate the collection and integration of data and information to improve our understanding of vulnerabilities to threats. This enables the development of improved Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs), requirements and materiel solutions to prevent/mitigate combat injuries. The JTAPIC program routinely integrates data from combat incidents and analyzes this data in to actionable information.

Finally, in FY09 the Army initiated a research program on suicide, working with the National Institute of Mental Health. The Army suicide prevention efforts are focused on prevention, early intervention, screening, treatment, and quality of life for all Service Members and their Families. This important work will continue in FY10.

Power and Energy

The Army continues to focus on developing and demonstrating technologies to reduce power consumption and increase energy efficiency. The Army Science and Technology power and energy strategic goals are to reduce platform energy consumption, develop more efficient power sources, enable smart energy management, develop proactive thermal management, and develop and evaluate alternative fuels.

The Army was a significant contributor in manpower and knowhow to the operation and success of the recently completed DoD Wearable Power Competition (WPC). The WPC's two primary goals were to bring in non-traditional DoD performers with their innovative power source ideas, and the successful completion of a 96 hour test of a wearable power source weighing less than 8.8 pounds. To the Army's credit, the three winning Wearable Power entrants have had previous Army S&T investment.

The Army is executing $75 million in research, development, test, and evaluation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for near term energy efficient technologies. Power generation efforts include research in portable and flexible solar arrays for Soldier and tent powering applications and research in generating power from the waste heat of generators. Efforts to reduce energy consumption include research and demonstration of advanced silicon carbide components that require less cooling to operate and research in an intelligent power distribution system that is reasonable to tactical applications.

Battle Command

Army S&T is working on advancements in information transport and on enabling improved collaboration for the Warfighter. For information transport at the tactical level, Army S&T is investing in lower cost, more capable satellite communications antennas for current and planned satellite constellations. Additionally, S&T is developing the software application for existing radios to better utilize the limited RF spectrum in military operations. Research and development is underway to more seamlessly share information across functional domains. This will allow more timely interaction and sharing of information across intelligence, planning and battle operations.

Basic Research

Fundamental to realizing superior land warfighting capabilities is the discovery of new fundamental knowledge through high-risk/high-payoff basic research in areas highly relevant to the Army mission. To accomplish these goals we have increased our focus on seven areas that are likely to yield extraordinary capabilities for our Soldiers - autonomous systems, network science, immersive environments, neuroscience, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and quantum information science.

In fiscal year 2009, Secretary Gates set the vision for the Minerva Research Initiative (MRI), a new university-based social science research program for all the services. MRI focuses on areas in the social sciences of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy which have not received substantial Department investment in the past. MRI research will pursue understanding of the internal military-political dynamics of repressive regimes, the vulnerabilities of regimes and institutions to various kinds of influence and instability, the nature of crowd dynamics, the potential to influence public opinions and attitudes in diverse cultures, cultural effects on network security and military operations, the influence of technology on military capabilities of potential adversaries and allies, and other intersections of social-cultural issues with military activities. The Army science and technology community is fully supportive of the MRI objectives and is actively soliciting proposals focused on social science and cultural issues affecting US military warfighting capabilities and we are increasing our investment in this area.

Within basic research, we are making major progress in many areas. One particular example is power and energy-related science with the ability to "grow" batteries through genetically engineered organisms. Dr. Angela Belcher at MIT, whose work is supported by the Army and through the Army-sponsored Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is at the forefront of research enabling biologically inspired, virus-based assembly of battery components. For the first time, MIT researchers led by Dr. Belcher have shown they can genetically engineer viruses to build both the positively and negatively charged electrodes of a lithium-ion battery. This technology will lead to future batteries that are far more compact and powerful than anything available today and at much lower cost. This is one of many exciting new discoveries that will reap major benefits for our Soldiers well into this century.

Science and Engineering Workforce

To maintain technological superiority now and in the future, the Army needs to hire top quality scientists and engineers into the Army Laboratories and Research, Development, and Engineering Centers. This is especially daunting given that the Army must compete with the other Services as well as the private sector to obtain its future workforce. We have taken important steps to attract and retain the best science and engineering talent. Our laboratory personnel demonstrations have instituted initiatives, such as pay banding to enhance recruiting and reshaping of the workforce. These initiatives are unique to each laboratory allowing the maximum management flexibility for the laboratory directors as well as allowing them to be competitive with the private sector. The Army is also instituting direct hire authority at our labs, and we would like to thank the Committee for their strong support on this issue. Finally, we have long recognized that a scientifically and technologically literate citizenry is our nation`s best hope for a diverse, talented, and productive workforce. To pursue this goal, we leverage the numerous resources across our programs and the Department of Defense (DoD) to engage America`s youth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Defense Acquisition Reform

Army Science and Technology supports current efforts in Congress and within the Department to reform the acquisition system. Because of our position so early in the material development process, the Army S&T program is well positioned to leverage our flexibility in support of any major weapons system acquisition reforms undertaken through consultation between Department of Defense senior leadership and our Congressional stakeholders.

Conclusion

The S&T portfolio contributes to addressing the Army's critical challenges and restoring balance in our forces through the four imperatives: Transform, Sustain, Prepare, and Reset. It has and will continue to enable the success of our force modernization efforts and to exploit technology opportunities through spin outs (Transform). Emerging medical technologies enable improved care for our wounded Soldiers and will enhance their future quality of life (Sustain). Advanced training technologies will accelerate the preparation of our Soldiers and leaders to operate in complex 21st century security environments (Prepare). Technology insertion opportunities and advanced training can contribute to resetting the force to prepare for future deployments and other contingencies (Reset).

With the continued support of Congress, the Army will be able to maintain funding for a diverse S&T portfolio that is adaptive and responsive to unanticipated needs of the current fight while still achieving the desired capabilities for the Future Force.

The Army's scientists and engineers are expanding the limits of our understanding to provide our Soldiers, as well as our Joint and coalition partners, with technologies that enable transformational capabilities in the ongoing Overseas Contigency Operations to ensure that the Army remains a relevant, ready and victorious land component of the Joint Force. The Army S&T community is the "engine" of change for the Army's transformation.

#DAL1234#

Copyright (C) 2009 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.


http://license.icopyright.net/user/viewContent.act?clipid=296856533&mode=cnc&tag=3.8218%3Ficx_id%3DNewsfeed94792103

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

USA: Land of the Weak and the Wussy

_Human Rights_ (http://www.smirkingchimp.com/taxonomy/term/117)
by _Dave Lindorff_ (http://www.smirkingchimp.com/user/dave_lindorff) | May
26, 2009 - 10:49am

There may have perhaps have been a time when America was a land of at least
some brave people. although arguably a nation that celebrates as heroic a
history that features lots of people with modern guns and cannons
conquering and destroying another people who were living in the stone age and
fighting back with bows and arrows, and that built its economy on the backs of
men and women held in chains certainly has a tough case to make. What is
clear though is that there is nothing brave about modern-day America.
Whatever we were, we have degenerated into a nation that finds glory in
deploying the most advanced high-tech, high-explosive weaponry against some of
the world's poorest people, that justifies killing women and children,
even by the dozens, even if by doing so it manages to kill one alleged "enemy"
fighter. A nation that exalts remote-controlled robot drone aircraft that
can attack targets in order to avoid risking soldiers' lives, even though
by doing so, it is predictable that many, many innocent people will be
killed. A nation that is proud to have developed weapons of mass slaughter, from
shells laden with phosphorus that burns to death, indiscriminately, those
who are contacted by the splattered chemical to elaborately baroque
anti-personnel fragmentation bombs that spread cute little colored objects
designed to look like everything from toys to food packages, but which upon
contact explode, releasing whirling metal or plastic fleschettes which shred
human flesh on contact.
The Marines who battled their way up the hillsides of Iwo Jima, or the
soldiers who struggled ashore under withering fire on the beaches of Normandy
would be appalled at what passes for heroic behavior in today's American
military. But that's not the worst of it.
The worst of it is back home in the USA, where millions of citizens who
bitch about their taxes and who pay as little attention as possible to the
fact that their nation is deeply mired in two wars, routinely refer to those
who do their fighting for them as heroes, but then want nothing to do with
the consequences of those wars (or for that matter the people who actually
fight them).
One particularly telling consequence of those wars is that the US now has
several hundred prisoners, mostly at the prison camp on the US Naval Base at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, whom the American people don't want to have moved to
their shores. And why won't we Americans accept the responsibility for
incarcerating and trying these captives? Because we are so afraid that their
comrades will strike back at us with acts of terrorism if we bring them
here.
First of all, a moment of rational thought, please. Does anyone seriously
think that the radical Islamic groups and independence fighters who are
battling American forces in places like Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan are so
symbolically obsessed that they would only attack places in America where
their fellows are actually being held? Do people actually think that such
people would not attack some place in the continental US right now if they
could, in retaliation for people being held at the inaccessible base in
Guantanamo?
Please. Let's get real.
Moving captives from Guantanamo to prisons in the US, pending trial, would
merely make the job of agencies like the FBI easier by narrowing the list
of likely terrorist targets in the US from thousands to dozens. But even
then, is there any reason to think that a prospective terrorist group would be
more likely to bomb Leavenworth Prison or the town of Leavenworth than the
White House or the Pentagon to protest the holding of people at
Leavenworth? Of course not.
The goal of a terrorist action is to cause as much fear and disruption as
possible, and bombing some remote commuity where a federal prison is located
isn't going to do that. You want to bomb a transportation or
communications hub, or a major population center. So bringing prisoners to the US from
Guantanamo doesn't really do anything to raise the risk for anybody.
But we Americans are irrational, panicky cowards. We worry that the
terrorists will come and get us.
My guess is that a lot of this is mass guilt. Whether people admit it or
not, I suspect most people know on some subconscious level that we Americans
have been living off the rest of the world's misery. We know we're stealing
oil from the people of nations like Iraq and Nigeria. We know that our
toys, our electronics devices and our fancy name-brand running shoes are being
made by people who cannot afford to buy them themselves. We know that for
decades we have been overthrowing elected governments and propping up
fascist dictatorships to keep the exploitation going so that we can buy cheap
goods and extract cheap resources (As Marine Medal of Honor hero Smedley
Butler long ago admitted, that's what our "heroes" in uniform are generally
doing overseas).
The whole thing is sickening--a kind of nausea-inducing feeling that comes
on me whenever I hear the last screeched line of the "Star-Spangled
Banner"--but there is something particularly pathetic about this latest bout of
collective wussiness on the part of the American people.
I mean, even if you bought all the tripe about our soldiers having to kill
and occasionally die in Iraq and Afghanistan so we can "fight the
terrorists there instead of here," even the charlatans in the White House and the
Pentagon are claiming that keeping captives in Guantanamo is generating
hatred abroad and putting US troops at greater risk, so you'd think it would be
the least that this "home of the brave" could do to close that base and
accept some of the added risk--if there even were any--of bringing those
prisoners here.

If we can't even handle that, we're simply going to have to write a new
ending for the national anthem:
"...Oh say may that Star-Spangled Banner yet flap
O'er the land of the weak, and the home of the sap."

New Song a Big Hit; "The Happy U.S. Torturer"

Click on title above to see vid and hear song;
http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Find-Freedom.htm?At=0057981&From=News

Judge warns Obomba, "Turn over secret documents or else!"

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker of San Francisco warned the Obama administration on Friday of severe sanctions if it does not comply with the court’s order to turn over a secret document an Islamic group says proves they were illegally spied upon.
The case, Al-Haramain v. Obama (see also: Al-Haramain V. Bush), springs out of a government mistake in which a secret document detailing the wiretapping of calls between attorneys and Saudi charity Al-Haramain was turned over to the charity’s counsel.

The document was taken back by the government, and the Department of Justice has since maintained that the attorneys who read it should not be allowed to use their memories to pursue litigation over the illegal spying.

“It could be a scene from Kafka or Brazil ,” noted Wired when the story first broke in March 2007. “Imagine a government agency, in a bureaucratic foul-up, accidentally gives you a copy of a document marked ‘top secret.’ And it contains a log of some of your private phone calls.”

“Walker, bringing to a head months of volleying between the government, the plaintiffs and himself, ordered Justice Department lawyers to explain why he should not essentially enter a default judgment against the government for violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by spying on the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation,” reported Law.com.

“The government has refused to obey court orders by repeatedly stonewalling Walker’s attempt to move the case forward, Walker wrote.”

“The Court noted the government was ‘continuing to assert legal positions already specifically rejected by the court in previous orders’ and ‘government officials in one or more defendant agencies, including the NSA Director … are refusing to cooperate with the court’s orders,’” noted the Electronic Frontiers Foundation. “Judge Walker ordered the government to show cause as to ‘why, as a sanction for failing to obey the court’s orders’ the government ’should not be prohibited … from opposing the liability’ for spying without warrants and that the ‘court should not deem liability … established and proceed to determine the amount of damages to be awarded to plaintiffs.’ A hearing is set for June 3, 2009 in the San Francisco federal court.”

Should Walker rule in favor of Al-Haramain, it would not fully satisfy the group’s legal aims, but “it would be a stiff rebuke to an administration that has pledged to reconsider Bush’s broad claims of secrecy in all cases touching on national security,” noted Bob Egelko at The San Francisco Chronicle.

He continued: “The department, under both Bush and Obama, has argued that courts have no power to decide the legality of the surveillance program unless the government acknowledges that it monitored a particular person or group. It has not done so in Al-Haramain’s case.”

“The case is one of more than three dozen domestic surveillance lawsuits pending before Walker,” reported CBS5 in San Francisco.

“Congress granted immunity to the telecommunication companies last year, essentially killing their eavesdropping lawsuits and leaving before Walker the Al-Haramain case as the only surviving legal challenge to the government’s eavesdropping program,” reported the Associated Press.


http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Find-Freedom.htm?At=0057994&From=News

Saturday, May 23, 2009

2009 Joint International Anti-War Statement:To the Working People of the World

2009 Joint International Anti-War Statement

To the Working People of the World

Worldwide big economic crisis has begun, and capitalism is on the verge of catastrophe. Protectionism is gaining power rapidly, and the US and Japanese governments are setting the stage for an escalation of war and privatization and also for increasing union busting and repression against the working class. The Korean Government is intensifying suppression and destroying unity of KCTU, the forefront fighters of working class.

In Japan, the government has disregarded Constitution Article 9 and sent military forces to Somalia and is also making major military escalation against North Korea. The Japanese military budget is being expanded at the same time that major cuts are being made in healthcare and pension benefits for tens of millions of workers and retired workers. The militaristic threats and chauvinism against the people of North Korea and the hysteria created by the Japanese media and government officials is directly aimed not only against the North Korean people but the people in Japan who oppose war.

This rise of militarism is also directly related to the need to attack through privatization of millions of jobs. The nationalist Aso Cabinet plans to introduce the Wider Area Local State System (doshu-sei). The immediate aim of this union busting plans once to fire 3.6 million public workers by their termination and then re-employment of 2.6 million of them as contracted out private employees in education, non-clerical jobs and temporary part time jobs. Another 1 million will be subjected to selective hiring under militarist conditions and total obedience to the state.

The effort to fire teachers opposed to militarization of the schools also continues obstinately, coercing the worship of national flag and anthem, Hinomaru and Kimigayo, which have been the symbols of Japanese imperialism. And the government is expanding the Narita airport as a military base against the interests of the workers and people of Japan, and pushing ahead in the destruction of farmland and communities of the Sanrizuka-Shibayama United Opposition League against the Airport Construction, a fort of anti-war and anti-state power struggle. Furthermore, WTO and FTA, imperialist instruments of economic invasion and domination, have been ruining agriculture deadly.

In Korea, the Lee Myung-bak administration was terribly shaken by the candlelight demonstration of a million working people last June against the import of US beef. Perceiving this as a serious threat to the ruling class, it has turned to an all-out retaliation against the central forces that organized the demonstration. Repression is raging upon the broadcasting stations that mentioned the danger of BSE beef and supported the protest actions of people. The management of the broadcasting stations is facing administrative intervention and labor unions are under attack. A nationwide academic ability test was utilized to bring division among student leaders and teachers who opposed to this were met with disciplinary measures, or discharged. The labor union of truck drivers and construction machine workers is under the threat of disbanding for its powerful strike that stopped transportation during the candle demonstration. Lee Myung-bak, ex-chairman of Hyundai Construction, is violently pushing ahead with a large-scale redeveloping plan to confront a great economic crisis and dared to kill 5 of the inhabitants who fiercely refused to leave their land for planned gentrification.

The Lee Myung-bak administration, on the other hand, is strengthening its hard-line stance against North Korea. US-South Korean joint military operation was carried out from March 9 to 20 to prepare for a preemptive strike on North Korea. It is a part of the OPLAN 5027 that aims at Korean reunification by the armed forces through destroying the North Korean military and overthrowing the North Korean regime. KCTU and peace-movements organized protest demonstration against it with a demand, “Stop US-South Korean joint military operation to invite war”, fighting back the repression of the US forces staying in Korea.

To address these developments, a general strike and an all-out rising-up of people for June are going to be organized by KCTU.

In the US the government continues to implement an anti-labor transportation workers identification card TWIC. The military have allowed the employers to pick and choose who will be brought into the marine terminals if they do not have the TWIC card. Hundreds of longshore workers have been prevented from working and the power of the union hiring hall established by a general strike in 1934 has now been weakened since workers who have industry identification cards are not being allowed on the docks unless they have a TWIC card. This card allows for an intrusive spying and tracking of longshore and other transportation workers.
At the same time the government is expanding the war in Afghanistan with 20,000 more troops. The government has also requested another $85 billion for war spending. This expansion of the war in Afghanistan and occupation of Iraq, the robot war with drone planes that drop bombs in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan from thousands of feet above the ground are further war crimes against the people of the middle east.

The Obama administration’s so called “nuclear arms reduction” speech has the aim of “maintaining a secure and effective (nuclear) arsenal”. It is, in its essence, a nuclear war strategy, updating the nuclear arsenal and strengthening the nuclear monopoly. This policy of Obama administration is worked out against the background of launching nuclear power plants construction.

The maintenance of the US empire is not only a threat for the people of the world but a threat against the working people in the US where millions have lost their jobs, homes and healthcare.

We stand together internationally, overcome a divide and rule policy by the issue of nuke and call for united solidarity and action against these capitalist attacks on the workers and farmers in each of our respective countries, to stop aggressive wars and their expansion and for defense of working people around the world.

Only united world wide action against war, privatization and union busting by the global working class has the power to stop this militarization and growing attacks on the working class.

June, 2009

Sanrizuka-Shibayama United Opposition League against the Airport Construction

National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba

Korean Confederation of Trade Union Seoul Regional Council

International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 34

Transport Workers Solidarity Committee
http://www.transportworkers.org/node/1079

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/05/22/18596