Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Iraqis Celebrate

Today marks the day for US forces to pass control back to the Iraqi people. Although this passing of power is only a pullback, and not a complete withdrawal, what should be noticed is the great celebrations being held throughout Iraq as the people proclaim hope in regaining a sense of national sovereignty. Iraq has even claimed this day a national holiday, as if that doesn't illuminate the great strife as well as great pride Iraqis are showcasing on this day where US and foreign forces take a step back from ruling the Iraq homeland.

What remains is what the US presence will be until the "formal" withdraw slated for completion in 2011 takes shape. It also remains unclear how Iraq with rebuild itself as a nation ravaged by a highly illegal, illogical, and unethical war which began over 6 years ago.

Points to remember, beyond the continued occupation of Afghanistan and selective bombing of Pakistan, is while formal control of Iraq’s major cities and towns have been passed from the US, US forces will still be stationed in military bases that will continue to "monitor" the very same areas they withdrew from. Although today is a great step for Iraqi sovereignty, does this "withdrawal" in fact mean anything at all? I, along with all those who believe in the possibility of peace, sure hope so.

Please visit these sites for more information: http://www.iraqpledge.org/ and http://www.alternet.org/world/

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Finally some Justice...I think...

I'm willing to bet that a vast majority of North Americans remember what happened in Prince William Sound, 1989. The Exxon Valdez oil Spill was and still is a travesty. The headline above is that there's some justice to this case. And there is. Exxon has to pay out a billion dollars to Alaskan Natives, Fishermen, business owners, and others harmed by the spill.

What really needs to get discussed here is how many time Exxon appealed this case to stay away from paying out what they should have 20 years ago, why they only have to pay 1/5 of the original 5 billion that they were supposed to pay out, and why there's any question about paying for their mistakes-a corporation that set the world record for profit margins in recent years that literally pulls the life force out of Alaska and makes money off it, then just pollutes one of the most pristine areas in the world, and runs. That's a good corporation isn't it?

What's really sad here is the environment, Indigenous people, and working class and lower income people face the brunt of the burden associated with this. Some fishermen have even said that today, in 2009, that the Sound has not fully recovered as the greater ecosystem faced irreparable damages based on Exxon's drunk captain. Not to mention the other impacted wildlife as well as those who've sustained themselves from fishing for thousands of years.

Here's a link to some more information...and another questions...so the US Court system works right? Lawyers are good right? That's why Exxon has to pay 20% of what they should've, and 20 years down the line? Please, I wonder how the insurance companies were involved in this?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Yesterday was World Ocean Day

I mean, really? Earth Day, Multicultural awareness week, etc. I mean, I guess, because it gets these ideas out in the mainstream conscious, but do I ever look forward to when everyday is just be peaceful, just, and sustainable day. When we respect all our multicultures of humanity, as well as the land, the Ocean and the Earth. In the meantime, bike to work week and car-free days will live, and I will support them as I hope you do to, until we reach that vibration where all of these things that benefit us all become ingrained as day-to-day practices. So for today, do something good for the ocean, for water, and remember to just do something good, and if you can, do something good all the time:)

I must also say, it was impossible for me to mention World Ocean day yesterday after learning the news about the sacred San Francisco Peaks. Please visit their website, write to your member of Congress and Mr. Obama, and don't let this movement be stopped by another injustice promoted by the US Court system! http://www.savethepeaks.org/ You can find links to writing to the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branch of the US government from the Peaks website.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Sad Day

Since March of 2005, everyday I have access to a computer, I check the website http://www.savethepeaks.org/ , hoping to hear good news that peace, justice, and sustainability will be protected in this textbook case of environmental injustice. Today is a sad day, as I read a message that I had hoped I would never read:

ALERT: Today the Supreme Court denied the petition by Tribes & Environmental groups to hear the case to protect the holy San Francisco Peaks. We will be posting a statement soon. June 8th, 2009

We will update information regarding this case as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, our most sincere thoughts and prayers are extended to the Indigenous people that call the San Francisco Peaks the most holy of holy places.

Friday, June 5, 2009

What does a speech mean anyway?

Well, after feeling I should commend Obama for some progressive words and his tone in Thursday's speech, I was quickly reminded this morning, that peace is still a long ways off with Mr. Obama.

Since April, today is the 9th bombing attack on the people of Pakistan, supposedly to eradicate the terrorists, and at least 40 have been killed as a result, all near a mosque in the Swat Valley. It's reported that over 2.5 million people have displaced as a result of these attacks.

Does this really control, help dissipate, and/or ultimately do anything to repeal fundamental extremists? Or is it just fuel for the fire?

And let's not forget Afghanistan and Iraq, the other 2 primary occupations the US is engaged in. The top UN Human Rights's official has called for an investigation into why the number of civilian deaths are on the rise in Afghanistan. Good.

We must also remember, as Obama stated in his address on Thursday, he believes his decision to escalate the occupation of Afghanistan is fully justified. He also refused to apologize for the invasion of Iraq, which has killed thousands and thousands of Iraqi's, Americans and American supports since its inception-and for what? There's no "winning" of anything regarding any of these three wars.

So much for peace...what's next? Invaded N. Korea? Iran? I mean they want to develop nuclear weapons, and we wouldn't want that to happen seeing as we have to most in the world and wouldn't want anyone to disrupt our Empire.

Obama's Historic Speech.

This certainly is a different tone than we are used to coming from the executive branch of the US government. While critiques of this system, and Obama's administration are fully warranted, yesterday, I felt some bright spots in this Middle-East centered speech. While I will never believe the rest of the world should follow the US model, ever, because if it did the world would basically be consumed, polluted and disintegrate rapidly, I did like to hear references to the three holy books, talks of unity, and talks of peace.

Although the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so profound and deeply rooted, I like the fact that Obama took a step away from full-on Israeli support, when he spoke about a 2 state solution. He should have said something about the oppressive Egyptian regime, and he should not just denounce violence to Israel, but violence from Israel as well, but none the less, in the current state of worldly affairs, this speech showed at least some hope-HOPE, no matter how brutal things get, is something we all have to hold onto, because without it, where would be?

In any case, the 2 state solution is a step, calling on Israel to cease continued West Bank settlement was a strong statement, but as many residents of the areas said, there's been a lot of talk about Peace over the years; what will it take on the ground to make peace a reality? All in all, a good step, but there's still many mountains to climb...

What do you think?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Operation Appalachian Spring

Having Obama in the White House is a good thing, right? Well, I'm much happier with him than who was there, although before he took office, for any "hard-core reformists" out there, you have to start seeing that simply put, the system is flawed, it's not a thing one person can change. You take any woman or man and put them in this same position and the results, well, among other things you get the continued debauchery of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Most recently, the coal-industry was given 42 new permits for mountain-top removal coal mining by Obama and the EPA. This method is of course a most environmentally destructive method of coal extraction, which IS the dirtiest form of energy we have, and also coincidentally (yeah right) happens to disproportionally burden our poorest residents in Appalachia. So this guy is pro-environment and pro-poor? I have no idea how a measure like this promotes anything except the same old business as usual for the Empire, taking any positive steps away from progressive climate change legislation, and letting the coal industry continue to thrive as a profit-centered lobbier driving US energy policy. What's next? Clean Coal? Do we have to blow up mountains and displace low-income residents for that too? Will the EPA EVER protect the environment? Will the moneay spent on clean coal, mountain top removal mining and other dirty, finite means of energy generation ever get allocated to the clean forms we all know we need by now? Unfortunately, not with ruling like these.